This morning I was on Spoonflower, a company that allows you to design your own fabric and they will print it for you. They have a design contest every week and the next one is based on medieval design and I got inspired. I have never attempted to design a repeat pattern digitally so it was a total experiment. For most of the morning I had a lot of missteps but by the afternoon I took a different tack and came up with something that looks pretty good. I don't think I will enter it because the color variation from the top to bottom is a little wonky, but it was a great learning experience. I'll even try it again soon.
At last!!! After about five years of working on this piece off and on (mostly off as you have probably guessed) I have finished it. She is called Pastoral Wisdom. I will say no more, just let you have a look at a few views.
I was just reading through my favorite blogs and came upon a great giveaway that I thought I would pass on to you. Bitter Betty is giving away a Rowenta Iron. Now, these baby's are expensive but they work really well...I know, I have one. They are pretty heavy so the weight of the iron does a lot of the work for you and the steam it puts out is fabulous. So, go to Bitter Betty Blogs and leave her a comment before June 1st and maybe you will win this fabulous iron.
This morning I woke up with the chorus of Greg Brown's song, Canned Goods rolling around in my head. I love the song and I haven't heard it in ages. I found this link to a youtube video so you can hear it. Anyway the chorus goes:
There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars.
This seemed like the best wakeup song because today I hope to plant the vegetables that will go in those jars! Some roma tomates, slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, cucumbers, dill and lots of herbs and so much more. Aaaah summer!
I have been working on my new look all day, but I have been thinking, researching and saving links for months. I've made a new header, added a nice linen border and some new links divided into sections. You will find art which includes some of my favorite artists and friends, food, gardening which I don't have many links for yet and spirit, meaning some spiritual sites as well as folks who seem to live with great spirit! While I basically have run out of time today and my family wants dinner, I will be adding to these link lists in the next few days. If you can think of a site I have left out, leave me a note and I'll check it out.
I have decided to change the content of this blog as well. I have mostly kept it about art and textile art at that, but I plan to branch out and include, as you may have guessed from the addition of my links, gardening, food and spirit. I do have another blog called Threads of Wonder and it has been hard to keep up with both of these blogs, so plan to include the same sort of posts, those of appreciation for my life and all it includes, here. I will keep Threads of Wonder up for awhile, but will no longer be posting there. I hope you like the new look and will enjoy the upcoming new posts.
This weekend I went to the Portage County Cultural Festival and saw some wonderful textiles. Among them were Stephanie Lemke-Vuljanic's traditional Croatian Embroidered eggs called pisanica. They were really interesting and here is a link to an interview with Stephanie on Wisconsin Public Radio's, Here On Earth.
This morning I had a brain wave. I was just eating breakfast and whamo! All these ideas started flowing. It was so fun, I ran to the studio and started sketching. I will admit that at the beginning of last week I was all gung ho to be in studio but by Wednesday self doubt was starting to creep in. I kept on as best I could and I think that is the key. I think that is just how creating is, but today it is ducky!
If you've been looking at my blog lately you see a few changes. Well, there are some that are unintended. I was fooling around with a new template, changing a bunch of them in and out and it seems some of my info has disappeared. I will say, I've been meaning to do some serious changes on my blog, but in my own good time. I guess the universe had different ideas. I've apparently given myself another project!!!
I have been thinking about what books are in my studio that I couldn't, well really, wouldn't, want to live without. I've decided to do an ongoing occasional series of the books in my studio that fit that description. When I got this idea the first book to come to mind was Celebrating the Stitch by Barbara Lee Smith. It contains the work of one hundred textile artists from Canada and the United States focusing on contemporary needleworkers. There are beautiful photos as well as interviews and overviews of the artist's work. Interspersed between the individual artist are pages with questions posed to the artists and their brief answers. Some of the topics are getting unstuck and staying unstuck, generating ideas, materials and tools and the role of the stitch. In addition there are a few diagrams on working various stitches that are used.
When I was in art school I took a fabric design class and one of the first assignments was to come back to the next class with fifty designs. Believe me there was a lot of moaning and groaning about coming up with that many designs. Then the professor explained that he didn't want full blown designs, just thumbnail sketches. So off I went and did a bunch of drawings, which were really, just doodles and, low and behold, some good things came out of it.
The interesting thing about doing fifty designs is once you have done about twenty, you've considered most of the predictable possibilities. Then the fun begins. You start to think of new ways to look at your idea, different materials you hadn't first considered come into your brain. The first twenty are like putting your car in first gear, by the time you hit 45 you're speeding down the right side of your brain!
I do this exercise nearly every time I want to try out a new idea. I struggle in my head with where to begin and then a light goes on that says, "Make 50 designs!" So the struggle ends I get sketching and at the end I have many possible ways to take the idea. Interestingly when you have so many choices you can clearly see the best because they stand out. I did this exercise yesterday, my first day back really working and it energized me. I have included some pages of my sketchbook from yesterday as well as other times I have used this technique.
So, if you are struggling with where to begin, make fifty designs!
At long last I feel settled. As many of you know we were living in temporary quarters for most of the last year but now we have moved into our new home in our new city and I have a new studio! I can't tell you how great this space is. Most of my studios have been rented space outside of my home and I never had the supplies I needed at the place I was. Other space I have used have been small bedrooms and I needed to keep things packed up and often unavailable or difficult to get at. This studio in our home fills the bill and then some. It is large and I can have everything unpacked and available.
I spent the day drawing, designing future projects and sewing a little. Perfect! Here are a few pictures of my new space.
My shelves filled with supplies, not totally organized yet, but the basics are there.
Front of the studio with this amazing table my brother gave me. It is seven feet long and 41 inches wide. It has plenty of scratches and scars so I don't feel like a paint or glue drip will ruin it. I used it today for the first time and it is the best. Thanks Mikey!
All of my magazines, art and technique books all in one place...at last!!!!