Friday, February 26, 2016

Stitch-in

Hello everyone,

I must preface this post with the statement that I am not usually drawn to making political statements.  However, I am just home from my first evening of "stitching activism."  We gathered at the Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville to create squares filled with tally marks which represent the women whose life choices will be seriously affected by a case which is being heard now in our great state of Texas. I love Texas.  There are so many songs and tunes from and about Texas (part of me is a musician.) Many many women live in Texas. Each of our stitches was a stitch in support of a particular woman's right to choose her own life path. My total for two and a half hours was 510.

Everyone's piece was different!  (I'm really sorry I didn't take more pictures.) It was inspiring to sit in a room of men and women stitching in solidarity for our sisters at risk. The conversations were profoundly moving. We have all bumped up against these issues in one way or another and sharing our experiences perhaps for the first time, was an experience to treasure. The stitch-ins are happening in many places. You can learn more here.

In other news, I've been experimenting to enhance the process of more spontaneous embroidery. I have a hard time drawing on the cloth sometimes while an idea is developing but I was inspired on Instagram by ladyjanelongstitches ' work to try using a product called Sulky fabric stabilizer. You can draw on it, then baste it onto the background piece and stitch directly onto it. Then, when you're ready, you put it under the faucet and the drawing completely washes away!  This is my first (unfinished) experiment:

It represents the big activity on my block which is a neighbor house being raised to
create more space.  There are 4 of these houses.  They (including mine) were built in 1926 for small families who lived in this small working class town.  The house was recently bought by a larger family who wants more space for each person.  In my extensive time on this block (since 1975) I have known that house to be lived in harmoniously by a family that at one point included 5 people of 4 generations.  I could not do that myself, but Margaret, who lived there, could, plus she was a good neighbor.  She distributed cookies to us all on holidays.  She was retired and watched over us.  I loved that.  Anyway, change is coming, and our new neighbors, whom I don't know yet, are building a bigger house, which profoundly affects the amount of sunshine which will shine in the yard of the neighbor to the north.  So. Here we are. 

Somewhat abruptly, and lastly, because it is late, here is Gilly after getting her annual shots, resting (briefly).  

Love and peace to all~~s. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello Shadow

It's Groundhog Day! (Tuesday, February 2, 2016)  This year, to celebrate, I stitched a groundhog,  and mounted it in a frame with no glass. It's home-dyed fabric which I scrunched up a bit, inspired by one of Grace's recent pieces. 

I also had the idea of making a stuffed groundhog, sort of like the Christmas donkey (earlier post). With that in mind I made this fellow out of air-drying "clay" (it's not really clay but was easy to work.  The smell was rather poor though):
The plan is to drape the cloth around him (her?) and then stitch it up, sort of like molding a dress on a dress form. I'm not at all sure this will work, and I do want to find out, but ran out of time for now. 

Liz wanted to see some detail from grandson's quilt.  Here are 2 of the squares, hand-pieced and quilted:


This last photo is of the back, to show the family hand prints that were the quilting pattern. I quilted it once from the back and once from the front because it was a little too thick to make the stitches on the front look ok on the back. I learned so much on this project. What will be next? (Maybe some smaller pieces.)

Well, just to bring things full circle, here is Gilly with her groundhog--

There is another plan for tomorrow, which is to do some stitching in public.  That is, to go to a cafe to work on a stitching project.  It's so different from working at home, and I like to see the people on their computers looking a bit curious about hand-work.

Well, happy Groundhog Day to you and if you have encounters with your shadow, I hope they will bear good fruit. 
~~xoxo, s. 








Friday, January 22, 2016

Return

Hello everyone,
Many days and even two moons have gone by since last I wrote. Almost every day I have thought today is the day to write and then that day went by, but suddenly today arrived. So I will fill you in a bit. Two lovely train trips, one to New Jersey and one, for Christmas, to Ohio, where I gave the completed quilt to my eldest grandson! Voila!

Thank you to Jude, and everyone in this community who gave me ideas and encouragement for proceeding in a not completely conventional manner. Although I've been silent, in terms of my blog, for a while, my gratitude to each of you is huge and profound.

I have been plugging away! Examples:
The Christmas donkey...

Here is a creature I made at the Columbus, Ohio art museum, which has a wonderful program for Making. Interactive family making...providing materials for creation to happen. Lots of young people encouraging folks to Make Things!


This is a barn swallow embroidered on a tee shirt for my daughter-in-law.  Not quite finished. 

One thing I love about posting these pictures is the chance to see them more objectively.  I see all the imperfections, but mostly I am glad there is a place to share.

There have been many challenges, on a daily basis. This is good, for how else to grow?  

Favorite photo from latest train trip. When the snow melts, the tracks remain...at least in this case. 

That's all for now. Love to each of you!~~s.












Friday, November 6, 2015

Moving forward


Hello everyone,
Today I'll give you a peek at the most recent makings. Awhile ago I mentioned the "cloth of unsettling events".  As soon as I took the photo I realized that is by no means finished, but here it is,  as is. 

A close up of the opossum:

One of the benefactors, Crazy Horse:

I began a new cloth which doesn't have a name yet:

Recently, at a high school reunion, we climbed the Pt. Arena Lighthouse (145 steps!). The view:

I loved it that in the gift shop were hand-embroidered tea towels of the lighthouse!

Yesterday four of the Very Small Books went into the mail!

A candle sending love to a very small boy who needs a lot of it:

And Gilly being a champ at her first agility fun match!

That's all for now. xoxo,~~s.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wonderful Show


While on my trip to the Northwest, I visited a show in Astoria, Oregon of original works by Katherine Dunn, of Apifera Farm.  Her blog is always intriguing; her lively and kindly imagination sees deeply into life, so I was very glad to be able to see her work in person again. These are some of my very favorites... The Riversea Gallery website shows more...







I wish the photo quality were better but perhaps you can catch a glimpse of her rare vision and love of creatures and the stories they embody...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A class with India

Hello everyone. I've relatively recently returned from my first solo camping trip to the beautiful Northwest, with a destination of Lopez Island and three magical days at my second workshop with India Flint. We made wayfarers' wonder jackets using bits and pieces of other clothing items which we reassembled to make our unique garments! What fun, and challenging too.  I loved stretching my mind to embrace the concepts of sleeves becoming pockets and shirts being transformed into pinafores.

This is the beginning of my jacket.

And this is how it's been progressing since coming home. I will dye it once construction is done.

It was so much fun to do communal dyeing again:

India is very patient and full of interesting ideas and poems. It was a most congenial group of women who gathered to work in Patsy's beautiful garden studio. Christi did a first rate job of organizing everything so all went smoothly.  Patsy, Christi and India created the most delicious lunches for us.  Oh goodness...that's what it all was: Goodness. Great Goodness.

There also was opportunity to be gastronomically delighted by... guess what...wild mushrooms.  I was a bit nervous but ultimately trusted the experts and found these "shaggy manes" to be delicious!

I visited two friends from the workshop in Seattle on the way home. We watched the eclipse together and opened some more more bundles from the workshop. Magic. 

So now I'm home and have been gathering leaves from our parched environment and have bundled them up and dyed this old shirt.  I used marigolds, eucalyptus, rose leaves and apple leaves in a stainless steel pot, with some iron bits and a little bit of copper.  Some of the marigold petals are still on there.  The cloth is still wet so looks a bit brighter than it will later.  I've never gotten such golden hues before.  I wonder if it could be due to the drought somehow.

Gilly meanwhile has found a pair of pink sunglasses, kind of like mine, except they are more edible!

Next I am going to tell you about a wonderful show I visited on the way to the workshop, so stay tuned. xoxo, ~s. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The huntress

Gilly caught a possum. Sigh. It was very quickly dispatched, by her. This event was part of the full moon activities in the (very small) back yard. Size makes no difference when the moon is full, and gentle Gilly's instincts rose to the surface. Instead of a picture of the unfortunate possum, here is herself in the bike basket...

We've been looking at shore birds. Walking at the dog park has become problematical due to bigger dogs with not helpful owners, so until I can learn how to deal with the issue there, we're going other places, by bike. One day a drama among the birds and a crab played itself out right before my very eyes and Ah-Ha, thought I, here is the makings of another Very Small Book!  So to start, I've been embroidering an egret.  It is almost finished. Mostly am experimenting with how to go about it. I love doing the millions of tiny stitches, but am I being practical. Do I need to be practical. That is not a proper question because I will probably go for the millions of tiny stitches because they are such a good antidote to all the crazy stuff elsewhere, but I do consider the question. Anyway, here is the egret this far:

And this is how the owl (see last post) turned out:

Also, in trying out ways of dealing with unsettling events, I am making a list of them and putting them on a special cloth. Here is the tick! Ick! 

The list is growing long. Perhaps it should be a daily practice. 

Thank you all for taking a look, and have a good and safe Labor Day weekend whether or not it is a holiday you celebrate. xo, s.