Thursday, August 28, 2014

Trying to Avoid the Bad Puns...

 ...but when you're around a bunch of hookers, it's almost impossible. Yesterday I had my first lesson in hooking - rug hooking that is. Something I've always wanted to do, ever since my trip to St. John's, Newfoundland. Turns out that there is a lively group of hooking enthusiasts here on Gabriola, and yesterday they had an introductory workshop for newbies. Gill was our instructor, and I immediately liked her approach of using recycled materials and just using scissors to cut the strips. There's no way I'm getting into something that requires another closet to hold the stash.
All the supplies were provided, including sparkling water with Italian vanilla syrup, and fresh peaches. I'm glad the group is into such pleasures of the flesh.
It was a very pleasant couple of hours.
And here's what I got started on. I love the thick, dense pile - I would say that hooking is to painting as embroidery is to drawing - it's very easy to create a lush, juicy surface. The tonalities of my colours are too close, so the poor little flower isn't going to look like much, but I will finish it and have a nice little mat to put my teapot on.

The group is planning to meet weekly. I could be in trouble.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Hummm, this picture is a bit on the blue side. But you can see that I have auditioned a few more colours: a blush pink, an icy blue, a very pale aqua, and a pinky beige. I do prefer them to the neutrals, surprisingly enough. I just tried them because I won't hear from the needlework store til Monday as to whether that new shade of floss from DMC is available in Canada yet. It doesn't take much for my heart to wander! I'm now leaning towards the icy blue, or maybe the pinky beige.

Now it occurs to me that I could mix one strand each of the gray, the blue and the pink! Back to the embroidery hoop!

P.S. "Why the squiggles?" you may ask. Well, I'm approximating the thickness of the lines in the actual text, and the squiggles give me a better idea of how light will affect the colour in the curvature of the finished letters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Fistful of Thread

Thanks for your suggestions as to the thread colour. My giant ziplock bag of neutral shades of floss yielded up the above possibilities. Of course my monitor is going to look different from yours, so the shades are, from left to right: 646 (obviously 2 different batches as the colour is noticeably different - not supposed to happen with DMC!), 3895 (one of the new shades), 3023, 3022, and 3782. 3895 is the closest to Arlee's suggestion of an almost iridescent grey with a touch of pink, but now I am dithering - maybe I should choose the linen that it will be mounted on first.

Or perhaps a visit to the Stitcher's Muse is in order. One can never have too many shades of grey!
My sampler on a scrap of similar linen - no planning, just squiggles. The colours look a little darker when worked.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Art May Come Into the World

A new piece has begun. Several months ago, Chris of Words In Edgewise was meditating, and the phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is within you" came to her, along with the idea that she might commission me to stitch it on cloth. I loved the idea, and was honoured to accept, but with trying to finish the Wheel of Life piece and packing and unpacking I have taken a long time to get going on it.

But now it is top priority. I auditioned several pieces of vintage linen and settled on the one you see above, a drawn thread table runner in a beautiful crisp off-white linen. As is my usual practice, I played with the line of text in various fonts in Word, ultimately choosing Gabriola, mostly because it was so elegant and flowing, but also because it was named for the island I live on. Chris was in on all these decisions - even though she said she trusted me, I like to think of a commission as a co-creation, and hope that ultimately the finished piece will be more meaningful to the owner because they know what went into it.

So here you see the text pinned into place on the cloth, ready for tracing. The cloth is 16" high and 50" long - quite long - but the floral drawn thread work brings the eye closer to the centre, and the scalloped edge softens the severe proportions. It almost looks like a cloud, or a thought bubble.

Now, to choose the colour of embroidery thread. I am tempted to work white-on-white, but even with the dimensionality of the stitching, fear it may be too subtle. I am sure it will be a light tint of some hue, though, a darker shade would be too slogan-ish. I will get out my tote of floss and thread, and look forward to spending some time out on the deck choosing just the right one.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Photo Fest

Dome Interior, by famous post-modernist Geoff Wahl

Giddy Gardener, by famous portraitist Arnie Magus

SuperMoonForest, by famous compositionalist Rolf Gibbousson
His'n'Hers, by Me

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I Like....

Wendy van Riesen © Copyright (c) Postmedia Network Inc.
 Vancouver's Wendy van Reisen of Dahlia Drive Designs has written a wonderful description of making curtains for her sailboat. Her website is pretty cool too.

I met Wendy when I produced the first Vancouver Swap-O-Rama-Rama, many years ago. Her clothing is amazingly creative and very beautiful. Here's what she says about herself on her website:

Many things inspire me. The ones that stick, that beckon me to reinterpret and transform them, are transitory in nature. I delight in and hold a tight fisted fear of evolution; embracing change but fearing the absolutes that accompany it: life/ death, value/ inconsequence, messy/ clean, beautiful/ugly. My theatre background houses this process as an ongoing quest, a splash between the brackets, where I endeavour to live life as it reveals itself to me and continues its spin into the world.


1. Respect for the environment: The most important value is to conserve waste by transforming what we already have before creating more.
2. Art is affordable: The second-place value is to make art and art design on clothing available to consumers who want it.
3. All women’s bodies are beautiful: The third-place value is to create clothing that celebrates all shapes and sizes of the female form.
4. Integrity: The fourth-place value indicates Dahlia Drive’s aspiration to create quality fashion that is based on conservation ethics and principles.
5. Vision: The fifth-place value is to print images and textures on slips which reflect the beauty of the female form while implying the inherent value of what lies beneath and above the simple layer.

The Simple Life

Hey there, sorry I haven't been around for awhile. I'd ask you in for tea, but unpacking has been very slow going. Frankly, I am quite tempted to just take the boxes directly to the recycling centre - Do Not Unpack, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200. It's either that or a big yard sale. We'll throw in a tour of the Dome for anyone who spends over twenty bucks.

Moving always brings me uncomfortably face-to-face with my stuff. No matter how much I try to downsize, there I am, trying to find places to put crap (which was considered, before the move, to be valuable art supplies). Do I seriously think I will get back into silkscreening after 25 years away from it? Would my life be changed in any way by getting rid of this box of squeegees, or that carton of doll-making supplies, or this veritable crate of small bits of cloth that might be useful some day?

At this point I would happily join some sort of benign cult that only allowed me to own a bowl, a spoon, and a muumuu. I could then spend the rest of my life clearing out the mental vaults, which, believe me, are far more cluttered and cobwebbed than any house I have ever lived in.

Blissful as that sounds, I fear that I am not quite ready to let go. But I do realize that sometime in every move, there is a point where I must confront the gap between who I imagine I might be, and reality. There may be a few tears, but this time, for sure, I will accept the limitations of both my [storage] space and my [days left on this earthly realm x number of projects hoped to accomplish] time.

And I will whittle away at the stuff until I am left with one bowl, one spoon, and maybe just one tiny basket of sewing materials that can easily be hidden under the muumuu.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Home in the Dome

This is the only spot in the house that isn't stacked with boxes.
We're in. And absolutely exhausted. I was shampooing the carpets at the old house last night at 10 p.m.. Now I am sitting on the deck at the dome enjoying the cool breeze and vowing to relax for at least ten minutes. That's it, I can't think of a single interesting thing to say. My brain must still be at the old place.