Friday, September 25, 2015

It Seems Like It Was All a Wonderful Dream

I peeked behind this beautiful curtain and what did I find?
The cloth of my fantasies...
...booty from faraway lands...
...patterns as far as my eyes could see.
Precious objects...

...books galore...
...glorious stitching.

Where else would one be unsurprised to find museum quality textiles adorning even the humble hot water heater in the bathroom?

I'm at the Maiwa Symposium, of course!

Taking the Memory Cloth workshop with Beverly Gordon, author of Textiles: The Whole Story, a book I raved about when it came out a couple of years ago.
She's a bit of a fairy godmother, sharing her wisdom and magic with a lucky few.
I'll show you what I made next post.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mug Shots

I need a picture for the website I have been trying to put together for the last couple of years or so. James took this one but the light is too contrast-y, I think.
This is what I imagine I will look like when I'm a crazy old lady. (What!?! You mean I already qualify?) I gave myself a haircut only minutes before snapping this selfie.
 And this one I kind of like. It has that surveillance camera feel to it.
And what has to be the worst driver's license photo of all time. As I said to the guy who took it, "Well, I suppose that probably IS how I'd look if I got pulled over."


A few closeups to see all the differents stitches I have used. Above I see couching, outline stitch and rope stitch.
Here is some cretan stitch and satin stitch, a bit of chain and some outline.
Braid stitch, a kind of double chain stitch worked backwards. It makes a nice raised effect.
Good old buttonhole, outline and some zigzaggy stab stitches.
Backstitch, outline and some long straight stitches.
Whipped chain stitch and lots more outline stitch.
Another view of the same section as the photo above this one, with some rope stitch used for shading on the letters.
And the beaver's tail is a couched scallop stitch that I made up, with simple straight stitches for shading.
This is how far I have got with less than three weeks to go. I take heart in the encouragement several of you have given me, to not worry if I have to show it unfinished.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Problem Solved

One of my problems anyway. If only they were all so straightforward! I had been having a ridiculous amount of difficulty with the flourish part of the motto banner. There were problems in the initial drawing (copied from an old Hudson's Bay coat of arms), and then I must have unpicked it three times in the stitching before I reconciled myself to the fact that I had to redraw it.
As you can see (I hope) in the closeup, I have a lot of pencil marks to remove. The arcs of the flourish above the banner didn't connect with the ones below. Even though this is a minor element of the whole image, my eye kept wanting to connect the lines. They still don't do it perfectly but as much better than they were.

What this little exercise made me very aware of is that Louis Nicolas's lines are so organic, expressive and quirky compared to the  formal, stylized arcs based on geometry. Who could really tell if I made a mistake on one of the animals, since the images I am working from are so individualistic ?

But it all has to work together. I am very pleased with the way the top, bud-like forms of the flourish echo the shape of the space between the elk's hind legs.

Now, my next problem is that I am rapidly running out of yarn and I have a whole elk and the rest of the banner to go!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Five Weeks to Go

I just finished the right hand elk/moose critter on the Skin for Skin piece. It's going to be a race to see if I can get it done for the upcoming Thanksgiving Studio Tour. (The Arts Council has used one of my images on the cover of the tour brochure and posters. It's rather unnerving to see it everywhere, especially with a weird magenta colour. All the free publicity is one of the reasons I want to get this new piece finished in time.)
He was a joy to stitch. Hope his mirror image will be as much fun. I used a lighter brown for the shading in the antlers, as I had used quite a lot of it for the beaver and it would have seemed odd to just have a different shading in one place. This also frees me up to use lighter browns elsewhere in the piece.
I think I will pick out the shading on the beaver's front teeth though, and replace it with an even lighter shade. Wool tends to darken up when stitched because of the shadows cast by the texture. The beaver was one of the drawings that Louis Nicolas painted with watercolour. Although it has also been speculated by a scholar who examined the original document that a child may have coloured in some of the pages sometime in the book's 300+ year history.
detail from Plate 37 of the Codex Canadensis. Source: Gilcrease Museum
© Public Domain. Courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum of Tulsa, OK.