With the start of school, the parade of kids with backpacks and parents with umbrellas began today (yes, we are getting some rain — not much, but a little). Last year, Finn rocketed between windows offering up his noisy volley of barks. It was nerve wracking. I had to keep the curtains closed.
Today? One little growl. That was it!
And here are a few progress shots of a cloth totem I am calling “Woven Girl”.
Even with red and green in the crown it doesn’t show up very well. Deanna suggested silver beads. I may give that a go.
I was inspired by Jude’s critters. Needing a use for the many rectangles of woven strips I’ve made. And, I wanted to show myself how much easier it is to craft a figure in two, as opposed to three, dimensions.
But she feels a little anonymous to me. Without a season. Or a purpose. I could think of her as a sampler and be done with it. But maybe she just needs a better name?
This morning, I revisited the little gem of a book, “Steal Like An Artist,” by Austin Kleon because it’s good and worth revisiting and because, well, seeing my blue indigo woven square on Instagram turned my stomach, just a little, because of how much it said, “Jude” to me. Not arrogance here. Rather: dissatisfaction. The thing is far from done and woven strips are kinda woven strips, but still, I thought I’d share some of the excellent things Kleon has to say about this, “this” being developing a style or a voice, even though the “Hearts for Charleston” quilt is not about this. At all. (and, as you take a breath, can you tell I’m reading Faulkner again this summer?!) “A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies. Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives. That is how we evolve. So: Copy your heroes. Examine where you fall short. What’s in there that makes you different? That’s what you should amplify… ”
And: “Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.” Also this: “… you don’t just steal from one of your heroes, you steal from all of them.”
[Who are all of them?!! The blog roll on the right is a starting place. This morning, Robert Rauschenberg, John Singer Sargent, the Gee’s Bend quilters, Susan Carlson, and Ruth McDonald all come to mind. Jude Hill (obviously). Maybe I don’t think about this enough].
“Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying.”
“We’re talking about practice here, not plagiarism…. Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.”
This is not hand-wringing, per se. Just follow-up to a little turn of the stomach. It’s important to follow up on little turns of the stomach. That might be a piece of advice I’d give an artist. Or just plain a person. It’s a little like Julia Cameron suggesting that we use a list of people we are jealous of as a laundry list of things we need. It works. Try it.
Meanwhile, I am in love with some new double exposures. I wish I could figure out what to DO with them! These feel wholly mine. And yet? Thumb tapping? Digital code? What ARE they?!
And, not free of influence, obviously.
What a shock to find more than 18,000 views on this picture! The pleasing (and to me, astronomical) number was the result of flickr posting the image to their “Explore” gallery.
It came at a time when I’ve been reconsidering flickr. I’ve adjusted to their new format, I have. But, I don’t enjoy going there so much anymore and I don’t groom the way I used to — don’t always bother to populate my albums, add tags, see that there are comments, never mind respond to them.
Don’t look to it for connections. Been thinking that instagram might better suit. [I also found myself wondering in a paranoid flash, “Wouldn’t it be really, really creepy if flickr somehow KNEW I was ready to bail?!!”]
Anyone else? Where do you put your pictures, with what expectations and what results? Where do you find connection? Have you switched platforms in the last few years? Is blogging dead?
As for the picture, it is another weaving study that came out of Jude‘s most recent online class. Below is a pictorial narrative. I am hoping to make nine woven patches in the cloth. Third of nine, in progress: This morning, a fall wind blows warm air around. The tail end of last week actually found me putting the heat on. Thankfully, a sweater will do today.
P.S. The vintage linen base came out of my 2012 indigo pot. The dotted indigo fabric and the indigo threads woven in — from recent weekend in South Carolina.
But before I go off to my LIST and my PAGES and the CLEANING I like to do on Mondays, I wanted to assemble a collection of pictures from the summer class I took — ‘Considering Weave’ with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth. Just as a place to see what I did. How much I learned. These kinds of visual bookmarks make a difference down the road… it is so easy to underestimate or lose track of the volume of threads/cloth that went through the process with me… this will help me remember!
And, by the way, the act of doing this — its value both now and later — is just one of the many, many things learned from Jude.
in-process butterfly received a needle woven body — idea to embroider words inspired by Cindy over at handstories
some actual weave; some figurative
one of my indigo cloths with woven opening — made so many mistakes!
a woven patch — lumpy, loveable, functional
the “Triscuit” crater — backing from my indigo vat
buckling caused by size of opening could not be fixed even with machine stitching to a heavy weight backing
woven ‘islands’ extending patterning over edge — one of my favorites from the class
woven islands partnered with Middle Passage piecing
visual weave with vertical and horizontal running stitches
the crow got a woven base and flew off to Wendy Golden-Levitt
seeing warp and weft all around
continuing on a piece in context of weaving — many sections begun in another of Jude’s classes
more strip weaving because it’s hard to stop; travels well
speckled vintage linen from Deb Lacativa’s dye pot
blue sky — arashi technique with commercial dye — by moi!
sampler: Corn Guy
as I started ‘sewing’ more, back neatened up (worked top down)
copy of Jude’s waves. Woven on primitive box loom (which was a rectangular basket in my case)
Planning to order a bead loom so that I can continue without some of the frustrating tension issues caused by wrapping warp around a basket and taping it to the back.
I didn’t get a chance to make any fringe and look forward to trying. Would like to edge some of my Star Maps with it. And, I can’t wait to try some of the more experimental techniques offered this month. Any more meaningful reflections on the class will have to wait. It was a terrifically provocative journey (as usual)… and if other classes I have taken are any indication, the fruits of the learning will keep coming over the next months and seasons.
Funny to be weaving “fall” when it got so sticky hot here today. This guy got his start on a napkin-basket-loom. I was trying out some things from the weaving class with Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth, side bar), and sort of having fun. The warp caught in the grooves of the basket edges and stayed put well enough, but I could only use tape to secure it on the back, so it got loose in places — sometimes to the point of near unworkability. Mostly today I pieced rectangles of cotton together, pressed the seams one way or the other, and enjoyed the cool of my basement. I ran the fan all day to churn some of the mildew smell out the back door. That sounds awful but it wasn’t. It was a nice retreat after two very intense weeks of travel and settling the boys in. In fact, the cool quiet of the cellar was perfect for my first ‘official’ day of the empty nest — a day that found me tired, disoriented, a little sick, and in real need of silence. I stitched a linen frond to the woven island piece (above, left) and excavated some of the sections representing Africa from the Middle Passage series (above, right)In the little square above, I put some of the ‘Ghost House’ remnants next to fabrics being used to designate ‘Strange Fruit’ in the ‘White House of Privilege’ series. A panel with a moon stitched on it is being blown sideways by the fan. I like that almost more than anything else!Middle Passage scraps partnered with Ghost House piecing (above). Reading the recent ‘Atlantic’ article, ‘The Case for Reparations’ (by Ta-Nehisi Coates) has got me thinking about all this again (as if the events in Ferguson, Missouri weren’t prompt enough)…And all these tiny little ‘doodles’ wanting a home. The grid has one inch squares, so you get the scale. I’ll close with a few pix from Vermont. We camped at a state park located on an island in Lake Champlain. We did this to save money, but it was really wonderful! So quiet. So pretty.
The weather was perfect, and it was nice, as it turns out, to break up the drive and the border crossing over separate days. Since we’ve had some really nice visits to Montreal, including a few memorable dinners, there was no feel of a pauper’s compromise in this plan — none at all. Look at those skies!!