I read a lot of things here on the internet. I have over 140 blogs currently in my feed reader (and another 40 or so that I read on occasion). So, it is not unusual for me to read something that I disagree with. It is, however, unusual for me to read something (especially a crafty something) that gets me really fired up.* But it happened the other day. I let myself get mad, wrote a long email to myself ranting and stating my case. And then I made this (warning: curse word ahead, click to continue…).
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a “modern” embroiderer (more on this topic in the next few days). I think that sometimes there is a tendency to view ourselves in the present as the only ones capable of coming up with a modern, non-traditional take on a traditional skill. But this is obviously not the case.
One of my favorite movements in art is abstract expressionism. I’m not just talking about Jackson Pollock (who is awesome), but also Kandinsky, de Kooning and Kline and all the others. Which got me thinking… I bet there were some abstract expressionist fiber artists. And what do you know, I happened upon the amazing work of Mariska Karaz. (Seriously, just scroll through the gallery of her work. It’s awesome.)
There happen to be several works that are owned by museums nearby (the Smithsonian and the Baltimore Museum of Art) — but frustratingly, none are currently on view.
So, I have started on a piece that should (hopefully) look a bit like this Karaz piece. It’s very strongly influenced — and I’m using a Hungarian cookbook page as the base. I’ve got all my holes poked and am planning out exactly where to start. It’s good to have something in the works this time of year that’s for me as I am also working on a few gifts.
I almost want to keep this thread to myself — lest everyone go out and snatch it up on ebay or something — but it is not in my nature to keep secrets like that.
Last weekend I was given this lovely basket, scissors and threads by one of my grandmother’s sisters. I honestly have no idea as to when exactly everything was purchased, or if the basket and/or any of the things inside belonged to my great-grandmother at one point. The wooden spools are easily my favorite things right now.
In particular is this thread: Clark’s ONT Best Six Cord, size 8. It’s a dream for embroidering. I did a quick little piece for my grandmother with it (perhaps more about that once I give it to her). I need to get my hands on more because I adore it so very much. (I’ve already called my mom and asked if she had any on-hand, she doesn’t.) It’s slightly thinner than size 8 perle cotton, and the twist is very tight.
I simultaneously want to use it for everything and never ever want to use it again in case I run out.
I’m super happy to announce (now that the package has safely arrived) that I’ll be showing (and selling) three pieces at Ghost Gallery in Seattle starting November 14. (Facebook event here, if you’re interested.) All the pieces in the show will also be available online.
I’m nervous, excited, anxious, proud and thrilled all at the same time.
Thanks to Bridgeen for sending the call my way. She’ll have some work in the show as well.
One of my favorite things about embroidering on paper is when things go just slightly wrong and have to be fixed- not torn to pieces wrong, just slightly off. Maybe there’s a whole in not quite the right spot, maybe things look a little wonky.
Take the piece I am currently working on, for example. The crosses were just a little bit too long. I wanted them larger, and it just so happened this was the size of the graph paper I have on hand. But, I only have a few pieces of blank paper from this particular book to work with, so I didn’t want to just chuck the whole thing out. As hard as it is to do when I have a very clear idea in my head (I just want to Get. It. Out.), I walked away from the work for a whole evening. The solution came while I was sleeping, and it was simple and very obvious: just make the crosses into double crosses. Done.
And it looks a thousand times better.
I never know exactly how things are going to turn out, but I am pleasantly surprised more often than not. The second piece to go along with the first was finished much faster (now that there was a plan).
Here’s the whole thing, with photos from my proper DSLR.
I took a little bit of inspiration from the photo of my great-grandparents that I have sitting on my desk. Diamond shape at the top, chevron at the bottom.
Also, this piece needs a title. Ideas anyone?