Saturday, November 11, 2017

small art

Here is a sampling of some of the mixed media art I do when not sewing. These include heartfelt memories, struggles with technique, and experimental pages. I generally concentrate on texture and neutrals but you can see I played with some color in a few places. Much of the work includes material recycled from previous drawings, collages, and garments. 
 1" x 1" book above
photos from Solomon Islands (1940s) taken by my father.   
Hinged book (4" x 2") above-includes samples from my 2017 drawings and collages.  The next 5 photos are some of the interior pages.  

Left & below-linen on chalk

Above pages include studio waste paper on fabric screen and on the right a corner of a larger collage.

To the left are a raven claw in graphite and more recycled paper.

Photo to the right includes old dictionary pages, parts of a collage and manipulated linen.

Fabric sample accordion book:
To the left is an accordion book which is about 3" x 2" when folded.  All fabric is from sewing projects I did this year.  

The little blue book here is 2" x 1" and is connected together with leather strips and a stick.  

This piece was constructed by making marks on a large paper using a handmade brush with a hollyhock leaf attached to use for printing.  I cut up the paper and made a quick accordion book.  This points to a direction I want to travel further.  The black marks on white are so crisp and detailed...I plan to work in black and white for a time.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pajama party

The temperatures are finally bearable for open windows now, and that means that I need a whole new wardrobe for sleeping and lounging.  AC demands a little more coverup but now...I can sleep in some lighter pieces.  Who remembers babydoll pjs?

I definitely am past the stage for babydolls but I am interested in making some cute pjs.  I like sleeping in shorts and a top, and I love nightgowns.  Here are my plans: 

 Up first, and already cut out in my studio, is the middle pattern M 6659.  I've already sewed this twice and have a review here-M 6659 review  I was not really taken with it because the size seemed small and there are 4 darts in the top.  Who needs darts when sleeping?  I altered this beyond recognition and can now whip up sleep shorts which are loose and a top which is only slightly fitted.  This set will be in grey, pink and turquoise voile.  

Next is B 6296 in a green and cream abstract print voile.  This pattern got good reviews on PR and I'm looking forward to making it.  It will take some extra time with all the piping, but isn't that a nice touch?  

Lastly is a glorious floral for a nightgown.  B 6225 shows a knee-length gown but I will either go ankle length or mid-thigh.  This pattern only has one review on PR and I think it is probably due to the ruffles and pintucks.  I did a mockup of this and it also runs pretty tight through the bust.  

At 63, I sometimes do not feel alluring.  Part of aging gracefully includes acknowledging that fact but still treating myself in ways that honor my physical self.  I hope this is true for all of you too!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

This and that

Hearst Castle, Monterey, 17 Mile drive, riding through the Canada del Oro wash next to my home, visiting a cool trailer park in Bisbee AZ, and of course some sewing. I tried out some new to me patterns for shirts (which you can see in the collage), experimented with some new hairstyles and makeup, and did a whole lot of reading this summer.

The blue check shirt above is B 6376 and the floral is B 5924.  Both patterns are terrific and result in well-made shirts while allowing for alterations and your own creativity in the design.  Below is a sampling of my summer sewing-I love the Katherine Tilton shirt which is first up.  It is a fun shirt to wear and hangs in a flattering way.  I like it both with flowing, wide pants and paired with jeans.  My other favorite from this series is M 7411, a simple woven tee, but with an added layer.  I used some leftover rayon crepe and rayon challis so this has quite a luxe feel for a tee.  Love the neckline and the fit. 

I spent a lot of hours with Cutting Line Design this summer and have some fun "Saturday shirts" to show for it.  I really like her designs but always have to do major alterations to fit my petite frame.  I think I am getting closer to a good understanding of how to do that, but still have some extra volume around the bust.  It is not a question of using a smaller size, but decreasing the circumference above and below the bust line.  I have adjusted the torso length and shoulder more fine-tuning.  Finally, the pants...ah, these are SO fun to sew and fun to wear.  This pair is made with a very rough cotton which was a gift-it is a utility fabric I think.  Nevertheless, the pants are great for kicking around and lounging at home.  Very quirky, and even with all the volume, do not make the wearer look wide. 

I recommend each of these patterns, with a strong recommendation for B 6325 and B 6376.   

 B 6325

                                                                                           B 6376

M 7411

 CLD A Subtle Twist
                                       CLD By Popular Demand
 Self-drafted tee
 M 6702
                                                                        V 9114

CLD Simplify Your Life                                                                                             

Monday, October 2, 2017

Summer's end

This heat never ceases, 
Up from the ground, into your feet.
From way up high in the sky, 
It pounds you with a drummers beat.

It coils like a molten snake
And cuts you like a sharp knife.
This desert heat is a hunter.
It will ruthlessly take your life. 

Desert summers have a rhythm which demands attention.  I have become used to the hibernation (estivation) necessary for survival.  The sun controls everything, even when we are inside.  

Summer is at an end now, and we are enjoying temps in the 90s.  It should cool gradually through October, and perhaps we will have a crisp Thanksgiving.  I'm clearing my studio and shifting gears for some cool weather sewing, while also planning to visit Taos in late October for a mixed media workshop.  

As have many of you, I have struggled this year to maintain equanimity in the face of a heartless administration, terrorism around the world, and our own citizens unleashing their demons with a gun.  I really had little to say here, in this special place reserved for creativity and nurturance.  So I allowed myself to be quiet.

There will be a new member of my family soon and I hope he will chew and drag and cuddle this little quilt I made for him.  
Good to be back, Mary

Monday, June 26, 2017

Intimacy with a triceratops

TheArt Institute wing of the Sonoran Desert Museum hosted a drawing workshop taught by Rick Wheeler this past weekend.  The focus of the class was drawing from nature and using a multitude of mediums.  Graphite, charcoal pencil, water-soluble colored pencil, watercolor all got some play as I attempted to draw representationally.  Well, you can see the result...that is actually part of a horny toad, not a triceratops.

Have you seen his work?   I love his wildlife paintings and landscapes, and even more so since I was able to leaf through all his photographs this weekend and see what he worked from.  Please take some time to visit Rick at the address which follows. This will take you to his home at Fine Art

He and I had a wonderful conversation about how visual art is employed and enjoyed by people and discussed using artwork in textiles.  At an individual level, in our own studios, we employ surface design, but Rick and I were discussing using parts of his abstract work as textile design in a production run.

A model for this collaboration between artist, designer, and producer is Vida.  Here is an introduction to the company if you have not heard of it.

So, here is why I am talking to you about this.  Rick not only paints gorgeous scenes from nature, and wildlife, but also does abstract works.  He shared a portfolio of some abstracts with me (I was so honored) and explained that the 11x14 prints I was looking at were photos of parts of large original paintings.  They were so striking, and absolutely ready for a textile appplication.

I would love to connect Rick with someone in my readership who has worked with Vida or a similar company.   If you have an interest in pointing Rick in a certain direction to further a collaboration of artist and clothing designer, please let me know by email or in the comments below.  I will be happy to arrange an introduction for you.

It is good to be back, dear Readers.