One of my least favorite parts of being an artist is taking the formal portraits and then remembering where I stored the digital images. I haven’t figured out a good process for that yet; it’s probably because I’d rather move on to the next project.
Here are the last two art pieces I have finished. They are not re-sized or cropped or stored anywhere except on a SD card—but then I still have the pieces and can re-take photos. Alas, that is typically what I end up doing as my photo site is rather a mess.
Flying High will be one of my entries for ‘wind’
and this piece was supposed to be a guild challenge. I did not read the rules properly–it is the wrong size and not done in time—it was due January 2022. I’m planning to mount it on stretcher bars—but as of now it is still hanging in my photo studio setup next to Flying High until I process the photos.
When newspaper reporters were interested in news, one decided to see if it was really hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
It was–but it took most of the day as I recall.
I’m not eager to be outside long enough to try it again–in true scientific fashion….an experiment should be reproducible to believe the outcome.
It is hot here, very hot. Our mini-splits are struggling even though I prefer much warmer temps than most people…rheumatoid arthritis will do that.
Our life has been busy with garden duties, lawn-mowing, tending to a very ill dog—who is now back to her usual naughty self, house improvement projects—garage roof was sagging–had foundation work and then the roof repaired. The RV parked outside the shop is now gone—gone to a new home to be refurbished. The new owner seems eager to take on what looks like a huge piece of junk.
I’ve been working away at projects in my sewing room.
For several years I’ve compiled a list of UFO’s from 1 to 12 with the idea of completing one each month based on a random number drawn. A group I am in is doing the same but allowing 2 months to complete a project. That makes 18 projects!
Instead of sorting through boxes I had stuffed multiple projects in, I put down the number of the box. 1 through 4, two months are binding months–I seem to get behind on that.
This month’s draw was from Box No. 4.
I found these roughly cut diamonds left-over from my mother’s quilting days; I’ve sewn them together and trimmed to even edges—she was accurate in piecing but not in cutting. Although I think maybe my dad might have cut out some for her. She had trouble with her hands after chemo; and he did a lot of marking for her.
I also dragged out an old Art project. I pieced the top together with the idea of a portrait of my maternal aunt along with some photos from her life. Crumb blocks surrounding the main figure are supposed to suggest a lifetime of memories—she made my wedding dress along as well as one of my sister-in-law’s and a niece and her wedding party.
I have two photographs nearly done; on to the main character and a few more memories.
The white is cotton organdy; I use it as a stabilizer to build the applique; it looks rather cruel to have those pins stuck in the middle of their faces—and I’ve since redone the coat on the left and added a tie on my uncle.
I am not expert in applique; this has proven challenging.
Yesterday I claimed I had not been working on any art pieces—sort of true but I was still mulling over this particular piece.
The background had been done for some time. A piece of ice-dyed fabric for the sky pieced with some others to suggest sunset and a field.
I thought I might add a kite flier to the piece; How big should that kite flier be? And did I have a model?
My model was myself blowing bubbles.
Here are the mock-ups.
I worked away and came up with this. Note the pink in the hair–it was the second fabric I tried–and the first piece was too small. The image I was working from was from the front–and I wanted this figure to face the kite. After a couple of unsuccesses, I built it from the back forward.
looked at if for two weeks and did not like it. Took off the pants and substituted this;
I hand-stitched on part of the sleeve, the backing is a sturdy duck cloth fabric; gave up on the hand-part and machine stitched the top of the sleeve. Frequently for a piece I know is destined to be a wall piece, I add a smaller sleeve filled with washers to weigh down the bottom.
It is now destined for its formal portrait maybe next week.
Stowed out of sight in my workroom are 8 stretched canvases destined to be my new series of work illustrating the Miracles of Jesus. Perhaps I am in the contemplation stage of just exactly how I will do these—and not the way others have rendered their ideas. Sometimes I spend a lot of time looking at what others have done, but this time I have decided to make it strictly from my impressions as a bystander.
But instead of working on them, I have been procrastinating with crumb blocks.
Crumb blocks or mile a minute blocks have been my leader-enders for several years. Those unfamiliar with the term need to know they are bits of fabric sewn together at the end of stitching part of a quilt block or perhaps even a garment as a way of making sure the top thread does not get sucked down into that vast hole on the needle plate of a sewing machine to create a nest of thread—and so you don’t have to keep picking up the scissors–hidden somewhere on your work-table to snip the threads at the beginning and ending of a seam.
I prep the pieces while watching something really educational on television at night; sew them, press them when there is a big stack, trim them, and add on more fabric pieces while again watching those educational programs. Sometimes there is a section left-over from a quilt top–four patches or half square triangles. The final block size is 6.5 inches. It doesn’t take long to accumulate a lot of them…..I have a document box that was full.
I pulled out blocks that had pink in them to make a large star quilt. I pulled out pieces to add to an art piece—yes, procrastinating on that one too. But instead of working on any art project, I chose to sew these together.
Here is that box and how I set them up–two together, then twelve sets of two; the final piece begin 74 by 90.
here is my setup on my work table.. a few squares from somewhere that weren’t large enough to do anything with–but too pretty to discard
and here the top is—not quite completed–it is too big for my small’ish design wall. It is now in the stack to be quilted—three others are ahead of it.
Of course, I’m writing about M.C. Escher and the absolutely stunning extensive exhibit at MFA Houston.
I think I spent three hours there—most viewers were more interested in the optical illusions and tesselations-the fish becoming birds and so forth.
A few interesting facts—-he was terrible at math and failed his math exams–probably much to the disappointment of his engineer father. He became interested in tesselations with the gift of a book from his half brother who was a professor of crystallography in Leiden. He made over 450 woodcuts and lithographs—and over 2000 drawings.
This was his cabinet for his tools.
the first galleries included wood-cut prints—on ‘wove’ paper—that is paper with a very smooth finish as opposed to ‘laid’ paper that contains ribs.
He was incredibly meticulous—he drew with chalk on black paper using a flashlight at times to see his drawing and then transferred the drawing to a wood block that night. His pen and ink or graphite drawings were incredibly detailed; and all of those wonderful prints were done in graphite first.
It was such an incredible display of his work. This woodcut of his future wife was my favorite.
I”ve been working on this piece for several days. Most of the working consists of thinking about the fabrics I want to use, looking through a lot of boxes of fabric to pick out just the right ones.
Some of you suggested the larger figure—and that is easier to work on than one less than four inches tall.
The fabrics had to sufficiently contrast with the sky and grass.
Choosing the clothing and shoes and the skin color was fairly easy. Choosing the hair much more difficult, I tried several different pieces and made three attempts at the head—taking them off—creating the head-less kite flyer. I’ll spare you that image.
Finally I decided on this fabric–it is a feathery small paisley type with just enough color to contrast with the sky. The face required several attempts—too much made it look like a Bobble-head—again I’ll spare you that image also.
I also sewed on the binding—it isn’t sewn to the back yet–so it still looks rather lumpy—but that will disappear when I take out all those pins.
there is more stitching to be done, kite tail to be added but I am pleased with the progress.
Sometimes working on a project provides a great distraction from the news cycle of unhappy events. ones that are hard to ignore, ones that sharply divide people with both sides being right and both sides ignoring the other.
Doing something useful, something that has a beginning and an end is my way to deal with my thoughts.
Yesterday, I posted a photo of the beginning of a book cover.
Today I finished it.
It didn’t take long–some random stitching to suggest flowers, measuring out the size of the Marble notebook, sewing the two seams—and this time I decided to try serging the seams.
That worked well to limit raveling but was too bulky to permit the book to be inserted–so a bit of un-sewing occurred
I ended up doing a bit of hand-stitching to secure the fraying edges of the sheer—I need to be more generous if I try this again.
And here it is.
It looks quite delicate–and very feminine—I am more of the jeans and T-shirt type—I may use it or I may put it in the stack of books to sell at the next vendor opportunity.
The fiber art group I started several years ago–now dissolved—had many challenges or assignments through the years. One of the most fun was the word prompt.
Each of us put a word or short phrase into a bowl, and every other month a word would be drawn out as our next challenge. None of the pieces had to be large and we were each free to interpret the word using whatever techniques we liked.
I cut up my ‘zipper’ prompt to make covers for hand-made books.
This is what I did in response to ‘chain’.
I did several pieces thinking about how we are linked to our past and to negative thoughts and finger-pointing and anger. The background is screen-printed with negative words, the chain links appliqued by hand, and the quilting is straight line horizontally on the background and vertically inside the links to suggest the difficulty we have in breaking free from those ideas.
Some people work best with an abundance of choices. Perhaps they are the extroverts of the world.
I am clearly not.
I can be social if required to do so—my job certainly involved a great deal of interaction but I still needed time for introspection—I made and poured a lot of coffee during those busy ER days—-drank very little of it.
I also like tidiness.
Given a pile of scraps, left-over from a project—the project completed to my satisfaction, they do no organize well into neat piles.
And so I use them to make post-cards or covered Marble notebooks.
I work from a background base—and this also was a left-over. Somehow I inherited my grandmother’s and parents’ propensity to not throw anything away that might prove useful in the future.
And then I pin the scraps into place in some sort of compostion; intending to add stitching and possible embroidery and other embellishments as an evening television watching project.
Two of them are finished, one awaits embellishments–and then they will be made into covers.
Blogging is a natural progression for someone who enjoys the written word and beautiful imagery. My photographs are hosted at sylviaweir.smugmug.com. I am slowly transitioning all my photographs to this site and will hopefully edit them to a manageable number. In the meantime, I have organized my blog photos by year and so you may wish to merely sample the blog photos
Feel free to contact me for any questions. My website here has not been fully populated but as I work on my smugmug site, I will update these pages.
My work begins with a word, a thought, an idea, or a bit of a poem. I search through my library of images mostly on Smugmug or sometimes I go out and photograph new images. A pieced quilt pattern is sometimes chosen, sometimes I use a piece of fabric I have altered in the past. The imagery is added on using hand applique and then thread is used to add details.
Each piece is meant to draw the viewer inward providing them with ample opportunities to add their own story to the piece. If the piece evokes the emotion or thought I wished conveyed, then I consider the piece successful.
Sometimes I play 'what if' with fabric and paint and imagery. These might be considered equivalent to scale work in music--something I always enjoyed.