Blogging is not publishing…

Or so the word came down from the mountain last night, as I finished up my blog post.  I’m guessing Julie Powell (of Julie and Julia fame) would probably disagree, look where her blog got her, and of course TLo, with thousands of followers, probably the best source for who is wearing what in the fashion world, a fashion icon in and of itself, I’m going to guess they would probably disagree that blogging is not publishing.  It all doesn’t matter really, as long as the answer is, for the purposes of HGA and entries into their Convergence exhibits, “Blogging is NOT considered published by anyone’s standards.”

So there you have it.  Thanks to those who emailed me about this subject, and thanks Cally for starting the conversation.  I have so loved following the whole design process, especially in bloggers like Tien, from the initial idea, “I’m going to weave my wedding gown…” to the final days of hems and appliqued lace, and beaded trim.  It would be so great to see a garment you’ve been following like that in a Convergence exhibit, so I’m glad to hear that blogging doesn’t count as publishing as far as the HGA is concerned.

That said, I woke up this morning, and rethought how I finished the piece I pulled off the loom yesterday.  First, the piece is titled, Rest in Peace.  It is a diptych, for those who haven’t studied a lot of medieval art (like my poor husband who said last night in the pizza restaurant, “What’s a diptych?”) here is the definition courtesy of

diptych n. A work consisting of two painted or carved panels that are hinged together. An ancient writing tablet having two leaves hinged together.

Having looked at my share of ancient art, diptychs and triptychs have always fascinated me, two or more images that tell a story of sorts, where the images together tell a more powerful tale than each alone.  With that said, I had two images that I thought, needed to be “hinged” together, and so I wove them side by side in my inlay technique I’ve used for much of my two dimensional artwork over the last two years.

RestInPeaceHere is the shot I showed yesterday of the two images before I cut them off the loom and separated them into two.  The image on the right, is of my two children on top of the World Trade Center, in August of 2001, two weeks before 9/11.  We decided on the spur of the moment, to take a couple of days at the end of the summer, 2001, to take the kids into Manhattan, we live so close we never think of it as a vacation destination.  The view from the Top of the World was breathtaking.  And I noticed that all around the perimeter of the tower, behind the fence they were leaning on, was barbed wire, coiled high, to prevent the ultimate suicide I guess.  Little did they figure two weeks later…

The photo on the left was a shot either my husband or I took of the towers, graphic, like monuments rising to the sky, like tombstones in a graveyard.  (We both shot lots of images that day, and are both claiming rights to this one…)

I created little postcard packets from each of the images, like I’ve done with others in my Personal Post Series.  And then I went in search of a way to hinge the two together, like a book, like a diptych.  My first attempt didn’t work at all, I took apart a small notebook, but the spine wasn’t a continuous spiral, and it was too big and cumbersome.

Diptych_RestInPeaceMy second attempt, shown here, was to hand sew jump rings between the two halves of the diptych.  The rings were small, and problematic, without soldering them together, they kept slipping out of the thread connections that held them in place.  I didn’t want to have to take a trip to a store to look for round rings that weren’t split.  So this is where I left off last night.

This morning I woke up with a brain storm, I keep a stash of office supplies in the guest room cabinet, and I rooted through to see what notebook spines I could find that could work here, like a spiral tube.  I found the perfect spine in an old notebook of my son’s.  (He would start a notebook, three pages into it, he’d lose it, so I have a lot of almost knew notebooks from his school days, with only two or three pages written on…)  How poetic.  So I cut off all the jump rings and replaced them with this continuous black ringed spiral which so much more resembles barbed wire.  Or a kid’s copybook…

I called the piece “Rest In Peace”, it tells the story of two buildings that were brought down in a horrific way, and I paired it with an image of my children standing on top of those buildings, the day the towers fell is the day my children’s childhood ended.  Life would never be what it was for them before 9/11.Rest_In_Peace_DiptychDetail They now live in a world where people are willing to die to make a point, where orange alerts, and bag searches just to Rest_in_PeaceFinalgo visit an art museum are all very ordinary.  They now live in a world where we are at war, in places they had yet to study on a map in elementary school.

My son is in boot camp, as I write, training to fire an M-16, to become a soldier.  (On a brighter note, I got another letter from him today!  Woo Hoo!)  So this piece is pretty powerful to me.  I don’t expect a juror looking through hundreds of images on a computer screen to get all that from my drab little piece, but I’m really happy with it.  Here are the final shots, with the barbed wire/copybook hinge.

Just chugging along, singing a song…

I am making progress, or else I’m completely delusional…  It is hard to stay focused, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Having severe ADD can come in handy when you are trying to take care of 20 tasks at once.  They eventually all get completed, and sometimes all at the same time, and that’s cause for celebration.

mugmatsmugmat_backingreworked_mugmatI took a little detour, because I had these little things sitting on my sewing machine, and they were just calling to me saying, “Fix me, fix me…”  So of course, I got knocked off course temporarily.  I blogged about my guild mug mat exchange last December (you have to scroll way down to find that part of the blog to see my mug mats).  I never showed the mats that I got.  Let me say that I love the fabric, and the colors, and the pattern of the mug mats I received at the exchange.  And I love the gorgeous wool backing my guild mate used to make the mats.  What I didn’t like, I’ll be honest, was the way they were constructed.  It was a sewing thing.  And I’m a sewer.  And I own a pair of shears and I’m not afraid to take something apart when I don’t like how it is constructed…  🙂

So I spent about an hour, I had already taken the six mats apart, and trimmed them and fringed them, and added a piece of interfacing to the back.  I re-pinned the wool, and did a fine zig zag around the perimeter of each mat.  Now they lay flat, and don’t have the lumpy uneven corners that could cause a wine glass to tip…  🙂

I’ve been working steadily on updating all the of the presentations/lectures/workshops I’m going to be giving on my southwest tour in February.  Since I’ve started the blog, I’ve spent hours documenting all of my projects, step by step photos, working out new techniques, and generally having a good time of it all, but I realized looking back over some of my lectures/workshops/monographs, that they could use a bit of updating, with some of the newer techniques/photos/projects.  The Leftovers Monograph needed a major overhaul, with all the new totes I did earlier on in the year.  I have much better step by step photos now, many of the ones I originally used were scanned from slides from storyboard techniques I used for demo purposes.  I finished reworking all the lecture/workshops for the trip, just proofing them now, but while I was working on updating the step by step PowerPoint slides, I had one of those slap yourself upside the head and yell, “Duh…” moments.  I had made a couple of placemats from leftover scraps, and developed a half day workshop out of it, I’ll be giving it this summer at the American Sewing Guild Conference in Atlanta in August, but I never resolved the edge binding.  I tried binding them a couple of different ways, and both attempts were too time consuming and clumsy for a four hour class.  Speed and ease in a class like this is so critical.  Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean a class of 25 students, sharing machines, in four hours, of mixed skill levels can do it.

cut_lining_apply_bindingstitch_bindingWell, suddenly it hit me.  So simple.  No need for a separate bias binding here.  Just cut the lining for the mat bigger, and fold around the front and stitch.  It worked.  So easy.  I undid all the binding on both of the mats, and tried out this method, I was so excited, and loved the finish.  I gave the mats a final pressing and…

This would not be a good time to mention that I failed to follow the most basic of all sewing rules.  That would be preshrinking the fabric.  I of course would never take such a short cut as to not preshrink the lining used as the backing for my lovely mats.  So I don’t need to mention here what happens when you iron something that hasn’t been pre-shrunk.  Lets just say I wanted to kill another couple of hours and remove all the stitching again so I could prove how important it is to pre-shrink fabrics before you make stuff.  🙂

rayon_boucleIn the middle of that escapade, I got one of Webs emails, you know the one with all the cool knitting yarns on sale.  Since I don’t as a rule buy knitting yarns, I’m not so inclined to check it out, but I lie…  If you search, there is always something in the weaving yarn mill end clearance that just has to come live with me, and I always groan audibly whenever the Webs sale ad comes into my inbox.  I can’t not check…  And of course Webs is too quick to ship…  yarnSo I got a little additional diversion, a back order I forgot I had from Halcyon, and my cheap yarn from Webs both arrived the same day, I unpacked everything and was sort of surprised at this huge cone of rayon bouclé in a lovely soft variegated color.  I thought I had ordered something else, but this is pretty cool, and I think the whole two pound plus cone was something like $15.  Works for me…

And finally, I finished a piece I’ve had on the loom since last fall.  This is one of my Personal Post Series artworks, small woven images in a Theo Moorman inlay technique, I’ve blogged about this technique numerous times, just do a search for “Big Sister” and there are all kinds of how to’s out there in my archives.  I was doing a pair of images, that I wanted to somehow use to create a diptych, images that play off of each other, bound in a way to make them book like, which I have done, but I don’t want to show the final images just yet.  I am hoping to enter this piece in the Small Expressions exhibit for HGA, but there is a query going around the blog-o-sphere about the definition of “published work”.

HGA (that would be the Handweavers Guild of America), who sponsors Convergence which will be in Albuquerque this July, is sponsoring four exhibits, one of which is the yardage exhibit I just applied to with work from my last blog.  The requirements are that the work cannot have been published.  Two years ago when I asked for more specific information about this subject, I was told that website content didn’t count, that they were mostly concerned with magazine publishing, or books/catalogs with the work, that would have a national RestInPeaceexposure before being exhibited at a Convergence.  I understand that policy, and respect it.  The piece I had done for the fashion show, earlier in the year, I stupidly let Threads publish, and now I can’t enter it in Convergence, because of this policy.  No matter, I have other work to enter.  But the question has come up, do blogs count as publishing?  I hadn’t given that much thought, because website content was safe and I think of my blog as an extension of my website.  But blogs are a form of publishing.  So I have a query out to HGA, and hopefully will get a response in a timely fashion because the next three deadlines are lurking around the corner…  Meanwhile, here is the piece just before I cut it off the loom.

Eventually I’ll show the finished piece and the story behind it.  I think it is a pretty powerful piece, because it is about something important to me.  And that is what art is.  A form of communication.  Whether it gets accepted to the exhibition is a whole separate issue, and that will be what it is.  But for now, I am proud of this piece, and will eventually show it to you when I find out if blogging is actually publishing.