Tying Loose Ends…

I am in the middle of entirely too many projects, and that just makes me want to smile.  My ADD self just loves to flit from one thing to another, and it makes me want to jump out of bed early in the morning to get cracking…

vestSo here is a run down…

First, I needed to finish the remaining handwork on the vest I made a couple of weeks ago from an alpaca throw I wove, circa 1980?  I love how the triangular buttonholes came out, and I know I’ll enjoy wearing this vest.  Plus I needed the sample for the workshop this weekend.

I finished the upholstery on the chair last night, I just have to bang in all the tacks and trim the fabric.  rockerI am so loving the way this rocker looks.  Meanwhile,  I ended up sampling the braid I started weaving on the inkle loom, trying different weight wefts, to see if I could get a bit sturdier braid.sampler

The original weft for the braid was a 5/2 perle cotton, and the braid was a little bit too flexible for use in upholstery.  I tried using three strands of rayon, and then I tried dark brown handspun, and finally I tried two strands of 3/2 perle cotton.  I played around with how they looked on the chair, after I wove off the whole two yard warp.

Oddly enough, I ended up liking the original braid best, but decided to actually weave the next two yards with a single strand of 3/2 perle cotton and I’m thinking that this braid will be perfect.  And it is weaving up really quickly.inkle_braidbraid I like the spacing of the little diamonds better in the latest version which is on the loom on the left.  The “seeds” are a bit plumper…

So here is one of the original samples of the braid on the actual chair, I am really happy, and I can’t believe it is the same chair I upholstered 30+ years ago. This has been really fun, and I can hear my mother in law cheering me on…

loomMeanwhile, remember the Structo I was rewarping last week?  I got about half of it threaded and then got side tracked by the trip to Atlantic City, and then the rocker and then, well, I needed to finish threading that puppy, and find out if my hard work would produce a cloth weight that would work for the postcards I weave.postcard_in_progress

I’ve now finished threading the loom, and I started to weave on it, using a very slim stick shuttle, I’m surprised at what a good shed there is for such a little loom.  My damask boat shuttle is tied up on the other table loom. The fabric is really fine and tight, and I’m happy with the linen so far.  I had started a couple of postcards on the remaining warp on my 25″ table loom, on a gray 10/2 cotton, as a demo when I went to Albany the beginning of October.  So you can see what the strips look like in progress.  I’m hoping I can weave lots of little postcards,  and with 15 yards of warp, I can really experiment with this medium…

Here is a shot of the actual linen cloth, it is pretty fine, the linen is about the weight of a 20/2, and sleyed two per dent, I have 30 ends per inch, not counting the tie down threads.cloth

While I was threading, I couldn’t help myself, my brain wanders to the stash which is right in front of my eyeballs…

And draped over one of my looms is a fabric I wove that is gorgeous, from a warp I dyed in a class with Irene Munroe back in 2008 at the Tampa Bay Convergence.  I sett it too dense for a scarf, and there is so little fabric that I’m not sure I want to make it work for a garment, but it would make a great tote bag!new_project (Click on Tote Bag and scroll to the bottom of that blog to see the latest tote I made…)

I always have to have something colorful to look at on my cutting table and I’m always adding and subtracting to a pile before I actually jump into it head first.

So the vest is finished, and the loom warped, and another project is lighting up my cutting table, and now I have to finish weaving two more scarves on the loom (Photo below)  so I can have them for the guild sale.  And I just have to weave about 8 yards of trim for the rocker.scarves

candy_wrapper_toteAnd speaking of tote bags, I did promise a photo of my daughter’s tote bag she made from candy wrappers and duct tape.  She gets these brainstorms as school, probably when she gets bored in calculus or physics (I should have that kind of brain…) and texts me to ask if I have this or that material for her next brilliant idea!

Even her pens are covered in duct tape!  Note the white rose sticking out of the tote!

All my children and roller coaster rides…

What a week!

EricFirst, my children are of the ages when roller coaster rides seem like canoe trips on a lake…  My son, who wore camouflage  his entire third grade year, has finally signed on the dotted line and joined the military.  He leaves for basic training for the Army National Guard on January 4th.  I’ve been asked by a number of friends, how do I feel about this?  Honestly, no one knows where life is going to take them, he parties hard for a 19 year old, and his motivation for anything involving work is pretty low.  I adore being around him and his friends, who seem to be living in my basement on a full time basis now, eating me out of house and home.  He is entertaining, kind, interesting, and I know I’ll really miss him when he grows up and goes out on his own, but I don’t see that happening without the structure of something like the military.  So, I’m OK with this decision, and pretty proud, he did this all on his own, gathered all the paperwork, medical records, and he is pretty excited about the future, for the first time in his life.

layoutIsland_DressMeanwhile, he has a roll in the musical Once on this Island, at the community college where he attends, and happily volunteered me to help the frazzled costumer, who has to come up with island/Carribbean costumes for 40 cast members.  My stash proved to be quite useful, where do I find these things?, and my first assignment was to copy a Hawaiian wrap dress out of a vintage handscreened handwoven silk from Thailand.  That was a fun 3 hour diversion.

I attended the rehearsal again last night, and now have a suitcase full of alterations to do today on top of finishing up my article for SS&D.  Shades of 27 dresses

ShelfThen there is my daughter.  My lovely adorable interesting and very capable pink haired daughter.  She is still in HS, and in between her honors physics and calculus classes, she has a class in Woodworking, Cabinet and Machine woods to be exact.  She loves the class, the only female, and fortunately it is her first period class and makes her mornings actually bearable.  This is the age of complete connectedness to your children, for better or for worse, and though it isn’t really permitted, the kids text blindly under the desk on a regular basis, so I know what goes on at school way more than I should!  Usually I get texts like, “Mom, the Yankee Candle order forms and money are due today.  I forgot, can you bring them over to the HS right away?”  But yesterday morning I got a text that just said, “Finished”.  Attached was a picture of her latest project in cabinet woods, a gorgeous oak shelving unit.  I know she will want to put it in her room, but I think I’ll fight her on this one.  It is beautiful!  I want it for me…

Later on in the day, I got a text that said, “I’m inspired… do you have any of that clear plastic fabric?”  This is always problematic, because when my daughter gets an idea, she runs with it, and doesn’t stop until it’s done.  Which means taking over my studio for an indeterminate amount of time.  She ended up making a tote bag, (inspired by my tote bag adventures) out of duct tape, saved candy wrappers (who saves their candy wrappers?) and clear plastic vinyl sheeting (which I did have in my studio).  She needed a small tote for her Japanese books for the Japanese class she is taking at the community college.  I’ll send along a photo when I can.

So this was more than a roller coaster week, aside from my children.  Back at the end of September, I applied to three exhibitions, where I thought my work might be appropriate.  They were all running during the same time frame, so it was quite a juggling act to see which of my artpieces I would send for which exhibition applications.  Once the applications are sent, it is a nail biting waiting game.  You’d think by now I’d be use to this.  I don’t think you ever get use to the waiting game, and ultimately the rejections that come with them.  Two of the notifications were suppose to be released on October 15th.  October 15th came and went, and nothing.  One of the applications was done online through Juried Art Services, so the notification would be online as well.  Either a green checkmark, or a red X.  Very personal.  I checked the website about every half hour for about 5 days straight.  Suddenly, there it was, two big red X’s.  And the accompanying note, if you actually clicked on the X’s read, “Thank you for your submission. We regret to inform you that your work was not chosen for this year’s exhibition.”  🙁

OK, so there were still two more applications out there, and I kept checking my snail mail, with eager anticipation, until the next notification popped up in my email box.  I hadn’t actually expected to hear from this exhibit quite this soon.  “Thank you for your submission.  It was a very difficult decision- making process as we received many applications. We are sorry to inform you that your work was not selected this year.”  🙁

OK, so there was still one more.  I was only out about $100 in entrance fees, and I had just won an award at an exhibit a couple weeks ago, so the roller coaster feeling of being high and then crashing down to the ground and rethinking your entire body of work, is all in a days work.

Then came the final notification, suddenly, in my inbox, a week overdue.

“Congratulations!  Thank you for your submission to the George Segal Gallery for Art Connections 6. This year over 175 artists submitted work for review with a total of over 750images to be juried. The quality of the work was outstanding, which made the selection process very challenging. The juror chose 182 works from 118 artists. You are one of those artists!”  🙂

This exhibit is actually at the new gallery that is part of Montclair State University, where I got my art degree in 1977.  So I sort of feel a little thrill at finally being able to come back and say to no one in particular, see what I did with your degree?  Like I said, this week has been a roller coaster ride.

fusingstashI did manage to make up that tote bag I started last week, I didn’t actually start it, more like laid a pile of the table of stuff that sort of related, and waited to see where it would take me.  I got the handwoven fabric laid out pretty quickly, but the companion complementary fabric just wasn’t working.  I rooted around in my stash a bit more, and found some raw silk I had used for sampling some fabric paints and stencils.  So I dug out my fabric paints and stencils and painted the rest.  I chose to do a more complex binding, which involved yarn and bias strips, and it took way longer than I could ever sell the tote bag for, I really find it hard to do inexpensive and simple, but I had a blast, and love the results.  I used one of my silk sari’s from India for the lining, and it made for a totepleasant day being one with my sewing detailmachine while the world rained chaos around me.  🙂