Saturday, March 7, 2009

What's Up!

Not much at all. I think I have spring fever. Friday was glorious--warm and sunny. I took full advantage of it at lunchtime (I went out without a coat!). Now, this is Chicago and I know it can't last (chilly rain today and tomorrow).

I'm feeling a bit scattered. I'm still tired in the evenings from the tag ends of the cold. I'm beginning to feel a bit more energized but at the same time less focused--sounds like Spring fever to me. In the U.S. the time changes (move clocks ahead one hour) tonight.

I pulled out a couple of crewel projects to work on last weekend. I haven't been, really, though. I did some on this one last Sunday night, although it doesn't look like much. Friends who visited the Bayeux Tapestry in person were very thoughtful and bought this kit for me. I swapped out the floss it came with for crewel wool, which is more appropriate to the original.

The stitching is almost all done in the Bayeux stitch which is a laid couching stitch. It seems strange to me to use it in some of the really small areas and now that I've completed one bird in the upper border, I may rethink doing this. It certainly is interesting and is keeping my attention. The level of detail is amazing.

The second crewel project is from the estate of a friend, Rita. A while back I looked it over and sorted out the wools and colors but needed more experience before stitching. I may be there now--I've done some crewel correspondence courses since then.

This project was obviously a class she took. Knowing Rita I can smile to notice that of the two pieces using the same colors in the package, she skipped the smaller practice piece and began right in on the more complex main piece. I shall follow her footsteps.

Here are the handwritten instructions. I think I now know what all the stitches are now.

What I have worked on some this past week is a nonstitching project. A bunch of influences and intentions have come together. Last year I took the Studio Journals class with Sharon B. It was a really inspiring class and I worked in my journal off and on until it all got put away for the holidays.

Around the same time as I was taking this class, I came across a blog journal-along that was called Soul Journaling organized by Caspiana. Some of her exercises intrigued me (and some irritated me). I bookmarked the site.

For several years now I've been gathering a small stash of work related items--a book tossed out here, a calendar there. Brochures with images. At one point I had a tall, narrow spiral bound book that I thought to perhaps use for an altered book with the collection. But the shape was awkward. (I think it will be repurposed to a book of landscape sketches to take advantage of its shape. That is, if I can still find it.) [I also have a collection of odds and ends from the seemingly endless reconstruction process we underwent a couple of years back--washers, bits of carpet torn up, wires, screws, I forget what all I gathered--for an embroidery piece about the event. That's still percolating.]

The uniting factor for my current journaling interests and file of images and documents was a stack of academic-year calendars that were being given out to all. Students got them last September. They're full of all sorts of information about policies, living here, studying here, and a student e-mail list. I took the book for that list--it's a handy thing to have and I wondered why the usual bound list had never appeared. So I pulled that list out of the spiral bound calendar and thought, hmmmm...

It has nice paper pages, some cool photos, plastic covers with nifty word clouds. I had my journal. So right now I'm kinda following along with the Soul Journaling plan. I've never done an art journal and the kind of layering she encourages is new to me and interesting.

You have loads of time to stop and think while things are drying. Here's one of my gessoed page spreads, with some pages from an academic journal (pulled from the trash) torn up and glued on. Then more gesso on top--so this page has already gotten three separate drying sessions (gesso, glue, gesso)! One aspect I'm most interested in is the concept of writing my thoughts on a page like this and then gessoing over them and adding more layers on top.

It's going to be an interesting journey but I don't think I'll write much about it here since it's not embroidery (although I have been thinking about the possibilities of adding stitching to some of the pages...I can't get away from it). I plan to post images and comments about it on my Flickr page here. I've put more pictures there and plan to add at least weekly.

1 comment:

paulahewitt said...

so much to comment on. i think the bayeux tapestry kit would be nicer in crewel wool. i wonder though if the small areas of bayeaux stitch would be easier in stranded cotton. that is, i wonder if they used that technique in the kit because it suited the thinner cotton thread in such small areas. presumably the original bayeaux tapestry was bigger (in scale as well as size) than the kit. Im not sure you will understand this, but i know what i mean!

good luck with the journalling. i think some stitching on it is a very good idea, if for no other reason other than it will mean you will show us here!