now that the intended has received their present, i can post photos of the wrappings! i really like that by using a monochromatic color scheme it makes you focus on the different textures. again, i'm using the curricula silk; these little pods are just so beautiful, i have an overwhelming need to use them.
with dyeing, natural dyeing that is. my experiments with marigold and avocado turned out beautifully.
i cut some sample swatches from various cotton fabrics, some cotton yarn, and a length of cream wool. first i scoured them in a soapnuts concentrate and soda ash, then using aluminum sulfate as the mordant, i simmered the fabric for an hour, rinsed and left wet. both the marigold and the avocado skins were boiled for a short time in separate pots, petals and skin were removed, and fabric immersed. i simmered the marigold pot for an hour, rinsed and dried the fabric. however, the avocado i let sit for a day, just soaking. the pinks were very light, with a slight brown cast. so i decided i would then simmer them for an hour as well. the pinks developed a much brighter tone. to see the difference; the bundle of wool i removed from the pot before simmering, the brighter segment i left in the pot and simmered. i then removed the fabric, rinsed, and let air dry.
i have begun my first real weaving undertaking. using the warp i dyed during our guild meeting in june and rag strips cut from the remnants of juyeon's project, i am weaving a rag rug table runner. there are little tags of cloth sticking out on the back from where i am weaving in a new strip; they remind me of fortune cookie sayings, i think there's an embroidery or printing project there.
i have about a foot left to weave, then it's off the loom, tidied up and on to my next challenge. there's something so tranquil about the back and forth motions, the pulling and tightening of the warp, the ever thickening roll at your knees of material you've just created.
i am excited about warping my loom here at home, and being able to weave something from all the yarns i've collected. linen, ramie, raw silk, hemp, organic cotton; these are the materials i want to work with. someday, soon.
the finished piece; stretched, framed, and hung. while working on this, i realized the many positive steps to be found in the making of a japanese embroidery piece versus the western style of embroidery. mostly that drum tight fabric, rice paste starched backing threads, and steaming while still in the frame create a wrinkle and dimple free finished piece. which, of course, this is not. but i like the dragon anyways. maybe i'll apply padding under the clouds, that will take care of the dimpling.
several months ago i sewed a shirt together without a pattern and added some decorative elements to it. i liked different things about it; but i also disliked several things. so, i decided to remove the silk scales from the pockets and sewed them together into a necklace. i like it ever so much more.
using nature as inspiration is something we all do; its diversity and beauty is breathtaking, ever shifting, and at times unattainable. but using nature as the working medium sometimes works out even better then trying to capture its essence.
ever since i bought a bag of curricula cocoons from habu textiles i have been continually amazed by them. there are so many projects i find myself incorporating them into. my latest creation uses them as a main element; a pair of silver earrings with the cocoon wrapped around a creamy pearl. i made this pair for juyeon kim, the artist on the installation project i've been assisting with.
i like tea; it's warm, flavorful, pretty, good for you, tastes lovely, goes well with baked goods. lately, i've started drinking a mug of green tea every day to help me relax when i get home from work. i've been using my hot cocoa mug, but started to feel that maybe it would be nice to have a dedicated tea mug.
while sampling delicious honey at the savannah bee company store i came across a beautiful honey pot in my favorite shade of blue green. the colors used, undulating shape, mixture of matte and glossy finish, really drew my attention. plus the little bee lid was very cute, i figured it could keep my tea warm for me.
this lovely vessel was created by a local potter, giana eden, so i was definitely happy to make it a part of my tea ceremony. i don't know, but i feel good when i purchase works by other artists, maybe it creates good artist karma or something.
closing up our guild year (we break for summer), we dyed warp yarns on a dock out at tybee island. for the last dye project i used greens and yellows, so this time i decided to play with a cooler group of colors, mostly blues and purples.
i painted areas with fuchsia, lavender, teal, midnight blue, and mixtures thereof. the lovely thing about this is that as it soaked in the washing soda the colors merged and blended together a bit, making a less intense and harmonious whole.
this is my first warp, and i have plans to create a rag rug as a learning project. there were many long strips of white cotton fabric from a project i am assisting in that would weave up beautifully. i think, perhaps, i will also combine these two elements with some pale blue yarn i purchased awhile back.
i am excited to see what we will create in the next fiber guild year, as the short time i have been involved has been a good thing for me, both through new experiences learned and creativity expressed.
you don't quite know what you're capable of until you try. this is something i've learned in the last couple of days. also, that sticking with something, overcoming the mistakes and finishing it, can be rewarding.
the case in point is a pair of slippers; my pseudo turkish, slightly clown-like slippers. i found it somewhat difficult to find a pair of house slippers for japan within a certain price range and also ones that i liked. so after a fruitless search on my regular avenues (etsy, zappos, google) i decided to make a pair. i remembered that martha stewart had a pattern for felt slippers, a pretty pair with a flower silhouette cut out.
i may have started with that pattern, but it's not what i ended up with. i made several key sizing mistakes (too large), but after seam ripping, cutting, resewing, more seam ripping, painful finger pads, pin stabs (hopefully my last tetanus shot is still active), i had a somewhat eccentric pair of slippers which have lots of toe room and do a reasonably good job of staying on my feet. as far as price goes (creation time notwithstanding), i had on hand everything i used in the making of them; leather for the sole, industrial felt, padded fabric, fabric for the binding, thread, and yarn for the pompoms. needless to say, this may very well be the last time i make my own pair of slippers; i think i'll just buy a pair when these wear out.
sometimes it's as if i'm wandering through a snowdrift, so much sameness surrounds me. time passes, slowly, quickly, but it's hard to focus for there isn't anything to see. there are some peaks to this, moments of change, little, big, a frenzied happening. but then the whiteness of regularity engulfs me again. i wonder what i ever did with my life, how many opportunities i walked by in the snow, unrecognizable. there's comfort in the snow, the sameness. but i yearn, i yearn to find a place, build a nest, nurture my creative side. show that side to the world. but it's hard. i have yet to gather the strength to force change, just letting it pull me as if in a current. i want to reach out, to help myself to shore. but there's always something that holds me back from making the tough choices, the hard road, climb the ladder into unknown territory. but i want. i distract myself with my wantings. as if to say, here take this easy gift, forget the deeper one. the one which is more than a material wanting. the gift one gives oneself when you find what you're capable of. when you seek and jump; into the unknown, into the world, into what terrifies you in the deep wanderings of your mind. maybe this will be my year, maybe i am almost ready. i hope to find the signpost in the snow. to know which direction to go to seek myself. hopefully.
there's something i'm a tad bit irritated by. it's the severe lack of current fantasy "save the world" movies starring a strong female lead, aka a heroine. every time i begin to watch a movie clip that looks halfway interesting, it turns out to be overrun by young males going on magical questing adventures while their love interest girlfriend gets to be saved and amazed by their new powers. blech.
you can't say "because there aren't any popular books with strong female leads being written". that's not true. there's the books about jacky faber, or betsy in the undead series, any one of robin mckinley's books, or the works of patricia mckillip, anne mccafrey, and of elizabeth moon. they're there if you bother to ask anyone who isn't a middle aged male director where they are.
i can count on my one hand the amount of big budget fantasy films which were made in the last several years which have a strong staring female role who can save themselves thank you very much; alice in wonderland, underworld, pan's labrynth, the work of hayao miyazaki, coraline, v for vendetta. okay. maybe two hands. but still.
the ones with a leading cast of mostly males? there's the lightning thief, the sorcerer's apprentice, harry potter, transformers, star trek, the lord of the rings, star wars, the current batman franchise, spiderman, eragon, how to train your dragon, iron man, where the wild things are.
one's which were thankfully balanced; avatar, crouching tiger hidden dragon, pirates of the caribbean, x-men franchise, narnia franchise.
i love to watch and read science fiction and fantasy. i'm a woman. can't i have any awesome fantasy movies with strong female leads on the silver screen i can relate to and feel empowered by? i shouldn't just be stuck in the history department (though all those real women are awesome, and when are they going to do a movie about catherine the great?).
oh, and i loved the new alice, wacky wardrobe and all. it was visually amazing, highly creative, and more true to the books then most portrayals.
recently i rewatched the movie how to make an american quilt. it's a very strange sensation, but i think watching this movie when i was 16 shaped my views on marriage and men is particular. or atleast imparted itself somehow and merged with other views i formed. i think perhaps it is interesting to come across something that had a deep impact on part of who you are, which you did not realize until you saw it again.
are there any moments or works which shaped your thinking? works which you had forgotten?