I was going to write Part 2 of my spinning adventures, but I really wanted to write about what I have been working on the last two weeks. Some very dear and long-time friends are designing a permanent installation of a Day of the Dead altar for the Natural History Museum and commissioned me to weave the LA. River as part of the piece. It was a great project, so of course, I said yes, then I found out the short deadline and the size. It needed to be 6-7 inches tall x 10 feet wide which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, but in this case the waves need to go horizontally and I couldn’t use one of my regular looms. I decided to build a loom. I made it 12″ x 5 ft. figuring I could weave the piece in two sections and then splice them together. It was a little more work than I thought since first I had to measure 1/4″ marks on both sides and then hammer in 600 nails. Yes, 600 NAILS!! Here’s a pic of me starting the piece on my homemade loom. Please ignore the mess in the background, there’s no time for housework when working on a project like this, lol!
I jumped right in and didn’t even take the time to make a sketch. It was design on the fly! Not the way I normally work, but time was short. The loom was a bit cumbersome, but worked great!
After many hours and late nights of weaving, the first panel was done. It was a great feeling and I was pretty pleased with how it came out, until I realized I needed to weave the other panel. I was pretty exhausted from running my graphic design business during the day and then weaving into the wee hours every night. But, I had to buck up and weave part two, which thankfully seemed to go a bit faster.
I finished it in time (whew!) and here is a pic of the piece just installed on their altar.
Of course, I now keep wondering if it would have been easier to weave it on my Saori loom using the comb reed. Best not to drive myself crazy and think about that too much, I guess. It was a challenging project and I am happy with the result and so were they. I also like knowing that I contributed to this representation of a tradition in my culture that will be part of a permanent installation in a museum.
Yes, I needed and deserved a long sleep after this.
Once again, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted on my blog. There has been lots going on in the studio, but for today I am just going to focus on the necklaces I have been making.
Most of these are handwoven on either an inkle loom or small lap loom. I have been collaborating with a lovely ceramic artist, Ann Cutting who has made the medallions for the necklaces. These pieces are primarily woven with linen, hemp, silk and/or cotton. The red necklace has a polished slice of tagua nut as it’s focal piece.
Tagua is a natural, eco-friendly, and non-toxic material found in Ecuador and other South America countries. The nut’s texture and the color are known as vegetable ivory. Wouldn’t it be nice if this alternative ivory reduced the slaughter of elephants? When the nuts are harvested, they are very soft and they can be eaten as a fruit. As it matures it becomes hard like animal’s ivory.
Each piece is unique and I rarely make duplicates. If you are interested in any of my pieces, please visit my Etsy shop.
that it looks like this is going to another mostly picture post. I’m trying to make work for my Etsy shop, so I’ve been pretty busy and not much time to blog, so photos with captions it is.
First up, I’ve been making many necklaces, both tassel and woven. I am also working on some bracelets, but don’t have a photo to post just yet since they aren’t quite finished.
Next up is clothing using a combination of weaving and sewing. I’m still working on a vest and camisole in this same yardage, then moving to a black palette.
This is a linen cross back apron commissioned by a friend some time ago and I finally finished it. I have one just like it and I love it!
And, last, but not least, I found time to do a study for a painting for my Jazz Series. This one is based on Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.” I think it would also make a great tapestry, but that would be challenging and perhaps drive me over the edge, lol!
Making fabric on my Saori loom for crop tops and vests. Mostly cotton and silk yarn with a small amount of wool, linen and acetate yarns.
Felt coasters. Rust dyed, handpainted and embroidered.
Making purse insets with yarn I hand spun from a hand pulled roving by atapestryofgrace. It is a combination of hand dyed wool, bamboo and flax. I’m a beginner, but I think it came out okay as an art yarn. I think it looks like kale salad.
And, lastly, here is my new box tape loom made by Janet of HandyWomanShop. I think it is quite beautiful. I am reading a book on tape looms which is more fascinating than it sounds. It’s filled with the history of tape looms including great photos. I also learned where the term “red tape” likely comes from.
I’ve been working on small wall hangings using various recycled and natural elements. The pine needles are particularly tricky to work with. Clockwise from top right: 1) cotton, wool, pine needles, wood, leather; 2) Wool pine needles, leather; 3) hemp, cotton, wood; 4) Wool, pine needles, leather; 5) Wool, recycled sari silk, recycled tea bags, raffia, nettle yarn, handmade paper and watercolor. All are now available in my Etsy shop.
The big news is that I finally got my Saori loom. I am so excited and can’t wait to start using it. Will post photos soon of new projects.
Lastly, I finally finished this felted/linen/wool-embroidered and leather wristlet. Now available in my Etsy shop.
It sat on my work table for weeks just waiting for me to put the strap on. Sometimes things just fall by the wayside.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope everybody is having a great week.
This weekend was filled with various projects. Some fun and one not so much. First on the list was rebuilding my graphic design website. My former host company went out of business without notice, so I woke up one day to find I had no email or website. What a headache! And, of course, they were unreachable, so I signed up with a new host and now have a website again. It still needs tweaking and I have to write the About section, but it’s off to a good start. I am looking for a few new clients, so if you or somebody you know needs some graphic design, please send them my way. Thanks.
Of course, I had to work on some fun stuff. Here is a picture of some boro strips I am working on to add to the cuffs of a blouse I made. I love boro!
And, lastly I am playing around with frame loom weaving. I haven’t yet tackled the new rigid heddle loom I purchased about a month ago. It’s a bit intimidating, so I think I am going to register for a class. Here are two pieces I am working on now. Working on these is a bit like figuring out one of my abstract paintings.
The one on the left is 100% wool and recycled sari silk and is on a 12’x16″ frame loom that I made. The one on the right is recycled silk, raffia, wool, tea bags and I will be inserting some painted paper strips. This is a on a small lap loom. It is so relaxing and really fun. If you’ve never tried it, give it a whirl.
Okay, that’s it for now. Gotta get back to the graphic design salt mines. Have a great day everybody!
I am very happy with how versatile this block print has turned out. I originally made it to use for home items on my Etsy store, but I think it also works for a wristlet. Of course, I had to keep this one for myself. 🙂
Here are the hot pads and a potholder:
There are so many possibilities for this block print, pillows, bags, tea towels, etc. What do you think?
Happy Monday! Little by little, I’ve been working on items for my Etsy store. Yesterday, I posted about my block printing for new items I am starting to work on. Today, I am posting some finished items: wristlets and zipper pouches. All are made from 100% linen with various embellishments of felting, applique and Sashiko-style stitching. My favorite part of making these is the design and my least favorite is the cutting of all the pieces and putting in the zipper. I’m getting pretty good at putting in the zipper, but I still wish these little dogs I live with could pitch in and earn their kibble.
It’s been a few days since I’ve been able to post. Not because there’s been nothing going on, but I was feeling under the weather fighting off a sinus infection. So, let me fill you in. Besides all the art and sewing stuff, I am also a graphic designer. An art catalog I designed for artist, Jessica Rath, was part of a show, Pushing the Press, at the Architecture + Design Museum (Los Angeles) on Thursday. It was a great night and I got to meet Robbie Conal, a guerrilla poster artist noted for his gnarled, grotesque depictions of U.S. political figures, who I had long admired. There were many beautiful print pieces in the show and I was honored to be among them. Here I am showing off my catalog.
I was feeling pretty punky on Friday, so all I could manage to do was make some really yummy pasta and watch bad TV. No painting, sewing or embroidery because my head hurt. I love to cook and find it to be a very creative outlet. This is pasta with broccolini, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant and garlic. Simple, but dee-lish!
By Sunday I did manage to work a bit. I started another wristlet using a recycled piece of fabric from a friends favorite jacket and added some hand stitching. Still debating if I want to do a small accent block print in the center of other side besides the stitching or not. Any thoughts?
I also started some catnip cat toys for my Etsy shop. More on that later, gotta get back to the graphic design world…