Monday, November 26, 2012

Sugar, Codes, Place, Hips & Stitching

My Suga Belt is finally done.

Suga Belt, 2012

I admit that it is a crazy mixture of self portraiture, morse code, maps, chemical formulas, kanji and flawed, exuberant stitching.

Detail of glucose molecule with latitude & longitude.

There is a woman named Suga and she runs a shop on the town square of the dramatically-named Carthage, a small, North Carolina town that has seen better days. The shop sells "urban wear." I bought a bright orange, faux leather belt from her for $5.

Carthage town square.

For some inexplicable reason, this brief encounter with the tough, transplanted New Yorker captured my imagination. I felt like I had to break through a hard shell of distrust in order to have a conversation with her; in the end, she warmed up to me, pressing her card into my hand as I left her store.  I sketched and stitched up this piece over several months.

I find chemical formulas strangely beautiful.
Worthy of elegant, long-armed feather stitch.

I used a limited color palette, but many different stitches, including French knots, long-armed feather stitch, woven spider wheel stitch, statin stitch and lots of chains.

I finally feel comfortable making French knots.

And while I was making it, I let my mind wander with the idea of sugar, place, maps and codes. This is an example of what I'd call "large and messy" living and creativity in my life. I gathered and layered as images came to me. No restraints.

It felt like textured, visual poetry. Place names, lines and dashes, compass directions...

Obsession with layers.

Today, my very patient mother helped me mount it (strangely challenging) and now the Suga Belt is in the frame shop. And now I'm switching into high gear and working on gifts for my peeps!

Morse code is like visual poetry.
Carthage, Carthage, Carthage. Find me.

And this makes me happy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mother Bears

Now for something very different....

Me and I bear. First thing I've knitted in years!

For more than five years I've been part of a very special fiber arts group called String Thing. We have spinners, knitwear designers, hobbyist knitters and crocheters, tatters, lace-makers, weavers and all other kind of fiber and textile enthusiasts imaginable. We've participated in the Makers Faire twice and have even published a book of patterns.

Bear friends, including "Smurf Bear" by Kate.

Several members of the group decided to participate in the Mother Bear Project, knitting bears for children with HIV/AIDS. This is our second go-around.

For more information about how to participate, see the Mother Bear website. It features great photos of the kids receiving bears from around the world. It will make you smile.

Our pile o'bears ready to be shipped.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Large and messy

Manos, first sketches from my notebooks.

Making art isn't all fun. It can be tedious, heartbreaking, fraught with failure. But, I mostly have fun. Or try to. And I mostly succeed. For me, there is no money involved. No pressure to please anyone but myself and my friends. 

Color Wheel of Lies words.

And I love having big, ongoing projects going with huge themes. Like "stitched words" and "colors." It's hard to describe how exciting it is to have a large, messy, growing art project inside of me. 

Gorging on color, but not sugar.

How good it feels to be open to experiences of color, for example, in whatever situation I find myself.  I stumble across a drawing Newton made of a color wheel and it thrills me. That it is in his handwriting and that he has spelled blue as bleu... this makes it even more delicious. And it will be stitched into my Color Wheel of Lies project.

Color Wheel, Newton.

Or I'm at the SAFF fiber festival with friends last month in Asheville and I see this beautiful yarn called "Nightfall." It starts out in an inky black and drains into wild, beautiful cherry. And I think, look at how beautifully wool absorbs dye. And I marvel at the marbling and variegation of a single skein.

Richly dyed yarn at SAFF.

So now, something new. Hands have captured my imagination. And blackwork embroidery. And suddenly I see hands everywhere. They are elegant parts of the human body. And I start collecting the hands of the people in my life in a big, black sketchbook.

Elegant hand.

And I'm inspired and moved about the wonderful variety of fingers and thumbs and palms. They are breathtaking.

My hand. I imagine the doodles in blackwork embroidery.

And for no good reason, here is this other wonderful, messy project inside of me. And I find inspiration for my Manos everywhere. And again, it makes my life feel full, fun and magical.

What else? Luchadora masks are rocking my world!
Me pretending to be a Luchadora.

Monday, November 5, 2012

WIPs: More maps, hips and colors

I know, I know. I'm stitching crazy slow these days.

Map of Carthage, NC, town square. Satin, chain, long & short,
wrapped back and regular back stitch.

My main two projects are the Suga Belt and the Color Wheel of Lies. And I'm gleefully stitching away at both.

Suga Belt is getting crazier and crazier!

I was distracted by a week of knitting. I'll admit it! But I'm back to stitching on these. And, damn, if I don't have 10,000 other art pieces brewing inside me, just begging to get out.

Latest words.

I'm happy with it all. Even if I finish only a few pieces a year. When I see the quantity of work other  people produce, I'm sometimes overwhelmed and a bit chafened by their amazing production. And here I am, stitching away, getting distracted by sketching and dreaming.

These are yummy to me.

Oh well.

New projects: Manos. And something involving vinyl and a drill. And lots of holiday gifts.

Sitting in bed, stitching. Happy.

I want to go to the corporate salt mines today like I want to turn my my new drill to my temple. But alas... It's not so bad.