Did everyone else have ten thousand things they planned to accomplish this summer too? And here it is, August, and I haven't made much headway. Summer used to feel longer and full of more free time, at least when I was growing up. Mostly it has been crammed with the duties of everyday life and parenting (which means wanting to make sure my daughter is having a great summer). Her legs have grown exponentially longer since school let out and she's enjoying her friends.
There's been some art-making.
Starry Night, Boreal Forest (2012
Handwoven copper with patina, embroidery, dapping and encaustic.
This is my very newest study. I'm liking it so far.
Empty Movement (2012)
Hanwoven copper with patina, embroidery and shellac.
New work, in progress forever. I love that I never know what the final patina will look like until it's dried and sealed. It's impossible to predict. I have a few tricks up my sleeve for creating more dramatic effects, but they are only as good as the original patina - sometimes it's best to hold back and simply allow the patina to stand alone, or primarily alone.
Handwoven copper in satin weave with patina and embroidery.
I've been embroidering this piece since before Christmas and forever wondering if it was finished. It was partly inspired by this photo of lichens, found here.
As always, I've been struggling with how to best present my work, and because I work with textiles and metal my pieces are often wonky, thready, stiff and impossible to frame 'as is'. I feel as though the onus is on me to make sure anything I sell can be easily hung and presented. Often that has meant framing my work myself or mounting it on wooden cradles. However, framing quickly becomes expensive and wooden cradles can be heavy. For this piece, I made a recessed base by cutting an equal size shape (to the piece) out of foam board and gluing that onto thick cardboard. Once it was dry, I nestled the piece into the hollow and added the mat with high-tack double-sided tape. It worked perfectly. It will now pop into most standard sized frames.
Lately it has occurred to me that I began this blog as a sock-knitter and I now have a three year old who has yet to receive a single, solitary pair of adorable, creative, funky, original socks from moi.
I did some experimenting with supplementary weft. We studied it in my university weaving course, but it's so much simpler when the fibers you are working with obey. Copper wire does its own thing and plays by different rules. I only worked in the simplest of extra weft in the form of thicker copper wire which I later wrapped in thick cotton thread. I did not know how the wax would take to the cotton but I think it worked out fairly well.
It's tentatively titled 'The Message'.
The Message (2011)
Handwoven copper (undulating twill with supplementary weft, patina, embroidery, beeswax.
There need to be more pieces like these... I just know it.
I am still out here and still making things. It may be February 1st, but today seems like as good a day as any other to resolve to update more often and spend more time in the online world of fibers.
Today's piece is a mixed media. I fell in love with encaustic almost two years ago. There's something about the translucence of the wax, the smell, the heat, that malleability that is so beautiful and so addictive. I have learned primarily at home, experimenting, but last summer I was fortunate enough to take a small class at the Ottawa School of Art. After all my dabbling, I find it hard to believe I waited this long to simply 'paint' a copper weaving.
Handwoven copper in undulating twill with patina and encaustic.
I love the way the texture of the weaving stands out. It's available here at Etsy.
When I am not weaving with copper, I have dug into my stash of 'real' yarns again. As it is February, this update can't be complete without something red, can it?
This scarf was woven with two contrasting reds, one for the warp and one for the weft. It is 100% merino wool and lightly fulled for extra softness and sturdiness.
Even though I love weaving, I often miss the convenience of knitting and the beauty of loosely knitted stitches. Sometimes I think the basic knitted stitch is the most perfect of all tiny creations in that no two are exactly a alike. I think it would be fun to take my copper wire and use it with a knitting machine, but then my stitches would all be completely uniform.
In the Garden Encaustic, copper with patina, Japanese paper
This week I am starting a class in encaustic. I have been fiddling around with it at home for a little over a year but I'm excited to learn more. I don't feel like I currently have a lot of control over the process, although I am often pleasantly surprised by my results. I think wax is naturally very forgiving that way.
Handwoven Scarf in navy blue
I've also been doing a lot of 'regular' weaving. I'm enjoying it more than I expected. I've discovered that it's sometimes trying to work on complex twills (with finicky copper) with a two-year old assistant. I use Nuno felting techniques on my scarves to lightly full or felt them. I stretch the scarf out, cover it with soapy water, and then we roll it up in plastic and she sings "roll, roll, roll."
As you can see, she puts her heart and soul into it.
Starry Night, Northern Alberta
My other new love is cross-stitch embroidery. Lately I have been feeling nostalgic for the landscape of northern Alberta, for shadowy black spruce trees on the horizon.
For years, I have wanted to knit copper socks (or feet). Years! I finally did it and then I hung them and sprayed them with patina.