Friday, February 22, 2008


Waiting to be finished.

Every year February rolls around and I realise I have umpteen billion projects underway, and very little completed. It's honestly not for lack of hours in the studio... it's that I spend so much time experimenting that no one thing is ever completely resolved, or, as is often the case, I feel torn about how a piece would best be shown and my indecision stalls me. Fortunately, for me, this is a case of history repeating itself. Last year I discovered that the best way to find a sense of direction was to take time out of the the studios and play with the pieces in question at home, using different mediums.

So today, I stayed home from both studios and worked on collages and gold-leafing.

Here is what I learned about gold-leafing;
  • The glue sticks to your fingers if you come within a hair's breadth of it and it never washes off.
  • Gold leaf is the most fragile type of paper in the world (like tissue-thin tinfoil, only well... gold).
  • The little crumbled bits will find every bit of glue on your fingers and stick there.
  • If you try to blow at a piece of gold-leaf (which is, from all appearances, using the Force to reach a gluey spot on your finger), it will keep coming, but all the other pieces of gold leaf on your workspace will fly into the air.
  • You will still blow at the next piece drifting toward you.
  • Gold leaf was created for neat, tidy, finicky people who can fold towels perfectly and have good penmanship, in other words, not people like me, but that just means my work will be extra special. ;)

On the studio front:

More spiculums

I'm still obsessed with texture and have been pressing my metal with old weaving samples before I shape it. The samples in the foreground were made with yellow brass, the sample in the background, red brass. Yellow brass (which is most common) is an alloy of copper and zinc, and while it is a very malleable non-ferrous metal, it is nowhere near as soft as copper. Recently, I discovered and ordered red brass. Red brass is distinguished from yellow brass because it has a higher copper content - this makes is slightly more malleable after it's annealed. It has a beautiful rosy golden colour when finished. I adore it so far, and I now have a stash of it to play with.

See the little knitted stitches?
The knitters dream hand...

Even more spiculums, one polished, one pressed and with green patina.

On the knitting front:

This Marsan Watchcap was cast on in the sad hours after the Superbowl. Orange is my favourite colour, and the hat was meant to cheer me up, but I think I got over that loss very quickly as it's been sitting in my basket for the past week untouched. (Yes, it's small. I have a small head and a lot of hair and my husband loves to tease me about it.)

Evening Stockings for a Young Lady

I knew second-sock syndrome would strike me with these and it did. But now that I'm underway it should be smooth sailing. This pattern was chosen from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks by a friend of mine for herself. In exchange, she is making me one of her signature scarves. They are beautiful, elegant, feminine scarves, and she was a even finalist (with them) at the Niche Awards in Philadelphia last week. I can't wait to post about her scarves, even though again, this may be one of those moments where my cat is a better scarf model than I, but we'll see - maybe I can pull it off.

On the weaving front:

Here is the blanket I posted about in January. Although I received many good suggestions for how to finish it and make it more 'girly' I ended up using the fringe-winder after all. I think it worked for it though.

Undulating Twill baby blanket.

The blanket and booties all packed up.

On the random front (or, dare I say, crochet front, but if I add yet another hobby to my life it might explode):

Recently, I was at my local yarn store, Effiloche, and even though I was being good and not shopping for yarn (I don't need any in practice, only in theory!), on my way out I saw a hairpin lace crochet loom that begged me to try it.

Hairpin Lace Crocheting, on the mini-loom.

I've fallen in love with these strange, spine-like structures created on the loom.

Below was my first try. With some technique refinement, I believe I may have a career as a Christmas tree ornament maker.


Jana said...

I've never seen hairpin lace done with wire but it's so beautiful! Wow, the possibilities! I love the woven baby blanket too, great work!

Jessica said...

Man. All this stuff is so beautiful. I especially love the metal, spiny, Christmas tree ornament. ;-)


Christine said...

You have been very productive, wow!

Weaving, knitting, metal work, plating yourself in gold. You know you could start a fashion statement and just go ahead and gold leaf all of your fingers.

I'm digging that Christmas tree ornament. You should sell them, I'm sure people will buy them.

JessaLu said...

but...Martha (Stewart) makes gold leafing look so easy! *grin*

You have some beautiful things!

knitsteel said...

Oh I've wanted to try gilding for a long time, and all sorts of metallic faux paint finishes as well. How to find time for all of these interests?!?

jackie said...

You have been busy! I have never tried to work with gold leaf, but the masochist in me suddenly wants to try, sticky fingers and all. I'm sure (if I ever get around to it in all my (haha) spare time) that I will throw my (gold covered) hands up in disgust and you can say....Well, I did warn you.