Friday, November 23, 2007

The Egg and I

In the classic on design by Owen Jones (1856), THE GRAMMAR OF ORNAMENT, Diaper Pattern is defined as a "series of equidistant (parallel) interlocking lines - vertical, horizontal, and diagonal." By moving these lines and sets of lines around, the variety of pattern possibilities is almost unlimited. Needlepoint canvas, due to its evenweave construction, is ideal for playing around with it - and also, taking great liberties (artistic license) with creating flowers, leaves, and "jewel" settings within the resulting boxes and lozenges. In the early 70's, when I first started playing with this, I stuck to the traditional, inspired by Maggie Lane's use of it in her Oriental pieces - Buddha's Path, and other trellis and fretwork type designs. I used a lot of caning and latticework in my own designing, as well as the "plaids" in the Imari porcelains. Anyway, I decided a few years ago to resurrect this, inspired by the wealth of wonderful fibers and beads and metallics available now for special effects - but when I pulled these things out of a box for use in an upcoming article in Needlepoint Now, they were all Christmas things, which won't do for a magazine article in March! Sooooo - I drew an egg - a kind of springtime looking "cloisonne' enamel" type egg. This is such an easy thing to stitch, as it is counted for symmetry, and marked on the canvas with a Pilot Permanent Pen - then outlined with Kreinik metallic braid. Then comes the fun part - the painting with needle and thread in filling in the color areas. I have used simply DMC floss and Renaissance shimmer (for the jewels), along with Ribbon Floss from YLI for the background. The flowers and leaves are beaded with my little technique to make them look solid. When this one is done, I will dump out my stashes of sparkly stuff and do a different design. The gold and white round piece was an evening bag, with beads on the designs within the lozenges. Outlining was done with Ribbon Floss instead of metallic braid. In addition to these, I have stitched tree ornaments, Kissing balls, mini-stockings, and evening bags, as well as using Diaper Pattern for subtle backgrounds on pillows and other more traditional pieces - great entertainment, and striking results!! but now on to more EGGS!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Rewards of Motherhood

This sort of thing makes it all worthwhile - all the years of being mother to six active, healthy, intelligent, energetic, hungry, dirty, etc. etc. children. and the best part of all is, Granny didn't have to clean it up!! He (Seth, age 2) was helping his mom mix icing for a cake. I asked my daughter if she could maybe mix more frosting so I could get more pictures - but she declined. I can remember considering picking mine up by the ears to transfer them to the bathtub - or sending them outside to play in the plastic wading pool after I had filled it and added "Mr. Bubble." My mother told me this was slovenly - but I thought it was rather clever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Needlepoint PAISLEY

I goofed a little bit on the Paisley evening bags - had the picture size set for smaller, so they don't really show up - I did that, apparently, to minimize the disgusting effect of my work space. (Actually, it's worse today.) Anyway - Here is #2 painted on white canvas, where the details show up a little better than on the black one. Also - we have "rubies" across the top instead of "pearls."

Evening bags in needlepoint!! PAISLEY

I was motivated to do this after looking at Rengin's blog - which I found via Allie's in Stitches, of course. There is another CQ heart ready - but this is more interesting to me, as Rengin's beautiful Paisley shawl struck a chord. One of my favorite design motifs. My good friend Marilyn, whom I have trained well what to look for in her world travels, brought me gorgeous books from her last jaunt to India (without the kids this time), dealing with Textiles of India - and PAISLEY! I painted an evening bag flap for her - which nobody has stitched yet, as I put it on black canvas, and won't touch it myself. Then had to go on and do a few more - and put the same designs on white for a change, where they started to look like Christmas stocking cuffs. HMMMM. Idea. The two black ones have a definite shape with the curves and the point - so would be lovely as an evening bag front - but the white one, the third of these designs (also done in black) could be turned over and made into a glittering stocking cuff. Lots of possibilities for beads, etc. and other glittery stuff.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Creative Chaos

I can't possibly compete with the "big mess" champions, as I have only had six months in my new quarters to spread and create proper chaos. "Orderly chaos" is my preferred term for this. Most of my things are in boxes in the garage, and the pottery supplies (mud pie makings) are in storage - but I have done a fair job of it, even with the handicap of only two rooms to trash. The shelves with the plastic boxes are on shelves over my computer - which is almost buried in scraps of note paper. The book shelves contain the more important of my books that are work oriented - then more above the computer beside the boxes. There are two more chests of drawers not showing - full of threads, yarn, beads, all that good stuff. And where are my clothes? In boxes in the garage, or in heaps under the bed. The jar of paint brushes is sitting on my beloved big double wide filing cabinet - on which also sits my printer.

Beads and Animal Skin

and more playing with beads!! I finished the little starfish - a "jeweled" mini-ornament I made for my friend Vikki last year but never finished. She wants to do a nautical tree with it. Cute!! Also started on a piece she wants to use for the crown of a hat she will show with her finishing at the Dallas needlepoint market in April. Beading those leopard spots is blinding, but so showy/gaudy/flashy - I think the term used to be "pizazz." It will make a striking hat when she finishes, complete, probably with a net veil.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Art Crazy Quilt

Michaelangelo said "I am still learning." and isn't it wonderful to still have so many things to learn?!! I have just finished looking at Allison Aller's blog, which I do each morning to enjoy with my first coffee, and was amazed to see that there was no real "Art Crazy Quilt" division in that Houston Quilt Market. My article in Needlepoint Now for this month, just out, deals with that subject - and as I wrote it, I asked Allie for a definition or two and comments. I have shown this piece before, but not since I blocked it and got it into better shape for the photo - nor have I shown the corner of the finished quilt from which I took the design. Beautiful thing to inspire a needlepoint designer. Anyway, here is what she told me - and what I used in the article: "I am told that the quilt world is divided into two camps, "sane quilters," who essentially work with cotton fabric and the quilted surface, and the "crazy quilters" who will use any fabric, and whose work is, by tradition, seldom quilted. Their surface is covered by hand-work. There are traditionalists and innovators in each camp as well." I asked Allie to define for me the term "ART CRAZY QUILT," and her answer was this: "A contemporary exploration of the traditional crazy quilt. Fancy and unusual fabrics, embroidery, and random piecing are combined with three dimensional embellishments, beadwork, and ribbonwork of all kinds and materials to personally express the artist's vision." Great!! So here is the picture of my piece in needlepoint - as well as it's inspiration: The quilt is called " Summer Mandala" - you can see it in progress from beginning to finish on her blog. I have already started on the next one, which as I remember, is on the top left of this gorgeous thing. I believe the same thing happened in the needlepoint world in about the mid 80's that Allie describes in the quilt world - just too much going on with the addition of wonderful varieties of fibers - and beads and all kinds of things, and now I feel like I'm tilting at windmills trying to get a bit of order and good taste back into the design part of the industry, as I have lately seen some rather awful (in my opinion) things going on for apparent lack of anything new to do. Some of it gets into the realm of stretching the capabilities of a medium beyond its limits - forcing it to do things not inherent in its nature. I don't know what to think.!!! I'm hoping that the crazy quilt renditions will allow stitchers free reign to use and enjoy these things, but keep them within the realm of "orderly artistic chaos"