Last week I was invited to join my friend, Jane, at Needlers Camp—a group of women who meet to share their fiber projects, good food and good company. They meet during the year but one week in summer they meet every morning and call it camp! So many talented people, so many inspiring projects, so much skill and love of their work. I was asked to bring my “Stitches, not Words” project, “Fiber Book” and “Bridges” project for show and tell.
I wanted to take something to work on but the bridges project is solitary as I need it to speak to me for direction so I need something else. When I was finishing “Stitches not Words” I had made one base that had been dyed with madder in addition to the rust and tea that the others had been. I had grown the madder and harvested it a number of years ago.
The piece is rectangular (9.25″ x 7.5″) and assembled in triangles, not squares. I wanted to stitch on it in triangles and add some text. I have some ideas but will wait and see what it says it needs.
So that’s what I worked on while having a lovely morning chatting and nibbling away. Thank you Jane and thank you Needlers!
Been working this spring on a series of landscape paintings, concentrating on my mark making with palette knives etc. They are not finished and will post about them when they are.
I like to work in different media at the same time. Clears my head, yet keeps me working—that accounted for the book project in the last post and as an extension of working with fiber and “slow stitching”* I’ve begun a new project involving bridges—combining fiber, photography, and painting—not all in the same piece.
I love bridges, how they connect different places and allow people to interact in ways they couldn’t before. Previously I’ve painted older bridges over the Wissahckon Creek and some will be included in this series. Recently I hiked in Deleware, along the C&D Canal and photographed several bridges that cross it. I’ve ridden over them on my way south to VA before but never walked slowly under them, photographing and sketching both the man made and nature’s response.
My plan currently is to print my images on rusty dyed fabric and combine them in slow stitched collages which also include stitches depicting the plant life under the bridge.
It’s a start.
The second part of this project is to create paintings of the bridges. Planing on studies of at least three bridges—love that number three! Should keep me busy and out of trouble this summer.
* Slow Stitching is a way of working, on this case stitching, that is slow and allows for contemplation and a release from the other wise busy things todays life so often demands. It is almost zen like and I find it complements my other work which tends to be more hurried and frantic.
Spring has come, all of a sudden everything is green… and magenta and yellow and violet—Philadelphia has a very wild burst of color when spring arrives. I’ve been busy working on a new set of paintings but I spell it with stitching.
My latest “rabbit hole” is a fiber book based on my grandmother, her mother, and her mother. Using many bits and pieces from their collections of saved fabric, lace and trims—my grandmother was the youngest and as all this was passed down it ended up with her and then to me—I descend from savers or some might say pack rats. All three women sewed so there is a wealth of scraps.
Slowly the pages have been taking shape as things are rearranged and reassembled. I learned to print photo’s on fabric—that was a big break through… my dyed fabrics make an appearance as does my stitching. And finally I made a commitment on a cover. So here is the cover and the pages for each woman.
The cover is piece of canvas dyed with tea and rusty bits. It is stitched and has self ties. When untied it reveals a pocket with a photo of me with what I thought was a most wonderful hat when I was four years old.
Three generations of women, all “Stitchers”, although I don’t think they would have used that title.
Other pages and spreads consist of fabric and buttons and feathers and prints and lace and … some are still in the works…
These women have inspired this book but it isn’t necessarily about them but rather about women in general, things that were important to them in their time and that belonged to them in their time.
This week the world has gone to the dark side or so it seems. So much hate and violence, fanned by those who should unify and comfort and put a stop to this. I can’t paint at a time like this with angry/sad thoughts racing through my mind. But the slowness of stitching, its zen like calming, focus on the task at hand—that’s where I burrow in and find some sanity.
This project has been in the works for a long time—first as the long green warp woven with Theo Moorman’s Technique. Much of it involved squares. Now it’s cut apart and I’m embellishing the squares to bring out their personalities—woven portraits of time and space.
It doesn’t fix the world but it allows me to gather the strength to live in it.
Here’s a selection waiting to be finished and framed.
Some might still be worked on – they let me know.
After the intense art retreat in VT, I really needed some down time before heading home. We headed for a place we have stayed before in Machiasport, ME—all the way at the end of the peninsula—the road ends in the driveway—high enough to see over the trees to the ocean but with a magical path down to it’s own beach. We stopped in Machias at the Hannaford to buy groceries and made it in time for wine on the deck as the sun set. Let the unwinding begin!
View from the deck.
The next day was misty and over cast – perfect to laze about in, but we did take a short run back up the road to Jasper Beach.
I always think the ocean gives you gifts, you just have to look and this day was no exception. Bits of seaweed, sticks and feathers, lichen and of course those Jasper Beach stones!
Jasper Beach closeup and my new treasures.
Back at the house I used the small bit of wood as a tiny loom and wove a tiny tapestry to commemorate our visit.
Jasper Beach Tapestry.
The next few days were sunny and we headed to Campobello in Canada (Important rule – always travel with your passport!) and to Maine’s Quoddy State Park for days of hiking, photographing, and just being! That’s another post…
Two of my little Tapestries are in current expositions. Here they are with an image of their installation. I won’t be able to get to either exhibition—my work seems to travel more that I do— but I’m excited to be included in each!
“Have a Cup of Tea with Me” is in the ATA (American Tapestry Alliance) exhibition, “The Biggest Little Tapestries in the World!” in Reno NV. This piece will be included in the exhibition catalog.
“…and She Looked out the Window” is in the Webster Arts Gallery‘s exhibit, “Warp and Weft”, in Webster Groves, Missouri.
I’m new to tapestry weaving and am thankful to both organizations for giving me a chance to exhibit my work!!!