Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Working and Reminiscing

(Above:  Wrapped and stitched wooden thread spool Christmas ornaments.  Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)

For the past week, I've been spending my evenings transforming some of my wrapped-and-stitched wooden thread spools into Christmas ornaments.  It is an excuse to sort through and use some of my hundreds of vintage buttons.  There's a shank button on the bottom of each.  I really like stacking several, colorful flat buttons on the top and adding a bead or two. 

 (Above:  Several wrapped-and-stitched wooden thread spool Christmas ornaments, hanging.)

These ornaments sold very, very well during the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  Of course, it was November, a time for holiday shopping.  I'm not sure if anyone will want to buy Christmas ornaments in February at the ACC (American Craft Council) show in Baltimore or the ACC Atlanta show in March ... but I'm ready!  Steve and I do buy Christmas ornaments year-round.  We have collected them since our first Christmas together in 1981.  At that time, we gathered all our nickles and dimes to purchase our first, small tree.  Proudly, we got it home and then realized that we owned no ornaments.  We also had little to no additional funds.  That first year, I decorated the tree with artificial flowers bought from a yard sale.  We've been collecting Christmas ornaments ever since.  In 2000, I commissioned the Saluda Forge in Tryon, NC to create a wrought iron Christmas tree.

  (Above:  Our Christmas Tree.)

Our Christmas tree stays up year round.  Until this past season, our fireplace was also decorated every day of the year.  As a special gift, I sent all my hand-stitched Christmas angels and stockings to my son Mathias' family in England.

(Above:  Twelve Christmas angel ornaments that I stitched in the 1990s.)  

The angels were all Joan Thomsson needlepoint kits.  Nowadays, I wouldn't consider stitching a design by someone else and I haven't done any needlepoint in years ... but I truly loved making each and every one of these angels.  It was while stitching them that I got a hair-brained idea to design a stocking, something more elaborate and larger and totally my own.

(Above:  The only Christmas stocking I ever stitched.)

I meant to make more Christmas stockings but I never got around to it.  It was while stitching this one that I realized I wanted to "make art" instead ... but I truly loved stitching just the one.  It is now in England.  I am hoping that in Baltimore there are other people who celebrate Christmas year-round, buy ornaments, and appreciate handwork!  If not ... I just might hang the wrapped-and-stitched wooden thread spools up for myself.

 (Above:  Seasonal Leaves: Winter.  Inventory # 3965.  Framed:  33" x 21.  $550 plus.)

In anticipation of my solo show at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC which starts on Friday, February 17th, I made Seasonal Leaves: Winter.  It replaces a very similar piece that sold during my solo show last November at City Art.  I'm very excited about the upcoming event because I'll be in the gallery doing fiber arts demonstrations from 11 - 4 on both Friday the 17th and Saturday the 18th.  I'm almost ready!

(Above:  The Wall of Ancestors: We Took on the World.)

I might have gotten a little more work done since my last blog post but I didn't spend most of Saturday in my studio.  Why?  Well, Columbia Antique Mall/Chic Antiques is being liquidated.  I felt compelled to go to the auction.  It seemed as if this business' demise signaled the end of an era ... at least for me.  When Steve and I first moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1987, we scouted out all the antique shops.  This one was "the best".  It was filled with exotic furnishings, Persian rugs, ornate glassware, fine china, and a vast array of oddities, ephemera, and curiosities from past cultures and distant eras.  This is the place where I rented a claw-footed porcelain bathtub for my performance art piece called Ophelia.  The man who owned the building and collected most of the antiques also owned another building, the Mais Oui ... where I once hung my installation I Do / I Don't.  Well ... both building were recently sold.  The antique malls will be demolished to make way for new student housing.

(Above:  The Wall of Ancestors: Inseparable.)

These places and the people I knew there were fixtures in my community, but we all get older.  Places change.  Buying habits shift from generation to generation.  What was once precious might not be valued any longer.  Names on the back of old photos become forgotten people.  I guess that is why I went to the auction but also why I make much of my found object artwork, especially The Wall of Ancestors.

(Above:  The Wall of Ancestors, Lonely Child.)

Saturday's auction provided several inexpensive lots.  (Basically, the auction was what many sadly call "a fire sale".)  Among my purchases were two Victorian photo albums full of antique images, several nice, deep Walnut frames, pressed botanicals, and lots of artwork.  By the end of the day, I had transformed four photos into four frames.

(Above:  The Wall of Ancestors: Died Within Days of One Another.)

Unbelievably, the auction only dispersed half the property.  The other building sells this coming Saturday.  That's where I'll be ... trying to rescue a couple other, precious possessions.

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber artwork. 


Kathy -MIQuilter said...

I love your ornaments and your story about your past Christmases. Wish I could be North Carolina to see your show and your demonstration. Good luck with your show.

Norma Schlager said...

Your Christmas ornaments are fabulous! I buy ornaments all year round, so you should have no trouble seeing them.

Norma Schlager said...

Whoops! Of course I meant "selling them".

Deb Thuman said...

When I was a kid, my grandmother would give me the empty wooden thread spools to play with. My grandfather would hammer 4 nails into the top of the spool so I could make a long yarn snake. Never did figure out what to do with that snake.

Shasta Matova said...

The blue is so beautiful for the seasonal leaves. An auction like that is very very tempting. It is a good thing it isn't anywhere near me!