Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lots of new "In Box" series pieces!

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXV, a composite image showing the work and then me holding the piece inside its frame. Framed:  19 3/4" x 15 3/4". $235.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

For months and months, I worked on all sorts of other artwork.  The ongoing pandemic has provides so much time to explore new ideas. So I did. It seemed silly to make more In Box and Stained Glass Series pieces.  After all, shows were being cancelled.  The Grovewood Gallery in Asheville where I'm represented was closed and obviously not selling anything.  There was no need to make more.  There was no reason to invest in more frames or more polyester stretch velvet ... and then things changed.   

(Above:  Ernie, making himself comfortable in my studio, on my stash of polyester stretch velvet.)

The Grovewood opened.  Artwork started selling.  I got into the Philadelphia Museum of Art's upcoming virtual craft show and needed lots of new work, especially pieces that could be photographed in their frames but before being fitted with glass ... with me holding them as a way to show presentation and scale.  Happily, I went back to my studio and have been on a roll.  Thankfully, my stash of polyester stretch velvet is quite diverse.  Even Ernie seemed to love all the colors.

(Above:  Piles of polyester stretch velvet hand cut into various sizes of squares and rectangle, ready to be used in the construction of my In Box Series.)
When making "a bunch" of these pieces, I approach the marathon of creativity by cutting up lots and lots of squares and rectangles of polyester stretch velvet.  That way, I can see all the possible colors and easily grab whatever I need.  Every piece of this tacky material already has a heat-activated adhesive (Wonder Under, Pellon #805) ironed to its reverse.  I laid out all the foundation pieces on all twelve works before going back and adding more and more layers.  Then, one after another, I free motion machine stitched them.  Finally, but one at a time, they were put on a stretcher bar, taken to the garage, and subjected to my melting techniques:  melting holes through the layers with soldering irons and melting the space between the shapes away with an industrial heat gun.

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXXV, a large sized piece framed at 33 1/2" x 21 1/2".  $550.)

Once all the melting was done, each one is carefully trimmed, stitched to acid-free mat board, and framed.  Yet, I photographed each one before putting glass into the frame.  I delayed the exposure for ten seconds in order to hold each piece for its finished photo shot.  These composite images are the ones I'm using to create a platform for (hopefully) selling my work during the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (Nov. 6 - 8).

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXXVI, another large piece.)

Here on this blog, however, I really like the straight-forward pictures.  Why?  Well, they can easily be enlarged for people reading to see the details, especially the individual motifs stitched into every box.

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXXIV, a medium sized piece.  Framed:  22" x 18". $325.)

In addition to the large pieces, I stitched three medium-sized ones. 

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXXIII, another medium sized piece.)

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXXII, another medium sized piece.)
(Above:  Ernie, helping with the mounting of each piece.)

Ernie followed me around for days while I worked. He sat on my Babylock Tiara while I stitched and he was up on my mat cutter while I mounted them.  He is so grown up now!  Below are the small sized In Box series pieces.  Please scroll through and enjoy!

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXIX, a small sized piece.  Below are the other small-sized ones.  Each frame measuring 19 3/4" x 15 3/4" for $235.)

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXVI, a small sized piece.)

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXVII, a small sized piece.)

(Above:  In Box CCCLXXVIII, a small sized piece.)
(Above:  In Box CCCLXXX, a small sized piece.)
(Above:  In Box CCCLXXXI, a small sized piece.)

Mandala XIV

(Above:  Mandala XIV.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

The is the last mandala made from a tattered, vintage blue-and-white quilt. The porcelain clock face can turn so that it can be hung as a square. On point, it measures 29" x 29" and includes antique medals donated to my stash by my friend Phillippa Lack from Wyoming, square cut nails, keys, clock parts, vintage paper clips and modern ones too, beer bottle lids, hair clips, miniature locks, nail clippers, buttons, and screw eyes. I'm now working on a new mandala that is on a vintage Grandmother's Flower Basket quilt section.

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XIV.)

Everything is stitched down using pale blue #5 perle cotton.  Generally, I don't use glue on my fiber artwork but this piece had to have some.  Hot glue keeps the medals from flipping over, especially the ones on the top that wouldn't stay in that position.  Thankfully, hot glue is actually acid-free.  It just doesn't come off fabric very well.  Yet, it doesn't damage the cool, antique awards that are dated from 1907 to 1911.  

(Above:  Detail of Mandala XIV.)

These medals were for things like "signaling" and "range finding".  I'm now precisely sure what these activities even were.  Others were for swimming and reading.  I had the perfect number for this quilt ... alternating one side and then the other.  Phillippa also sent the many, tiny keys. 

(Above:  Mandala XIV, detail.)

I've been collecting beer caps forever.  I get them from all sorts of places, not just by drinking beer.  Luckily, I had enough Heineken and New Castle caps to have a total ring with alternating red and blue stars.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Lancet Windows and Peacock Feathers

(Above: Lancet Window CCXXVIII. Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4".  Layers of fused polyester stretch velvet on recycled industrial felt with free motion machine embroidery and melting techniques.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I have been really busy making new work in anticipation of the upcoming Philadelphia Museum of Art's virtual craft show.  Whether any of it actually sells during this event or not isn't my concern.  Right now, I'm just "making" and soon I'll be turning my attention to my website ... trying to create a platform for selling the work myself (before, during, and after the show!)  One of the things that seems necessary is to present images that give an accurate sense of size and scale.  Thus, I'm photographing each piece while I'm holding it.  Each one was temporarily put into its frame ... but without glass.

(Above:  Lancet Window CCXXVI.  Framed:  31 1/4" x 11 1/4".)

This piece is based on motifs found in Owen Jones' Grammar of Ornament, a 19th century reference book featuring patterns and designs from all over the world and every era.  It is not the first time I've constructed a piece like this.  I blogged about the first one HERE.  Even those I've used the same basic foundation pieces, no two are really alike.  In fact, every one of my "Stained Glass" pieces is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art.

(Above:  Peacock Feather XXIII.  Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4".)

No matter how many peacock feathers I've stitched, no two of these are ever alike either.  Each feather seems to have its own style and number of individual strands.  The eyes might look similar but close inspection reveals that no two of them are alike either.

(Above:  Ernie was tired but he stayed on my mat cutter while I mounted all this work!)

Each time I share a post of new work, I try to write about something new.  Considering that I've made over two hundred Lancet Windows, this can be a challenging idea ... but I don't think I've ever written about "the fringe". 

(Above:  A composite image featuring the lower section of Lancet Window CCXXVIII.  The top part shows the fringe with the left half trimmed and the right half untrimmed.  The lower section shows all of the fringe after it was trimmed.)

The fringe is created by first stitching line ... in the back ... from the side of a polyester stretch velvet shape.  The substrata (which is where this line is stitched) is on the recycled black industrial felt.  Because the felt is a synthetic, it melts along with the felt that was between the polyester stretch velvet shapes.  Because the thread is 100% cotton, it doesn't melt.  The thread holds the shapes together.  The thread that becomes the fringe is just thread to which some of the felt clings.  It looks pretty scrappy until I trim it with dull scissors.

(Above:  Stitching Lancet Window CCXXVIII to a piece of acid-free, 8511 Bainbridge Sea Mist mat board.)

Once the excess felt it neatly trimmed, each piece is then hand stitched to a piece of acid-free mat board.  At that time, I gently put each piece into a frame and snapped photos holding it.  This was done to avoid the glare of glass.  Afterwards, each piece went into its frame after the glass was held in place by strips of acid-free foam-centered board "walls".

(Above:  Fitting the artwork into a frame with "walls".)

The image above shows the glass in the frame and the foam-centered board strips glued inside the frame's lip.  The strips are just a little shorter than the inside lip of the frame ... which creates a "ledge" on which the mat board can rest.  The result is a space between the artwork/mat board and the glass ... like a "mini shadowbox".  (By the way, one doesn't need foam-centered board to do this.  Balsa wood strips can be used too!)

(Above:  The back of the mat board showing the line of stitching used to mount the artwork.) 

The image above shows the mat board in place ... resting on the ledge created by the foam-centered board strips.  At this point, I also put another piece of foam-centered board behind the artwork and staple it in place with a point driver.

(Above:  Lancet Window CCXXV, detail of the corner once installed in the frame with glass.)

The image above shows the space created between the mat board/artwork and the glass.  Below are images of the other work recently finished.  I really hope that this sort of composite image gives an accurate sense of scale and presentation!

(Above:  Lancet Window CCXXVI.  Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4".  Each Lancet Window and Peacock Feather is $395.)
(Above:  Lancet Window CCXXVII.  Framed 31 1/4" x 11 1/4". $395.)
(Above:  Peacock Feather XXIV.  Framed: 31 1/4" x 11 1/4". $395.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Mandala XII and XIII

(Above:  Mandala XII.  Framed: 20 1/2" x 20 1/2" as a square or 29" x 29" as a diamond.  Four blocks of a vintage quilt covered with pale blue tulle and embellished with clock gears, screw eyes, metal hair curlers, blue cement screws, plastic and metal rings, labels from Cartier-Bresson balls of thread, buttons, zipper pulls, allen wrenches, keys, old souvenir slides from Shiloh Military Park, and lamp fixtures.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Although I am working on new pieces for the upcoming Philadelphia Museum of Art's virtual craft show, evenings still find me hand stitching these mandalas.  It is a relaxing way to end the day and so much fun to do.  

(Above:  Mandala XII, detail.)

Even though some of the things I've been using are now depleted, I'm lucky to have cyber friends who have sent me interesting items ... like the zipper pulls.  Who would have ever guessed that they were forever lost as unclaimed airline luggage?  

(Above:  Mandala XIII.  Framed 20 1/2" x 20 1/2" as a square or 29" x 29" as a diamond.  Four blocks of a vintage quilt covered with pale blue tulle and embellished with clock gears and other parts, antique fountain pen nibs, tweezers, felt piano hammers, sewing machine bobbins, buttons, zipper pulls, yellow paper clamps and vintage paper clips, safety pins, and lamp fixtures.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I am now stitching on the last piece of this mainly blue-and-white antique quilt.  Soon, I will be raiding my own stash in search of another quilt to cut and stitch into a mandala.

(Above:  Mandala XIII, detail.)

Hopefully, I'll find something suitable ... something that isn't going to need more pale blue perle cotton.  I had several balls but have used all but two.  I'm using one of the two.  Ernie, our six-month-old kitten, has hidden the other one!

(Above:  Mandala XIII, detail.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Eight New "Window Series" Pieces

(Above:  Free-motion stitching with Ernie.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I'm in the process of creating lots of new work for the upcoming VIRTUAL Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, November 6 - 8.  Among them are these eight "Window Series".  Each one is layers of polyester stretch velvet fused together on recycled, black industrial felt.  Strips of sheer chiffon are placed over the top to shift and add color.  Each one is then free-motion stitched using black, 100% cotton thread.  I stitched them on my Babylock Tiara.  Ernie was "so helpful"!

(Above:  Window CXCIII.  Each piece is roughly 13" x 11" and framed with spacers and glass.  The outer dimensions of the frames are 19 1/4" x 17 1/4".  Each one includes a stitched "LENZ" somewhere in the lower right corner.  The price ... just $265 plus tax and shipping.  Documenting this is really important, especially now! 

(Above: Window CXCIV.)

In addition to making this new work, I'm figuring out how to best show it on a blog dedicated to selling it!  This means extra photos, more blogging, and changing my website to direct people to the available work. This is scary!

(Above: Window CXCV.)

I really like how these new pieces are turning out.  I am already turning my attention to new Lancet Windows.  The list is long and challenging but will be worth it!

(Above:  Window CXCVI.)

The leaf motif is really new!  I might have to try other types of leaves in the future!

(Above:  Window CXCVII in a composite image.)  
This is how I'm planning to show the work on the dedicated blog.  I hope the image with me holding the new work gives a good sense of the presentation as well as the scale of the work.)  

(Above: Window CXCVIII.)

Ernie also tried to help mount the pieces!  Each one is stitched onto a piece of Bainbridge 8511, acid free mat board.  Scroll down for two more pieces!

(Above:  Window CXCIX.)
(Above:  Window CC ... and in TWO HUNDRED!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Lockdown! My article in Australia's "Textile Fibre Forum" magazine

(Above:  The first page of my article.  Click on any image to enlarge and read.)

The mail recently brought a copy of Textile Fibre Forum, a 100% Australian owned textile art magazine in which my article "Lockdown!" was published. I am so impressed and also happy to report that working with the staff was a fabulous experience.  The layout is so professional and perfect ... not only for my article but the entire magazine.  The range of textile arts is diverse in approaches but also runs the gambit from cutting edge to more traditional.  If I were in Australia, I certainly would be a subscriber. 

I absolutely adore the way the text on each page is superimposed on one of my artworks. Writing this article was a bit of a challenge.  Why?  Well, I'd already written an article for SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Journal and an article for my SAQA region's newsletter.  To write another, pandemic response article forced me to really think about my concepts and to remember the thoughts I had when starting new work and especially how my Clothesline Installation morphed from an art residency project to a visual display reminding please to "Wash Your Hands". 

The article forced me to step back and see the relationship between the different works I stitched.  There really was a common thread between the mini art quilts of creepy dolls and dead birds with the old keys and the vintage textiles.  Writing articles like this makes me THINK ... and it is a good thing.  So ... if you are reading from Australia, please consider this magazine.  All the articles are thought-provoking and well worth your time.