26 May 2009

Resolved Sample 1 Finally Resolved!

Well, after getting my eyes uncrossed, I'm finally able to upload and type tonight. Put the last stitches in my Resolved Sample 1... here it is:

and here's the original:

I attempted to match the colors in the rocks (except for the white thing at the right) as accurately as possible. Given that I didn't have the right colors, I used some of the thread-mixing techniques from earlier steps in the course, for example mixing two colors in the needle, using one color underneath and a different one on top, etc.

How I could have done it differently:

I could have used other stitches. I also thought about how I could have added even more of the points that came out in the rubbing, or at least used different colors/threads to bring out more the ones I did include. Some of the points I included were washed out because I didn't use colors or threads that were distinct enough from the background. However, I was pleased at how the rock in the center turned out. I used white, grey, and a kind of beige-brown yarns as the base color for the rice stitch, and a variegated beige for the top stitches for the rice stitches, and think that the changes in color in the rock were fairly well represented in this section.

The white section at the top right was one I had begun (and threw out) for the "Stitchery from Rubbing" step earlier. I went over it with the lighter colored variegated yarn, but just enough to give it some color and texture. Just to the left is a section in which I used beige thread and pulled the stitches together, creating an open space of dark (on the black background). I kept thinking that it's okay to fill in every single space on the canvas, but isn't it equally important where there isn't anything? I'd like to experiment more with that at some point.

The grey section of Zs (Ns?) at the top was just taking a theme I (imagined I) saw - a squiggle - and using that impression, filled in that rock that way.

Things I learned during this section of the course are:

1) Smaller stitches take a lot longer than big ones.
2) The project itself takes a lot longer than what you think it will when you start out.
3) There is no Command-Z key in this kind of work. If you make a mistake or want to correct something, you have to do it by hand, undoing one stitch at a time (or snipping carefully with scissors ;-)
4) It's fun.
5) It's really fun to look at it once you're finished and can uncross your eyes.

The most difficult part of this has been letting go of "there's a right way to do this." I'm accustomed to writing research papers, not using my hands to develop creativity, which is precisely the reason why I signed up for this. So, it's an ongoing process of discovery.

One more Resolved Sample to go!

16 May 2009

Dyed-paper wall

After several unsuccessful attempts at using a kind of oil pastel that wasn't, Crayola crayons that didn't allow the paint to run off (obviously not oil/wax-based - remind me to sell my shares of Crayola ;-) I finally found a candle and was able to make marks on the paper, watercolor over it, and let it dry.

I chose a new section of the wall, and started matching the colors and patterns to the rocks in the wall.

Then, carefully tearing the papers, I tried to match the shapes in the wall, weaving the papers under and over each other and then gluing them down.

The end result is:

The process was relatively easy, and it helped me to think about not only the shapes in the wall, but also the colors, textures and patterns. I'm assuming that this process will clarify my thinking when I plan for the final projects.

When "Life" gets in the way...

Hi again,

Well, it's been over a month now since my last entry. Something called "Life" has been getting in the way, you know, things like marking homework, planting in spring, company visiting. Anyway, here's an update on my "homework" for this course.

Based on the rubbing I did back in the 19th century (or so it seems now), I began one canvas, got an area of about 15x5cms finished but didn't like it at all... so I started over. The second try seems better.

I've begun to fill in the background, and this will be based on the surface texture of the rocks and on the spaces between the rocks. I'm thinking that using regular sewing thread for the darkest parts will let the black color of the "canvas" show through. I'm also taking Sian's advice and "pulling" threads together/apart with the stitches. That's interesting. It also seems to happen naturally with the strange canvas I'm using.

But since there is little time until the deadline for the end of the course, I decided to forego filling in the background for the moment, and move on to the next part of the course, color stitchery.

The canvas got in the way with the broad cross stitch sample (upper canvas). The stitches weren't straight, plus it started eating away at the threads in the yarn. I get the idea, and if I did it again would probably be able to get a better result. Will include this on the final sample.

However, color stitchery has been terrifically interesting! Blending various threads of color to effect a variety of hues. I knew it could be done with paints and watercolor, but hadn't thought of it in threadwork. It has been fascinating playing with a simple rice stitch, changing the colors of yarn/threads on the bottom and top, reversing them, using variegated yarns, a variety of colors. I don't yet feel as though I've adequately reflected the exact colors that are in my wall, but some of the rows of stitching are fairly similar when viewed from a distance. (This reminds me of some of Dali's work - in particular, his work of Lincoln which was composed of hundreds of smaller images, each in a prominent color to make up "pixels" of Lincoln's face.)

When I take a look at the wall by making the jpg larger (by 4 zillion times or so), I can see each pixel. There really are some shades of purple, and I wanted to find some kind of dusty purple yarn, but they didn't have any at the store, so this method is perfect for this situation. If I only need hints of color here and there, placing the purple underneath and a grey above, it gives a bit of the purple without drawing attention to it.

Now I wonder what other kinds of stitches would lend themselves to this kind of interweaving of colors. Also, what would the effect be of stitching colors over areas of stitching where only one color had been used. (The 15x5 area I did and didn't like is in solid white. What would happen if I added some tiny bits of color over the white? Will experiment with that later.)

I've dyed sheets of paper for the next step, textured papers, and will be finishing that step today.

More soon!