Well, as usual the new year as gotten away from me. 2017 and it's March already and I have not posted once. Bad blogger.....but I'm better on Instagram because I don't really have to think too much about it. I have to face it, I get lost in my work and just forget about other things like the blog. I'm going to try and be more consistent with this. I said try so don't hold me to it. So what is going on? Continuing with my tea and ink experiments on paper and cloth. Weaving tapestry,painting watercolor and even set up a Encaustic area in my painting studio. So yes, I have been very busy. Here are a few works in progress etc. More to come about the Encaustic in another post. See I'm setting myself to do another post. Progress already. :)
Thanks to everyone for your support this week. The small watercolors were very well recieved and I'm excited to work on more for the shop. I'm experimenting with some other ideas for the shop as well. I hope your all having a wonderful Holiday Season. Me I want snow but we have not had any yet. Fingers crossed for a white xmas but probably won't happen. Well, maybe........ I don't have any new pics for you today. I just wanted to say Thank You. Happy Holidays. :)
Made some good progress over the holiday. Good food, family and tapestry weaving you can't beat that. The watercolor landscape is coming along. Blend, blend and more blending is the key. Sometimes I sing Dory's song.....just keep swimming... but I insert.... just keep blending.....and so forth. :) I know I'm goofing like that. So far the fine sett has really helped me capture the detail that I want and I don't really mind it at all. I've woven several small 4 inch and a few 10 inch tapestries at this sett of 16 epi and I loved it. I thought a larger piece at this sett would drive me a little crazy but it hasn't bothered me at all. In fact I'm in love with it and I'm going to do more larger works at this sett. There is nothing worse to me than sitting at the loom and saying "how in the hell am I going to get that detail at this sett" I hate that. So I'm embracing the finer sett with open arms and I'm much happier with my results. Well, that's all I have to say about that.....back to the loom now.
A glimpse into my weaving studio. Fall is my favorite time to weave. I'm working on a new tapestry. I've decided to weave one of my watercolor paintings. I've blown it up and sett the warp fine to capture all of those wonderful watercolor hues. Lots of blending going on. I spoke to Sarah Swett on Instagram about it and she said "blending in all directions" which is so very true. Instagram has been a great resource for talking with other artist. Especially with tapestry weavers since we are not a common breed and we are scattered all over the world.
I've weaving this work on a Black Pipe loom that Ron and I built. We used Archie Brennan's plans and made a few mods to fit my needs. If your interested in building your own tapestry loom you can go to the link to find his plans for copper looms, pipe looms, and scaffold looms. He also makes a copper loom that you can purchase from him. He sends you all the parts so you don't have to round them up yourself at the hardware store. Me I love going to the hardware store to look for parts. It's funny it always seems that I meet someone at the shop that is very interested in the plans I have with me and what in the world am I making with pipes. When I say a loom they always get interested. They even call me the "loom lady" at one small local hardware shop. :) Pretty funny. Well, back to the loom to try and make some progress.
Lots of painting going on in the studio. It's been so hot that I have not been weaving much. Too sticky to handle wool. Can't wait for Autumn to get here. :) Here are a few in progress shots. Watercolor is so free and loose compared to weaving. What a contrast in technique it is. I'm loving the freedom of it.
Well, she is off the frame and into a small hoop. I thought that might be easier for working on the fine details of her hair etc. It feels like I've been working on her forever but really with everything else that I do I don't get concentrated amounts of time for the hand stitching these days. I think that will change when Fall and Winter arrive. I like to cozy up under my frame and hoops when it's cold out. The title is Bee Charmer actually inspired from on of my favorite movies, Fried Green Tomatoes. That phrase stuck with me.
She's stitched with silk and cotton threads which are my favorite for hand work. Au Ver A Soie 3 ply silk is a dream to work with. If you haven't tried it I highly recommend it. The shop I use to get it from stopped carrying it but you can order on line. The color range is very large so I don't have to dye myself. But with that said it is fun to dye floss and threads for unique colors. So I do that sometimes too. Do you have a favorite thread?
Back to sewing on fabric rather than paper today. The ground in this work is a rayon that I dyed with a crackle technique and free form brush/painting on the dyes. Adding machine stitch and hand stitching along with some ink printed fabric on cotton. It's nice to get some time in the sewing studio because I've been so busy with Ron and the framing and getting work into the shop. A few days in the studio is just what I need. I like to take a day each week to try and just play and work on experimental ideas. I don't always get that time but it's really important to just say "I don't know where this is going I'm just going to see". That work often goes into a pile and I may not touch it again for months but then one day I see it again with fresh eyes and it ends up in a piece or at least up on my design wall for me to ponder. Recently I've been looking at a stack of Speedy-Cut carving blocks that I want to dive into. Some block printing could be coming up. I haven't done any of that in a few years. :)
Thread painting tiny figures... Mixed Media watercolor WIP. The smallest figure I've stitched so far. This will be in the shop soon. I'll also have about five more mixed media works done as well. It's been a busy week in the studio and I'm getting a lot of work finished.
No tapestry weaving this week but it has been fun working on faster pieces. Also taking a little break from my hand stitched paintings. I've got to put a new piece on my embroidery frame. That takes a bit of time with the sewing on and stretching but not too bad. I made the frame that I'm using. Ron helped me make it, just as he does with my copper looms etc. It's a simple frame but it works very well. I'll have to get some pics of it when I dress it next time. It's also time to pull out some fabric and do a big dye session and discharge session. My stash is dwindling. I might even do a little shibori for fun. Probably shibori discharge which I love. So today I'll leave you with my tiny figure. So small!
Finally getting some work finished and framed. It's a busy time but very exciting to see my pile of unfinished work finally getting smaller. Ron has been a great help with the framing which has made it so much easier for me to get other things done. As an artist I just want to keep on working on new ideas and I hate that final step which is the framing etc. I don't know why. I should love it, being able to see the final outcome etc. but for some reason at that point I feel like I just want to move on to the next piece. I think many artist feel this way, maybe they do. So getting the help with this has been wonderful. I'm very grateful. So work is now in the Etsy shop and more is coming soon.
The tapestry finishing is taking some time but that is on the way also. I've changed my mind about the 4" tapestries. I like them better in a line up of 3. So I'm changing the layout on those. On the looms...well, there are still several on the loom rolled up on the beam of "Big Pooh" aka my Varpapuu. On the Mirrix I have a 10"x10" tapestry that I'm weaving for the ATA Tapestry show. It's a juried show so I'll have to wait to see if it gets in. I hope so. I really love the way it is developing. I'm refraining from showing in progress pics of that one because of the show etc. So things are moving right along around here this summer. Hope your having a nice summer too.
I'll leave you with a pic of my latest vintage sewing find. A Bernina 830 Record from 1978. As you may or may not know I'm crazy for vintage sewing machines. I love to restore them to their formal glory. This one was in great shape when I got her she just needed a good cleaning, lubing, and her feed dog button was stuck. That is very common with machines that have be sitting unused. That's fixed now and she is working like a charm. I wanted a mechanical Bernina that I could work on myself. You can't really do that with computerized sewing machines. Well, here she is. Isn't she sweet. :)
Seems like Feb. was a blur. I didn't even make a single post. Sometimes work just takes over. Here's the work table this morning.
Drawing and stitching and working like crazy to get some work finished. I've been using my ballpoint pen to make drawings because it's so fast. Quick studies that go into the computer for more work. I love the smell of the ink in the studio. If you want to see more in progress WIPs and such check me out on Instagram. at dlrigter I find that if I don't have time to post here I can always mange a quick there.
When I'm not stitching I'm weaving. I'm working on a series of 4"x4" tapestries that will come together into one piece. 25 total. I'm about halfway there. More about these little tapestries will be in the tapestry section of my site. Stay tuned.
My trusty Bernina is going strong, work on several thread paintings continues. Seems I'm going one day on the machine next day with the hoops working by hand. This gives my body a break from the machine work which can be a little hard on the neck and shoulders if you don't take breaks. I've over done it before so I'm super careful these days.
The snow is still pretty deep so no trips to the park to take photos for a while. I would like to get some pics of a local Apple Orchard that has the most lovely lines of trees. I've always wanted to get a shot of those with snow on the ground. Great contrast with the bare branches. I might drive out there this weekend and take a look. Well, back to work for now.
This work has a combination of hand stitching and machine stitching.
Well, I guess you have figured out that I stitch on several works at a time. I get so far with one and then have to stop and think about what is coming next. Sort of let it simmer a while. So then I pick up another hoop or work on my frame or head to my sewing machine. It gets kind of crazy at times but I never get bored this way. I've always worked like this. And then I go into finishing mode. And then the whole process starts over again. But when I just have too many ideas and not enough time I put those ideas on paper in my art journals or head to the computer and get the idea started in rough form in photoshop. But the last few weeks I have been stitching like mad trying to get some work finished. I think I've reached my limit with multi tasking and I need to say this one is done. Done Done Done....... almost on so many. Well, not quite done yet.
More stitching teasers. My needles are busy trying to get work finished. Speaking of needles, if your a stitcher you know just how important the right hand needle is for the job. Over the years I've used many types of embroidery needles for my stitching. But what I really prefer is a Milliners needle sometimes referred to has Straw needles. My favorite brand is John James Straw needles. But just recently I discovered their new John James Gold n' Glide Milliners. The eye is gold and that makes for easier threading. They really do glide thru the fabric. I use 3 sizes, 9, 10, 11 but I use the 9 most of the time. They are longer than embroidery needles which I like.
Here is another stitching teaser.....
Finally we have snow for the first time this Winter here in Pa. Twelve inches and counting. We may get 24 by the time it's done. I love snow so I'm enjoying it myself. All of those years in Montana really made me fall in love with Winter. If I don't get snow in the Winter I just feel cheated. In the studio watching it fall while I stitch. So pretty when it is coming down. I took a few pics around the house because I couldn't help myself.
Former Jacquard Textile Designer that left the corporate life behind. I'm an artist working in watercolor, mixed media, tapestry and textiles. Currently I'm painting, stitching, weaving tapestry, and experimenting with new techniques.