Today was about cleaning up the studio and doing some maintenance on my Singer Featherweight. I had some new parts delivered months ago and just now got around to putting them on. She got a new needle throat plate with seam markings. The new one is not of the same quality as the original but I think it will be ok. I wanted the seam lines but if it doesn't perform as well as the original I will change it back. The little hooks underneath were loose and one of the tiny screws seemed a bit stripped out. I got it tightened up as much as possible. New parts these days are never like the originals made back when manufacturing in the US was supreme. I also got the new thread holder for spools that perform best with a horizontal feed. And she got new lubrication and new rubber feet underneath. The old ones were completely flat and disintegrating. So now she is sitting on my table nice and even and proud. What a beauty she is. I love her!
Mixed Media Collage on my work table.
I'm pretty busy working on the shop update but I did mange to get a few mixed media collages with stitch started. I also got a little time to work in my sketchbook today. I love stitching into paper so I just keep a needle in the pages of my sketchbooks so I'll have it at hand when the mood strikes me. Also working on some slow stitching pieces that I want to find a home for. I have a basket full of bits and pieces of stitching that I do usually in the morning with a cup of tea or in the evening while watching a movie. Just stitching as a meditative practice. It calms me. It helps me think or sometimes it helps me "not to think" to clear my mind of all the crazy in the world right now.
Here are a couple of pics from my work table. I was just able to catch some light from the window. The light in that room is best in the morning but hey I don't have anything done and ready to shoot in the morning. Just making due with what light I can find. I'm a light chaser. Ha Ha
I'm trying to find a way to implement some of my hand stitched patches into some collaged works. Still working on this idea.
Free Form Stitching Machine Embroidery
Today I've been thinking about free motion/form stitching and drawing with thread on my sewing machine. A couple of years ago I did a lot of free motion stitching or what some call machine thread painting.
It has many names:
Free motion embroidery
Free motion thread painting
Free style machine embroidery
Thread painting (this usually means by hand)
Google says, "Thread painting, also called needle painting, is an approach that uses a combination of long and short stitches and a variety of colors to produce embroidery that has the same qualities of a painting".
There are probably other names as well. I often just say "free motion stitching" or "stitch art" I really haven't decided on the perfect name for it yet. Mixed Media with Stitch is where I'm at now. That covers all the different materials I use and the stitching. So I guess that is the term I'll be using for these pieces.
When describing how the stitching is done the term "free motion" is used just because you have dropped the feed dogs on your machine so you can freely draw with the needle. Funny thing is some machines do well with the dogs dropped and others not so much. I always test out machines both ways; with the feed dogs dropped and then with them up. But the constant in the situation is you must have your stitch length set to Zero. Give it a try both ways you may be surprised.
Ok enough about that, let's get to todays image. I got the second one stretched today and finished. Here are some pics. This piece will also be in Thursday Shop Update Aug. 6th at 7pm Eastern. I love how the linen looks stretched to canvas. So much more complete. And I love complete.
My background is casting purple. Not sure why. I'll reshoot tomorrow with better light. But for now you get the idea.
When is a piece of artwork done?
Today's topic....when is a piece of artwork done? Good question. Sometimes it just hits you over the head. This is done! Other times not so much. I hate the other times. All the questions that start to arise. Should I add more or take away perhaps or what? All artist I think go thru this to some degree. I have to put the work aside and work on something else when this happens. I have to just stop! If I don't then it can go the wrong way and feel overworked to me. But this is just me. I've had pieces that I felt were not my best and they sold. And other works that I loved and they didn't sell. It has always been that way; even with the yarn dyeing business years ago.
There were colors that I adored and they didn't move as fast as I thought they would. And others I didn't even want to list and I did it anyway and they sold out fast; leaving me scratching my head in wonder. This is the way of the world. Everyone has different taste and you can't really predict it, so as an artist you just have to keep on doing what you love and what feels right for you and it will find the right person and a forever home.
So today I was working and that feeling of "Is this done or not"? was really bugging me so I walked away for a hot cup of tea and some time to rest my eyes and my mind from it. So here I am talking about it sipping my tea and getting my mind right before I go back into the studio to dive back in. Some days everything falls into place beautifully and others well, they require more tea and thought. So I'm heading back to the Studio to look and think and see if I really begin to see not just look if you know what I mean. Hopefully, I'll be back with pics later.
Ok back with some pics from yesterdays stretched canvas. She's done. This piece will be in the shop update next Thursday. Aug.6th. Time for dinner. Ta Ta for now.
I'm revisiting some work that got put on hold when my health issues took me out of the studio. I had a stack of mixed media free form embroidery that I was working on and they got put on hold. So I'm looking at them with fresh eyes now. The framing was bugging me. I didn't want to put a mat on them and I thought maybe I would stretch them to canvas. Or go with a raw edge and attach them to canvas. Well, today I will take a look and see how it goes. Off to the studio to work on those.
I'm back from the Studio and it's been a long day. I did get one of those mixed media with stitch pieces stretched to canvas. It looks good pulled tight on the canvas and I let the stitching and painting run over the edges. I'm happy with it. So it will be in the shop update on Aug. 6th at 7pm Eastern time. I hope to stretch the other one tomorrow. No pics yet. I got so busy working on shop update stuff that I didn't get too much experimentation done today. So got to keep this short and I'll have pics for you tomorrow. Ta Ta for now.
Moving right along on this 30 day challenge. Today I'm working on adding stitch and a tiny weaving to a mixed media painting. The last layer of the painting is finally dry. Oil and coldwax. Oil takes much longer to dry but it's worth it. I love the blending I can get with oils. That buttery effect is addictive.
Beginning layers are often done in acrylic which drys super fast. You can add oil to an acrylic base but you can't go back to acrylic once you add oils. So when you ready to go to oils you have to commit to it. I have found some water based oils that I like and they make clean up easier. I'm just starting to experiment with those.
Having stitching and weaving elements on an oil painting you might think they could rot over time but using the coldwax as a top layer similar to a varnish helps prevent that. Oil works great with coldwax and with Encaustic(hot wax). I have a little corner sit up upstairs for Encaustic work next to a window with a fan for exhaust. But it is just too hot to fire up the wax right now. So I'm waiting for Autumn(my most favorite season) for working in Encaustic wax. Well, it's my most favorite season for anything. I love it! I'm super productive in the Fall because the weather is perfect and my brain feels like it is firing on all cylinders. The cool air, the beautiful Fall colors and the sweet smell of falling leaves and wood smoke fires just makes me so happy. Can't wait. I'm drooling all over myself just thinking about it. As you can tell summer is not my thing. Ugh! Ok enough of that....back to the work.
So below are a couple of pics, this piece will be in my next shop update. That is looking like it will be Thursday August 6th, at 7pm eastern time. If that changes I'll let you know. That is the date I'm pushing for. It's time for dinner so catch ya later Peeps.
Yesterday when l was looking thru older pieces of work that are still not done; I found some bits and pieces of some collaged and stitched works that I did a few years ago. (Some left over bits). Both of those pieces sold and I really enjoyed making them. See pics below. The backgrounds where worked on paper in watercolor then collaged with papers. The figures were painted on cloth and then collaged and stitched. I'm still using some of these methods in newer works but if the background is done on a stretched canvas you really can't put it under the machine. So hand stitching is required.
It's good to look back at older work and sometimes revisit it. You never know. Maybe I'll be moved to do a few more in a similar fashion. Well, back to work and I'll be back with more later.
I'm back and I don't have any new photos for you today. I had to run to Philly and when I got back the light was fading so my pics didn't look very good. So pics tomorrow. I was working on paintings with stitch and weaving embellishments etc. So I'll leave you for now. More tomorrow. Ta Ta Peeps.
It's Sunday, should that be a day of rest? Not for me really. I'm a little more chill on Sunday but I still go into the Studio and work. I never really take a day off because the studio is in my house and that makes it sort of hard to walk away from it. It's everywhere. Nooks and crannies are all over the house. Even on Holidays when I'm suppose to be off I'm doing something usually. Living an artful life. I love it. The only time I really stop is if I'm sick. So if I stay well then all is good but I still have some days that are far more productive than others.
Today I got a lot done but not stitching related. Working on my website and shop don't qualify for this challenge but it has to be done. So I'll leave you with this. A piece of stitched work on cloth that I started years ago and I keep cutting it down and down and now I want to cut her nose off too. I cropped it out in one of the photos and I prefer it that way. This was one of my digital paintings printed on cloth and hand stitched. Then did a little painting over with asemic writing etc. I will probably mount it to a collaged canvas or something of the sort. I still feel like it is going to change even more in the process of finishing. Not sure yet. I don't know. What do you think about it? Nose or no nose? I think I have been looking at it too long and my judgement is not so great right now. Hubby says, No nose." With that thought I leave you because it's dinner time and I'm starving. Later Peeps.
Stitching Into Paintings
Stitching into a painting can be a little nerve racking because you can ruin it if not careful. So why do it? Because I can't help myself. I want the texture, the contrast of materials, the relief effect from the raised stitch and more. It's a personal preference. I don't do it to all my paintings but there are some that call to me and I reply. I stitch them and even add small sections of weaving to them. It took me a while to get to this point. "I thought it's a painting you can't do that to it." How silly was that! I can do whatever I want to it. I'm in control. Once you say that to yourself then the sky opens up and you are free.
It's the same with tapestry probably even more so. It can begin to feel precious because of the time involved in the weaving. And then there are rules and more rules and "the traditionalist would never do that." Forget all that. If I want to stitch into a tapestry or even add elements to it to take it where it needs to go; then so be it. There are no tapestry police coming to my door. Once you accept this as the truth you will be amazed at how freeing it feels. Art should never box you in! Never!
That defeats the purpose of art in the first place. Freedom of expression.
So what do you have in the end? You have a mixed media painting or a mixed media tapestry. Simple. Some tapestry shows don't accept mixed media tapestry but many do depending on the level from which you deviated. If the base structure is still weft faced tapestry weave and you have just added to that then your usually ok to enter that show.
Below are some small mixed media paintings (wips) that I'm working on for the shop update. Looks like that will be in about 2 weeks. I'm going to try and start adding items and doing updates biweekly. I'll post more about all of that on the shop site and update to Instagram as well.
These small paintings work well in a grid formation but I think I'm going to offer them individually so you can mix and match if you buy more than one. There are several more in the works so there will be a nice selection to choose from.
It's Friday already. This week flew by. So here I am back at the computer and thinking about todays work at hand. I'm going to be continuing with a lot of the items I already started working on, but I can't seem to stop thinking about those Chapbooks that I stumbled on the other day. I think it would be fun to do some with little paintings or block prints with poetry or my favorite Haiku. Little free form embroideries in small format could work as well. So many possibilities.
This brings me to something I've been thinking about a great deal. Art you can touch. Something you can hold and use. Art that isn't just for the wall. Of course I'm still making art to hang but I've been longing to do something more tactile for the owner or user. More interactive. That is why I've started working on these art journals.
And the famous words from the Bauhaus are ringing in my ears "Form follows function" that phrase just popped into my head the other day when I was working on a book idea. I was thinking about the size of a journal that fits perfectly in my hand and what it feels like to hold a really beautiful book in your hands. I thought about coptic stitch and how it works perfectly to make a book or journal lay open for the user to write or paint in etc. At that moment I thought that was a perfectly simple example of "form follows function". What do you think?
What does this have to do with "Stitching" well, stitching a book together is a massive subject. So many ways to do it. There are many methods of sewing book signatures so I'm sure that is going to be popping up here and there in this 30 day stitching challenge of mine. Just sayin....
Ok it's time to get to work. I'm off to the studio to see what I can get into. As always I'll be back with pics later. Which is no time for you....Just keep reading.
Ok just like that...the magic of the internet. I'm back from the studio with a couple of pics. What did I do today? As follows:
1. I made an Accordion style book. Very small and cute. Thought it might be a great way to do those Chapbooks I've been dreaming about. Covers are in my digital papers.
2. I made a small bookcover in black fabric with discharged rayon and paper collage. Still need to do some topstitching etc. on that and put in digital papers on the inside.
3. I had a piece of painted canvas that I collaged with discharge fabric, linen, my favorite Japanese poems etc. and stitched it all down.
4, Worded on little bits to go in art journals.
5. Printed out some of my digital art for papers in art journals. FYI I'm going to be putting those together in Pdf format for download purchases in my shop. More about that when they get listed.
Overall a pretty productive day. Hope your doing well and ready for the weekend. Later Peeps.
Good morning... I'm getting into a routine of starting my post with a cup of tea and thinking about what I'm going to do in the studio for the day. Then those thoughts start to become thinking out loud in a post. Kind of fun to see if I really get any of those ideas done in the studio. So list are helping. But sometimes it's just a matter of going into the studio turning on my music sitting at my worktable or sewing machines and seeing what happens. A lot of the that really depends on what materials are around me. So my table and work area are really kind of crazy right now with this challenge. Baskets and bins every where. Bits and pieces and more bits and pieces all over the work table. But then it gets to a point where I say it is time to "clear the decks" and I have to clean up. And then the whole process starts all over again. And today this morning as I'm writing this I know that I'm going to have to do that when I get upstairs. So sigh... Another cup of tea is in order.
My computer is downstairs in the weaving studio and that has also become my husbands make shift office during this pandemic. He works among the looms. And the cats love having him home so they sit on the looms and gaze lovingly at Papa. But for me no weaving is going on right now because he needs his space and I don't want to be banging around while he is on a business call so I've been upstairs all summer in the sewing and painting studio. So stitching and painting continue and weaving may start back up in the Fall if we get hubby moved into another room that needs some work but is an option.
At first we thought this was only going to be for a month or two but as we all know now this Covid-19 situation is not going away anytime soon.
Ok back to the subject at hand. What am I going to stitch today? Not sure yet. But I'll be back to finish this post and put up some pics. All you have to do is scroll down and it will be there. So clicking draft mode for now and off to the studio to clean up my mess and make a new mess. Ta Ta
Several hours later....I'm back. A few items to share. One failed attempt at my canvas pleater board. The pleats are not deep enough and some ended up bigger than others etc. So back to the drawing board on that. I've got a plan. So after I decided to give up on that and move on I cleaned a bit and then did a little work.
In the center I did a book cover with my digital art paper and then added some dyed organza overlay with a little fabric collage and hand stitching. There it is. Stitching did make it into todays work. On the left yesterdays faux endbands with brown twill tape and grey bias binding with elastic cord as the filler. Nice and round. I think I will hand stitch over the cord area to add more of a decorative touch and see if they end up looking like real endbands. This of course is purely decorative hence the word faux. They are fake. In case you don't know real endbands are sewn into the the book structure by hand on the book spine and into the signatures. But modern books that you get today have faux ones glued in. I'm going to learn how to do the real ones at some point. That is if I ever do a big rounded spine case bound book etc.
Continuing with this pic I did some playing around with little pamphlet stitched books and did a cover with a digital paper that I made. And look! there are speaks of blue in that digital paper. Go figure! The cardboard is recycled from my kitchen. I have been saving cereal boxes, tea boxes, protein bar boxes etc. you get the point. That stuff is good for making light weight art journals. And my pleated linen from yesterday made the shot and I love it so I will be doing more experimenting with that. OK it's time to say goodnight and go make some diner. Later Peeps.
Today I'm going back to yesterdays list to work on faux endband ideas and stitched book spines. And of course I'm adding to my to do list as well. Today's list which is really some things I need to do and some things I want to try.
1. Make a pleater board for stitching. (probably use canvas or heavy paper) you can also make quick ones out of freezer paper. They don't last as long but hey you can always make another.
2. Tea and coffee dye some floss and maybe do some greys also. So fire up the dyepots. It's hot out so this may or may not happen.
3. Maybe do a stitch sampling of embroidery stitches that I don't use often. Running stitch, seed stitch, backstitch, satin stitch, long and short are the stitches I use most often. So try and find something new that I might like.
4.This is a want to learn more about Item: Hand Smocking, not for dresses but for book spines. I think that could be really interesting. Will it make it into my 30 day window? Maybe....
Well, I could keep adding to this list but I've got to get to the studio and get some work done. My cup of tea is gone and I need another cup of course and then I'm off.....I'll be back with pics later.
Well, not alot of pretty pics for you today. I started on my pleating board but it's not finished and honestly it could be better. A little wonky so far. I did start on some book spine ideas. Got out my pintuck foot and double needle. So I have a pic of that. Also started on some faux endbands sewn with my bulky foot and elastic cord and wool cord. I'll post those tomorrow. I found that binding tape works really well with no ripples when you round it as if it were going on a book spine. More on that tomorrow. Time for dinner so I'll leave you with my linen sewn pintucks. And my Bernina played nice today with the straight stitch. Good thing because that is the only machine I have pintuck and bulky feet for.
Over the years I've collected quite a few feet for that machine and they were not cheap. Anyone that owns a Bernina knows what I'm talking about. They are like little pieces of jewelry. They are very well made but you pay thru the nose for them. That is the nice thing about the Juki it takes high shank and you can use industrial feet on it which are so much more affordable. But with no zigzag on that machine you can't do double needle sewing with it. So hang in there my 1090s please hang in there.
Still going....on todays to do list as I'm writing right now before I head upstairs to the studio....what do I want to put on that list? I've been thinking about stitched book spines for my art journals so that will be first I think.
1. Stitched spines
2. More pages
3. Stitched decorative endbands or faux endbands
4. Singer sewn bindings (they call it that but any good sewing machine will do)
5. Pamphlet Stitch (looked it up for fun). "The pamphlet stitch is a simple binding often used to bind chapbooks. Chapbooks are. inexpensively made booklets, originally sold by “chapmen” door-to-door and village-to-village." Never heard of Chapbooks have you? Ok now I have to look up Chapbooks.
"In a nutshell, chapbooks are teeny books. Merriam-Webster defines them as a small book containing ballads, poems, tales, or tracts. They are collections of poems, stories, or an experimental mix of both. Chapbooks usually hover in the range of 20–40 pages and are more affordable purchases to their novel counterparts."
Well, I think I like Chapbooks. You learn something new everyday. They sound really cool to me.
Pamphlet stitch could actually go under the heading of bookbinding not stitching but hey it's my challenge and I can bend the rules anyway I want. The same with Singer sewn bindings. It's all stitching to me. Ok I need to go work and I'll be back later with pics to see if I actually do anything on this list.
I'm back and I didn't get to everything on my list today. I did work on more pages and I did some pamphlet stitch. I worked on more collage and hand stitched a seed pod that I found in my nature box. I sealed it with matt medium which worked great. I'm starting to put signatures together for the art journals. I worked on covers some more. The free form stitched figure with trees was working out well but my machine skipped some stitches on the top stitching so that's a redo to go on my list. I did it with my Singer 201 and I was really surprised when she balked at the thick corners. Usually that machine loves to stitch thick. I'm going to try it again with the new Juki TL-18QVP Haruka which is suppose to go thru layers like butter. So I'll put it to the test.
My beloved Bernina 1090s is still going after 22 years of use but the stitch dial is starting to act out. I'm worried because I have never loved a machine and used a machine as much in my life. I'm super attached to her. She is my go to for free form embroidery. Luckily that is still working great but today when I was straight stitching on paper and a few other times as well I would turn the dial for a longer stitch and nothing would happen. Eventually after messing around with it she came around but I'm worried about her circuit board. As long as she keeps working for free form I can use other machines for straight stitching. Fingers crossed she holds on. I can do free form on other machines even my treadles but I prefer her. The Juki does free form well I'm told but I have not tested that machine out for that yet. Guess I will have to do that soon. Looks like I got off on a tangent about machines. Ok here are my pics for the day.
Moving right along. A free form stitched bird cut from a piece that just wasn't working for me. But now I'm finding elements that I liked so cut, cut, cut and recycle some work. Having made many art quilts in the past I have no issues with cutting things up. I always loved that part of quilting. The deconstruction/reconstruction aspect of it was always something I loved doing. Collage has that same process that I'm drawn to. I also cut up paintings on paper, fabric, and raw canvas. Using a mat frame as a window is a great way to find sections that you want to isolate and cut out. Then the scraps from that go into a bin for later collage work. No waste. I'm big on no waste. Even the smallest pieces can find a place in a new work.
Recycling during this process of the 30 day challenge is a great help to get things flowing. No staring at a blank page just digging in to my scraps. After I find a few items that I think have potential then I start putting colors that work together and threads etc. I usually stitch with natural tones and lots of grey tones. Maybe I'll try stitching with colors that I never use to see what happens. As a previous Indie Dyer I have used every color that I could possibly come up with but in my work over the last few years I have a preference for more earthy subdued colors. It's just what feel rights for me. I dyed enough blue to last a lifetime so I don't use it often in my stitching but now that it has been a several years since I closed that business maybe I'm not so sick of blue anymore. Hmm...I'll have to think about that. I use blue/greys and Payne's grey is a go to color for me. Can't function without Payne's grey. I have it in watercolor, oil, acrylic I think. It's the first color I look for when buying new paints. Ok I'm getting off subject so that tells me it's time to get going. Catch ya later.
A little drawing with some collage elements in progress. Wabi-Sabi style canvas which has Japanese paper mounted to it for texture and white paint. I'll probably hand stitch the collage to the canvas with linen. Also that rusty bit is a crackle dyed velvet that I found in my stash. I love it. I dyed that years ago and the color has not faded at all. Cool. It will make it's way into something soon. Later Peeps.
Day 3 and I'm still digging around in my fabric and paper bins. So far so good. This exercise is making me use up scraps from the past which I find very gratifying. When I sit at my work table I think rather than start with a fresh fabric or paper I want to see what I have that I can use. So I'm sorting and making stacks to choose from and pulling items off my inspiration wall too. That board is so covered that I'm finding things hidden underneath layers that I totally forgot about. Digital papers, painted organza, Watercolor papers, a card wrapped with a yummy bark like silk/cotton blend that I want to try stitching with and the list goes on.
For years I would put this or that on the wall or in a bin not really knowing what it would become if anything but now that I'm looking at these objects of making in a new light they just may make it into a final piece of art of into a art journal page. These art journals that I'm working on are perfect for those little bits. I often call them little experiments. Now I'm feeling like they are finding a permanent home instead of just hanging on my wall or overflowing in my baskets. As I continue with this process there will be new items put in the shop which is really the goal. My shop as been sort of on hold while I was recovering from my surgery so I'm excited to get going again and start loading it up with new work. Onward and upward.....
Ok so I'm off to a good start with this daily practice. Working on paper and collage with stitching and stitching little scraps of linen that I have in baskets all over the studio. I'm just working with what is close at hand. I love using up those small bits that are here and there. I found some hand dyed velvet that dates all the way back to graduate school. That's twenty two years ago and it still looks great. That is in the basket photo above. The color had not faded at all. Maybe being in the bottom of the bin helped with that. I have these bins full of pieces of fabric from my art quilt days. Maybe I should make up some kits for sale to share them with others. Need to put that on my long to do list. Also working on some journal pages and I found a little tree I stitched about 2 years ago in a pile. Does that count? It's amazing what you can find when you clean up the studio a bit.
I'm doing an experiment. It's called 30 days of....
Thirty days of what you might be asking? Well, it could be many things. I've added a counter on the right.This is going to be a daily practice. I'm starting with stitching. It can be hand stitching or machine. Using small pockets of time and just playing in the studio. Sort of like doing thumbnail sketches but with needle and thread. Other ideas for the 30 day count down could be mark making, drawing, painting, collage, art journal pages, small tapestries, print making, etc.
I'm doing this to help give myself some deadlines. A challenge to myself to work on these little concentrated exercises and do a quick post about them. I have hopes that it might help me post more on a regular schedule etc. I need deadlines to help me get things done. And it is a great way to use small windows of time better. It's not about making a finished work. It's more of an exploration within one discipline for 30 days. I will have to see where it takes me. So now I'm off to the studio to work and at some point carve out a window for some stitching. I'll be back with Pics.
Artist and maker living and working in the beautiful state of Pa.