Monday, January 7, 2019

Spin and Stitch Workshop

Some wonderful nubby threads made by Raquel R.

This past weekend, I team-taught a wonderful new workshop called, Spin and Stitch: Make Your Own Thread to Stitch (at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA). This is the first time in the fiber department that two teachers worked together to design a workshop. Sylvia De Mar and I have had this in the works for over a year. It was such a great success, that we hope that there will be other opportunities within the fiber department, and maybe even beyond, to work on rich collaborations. I hope that you enjoy the photos of what we did.

The spindle and some fibers.
On Day #1, Sylvia taught the class (and me too!) how to spin with a supported spindle. She provided us with a colorful selection of hand-dyed (by her) fibers including wool, silk, cotton and a synthetic.

A selection of fibers to spin.
For me it took a bit to understand the rhythm of twisting the fibers and releasing so that the twist traveled further up the fiber. It was a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. But eventually, it seemed a bit more natural. Here are a couple of the students spinning...

And here are some of the threads that we spun...

On Day #2, I had students use their threads to create a sampler (though some jumped right in to work on an art piece) and an expressive art piece. I suggested some tricks for working with our "wonky" threads. I have to say the "wonkiness" really appealed to me...especially making French Knots.

French knots in my sampler.

I provided a selection of hand woven fabric scraps, tulle, and two types of cheesecloth for students to play with. I also supplemented with yarns and pearl cotton threads.

Tulle explosion!

Here are the expressive and colorful! Some samplers....

Ann Z.

Peggy G.

Ruthie B.

Andrea B.

Sylvia D.
Sharon G.
Expressive art pieces...

Raquel R.
Susan P.
Susan P.
Ruthie B.
Sharon G.
Jamie F.
Ann Z.
Peggy G.
Sylvia D.
Gail S.
Gail S.

If you live in the Washington DC area, Sylvia and I are talking about holding the workshop again this summer...stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Start of a New Year and New Intentions

It's been quite a long time since my last post. I had high hopes for a number of posts about this past year. But the holidays, commissions and gifts and an addiction to the ease of Instagram sort of got in the way!

This year, I have a new intention...I intend to get back into a regular blog-posting practice. I am shooting for a post a week to keep you up-to-date with what is going on with me artistically and with my classes.

The photo collage above is a great summary of this past year! Happily, lots of stitching took place including the wrapping up of a special project...the Textile Museum Muse Project. In this project, twenty of my students spent several months having the opportunity to view amazing textiles from the Textile Museum's collection--use them as inspiration and create some amazing original works. I put together an hour-long program about the project to share with my fiber guild in June. The works were simply amazing! In October, I started a second go 'round...more of a class format where we meet once a month. The works are progressing beautifully and we have the big reveal at the end of January...can't wait.
Ancient Aliens: Inspired by an ancient Peruvian tunic

This was also the year that I started the Scissors and Stories Project...starting with a piece featuring scissors that belonged to my maternal grandmother. I put the word out and got an amazing response from people who have a special connection to a pair (or pairs) of scissors that have a family story. I recently put the breaks on this project, but plan to slowly but surely continue work on it. My piece also became the centerpiece for an article for Quilting Arts magazine (Aug/Sept 2018 issue). In the article, I take you step-by-step through the process of how I created the piece.

Inside Nanny's Sewing Basket: Three Pairs, One Ornate

Perhaps the biggest creative breakthrough for me in 2018 really started at the very end of 2017! I started selling rolls of hand painted cheesecloth and was challenged to show people how it could be used with hand stitching. I focused on layering fabric scraps on wool felt or wool fabric, adding the cheesecloth and couching threads to hold everything together. Over this year, the collages and layers have become more involved and started me on a series of tree (tree of life) works. I rounded out the year making a series of cellphone and talisman pouches using some of the same techniques.
Night Bloom
Talisman pouches

Cellphone pouches

This new direction continues to appeal to me and I can see that there will be more art works with layers of sheers, cheesecloth and stitching for 2019!

Also look for new classes and workshops starting this coming weekend with a collaborative Spin and Stitch workshop...spinning our own threads to stitch with! I'm very excited about the potential!

So...I'm pressing the restart button and plan to make this blog a weekly habit. Hope you will stop by weekly to see what's new!

Happy New Year and hope that this year is full of happy creative adventures!