October 29, 2004
I've been busy
In between working the last minute Hallowe'en rush in the party store (what makes people think we're still going to have a fabulous costume for them when they come in two days before the holiday to look for one? And how many Freddy Kruegers does one town need, really?) I've managed to get a good deal of work done. On Wednesday I made some prints from the newest lino block.
Now that I see it printed, it doesn't seem quite as confrontational as the other images, because the figure is contemplating herself rather than staring out at the viewer. But Daniel (my main adviser) thinks it's more confrontational because of the open legs and splayed crotch. I'm just going to leave them on the wall and think about them for a while.
In the one on the right you can really see the depth of the layers in the black, which is usually impossible to photograph although it's present in all of the prints. Because I put so many images on top of one another there's a lot of stuff that gets buried, but at certain angles you can see remnants of those lost images because they're more glossy than the areas with fewer layers of ink. Knowing that most of it is going to be buried under black anyway has really freed me up to go crazy with ugly colours in my lithographs.
The lithos I did today are pretty ugly; here's a few of the better ones:
This one I like, so I'm going to put it aside for a while and not print on it anymore.
These two definitely need more ink.
I can hardly stand to look at them right now, the image is so frou-frou and decorative that it's making me mental, but later on I'll put a hard-edged layer of something dark over it and hopefully whip it into shape.
I also met with Garth today and listened to the recording we did last week. It sounds great but I need to listen to it a few more times and figure out what I want to do with it. The main sound is the knitting needles clanking, and it's pretty harsh, and you can hear the fibre squeaking over the needles. Then there's the sound of my arm rubbing against my clothes,and my bracelets clanking. This sound gave me the creeps because I had just been talking to Peter about how the basement of the Comm Studies building, where we did the recording, is like a rabbit warren that I always get lost in and because of all the dead ends and the industrial noise of the building it reminds me of Kafka's story The Burrow, in which the little creature in the burrow can always hear, through the earth, the sound of some Other, burrowing ever closer. Then I went over and listened to the recording and behind the knitting it sounds just like little animals digging. Creepy. It doesn't really relate conceptually to the piece I'm using it in though, so I might have to try to minimize that part of the sound.
And lastly, it seems I'm finally just about ready to graduate: our show has a name, and an invitation.
October 26, 2004
Finally, an FO
The secret sweater is finished! Here's a peek:
I wore it yesterday, even though it was sunny and 17 degrees.
Now that that's out of the way, I need to concentrate on studio work. I'm not allowed to start a new knitting project until after my grad show. It's hard, I really want to start Rogue right away but I don't have the time; I had to put the red yarn I'm making it with in one of the spare rooms so I can't see it and be tempted by it.
Today I am cutting the rest of this lino block.
I'm shooting to print it tomorrow afternoon. It's halfway there, and smaller than the other blocks so I think I can finish it in a few hours. So by tomorrow night I should have some new prints to show.
October 22, 2004
Today I went into the recording studio and recorded the sound of knitting. Man, they have some kick-arse gear in that place, but I went in there with some goofy delusions. I kind of thought I'd be behind glass, with headphones, like a rock star. I guess I watched too many videos in the 80s, Do they know it's Christmas, you know.
Instead it was just a room, the mics were set up right there where I was sitting at the table and I knitted with them pointing at my hands. I didn't get to hear the results yet but Garth seemed pretty happy with what we got and he's the expert (he got to wear headphones).
I was surprised at how bad my knitting got when I was just concentrating on the sound; now I think it's best that I didn't wear headphones because that would have created too much distance between me and my hands, and I would have messed up even more. I was dropping stitches, splitting yarn, it was a mess. And the unbroken rhythm of really quick stitching that I can usually maintain forever just wasn't happening; stage fright I guess. Microphones have always made me nervous. Still I think that's going to work better for this piece in the end. I also became acutely aware of my breathing, my swallowing and the gurgling of my stomach, and hopefully some of those sounds will be there too.
For anyone who cares (read: geeks), for the recording I used 4.5mm straight aluminum needles (really noisy clanky ones), and a lambswool/nylon blend that's nice and squeaky (20sts/26rows=4").
So. This weekend I am weaving in ends and blocking the secret sweater, then I'm working on this:
I need to finish the embroidery and get all these squares sewn together in the next week or so. It should be doable, there's only 18 squares. Three guesses what I'm going to print on it.
October 21, 2004
A little quickie
The secret sweater is oh! so! close to being finished. Today I finally got my submission in to Knitty, a little late but better than never; Amy said she likes it so far so hopefully they'll accept it (crossing my fingers). All I have to do now is finish the last of the hood, put it together and block it and take photos. If Knitty decides not to publish it, I'll publish it here on my website instead; I know my Aunt Mary Lou at least wants to make one.
Then I can get back to my real work; there are only four weeks left until my grad show. Yikes!
October 15, 2004
Today I put a second colour on the 46 lithos I started last week. There are about three or four on brand-new handmade paper, and the rest are all overtop of other prints. For a first colour some have yellow, some lime green and some pink; today I put either orange or blue on top of that. I do colour pretty much by the seat of my pants, and usually choose what colour to use based on what I think will look most hideous (which, I guess, is why so much of my work gets cannibalized). Here's a peek at how a few of them look so far:
(yellow and orange)
(lime green and blue)
(this one has three colours in the new image: pink, orange and blue)
I know, they're all pretty hideous right now; not to worry. This image is pretty out of control, with all the fanciful knitty bits floating around everywhere, but rest assured it will bend to my will in the end. Most of these prints will end up underneath my big black cutouts anyway, probably only three or four will be "finished" enough to keep.
I also went through some of the grandparents' stuff tonight, and on closer inspection most of the cameras are not that good (a few are actually quite crappy).
The one on the bottom right looks interesting, it's old and heavy, and must be all metal inside. Which I guess means that, if it still works at all, it will behave like the old Iloca of my dad's that I have, and not want to work properly if it gets too cold, or too warm. The coolest one is definitely the one that says "majestic" on the lens; it has almost no parts! The shutter release is a lever connected right to the shutter, no middleman. I don't think I can get film for it, but maybe I can substitute something that doesn't quite fit, if I just take it into the darkroom to get the film out. Man, I wish I actually knew something about cameras. I know I didn't need any more Polaroids.
That one that says Kodak Teledisc has film in it, and there are some pictures left.
There were also tons of scissors, but this was the only truly cool pair.
What the heck do you cut with those?
And here is what may be the biggest treasure of all:
I remember my Granddad used to talk about the craftsmen in India, where he served for a while right after WWII. He told me a couple of times about a pair of nail clippers he commissioned, handcrafted, for pennies. They just don't make nail clippers like those anymore, that guy was a master craftsman, nobody puts that much effort into their work nowadays, there's no concern for craftsmanship. So when Granddad died I asked to have the clippers but nobody knew where they were or if they still existed. Now that my grandmother has sold the house, I guess these turned up, but are they the actual, mythical, handcrafted-in-India-you-don't-find-work-like-that-anymore-clippers? Who knows. Likely the only reason they were in an envelope with my name on it is because I like scissors and they are kind of scissors-y. They are old, though.
Nail clippers. This is the kind of thing I spend my Friday nights worrying about, when I could be out having a pint, or getting some work done. Thank whatever deity that Peter will be back in town tomorrow, he won't let me jack around all night blogging and taking photos of old junk.
October 13, 2004
Tonight I went to qpaukl and Tamara's place, where qpaukl filled my star tattoo with green. Here is what it looks like right now, bloody bits and all:
I'm hoping the green will lighten up a bit as it heals; it should be lime. It's already a lot lighter than it was when we started, so I think it'll be all right. I got smart this time too, and we did the stars on the back of my leg first. . .because they hurt the most, ow!
Don't ask what contortions I had to perform to get the plants in the background like that. Those are the water hyacinths that Daniel gave me, and I'm going to try keeping them alive indoors all winter. They've been flowering like crazy, but it's just now starting to get cold at night, so we'll see.
October 12, 2004
After a long weekend of constant family time and glutting ourselves on Thanksgiving dinner THREE times, I'm home, and a little fatter, and the secret project is almost done. It's to the point where I can try it on and it looks like a sweater. Now my cousin wants one for her daughter, so once I finish it I need to size the whole thing down for a child.
My grandparents sold their house recently and moved into a retirement home, and when I got to my dad's for Thanksgiving he had boxes and boxes of booty from their place for me. There are several cameras in there, I haven't even counted them yet, but there's two Polaroids, a Brownie Holiday Camera, a super 8 camera (now I have two of those, so I guess I'd better make a movie or something), a couple of decent looking 35 mm cameras of godknowswhat make, plus some old cheap automatics from the 70s. Some of them I can still get film for. Who knows if any of them still work, though. There are also a lot of scissors, which I have a thing for. And piles and piles of slides and negatives from when my stepmother was a kid. I can't even go through all of this stuff right now, it's too much. Most of it is still sitting out in the car. Maybe tomorrow I'll post some pictures; this amount of loot must be seen to be believed.
I managed to get in six hours of printing before leaving town for the weekend, and put the first colour of a new image on somewhere between 30 and 40 prints (the way I work, I keep printing on top of old images, so on some of these prints it was the first press run, and on others it was the 15th or 20th). Here's a picture of the image on the stone, ready to print a second colour:
Can't tell what it is? That's okay. It'll be clearer later. I took a slide of an older work (this one), projected it onto my body, took a digital photograph, printed it out in black and white and transferred it onto the stone. The white diamonds that look knitted were burned out of the black background of the image with a bit of knitted cotton soaked in a strong acid tint and laid on the stone. I did this just to show one of Daniel's intro lithography students how to do it, but I like how it echoes the row of diamonds crossing the body in the original image; I pretty much make art by the seat of my pants anyway so using a work in progress to teach someone a technique won't matter too much.
Here's a swatch I did today for another work in progress:
I'm knitting a dress out of speaker wire; I've knit with it in the past and it's a real bitch. The swatch took about fifteen minutes to do, and it's a little uneven, but there are some tricks to making the wire work up evenly and loosely enough not to bind on the needles. It's not very flexible but no-one has to wear it, it's just going to be on a plinth. Next week I'm doing some recording so that I can have sound playing through it in the gallery. I think I'm going to have this ready for my grad show at the end of November. I think.
October 01, 2004
If procrastinating is productive, is it still procrastination?
Okay, so I don't quite have my lino block ready to print today. That's okay, the car had to go into the shop so I wouldn't have had any way to bring the honking big thing in to school anyway. It's really close to being done, it'll be ready for next week for sure, and I'll have new prints to show.
What have I been doing with my time when I should have been giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome cutting linoleum? Writing those two papers that are due on Wednesday? Yeah right!
I dyed this boring pale gray yarn a lovely scarlet:
Now of course I want to drop everything and start swatching with this stuff. It's going to be this, but I'm not allowing myself to start it until the end of October. I have slides to shoot and proposals to write, charts to draw and a sweater to finish, and all my deadlines are on the same day. So I have to apply some self control, which is not really something I'm good at.
I also took some photos of a whole pile of new prints, and I'm trying to create a works in progress page to put them on for the website. It's going to be slow, because I'm trying to prove that I can make the page all by myself instead of hounding my fabulously talented and patient spousal equivalent to do it for me. Hah! Three days ago I couldn't even get a picture onto my blog by myself, so we'll see how soon this new page appears. I'm shooting for next Wednesday (did I mention I had papers due? that's always my cue to start a new side project).