November 29, 2004
I'm so glad that's over
We moved almost all the furniture in the school and stashed it in crazy places (I wish I'd thought to take a picture of the men's shower while it was full of easels), painted all the rooms, installed our artwork for one measly day, then took all the art down and moved all the furniture back. A colossal pain in the arse.
But the opening reception was packed, people had a good time, drinks were cheap, I got my ego stroked a LOT. True to form, I finished the speaker wire dress an hour before the reception started (hey, that's not last minute! I had an hour to spare), and the piece was a huge hit; I thought people might not be able to tell what the sound was, and that maybe the significance of the piece in the context of the other works I showed might not be apparent, but pretty much everyone who came and talked to me about my work wanted to talk about that piece. Here's a picture of Garth (the Rock Star) getting down with the sound.
I won't post pictures of the art right now; later this week I'll put together a page with some installation shots. Instead, here are a few of my favourite pics from the reception:
There's my friend Isis on the left, running back and forth between my vinyl panels. And on the right, Mita and Greg providing a nice action shot of one of my skull 'n' bones pocket purses (want one? you can get it at pixie fashions! How's that for some shameless advertising?)
My dad came down for the show, and he brought me this giant zucchini from his garden, which I went around telling everyone was my graduation gift.
The opener and Guinness are there to show how incredibly huge my present is.
Mom and Lynne brought me a bottle of what looked like a normal, local merlot, but last night I noticed that it looks kind of funny:
Can you see it? It looks like there's glitter in the wine! I thought it might just be light on the bottle but it seems to move around, and pool when the bottle lies still. I might have to open it right away and see if the glitter is really there. It's pretty, anyway.
The Marxist-Leninist Party Club gave me this lovely, appropriately coloured flower.
And speaking of red, here's what I'm doing today:
Rolling huge balls of red yarn—see how they dwarf my gigantic zucchini? I know rolling balls this way is bad for the yarn, but I don't have a ball winder. I do have a birthday coming up, though. (shameless) I plan to have a look at the stash this week and resume work on some of the projects that I had to put aside to get ready for this show, but first, I'm starting Rogue. Finally!
November 24, 2004
Credit where credit is due
There are some people I need to thank.
Garth Rennie is a freaking Rock Star. He helped me to make a recording of the sound my hands make while knitting (okay, helped is an understatement. I did the knitting and he did everything else). When the student he had lined up to help me edit didn't show up, he took the recording home and edited it for me on his own time. I am eternally grateful.
Yesterday afternoon I went in to the gallery thinking I would be spending a few precious hours (that I really needed to spend elsewhere) lighting the work in our show. When I got there I found that the lighting was done; professor Rod Strickland had spent the morning teaching one of my fellow graduates how to properly light artwork, and they did the whole enchilada. Thanks, Rod!
This morning while I was in freak-out mode over everything I need to do in the next three days, I received an e-mail from Mandy, Knitty's technical editor, who said some really kind things about my sweater design, things she didn't have to say (it's not part of her job to boost the tender egos of new contributors, she could have just said "hey there's a mistake in your chart"). It made me feel really good, right when I needed it.
Lastly, but in no way leastly (is that a word?), my beloved Peter, who is out right now buying steel bars for me so that I can stay home and keep working (woops, not wasting time posting to the blog, don't tell him, okay?). And when he gets back he'll probably even cut it for me, because he's wonderful that way. AND he said he likes my new 80s new wave boy hairdo that I invented today, when I was sure he would come home, look at it and say it was stupid. Now if only Pete knew how to knit, I could give my fingers a break and maybe take a nap. Ah, well. Can't have everything.
Oh, and thanks Krista, for not getting pissy when I talked to you today and forgot that yesterday was your birthday. Hope it was happy. Sorry the pictures I promised aren't here, but I fell off the coffee table while trying to shoot the bedsheet girls, bounced off the stereo and lost a slab of my leg, and that kind of discouraged any more picture taking. And the pictures I did take were blurry. Tomorrow, I promise!
November 23, 2004
Why I look so tired, and why my fingers are wrapped in Band-aids
The dress is a little more than half finished.
She's looking a little lumpy, but aren't we all?
This WILL be finished by Saturday. I might have to wear gloves to the reception, though, to hide my battered hands from the sensitive art-viewing public. I'm developing calluses in the strangest places, and have had to put Band-aids on my thumbs and index fingers to keep from losing that last bit of skin I have left.
Time is running so short that I'm now dividing my days into hour-long chunks, and I'm going to have to spend fewer of those chunks sleeping, paying attention to my (very understanding) spouse and writing blog posts.
Here are the things I still need to do before Saturday:
1. Put a backing and binding on my 13 by 16 foot quilt, and machine quilt over the seams between the pieces. This should only take three hours (each quilt piece is bigger than me, so it's not as much sewing as it sounds like).
2. Trim the edges of and sew a casing into each end of seven sheets of vinyl (two hours, probably). Then go find some kind of rigid material to put in the casings to make the things hang flat when suspended from the ceiling.
3. Finish a dress that I made out of some of the canvas prints. Should only take 1/2 hour, all I need to do is take in the sides where I made it too big.
4. Finish embroidery on one canvas piece. In two hours last night I got two thirds of the embroidered lines done, but there's going to be some writing on it too. Probably another 3 hours.
5. Put grommets in five more big prints for hanging. Twenty minutes, tops.
6. Make one more piece that I can't talk about because it's a surprise for someone who might read this. But it should only take an hour.
7. Make a plinth to hide the stereo in and a framework to support the dress. Peter is going to help me with this, I'm estimating three hours.
8. Finish knitting the dress. This could take six hours, could take ten; right now it's impossible to say. Whenever my fingers, hands and forearms get too sore I'm taking breaks and working on the other things.
9. Drink many, many pots of tea. Fortunately this is something I can do at the same time as the other things, so I don't have to cut down on my tea-drinking hours.
Is that all? Except for the (*&^%$#@) wire dress, that doesn't seem so bad. Oh yeah, I forgot, then there's
10. Set up the lighting in the gallery. We're doing it this afternoon, and I expect it will take FOREVER.
11. Move all the furniture out of four drawing and painting studios, the art history room and the lunch room. Can't start this until Thursday night, when classes are over.
12. Paint the classrooms. I just found out that two of these rooms are in use by classes until 10 pm on Thursday, and they're the rooms that we absolutely have to paint that night so that the floors can be buffed on Friday. So we can't even start moving easels out of there until ten; what a pain in the arse this is going to be.
13. Install all the art. Shoot slides and digital photos while installing. I hope to spend all night Friday doing this so that on Saturday I can stay home and sleep. Will that happen? As if.
Today while torturing my fingers with wire I started thinking about making a fabulous new dress to wear to the opening reception. Somebody slap me. Hard.
Oh and did I mention that Peter and I are hosting a party after the reception, and that we have overnight guests coming from out of town, and that I arranged to meet Jennifer Angus the following morning and help her take her show down before I go take down my own work? The timing of that sucks out loud, but I really want to meet her so I'm going to try and not get too drunk so it will be easier to drag my arse out of bed on Sunday.
Oh! Here's some exciting news that in my deadline-addled state I almost forgot about: I found out that my secret sweater pattern will be included in the winter Knitty! Whee! This will be my first time published. As soon as the issue comes out, I'll be able to (finally) post a picture of the finished sweater.
After this exhibition is over and taken apart, I have a hot date with this:
Presuming my fingers are healed by then, on Nov. 29 I get to start Rogue. Oh, happy day.
November 22, 2004
Because I can't be arsed to take pictures of anything new today, here's something old
While I was frantically searching the house for my 1/8" grommets (I didn't find them, but now that I've gone out and bought more, and a new punch, I'm sure the old ones will turn up in a stupidly obvious place) I came across those old speaker wire socks that I made four years ago. So just for Krista, here's a picture.
Check the stripe in the cuff; that's BLUE speaker wire. Do these rock, or do they rock? Too bad no-one can get their feet into them.
Last night I finished a quilt top for my show that's 16 by 13 feet; once I get it backed and take it in to the school I'll take a picture but right now it's impossible because it's bigger than my house. That'll be two quilts in a week I've finished! See, I am the queen of working to a deadline (it's FOUR DAYS AWAY). Eek.
November 21, 2004
I can't see the difference, can you see the difference?
Who knew that you had to worry about dye lot when buying speaker wire? I got two 300 metre spools and one 150 metre spool of the stuff, and they are three different colours. On the left is the colour I started with, the smallest spool. In the middle is the colour I'm knitting with now, different but (hopefully) not disastrously so, and on the right is the very awful mauve-ish colour that I'm hoping I won't need to use. If the difference is too hard to see, take a look at what the knitting looks like at the point where the two colours meet:
Of course, I noticed that the wires don't match AFTER knitting up the first 150 metres, and since this piece needs to be finished by next Saturday, I have to just let go. Take a deep breath, centre myself, and not care. Anyway it's not like the room it will be in has really high quality lighting, maybe nobody will even see it. Maybe.
I guess the colour is just not a big concern for the stereo geeks.
On the upside, I think I'm going to have up to 300 metres of speaker wire left over, so e-mail me if you need some. jodi(AT)jodigreen(DOT)ca.
In other news, we installed the first part of our show today. Here's my piece in action.
The crazy quilt will go right in front of it, on the floor. It's all finished, look!
I'm pretty happy with the way it looks; printing it was really scary, since I only had one chance to get it right. Opaque white lithography ink is not as opaque on fabric as it is on paper, which worked out for the better here. The fact that it is subtle and the figure is not immediately apparent is a total accident, because I am just not about the subtlety. Peter says I can learn a little bit about subtlety from this and maybe use it to my advantage. But I'm not really much about the learning from my actions either; I didn't learn not to plug the toaster in while my thumb was inside until the second time I electrocuted myself that way.
November 17, 2004
I got a new tattitude
Mom, if it bothers you, just don't LOOK.
KNITTY NEW TAT!
It's joining in the round. Nothing like wearing your geekness
sticking out your sleeve.
November 16, 2004
Look what I just found on my front lawn.
Creepy. I was just talking with my studio neighbour Ellen the other day about my plan to make a page on my website to put up scanned images of the funny found letters and drawings that I have. I thought I had a strange little collection, but nothing in there is as strange as this.
I sure hope it wasn't one of the kids who hung out on my front porch all summer who drew this.
I know it doesn't look like progress. . .
I'm making pretty good time on the speaker wire dress, considering how little time I have devoted to it. It doesn't look like much now, but believe me, this bad girl is working up SO much faster since I figured out the gauge thing. Here's what it looks like now.
In keeping with the strict conventions of the genre, I'm photographing my knitting
in the garden, like all the other (cooler) knitting bloggers. Except my garden is dead.
I had to put two more squares on the end of the crazy quilt to make it long enough, so that's what I'm working on today. I'm going to try to print on it tomorrow morning, otherwise it may be too wet to put in the gallery on Sunday. It just wouldn't be like me to present work that's still wet.
(hear that sound? that would be snorts of laughter from those in the crowd who remember their wedding guests signing their names in beautiful, lovingly handbound, slightly damp books)
I have a couple of new prints too; I printed for eight hours on Thursday, but for now I'm only going to show these ones:
These are from the newer lino block; I didn't think they'd be so different from the older prints but now I see that they are. There isn't as much depth, because the lithos that I printed them on have opaque white in almost every colour so you can't see through everything. The face is really different too, the stare is a lot less direct. I'm not sure yet how to present these, since there are thirteen of the others and only two of these. Well, almost three, but I have to make new feet for the third one, because its feet were so lovely that I think I'm just going to frame them on their own and hang them in the hallway leading to the gallery. Maybe these new figures won't make it into the show at all; it's not like I won't have enough work.
Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to qpaukl's house to work on, um, a little collaborative piece. So tomorrow night, I'll have a surprise to show!
November 12, 2004
It still needs backing and binding, and the embroidery is not quite finished, but my wonky little crazy quilt is all put together.
sit on my cloth, and tell me that you love me. . .
There is Miss Gargantua, checking out the fine handiwork. Yes, she IS on a diet.
I suffer from chronic startitis. I have a big box of quilts in progress, but have only ever finished one, and only then because it was a gift for my brother and I was on a deadline. This quilt was begun years ago, before I went back to school; I dug it out last year and realized that I will never put something with this much embroidery on my bed, because I sleep with a man with whom I am constantly wrenching the blankets back and forth, and also when he's away I let the cats into the bed. It clearly had to either go to Goodwill or become an art piece. And now I have a deadline kicking my arse to get it finished: it has to go into the gallery next weekend, and the ink I'll be putting on it has to be dry, because it will be on the floor. Good thing there's no cats at the gallery to come and sit on it.
I'm planning to print one of my large lino blocks on top of it in opaque white, and a lot of this work will be covered up. In case they disappear under the ink later, here are a few of my favourite highlights:
On the left is a little radio tower that my dear friend Rob embroidered for me, back when we still lived in the same town and hung out together all the time. On the right is a piece of lace that I tatted at the funeral home, while saying goodbye to my uncle Jack. Since both of these bits are special to me I cheated and tried to put them in places that won't get covered in ink, but if they do that will be okay too, I'll still know they're there.
Right next to Rob's tower is this saucy guy:
a pink satyr! whee!
Now I have to go out to the yarn store to buy a single ball of yarn. Yeah, right.
Lose thirty inches in just six minutes!
So. After swatching the speaker wire four times on the same needle size and getting four different results, I cast on for the dress based on a gauge of three and a half stitches per inch. I'm not going to wear it anyway, but since it's supposed to stand in for my body I at least want it to be my size. After I had struggled to knit five rows, with 140 stitches bunched up super tight on my circular needle, I started to doubt my math. Then Peter said "it looks pretty scrunched on there, are you sure it isn't too big?".
So I started taking it off the needle, just to check. It was as if the knitting was enchanted, like an endless thread or that bottomless barrel of flour from the bible; it wouldn't end. It just kept coming off the needle, stretching out unbelievably huge, and there were always stitches still on the needle. We were laughing like crazy, I don't know what the heck was wrong with my swatches or how I managed to mess up so badly but I ended up with an enormous piece that I was able to put on and do the classic "after" pose with, you know, the one where the newly thin person stands inside their old pants to show how fat they used to be.
Then I measured the gauge of my messed-up piece: two stitches per inch! So I cast on 80 stitches and now the knitting is flying.
November 09, 2004
If you could see through me
Well, I probably wouldn't look like this. Here is one of the new prints on clear vinyl; it's kind of hard to photograph, I had to lay it out on the floor and climb a ladder. On the right is how it looks on canvas.
This is the same lino block as before, with the black background cut off. I saved the background piece (that's it on the right, back here).
On Thursday I'm going to try printing from that background piece, with the body missing. I've been thinking about ways to take the figure out and still have the body's absence felt; this might be too obvious a way to do it, but I have some other ideas too, and will probably have several new prints to post on Thursday night or Friday that won't have any figure at all.
The dress piece is partly about that too: the body will be absent but the textile stands in for it, and it will look like skin, and the sound component is the sound of the making of the piece and also of my body. I did some work on the dress today, and it's getting faster now that I split the wire in two. In order to do that I had to take it all off the spool, and I sat in a chair holding the two separated strands in my hands while using my feet to pull the strands apart (in a motion pretty much like that leg machine at the gym that works your adductors? abductors? I like to call it the birthing machine), drawing the two strands towards me while Peter held the wire taut and fed it to me to prevent it from doubling back on itself into a tangled mess, and stood way back in the next room, as far as he could get from me without going outside, to undo the twist that was forming in the unsplit wire. It was quite a production (did I mention we did this with 150 metres of wire? and that was the shortest spool--that's a lot of birthing machine action), I wish we'd gotten a video of it because I imagined it looking like some elaborate form of two-person weaving, only backwards. See? A good reason to get a web cam.
When knitting leaves your fingers bruised
I finally got the speaker wire for the dress, and after wasting an evening swatching and trying to cast on with it I decided to split the wire in half and knit the dress with just the copper strand. The last time I knitted with speaker wire I split it and used the two different colours separately (I made work socks, copper with silver cuff, heel and toe). So why did I think that I could get the same gauge wire (18) that I used before, and have it be just as easy to knit with the two strands attached? Uh, I was being dumbass. Trying to knit with two strands of 18 gauge wire on a 9mm circular needle is not impossible, but I was averaging about 3 stitches a minute, which means it would take me about 2000 hours to finish the piece. As if.
November 05, 2004
Beginning the countdown in earnest
All this week I've been trying to understand what motivates people to do certain things. For instance, do people really believe that bible thumping strangers on the sidewalk works? Apparently some do, because it happened to me the other day, but I find it hard to understand why they think this method is effective. Has anyone ever invited Jesus into their heart just because somebody accosted them on the street and told them to? (qpaukl says he has, but I'm pretty sure he's lying to confuse me). And why, why would so many people stand in line for three hours, IN THE RAIN, to vote for Bush? And this is the country I (think I) want to go live in, for graduate school. I try really hard not to be one of those anti-American Canadians, but how can they look like us, and talk like us (sort of) and yet be so different?
Hah! While I was writing, Peter sent me this. I wouldn't say dumb, though, but uninformed. And anyway, there are a lot of dumb people here too: Paul Martin got re-elected.
There are twenty-two days until my graduation show. I'm not very stressed out about this yet, but I will be soon, don't worry. I'm trying to buckle down and not waste so much time. I'm still finding time to spend whole afternoons arranging printing surfaces on the floor and taking pictures of them.
I did some printing today, from the linoleum block on the left. I printed it on eight sheets of clear vinyl, three pieces of canvas and some wacky 70s bedsheets. The vinyl ones are for a piece that will hang in the hallway at the upcoming show. I was going to use the bedsheet ones in a gigantic quilt that will fill a whole wall, but now that I've got a few printed that I can stand back and look at, I'm thinking maybe I'll make each one an individual quilt and bind all the edges, then attach them together somehow so they still cover the same space. This will make it more like my print piece with the thirteen figures all lined up side by side. I don't know what I'm doing with the canvas ones yet; I'm going to do some embroidery on them and see how I like it. Because I only have about fourteen or so large scale works to finish in the next three weeks, I think I'll have lots of time for embroidery.
I've put up as many prints as I can in the studio, so I can wallow in the sensory overload for a few weeks and think about all these pieces together. There's so much going on in there that I can hardly stand to be in such a small space with this work all around me.
This is only looking in one direction; there's a whole row of figures behind the camera too. It's too much.
I haven't been allowing myself to knit, except for some scarves I'm making for Artcite's holiday fundraiser, and even that I'm only allowed to knit on the bus or in meetings. Here's the one I worked on at last night's meeting:
At the rate I'm going I won't have many to sell, but it's really just meant to placate my anxious fingers, who desperately want to knit; I'm disturbed, though, that the yarns I grabbed at random out of my stash are the same colours as the two sweaters I most want to work on (the Must Have Cardigan in orange, and Rogue in red). I had to hide the Rogue yarn in a room that's been closed up for winter just so I won't touch it and black out and suddenly find myself swatching. I'm not even allowing myself to wind it into balls yet; I get to do that on November 29th, after the show is over and documented and taken down.