March 31, 2007
there must be some sort of balance between playing hard to get and coming on too strong, but i don't seem to have found it yet
I just had to show y'all this awesome thing I printed today. I burned this image onto a silkscreen way back in the fall and haven't been able to order t-shirts since. So I printed it on an overdyed bedsheet instead:
I made a bunch of small panels (only two of which are really usable, this thing is a bitch to register) for pillows, and one larger piece which will become the centre front panel of a knee-length skirt. Because "come over here and smell this" is apparently the sort of message I feel I need to have printed on the front of my skirt.
am i boring you?
I've been busy but for some reason haven't felt like I have anything to record here. I'm working on some new etching plates, and started printing one:
This is a detail of the plate: soft ground linework with tonnes of foul biting created by carrying the grounded plate around under my arm while walking Billie the dog, letting the soft ground get scuffed up and damaged by my hands. This has been etched once, and after I print it a few times I'll scrape out some areas and draw into them some more.
Here is the first print off the plate:
After the plate is reworked I'll print it again on top of this. I've also got another plate to layer in with this, plus two new shina woodblocks I ordered in the same size to layer underneath.
Some random annoyances:
I hate how flickr resizes images so that you can upload two photos that are the same size and the medium sizes are not the same. It makes my blog look all jinky. Also, I hate that the people at flickr have some sort of absurd bias against artists. While they seem to have stopped marking people's photostreams "private" if there are more artworks than photos in the stream, they have now come up with a "safe search" option that blocks images of people's art from coming up in searches. This is the default, by the way, so all you flickr users should go turn off the safe search so you can look at art. I'd love to know just what their problem is, when a lot of the people who post their art are paying for this service. Arseholes.
This morning my roommate got out of bed at 9:00 to ask me to please not make so much noise while I (quietly) washed my dishes in the kitchen. This is the same roommate who wakes me up every single night, slamming into the house between one and three a.m., banging pots, sending things crashing into the recycling box, stomping around with shoes on outside my bedroom door and watching t.v. with the volume cranked up louder than my semi-deaf relatives crank up the queen's address at xmas. It is to fucking laugh.
We had originally planned for Peter to be down here visiting me this week, but we pushed that visit back until next week so as to take advantage of the stat day next weekend. I'm so glad he's not here right now: it's pollen time, and the entire town is coated in a thick yellow dust. My eyes feel full of grit every time I bike anywhere, the piles of pollen-covered wormy-looking flower things rolling around in the streets get stirred up every time a car goes by, and the air is filled with the holiest of stenches. I hope it's settled down a bit by the time he gets here.
March 22, 2007
We got out of Athens a little later than planned yesterday and (of course) got trapped in gawdawful Atlanta traffic that set us back another two hours. We drove all night and didn't reach our hotel in Kansas City until 5 am (Central Time), and had to get up at 8:30 in order to make it to the conference hotel in time for the awards ceremony we wanted to attend. Ugh. Now we're back in our room taking a break, which means naps for my colleagues and internet time for me (yes, I'm exhausted, but even though I could easily have fallen asleep during the last panel I went to, somehow by the time we got back to the hotel I was past my tired place. Damn).
I feel like a zombie. But I got a lot of drawing done on my shirt today. I like how these markers blend.
Gallery openings tonight, and lots of 'em. So, so tired.
March 18, 2007
two things that are awesome, and one that is not
1: Betty Dodson draws the internal clitoris:
What is not awesome: midterm papers that don't write themselves. It's not like I haven't given this one ample time to do so (why do you think my website got rearranged this week? procrastination, baby!) but it seems I'm going to have to do it myself after all. Again.
March 16, 2007
in which our intrepid heroine announces some changes and asks you, the reader, for assistance
I've done some spring cleaning around the portfolio area of the website, shifting and re-categorizing and tweaking here and there. Everything that was not representative of my best work has been removed (*coughmyentirefirstyearofgradschoolcough*), and a lot of the new work has been added. The "in progress" page now features projects I am actually working on, rather than dead old sows I'd already left behind the barn to rot months ago. Click on "artwork" in the header and tell me what you think!
Next up is to update the knitting pages, and here's where I need some help from you guys: if you have knitted any of my patterns, would you be so kind as to allow me to display a photo of your finished item in my reader gallery? If I have specifically asked you before and you already gave consent, please take a look at the gallery and see if your sweater has actually made it in; I think I may have lost some things along the way. If you'd like to be included please e-mail me (email@example.com) an image a minimum of 200 pixels wide, and include your name, website url if you have one, and a description of any modifications you made to the pattern. Thanks!
I'm also working on pattern support pages for some of the designs, most notably poor Mariah who, though I love her dearly, is full of flaws. The rewritten directions for the yoke and hood will be there, as will the directions for the 33" bust size. For Durrow there will be notes on making the neck not so too-large (whoops) and also a flipped cable chart for anyone who wishes to have their sleeves be mirror-image rather than the same. Please let me know if you can think of anything else that needs to be added, or if you've experienced difficulty with any other of my patterns that I might need to address in a support page.
But wait, that's not all. I'd like to start collecting data about where and by whom my patterns are knitted; I'm not asking for personal information and this isn't material I'll publish on the web, and I promise I won't use a photo of your face (if you send me one). I've been thinking a lot, in terms of my design work as it relates to my studio work, about the value placed on these different types of creative output, and about audience. I've reached a far greater audience with my sweater patterns than I ever have (and perhaps greater than I ever will) with my studio work, and I take part, however passively, in a sort of collaborative work with everyone who uses my patterns to make a garment. These collaborations are something I'd like to start mapping for myself, and although I'm not sure yet just how (if at all) this information will end up in my artwork, I think it's a useful exercise for me at this time simply to collect it, sort it, map it. So if you have knitted (or crocheted, le's not forget I've also got a crochet pattern out there) one of my designs and would like to add your information to my collection, here are the sorts of things I'm looking for:
-which design you made, and do you wear it? any thoughts or feelings relating to the knitting of the garment, was it peaceful, enjoyable, frustrating, did you knit it during a happy time, during a sad time? Feel free to write a novella or write nothing at all, it's up to you. I'm interested in anything you have to say about the experience of knitting this garment, and of wearing it
-an image of the finished knit, and a description of any modifications you made to the pattern (this is the collaborative part)
-if you still have the printed pattern and you've made any notes on it or marked up the charts in any way, I'd love to have a copy or scan of that
-if you and I corresponded at all to discuss the pattern and you still have a copy of that correspondence, would you please forward me a copy? I did not keep any of it and now I wish I had
-something about where you live, so I can mark your area on a map; the more you wish to tell me here the better, so I can get a sense of where my little baby spiders have flown off to (yes, all of my stupid analogies come from my childhood, why do you ask? don't make me tell you about the dead sow behind the barn, okay?)
-any other information or images you're willing to share
-written permission to use what you send me in a printmaking project (if you wish to give permission for some things and not others, that's okay)
Like I said, I don't know where this will end up, perhaps on a gallery wall or perhaps simply in my filing cabinet. But if any of the information you send me ends up in a print, I will send you a print from that edition. Deal?
March 14, 2007
Sadness and worry kept me from sleeping last night, and what sleep I did manage was peppered with troubling dreams, thinking about a beloved friend, hoping she's okay and knowing that she isn't. Morning found me in a cold sweat with a migraine teasing at my forehead, demanding to be let in. I tried to go to studio but that was a bust, and after sitting on the loading dock for a while with the puppy and a cup of tea, listlessly drawing tree branches in my book while waiting for the migraine drugs to kick in, I gave up and came back to the apartment. Felt a bit better for a while in the afternoon, sitting on the patio with the dog, did a few more little drawings. I thought I might sit at the computer and work on updating the portfolio pages on my website (fuck you, migraine, I'll stare at that light if I want to) but instead fell asleep in the bath. I'm conducting a little experiment to find out just how much tea my body can hold.
Last night I stayed up late cleaning out my inbox, and in the end managed to reduce it from a horrifying 1510 messages to 54. It was a dismal experience, finding all of those things I should have responded to and didn't, realizing just what an ass I am, how lazy and inconsiderate. If you have e-mailed me in the last year for something important or something unimportant, to ask me for advice or help or to tell me how awesome I am and you never heard back from me, I'm sorry. I am not awesome. Please e-mail me again, for I am sincere in my desire to change my ways, to develop good correspondence habits and to treat people's queries and praise with more respect, to try to shed some of this constant stress, take back the time I devote to that stress and spend it paying attention to my friends instead.
I was going to write more today about my big project with the fabric and the clothes, to tell you just what I'm doing and why, but I'll leave that for now; this project is an important and exciting step forward for me and I want to talk about it when I'm feeling good. Perhaps tomorrow. For now I've got the last eighteen episodes of Naruto to watch, and an empty tea mug that needs refilling.
About the shirt thing: I may have given some the wrong impression, that I was worried what people would think about me drawing on my clothes. I was only worried what people would think about my apparent lack of concern for good hygeine if I wore the same shirt for four days in a row. But of course I'm going to do it.
March 13, 2007
thinking about projects
I haven't forgotten about Project Spectrum, I just haven't had a lot of time for projects that aren't part of my studio work, and my studio work hasn't really contained much gray and blue of late. But last week I spun up some pale gray singles for one of my fellow grads:
It's about the weight of a sock yarn, at least in the parts I was able to keep consistent.
I'm also knitting something blue, but it's a secret right now so we're not going to discuss it. I know some of you will recognize this yarn but just keep hush, okay?
Yesterday I mixed up a fiercely intense blue and added a blue layer to enough prints to fill a drying rack:
Today I'm going to be printing on some of this:
This is the fabric I dyed on Sunday; the plain ones are cotton and the florals are poly/cotton bedsheets that I overdyed. Yesterday I bought some fabric paints and I'm going to see if I can block print with them. Most of this will become clothes, and any that get too stiff with the printing will be pillows.
While shopping for fabric paint I came across something I didn't even know existed: fabric markers. Y'all, I was SO EXCITED, grabbing handfuls of them and shrieking, I can draw on my clothes just like in my books! Jessica said, you have to draw on your clothes every day. Heh. Not bloody likely, you all saw just how long printing an edition a week lasted (I'm still hoping to get back on track with that but I think Jessica has given up; it turns out that an edition of prints a week really cuts into our time for other work too much). Anyway. I'm excited about being able to just pull out a marker at any given time and draw on my clothes while I'm wearing them, and it'll be interesting to see the patterns of where the drawing pools in the areas I can easily reach (left sleeve, shirt hem, fronts of skirts). The whole purpose of dying and printing these fabrics and making these clothes is to use wardrobe as another way to make my art and my everyday life a seamless whole, so drawing on my clothes makes perfect sense, and also means that I can make some of my existing clothes be a part of my project, rather than just setting myself up for more sewing than I really have time for right now.
So, I'm thinking about this: I am going to a printmaking conference next week and it is four days long. Would it be offensive to take one nice white, 3/4 sleeve, button down shirt and wear it every day so that I can draw on it during the conference and have the drawings grow as the week goes on? My skin is on the dry side and I don't really sweat all that much, and I wear undershirts (really, I don't get stinky, and I usually wear an undershirt two days in a row without problem, which some might find gross but I challenge those people to carry all of their laundry to the laundromat in a backpack on their bicycle for a few months and then tell me what's too gross to wear again). I could probably find time on Tuesday to crank out four a-line skirts out of the new fabrics I just dyed and have a uniform of sorts to wear, and then people would start to recognize me (hey there's the girl who keeps drawing on her clothes). I think that would be a lot of fun, but do you think people would find the shirt thing offensive? (and, should I care? because I kind of don't).
March 11, 2007
feast or famine
You can't shut me up all of a sudden.
Even though I have a lot of work I want to get done, since it's spring break I'm taking things a little easier than usual and only worked five hours in the studio today. I did three separate dyebaths each with both plain cotton fabric and pieces of old flowered bedsheets, orange, teal, green. Later this week I will print on some of them: I'm going to try to figure out how to silkscreen (and perhaps also block print) with dye, as well as just running some of the fabric through the press while I do my regular printing with oil-based inks. The fabrics that come out stiff will become pillows, the softer ones, clothes.
I also put together a few more books, and now have enough to last me until the end of the semester all stacked up waiting for their covers. Here's what some of the pages look like:
Some of these will be a lot easier to draw in than the book I chose to work in first. I'm going to be making my knitting notes in these as well, all part of my big project to fully integrate my art, my knit and design work, the things I make to wear and for my home, and my everyday life. I used to always carry a hand bound book around to write notes in and when I got bored with bookbinding I fell out of that habit.
unrelated: Billie (the dog I'm babysitting) and I found a path today that cuts straight through the woods from the engineering building (which is right next to my studio) all the way to the family and graduate housing. So when I move in there next year I won't even have to walk on the road at all to get to studio. Woo!
further unrelated: daylight savings time is a stupid idea. It takes days to recover from the shift, and I resent having my week off, in which I need to be extra productive, messed up just so that the American capitalist machine can make a buck off all the extra shopping people will do just because we all switched our clocks three weeks earlier than normal.
also: you know that feeling you get behind your eyes on hot summer days when the sun is high, high in the sky at that angle that makes everything black appear to be red when you stare at it? It's pretty unsettling to have that happen in March when you're used to it only happening in July. This twelve hundred miles closer to the equator is the thing that makes this place feel the least like home.
I suppose if my goal is for my art and my life to be one seamless whole then a regulated amount of kvetching about my life does, in fact, belong here in this journal. Gah. This is why I try not to make resolutions: you see how long they'd last. Mere hours. In fact, mere hours minus one, since I didn't remember to reset the clocks until four-thirty-feels-like-three-thirty in the afternoon. And why is it that as soon as I realized I'd lost an hour, I fell asleep? And when the clock says three-thirty and you change it to four-thirty, at what time is it then proper to have your tea?
talking without thinking, again
On re-reading yesterday's post I realize that perhaps I made it sound as if I'm ungrateful for the friendship I've gained here; that's not at all the case. What I meant when I said "I don't want that" was the self absorbtion and the diaristic wanking which I so easily fall into. The online community I've become a part of here is something I most definitely DO want, I just want for my contributions to have more substance and less whining.
To Mary, my cousin and dear friend: I'm sorry that I missed your birthday last Wednesday. I even had it written in my day planner so I would remember to write you, but that day was the climactic moment in the tragic little novella that was my week, and I was too caught up in stress and agony to think of you. It all got better, though, and I hope you had a wonderful day.
Here are the first three pages from the first of my new sketchbooks:
The pages in this particular book are quite heavily printed already but they won't all be like that. I wanted to start with a really crazy looking one to challenge myself to find things to draw in all of that mess already on the page.
March 10, 2007
the longer i stay away, the harder it is to come back and write here
the all about me stuff
I wanted this web page to be a creative journal and a place to record my work in progress and my thoughts around that work, but when people started reading it and leaving me nice comments and becoming my friends and stroking my tender ego, somehow it turned into just another self absorbed diaristic wank session. I don't want that, and so when I have a week as rotten and stressful and unproductive as last week was, I'm going to do my best to just avoid this place rather than fall into the bad old habit of wanky autolocution. So, forget last week like it never happened; I'm just going to pretend that the transition between Peter's visit and spring break was seamless. And this week will be productive, and I will have things to say.
I'm babysitting a dog this week for a faculty member, so even though I'm spending the entire spring break working in the studio (and writing an art history midterm paper) it feels like a holiday because I get to stay in someone else's place and shake up my routine. Oh, the wonderful sleeps I'm going to have with no roommates coming home in the middle of the night and waking me up with the slamming doors and clonky shoes! That alone is worth cleaning up a week's worth of doggy poop.
the studio stuff
One of my goals for this semester was to do away with all of the ugly, horrible prints that I started during my first year of grad school, when I was floundering around miserably and ruining everything I touched (I was really grateful for that project grant at the time, but looking back I realize that having a free thousand dollars worth of paper made me reckless with it, and I have an entire print drawer packed full of wasted paper). Today I cut up a large portion of those prints (slightly more than half) and started making small books out of them. I'm going to start carrying them around instead of the moleskine to draw in. I put together eight or nine books today and cut and folded paper for about a dozen more; none have covers yet but I brought one home with me anyway to start drawing in. Each book has twenty two-page spreads and I'm going to shoot for filling a book each week.
I forgot to take any pictures of the (almost) finished books, but here's the before shot:
In the morning I'll put up some scans of the three pages I drew tonight.
Tomorrow I'm going to dye a big pile of fabric that's later going to be printed and made into clothes. I'm also going to etch my big copper plate this week, and finish up a bunch of print editions that have been left hanging for a while (an edition a week has fallen by the wayside, but I'm going to be caught up and a little bit ahead by next week, which is another week off because we're leaving Wednesday morning for the Southern Graphics conference.
the wonderful friends I have
Mama E sent me this lovely gift in the mail, some merino (my favourite!) to spin and a bag to carry my knitting in (it's the one from her shop that I wanted, too, and she knew without asking that this was the one I would like best). Thanks, Erin! I'm torn between greedily spinning up this fibre right away and setting it aside until I get a little better, especially with plying. I'll probably end up going with option #1, because I'm not very good at being patient.
And look how beautifully Margene's colourway co-ordinates with that quilt that I (ahem) haven't worked in in a long, long time. Receiving this fibre actually inspired me to get the quilt out from under the pile of prints and do some sewing on it. I wish I hadn't decided to do this thing by hand (see above re: patience, and me not having any).
the knitty stuff
I have lots of knitty show and tell just as soon as either my life quiets down to where I can take some time off (and thus be home during daylight photography hours) or the sun starts coming up earlier so I can get some decent photos before my 8 am bike ride to studio. I've got a Wicked sweater that y'all probably didn't even know I was making that's been languishing on the nearly-finished pile (right on top of Forecast) for a couple of weeks. I've got a couple of other sweaters on the go as well, but of course we're already past wool sweater weather in Georgia, so those may get tossed aside for a while yet. I got a good chunk of the spring Interweave lace nightie completed during Peter's visit, and hope to be finished and wearing it by the time he comes again. I'm at the part where I have to do some math, though, since I don't really want the deeply plunging back that we don't get to see a photo of.
Here is something I think I can show you now:
Two spring designs I did for JCA Crafts; the one on the left is Artful Yarns Flora, the one on the right Artful Yarns Marine. (photos courtesy JCA Crafts)