Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Color is the Mississippi?

Just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten to keep you “in the loop,” here is my Sally (yes, I’ve decided to name her) as she is this evening. I’m actually much farther along than it looks; I’m struggling with how to do the river. When I built such big design walls, I never thought I’d be overlapping like this. It’s reminiscent of a handbag; no matter what size, it is always full.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Foraging for Food and Fabric T-62 days

Time to stop being so pleased with myself having the nerve to cut into the banquet cloth and get started finishing the piece. As I thought this thought, I realized I don’t know which direction to take. Our heroine, as yet 
unnamed, is standing on a widow’s walk looking out over the river.  
I’ve known that since my first sketch, but haven’t thought any more about 
it.  What time of day is it? What season is it?  Is she waiting for someone to 
come home or watching them leave?  After dealing with Saturday’s mail, 
I flipped an envelope over and came up with some of the answers.
 While that’s happening (have I mentioned that  when I moved here I stacked my full-sized washer and dryer in the kitchen? Love-love-love them there), I return to the stash to ferret out other fabric. Not so much luck this time. I have no green for treetops, and nothing for the river. My plan for the river is to pole-wrap and discharge or dye or some combination of both.  Now I have lots of water-colored fabric, because it’s my favorite, but none of them are close to any color I’ve seen in the Mississippi.  Aside to the reader: Every time I type the name of this river that is starring in several of my new works, I giggle to myself because it is proof that some things you learn in school are actually useful; M-I-crooked letter crooked letter- I…you get the idea, unless you're in a country where you dedn't have to learn to spell Mississippi, which I know some of you are. 

I put the blue in the dryer and head the 35 miles to JoAnn’s. I also need to go to the grocery and get other fabric for other works-in-the-works. Here’s part of what I got; the shiny silver stuff may become chain mail for St Joan.  I am tickled pink (pink I have a lot of!).
I think I'm ready for tomorrow and pine trees, deciduous trees, and that crazy river. Now I'm going to finish beading a barrette I've been working on for two evenings so I can put our heroine's hair back in a suitably beautiful way. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name; T-65 Days

Time to settle on a title for THE SHOW. I thought I had one, but I was given a short lecture (in a good way) on naming a first solo exhibition. My first ideas were too wordy, and I'm glad someone was helpful enough to tell me.

   Time out for an Old Testament reference. In Genesis, God names man,
                                                      and man is His.
   It’s a principle that is used frequently; you name it, you take    
   responsibility for it. God changed Abraham’s and Sarah’s names from 
   Abram and Sarai, and makes them his. Man gets to name the animals, 
   and takes dominion over them. 

You get the gist; I name the show, it’s mine. Have I put this off intentionally? No, but maybe subliminally.   Advice I have received includes: two words is best, have the title should clearly represent the works so potential visitors know what to expect, include my name in the title (as Alyson Stanfield writes, "Your name in the title screams Solo Show!")

Also, because this is my first full show in my new hometown, I should use it to not only introduce myself to the region, but particularly to local artists. WOW! That is really good advice that I had not considered.  After all, the arts community is one of the reasons I moved here. I am forming personal relationships, and some artists have seen some of my work, but this will be their first chance to see a professional presentation of my work. Noooo pressure.

Your help is requested (as in, PLEASE HELP!), help me brainstorm. My 
current plan is to show some really old and sort of old work that relates to 
my new work, to illustrate the progression. The really old (you know, 
35 years) I'm including I see as a prologue; it's important to the story, but 
not of the story. I will have lived here 6 months at the opening, so I can still consider myself a newlywed who can unashamedly share hew wedding 
photos, or in my case, the story of how I chose Sainte Genevieve from the 
whole world. So, the story is about how I came to be here and what I've done since my arrival (most have the river as an element) with a little 
background as an amuse bouche.
Your turn now. My best thought is,
Suzanne Thompson
Getting Here

Please share your ideas. Thanking you in advance...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

T-66, Another Good Day

Oh, the joy and rapture of a fresh blade in a rotary cutter!
Life is good.
Black cotton batting is also good.
This is the first time I've used it.
I washed it first, following the directions,
because I did not want it to shrink if I 
put steam to it. 
Ask me how I learned this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

T-68 I Obviously Miscounted Last Night

Today has been a really good day. I’m getting a routine going that I think will work. I do any paperwork, business, meetings, shopping, hunting and/or gathering, during the day.  Any work I do in the studio is accompanied by my Pandora Celtic Thunder channel.

I returned from my errands just before dark.  After dark I have the peace that comes when the pharmacy, doctors and insurance folk stop calling to tell me or ask me something.  This happens about 5:00 CST, and my adrenaline starts to work.  Celtic Thunder still in the background, and I get to work in the studio.  I know some of you like to work in the quiet; it makes me nervous. When I can sing along, my creative mind wanders around in its part of my skull as it likes, every now and then surfacing with the answer to a problem I wasn’t sure I had.

Today’s solution was about hair and how to represent it. What color should it be? I was about to rummage through my stash when, right there on my work table, was the perfect answer:
It's the perfect reddish brown, and will be glorious when I've embroidered and added coppery highlights. I really have no clue how it got on the table; it was probably on top of something I was looking for and I forgot to put it away. I sure don't remember buying it, but that is nothing new. I turned on my $6 "dry" iron, attached fusible web, and will be able to use it tomorrow.

I take a break, eat, and read my email. THANK YOU ALL for the kind notes of support.  I appreciate and treasure every syllable.  

I forgot to mention that about 8:00 the music gets changed to the Harry Connick, Jr channel. Right not Glenn Miller's orchestra is playing "In the Mood" - if I can sing it, I like it. Oh! Now Bing Crosby. Reminds my of my mother.  So, that's it for today. I hope to have more interesting posts, but it is what it is, some boring days, some exciting, some tragic. 

Oh! I forgot to share that last Thursday the city fathers (aldermen) approved my request for a special use permit (this involved all kinds of paperwork, public posting, Planning and Zoning) to open my studio to the public. It's because I'm in the residential part of the historic district. Anyway, this has been my plan ever since I decided to move here, so it's a very good thing that I've been approved. This also means I can get promotional help from the Downtown Development folks, and I'll let you know when I get more scoop. 

Look! I'm done for the day and it just became tomorrow. Last night it was 4 am. You know, if I'm not going to come to work until dark, I'll have to make a few adjustments. In case you're keeping track, Frank Sinatra is singing "Witchcraft"

Goodnight and Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Here We Go; T-72 If You Count Yesterday

I am counting yesterday because I just realized that today (1:10 am) is not still yesterday.  So, big official news, I have a solo show scheduled to open 3/22/2013-aren’t-you-glad-someone-mis-understood-the-Mayan-calendar at The Hayloft Gallery in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri.  This is my first solo, so I am, quite understandably, freaked and pumped at simultaneously.

I thought it might be fun to share with others, those who have many solo’s under their belt, and those looking forward to their first, the “bumps” I am sure to have in my road. I also hope anyone between St Louis, Cape Girardeau, Columbia and anyone in Illinois that can make it will “save the date” and try to come to the opening. You come, I will give you wine.  It will also be an “Art Walk” night, so if you get bored, or we run out of wine (not happening), there will be other great art to see and artists to visit. I will even provide a map.

First, let me say, I have the entire gallery (about 50x25 I think) filled in my head, mostly with new work. Unfortunately, I am having trouble translating my sketches (see, I am doing something) into , you know, actual artwork. I considered, briefly, filling the space with the sketches, saying, look, this is what I wanted to show you! I am, however, not DaVinci, so I’m sure next to “lead balloon” in the thesaurus, would be a link to my website. 

Every morning, as I structure my day from my horizontal thinking position, I make a plan, and proceed to do a tiny bit of it and piddle away the rest of the day. This evening I told a friend I thought I might be turning into a vampire because I don’t seem to accomplish anything before dark. In my defense, that is before 5:00 pm here, but it means I’m still up until almost dawn. On the other hand, who really cares what time I go to bed? I am a grown woman, hear me roar.

In addition to this wonderful exhibit opportunity, I also have several juried shows I want to enter, each having a looming deadline. I know I am not alone here; this happens to me every January. Since I have all these pieces in my head I think, logically, I should complete the ones I want to enter in other shows (it’s a local venue, so I think I’ll still be legal to enter some of the more strict shows).  Good thinking, right? Yes, but I can’t seem to do what is smart. BIG surprise. This morning, I decided to work start a piece that has no deadline, except March 22. I did it! I have worked most of the day and still have a grin on my face.

I have been saving an heirloom banquet cloth for years, waiting for the spirit to move me in some way. Throughout the centuries, it has not been cared for properly, so I gave myself permission, the last time I packed it, to use it in my work. Today was the day.

Here is the cloth and my wonderful new pinking shears and a close up:

 Pretty, right? And scary; really scary. I mean, once I cut into it it will no longer be a banquet cloth. On the other hand, I have no children to give it to and admonish about not leaving it folded in the same way all the time. So, deep breath, and's fate is decided. It's going to be a beautiful dressing gown for a heroine on a widow's walk.  

All's good until I realize how fragile the fabric is. My first clue was that it was already damaged before I touched it. Oh yeah, that's why I gave myself permission to use is. Duh. Good news! You know how sometimes you buy something, get it home, and it's not what you thought it was? I found some featherweight interfacing in my stash and it was perfect to back the lace.
 I had a few stupid setbacks, like putting the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric (will I never learn?), but the skirt turned out great.
Yes, I need to work on the bottom, but I didn't back the edging, and I need to. And...drum roll, please, here are all the cut pieces ready to assemble. You'll just have to come to Ste Gen to see it complete. She is going to be beautiful.
Now you know why I still have the big grin on my face. Inertia enabled. YEA!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Quiz for Fiber Folk

What is this?
 Here's a Hint:

And the answer, in the form of a question, is:
What do you get when you wash (to get rid of
a stinky smell) 10 pounds of jute?