Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Post

Sorry for the unimaginative title. No photos. It's a weekend and I've been with the men all day and I'm a bit fried. No imagination. No inspiration. Nothing. We went out looking for a certain no contract cellphone for son who wants unlimited texts with the both of them. Trouble with having an only child when they are almost an adult is that just about any sentence by any of us can be treated by any one of us as some sort of insult so it's weekend at the Bickersons.

I did find a little embroidery time tucked away in there. I also raided the chocolate peanut butter eggs(why are they selling Easter candy so darn early anyway?). So that is my inspiration for the day. And even though I'm uninspired and frazzled there is no where else on the earth I'd rather be and no two people I'd rather be perturbed by.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Blue Moons/Inspire Me Thursday



Finally a prompt I don't have to use my imagination for as I used my imagination a while back to create Blue Moons. This piece is one of my favorites. All the planets were aligned and it worked as a project, I found the perfect backing to mount it on without having to even manipulate it and it looked beautiful framed. I had a place where it was supposed to go in my imagination but liked it so much it is still sitting on my wall.

Sometimes a piece just works, it comes out better then even you could imagine. It kind of makes up for some of those projects that sound great in theory but work better in our own mind. Every artist has them. Those projects that you follow through on, in my case putting every stitch on the fabric and then you end up with what? Lately I've been reworking some of those pieces, I'll add them to my gallery when completed. But the Blue Moons was just a joy. I hope you find your inspiration some night out amongst the moonbeams. Keep stitching.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Knot or Not to Knot


To knot or not to knot that is the question. I've provided a visual heart pillow with french knots even though I'm not speaking french today and the pillow is quite old. I have dabbled in both knotting and unknotting(both in embroidery and life). I was taught by my grandmother to knot, but I also know that it is more pure and basic to not knot. Recently I have tried to go back to being a non knotter but especially when I am working on my tangled thread designs it is very cumbersome to not knot and it gets even messier then the occassional knot makes it look. So I wondered if any of you hand embroiderers out there knot your knots too?

Bloggily I am a bit knotted today as my hubby has the laptop and I am on the slow as molasses tangled with trivia old computer which takes 10 minutes just to go to a different website. So being kind of all knotted up with no place to go I decided to discuss knots of the embroidery kind and hightail it out of here.

Just as a footnote to yesterday, everything is much better today after a good night's sleep with no dreams. Thanks for the comments and concerns with a special shout out to Painter of Blue, your words were very meaningful. Ok so now I'm out of here, have a great day and keep stitching.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clearing Out Cobwebs


This is a Welcome Friends sampler I cross-stitched when my son was a toddler. I believe it was from a sampler chart which I purchased. It was long ago and far away and as you can read I can't really remember where it came from(but it is a lovely cross stitch sampler). Back then I didn't even know I had something within myself that others would want to see so I did charts and kits and other people's patterns(Knowing what I know today I would give credit to the designer but unfortunately it so long ago and far away that I wouldn't even begin to know where to look for it). My topic for today sort of relates to it so I decided to share it.

Today was a day for clearing out cobwebs. Last night I dreamed of rejection. Faceless people rejecting me and me confronting them. Very vague and I guess I could have forgotten it altogether if I hadn't woken up with that dreaded feeling of rejection that hits you right in the gut. I thought embroidering would somehow knock that rejection feeling out of me, it didn't. So I put on my exercise clothes and figured a little exercise might clear out the cobwebs and help me to understand why this was so important that I felt it physically.

While I was walking I realized rejection is part of being an artist and perhaps I have to take a few chances and work on that feeling. I like anyone else I suppose am very fearful of rejection. It's been a constant in my life. Somebody, somewhere or a lot of somebodies always think it's fun to make someone else feel inferior or left out. But being an artist doesn't really work very well if you are afraid of being rejected. We as artists have to take risks, jump into the big wide blue yonder and be afraid to fail. Not everyone will understand and love us and not everyone will understand or love our work, but as I walked around and around the track at the Y I realized that it doesn't really matter if noone understands it, because art is a relationship between the spirit and the soul and the artist. It is the same reason why dozens of photographers can look at the same thing and take a different picture because their photos are a window into their soul, into what one little detail jumps out and catches their soulful eye.

I have to be open to the possibilities and live in that everchanging moment when someone may see my work and embrace a detail or may not. But the idea that all of us offer something a little different and that some might reject it is the feeling all of us as artists have to get over. I guess all of us as people doing whatever have to get over that fear or we will just let life pass us by.

I guess this is where I say keep stitching and pay homage to the wonderful unknown designer whose design captured something in my imagination.

Just a quick addition. I have added another link to my blog. I read an article by this talented fiber artist/quilt maker from my former neck of the woods and love her blog as much as the article inspired me. Don't forget to go to her blog and see her beautiful work. SpiritCloth is the blog.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Checking In

No pictures today. I'm busy working on a hand embroidery piece which I'll share soon. It's a goddess. My first one. I finished Crossings last week my new interpretation of a cross, just have to frame that one.

I took a creative break last night as I watched the Oscars. I loved it. I loved the Loved the beautiful dresses. My favorite was Penelope Cruz's. I loved the story about how she saw it in a store 7 years ago and said one day she would wear it(how it was still available after 7 years I'm not quite sure). I also loved her speech, somehow when we look at the beautiful talented Penelope Cruz we don't think of her upbringing. I loved all the speeches. I was thrilled with the winners. I don't think I've enjoyed the Oscars that much in a long time. I thought Hugh Jackman was great. I loved the past winners introducing the nominees. I thought the stage was beautiful and I loved the Swarovski crystals dangling above. The only quibble was the memorial tribute. Either show the people who died and pay them a tribute or leave them out, I think they were going for entertainment with Queen Latifah and the artistic way they presented it but death isn't entertaining. I guess it wasn't so much a break from creativity either, as I was able to appreciate the creativity of others.

Today it was back to work. Hope you enjoyed being creative or enjoying the creativity of others too. Keep stitching.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Something different



This is a knit bag I made a while ago but never took a picture of. It was knit using brown sheep sable(love, love, love that color) and cascade turqouise. It was knit in a rib lined with satin. I haven't been knitting very much lately and am trying to inspire myself to put the embroidery needle down and have some fun knitting( I have fun embroidering too but it's different).

It's snowing here in my little section of Upstate New York. Not really sticking to the roads and when I went out earlier it was more like rain on the windshield. I came home and listened to CD#3 of Dave Matthews in Central Park, ate a little lunch, did a little laundry and embroidered my new piece. I can't wait to share it when I am finished because it is a project special to my own heart.

I'm going to watch the Oscars later. Don't really go to the movies but I pick Sean Penn and Kate Winslet from the commercials. I hope Heath Ledger wins because he was a great actor and he should have an Oscar to remember his greatness. I really watch the Oscars for the acceptance awards and the fashion. Love the beautiful dresses and enjoy those Fashion Police shows the week after too.

Oh well, mundane as can be I'm off. Have a great Sunday. Keep stitching.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brokenhearted



Hi All! No I'm not brokenhearted just lazy. This piece is sitting on my family room wall and I have never put it on my blog before. It is a hand embroidered heart on tea stained material and framed. It was done about 2 years ago and although I've gotten a few nibbles nobody else wanted to take it home. I guess perhaps people don't like to be reminded of a broken heart.

I thought of a wonderful inspiration about silver, much better then my previous foray. It has to do with my hair which is now brown and blondish but for months was reddish and silvery gray. It drove everyone crazy but it was a life altering thing for me. I finally gave up the idea of being what others wanted me to be. I'm sure we all know family and friends who think they know what is better for your life then you do. I was told I was too young to have gray hair but if I had gray hair I obviously wasn't too young to have it. Seemed to be a constant source of conversation some of which I started myself.

Finally my grayish, silvery hair disappeared as a birthday gift for my hubby. It was important to him(he turned fifty) and it had done for me everything I needed it to do. I told him he was quite lucky I hadn't purchased a darker red color for my hair as everywhere I looked the week before I took the plunge I saw dark red fake hair and the gray would have remained. But I colored it on my own terms, with a color I like(and will be beautifully highlighted blond when all my hair is gray)it only took 25 minutes to do instead of the 45. Most importantly I realized that it isn't the color of your hair, or your weight, or the way you dress that makes you unhappy it is the perception you have of yourself about it. It was only by embracing the gray that I could love myself with any color hair, at any weight, in my sloppy old jeans. It was a wonderful lesson.

So try going gray especially if there is silver in there and keep stitching.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Silver/Inspire Me Thursday



This is my entry for Inspire Me Thursday's prompt of Silver. It is a piece of Ivory silk, 2 skeins of silver embroidery thread and 2 skeins of black. Now I hope I can find an inspiration as to what to do with it. Sometimes these prompts are so easy and sometimes you really have to think out of the box. Silver is probably very easy for some but for me it's not really because I don't wear jewelry. I wear my wedding ring and my cross necklace and that's it. I used to wear my mom's platinum ring with blue sapphires but one of the sapphires fell out and I figured it was safer to keep it as a memory. For a short while I was into marcasite jewelry but even that became too difficult. Broken chains, lost stones, knots in the chains you name it. Kind of ironic that I can get just about any knot out of thread but when it comes to the chain on a necklace I'm a bit clumsy at it. Can't get them out no matter how hard I try. So I never take my cross necklace off because the chance of it knotting goes down drastically. And my wedding ring is gold.

Ok so I've beaten this dead horse of a prompt till you are probably screaming out no more inane talk about knots in necklaces. So I'll be back tomorrow. And I will put the project that uses the silver and black embroidery thread on my blog when I figure out what to do with it.(Perhaps inspire me thursday will help). Keep stitching.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A handful of flowers!




Today I offer you a handful of flowers. This is a piece I did last summer sometime and realized I never took a photo of. It a hand embroidered hand with pink flowers and swirly green leaves.

Today is a glorious day because after such a long, long time I went back to Tai Chi today. I loved learning tai chi and unblocked much of my creativity the first time around. So now that I am feeling just a wee bit better due to a better diet and some exercise I impulsively decided to go back to Tai Chi. I loved the warmups as I have always loved the warm ups. I felt a flush of warmth and tingliness all through my body, I thought it was a hot flash but I was supposed to feel warm and tingly what a wonderful thing. I didn't remember all the steps but remembered enough of them to not feel totally embarrassed. I am now wondering why I stopped doing something I loved so much.

A friend recently told me that I can only focus on one thing at a time. The first time I went to the gym it became my whole life and I had a very hard time trying to find space to work on my art. I did work but not as much as I would have liked to. Then I joined the coop, that became my whole focus and I gave up the Y and gave up bits of myself too. Then I worked, only worked. Now I am trying to live in the moment and have time for all the things I love especially my work.

One of my blogger friends Sybil Archibald(Painter of Blue) has written a wonderful commentary on change and the artist, you can find her link on the side of my blog. I understood it as living in the moment and accepting who and what you are as an artist at this moment in time. Read her post it's excellent.

One of my blogger and real life friends Judy Olson(Counting Backwards)has some extraordinary photos for you to look at. She has such a wonderful way of making the ordinary extraordinary(you can find her blog on the side of my blog also).

So because of these inspirational women and the inspirational most wonderful day I give you a handful of flowers. Keep stitching.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unfinished project



Since I love blogging and I never seem to have enough of my work framed and finished and I want to blog as much as I can, I decided to show my unfinished projects or whatever I'm working on for the day. This is my last little piece of watercolored red orangey fabric. It was too small to put in a frame and I was inspired to do a dragonfly(I made a lovely green one for my friend Emily in a frame for Christmas) I decided that I'd hand embroider the dragonfly and then perhaps try my hand at an art quilt. I still have to find the perfect fabrics to accompany it and then try to make it look as good as I can make it look with the limited quilting skills I currently have so I figured this may be the first and last time you ever see it(only kidding I'll share it even if it is a bomb). So here it is.

Other news I have finally gone back to the YMCA and am walking around the track. I reached the bottom health wise dealing with the big M and finally got desperate enough to go on a diet and start exercising again. My lovely and wonderful friend Emily reminded me of how happy I was the last time I got on this exercise kick. That was the ticket. So two weeks ago I started exercising and I started eating much better and now I'm feeling pretty good. The point of this is that yesterday was one of those wonderful days when you get an exercise buzz. After a mile the second mile was just fabulous and I even got an inspiration for my next project(after I finish the dozen or so projects I am currently working on). It was something I just couldn't motivate myself to do and I was just plain miserable for months upon months. The symptoms had gotten so bad that I was ready to donate my body to science. I had artist's block, insomnia, palpitations, body aches, my fibro was in overload, the list is really long and others probably would have benefited more from me donating my body to science. But I decided to exercise more and eat sensibly and darn if those darn symptoms didn't disappear. So to all you ladies suffering try to go back to the basics and see what happens.

Thankfully even with all those symptoms I had my embroidery, the Obama election cycle and my wonderful Emily to help me through it. I am so grateful that I was able to find some joy during that time period. But now it's time to take all the dreams and aspirations and get back to work and blogging and doing only what is necessary or that I love. So hence back to blogging.

To all my blogging friends who kept up with my travails for the last few months a great big thank you for coming back even when there was nothing to read and I hope perhaps my woeful story will remind you that you are not alone when you are feeling down or sick and not in the blogosphere.

Keep stitching!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just Hand




This is one of my latest pieces finally matted and framed. The name of this piece is Just Hand. It was given that name because it was done just for the joy of the stitch. Just Hand was made on watercolored fabric. There are dozens of french knots which are my favorite stitch(or at the very least one of my favorite stitches) along with the backstitch, the feather stitch, the spider stitch. Some of my favorite symbols are also included in this piece, the heart, the infinity symbol and circles. I also enjoy doing swirly lines which seem to pop up and disappear at different intervals. They are a constant in my usual work.

Just Hand is a departure for me as I have strayed from my usual technique. I wanted to stretch myself and also to use embroidery stitches that I have only used in small doses to complete some of my smaller pieces in a larger piece.

I have included both the photo of Just Hand as a framed piece and a photo highlighting the details. Please let me know if you would like me to use this way of sharing my work again.

Off to the rest of my day. I hope you have a lovely day and keep on stitchin.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hand of Tree



Hi All! This is my latest piece. It is called Hand of Tree. It is a hand embroidered hand with a blue sky and a green tree(and yes I realize trees are brown but I like to make mine green). It combines my two favorite symbols both the hand and the tree. And my two favorite colors to work with pale blues and green. I was going to bring it to the gallery who accepted my work but after framing and matting it I don't think I can part with it just yet. I guess that is the consequence of using your favorite symbols and colors in a piece.

I have a few more pieces to frame and a few more items to finish so more pictures will be forthcoming and I will try to think of something clever or interesting to say. I hope you are having a wonderfully creative day. See you soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lace-Inspire Me Thursday

I love to crochet lace patterns using bedspread cotton. There was a time not so long ago that I could lose myself with just a ball of cotton and a small steel crochet hook. Hours after hours just crocheting beautiful lace patterns. What a wonderful way to get lost for a few hours or days! Very delicate and beautiful.

If you look at my flicker photos you will see a few examples of christening outfits and purses that I crocheted in another lifetime. Maybe writing about them will inspire me to pick it up again. Thank you Inspire Me Thursday. See you soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fold/Inspire Me Thursday




This is my entry for fold. Recently I had an order for wallets that easily folded up and closed. I didn't have a pattern so I worked out a template and made a couple. This was one of my favorites when I was making it but for some reason every time I folded it, it was a bit lopsided. It still is lopsided so it's mine.

I don't usually share my mistakes but fold sort of took over and I kept passing the wallet on my work table. Finally I put the two of them together and came up with the idea that so much of our lives is spent folding things up and trying to keep them neat and tidy and that no matter how much we try sometimes life isn't neat and tidy and things cannot just be folded up. Life is good but in reality I am a little lopsided and a little less neat and tidy then I wish to be. Now it is time to accept that I am like the wallet and move on with it.

Keep stitching!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mighty Sun



This is my latest piece. It is named Mighty Sun. This was my first foray into watercoloring on fabric and I have to say that sometimes I would be taken about when I was embroidering at what a nice contrast there was between the red embroidery of the sun and the coolish blue of the fabric. The green figure is a nice contrast too but not as much as the sun. Perhaps I just have the Sun on my mind because it is cold up here in upstate NY. I have a foot of snow on my front lawn so perhaps that is why I made the figure green too. A harbinger or a melancholy for spring.

Mighty Sun is going into a fiber art show at a local gallery. When it is installed there I will share a bit more. Still a bit superstitous and insecure until someone accepts my work to be shown.

Besides the obvious reason I named my piece Mighty Sun because I was inspired by a lovely song sung by Andrea Bocelli on his album Sogno. Andrea Bocelli never fails to inspire me both with his music and with the inspirational syncronistic way his career began. I think he has the voice of an angel.

Oh well off to work or play, haven't decided which. I hope your life is happy and creative. Keep stitching.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dropping In For a Chat



Hi All! No I didn't fall off the face of the earth, my life is just happening. Been busy embroidering(not framing unfortunately so no new picks YET)and I just joined Facebook and put my blog there too so I thought I needed a picture for visual interest so went back to the crypt and found my first hand. It's called Lifelines. I love it and luckily I own it. I shared Lifelines because I love to hand embroider hands(in fact have a few waiting to be framed). I guess perhaps it has to do with the stitch and my hands since my hands are what brings me the most joy(besides family of course).

I've been trying new techniques including watercoloring fabric. I finished a lovely piece which I will share when I figure out how to frame it. I was going to show it unframed but it would not do it justice. You see it was another one of my just popped into my head designs which do not seem to fit into an ordinary frame( or the truth is it was my first watercolored fabric, the watercoloring is too small for an 11 x 14 frame and the design is too big for an 8 x 10 frame sooooooo. No worries, my friend Emily told me I can get a mat cut to the right size at Michaels, so you'll get to see it soon.

I've made another 2 hands, another tree, a couple of small hearts, some eyeglass cases, some pillows(yes pillows) for the Katbird Shop and a few other assorted small objects getting ready for the spring or summer or fall when I decide to do some craft shows.

Apologies to my friends who I have ignored here on the blog, my life has happened and it hasn't been pretty but the work has been great and the ability to embroider myself a quiet peaceful cocoon is greatly appreciated.

Well it's getting late so I'll bid adieu and see you very, very soon. Keep stitching!