Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Funky Skirts And Forward Thoughts

Last year, I attempted to make a piece for the Red & White member's exhibit at the gallery and it never came about. When I thought about why, it seemed to me that it was a combination of not connecting to the theme and of trying to create with rusty skills.


In January, there's another exhibit called 18 and members can contribute either two dimensional pieces that are 18" x 18" or three dimensional pieces that are 18" x 18" x 18". Up until last night, I was determined to enter and - in fact - I have some pieces started including...

... this textile exploration of flat houses. Several of my favourite artists paint in this style and I've always wanted to try it in textiles. Since taking this picture, the piece has advanced considerably and the stitching is adding detail and depth to the shapes. And I've answered the question. I can do this in textiles and I could even become quite good at doing it in textiles. Do I want to?

Yesterday, I also explored funky skirts both in a local boutique and on-line and had an interesting conversation with a friend about how much I enjoy developing outfits for an event like the luncheon last week or a celebration or holiday. I get huge amounts of joy and satisfaction from putting together the complete look. Right now, I'm snoop shopping for wardrobe inspiration for a trip next March and the energy I feel around what to wear on my holiday is far and beyond what I'm feeling for creating the wall art. And that's interesting.

Why? What do I want to do and am I doing what I want? My goal with entering the 18 exhibit was to introduce myself to the community in a more visible way and make connections but perhaps that's not how I want to introduce myself. Perhaps, I'd rather make a new outfit for opening night and attend rather than be in the exhibit.

Sometimes, it feels like knowing myself is a moving target - that just when I think I know what I want everything changes and yet, every once in a while, I have one of those ah ha moments that shifts things either slightly or in an entirely new direction. Sometimes, it's a confirmation and sometimes, it's an epiphany.

Thrown over the dress form is a man's XL shirt that I picked up at the thrift store last week, washed in hot water, dried in the dryer, shrunk, and intend to refashion into a shrug of some kind. I've started a pile of potential fabrics to go with and I can see this shirt evolving into one of garments for my holiday. I'm excited about what's developing and thinking about the combination of a bottom, a top, a layer, a statement necklace, shoes, and all the parts and pieces that go together to make an outfit that is self expressive. And I think, perhaps this is where I am meant to be. Perhaps, like traditional quilts, textile wall art is ready to become a part of my past and instead of attempting to pick it up again every once in a while, I need to let it go. It's an interesting thought.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful -  funky skirts and forward thoughts

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Simple Neckline Necklace

It has taken MONTHS to get to working on this simple neckline necklace that was one of my last assignments from Diane - my coach - and in the end, I am choosing to be finished with it as opposed to finishing it, taking the lessons and moving on. It is entirely possible that it refused to co-operate because it already knew it was a piece of junk - LOL. Everything I did only seemed to make it worse and prolong the agony. It is - however - a learning curve to be revisited.

The assignment was to create a necklace that fit into a simple neckline. This curved neckline shape is the one I use most frequently so I started by tracing an echo of the curve and marking the middle and end points.

Because I wanted to maintain the shape, I started by hammering and bending a larger gauge of wire and then curving the ends upward and creating loops to attach the chain. In retrospect, this may have been where I first went wrong. It was difficult to build the parts on top of this surface rather than compose and then form them to the desired shape as I've done in the past.

With a pendant, the goal is achieve visual balance in the design as well as physical balance so that it hangs correctly. I didn't want a perfectly mirrored piece and I wanted it to evolve and develop step by step so I started at the left side and worked toward the right. This will hopefully be a way of creating wire work that I'll perfect over time but I quickly discovered that it was beyond my current skill set. I think that's a good awareness because I want to develop my skills bit by bit and and at the same time I want to push the edges somewhat to keep growing... with a little push not a shove over the cliff.

Once I added the stone, I seemed to fight with the piece even more. Its curved outline was a good match but every attempt I made to integrate it and have it look like something more than a stone just sitting there didn't work out.

Looked at separately, the two sides of the pendant are both quite interesting. I couldn't repeat this series of wraps in a million years. There was no plan and it shows. The piece began to feel like an exercise in throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it.

When I realized that I was simply adding more and more detail in an attempt to pull it all together, it was time to be finished with the piece.It is - IMHO - an ugly learning curve and since Start With Ugly is one of the lessons I used to teach in my Self Expressions workshop, I know it could be a great starting point. I will most likely cut out the center bar and see if I can evolve the two side sections into something else but as is, it's not wearable. It has neither balance nor good design BUT...

I learned a lot.
And that's the main thing.

I kept the template of the simple shape and will try this exercise again sometime soon giving more thought to how I choose to follow the shape.

I bought these wooden buttons at a local art show this past weekend. They are made by a local woodworker from his left over bits. I've bought some three years in a row now and each year the price goes up. I don't think he realized how popular they would be at first. However, at $2.50 each, they are stil inexpensive. I especially love the five birch ones in the foreground.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - lessons learned

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Made This Outfit

If you've been wondering if I'm ever going to sew anything again, today is the day. I made this outfit to wear to a Women In Business luncheon on Monday. It seemed like an easy answer to what do you do - an artist working with yarn, fabric, and wire. VBG - how fun is that? I don't think the group and I were a good match but the outfit and I got along quite well.

I'm still exploring photography options. This filter is called Vanilla in my photo editing software. I have no idea what that means but I do like the way it makes the cardigan look elegant, rich, and sophisticated.

From the first time I saw them - as in for YEARS ago - I have wanted a pair of Fluevog shoes only they are way and beyond my budget so I was delighted to - finally - find this pair at a consignment store on the weekend. Orange wouldn't have been my first choice but there was no time to be fussy. I can work with orange.

Just as when I bought a ring earlier this year, the owner said that she could have sold these several times over but they were too small for everyone. And again - yes, yes - not too small for me. They are not overly comfortable but that's beside the point. I'll just wear them for sit down occasions or get some gel inserts.

I followed the pattern measurements to create my version of the Aurea Cardigan although I used a different stitch pattern. The yarn is Diamond brand, Traditional. It's lovely to knit with and has great body. I'm not sure what size Berroco used on the model in this picture because the collar sits radically different then on mine and I used narrow measurements... however... that's okay although I may try the pattern again with an even narrower front so the collar will lay flat as shown.

I'm still working on getting my photography area set up. Yesterday, I ordered some lights on stands and for these pictures, I optioned several backdrops. The ones I like best are knit fabrics that won't wrinkle and be  high maintenance so I'll keep watch for appropriate ones on sale. I need five meters for each with a casing sewn at the top so they can be strung onto a dowel and hung from the ceiling... somewhere where there will be no see-thru area just above my head.


The dress is Vogue 9268 in the shorter length. I did very little to modify the pattern. The only change was to shorten the center back length by 1/2" although I left the length in the front and eased it in along the sides for a full bust adjustment - a B to C cup. I don't think it hits at the most flattering point on my leg so I may try the longer length next time. OH... and after the fact I did change the neckline. The original was a much tighter and higher V on me than it was shown on the pattern cover so I widened and lowered it.

Light is not a value I normally wear so it's a bit surprising to see myself in this light grey. I'm not sure I like it as it feels BIG but maybe it'll grow on me with time. Or maybe I'll lose those pounds again that I gained back... or not... we'll see.


Supposedly Millicent - my dress form - and I are the same size however she is more rounded and I am more flat and wide so even though the measurements are the same, our figures differ. LOL - she still does a good job of letting me design clothing though and I like that.

Yesterday, I worked some more on the simple neckline necklace. It feels like the project that just won't finish but I am almost done and I'm looking forward to sharing it asap and to getting on to the next thing.

Talk soon - Myrna

- my very one Fluevogs

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Mysterious Journey Of Creativity.

Yesterday, my daughter received a package at work with her purse, two pairs of Grandma-knit socks for each of my grandsons with co-ordinating retractable measuring tapes, and two packages of the sourest sours ever for my son-in-law... who loves them... go figure. I have no pictures of these things. I wasn't getting to taking them and if I'd put it off any longer, the package wasn't going to get there any time soon and that purse had taken long enough already. So I sent it. Without pictures. Except for...

... this one of the bead I used for the tabs on each side of the zipper. The last time she was visiting, my friend Rosmarie brought some beads that a friend of hers was sending to a new home and she hoped I could use them. How fun to use two right away. They were in a partially constructed necklace that I took apart.

Refashioning my own creations - never mind someone else's - has become a regular part of my routine. Twenty years ago, this would never have occurred to me and if it had, I'd have viewed it more as a failure than as a mysterious journey of creativity. Now I casually deconstruct things because I know the next project is most likely going to be even more interesting.

The cardigan I talked about in the last posting was back in balls shortly after and I'm almost done re-knitting it into a different style, minus the dolmen sleeves, thus with less fabric under the arm, and therefore far more flattering. Every once in a while I'm tempted by a dolmen sleeve thinking that some other aspect of the garment will make up for that excess. It never does. In this case, the large collar and the underarm excess was overwhelming me. I need to remember that. Under the ball of yarn in the earlier image is the grey knit fabric that I'm sewing the dress to go with out of.

These are two more knitting projects that were found and finished. Both fit me but I'm not sure I'll keep either. Right now, they are in the to-be-gifted box for quick gifts when needed. Things I don't need, or have too much of, or made in a colour that's not me, or that I don't want or chose not to refashion for some reason go in that because because not everything gets refashioned although...

... just about anything is up for grabs. The bracelet above is one of Nicole Hanna's tutorials. I made it a few weeks ago when I was working through several tutorials to learn how she thought through the wire weaving process. One thing I learned is that we each have our own way of bending and curving the wire that feels and looks natural as opposed to feeling and looking like you're trying to copy someone by pulling it into their curve. I showed my daughter several of the tutorials I'd done and she said that she preferred my original pieces to any class sample or tutorial pieces. That's nice to hear.

Class samples are not something I'd wear, give away, or sell so I'm re-fashioning most of them by using them as the starting point for a new piece. It gives me something to respond to and build forward from. With the bracelet, I squashed it into a flatter shape and then added more details and a chain.

The finished piece looks nothing like the original which is fun. I wore it to an artist's talk at a local studio last week and the studio owner was admiring it and then said this is obviously one of Val's pieces to which I replied no, it's one of mine. She said she was impressed... which is nice... but the take-a-way for me was that I need to get my work out there more so I'm known for what I do. I'm just starting to develop an 18" x 18" textile wall piece for a member's exhibit at the art gallery in January. That's one way.

One of the interesting aspects of creating this pendant was balance the design visually as well as physically so that it would hang from the neck evenly. I seem to have figured it out because I haven't had to adjust it when I'm wearing it. I'm working on another piece now that will have the same issue. Practice helps.

I also finished up a green and two grey scarves that went in the to-be-gifted box. And I've been reading through the pattern for this Wakame Pullover from Berroco. It may be next on my knitting list. I really like the asymmetrical shaping, it's simplicity, and how it looks with those fabulous trousers. I'd like to sew some of those too. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a new and wonderful tenant, female, hilarious, well employed, YES YES