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I worked some more on Clan House. This is the first drawing that I didn’t finish in class. I want to have more control over the parts I erase so I bought a couple of fine edged rubbers to add to my batterie de atelier.
A tricky new thing that I am finding out about drawing, in addition to How to Draw, is ‘how do I know when I’m finished’? I can figure that out pretty easily with an art quilt, a poem or haiku, a photograph, a video or clay sculpture. With drawing, I am still finding my way to the end.
With Clan House, the finish came when the night woods couldn’t look any more like night woods and a chink of light shone through the doorway
and when I had refined the shapes of the totem animal ghosts, handprints & the spirit guide.
When the Muscogee meet a stranger, they ask, “Naginseemaleghee dadee?“ [This means "Who do you cling to?"] While families include people who are directly related to each other, clans are composed of all people who are descendants of the same ancestral clan grouping. Like many Native American nations, the Muscogee Creek are matrilineal; each person belongs to the clan of his or her mother, who belongs to the clan of her mother. Clan members do not claim “blood relation” but consider each other as family due to their membership in the same clan.
In my journey through the woods, along the river and back into the past, to my Muscogee roots, I ask myself and those I meet, “Who do I cling to?”
Perhaps this member of the Bird clan knows the answer.
Apparently, there truly is a Cloak of Invisibility, as fictionalised in the Harry Potter novels. Scientists have developed a ‘metamaterial’ – a new flexible film able to manipulate light rays in a manner that renders solid objects invisible. Sounds like fun fabric to make wearable art from!
I finished my ‘invisible’ hanging sleeve for Suncast Shadows. I whipstitched an organdy sleeve to the back and hung it this morning for the acid test. I have a perspex lath which I use for my other transparent quilt - ‘Le Mariage du Fleuve et du Ciel’.
When we decorated our flat this spring, we put hanging rails in the hallway outside my studio to make a gallery.
Anyhow, the invisible sleeve is just that.
Now, where did I put my fat quarter of metamaterial?
I’m finally getting back to my artwork now that we’ve finished decorating our flat. When I show ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’ at the Festival of Quilts this August, and at other galleries, it will be in the round so I’ve decided to paint the back of the quilt which hangs from the headboard.
When I made it, I used a hand-dyed yellowy-green fabric.
I took my fabric paints and pastels to it a few weeks ago, but not being a painter-type artist I don’t know about things like underpainting. So there was a yellowish glow that came through.
I then got some white fabric paint and went over what I’d done, but again I had a learning curve to do with overpainting dark fabrics. Once the paint dried it became semi-transparent.
So last week, I called the good folk at Art Van Go who carry all manner of supplies for dyeing, printing and surface designing fabric. I told Kevin exactly what I was trying to achieve and he posted me a jar of Jacquard Super Opaque White Fabric Paint. This isn’t the first time they’ve saved my neck. You can’t really online shop from their website as their catalogue is a PDF, but they take telephone & mail orders. Their most valuable resource is their knowledgeable staff.
By the way, anyone remember MAD Magazine? I grew up reading it in the 1960′s when I found a stash in our garage. I remember my Mom sayiing I shouldn’t read them or I’d ‘grow up to be cynical’. Well, I carried on and grew up only somewhat cynical. I love the humour! I still have many issues from the 60′s and several of the paperback versions.
“Superduperman” is a satirical story by Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood published in the fourth issue of Mad (April-May, 1953). Lampooning both Superman and Captain Marvel, it revolutionized their format, leading to greatly improved sales. Until Mad #4, the magazine had been a relatively poor seller.
I asked Steve to compose some words for me to inscribe on my valance. He emailed me a poem last night and I read it first thing this morning. Then opened it a second time, read it and printed it off. Both times it brought tears to my eyes. It rings so true and each stanza relates to an element of the bed. The words and language fit what would be inscribed around a monumental brass for a medieval couple. It’s perfect.
I could go on to say that Steve is like Mozart* in that he conceives or is gifted an idea, slips it into his jacket pocket, close to his heart, fingers it from time to time, listens to it metaphorically rustle when he leans over, then Voila! One day, he sits to write and out it comes. Flowing from his fingers. Perfect. No editing. And nine times out of ten, it doesn’t need any. (But I’ll be the first to let him know if it does.)
Anyhow, with no further ado -
Enter the Forest of Dreams
Sleep. Let the forest enfold thee.
Watch. Let thy eyes see light in shade.
Hear. Let thy ears be open to silence.
Dream. Let thy soul be still.
Love is imagined.
Walk. Let thy soul be thy compass.
Feel. Let thy heart be bold, and cautious.
Know. Let hope take root, deep anchor.
Touch. Feel the river flow, and its bounty.
Love is found.
Sleep. The world is done.
Sleep. Thy love is found.
Sleep. The dream is made.
Sleep. This earth is thine.
* I have it on good authority that Mozart used to compose music while he was playing billiards, then sit at his escritoire and write it down as if he was taking dictation from God.
Here’s a close up of my diamond-pieced forest floor. Each diamond measures 11″ lengthwise and 7″ from top to bottom. I was amazed at how quickly it sewed together; it took me about 2 days to stitch the entire quilt top.
I spent a lot of time on the river today. Nothing is sewn down yet, but I made a lot of important decisions and have everything in place to start to fuse and stitch. I like to think about it for a while and walk into the room a few times and see it with fresh eyes before making the final commitment. Oh, I got the footboard out of storage a couple of weeks ago. It’s so beautiful and nice to have around.
Wow! I can’t believe it’s been two whole weeks since I last wrote. I’d thought the deadline for my Suncast Shadows quilt was February 31st, but re-read my paperwork and it’s due on the 13th. Ooops! So I’ve been focussing on getting it done and have an appointment for it to be photographed this Saturday. I haven’t taken many work in progress photos, but here are a few over the past several weeks.
Placing people onto the painted and partially stitched cotton organdie surface in my studio . . . . .
I’ve had this photo inside of me for such a long time (I took it on January 1st, 2007) that I feel as though I know some of the people in it. I printed several of them onto white organdie and fused them onto the quilt.
This pair stuck to my slipper and followed me into the kitchen, where I’ve put them up on our notice board so they can see into my life.
I’ve been sewing in the living room, which has great south-facing picture windows . . . . .
Sunlight coming through reflected tree branches . . . . .
Edwardian lamp-post, fused and ready to be stitched . . . . .
Stitching the bars along the railing . . . . .
Today, I painted and made marks on the surface with fabric pastels & paint and fibre tip pens. Finally, I hand-lettered the haiku onto the bottom of the piece. Very pleased with how it came out too! I think I’ll save that process for a separate post.
I’m going to leave it until tomorrow evening when I’ll work some more on the River Thames and the big rain puddle on the pavement. Then all I have to do it square it up, finish the edges and decide how to make the hanging sleeve.