Hurrah! Taxes are done, family visited, and I'm home and working again. Had a delightful day discharging more of Pat's shirts out on the deck; it's not really hot here yet, and the landscape is recovering from last year's drought. Doesn't our little lake look nice? It's quite shallow (neighborhood kids used to walk across to visit their friends), but since it's spring-fed, it did not suffer badly from lack of rain.
I don't have a designated use yet for these pieces of fabric, but now there's rather a large pile of them awaiting inspiration. I used dishwasher gel containing bleach this time, and it was a lot easier to control than my earlier attempt with bleach mixed with shaving foam. That foam just did not want to go into the squeeze bottles!
Cotton paisley print discharged with bleach in leaf pattern 2012
I like this one with discharged leaves on a paisley background. I may go back and add some smaller discharged areas between the leaves.
Cotton dobby weave discharged with bleach 2012
This shirt was a sort of dobby weave in gray and black. It took beautifully to the discharging process.
After I got these laid out to dry the bugs started to show up. For some reason I attract mosquitoes (as did my maternal grandmother), and it wasn't long before I gave up and went inside. Got everything cleaned up before the rain the next day. I am thinking about remodeling part of the garage as a wet studio, having a larger sink and some counters put in. It will need to be weatherized as well. Not an immediate project, but since I won't need the entire garage for parking, why not use it for something important to me? The downside is having to clean out all the miscellaneous storage from the last 19 years--but I think I'd have to do that anyway. The junk is getting annoying. I don't even want to think about what's stored in the garage attic.
On the Tuesday after the beading workshop, Larkin Van Horn and I embarked on a beadshop orgy, visiting three shops in Spring, TX. We found neat stuff at each shop and ended the day tired, carrying pounds of beads, and enjoying sorting out the loot on my dining room table. Dropped Larkin off at the airport on Wednesday, destination California to teach another workshop.
So,back to fiber. Working on "Surveyors and Bears" and discovered that the photos and discharged fabrics looked too stark against the plain black felt, so I used up most of my sample fabric paints on the felt. It took the paint well, did not get stiff. Now when the felt peeks through between the prairie points, I think it will blend nicely. My bear photos show up well here also. Composition is the next step--how will my various elements play together?
In the evenings, when it's too dark to work on fabric on the deck (because I've also been preparing fabrics for the upcoming Sam Houston Folk Festival at the end of April), I've started beading geckoes for the commissioned piece. I think it will be titled "Gecko Apotheosis." The background silk comes from Patrick's tie collection, meaningful to the client who is a family friend. I am having such a good time using the techniques I learned from Larkin and my fabulous new bead stash. the photo doesn't show the faceted dark red beads scattered on the burgundy gecko. And aren't those mottled round beads on the pink paisley gecko neat? To provide a shelter for the five geckoes, I plan a forest of silk leaves. But I'm not allowed to start on the leaves until I finish the income tax. Harumph. There has to be a modicum of self discipline around here.
Yesterday was an all-day beading workshop with Larkin Van Horn in Conroe TX. Larkin is the artist who organized the Deep Spaces exhibit currently at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum; she had tried to be here for the opening on January 19, but was snowed in on Whidbey Island, near Seattle. Extensive efforts by Larkin and by local organizers finally resulted in the beading class being rescheduled before Deep Spaces comes down tomorrow, so I picked her up at the airport on Friday and have the delightful opportunity of being her host in Texas for a few days. The workshop was well attended, lots of varying skill levels evident as the beading instruction went forward. Very grateful for the brief exercise sessions every couple of hours--it's amazing how much tension builds up when you're concentrating on small muscle movements like keeping beads in place while untangling thread. We could all hear the crepitations when we moved head and neck, and the sighs of relief from back muscles as we stretched.
So now I have"captured a cabochon" for the first time, and learned some new techniques for beading. It's evident I will have to practice to develop the skills; since I have a commission for a piece featuring lizards, I guess they'll sport beaded adornments. If (when!) I make mistakes, they can be hidden in the leaves. The workshop increased the pull of the studio, particularly since I had spent the previous 3 days cleaning it. There is now space to walk around, the various clippings have been put in notebooks, the books have been rearranged, the floor swept. I will move the beading supplies downstairs, as that's where I sit to bead. I am getting organized.
Today we will visit the exhibit after church, and tomorrow will spend more time there so Larkin can take photos. It's hard to say goodbye to the exhibit after a year of anticipation and all the drama surrounding it--but what a great experience to be involved in for the first time. And yes, friends, I will post more frequently in future.
Bobbe Shapiro Nolan, Fiber Artist in Eagle Lake, TX. Trying to learn to call the sewing room my studio, and myself an artist. I retired after 15 years in hospice nursing--so now I have the time!.