Saturday, 31 December 2005

Last post of the PeTrA year

Petra's last show (as far as we know) is tonight. Aww I'm so sad-I wish I were independantly wealthy so I could've went.
Well next best thing I suppose-Listen to the best band evah one last time here.

Never Say Die, NO!

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Year of the Veteran

year of the veteran

I got the idea to do this piece for the year of the veteran as a greyscale quilt with deep red accent back in June. It took so long to get around to it because I wanted the portrait my grandma has in her front room-and I can NEVER get anywhere because of the stupid dog. I finally had to get mama to take this pic of it:


This is a large portrait of my Great Grandfather from WWI. He would have been around 25 at the time. I love this picture, I believe that is partly because he looks so much like my brother. This is the main focus of the piece. I played around with different gradations of grey and red, and then added a second photo, taken from WWII period.

My Great Grandfather served in both wars, was blown nearly to pieces in the first one and a veteran's guard in the second. We tried to look up his records once-the number of Joseph Smiths was astounding. He did not have a middle name. He truly was but one of many-so many names in a long list. In some ways I feel like this makes him all the more representative of those faceless names. Of the many, here is one. One who was real, who lived in more than a single line on the list of Joseph Smiths.

I never even came close to actually knowing him (he died relatively young-likely as a result of his war wounds) but there are long stories I could tell about him as my grandma and her sister have talked about him enough to nearly bring him back if only in one's mind.

It seems he was haunted by the inhumanity of a stupid war all his life. He was both physically and psychologically scared from his war experiences (being nearly buried alive would do that to a person) and for the most part would not speak about them. He was, as many others, shell-shocked. I added a piece of silver into the eye of the older version of the quilt, because he had a literal glint in the eye from shrapnel.

My dad remembers him as a 'dour little Scotsman' constantly giving him heck about something-but he was truly generous to a fault-would help anyone with anything. His house was marked by the hobos in the 30's as a friendly place, and my grandma remembers waking up some mornings to the floor littered with young men and boys who'd come in the night looking for a place to stay. That was how my grandparents met.
Some of us also inherited our somewhat *fiery* temperament from him... :)

Anyway, technical stuff; It ended up 17x21 in size, as I am of the school of letting the quilt decide what size it wants to be. :) the top went together quite easily. I dyed and painted the fabrics to get the right range and laid a piece of tulle over the whole thing to hold the smaller pieces in place, because fusible web is like socialism; a good idea in theory, but unless there happens to be a spare Tommy Douglas around it usually gets messed up in real life and falls apart. Anyway. If you know me (and my dear old bertha-yes I named my iron) you know what's coming. Why yes I did melt the tulle. Right on the elder face. At the binding stage. AND I was using a pressing sheet to protect it! Grrrr...

I tried to salvage it, and while I did manage to improve it, the quilt is now wonky and you can see where the new piece of tulle has been sewn in. Sigh. It looked gorgeous before that. But somehow it seems fitting that the quilt should be damaged, since it represents a man who did not leave this life anywhere near unscathed.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Indian Princess

I made this quilt about a month ago for a swap on the quiltart list. As it was annonymous, I didn't want to post until said swap was over (as you spammers might let the cat out of the bag-I know you are like giggling schoolgirls in the area of keeping secrets). Anyway, choices were revealed today, so here it is.

This was originally a design I did for a deco. It's original, but owes pretty much everything to Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh-as I've said before, I rip off the work of she and CRM a fair bit (I'm just "inspired" by them that's all).
The center is whole cloth, dry brushed with oils (the archival nuts would detest me, yes) in a palette based on the medicine wheel plus umber. It's quilted in a 35 weight brown thread, and beaded in a rather random manner. I was quite pleased with how it turned out-and also pleased that someone chose it in the swap!


Here is a detail of the girl's face, feathers and some of the beading:

She will be heading to a new home soon, and I will be receiving a cool beaded quilt in return!

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

I'm Famous!

Well okay, no I'm not. But I feel as if I am!

I just received an email from my favorite magazine, Quilting Arts. They are retaining my self portrait quilt to tour with them to shows along with 75 others throughout the coming year! This is the best news I've gotten in awhile.
From the wording of the email I got, my quilt wasn't one of the 50 chosen for publication, but that doesn't really bother me-I didn't expect anything but a quick return and a form letter!

EeeEEeeE*grinning like an idiot*eeEEEEeeeE!

Saturday, 5 November 2005

All Over Me

all over me

Finally got to the city to get some gloss acrylic gel medium so I could finish this one! The song which inspired the last post, this is imputation. I wanted it to look like the blood was literally covering and 'clothing' an otherwise naked figure (which signifies sinfulness of course) . I think it is my favorite one so far-it was fun working with the "blood" (she says while cleaning red acrylic gel medium from every surface within five feet of the painting...).

Friday, 14 October 2005

From Athanasius; the bishop of Alexandria, Father of orthodoxy, and my favorite church father:

If... it is by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ That death is trampled underfoot, it is clear that it is Christ Himself and none other Who is the Archvictor over death and has robbed it of its power.

Death used to be strong and terrible, but now, since the sojourn of the Savior and the death and resurrection of His body, it is despised; and obviously it is by the very Christ Who mounted on the cross that it has been destroyed and vanquished finally.

When the sun rises after the night and the whole world is lit Up by it, nobody doubts that it is the sun which has thus shed its light everywhere and driven away the dark. Equally clear is it, since this utter scorning and trampling down of death has ensued upon the Savior's manifestation in the body and His death on the cross, that it is He Himself Who brought death to nought and daily raises monuments to His victory in His own disciples. How can you think otherwise, when you see men naturally weak hastening to death, unafraid at the prospect of corruption, fearless of the descent into Hades, even indeed with eager soul provoking it, not shrinking from tortures, but preferring thus to rush on death for Christ's sake, rather than to remain in this present life?

If you see with your own eyes men and women and children, even, Thus welcoming death for the sake of Christ's religion, how can you be so utterly silly and incredulous and maimed in your mind as not to realize that Christ, to Whom these all bear witness, Himself gives the victory to each, making death completely powerless for those who hold His faith and bear the sign of the cross? No one in his senses doubts that a snake is dead when he sees it trampled underfoot, especially when he knows how savage it used to be; nor, if he sees boys making fun of a lion, does he doubt that the brute is either dead or completely bereft of strength. These things can be seen with our own eyes, and it is the same with the conquest of death.

Doubt no longer, then, when you see death mocked and scorned by those who believe in Christ, that by Christ death was destroyed, and the corruption that goes with it resolved and brought to end.

I admit it, I bawled like a little gel the first time I read this. I think Athanasius is the only person who could draw that kind of emotion with sheer polemics (usually polemics stir rather different feelings in people, heh).

Though it is not the main point of his argument, Athanasius' acknowledgement of
1)death as a powerful enemy and,
2)Christ as the Archvictor over death which then is something we who follow him can scorn,
is such a different tack then the one often taken in the church today. It is a far superior tack if you ask me. No "christians are happy about death because it is a release from the world of woe and we are glad to be going home". Rather Athanasius builds his argument assuming everyone realizes what a horrible enemy death is. When death does come, it does not feel like something natural or good-because it is not. Our hope is not the "release" of death, but rather that we belong the one who forced death to release him from it's bonds. And he will carry those who cling to his cross back with him.
After masses of hollow platitudes about death that seem to cover the painful wounds only slightly, Athanasius comforts with a much better balm.

Future generations: When I die, do read this exerpt at my funeral. If you say I have "gone home" or "left the mortal coil" I will make a point of coming back to the mortal coil to haunt you.


Working on a piece for CIP as well as the passing of Yom Kippur have had me thinking about imputation again. It is not well explained or vigorously argued about except amongst theological types-perhaps it seems unnecessary as a doctrine to some. Some people even argue unbiblical!

As far as I understand it, a simple definition of imputation says we are declared righteous by God through Christ. He sees us through Christ's perfection. Now maybe it's just me (OT lovah that I am) but this is all over the OT-this is what all those laws were about! One of the reasons I decided it must be true. :c) I do not see how anyone could dare to argue that it is unbiblical.

Yom Kippur is usually referred to as "the Day of Atonement" but it also means Day of Covering-as in the blood covering that would envelope the sins of the people of the LORD.

The English word covering can mean to protect, to include, to compensate, to wrap, to be a hiding place; all of which apply to the transaction that occurred on that holy day. In it's simplest form, the act of covering went all the way back to the beginning and the LORD himself; he gave Adam and Eve clothing when they would never again be "naked and unashamed". And so he did for their descendants on the Day of Atonement.

The LORD has also said that on the day of judgment he would do the opposite to the wicked, exposing their nakedness to their shame. However some will be, as our first parents were, covered by God. Clothed in salvation, arrayed in robes of righteousness. He gives white robes to those who have been washed in blood. They do not belong to those who wear them, God gives them to us. The scarlet thread turns white-and enfolds our sinfulness.

Remember that old joke 'I'm naked under my clothes'? I can't help but think of it whenever I think of the atonement. The righteous are naked under their clothes-unrighteous, sinners. But God looks on them and sees the clothing of salvation-the blood covering of Christ. He sees the righteousness of Christ on us and over us. Isn't that basically what imputation means? If so, it is more than biblical; it is the only way of salvation.

I've got the blood of an innocent man all over me.

Saturday, 1 October 2005


Heh I've had this as a draft forEVER...
I have returned in one piece from seeing PeTrA! It was of course, a fabulous show. I managed to navigate around Winnipeg by way of my relatives, Got there in lots of time, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. As always, I squealed all the way through, especially when they dusted off some classic gems.
I took a few pictures (would've taken more, but I was too busy rocking out):

This was right at the beginning, John singing "It's All About Who You Know"

Bob doing a solo!

This one is unfortunately a little blurry...

Bob again because he's the MAN.

I loved the show. Thanks PeTrA for all the years of music-and doctrine, heh.
Oh and I waited a good two hours to get an addy from Bob-so I can send him CIP as MAIL ART!!! How cool is that?

(the answer is super extra cool, btw)

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Yeah boyah

That's right, tomorrow is P-day. I can't wait! I feel like a kid...

I made this in the spirit of diy concert gear, but am unsure if I will make it into a cuff as originally planned or something else.
Regardless of what I end up wearing, I am going to enjoy this! I haven't been to a concert since well the last farewell tour of one of my favorite bands, Big Sugar.
Only one more sleep! AaAAAaaHHhhHHhHhhh!

Tuesday, 27 September 2005


I have been on a roll lately. I finished the sweater that has been sitting and awaiting the left arm since last spring. It turned out pretty well! It's supposed to have long arms that fold back-but of course I am one of the monkey people, so they don't fold back much on my arms. Still, I love the colour-and the people at work liked seeing the thing I had been working on while I was there at night... :)
Here it is :


I got the pattern for free from interweave knits magazine (here).

I have to admit I will always associate this sweater with the mind-numbing tapes I had to watch for my classes-the only thing that kept me awake was working on it.

Monday, 26 September 2005

Least of the Recons

Many years ago, my mom bought me a skirt.
The ugliest skirt ever. It was a full-length wrap around skirt. Ewwww...But the fabric was nice, so I kept that skirt for years, thinking there had to be something I could do with it. I got into a mood to 'make' recently and finally reconed it...into another skirt (yeah I know, imaginative).
I made a ten panel skirt with a tulle underskirt, which I wanted to do tambour on. My mom's reaction was one of shock; 'you're making a crinoline?' as if it were skinny jeans or something. Hardly that dark force of satanic power.

Anyway, this is how it turned out:
IMG_0083 copy

Me standing in front of my closet. It turned out shorter than I had intended, as I had not meant to make it sit quite so high on the waist. Still, I think it looks pretty decent for being made by someone who never sews clothes-I do seem to have a hankering lately to change that though.

Here are some detail shots, as I know the affinity you spammy guys have for decent hand embroidery...
the waistband:

And the tulle underskirt, which I decided to cut rather raggedly (I do like that):
And no, no one is going to see that embroidery; I just really wanted to do it.

Sunday, 18 September 2005

Fashion apocalypse

I was reading fashion blogs at work the other day (I know...but much of the aim of my job is to stay awake all night.) anyway, I unearthed a most ominous and frightening trend: fashion bloggers talking about skinny jeans...favourably.

Of course they've (minions of Mephistopheles in the fashion industry, that is) been trying to push this evil on us for awhile, but so far we have fought the good fight. We remember the days of freedom, when like the Ephesians with their books of magic, we burned our skinny jeans on a multi thousand dollar holy pyre, jubilant that we were no longer under their dark influence.
Too quickly it seems we have begun to wear down, to forget the tyranny.

Even now you may hear the honey-dipped voice of El Diablo whispering in your ear, telling you how thin your ankles will look in those skinny jeans. "Jeans are just jeans aren't they?" whispers the seductive voice. Listen not to the father of lies!

We well know that for all the beauty God has given, the devil has a twisted horrible counterfeit. The LORD in his wisdom gave us bootcut, straightleg, and all manner of comfortable attractive jeans. Only the darkened mind of the Evil One could mar something so good as the jean into the hideous beast known as the skinny taperleg jean. Only old scratch could come up with a jean that looks good on absolutely no one-NO ONE-and so disfigure the human figure made in the image of God. Don't be fooled-the Accuser only awaits the day when he can post full size pictures in the courts of the heavenlies of you in those skinny jeans. There will be nowhere to hide from the shame.

Repent now! If your skinny jeans lead you to sin (which they always do) cut them off! Arise and wake-for the skinny jeans will infiltrate the church and lead many astray. We must fight this tide!

Appendix: Out of morbid curiosity, I had to read comments to see how many had been fiendishly deceived. What I read made my blood run cold. Someone suggested skinny jeans best asset is that one can tuck them into one's boots. There you have it, dispies. Between that and leggings, living proof that the Great Tribulation is upon us. You can't say you weren't warned.

Tuesday, 13 September 2005


Originally uploaded by char111.

Yeah, we got another digital camera and now I can post a pic of the Hammerquilt!

Sunday, 21 August 2005

Yay Quilts

I've got a quilting bug again lately. This makes me happy, as I had been rather burnt out for about a year, and have done little work. I hate being unproductive!

I finished the Hammerquilt-no pic of it, but man it looks really good, all that lovely silk. I just free motioned all over it, tried to keep it a little dimensional in the center, as the original is.

I then got on a quilt version of the blue and red portrait for the Quilting Arts magazine Creative Self Portrait Challenge:


I swear I am not a narcissist! I just thought it would be fun to enter the challenge, and I really love that red and blue pic mmm redandblue....that combo also describes my temperament quite well, though I made the embroidery messy to represent me a little better. I doubt I will get into the magazine, but I know I won't if I never send. It gave me something to quilt, anyway.

And the newest entry for CIP, Yahweh Love, which is also a small quilt. I had to do at least one piece in fabric, and had decided to make this one a quilt, in the same vein as the Biblica Hebraica pieces. It is off center because there is a one inch-margin on the left side.

Yahweh Love

Friday, 12 August 2005

what I'm doing...

Well things are moving along on all my projects. I wish I could take pictures, but mama left the digital camera in a restaurant, where it was taken. Curses! It's back to film and taking far to long to get it developed for me.

I have relatively good concepts for roughly half of my CIP songs (about 100 of them) and I just have to decide on the page layouts and execute the 70 I haven't done (yes 70 ). The other ones are going to be harder. I hate praise songs. They do not lend themselves to anything as the interesting imagery of Bob's own songs do. And they aren't as good of songs. So there. I'd love to get it done before they finish the final tour though.

I am also finally working on the Hammerquilt! My jar of rust has finally been put to good use and with the help of fusible interfacing, I finished the completely silk top. I wish I could post a pic, it does look lovely. Only one minor mishap of ironing it to the design wall... Here is the original piece that Reed (hammerquill) did in metal. Both he and his father do stunning work.

I have also become totally enamoured of this coat (which was in the film A Series of Unfortunate Events). I already have an army greatcoat, not dis-similar, but I am hoping to make this one a bit lighter-the army coat weighs 10 pounds and has a very hot quilted lining in it. It is also double breasted. Ah well just another thing to make. I always have at least 10 projects going at once-and I wouldn't have it otherwise.

I'm somebody now!

Millions of people look at Pyromaniac every day!
Ah the Jerk. That show was classic.

Anyway I got blogspotted after a manner by the Pyromaniac (okay I know it's just because I commented there, but still). I'm on par with 'Satan'!
This blog is quite interesting-I enjoy the posts (and Phil spells his name with two l's-well I guess his mom did-my mom did too, for my brother), but the amount of squabbling that goes on in the comments over even non-controversial subjects is truly amusing.
One of my favorite reads. Especially the comments!

Monday, 18 July 2005


I will make the effort to post more often. Really really. I need to move beyond the idea stage for so many projects. I especially need some spare motivation. I wish I could buy some from a more ambitious person than I-they sell everything else on ebay, why not motivation?
Anyway, this is what I made today:

Simple, yeah, but I think it's cute. The petals are silk fusion-I love silk fusion SO much-I have some tussah fiber that I hate to spin just because it is so lovely as is, and fusion doesn't seem like such a drastic change to it to me. The center is punchneedle. I do hope the person this is going to likes it!

Saturday, 16 July 2005

Self Portrait in Blue and Red

Another Deco! For a 'true colours' challenge, which stipulates using a very narrow palette-one or two colours. I blurred the image abit to take some of the paint lines off, but it looks a little weird from that, doesn't it?
I was looking over my artwork about a year ago, and noticed how often I used red and blue-I've since tried to move away from it. See the fabric and paper deco for an out-of-comfort-zone colour combination.
However, since these are still my favorite two colours and favorite combination I entered the challenge just for the pleasure of using it again! :)
I used a photo of myself, and altered it to get the high contrast and so on. Then I painted from that with acrylics-went a little wonky though. Ah well, I think it turned out okay-except that my nose doesn't look sausagey enough.

ETA: here is the original picture (yeah I always look weird in pictures) see the distinctly sausage-like quality of my nose-->
short and fat.

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Back to Arty Stuff

My paper and Fabric deco is turning out pretty well. Most of the green backgrond is fabric, the girl is drawn on paper with pens, coloured with pastels.
I wasn't too sure about machine embroidering through paper, but I backed it with some sew on interfacing, and it's come through all the embroidery quite nicely, really. A bit holey, but that's to be expected. I'm actually getting relatively decent at machine embroidery! Yay! (Now I have probably cursed myself by saying that.)

I think I will have to go over the pastel colouring, as the intense varigated thread really overpowers her right now. I have to say that even though it is terrible for lint, I really like the valdani thread. I think mostly because of it's heavy weight, especially compared to the fine rayons I used with it. I was never that much for subtlety in line.
Now how to actually make it into a deco...

Monday, 27 June 2005


Petra might be coming to Winnipeg on the farewell tour! A week after my birthday! If this goes through, nothing will keep me away!
I'm so psyched up about this-I thought I'd be broke and of course unable to go a really long distance to a show, and therefore never see them again-but it looks like I will be gainfully employed and...Winnipeg! It's like right there! And I have relatives who live there!
Ah man, the last time I was this foolishly giddy was when I was 15-and found out about the last Petra concert I went to. I'm such a nerd.

heheh this is changing from an arty blog to an 'I reallyreally love PeTrA' blog.

Saturday, 25 June 2005


The latest entry in my CIP project. I had a sketchy idea of what I wanted to do, but it didn't really crystalize until I stumbled across the beautiful pieces at Hebrew Art. I fell in love with them! No mine is not nearly as lovely as those. I use the fact that I have no professional training as an excuse. It's not my fault! I do want to buy that artist's calendar now. So pretty.

The background is based mostly on two lines:

Adonai master of the earth and sky (hense earth and sky-duh) and

When the storms surround me speak the word that they will be still.

They were the only two lines that kept running though my head as I did it!

I had some problems with the masking fluid (simply not proficient with that stuff yet!) but over all it turned out okay. Better than I thought it would half-way through, that's for sure.
Not perfect, but I do like it very much.

I'm so glad this one turned out okay; this was my favorite song to sing. :)

Friday, 17 June 2005

Third Time

Was indeed the charm. Yeay finished the panel! Finished with those weird S-like horrible F's! (I had to match a previous panel.)
Here's a pic:

In Memoriam Panel

And a close-up of the I which I finally just decided to make completly different from the original-so there.

Fancy I

and yeah I warned them I might do that...ooh I have to show something 'different' to a bunch of old ladies-I'm beginning to get aprehensive.

Monday, 30 May 2005


I managed to get the commission I am doing about 75% done before making an unfixable mistake. I had to do a large lettered memoral panel and had about 60 names finished before I realized I had mixed the names from 2003 and 2004 together. How can I fix that? I'll have to start over again, ruling and all.
I have to write sideways (I'm left-handed)-my hand and neck are killing me and I have nothing to show for it. I am to tired to be as pissed off as I should. I have to admit I had thought I should stop for the night before I got to that part-why didn't I listen to myself?!

**Edit-by the time I get this done I will be a gothic script master! (oops almost wrote mater heheh )
The second time around I decided to widen the bottom margin by one row, and yes that's right, I got to the last five names or so and realized I did not have the room. Attempt three seems to be going better, and the cat now enjoys playing with mistakes one and two on the floor.
I have too many other things to be annoyed and stressed about (Canada freakin Post) to really be bothered by this. This is a new feeling for me...

I do however think that if it gets into the double digits for attempts, I'll start getting a little unhappy (ie throwing things) about it.

Saturday, 21 May 2005

I love New Ideas

It's finishing them once they get old that's the problem.
The beginnings of my Complete Illustrated Petra, which I am staying up nights with good ideas working on. Just wait till I start that tempera piece of St. Augustine.
Oy! Are all artists this obsessive?

Saturday, 14 May 2005

More thoughts on Petra

Outside of just AAAWWWW.
For you non-Petra lovers (weirdos!), just move right along...

I was playing with the idea of creating a Complete Illustrated Petra about a year ago (before life fell in on me) and now that I know they are retiring, I am once again considering it (even with all the smoldering ruins about). Well it may be therapeutic to revisit things that have made me happy, and the music of Petra was certainly one of those things. Plus now I can truly make it 'complete'.

The plan was to compile all the sketches I had done of their songs, add new ones to finish it out and send it to Bob-maybe he'll enjoy seeing some of the odder takes on his tunes. This is what I spent most of my school time doing, BTW; illustrating Petra songs. Petra rocked and school sucked-so not like I felt bad about it or anything. Some of those drawings go all the way back to when I was about thirteen-and no I never throw away priceless treasures like that. I have boxes upon boxes of old drawings. I have no more room and so am now trying to train myself to a sketch book-it is a slow process.

Anyway, at the Guide to Petra site, they set up a tribute page. I decided to write one and it unexpectedly became rather horrendously long-I got all longwinded at the end especially. Then I forgot to add line breaks-duh. **They fixed it! My tribute is now here all nicely formatted. There are a ton of them there now.

Hee, everyone else's is all 'they meant so much to me' and 'they were a big influence on my life', and mine is all theology and Soli Deo Gloria...I'm such a freak. Hopefully I didn't sound like a pretentious prig. I didn't, right? Right?

Thursday, 12 May 2005


It is Finished

My favorite band since I was 12. Their last album really rocked after a long period of mediocre stuff too...
Ah all good things must come to an end.

Saturday, 16 April 2005

New Sewing Projects

As if I don't have enough of them.
I've decided I absolutely can no longer stand the despicable vertical blinds in my bedroom (I am counting the days till I may burn them!) They always fall down, manage to open up when I'm in my room naked, and are generally uglicious.
So, I am now sewing a curtain. I couldn't possibly have a plain old one, so I am piecing it in a log cabin pattern (basically squares of colour). I'm using a blue and dark brown palette (the colours of my room). The blocks are 16".
I'm not sure what I'm going to line it with yet, but so far the blocks look pretty good.

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

I Finished One!


A little quilt named "Hotter Than 'Ell" after the incredible Fletcher Henderson song of the same name. I was attempting a 30's deco/cubist style (indicitive of the era of the song itself).

I designed it originally as an ATC, and liked it so much that I translated it into a quilt to send out as a swap with another quilter. It went together quite well considering that I had all these little tightly curved pieces. I do hope it does the song justice. :c)

Thursday, 7 April 2005

A Thought

You know how it is considered truly bad form to liken your opponent in a debate to the Nazis? I propose a variant for that for apologetic debates.

As soon as you say your opponent's position is 'pharisitical' or compare them in any way to 'pharisees', step back and throw your hands up, you have just lost the debate.

I wonder what Rabbinical Jews think of that whole supposed line of defense...

Tuesday, 22 February 2005

The Bauhaus Manifesto

I am still thinking about the art of craft....

I found The Bauhaus Manifesto. Hmmm...

Saturday, 19 February 2005

Red Hot Jazz

I have visited the Red Hot Jazz site many times and find it to be a great site in general, (but then you know I love Red Hot Jazz-so how could it not be?) though the music links had never worked for me.

Since I switched to Firefox, they have begun to work (go figure) and I can listen to Fletcher Henderson to my heart's content!! (which requires a lot of Fletcher Henderson.)

I have always felt that if someone were to take total abandoned joy, distill it down to it's purest form, and put it on a record, it would sound like the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra.

Listen to Shanghai Shuffle or Wrappin it Up-any of them! Yeeeeaaaaayyy! This stuff is basically audio-serotonin. You can't help but love it. If you need to do a happy dance, Hotter than Ell/Yeah Man! should be your sound track.

Which is just what I need right now. Don't we all?

Friday, 18 February 2005

The Inner Critic

As of late, I have seen and participated in many discussions where 'the inner critic' came up. This is the little voice that many artists (and non-artists) hear in the back of the mind, picking out of the flaws in their work. The niggling doubt that insists people only compliment your work because they are 'being nice'. You know.

The inner critic can be a genuine problem for many artists, but I do not like the now familiar meme that I have heard in these discussions, which goes something like this: one must banish him, shut him off or ignore him in order to really create great art.

What?!! While I understand the good intention behind it, that is about the last suggestion I would make. It is perhaps the way to create falsely self-satisfying work, but hardly the way to create work that anyone but your mom would like, much less great work. It is not good advice for any artist.

The inner critic is a fabulous tool if you use him right. Nothing can make you push yourself, challenge your cherished notions, get you out of a rut, or make you work until you do achieve your vision like he does. He always reminds you that as well as you may be doing, you could do better. This is not self defeatist, this is aspiring to excellence. The inner critic believes in you like no one else. And if you enter into the creative process with him, he becomes like iron on iron in conjunction with your determination-he hones you into the artist that he insists you can be.

Some may say, 'well I don't want to be well-known, so it doesn't matter what my art looks like. It is just for me.' You are selling yourself short with that argument. You are saying, 'others deserve powerful and insightful art pieces, but I do not'. Why the heck not? Excellence is not about other people or how they perceive you, as many seem to think. It is about what you are saying about yourself, how you perceive yourself. Is putting out a crappy piece of work good enough for you? It isn't for me, and I can thank the inner critic for pointing that out.

Also, when you make a piece that you are satisfied with, that the inner critic looks at and says 'it's pretty good' (and yes he does do this sometimes!), the feeling of accomplishment is amazing-no outside affirmation can give you that-and in ignoring the inner critic, you never get the feeling of his approval either. It is safer, but I would argue on the whole, much less satisfying.

Having said all that, I do know people whose inner critics have become monsters-nothing they do is right-even beautiful works are judged as garbage. I do not know what the cure for a monster-critic is, and it is very unfortunate situation given all the good the inner critic can do for an artist. As I said earlier, he is a tool, not an end, and certainly should not be the dominant component of your art-making. You might have to 'put him in his place' occasionally.
The thing is-the inner critic should never say-'you'll never be any good'. He should be telling you 'I know you can do better than that'. Then you know you are enjoying a healthy relationship with your inner critic.

This whole 'aspiring to excellence' idea is of course very dear to my heart. I don't want to just say 'ah-good enough'. What's the point of that? This is perhaps the craftsperson's aesthetic that I love so much- it has also earned me a reputation as a bit of an 'art nazi'. But I suppose that is not that far off. Yes my work is judged ruthlessly by me. Then other people's objections come as no surprise.
So says the iron-clad armadillo.

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Hmm the story of my life right now...


Monday, 7 February 2005

On a UFO mission...

No I am not hunting down creepy little alien thingers.
I am pulling out several Un-Finished Objects and getting them a little closer to completion. I don't have the means (White fabric!!) to get into any of my newer projects going, so I'm looking to make my 'to-do' pile a little smaller.

I pulled out bluesman today and worked on the left hand. That's my oldest UFO (soon to be four years old) and I will get it done someday. Yes it is an indeterminant point in the future, but it will come. I am going to have to paint it a little as the dyes are migating in the darkest (#6) fabric and it is now the same value as the #4 fabric-and purple. But I am not giving up! It will be done, oh yes, it will be done.

As previously mentioned I have actually gotten the fishy quilt to the binding stage.

I finally got over my annoyance with my glorious DWR and have it in the hoop. I quilt on it when mom and I watch Coronation Street (damn her for getting me addicted to that show! She has watched it for years and years.) This quilt is seriously the reason I started quilting-I wanted a traditional Double Wedding Ring, in the scrappy 30's colourways. I always wanted one. So when we finally got a working sewing machine I started with the quilts. It only took me 5 years to start on it-oh and another year and a half of languishing in the UFO pile. I might have it done by spring.

And there are others. I am such a 'starter'. I know many artists are. You become enamoured of an idea and it is the center of the artistic universe-until the next epiphany comes along. Hopefully the first inspired work is done by that time. If not, it may just find a home in the purgatory of the UFO pile-until such time as you are again inspired-this time to go on a UFO mission.

Friday, 4 February 2005

Bead Buy!!!

A few people on N'ness got together and bought a whole whack of beads from Fire Mountain Gems. My share arrived in the mail today. All I can say is I'm in bead heaven! I am enjoying myself just looking at these babies. Am I the only one gets art-supply induced euphoria?
Sometimes just admiring and handleing my fabrics, yarns, ribbons, fibers and beads is enough. I therefore also love to shop for supplies, even when I'm too broke to buy anything.

With this buy, I finally got to get my hands on those eye beads that I have been coveting for Spirits of the Living Creatures. They are quite small and irregular, not as turquoise as they appeared in the pictures (or in the one below as a matter of fact) , but absolutely perfect for that piece. Now I guess I'll have to actually make it. ahem.
I really need to buy a large piece of dyeing fabric. I only have 5 or 6 pieces that depend on it. This is the problem when you have too many good ideas, you get about as much done as when you don't have any. Well and self induced poverty due to overspending on beads doesn't help either.

Here are the beads!

Eye beads-beaauuttifuull.

I am prioritizing in artistic endevours, believe it or not-I'm concentrating on getting the materials together for the Haus Eines Kunstfreundes quilt. Though this of course is strictly craft and the term 'art' would be an insult to it. I am supposed to be finished it in two months...good thing it's small. Eeeps!

Friday, 14 January 2005

quilt stuff

I am almost finished the dragon/fish quilt. I really don't know what I'll do if I actually get it done after three years. Of course The thing I have to do is bind it, and I have been known to actually use quilts for months before binding. You know how some people farm tops out to be quilted? I'd like to farm whole quilts out to be bound. Tedious and annoying. I always get frustrated with binding.

I was reading a disscussion about machine quilting from the 'front' of the machine, which at first made no sense to me, as I thought 'well you have to quilt from the front anyway.' Then this 'front' quilting was likened to longarm quilting and someone mentioned that it would take getting used to to quilt sideways, and I realized what they were refering to as the front of the machine, I would consider the side.

So anyway, I tried it with this quilt's border (this has just become an experimental quilt). The fact that I had a hard time seeing what I was doing would be the main complaint, rather than getting used to going in a sideways motion. I actually tucked and sewed over the backing-an amateur mistake I haven't made in years-though there were advantages to doing it this way. It was easier to control the bulk of the quilting being chief among them. I'll have to try it a few more times to decide whether it is truly helpful or not.

Also, I found this site and I think it might work much better with the machine recessed like that. I do need a new table, that old one spent many years outside, and seems to like to grab pins while a piece is going by. One of my great nemeses, that table.

Speaking of Nemeses, I found another site, which I found quite useful in helping me get one up on another object of eternal frustration-the bobbin case. I had to try it straight away. It worked. This made me way more happy than it should have.
Like my uncle said, I'll never need a man as long as I have the arts. And bannock.

fractal thingy

Ooo. A thingy I made. I have no idea how I did it. Looks cool though.

Sunday, 2 January 2005


I actually managed to finish a piece of naalbinding! (yay!) I decided to make a wristicuff as they are simple and easy.
I read of naalbinding ( also nalebinding, nalbinding and a whole slew of other spellings) about five years ago and have been driving myself insane trying to learn it ever since. It is one of the oldest textile processes known, I had to figure it out. Now normally I have always had an aptitude for needle arts, and while it may take a couple of tries, I will get the hang of it. I have always had to teach myself from books and diagrams. But I could find no good diagrams for naalbinding, only pictures of the textile form and instructions to 'get someone who knows this to teach you' (how helpful is that?) Apparently all the experts insist it is very hard to teach yourself (well yeah when no one puts good diagrams or pics together) but getting a teacher is not an option in the middle of nowhere. I don't know why someone doesn't make a video instruction manual; if one needs to be 'shown', that will certainly do it.

Anyway, about six months ago, I found this site. Pictures! Finally! It was an epiphany moment! I could figure it out, after all that time of trying and trying again. The epiphany moment I think is why I do needle art in the first place.
I had to learn to do it right handed as the pictures, which makes me forget the stitches all the time, heheh. I think I will have to figure it out left handed. I do that for most needle arts. I get a tenuous hold on the concept right handed and then switch over to left and become quite competent.
I do have my first successful piece, just a small example, in my 'first try' box, which will eventually be put together in perhaps a crazy quilt.

I was busy doing nothing for the better part of the year, but decided the other day to make a wristband using the stitch on the site from the merino I spun last spring. So here it is on my very cold blotchy arm: