Sunday, 17 February 2008

I Love This Stuff

I've coveted a needle felting machine since the Embellisher hit the market however many years ago, so many things you could do with one! People were always making cool things with them. This week the quilt store I frequent had the Pfaff version on sale. Though it only had five needles (some like the Embellisher itself have seven) I liked that you could change individual needles, and it was a little less chere than they usually are so I bought one.

I have been playing with it all day and I want to go back and play some more. I've done a landscape, a flower, some abstractions, whatever I can think of. I have already broken oh five or so of the needles in my playing, perhaps I am a little too, uh, enthusiastic. I am learning. I haven't gotten to any fancy techniques yet, but I have enjoyed working with it. Oh yeah this is why I used to love to do this stuff-it's wicked fun. I had totally forgotten that little detail.

Now I wonder what I will do with the experiments. Anyone want a needle felted postcard?
ETA: Here they are ready to go. Yay I found a use for the beautiful sari silk yarn I bought awhile back. Now I have to go buy more needles. I have discovered the problem with the needles is that the presser foot is not stopping the machine as soon as I lift my foot. In fact it is sticking pretty good sometimes. I'll have to see what I can do about it.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The Golden Decade

Constantine's sons favoured opposite sides in the controversy. The first return was brief for Constantius again deposed Athanasius and after hiding out in the city for awhile he escaped to Rome. In the intervening years the Arians held counsels and wrote their own creeds while the Nicenes countered, many of whom had ended up in exile in the West under the protection of Constans and the Bishop Julius.
At the end of his second exile, Athanasius had been from his people for about seven years and now the Arian bishop who had replaced him was dead. In those years Eusebius also died. Constantius finally offered to reinstate him and Athanasius returned to his beloved flock In Alexandria. The Golden Decade had begun.

Aren't you glad we're to the part of the story where we get rid of Eusebius? Happy turning point there. Ding dong and all that.

It hasn't been seven years but this piece has languished some-though I have regularly been building highlights on it. Particularly given how the test piece worked out, I was afraid of embroidering it as I had originally planned. I still think that would have looked awesome, but I love the piece too much to take many risks with it at this point. I mean I'm sure we can all agree that the test piece looked pretty awful.

Anyway I think that Athanasius would not be impressed to know that fear of ruination would keep me from moving forward, so I decided to abandon the original idea for the embroidery and did running stitches by hand instead. these will be built up in the quilting which I have decided will also be done by hand. The contrast and texture I had intended is simply not there and while I think this does hurt the piece, I can live with this as opposed to an unmitigated disaster of threads.

Perhaps I will expand that coptic theme until I am better at it-companion pieces! Anyway here is how the piece stands. The dupioni has been added and stitches done for the moment.

Because I had chosen to make the halo and the world basically the same size, this meant an unusually small halo, and it is set oddly in the picture because of the shading. That was the thing I played with again and again in the original layout.

I was leary of my original idea of applying gold leaf in a deconstructed manner, but decided to go ahead with it. Now I am regretting that a little...Here is a close-up of the way the halo turned out. I think I can still do some salvaging once paint has dried. I still need to apply the 96th layer of paint to even the intensity out, and some other things.

As mentioned, varying intensities in the paint at the moment are leaving it looking a little wonky, and I have a good amount of work to do on that halo to fix it. But once I decide whether I want to do the edge treatment I had considered then forgotten about then found again, ( I like it but am again leaning against it) I can move on to quilting. Then it's only a few more exiles until finishing.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Light of the Sun...and Heat of the Soldering Iron

Love, embroidered fabrics on fabric/paper ground

I saw this technique in a magazine not long after I started the project (literally years ago now. Gah) and chose it for this piece. It consists of a painted paper/fabric combination, covered in several layers of synthetic sheers, embroidered from the back and cut with a soldering iron.
I did a test one which I sent to someone as a postcard. It was a valuable experience as that one looked more deconstructed than I wanted, particularly in the sun. So I altered my method a little in the final work.

Things went well until I went to cut the picture down and while moving things to get to the cutting mat I burned my hand on the still hot soldering iron. Damn even being better organized than I have ever been in my entire life makes no difference, I still have to move everything from here to there whenever I want to do something. The cutting mat and sewing machine occupying exactly the same space is not working, I need them both at once. There just isn't enough room in there.

Anyway outside of whineyness, it turned out quite nicely, pretty much just how I wanted and certainly better than the last few.