Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hope Flows Bangle 1 and Earrings

After spending nearly 6 months of looking at the images of River Terrace Church's stained glass windows and the drafts, fabrics and working on the Hope Flows installation, I needed to do something in beads. I took my original tiny drafts of one of the panels and dropped it into peyote stitch graph paper.  

I didn't have the bangle done by the reception for Hope Flows, but I did stay up late the night before making a pair of of earrings to match.  I'm really happy to get it done (I thought I could finish it for the MLH Conference but I just can't bead as fast as I'd like), and am extra pleased to have made a large statement bangle.  

This pattern doesn't repeat (hence one of the reasons it takes so long to make), so I ended up taking a ton of photos this morning from all sides of it. 

This bangle ended up being 2 1/2 inches in length.  I hope you enjoy all the photos!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Michigan League of Handweavers Conference 2019

Michigan League of Handweavers 2019 Conference is officially behind me.  I've had artwork sitting in a corner of my dining room for a bit too long (trying to keep the cats away) and to be honest I enjoy hanging this show, but the intake and pickup process has to be less on the point person making a ton of special arrangements.  I had to be pretty stern with some people towards the end and frankly, I'm exhausted from that.  The show itself turned out great, I think the quality of artwork increases every year.  I enjoyed taking notes for Cameron Taylor-Brown as she juried the show and I always appreciate conversation and critiques on my own work as part of the process. 

All of the awards will eventually be listed at MLHguild.org, I didn't feel that I had my strongest two pieces (but I got Leaf Me Alone 2 done finally!) so I'm pleased to have received an honorable mention.  MLH and being around all the weavers I now there always inspires me to get back to my loom as quikcly as possible.

I have to set up the exhibit in a classroom, and with all the pieces that needed hanging I was quite grateful for the framed works and sculptural pieces.

I spent a lot of time in Room 203, Graves Hall.

I failed to get photos, but I had also entered two bangles in the Fashion Accessories Exhibit.  Klingon Light and Ginkgo Leaf Bangle.  The fashion show was fun as always.  We have so many creative weavers and artists in this guild.  Everyone is so inspiring.

Fashion Show Finale

I did something new this year.  I have somehow been involved in MLH since 2009...I know it was 10 years ago because it was the 50 year anniversary and Karen East had recruited my help to work on and set up the Lansing Guild Exhibit.  I had heard there was a beach in Holland but never took the time or had the time to go.  So Friday was my shopping, catching up with friends and "relaxed" day.  I I went and found the beach.  I'm not a big beach person, but it was a nice sunny day to walk the pier.  I was also relieved that I had gotten my State Park tab again with my licence registration because there was no line for heading in to Holland State Park Beach.

We had two presentations Friday night.  Marta put together a short history of MLH's beginnings which was really wonderful. There is a ton of history with this Guild and she said that she barely touched on it with this showing.

Cameron Taylor-Brown also brought a fresh perspective to the presentations with her talk on "How String Changed the World."  It was definitely a different sort of keynote talk than we're used to seeing and I really enjoyed it.

It's always wonderful to get back to Hope College for a few days to reconnect with fellow weavers and our passion for fiber art. Thank you to everyone who works so hard putting this on.  It is a LOT of work.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

River Terrace Installation Reception with Jenny Schu

This is the finale for me.  When I finished this installation, it felt great, but there was a sense of something missing.  Usually when an artist finishes a body of work, we had an exhibit, showing or reception for the public.  So this is mine, it's coming up in a few days, but then I'll feel done!

Come ask me questions, see the work in person, check out this really beautiful church (and the stained glass this was inspired from).

Thursday, May 23, 2019
5:00pm to 8:00pm

River Terrace Church
1509 River Terrace Drive
East Lansing, MI 48823

The public Facebook Event can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2808992972475158/

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Long thin Wrap Necklace/Bracelet for CCFF 2019

I always have a jewelry piece that I'm working on.  Sometimes I get them done quickly because I can't put them down, sometimes I slog through a little bit at a time between other projects.  this one I slogged through because when I wasn't at work, I was focused on the River Terrace Church Installation.  This piece wraps to be a long, medium or short necklace, or wraps multiple times to be a bracelet.

This inspiration for this piece was a new dress I picked up at Grace Boutique in Old Town.  I decided it was perfect for one of the weddings I have to go to this summer, but also I wanted to wear it to the Capital City Film Festival Red Carpet event.  When I started this piece, I pulled all the different colors of beads that would match the dress is 15's, 13's and 11's.  My initial thought was to create this necklace in the St. Petersburg Chain Stitch (see below), but that was quickly scrapped.  It had too much going on, the stitch needed to be smaller and simpler.

Simple stitching is not my forte, but with all the color options I could still give this piece a complex feel.  5 feet, 9 inches later with a vintage clasp from my grandma's old costume jewelry I came up with a smooth multicolored blend of seed beads with little leaf and pearl accents.  This piece is very lightweight with a nice hang, almost like a very light rope.

You can barely see it in the above photo, but you can see the dress and how it didn't need a lot of extra pizazz with it's jewelry.  Honestly, the cut of the dress on my is just ok, but I absolutely fell in love with the fabric and print of it, it's very pretty and comfortable.

I chose this length so that I could wrap it 2, 3 or 4 times and wear it from a choker to all different lengths.  When it gets bothersome at work and I'm worried I'm going to snag it on something, I wrap it up to a choker or around my wrist.

Little Leaf Detail

Bracelet Pile

I'm just posting this now as a breather from finishing the huge River Terrace Installation and getting ready to lecture and teach at the Needlework and Textile Guild of Michigan next week to a sold-out workshop.  I can't believe I got everything done the week of Film Fest between floorset at work (rearranging the entire clothing sales floor for the new month and new clothes), volunteering at the Film Fest and finishing and hanging the River Terrace piece. What a whirlwind!  

Group Photo from CCFF. Film fest is always one of my favorite Lansing events,
this photo honors the pre-digital camera age where, due to Bryan's height, 
his head always got cut off in photos.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

River Terrace Church Installation

Here it is.  The final hanging day of my River Terrace Church installation.  It felt like being in art school all over again, up until 3am sewing for a 9am critique.  It has to be done.  My energy and spirit was deep into this project.  I have been through a lot in the past 6 months and this piece lived with me along the way.  Somewhere between exhaustion, joy and beauty I teared up when I finally saw it complete and hung in place.  

I am so honored to have been chosen to create this piece for River Terrace.  I told Laura as I was hanging and hemming the dowels into the bottom of the panels that, as an artist, I usually hope that I am pleased with the work I create (it doesn't always happen), I hope some other people like or appreciate it, but this is different.  This piece I hope, pray, that a congregation of 400+ people like this piece.  I created something that would change the entire background of their sermons as long as it is up.  Laura, Mark, Melissa and Carol all encouraged me to come to the Easter service.  I wasn't really planning on it since that week I had to finish this piece, I was late at work for floorset and I was volunteering for the Capital City Film Festival.  I wasn't just tired, I was exhausted.  I decided I would make my best effort and the fact my Dad wanted to drive in an hour to come to the service with me that  morning solidified my decision.  

Approximately 38 hours + of designing and meetings.
More than 130 hours of pinning, sewing, hand stitching and cutting.
315 some odd feet of black satin ribbon.

I felt like I was running back to Jo-Ann's for more ribbon every week.  I could do a two hour lecture on the design technique and my process creating this work.  I'm lucky that I had such a great group to work with while putting this piece together.

I've been to a lot of Easters, but this one meant much more to me than any other Easter. I was pretty much in tears the entire service.  Every word that the Pastor spoke, the hymns, the congregation spoke to me.  It kept circling me back to my past 5 months when I had decided it was time to join AA, and without that fellowship, support and weekly meetings, I wouldn't have gotten this installation finished by Easter.  The constant state of overwhelm I was living in has washed away and from it came this piece and a new beginning of my artistic drive.

This piece was commissioned to highlight the beautiful stained glass windows at River Terrace.  I have always been inspired by stained glass but I've never pursued any work based on it.  From the first meetings around doing this piece I've been excited to play with this inspiration and now I want to do more.  Please excuse the above weird panorama, but the color was better split between two different photos so I just plopped the one over the other so you get the idea. 

Thank you Dad for coming out and supporting this piece, thank you to the group and River Terrace that made this possible, a huge thanks to my boyfriend for tolerating piles of paper, ribbon, needles, pins, thread and fabric taking up the living room, dining room and studio, and thank you to my AA groups (you know who you are, you've heard all about this piece).

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

River Terrace Church Installation Teaser

I'll start by saying that I am not posting images of the final installation here.  I'll post it on Sunday.  I really want the church to enjoy this piece before it hits social media.  The above and below photos are from the pre-hang we did 1 week ago today.  It feels like it was a month ago right now!  So much has happened in a week and I barely slept last week with the looming Easter deadline.

There was a lot of discussion and research going into the decision of ho to hang this piece.  This is an issue I always run into.  Many of my pieces are meant to be hung away from the wall rather than on on it.  Luckily I had a great team that I was working with through this process and there had already been a cable system hung elsewhere in the church.  We went with the "classic" dowel rod, with 2 tiny hooks on either end.  The pieces are put on the dowel then Wayne and Cory (their assigned job now) take poles with hooks on the end and lift it with the poles on to the cable above.

I will go into a lot more detail on the final post about the Easter Sunday "unveiling" but I cannot say enough how honored I am to have been hired for this installation.  I have always been inspired by stained glass windows and this piece gave me the opportunity to apply that inspiration to my own work.  I had a great team to work with from the church throughout this process, it was all in all an amazing experience. When the piece was in place and finished on Friday, I cried.  I was moved, joyous and exhausted.  I have to admit, I'm still riding this wave of excitement and I hope it wears off soon so I can get more than 6 hours of sleep to play catch up!

Along the way this piece has taken over our dining room.  My studio space with the loom, sewing table, general disaster, was not spacious enough to house these pieces.  Each panel is about 3'4" by 12' long.  I was working on the table for most of this process, but when it came down to hemming the sides, I couldn't measure it rolled up, I had to keep re-stitching areas into place, so the second 2 panels I moved to working on the floor.

Other issues I ran into...for a week I could not get hold of the dark green crinkle satin from Joann's.  I ordered it online from my local stores, 3 hours or so later I got an email that the order had been cancelled.  I ordered it online from the company (they had to have 2 yards somewhere) and about 4 days later I got an email cancelling the order.  I pleaded in an email to customer service with no response.  The following week I found a bolt sitting in my store.  I bought all 4 yards.  I usually purchase too much in yarn or fabric when I'm working on a piece, but since the terms of the commission was that they were paying for materials, I was using coupons and buying what I needed as I needed it (hence using Joann's).  I also purchased fabric from Field's fabric in Grand Rapids.  I really had to reel myself in on that shopping trip.

My sewing machine jammed to the point that whatever I did, it did not want to go.  I am so thankful to have 2 sewing machines.  This seems to happen every time.  The week the piece is due, the week of Halloween, you name it.

Moving to the floor.  I had to be careful in my ironing to not melt this piece to the carpet.  Also, you cannot directly iron the silver fabric, it's content is all sorts of strange, including some metal because my touchscreen on my phone would react to it if the silver happened to graze it.

I love the ironing/sewing novelties section of Joann's.  Above is a normal press cloth on the left, the more expensive but sheer silk press cloth in the middle and on the right, an ironing pad that's meant to lay over the top of your dryer to iron, but works great as a portable ironing section (for the floor).

It was a bit too late in the process when I realized that I should have gotten knee pads too.  Even my dining room space wasn't that big to work on this piece, but I got it together and it is done!  Such a relief.  And I only dropped 3 pins in my coffee through the process.

Hope Flows Bangle 1 and Earrings

After spending nearly 6 months of looking at the images of River Terrace Church 's stained glass windows and the drafts, fabrics an...