Saturday, May 29, 2021

Return of Checkers and the 4th Wave of Ska Music

Since High School I've been following ska music. My love of it started with Reel Big Fish which was my first concert at Clutch Cargos back in 1997. I have gone to ska shows whenever I can for an upbeat live concert fix for the past 24 years.  Last year it felt like there was a huge resurgence of ska music. Maybe it was just that I had the time to really explore more as musicians took to social media during lock-down. With the ska documentary "Pick It Up" coming out it just feels like the internet and Instagram has blown up with a 4th wave of ska. Two-tone checkers pattern represents the music, there's a whole background on it, watch "Pick It Up!" Clothing, record covers, you name it, it's the visual key that this is ska, especially wandering around a town before a ska show, you can point people out and say "I'll bet they're going to the show."  Now checkers are back! I just saw a customer at work wearing a checkered dress...I don't think there's a concert going on near here this week.

Checkers are popping up everywhere, there's a bit of checker in Interior Design in THIS article.

I'm excited to see checkers back, it's how I pattern my larger weavings and they are my go-to when I don't know quite what to do with an idea.  I just start to move it into checkers.

Video: Adding a tiny bangle to a more normal-sized one.

Speaking of not knowing what to do with things; I've been staring at these tiny bangles in my studio. I was making them for something "less expensive" to sell, but they're not fun to make, they don't keep their shape in the same way that my larger bangles do and I'm just not that happy with them as a product.  Not selling or making much jewelry in the past year has really reminded me that I need to make what I love, not just "stuff" to sell.  I have a day-job so that I don't have to do that!

The bright colors of this year's Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2021 collection  has checker built into it and the images may have helped me realize what I needed to do with these bangles. The Tim Walker photographs in particular are really fun, (check those out HERE), so I started with the turquoise tiny bangle and just started to bead checks.

I wanted to keep going so the warmer colors were what I picked up next.

And of course some fun earrings:

So I'm taking those little bangles and putting in checkers between them until I think of something else to do with them.  I love how they're turning out. I knew eventually something would come to me with what I needed to do!  You'll be able to find the first bangles at The BLOCK: AID in downtown Lansing on June 10th, I'm doing a pop-up booth for this event. My first show in a long time.


Interested in new ska music? I've been putting together a playlist on YouTube HERE.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Ballet Turtle Drawing

(Final image for card)

My niece's first ballet recital was last weekend and I really felt that the ballet cards I did find were lacking...  So I decided to make one myself.  My turtle, Crush, was the inspiration.  He gets up on his rock under the sun or the light and stretches out into what look like ballet moves to me. 



He was sitting up on his rock last week and I snapped a photo then just sketched the below drawing from the photo.  My drawing background from college is a lot of scientific illustration classes so I tend to draw realistic. I decided he needed ballet shoes to finish it off.


I often miss drawing, my hands are usually busy making something instead of using a pen or pencil.  This was a nice opportunity to to just unplug into a little bit of drawing while I grab on to my very random inspiration. 


Between the sketch and the colored-in Photoshop version I'm not sure which I like better.  I tried to put pink or purple in the background on the final version but blue just seemed to fit the best, maybe becasue it feels a bit like water. I post about the cats most of the time, but Crush's tank is in my office and we hang out in the mornings while I have my coffee and journal or get my computer-work done. It's hot out today so I'll probably take him outside to play in the yard while it's nice so he can get some full sun. 





Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Video: Hand Stitching Leaves Together

I am in the middle of working on a leaf panel for my large Leaf Me Alone installation piece. My larger works take one to three years to finish so in this time there are a lot of posts about the process and progress rather than finished works. I wound the warp was wound years ago along with the smaller warps for Leaf Me Alone 12 and 3.  The weaving came off the loom last year but is still not completely finished, I'm picking away at its leaf panel, making leaves as I play in the studio or bead on the couch and on-the-go. I collect them and choose what needs to go where as the piece forms. In this video I talk about choosing what leaf goes on next and how I stitch it to the leaves that are already forming the larger panel. 


I've made another process video. I'm not a fan of making videos or hearing myself talk in them for that matter.  However, it's the way that social and marketing is going. I find that when I'm scrolling around on the internet or social media I often will stop on videos of things being made, even if I have no interest in the thing. They're mesmerizing, especially the sped up time-lapsed ones.  I'm working on posting more video of my processes to capture where I'm at now in this moment with my work and how I create. My moments change and I've found that my artwork will mean one thing to me when I'm making it, but give it 5 or 10 years and it has a new meaning for me. When I give presentations about my work, they are never the same. I am constantly changing; my feelings towards different works can change. 

I enjoy looking back on past posts now that I've been blogging for as long as I have.  I'm hoping I'll appreciate these videos more as time moves forward. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Long Answer to "What are you knitting?"

    One of the projects that I keep in my purse to keep my hands busy is knitting my thrums.  I've been tying the short pieces of rayon thread together and knitting them into strips for a few years now. I currently, finally, have a definite reason to be knitting them. I get asked all the time "what are you knitting? (or making)" and this one is hard to describe. Fabric. That's the short answer...and this is the long answer:


    Thrums are the leftover pieces of thread or yarn left on a loom when the weaving has been cut off. They pull off the bars they were tied on to easily so I just throw them in a bowl of them that I have started. I began keeping them because I think they're just so beautiful, these little knots of leftover hand dyed rayon, and decided I'd just make more fabric with them.


    They knit up with a far different texture than the weaving they helped produce. I don't knit anything fancy, just open and loose knit so it ends up being a very stretchy open-knit fabric. 

Past knitted strips

The video I posted is a time-lapse of tying thrums together during a zoom meeting, knitting and then using the dissolvable fabric to make the knit strips into leaves.  It's another one of my tedious processes which is the kind of process I enjoy. Below you can see the difference between a leaf with the woven fabric versus the knitted fabric. It's quite pleasing to have some more texture.

Woven Leaf on the Left, Knitted on the Right



Spike Stripe Earrings

Lately I feel like I've been knitting more than beading, but when I was between 2 dresses for a baby shower I decided to come up with a ...