Spring Passes Quickly in Louisiana

I have been absent from my blog for quite some time, sorry to the three whole folks who follow me (I Love You Mom!)

This is the first spring in ages that I haven’t worked and I have spent a lot of time outside getting a feel for my surroundings.  Long walks checking out the things budding and blooming and leafing, trying to identify what grows here on my landbase.  As for things to dye with, spring seems to lend itself to lots of green and some flowers, but I don’t seem to be able to coax much out of them.  I think the end of summer and into fall will yield more color.  I did get some really nice leaf prints from some Buckeye that grows right across the street.  That was the most exciting thing I discovered this spring. 

It looks like we may be doing some home remodeling in the coming weeks (months?) so again my posts will be spotty…… however…. I will be taking a journey with Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth over the summer.  I’m following her on the “What If Diaries – Considering Weave” starting on the 21st of June.  Look for updates to come.

Namaste

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Halloween in Ocean City MD

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So we took a trip to meet up with family this past October in Ocean City Maryland.  It was a wonderful trip with lots of colors and textures to see and buckwheat pancakes for breakfast every morning!  We really did a whole lot of nothing the whole week, hanging out with family and driving around eastern Maryland and the coast.  Rehoboth Beach was pretty cool, with a farmers market and polite bus drivers.  In fact everyone there was polite.  Daily breakfasts at the Dough Roller were great.  Halloween dinner at the Suicide Bridge restaurant was nice.  Then there was Italian food…. on my!  Here are a few pics from the trip and the “Swag” I brought back…Image

Eerie sunrise on Halloween morning

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Golden Fall in Cambridge Md

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In Hurlock MD

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Rusty goodies from the Indian River Inlet DelawareImage

Made from said Rusty Goodies above….  see the spooky ancestral face….. how Halloween appropriate!

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A rattle from JJ Fish Studio in Berlin MD

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Old books and linens from an “Old Stuff” store

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Other yummy trinkets from various little shops

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My reading material for the trip.

We did have a great time seeing the Man’s Sister and her Man, two of the coolest folks I know.  Eating was always a treat since everywhere we ate was pretty much local or “Mom and Pop”  no national chain restaurants (unless you found coffee from Starbucks)  It was off-season in OC so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Sure a lot was closed, but we fared pretty well!

A Tree Stands Guard Over the Seeds…

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I have started a tree to stand as a sentinel to watch over the dormant seeds during the dark months.  The variegated thread I am using has gifted her with a personality I had not expected.  SHE has definitely developed a very feminine feel to her, and at this point is balanced between light and dark…  because her trunk was wide, I had decided to stitch three rows of satin stitch to fill her, but seeing the way she twists light and dark together I am thinking I may leave her to dance her magic as she is.  I’m rather liking how she is developing, still engaged in the process and developing the tale.

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A Seed Moon in a Basket…

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A Seed Moon in a Basket...

I finished stitching the basket to hold the seed-promise until spring. I loved stitching the basket coils, it gave me lots of time to create the story while spending time with the whole piece. I think for the first time in a long time it was all about the process and not really about the end result. But even if there is something I end up not liking about this one, I feel connected to it. I don’t think I would be able to cast it aside as a failure because we have spoken to each other… we are friends now. This is a strange new thing for me, and one I have always hoped for, this connection to the creation…we have shared!

If the Moon was a Basket of Seeds

I’m sort of funny about crippling myself when working on projects. I always think and overthink to the point of paralysis. And what do I think? The usual fear of being creative things like: what if it’s no good; what if it looks good and I ruin it with the next idea; what if I’m copying someone else; what if my story makes no sense; what if my symbolism is all wrong; what if what if what if….. I’m a big fan of Jude Hill at Spirit Cloth and she does a lot of “What Iffing”. I don’t think this is the sort of questions she means to ask… What if I fail? I have been working on this Seed Moon piece since January. I think I know where I want to go but I worry that my ideas aren’t valid, that the work will look too similar to and influenced by things I’ve seen on Jude’s blog or in her workshops. But then, would it not be influenced by those that have inspired me? Is that not natural? Her work, for example inspires me because of the symbols she uses and the materials she works with, the way that her pieces seem to reflect growth and passage. This inspires me because it is honest and true, it is the sort of thing I admire and want to do. Seeing those things makes me want to express my own passages through life. It gives me a jumping off point to find my own way of expression. So with the Seed Moon, (which has been lying idle because I fear my next idea…) I want to convey an idea that was triggered by several blog entries Jude wrote about baskets I read while I was piecing the background. I had started to formulate the seed moon idea at that point when I started thinking about those baskets…. “What if the moon was a basket that held the promise of seed life safe until spring”. With all sorts of ideas floating in a misty nebula of my mind about what happens in spring to draw the life up from the seeds….to be sorted out while stitching the Seed Moon Basket. The truth is I think I am totally riffing Jude’s basket, it isn’t cleanly my idea. But it feels so right and expresses what I want to say.. Is that unethical? I’ve been paralyzed over this point but today I finally succumbed to the need to satin stitch that basket. And OMG it felt so amazing to stitch, it felt right and beautiful and there was peace. I NEED to make this piece, I need to follow my inspiration through, I need to stitch my way through my fears that it won’t be good enough, I need the seeds of my ideas to rest in the moon basket-to incubate and sprout into something alive and beautiful. I must stitch. Please go to Jude’s blog and see her baskets and moons and feathers, I hope you too will be inspired. Jude Hill – Spirit Cloth

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Playing with Rust

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Bundles ready for the vinegar dip.

Bundles ready for the vinegar dip.

The vinegar soak

The vinegar soak

Like little presents...

Like little presents…

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Oooohhhh the possibilities!

Oooohhhh the possibilities!

Playing with Rust

This is my first exploration into rust dying. It all went very fast. I found these rusty things on Thursday, wrapped them up on Friday evening and here they are on Saturday evening. Pretty exciting. The details: Rusty things wrapped with old cotton pillow case scraps, tied with old cotton string, soaked in two parts water to one part white vinegar, placed in freezer bag and left on the shady porch (heat is in the low 90’s) for a day. Pretty easy and I’m digging the results…

Crape Myrtle – The Details

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DSC_0025I’m still learning to use WordPress and have not quite figured out how to get text between my images…  but here is the process I used for this experiment…..The bark was shed naturally from my myrtle trees in the yard. I soaked them in water (rainwater actually) for about a week. This yielded something that resembled weak tea. I decided that maybe some gentle heat would coax out the color so I set the kettle on a very low heat for most of a day. The only pot I had to work with was an enamel one so that is what I used. By the end of the heating period the dye liquor looked a lovely mahogany brown. I did some quick swatch tests which you can see in the previous posts.This morning I strained the liquor and separated it into two jars. I put the spent bark in the compost bin where I hope it will make nice compost!  I put one quart of the liquor back in the enamel pot and one quart in a rusty old cast iron dutch oven and brought them to simmer.  Into each went a piece of an old shirt that I decided would be nice for this project.  I simmered each for one hour. The cast iron pot turned an inky black very quickly. I was a bit intimidated by it! After the hour was up, I let both pots cool.  After putting each through a good rinsing and air drying, I washed them in mild soapy water. There did not seem to be much dye in the water which was encouraging. The end result after the wash was pretty much as dark as the pieces when they air dried so I think the dye is going to stay put. As for light fastness that remains to be seen.