Friday, November 20, 2009

yarn harvest

I harvested yarn for the first time! I had an old red cotton sweater just begging to be taken apart and made into something new and wonderful :) It was a surprisingly rewarding experience - I am definitely excited to go thrifting to find more sweaters to recycle. Yarn for cheaps!

And embroidery thread for cheaps - this was from the sweater's seams. I already have some projects in mind for this.

While this was fun, I had a not-so-fun unraveling to do. This was a beaded beret (pascale hat from Rowan 37). Sadly, the gauge didn't turn out perfectly, the beads were slightly too big and too heavy (curses to Michaels and Walmart - neigther place carries size 8 beads!), and I didn't love how the clear glass beads looked against the dark brown wool.


I must try this project again under better circumstances. Oh well - I'll recycle this yarn too :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

i see pumpkin pie in my future...

Just roasted my first pumpkin :) I tried to get a photo of the pumpkin right as it came out of the oven - it was one of the most beautiful colors I've ever seen, deep orange and glistening - but right as I was focusing the camera my batteries died. yup. Oh well, at least I have three jars of pumpkin puree! And the seeds there have been roasted and spiced up.
This pumpkin puree is destined to become a pie, chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie waffles, and anything else I can make with it :) Gotta love fall!

Monday, November 9, 2009

student work

While I was at home last I took some pictures of some of my student paintings, and I thought it would be fun to share them with you! Needless to say, all the images in this post (and all posts for that matter) are copyright.

Fortunately for me, my parents have the necessary space to store and display my massive paintings (one of them is 10 feet long!), and they grab up as many of my paintings as they can. There is no way I could keep them all if they didn't store and display them for me! The one above was super fun - and it is one of my favorites. Few of these paintings have titles, and they're not really "about" anything specific. I think most major artists are less concerned with what a painting means as they are with how it is painted. I get high off of examining how the very best paintings are constructed, and wondering what inclined the artist to use a certain color/shape/element.

This green one took a great deal of effort - every ounce of which was fun. Even back then, before I was heavy into sewing and knitting, how interested I was in fibers. For this painting, I went to a scrap metal yard near my school and dug through piles of wet, dirty metal to find those studs you see in the bottom left corner. I also salvaged some copper wire, which I fashioned into a wide weave and glued down near the top right.

I have always been interested in the construction of fibers, and obviously in floral patterns.

Those studs were a labor of love - it took me hours to scrub the rust and mud from them with a wire brush. Yowch. I glued them down on burlap, which is such an amazing fabric.

This is a pretty special painting - during my senior year, I became increasingly interested in painting trees (as you can see in the blue painting at the top of this post). This particular tree is a weeping beech in Boston's Public Garden. My sweetie proposed to me underneath it, and we have cherished that spot and the tree ever since. I love how it became a kind of monstrous skeleton in this painting.

I constructed this painting by building a box frame of wide boards, then stretching strips of fabric and handmade ropes across it. When I can take a less blurry and better lighted picture, you can see the details much better.

This is a drawing I did in one of my earlier classes. We called it the "marks" drawing, which entailed creating a squiggle of some kind, then repeating it thousands of times to make an image. Very cool concept! I have since done a marks drawing for my sister as a wedding gift. I plan to do another for another friend's wedding gift soon.

In my third painting class, we learned a great deal about portraiture. My oldest sister offered to be a model, which is fantastic - now my parents have a portrait of her! Her nose is more like mine in that painting - my professor told me it is common for artists to accidentally paint themselves in portraits because we all spend so much time looking at our own faces.

My dad keeps a good number of my paintings in his office, which is where this yellow one, and the red one below are displayed. This yellow piece was a blast to make - I used nine layers of plywood to make a receding hole. As you can imagine, this thing was too heavy for me to lift with nine layers of plywood! To make it lighter, I cut as much of the plywood out as I could, filling the void with foam core. It is still very heavy, but as you can see, it's hanging! I spent so much time on the construction of it, I ran out of time to play with the paint - I must work on a recreation of this some time and spend longer working on the actual painting. One aspect that really worked about this was the ceramic pieces crawling out of the hole. To me, it just makes the whole painting.

I painted this red one just before the yellow - you can see how similar my construction was, and how I advanced it quite a bit with the yellow. I got mixed reactions from people on this one - when I painted it, I was feeling cathartic. And yes, I admit it, I was thinking about blood. I think I have a healthy fixation with blood - none of my paintings are particularly violent, but rather literally introspective. Ha! That's kinda funny. What can I say? My dad's a doctor (and until I took my first art class, I was on track to be a doctor too) so I've always been interested in the inner workings of the human body.

These last two are particularly special to me. The top one is a timultuous painting I did just after school when I lived in Boston (technically not a student painting, but what the heck). I was depressed about not being able to paint full time, and this painting was frustrating from start to finish. I was disatisfied with it even when it was finished until I saw it a few years later. Now I can see several passages of painting that are quite nice, and it has a dramatic sadness to it that appeals to me. I like to think of painting as an exploratory process through which you gain insight into your own psyche. Looking at it this way, you can imagine how strange it would seem for someone to ask me what a painting means. I have no idea! But it is extremely rewarding to critique it afterward and analyze the decisions made while it was created.
The white and black tree in the bottom of the picture is quite possibly my favorite painting I've ever done. It's called "The Marriage." It seems that I can remember every moment while I worked on it. I had the most fun, and the result is surprisingly sophisticated and simple. I wish I had a better photo of both the last two, but for the life of me I couldn't get a good shot. They are hung in such a way that I have to be on a stairway or balcony to get the picture, and the lighting is not particularly bright. One day I will have a better camera and vantage point.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of my student work. Soon, I hope I can share even more (yes there are tons more). Ciao!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

special quilts

I was at my parents' house over the weekend, and I managed to get some pictures of some very special stuff. Here is my sister's first quilt - a perfect doll quilt. This formed my image of what all doll quilts should be. I love it so much.

It was a kit, I believe, which came with the patches. I absolutely love the combination of patterns and colors.

This is my pitiful recreation from my own kit. I can't remember how old I was when I sewed this - 8 perhaps? This is officially my first quilt. I do hold a special place in my heart for it, but it just didn't compare with my sister's, and so I have always been disappointed in it.

Fortunately, my mother cherishes both without being concerned with quality :) These next few pictures are of the mother of all quilts. This is the quilt. Literally - in my house when someone refers to "the quilt," this is what they mean.

The coolest part is that my mother let us play with it like wild things. As I was growing up (this was sewn before I was born!) it was my butterfly wings, a sale to my pirate ship, a giant treasure map, and most of all, the ultimate source of motherly warmth and comfort while traveling, sick or just cuddling. I really couldn't say enough of how much this means to me!

Before it was popular to be eco-friendly, this was an eco-friendly quilt. Mom used shirting fabric scraps from a shirt factory. I marveled at this when I was little - I thought it was so amazing to use shirt scraps, and I used to pick out the patches that looked the most like a shirt! As you can see, the backing is a rainbow sheet - no need to tell you how cool that is to a little girl.

The ties are yellow yarn, and the edging fabric is the most perfect calico. Don't you just love the little mending that occurred over time?

It is also interesting to see how the colors fade into soft pastels over time. I think I need to use this as inspiration in painting - and in quilting! I hope you all have something special and warm to snuggle up in :)