December 20, 2012

Someone found this post and contacted me about purchasing the vessel for his wife.  Even though the pics have been published previously here is a narrative about the creation of the vessel.

This piece was originally inspired and constructed for an invitational show in Paris, France called “Stations”. The show was held in a gallery made of ancient stone and it was on exhibition during the Passover Easter Season.  Fourteen USA artists from a wide array of disciplines each were given a station to create a work of art. The show was fascinating and vivacious in its interpretative views and reading between the lines of the titles.

I was invited to do an interpretation of Station #10 called: Stripped, where Jesus was beaten, thronged and stripped of His garments.   I had plans for the piece to be more graphic with the skin torn and ripped to bits for our wrong choices, misdoings and our wicked ways. But once the vessel dried I heard a calling of the maroon ( dried blood) dribbling  down the vessel as it made an interesting contrast against the butter cream innocent skin made of Icelandic lambs wool.  Though, I usually have no issue with destroying a piece to express my messages, this one beckoned me to leave it alone, a task that has taken  me 30 years to learn.  As artist, it is a fine line between pushing one’s idea and allowing it to stand.

I like to paint a composition then cut it up and weave it back together or dribble other paint over the composition.   In the 1990’s I designed wall blankets, I would create a composition on fabric, the size of a quilt then sew several together, using a machine free form design.  Slash the top layers to reveal the composition underneath, representing people and how we expose parts of our personality and sometimes different from public persona. There is a well known textile artist named, Tim Harding, who inspired me in the late 1980’s with the unraveling of cloth, which gave the cloth a soft pliable function and I employed this technique vivaciously in the late 80’s early 90’s.

In 2007, I answered an ad on Craig’s list to swap artist materials. I forget what I offered but I inherited a large array of wool roving.  I made felt in college using raw wool,  learning to  clean, card, spin and dyeing it but I was not terribly drawn or inspired by this scientific approach to self expression.  Creating the “canvas” so to speak was highly unappealing to me weather it was fabric, paper, reeds metal or wood until I grew increasing bored in winter of 2007 and wanted a new avenue.

I like unusual things and to me vessels made of lambs hair or wool is a lovely revelation because we normally use wool to clothe or keep us warm hence the  astonishment of making a work of art with no intended function  seems like a surprise.

reposting

reposting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://seegart.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/stripped/stripped3w/  Previously posted pics

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New fleece

December 5, 2012

I thought I posted this; it looks as though I do not understand my tablet as well as I hoped.  I can successfully do a few things but posting to my bog is not one of them.  Although to my credit I was able to upload this pic on Wednesday but then it has been sitting in the draft section of several days. Let’s be fair and say I was working on the tablet in my car not while driving mind you but sitting in a parking lot using an establishment’s WIFI.  Distractions still keep me from felting however I did clean off the table and get the studio ready to felt by spreading plastic across the print table and sorting through items which I have collected–you know for a future project.  YAY. Perhaps today after work and a shopping trip to Trader Joes, I will get at least a test felt completed. The daunting idea of cleaning all that wool is the main deterrent.

fleece 3 bags full

hello all, today’s post March 27th  is not about felting  but a good friend in his endeavor as a fine artist.  It is best to just post a link instead of me translating his vision and work.

Darin White

Sorry, Darin, for the delay nonetheless I was excited to see the Brooklyn show was a great success, thus congrats are in order. What is next?

I found this posting in my draft basket.  My blogging hit an all time low in the late winter and I am dragging to regain the momentum I once had.  I have been having fun with my adult son and ignoring any ideas and aspirations to create.  I cannot begin to explain how difficult it is to switch between the left hand brain activity of my day job, and the vibrant, creative right brain activity and energy in my studio. Excuses aside I stand empty handed, projects unfinished and allowing the technology of my smart phone to suck the life out of me.  I have shamelessly admitted the admiration of the smart phone developers is high.  I can now draw on my phone, in color and digitally record it. It takes me back to 1994 when I discovered the personal computers and the internet.  When I attended university in Durham, England, I met a nice chap, with whom I interacted for a few years even after my return to the USA.  Years, decades flew past me.  I decided to put this Internet thing to the test. I set out on a quest to find this chap.  The internet was not THAT refined, cataloged or databases had crude inter-connectivity in 1995, even though it only took four seconds to send an email to Australia;  my search took four months and resulted in a phone call in Tasmania. Shocked to hear each others voice, it was not brain surgery to conclude that this internet thing was not only useful but here to stay.

 

I was not terribly successful convincing other artists that putting their artwork on the Net, would give world wide expose, of course all those artist, now, have fancy websites and I do not.   When the US Science Foundation was the sole distributor of domain names, I had registered several in 1994 before there was a cost and my foresight provided a nice profit when I sold them to various firms.  Anyway, I tried to integrate the digital world and my creativity, which never clicked for me; I am not a graphic artist and was not terribly interested becoming one.  I missed the other input of my senses, the smell of the paint, and the feel of a lovely brush in dipping into paint and applying to a surface.  There is an inner pleasure when paint is applied to various surfaces whether it is smooth and slick like a Bristol paper or rough watercolor paper. The fragrance of indigo oxygenation when fabric is pulled from a vat or mono gum when applied to fabric for a dyeing resists. Now, the smell of wet wool is unmatched.

Art Spaces

May 31, 2012

I  cleaned my studio spotlessly and meticulously, making it a usable food consumption kitchen once again.  My new tenant, AKA boomerang son, has taken up residency in the apartment on the lower level of my home where partially my studio resides; it is split into rooms, with doors and a dedicated lavatory but a large section serves as my studio because it has a functioning kitchen and refrigerator, used for felting and dying.  The son and I are in process of arrangements so I can have access to my print table.  What is a print table you ask?  Just as the name suggest but  homemade: I used a four feet by eight feet sheet of wood, covered with ½ inch of carpet wool padding (no longer manufactured)  which is tightly snuggled into place with a unbleached canvas secured underneath with a gazillion stables and it rest on portable legs.  I constructed this table when I was in school, so I could work on screening/printing wall blankets at home without taking my son from precious sleep. He had a locker at the school studio crowded with roller skates, various toys, sleeping bags, pillows stuffed animals and his favorite yummy snacks however did not have a quite space to sleep during my late night creative hours.  I constructed a section where I could stretch fabric and anchor it to a taunt surface.  It is similar to stretching a canvas onto a stretcher frame except instead staples I used stainless steel t-pins so the applied wet paint or dye would not shrink the canvas when air dried.  The table has been the single most useful tool I have ever created, seen the most work activity and it has served me well, since I religiously covered the base with a tightly woven canvas drop cloth.  The table is virtually pristine with exception to a few dyeing jobs that meandered or bled though to the base layer.  Yes, 24 years of various art projects interlaced with tutoring sessions and a sprinkling art instruction classes have all used this print table in diverse avenues.  I covered this cloth table with plastic when I make felt projects.  Though I would love to have stainless steel, I use the print table for dyeing and sewing projects.  Therefore, to loose access is creatively crippling and I have yet to resolve it.

while I was photographing my newly felted soaps,  I was so excited by my new phone (8 megapixels) I wanted to see how well it would capture details of a felting piece.  In this piece I wanted to see if I could capture flat locks. I felted a piece made of layers alpaca, mohair,  merino and  unscoured, uncombed Icelandic lambs wool.  the locks are sort of nuno felted on. If one looks carefully you can see the brown alpaca hairs that have migrated to the surface. 

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More Wool covered soaps

March 1, 2012

If any of you have used handmade soaps, then, you know how easily it melts with any amount of moisture.  These wool covered  handmade are great for the shower.  The wool holds all the suds and  any melted soap instead of it rinsing down the drain.  I rub mine withe the shower scrubby and tons of lather is made.  I like to make little guest soaps,  that guests can take home with them.

She has returned.

February 24, 2012

Oh, how I would like to make the statement that I am BACK, yes back as in felting but it is increasingly more difficult to make plans. Yesterday, I knew I needed to felt and since the rotator cuff is still squawking at much activity I just let it have sample of this beloved activity.  It seemed that little gift soaps covered with merino wool and accented with hand-dyed wool was just the activity.  I dyed the bright turquoise in the fall of 2011. Wow has it really been that long since I did serious felting.  I have a proposal in for a workshop at a library ( 50 miles away) Since the facilities are limited covered rocks about the size of these hand crafted soaps are the focus of the workshop.  I love having these around as they make a special unexpected gift or consumable thank you gift besides food plus the soap has a much longer shelf life.  I experimented  a bit with each bar, trying to discover the easiest and more effective way of not only demonstrating the technique but allow success for each student.

It seems placing the soap on a piece of bubble wrap then layer with wisps of wool and topped by the outer  compositional layer was the best and most successful.

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Felted Postcards

February 9, 2012

I adore postcards,  and have collected them for over 40 years, even though the internet can take us to exotic lands, postcards are a signal that some one thinks of you even while they are gone.  Over the years, I  have been in several multimedia post card exhibits and it is great fun.   I would like to see  a twist on the travel postcard event by  creating felting post-cards about HOME.

This challenge is called “Postcards from Home” and features small (4 inch by 6 inch) pictorials of scenes from you home environment: landscapes, perhaps a historical  point of interest.  Some suggestions to get you thinking about a pictorial postcard:  the natural environment, such as mountains, deserts or coastal scenery; native flora and fauna; images of agriculture such as farms, ranches and dairies; man-made scenes, such as towns and cities, bridges, monuments, museums, and theme parks; historical images from home past; and recreational settings.

Deadline:  August 15, 2012
Open to all
Size:  4 inches by 6 inches (traditional postcard size
Writing may be included
Make a label for the back of your postcard containing the following information:

Postcard from Home Challenge 2012
Your Name and Address
Title of Postcard
Location of scene

On a separate piece of paper, please include a short paragraph explaining the scene you felted and any additional information that you wish to share.  This information may be used in promotional materials and articles concerning this challenge.

Bring the finished postcards, or mail* the finished postcard to me.  I will document and photograph each postcard. I would like to take a display of these postcards to various exhibits. We have a Final Friday exhibit here in my hometown of Lawrence, KS. There is First Friday in Kansas City, MO. There is a large possibility of several national venues for a traveling exhibit but locations are undisclosed at this time.

 

Leave a response if you might be interested.  The pieces will be auctioned off for a charity fund raiser TBA later. So this is a mere feeler for a response.  I may extend it to fiberart postcards, since  my circle of acquaintances extend way into the fiber world: weaving, surface design, beading,  hand made papers,  fabric design, dying, indigo, baskets etc. i have yet to decide.  What a great way to get your work SEEN by a groups of people.

NO felting again

February 8, 2012

The physical therapist is putting some action back into my rotator cuff but not enough for felting.  I  am hoping that my shoulder will be much better and strong enough for making some Valentine handmade soap. Here are some samples I put together last year.  A librarian contact about a workshop  and we have discussed paperweights and I believe this technique would be nice.  The alpaca did not felt well but the Icelandic lambs  wool was superb, and naturally the good ole standby merino  wool.

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New project

February 4, 2012

I have been working on this for 2 months but my day job has so rudely interrupted my process.  It involves, merino wool with silk wrapped in a spiral around the cylinder of wool  that was created with a resist and loose locks left unfelted. Then,  direct application  of acid dye  was applied after  a 4 inch PVC pipe was inserted into the felted cylinder and scrunched  using a Japanese method.   I found it interesting that the silk dyed a different shade of blue even though both the wool and silk were white.

This is a detailed of the piece that is 9 inch circumference with a height of currently 17 inches but with the copper tubing  it will extend it to 24 inches. The copper tubing and  the base is still in design stages but as soon as the piece is completed decent pics of piece will be posted.  I am very excited about this piece but currently I am still mending from a rotator cuff injury, which is adversely affecting my ability to felt.

Sad hats

January 3, 2012

Hi   from Midwest USA and I am sending you the best for the New Year.  It is good be back online after the dreadful holidays. I bolted out the felting gate , determined to not be defeated by a bit of wool .  This was my fifth attempt at a beret and once again, it has become a vessel.  I tried it on my head for shape even while still wet and it was so humongous it fell to my shoulders.  (Heavy sign)  I fulled it  bit more when I gave in to crushing defeat by  I admitting  I am not “meant” to make hats, I shall leave it for Dawn and Nicola.  Here is a side story to prove my non-wearable challenge.  When I was in high school my aunt was teaching me to knit, I made a beautiful mitten that fit with the utmost precision. The second one was so large (my stitches became looser) that I could put BOTH hands into ONE mitten. I pitched the craft until  my son was born, when I tried again but this was a sweater for a toddler.  Remembering the loose mitten fiasco of several previous decades, I tighten my approach to the knitting. I suppose most people would just take a class and struggle through teaching ones self.  Anyway, the stitches were so tight, it made the sweater weight nearly 10 pounds and he  only being 25 pounds fell down because the sweater was so heavy.  It was more like a rug than a cuddly warm sweater. OKOK slight exaggeration but it would break your toe if you dropped it. Therefore, I am not a knitter except for a few straight knitting  no purling winter scarves.

 

Back to my newly created vessel,   I inserted a beach ball, filled the ball with air and it fit nicely, so all evening I mentally thought of ways to finish the vessel with hand applied thicken dye finished with machine stitching.  This is really my first object of my winter felting session as my headband idea died. I thoughtlessly put wool on both sides of the silk so it totally covered it.  I must have had some good distracting music on too loud and lost my way in the endeavor.  Since I am taking a trip to New York where the winters are wicked windy and cold; I bought a lovely wool hat similar to this style   which  upon my return from NY, I will wear  on bad hair days or just when I need to run out for quick errand. Therefore, hats are officially off my felting list.  It seems necessary for success to stick with what I know: making wall art instead of wearable art.

Works in Progress

November 26, 2011

Taken with Rebel T3

Work in Progress

Work still in progress. The re-bar needs to be straighten and waxed.  I am still working on the idea  and what I am actually conveying in this piece. I am using a new camera, which I am uncertain it does the work justice so the camera back get returned.  I have fifteen days for a final decision.

Work in Progress

This piece was a direct result of  my local fiber group by demonstrating how to achieve locks. This piece was made of raw fleece, un-scoured, uncombed or carded  with wee bits of previously dyed fleece.

he teal, aqua, blue piece was totally an experiment with un-carded, non-scoured fleece and white silk  gauze. Once the piece was felted then fulled, it  soaked in white vinegar then while still wet, it was bound with  cotton twine and scrunched together. Three shades of blue of acid dyes were mixed and dripped onto the wet wool. The silk readily absorbed the dye the most.  Once the dying was completed, wrapped into cellophane shrink wrap and nuked for 2.5 minutes on high power.  It was reste4d then additional 2 minutes in microwave. Not shown are the intact locks at the top, which adsorbed the deep midnight blue dye that match the silk portions. It was left to dry in the scrunched position.  The vessels is in progress as I am making a copper tubing to hold it.  Once completed the piece will be displayed in its entirety.

Untitled as work is in progress

Warm-up Piece

October 2, 2011

Yesterday was not only October 2 but the global day of Felters United and I had so much fun looking at others work that I forgot to create one of my own.  Today however, I officially began my felting season again with a small warm up piece, which I will turn into a head band.  I am totally embarrassed because I have stockpile fabric and have done so for years that my studio cabinets will barely close shut because they are brimming with luscious fabrics.  One can never have enough fabric for that midnight projects  to soothe the ravenous beast. OK, truth to be known, I am a fabric junkie and I used to purchase for projects, or just because it was a good price or I had visions of possible outcomes or just because it was too irresistibly beautiful or felt nice in my hand.   A decade ago, I purchased multiple yards of deep sea green, which I thought would make into a stunning wedding jacket. The wedding event occurred and the silk is still in my cupboards so I am unsure what I wore to the wedding.   I believe the silk to be  duponi or it could be shantung, the passing of time overshadows such minute details. Anyway,  I cut a strip off to see how it would it would react to a nuno technique. My confidence for a successful felted piece  was near to zero because of the tight weave of the silk. To my astonishment the Icelandic wool bonded and felted beautifully with the silk and this winter, now that I have very short hair, the headband will keep my head warm without the fuss of a hat. I did not dye the wool but I will dip it into some acid dye matching the silk and I hope to have photographs after the dyeing is done.

Rework/Finishing Projects

March 23, 2011

I began the spiral Painting in November and just finished it today.

The Resist Alpaca vessel (before pic) began as jester’s hat for my nephew. Highly dissatisfied with the results it was tossed into the reject pile. Last week, with the coming of warm weather and the rejuvenation of spring air, I picked up the experiment gone array and began to reform it a vessel, which is the nice feature about Felt is it never truly locked into a shape.  It is much like a canvas that can be whitewashed and begin afresh. I am unsure of the vessel’s destiny but perhaps for some hand stamped acid dye and some decorative stitching.

Today, I also found in the discarded pile a brightly colored blue bag. I have added some decorative stitching and fulled it with my patio sized (88″ x 108″) bamboo screen.  Yes, I stitched it first then completed the fulling, I was unsure what would happen to the cotton thread, but it seems to not mind going through the fulling session.  I enjoyed this free form stitching because it lends more visual interest to surface. Sorry I could not photograph the detail but I am limited to my aging camera.

The black mohair ball that I felted last week got the same stitching with indigo thread as the blue bag; I re-fulled it, which shrank it to a mere 43 inches in circumference. It is the softest vessel that I have made today, it has a yummy soft, rich hand. The stitching on this vessel once dried might be nice with some shiny German Rayon embroidery thread.

Yikes, we have a tornado warning here in the Midwest of USA.  80F this morning and it is now a mere 60F so the storm is moving even though no funnel has been sited on the ground-just yet.


Camera Phone

March 15, 2011

I have an hour to kill before I must leave for a Circuit Swap at a retail store, so might as well be productive.  I left this vessel drying last night on my kitchen table and so here it sits.  I like the way the inner layers of white and black mohair migrate to the surface. I could not capture that bit of detail as I took the pic with  my blackberry. You will be able to see it once I shoot in in the photographic studio with better lighting and no distracting background information. The glass table is rather reflective.  The inner most layer  is white merino  with gray alpaca, white mohair, more merino, black mohair and final layer of thin Shetland wool fleece. I have plans for  embellishments  but as most things in life are subject to change. I really want to create a vessel that I can slice open and sew back with copper wire surgical stitches,  but I am not confident this is the vessel for that treatment.  I have been intrigued with the idea of scars for about 2 decades and like to use it as a metaphor in my work.

Dyeing a wool vessel

March 12, 2011

This unexpected vessel design was an exercise in creating color on a pure white vessel using acid dyes from Pro Chemical.  Once I felted and fulled the vessel, and it was completely dried, I folded vessel like a paper fan on one side.  I held the folds in place using metal pinch binder clips (the giant size). I wanted a random application opposed to a regular pattern, as the vessel was much too petite, so I added a few additional clips and even wood clothespins.   I mixed the acid dye with a tiny bit of water to create a paste then it was mixed with a pint of water with a pinch of non-iodized salt and tumbled into one of my stainless steel bowls and placed  on top of the electric burner. When the dye became 140F, I submerged the bound vessel into the dye.   Once I was satisfied with the saturation point judged by personal preference, I put the bound vessel into a plastic bag to slowly cool, this allowed plenty of time for the dye to penetrate and since protein, fibers require heat to open the cell structure and allow the dye to penetrate the cell membranes. .  I let it sit overnight in the bag, though this step is not necessary.   The following morning I rinsed the vessel but the dye had correctly exhausted or absorbed by the protein wool fiber.  When I rinsed it, no excess dye bled into the drain. It was a gratifying lesson, as I have never approached wool dyeing in this manner. The high contrast of the white and turquoise gives a vivid graphic design, which is definitely out of my comfort zone, and I enjoy more subtle designs but this one is promised to an adoring fan.

Last Scheduled Vessel

February 26, 2011

Working on technique once again.


Another wintry storm after 7 days of 65F spring weather.  It is gray, icy, snowy and we are warned to stay in door because of the dangerous ice;  great day to felt.  I am trying of vessels and  am ready to move forward with more felt paintings; so, this will most likely be my last vessel.  I might add some stamped dye images,  I am unsure at the moment.

Flying Geese Vessel

February 23, 2011

This piece is available for sale at the Women Made Gallery  It is made of Mohair, Alpaca and Icelandic Lamb Fleece approximately 33 inches in circumference.  The abstract aubergine flying geese has been stamped on using a thickened dye. Once it was dry it was steamed in a commercial Chinese Steamer (similar to home bamboo stove-top steamers) with  three inches of white distilled vinegar  in the bottom portion covered and boiling over a hot plate.  To keep the condensation from dripping back onto the vessel, clean unprinted newsprint paper was put under the lid while it steamed twenty minutes.

Piercing the Vessel Walls

February 9, 2011

I have packed one of my studio walls bookcases with last years felting projects including many vessels.  Naturally, to me they are not just empty containers but marks of time and last winter experiments.   Yesterday I began a timid deconstruction of one such Vessel that I called “Five A”.  If my recall is correct, I had just acquired some luscious white mohair,(from the local Yarn Barn) which reminded me of a fine Pink Mohair sweater I owned as a child. I loved the texture of that sweater and the slight sheen it reflected in the bright school florescent lights. Instead of listening to the teacher’s explanation of algebra or the revolutionary war, I would gaze into the curly swirling mohair fibers, which were much more interesting than what the teacher had to say. Anyway I digress, and if one looks carefully the wisps of mohair is easily seen on the surface of Five A” much like it did in the pink sweater.

Continuing my experiments with direct application dyeing, I thickened the Pro Chemical Acid dye with sodium alginate thickener so I could stamp dye on to “Vessel Five A”. I soaked the vessel in solutions of warm water and white distilled vinegar.  A couple of decades ago I was mesmerized by found and scrap objects.  My studio used to be located close to a wood shop and I was intrigued by the various discarded cutouts left at the feet of a ban saw covered with sawdust.  Many of the interesting shapes found a home after I first covered a side with a glue adhesive and a commercial wool felt, these made handsome, durable stamps.  If one were to survey my work over the past 30 years, one could easily see the evidence of these stamps that I dipped into paint, dye, and textile Createx, which were foundational visual textures in much of my work. Anyway,  the teal dye was added to the thickener and stamped on using the stamp in the photo.  The eggplant dye was stamped on using the bottom of a wooden spoon and the dye was thinner thus one can see how it bleed into surrounding areas and did not hold its shape. The Vessel was wrapped into cellophane and nuked in microwave for 3 minutes on high, allowed to cool then nuked  and additional two minutes. I proceeded to full the shape tighter and tighter.  I reshaped it so it no longer resembles the original “Five A” vessel.  Oh this is a moot point but I attempted discharge dying that failed miserably.  I could not get the thiox thick enough and even strong enough to maintain a shape this I scraped the idea for now.

Today I pierced the walls of “FiveA” with my new dressmaking Gingher shears slicing bits and pieces from the vessel that created a repetitive design in the teal colored wool.  I found this snipping away most satisfying in a peek a boo fashion. In the past, I used slashing and cutting the surface of items in a metaphoric approach to communicate or provoke thoughts of universal emotions. We, as humans, have all experienced betrayals, rejections, or humiliations from those we trusted and that slash in out heart rarely heals without a scar.  It seems there is much room to push this envelop further and see how far one can distress the vessel and maintain the  integrity of the wool  So on to more cuttings.

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A Mother’s Heart Vessel

January 4, 2011

Busy day doing technology work, stopped by a friend’s house and got to see all their awesome new work. Darin White a fabulous sculptor explained his new proposed acrylic sculpture that is wall encompassing. Shannon’s new digital image work in repurposed metal was colorful, playful, whimsical and a touch of mystery.  After a dinner of spinach salad and tuna, I chatted with my friend Jan, a struggling writer we both admitted that we have been terribly distracted by life and have sorely neglected out specific artistic expression.

I want to finish a piece that I already showed in its unfinished state. It is called, “A Mother’s Heart”. The bamboo spearing the delicate folds were originally designed to be arrows made from brass, which I intended to approach and give it an additional  swing at expressing a bleeding heart for one’s children.