Mom always says, "never cut a knot, always untie it. If you can't figure out how to untie a knot, you'll never figure out how to solve your problems."

Friday, October 28, 2011

All little more stitching last night

I remember the days when I use to think, yay Friday.  Don't have to think that way anymore.  The days really do wander off or come on their own.  Without regularity, also known as a job, one has to really think about the days in a different way.  I have several calendars which I find myself checking for validation now...seeing if it really is the day I think it is.  I can see how and why my mother with ask me what day is it.

Today I was back in the library (my old office) doing a little more cleaning up and out.  After almost thirty years these things take longer.  It's almost as though I'm moving out of my second home.  So much trash and just plain stuff that I've kept around thinking I'll go back and read that article, or refer to that report/memo.  Conference guides and presentation proposals and then the presentations' scripts.  The grant proposal that I worked on submitted and got and the ones I didn't get but thought I'd reapply for.  Catalogs that I had marked for future acquisitions that now are so old that newer editions of those same titles have been re-issued.  When it comes down to it....we are just accumulators/collectors of little bits of memory, history aspects of our former self that we try to hang on to.  Why, because we'll forget who we were?  Maybe in some cases people have an easier time of just filing away things (in circular containers) and keeping an orderly house...but I think a lot of us too will hold on to things because for one reason or another they have a value that only we understand and probably ultimately forget.  Maybe this can explain why my mother keeps going through her things over and over again...seemly without point or really objective - she's trying to recapture something of herself that her memory has misplaced.  Someday she look in the mirror and will not recognize the person that she sees in the reflection and she'll eventually too forget my name so until that happens I guess it's okay that she keeps sorting her things remembering the best way she can - just who it was, who was that person that first saved that little object which is so meaningless to everyone but her.

Memento mori is a Latin phrase translated as "Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die" or "Remember you will die".1* It names a genre of artistic work which varies widely, but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their own mortality. The phrase has a tradition in art that dates back to antiquity. 

*1literally " [in the future] remember to die", since "memento" is a future imperative of the 2nd person, and mori is a deponent infinitive

Well, topical subject this: Day of the Dead celebrations are acts of Memento Mori...Victorians were known for keeping photographs of loved (after their death, dressed and posed! but noticeable dead) as such remembrances.  And let us not forget the reliquaries - a little saints' keepsake for a token of memory! 
But I digress...

So I went to the office...did a little cleaning and came home to the same old same old.  

But I did want to post an update of the corner of the newest piece I'm working on...LEFT.  The bottom right hand figure is completed.  It is the image on the top of the blog page. The correct color is somewhere in between these two!  I don't have photoshop just auto correct.  The figure is totally filled in long and short stitch.  This is the only figure that will be filled.  The other figures on the cloth will be outlined and stitched in Jude's walking stitch.  The shadows will be completed and will progressively get longer.  There is the rectangular "chamber" in the middle which also probably will remained unfilled.  Progressing slowly.  

Also under the heading of, really like this.  I read this yesterday on the Mermaid in the Attic blog.  Thought is was interesting and that I'd share it with those that perhaps have not seen it or her page.  It deals with down time during the creative process.  Artists' Block kind of thing.  A little mythical and spiritual and mysterious but that's okay.  It reads very with and gave me cause to think about those times I could thread a needle of draw a little or "just what is wrong with me today kind of mood."  Hope you enjoy it.  I did.


I like mythology by the way.  There is something about the underworld that I find creative.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a quick short story for today - the needle in history to honor The Singer

10/27 Content 2
I just like this picture and no, it's not a sewing needle.

Even a small thing like a hand sewing needle has had a role in the history of humans. Some facts and history about the hand sewing needle:
  • The first sewing needles were made from bone and were used to sew animal hides together. The oldest known bone ones were found in what is now southwestern France and has been estimated to be over 25,000 years old.
  • Needles made from copper, silver and bronze were used in ancient Egypt.
  • The oldest iron needle known was found in what is now Germany, and dates back to the 3rd century B.C.E.
  • Bookbinders and shoemakers used ones made from hog bristles in the Middle Ages.
  • Native Americans used porcupine quills and the pointed end of agave leaves for sewing needles. The fibers of the agave leaf were also used for thread.
  • Metal needle making was perfected by Muslims in Spain in the 11th century. Spanish Muslims were some of the most knowledgeable medical doctors in the world at the time, and had perfected many surgical techniques that required needles for suturing.
  • When the Muslims were driven out of Spain in the 15th century, they took the knowledge of needle making with them to Arab lands. Muslims returned to making them, and Arab traders took them to Europe.
  • Europe learned the art of needle making from Arab needle makers, and it came to England in the 17th century. Before this time, metal needles were made in Europe by the local blacksmith, and resulted in very crude needles.
  • The knowledge of needle making was also used to make fish hooks in England. The country became well known for high quality fish hooks as well as sewing needles in the middle of the 17th century.
  • Metal needles were handcrafted before the industrial age. The process began with cutting wire long enough to make two needles. Then points were ground on either end of the wire, the wire was flattened in the middle and eyes punched out. The needles were then separated. This operation is still followed today, but machines now do the work instead of humans.
  • Around 1850 needle making machines began producing needles and turned needle making from a cottage industry into an industry done in factories. By 1866 there were 100 million needles being made in England a year.
  • The English town and district of Redditch in central England became the center of the world's needle production in the 19th century. The craftsmanship of the needles made there was so great that a foreign manufacturer sent a hypodermic needle to Redditch claiming that it was smaller than Redditch needle makers could produce. The needle was sent back to the manufacturer with a needle made by Redditch craftsman so small that it fit inside the foreign manufacturer's!
  • Needle making is still being done in the Redditch area and other places in England.
                                                              fish bone needles

This artifact was used for stitching hides.
Stone Age technology included delicate sewing needles made of bone with punched eyeholes. They were probably used in tandem with thread fashioned from plant fibers or animal sinew. Archeologists have found bone needles dating to within the past 20,000 years in Europe and North America, where they might have facilitated clothing and boat production.pbs,Nova

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1009010

Happy Birthday to the man who brought us the sewing machine.

And who is this dignified bearded gent? Why, it's Isaac Merritt Singer, born this day in 1811. His patented redesign of the sewing machine in 1851 finally made it practical enough to become a common household item. (Here's a photo of the patent model:http://ow.ly/7aM0c) Did you know that Singer originally wanted to be an actor?

Hmmm.  So now I guess I better find out something about the needle.  That probably has a longer/older history.  Stay tune...update coming. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A difficult night for my mother and me.  She was really wrestling with restlessness, the separation of the body and mind.  I don't know if she comprehends what is going on but there is anger...maybe somewhere there is the "Do not go gentle into that good night./Rage, rage against the dying of the light...D Thomas." But very little continuous sleep was to be found during the night.  I wandered over to the front window, I had heard the rain start, it poured in spurts.  I found a little comfort in seeing the rain light up the street.  There was a happy glimmer to the night.  Glistening reflection from street lights.  Glitterings, from ambient sources, who's origins were unbeknown to the casual observer. It gave a warmer feeling then just the matted look of the night.  Color reversals, muting and absorbing what little is out there to "see."  The morning came and so another day starts...oh, what lays ahead? Still...I Ching states, perseverance favors the great man.

So to continue with things I have been thinking of in the composing of LEFT: This image is by W. Eugene Smith, titled, "Walk in Paradise Garden," 1946.  Are the children walking in or walking out.  Are they happy, were they ever happy?  For me the date is also important to note.  Smith was a photojournalist during WWII, I can not imagine that there were too many "paradises" left in 1946  Europe. I also like the framing within the frame.  The walking out of the shadow.  The appearance of the closeness of the children.

And, I am  intrigued by the use of shadows in the theatre/staging.  The use of back lighting and the position/angle of the light source can throw or split the shadows.

Finally, there are the the earlier work of Christian Boltanski.  His use of votive candles and shadows. It is the shadows that are the images not the object he used to cast them that he is asking for your attention to see. Also, votive, offered or performed in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion.  I feel that when I look at the figures in my cloth, that there is not vow.  The vow has been broken some how.

And finally two little studies I did for the figures...thinking about those two figures: 
 Please note the coffee stains are there for a reason as well.  Is it two children, a woman and a child, sister/brother, or two sisters.  Depending on how the figures are defined, the relationship of left/leaving is       changed in meaning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

keep going...inspiration

Today is Pablo Picasso's birthday.  Born in 1881.  He said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." So wouldn't it be lovely if it was that easy, but maybe that's what, why, and how we have decided to do what we do. I wanted to take a shot of this old gnarly mulberry tree that I've been walking passed and today I finally remembered to slip my camera into my pocket just to discover that the tree was being sawed down...I was upset with myself but more with the man who was doing it.  Why not let nature and time progress as it should - to it's own beat.  But, I guess living in the city that isn't as possible for trees as for those that reside in forests, woods and far from man.  Still, I wish it had turned out differently for that old mulberry.  I once had to cut a tree down, a grand old pear tree.  It had become infested with carpenter ants and soon it would have toppled, but it probably wouldn't have fallen in the right direction but instead would have hit my house.  Funny thing was, that I actually decided to ask for it's forgiveness by giving it a hug.  I swear that I could feel the soul of that tree and that it had some understanding of what was going to happen.  Still, I don't really eat too many pears these days because I remember the sweetness of those pears and miss that tree.  

But back to stitching.  I have been following along with Jude Hill's work and blog, I hope you all go there for a visit. Some wonderful stuff to see and learn and people to get to know.  She's been a huge influence on things. 

I am currently working on a piece, the piece that is pictured on the top of this blog.  The short title is LEFT...the last line is ABSENCE.  I am trying to figure out the sequence of the wording and how/where to place it.  The color is influenced by the work of Anselm Kiefer What I like about his work is that it is very textural and the fact that is is mono-chromatic.  I have seen some of his work "live" and there is a real feel of encaustic layering.  I don't look at his work from a political point of view I just look at it as material for visual reference. In that sense this image (right) reminds me a little of that color, non-color:

This caught my attention the other day.  It is a photo of water standing atop of some asphalt not quite dry.  The oil has come out of the tar causing slicks to form.  A few leaves have been caught on the surface. (a sort of mini early evolutionary period - where life began!)  All of these things added fuel to my thinking about the cloth: LEFT.  

LEFT's narrative is dealing with the absence of the other.  Who is that other - it could be anyone really but we all do feel the absence of someone at one time or another.  In this case it is a child that has been left by someone - a parent, sibling, loved one...but as the other moves away from the child, the shadow grows in size.  I've also been dealing with shadows in my work so it will be as interesting to me to see how this develops.  I did take a philosophy class in school that dealt with the shadow - darn if I had taken better notes or had a better memory....

so this is where the piece is today.  I'm as interested in seeing how it progresses as I am in the evaporation of the water and the "oil" slick and how that hole is filled where that old gnarly mulberry stood.

SEW forum over at Jude Hill

This was posted today over at Spirit Cloth, Jude Hill's blog.  The member's SEW Forum.

Hello SEW folks.  I finally have been able to figure out how to post to SEW! Had to ask to be invited...a little slow on the uptake of instructions..I also got a Flicker account where I have placed some images so if you dare to go there:  under the name Henrietta Zielinski(aka ani).  Some of you might know I am a newly retired Art Librarian, I jokingly sign my name with the following, MLIS, BE.  I use this with my colleagues from the Library - I worked for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  The school part of the Art Institute of Chicago - the best job in the world.  A real escape it was.  It use to really tickle me when folks would put all those degrees behindtheir name - just never got it.  So now since I'm out of the professional ranks - Master of Library and Information Science, Bibliographer Emeritus.  I also have a BFA and MA in photography and Art History.  For art librarians a second Masters is a good thing.  I guess I have spent all my life in school one way or another and now I'm feeling a little lost.  I had to retire to take care of my mom - full time care giver - she has dementia - so you see I'm still lost.  But maybe that is the definition of an adult - lost (but maybe with a better idea that we are lost!)  I first found Jude's page - I don't know how I found Jude - but I have read her entire blog from day one to current.  Took me almost 6 months.  I signed up for all the video/audio on-line class and watch/listened to them all.  That took a couple of months too.  So finally I'm doing Magic Cloth in real time and really feeling "community" here.  I love the comments and enjoy the interaction with some of the members and find Jude to be a real treasure.  I have always work with my hands - even before art school.  Mom taught us how to sew, embroider, knit, crochet and the major domestic arts! It's been a while since I actually created art - and it feels good to get back into.  I admire all the work that is done here and share.  I'm attaching my first really completed piece, even before I listened to Jude - all from looking at her images.  It called Peace Blanket.  It's in memory of my father who left us in 2008.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The red backing cloth is from one of the last flannel shirts he wore.  I gifted to my sister.       IMG_0183IMG_0179IMG_0184_4

Here are a few other photos of some of the work I've been attempting.  More will be coming.  But as you all know these are walking stitches and Slow Cloth.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

blogging commences:

Tis time that I joined the happy bloggers.  Stay tuned.  Right now I'm working on Magic Diaries with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth...http://spiritcloth.typepad.com/spirit_cloth/.  Please go visit and read about her Magic Feather Project. Stitch up a feather and join the gifting project she is putting together.

A good to gather my thoughts: The first national Women's Rights Convention opened in Worcester, Massachusetts, on this date in 1850. Two years earlier, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott had launched the woman suffrage movement with their hastily organized Seneca Falls Convention in New York. They published the Declaration of Sentiments, using language modeled after the Declaration of Independence, to call for voting rights for women. They also expressed a hope that conventions for women's rights would continue to be held at regular intervals.