Friday, January 16, 2009

Silky Stuff

I’ve written a couple of posts recently that I haven’t found fit to actually post. I saved them for later. Or maybe never. The thoughts weren’t clear enough or the ideas not expressed the way I want. There’s no way I can fix anything today with the meanest migraine I’ve had for quite some time. So meanwhile I’ll yap about the guild meeting I went to yesterday.

The slide programme was given by Joanna Staniszkis, a local fibre artist of some note. Her current focus is silk. I would love to know how people like Joanna come up with their ideas! The most interesting one occurred during a gallery show where she took architectural models for buildings and after spray-painting them dark grey, allowed silkworms to spin cocoons on the stairways and balconies and window openings. They were allowed to complete their lifecycle and pupate and leave the cocoons as moths and mate. She said the eggs they laid on the tiny buildings looked like stucco and was the same dark colour that she had painted them. To see what I mean, go here and click on the photo arrows.

Joanna brought several of the garments that she made for her boutique. They are quite wonderful in shape and colour and texture but they are very scratchy! She uses un-degummed and over-twisted silk fabrics that she has made for her in India. Also in her gallery are felted woolen garments, jewelry, home dec and other accessories. Her dyeing, silk-screen printing and sewing are very well done but these are definitely special high-end items, one-of-a-kind or limited edition. Kinda out of my price range anyway. But fun to look at.

One thing I did get out of it was a set of three “pictures”: mulberry leaf, cocoon and silk moth.

These are actually pieces of woven ribbon and are quite precious. She gave them free to the guild members who attended but I’m glad I was at the front because I think there were none left by the time the bag got to the back of the room. Perhaps she shouldn’t have said we could have 3 each? I kind of thought that was overestimating how many she brought with her. Each piece is a little over 2” high and I think they might need to become part of an art quilt or something someday. They are quite beautiful.

Speaking of quilts, my pencil case got halted in the middle of stitching, still under the sewing machine, needle down. Here’s hoping I get back to it soon. It was coming along not too badly, even though I’m still not particularly thrilled with my free-motion quilting attempts. Needs more work but I guess I have to start somewhere. Me and my sewing machine, Puff-Affy, have been together for some 30+ years now so we should be able to come to some agreement. It would help if the spool of rayon thread I was using wouldn’t get hung up occasionally. Plus I found myself tensing up which was bad. Hard on the fingers and the shoulders. I’ve been reading up on helpful hints and think I need a smaller sharper needle (quilters or similar) and to adjust the tension a bit better. I did find it was getting easier as I went but then I kind of hit a bit of a wall and needed to stop. Yup. Much practice – but not all at once.


Kay-From the Back Yard said...

Those ribbons are wonderful! I think I'd frame them.

Thanks for a delightful post.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog and through you, Joanna Staniszkis, who has work that is totally wonderful, and whose linen project fires my imagination. Thanks for introducing her work to me and for your blog, which I have now visited and bookmarked. Nice binding a ways back, too. I will return!

Louisa said...

Always nice to snare a new reader! Especially when they leave comments. Welcome to Damselfly's pond, Velma!