side stitch : Wrap up!

Today is the final day of the month long side stitch collaboration with Kitty Kilian! I thought for my last piece I should loosen up while creating something that says THE END! I had so much fun doing this project with Kitty. Knowing that she was over in Utrecht working away really made me push myself to accomplish more, so thanks Kitty! Kitty did quite a few pieces and you can see them here. So here's my final piece, Wrap up! I incorporated a lot of remnants from my work in the past month.

14. September 30, 2010. by hand. Wrap up! 2" x 5" Fabric, thread, and twine remnants.
I've decided that I want to continue doing a monthly side project for two reasons. First, it helps my work tremendously either by supplementing it or challenging it. Second, I really enjoyed knowing I was working alongside someone (even virtually) as we were able to ask each other questions, express our doubts, and encourage each other. I feel like I got to know Kitty so much better through this process even though our work didn't necessarily feed off of each other's.

So, on that note, I'm thinking about October's side project. I would love to collaborate with one or even several of you artists out there! Do you have any ideas you've been wanting to investigate on a small scale? I am pondering about process, looseness, 3D, etc. Please let me know if you'd like to collaborate in the comments and we can work on something together.


work table : button up

I'm working on a new Idiom series piece this week called Button up. Making this series has taught me a tremendous amount about fabric's possibilities.

A month ago I would have had no idea how to make what I'm making today.

I love how something that looks so simple is actually quite intricate and involved behind the scenes.

One of the constant underlying themes in my work is exposing just a hint of the process. As my side stitch studies come to a close this month, I might do studies next month about process.


Studio : sewing table and knitting area

The studio cleanup is progressing slowly but it's happening. I never knew there was such a thing as fabric 'dust' but it covers everything. I worked on my sewing area last week and finally bought a spool rack. It's so nice to have one location for all my thread instead of four different spots around the studio.

I even organized my bobbins which were previously loose in my sewing box. Just this change has made sewing go much faster.

I also set up a knitting area in our sunroom which is next to my studio. It's the best room in the house, with sixteen foot ceilings and french doors that open out onto the garden.

For some reason I only knit in the fall and winter so I put everything away the rest of the year. Also, it keeps my daughter away from my expensive super chunky wools. I learned that lesson the hard way! Now that she's a little older maybe she'll have some self control this year.

I found this huge map of Paris at a store that was going out of business last year. I had been eyeing it for years but thought it was too expensive for a poster. When I head about the store closing, I rushed over and saw it was 75% off list. Being a former urban planner, I love maps, especially ones of Paris. I'd much rather spend my time while knitting looking at this map than watching tv. For more photos of my studio, see my flikr set.


side stitch : child's play (study)

Venturing into 3D today for this side stitch.

13. September 25, 2010. Child's Play (study). 2" cube. Cross stitch embroidery on Hessian.
Now that I have my new French cross stitch books, of course I had to experiment. I'm trying to figure out how I can integrate this technique into my Idiom series.

It's nice to know this idea I'm working on can evolve. It should be what keeps you going as an artist.


side stitch : progress collage

Here's a little side stitch collage of what I've made so far for this collaboration with Kitty Kilian. Kitty's happily off at Origin design fair in London oohing and aahing right now. Here's her progress so far.


Artist : Renilde de Peuter of AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS

I'm excited today to share the work of Renilde de Peuter of AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS. I discovered her work and blog through someone's favorite list on Flikr. I wish I could remember who so I could thank them!

Wormhole Series, 2010. Renilde de Peuter.
Renilde has been working on a fine art embroidery series called Wormhole that I immediately loved the second I laid eyes upon it.

Wormhole Series, 2010. Renilde de Peuter.
She also knits, weaves ...

Sample, cotton and linen. Renilde de Peuter.
crochets, etc. A jack of all trades, really.

Crocheted flowers and petals. Renilde de Peuter.
What sets Renilde's work apart to me is a certain raw spirit that comes through in all of her pieces.  When someone can take a common craft and tweak it just enough so it creates a distinct and unique style, that is the sign of a true artist. It even comes across in her photographs.

On my worktable. Renilde de Peuter.
All of her work is perfectly executed (the attention to detail is impressive). But there's that hint of wabi-sabi in her layout and subject matter. And that's what gives it that edge that I love. Recently, she's even started building mobiles.

Mobile. Renilde de Peuter.
You can find her flikr collections here (there's lots and lots to look through) and be sure to visit her blog. Thanks for sharing, Renilde! I look forward to more amazing work from you!


Inspiration : Blackwork

Strange name, I know. But those French, you've got to give them credit ... they KNOW how to do modern cross stitch. I seached high and low for a decent modern cross stitch book here in the States but all I found here was much to cutesy for me. I came across an Etsy shop recently called Petits Details that sells cross stitch books and sewing supplies directly from France. I bought several but my favorite has to be Blackwork by Sonia Lucano.

As much as I try to buy locally, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and order from another country when you find something that will push your art to the next level.

I might have bought the book just for the photographs, they're so beautiful! But the detail and design in French cross stitch is so incredible.

My mother's name was Mona. I love the book even more now because of this photo.

I just had to slip in a new little artifact I purchased from Three Potato Four shop since it goes perfectly with the photo. If you're curious, it's an antique rubber spoon mold and you can find them here.

The back half of the book contains detailed cross stitch patterns that are featured in the photographs. Of course, to tie back into my Idiom series ...

Get it? You can find this book and many more french sewing accessories at Petits Details' Etsy shop. She also has a nice blog that features products she's made with the materials she sells. Enjoy!

side stitch : cover up (study)

Thinking of fall, playing around with a little more made up cross stitch ... my new cross stitch books arrived today so you might be seeing a little more of this soon in my work.

12. September 21, 2010. by machine and hand. Cover up (study)


side stitch : inspired

Today's side stitch was inspired by recent work by two artists, Arounna and Rinilde.

Arounna owns and runs Bookhou at home out of Toronto with her husband. She is also an incredible fine artist who I featured in August. This week on her blog, Arounna shared one of her patchwork quilts that she had made from her remnants. Inspired, I decided to do a little mini quilt along the same vein.

11. September 17, 2010. by machine and hand Inspired 6"x 6"
Rinilde has a blog called At Swim-Two-Birds. I found one of her recent series called Wormhole. I wish I could remember how I found her work, via flikr or someone's blog. Anyway, I love her work. Beautiful little cross stitch embroidery and amazing weaves. I hope to feature her work here soon but for now, here's a link to her blog and flikr site. Here's a detail of how Rinilde inspired me.

Thank you both for continuing to share your lovely work and inspiring us all! Kitty and I are halfway through our month long side stitch project! To see all my side stitches along with a link to Kitty's progress, click here.

Recent work : Cutting edge

I finished another piece today I'm excited to share with you. I call it Cutting edge. It's another piece from my Idiom series. I did a side stitch study recently and loved the idea of having fabric protrusions. I was inspired from the book The Art of Manipulating Fabric.

Cutting edge, 2010. 12" x 16" Rope cord on linen.
I hoping it comes across as a bit light-hearted even with the blood red 'blades'.

That book has given me a lot of ideas so expect some more along a similar vein.


Recent work : Thorn in my side

I've been working on some really minimal works lately. Here's one of them that I finished a few days ago.

Thorn in my side, 2010. 12" x 16" Embroidered thorn on linen.


Artist : Avalanche Looms (Susan Johnson)

Maybe it's the fact that I was almost named Susan (my middle name is Johnson) that I found a kindred spirit in Susan Johnson of Avalanche Looms. But after looking at her work here, I think you'll understand why I feel this way.

Dogwood, 5 ft.
In addition to being incredibly talented around a loom, Susan also lives on a farm (hard work in itself) and runs a weaving workshop and store in Avalanche, WI.

I discovered her work on the made with linen flikr group where we both post often. Her beautiful blog really captures her life as a weaver living on a farm. After perusing her Etsy site, I found a scarf that I couldn't resist buying last June. Perfect timing for cold San Francisco summers.

Linen and silk scarf.
I love this scarf and I wear it a lot these days. I even wore it today when I was working in the studio (yes, it's even cold indoors here right now).

Here's a picture of a work in progress. And now one of her looms ... what a beautiful object!

I love how it stands alone with no clutter to be seen. It's simply stunning to me. Can't you just picture coming in here on a chilly morning with a cup of coffee and sitting down to work? No music, just listening to the sounds of the loom. Sigh.

Susan describes her weaving patterns as Scandinavian with a contemporary twist. She weaves rya weaves (traditional Finnish weave) in rags or paper yarn. Her new scarves are long and soft, linen and cotton, asymmetrical designs, with color combinations that are new and exciting to her. She says 'like my Finnish-American mother, and Swedish and Finnish grandmothers, I expect my woven rugs and linens to last for many, many years to come.'

Indigo vat day
I, for one, will be buying linens from Susan for years to come. Now you can understand why I had to just try out a little bit of weaving after seeing her work. You can read Susan's beautiful blog, check out her Etsy shop and see lots more of her work and home on Flikr. Thanks for letting me share your beautiful work, Susan! You've really inspired me.


tiny weave : number one, red remnant

Finally I can share the first of several tiny weaves I'm working on for The Sketchbook Project.
1. tiny weave : red remnant. 1 1/2" x 2" handwoven tassar silk and red linen thread.
I've been saving materials leftover from larger pieces I've made as well as leftover parts of packaging from other artists (Etsy artists often have beautiful packing materials). This red thread is from a new linen I purchased recently. You know all those incredibly annoying threads left over after you wash unhemmed fabric? I think I finally have a use for them. Alas, tying into the given sketchbook theme And then there was none.

In case you missed the earlier post, here's how I'm making these. I found the perfect size wood block and started nailing in brads.

And here's red remnant in process. 

I'm still experimenting with how to display these in the sketchbook. It will begin to make sense after I've made a few but I've already dissasembled the provided sketchbook. We'll see how it comes back together. I have until January to finish these and I expect to make about ten. Since they're so small, it's been easy to take them along with me when I'm out and have a few moments of free time.


Studio : west wall

I'm doing a little fall cleanup before my open studios in October. There, it's out there! I'm having open studios this year in my actual studio. I'm a little nervous about this for some reason. It's almost like baring your soul to the world. I'm tackling one area a week since there's so much I've accumulated over the years. This week, it's my west wall.

I'm trying to concentrate all my tools and inspiration in one area so I won't have to run all over the place when I'm in the middle of a piece. We'll see how this works out.

I think it will be easier to keep my linens organized now that they will have side walls to keep them from sliding around. And I finally have a place to put that remnant basket that my cat keeps trying to take naps in. We'll see if he finds it.

I also now have a better spot for all my Paumes books. Before they were crammed into a bookcase and I kept forgetting where they were. I'm not sure what area I'll be tackling next week but it feels so good to have this little area done so far.


Recent work : Back from the front

Whew, now that my daughter is back in school, I have lots more time in the studio to finish some pieces. Here's one I finished yesterday based on a side stitch study I made last week. I love this red linen. I used 'knife folds' for this piece and embroidered holes for the steel wire.
Back from the front, 2010. 12" x 16" Steel wire, embroidery and knife folds in linen.

I have a lot of new pieces I'm working on in the studio so stay tuned for more.


side stitch : geometry


8. September 9, 2010. By machine and hand. Geometry.

Inspiration board

This is my current inspiration board in my studio. These are images and objects I've saved over the years that I refer to when I'm stuck or just need to stay focused on what I love. Click here to go to Flikr for detailed notes.



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