Day 16

10/03/2011

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Today, I started with a warm-up to research an artist's life.  The artist suggested was Frida Kahlo, which suited me fine.  I'm not a Frida Kahlo fanatic, but I do like her work.  Anyway, I discovered that the movie pretty much told it like it was.  There were a few things in there that I didn't believe, like that she had an affair with Trotsky.  Well, at least according to Wikipedia (how academically rigorous, I know) it's all true.  She really was bisexual and her husband, Diego Rivera, really did have an affair with her sister.  She wore long skirts because she had polio when she was a child and it deformed one of her legs.  The bus accident she experienced as a teenager caused her pain throughout her life and she was frequently bedridden because of it.  She became an artist after the accident (she was self-taught) and painted until her death, at age 47.

I listened to the next part of the roundtable discussion that I have been listening to lately.  It was a response to audience questions, and there wasn't too much pertaining to fiber art, but more to do with traveling.  They had some real horror stories about some of their travels!  But there were a few important nuggets to learn, such as that unprocessed fiber isn't allowed through customs in the United States (good to know, in case I visit some sheep farms) and that there are in the world warehouses full of exquisite embroidered and woven textiles that get cut up for use in patchwork that is sold to westerners.  Also, there was a plea for people to buy fewer clothes and make sure the clothes that they do buy are fair trade and, if cotton, organic, and made of natural fibers, because there is such waste in the world of textiles.  This jives with my own thoughts about how people treat clothing.  Some people throw clothing out.  Did you know it can be reused, even if it's not wearable anymore? Old clothes are used for rags, new garments, patchwork, quilting, and rugmaking.  Often clothing can be saved with a patch or some darning or a good stain remover.  So think about that next time you are tempted to throw clothing away!

I drew a vase.  Not much to say about it.  My drawing was a little better than last time.  I wonder how much of that is because of the practice of the last one and how much it was because my ceramic was matte instead of shiny.
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My vase sides are getting more even.  Those of you who do not draw or paint, you don't know how difficult it is to get even sides on vases and bottles.  Even arches are difficult.  Usually they come out lopsided.  This one is considerably less lopsided than my usual vase drawings, so I am happy about that.

Yesterday, I washed out all my cloths.  I discovered a new technique to getting the dye out without bending over it for an hour: let it soak in several changes of hot water, for about half an hour or so at a time.  It worked wonderfully and I was a lot less cranky than I usually am with the process.  Today I ironed them and added a glue resist to most of them.  I am working on a sample for my brother and sister-in-law as well as some bookmarks.  I prepared some more bookmarks for dyeing, but I didn't have enough to bother with making up some dye today.  You have to use all the dye in the same session that you make it, or it won't work, so it's not worth it unless you are actually going to use it all.  I would only need about a quarter of a recipe, which is too fiddly to bother with.  When the resists are dry on the rest of them I will dye them all together.
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First-batch dyed cloth with school glue resists setting. The two blue ones in the corner have already had glue resists washed out of them.
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Close-up on bookmarks. From left to right, they have been tie dyed (first two), pleated, pole wrapped, pleated (next two) and pole wrapped again.
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Sample and two more bookmarks. From left to right, pole wrapped, pleated, and pole wrapped again.
I also designed this stamp to block print with.  I modeled it on an oak leaf.
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Sketch for the stamp. Oak leaves are pretty easy to draw, at least they are if you are doing a contour drawing like this.
 


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