Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Shifting Tiles

Previously, on this blog, the La Sierra Yarn Mural was under construction. It was installed on April 1 at the La Sierra Community Center, 5215 La Sierra Ave, Riverside CA.

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It will be on display until May 18.

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On Tuesday, the 2nd of April I realized that my next deadlines until May and July (more about those later). Then I realized that it was a good time to do the reorganization I’ve been needing to do in My daughter’s old bedroom and my two studio rooms. We have three 80″ Billy bookcases filled with her books in there. I have gotten tired of having all of my books and magazines on shelves above the windows in my studio; and lately I’ve been wanting to get all  that material down where I can reach it from standing on the floor. I’ve also been wanting to start getting all of my magazines digitally, and to stop collecting all of that paper. But that may be a topic for another day.

A few months ago I ordered 5 archival, acid free boxes for Samantha’s books. So, last week I began boxing up the books. Of course, if I was going to store 5 boxes of books in the backyard shed, I needed to rearrange a few things out there to make room. Which I did, and managed to get the 5 boxes up into the loft in the shed.

At the same time, YBLA has had a slight storage crisis. Since Yarnbombing 18th became Yarnbombing Los Angeles, we have been meeting, working, and storing all our stuff in Arzu’s 18th Street studio. Arzu moved on from YBLA in January, she needed her studio space back,  and we needed to get the stuff moved. Through the course of events, this week became our deadline for moving all the stuff and finding new places to stash it. Carol took a bunch of the stuff to her grad-student studio, and I promised to take the plastic bins of extra granny squares. We went to haul stuff on Saturday, and it turns out there were 10 bins of grannies, and two more boxes of knitted pieces.

My house is like one of those little plastic puzzles we used to have as children, the ones with the little square tiles inside a frame, with one missing. The challenge was to shift the tiles right, left, up, and down into the one empty space until you got them in the right order and a picture was formed. If I was going to fit 12 more bins of  YBLA stuff into the frame, then I had to get Sammy’s books out of the “guest room.” I had my two card tables in Studio B (my son’s old room) where I had parked a bunch of books, magazines, stuff until I could move it. I have gotten most of my books and magazines into the guest room. Five boxes held 1 1/2 of the bookcases worth of books. I ordered more, and am waiting for them.

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I moved all of my bags of yarn to the shelves above the windows where to books used to be, so that only soft, lightweight stuff is up there. I folded up my card tables, and put up one of my folding work tables in their place, on the risers so that it can be work space. I was able to put all of my collection of trash art supplies under that table, finally clearing out the middle of the floor of Studio B. My photographic area is now accessible again.

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MoveDonationsBUT, none of this got me the space to store the YBLA bins. While I was organizing my personal stash of trash, I broke down all the empty boxes I wanted to keep. I keep and reuse boxes – you’re not surprised, right? This gave me the idea of breaking down all the empty boxes in the shed.

This gave me the space to shift YBLA’s leftover yarn that was in the closet in Studio B.

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So, off to Santa Monica I went to get the bins of grannies.

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bins in car

And viola!

bins in closet

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I haven’t shown the current condition of the guest room. A few things from Studio B are currently in there (The 6′ store mannikin and the photographic lights, and – oh yeah – two big bins of thrift store sweaters), and the kids are coming home this weekend. But, its only Tuesday. . .

Into Spring

I’ve already discussed what an unreliable blogger I am, right? so,’nough said?

here is how my Fun a Day project turned out. I ended up with 27 flowers. It was actually, really lots of fun. It did jump-start my creative work for the new year.

My Fun a Day flowers.

My Fun a Day flowers.

The other benefits were the connections: I met some wonderful new people, and reconnected with some old friends.

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The opening was over two nights, February 28 & March 1.

My next fun project was a car cozy for my minivan. This was for the Santa Clarita Art Slam on the evening of March 6th.

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The next two projects to come up, and what I’m currently involved in, are public art projects with yarn. David Orozco, of Yarnbombing Los Angeles, and I created a large yarn mural for Riverside Art Make.

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The project kicked off on March 8th with a community workshop at Raincross Yarn in Riverside. The assembled group began dismantling thrift store sweaters while Ana drew a cartoon of the hills above the La Sierra neighborhood. At the second workshop on March 16, we assembled the background of the landscape.

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Our last workshop was March 23 at Riverside Art Museum, where we added orange trees and other details to the mural.

 

RAM_3-24_WKSHPThe mural is scheduled to be installed on March 31.

 

 

On March 22, Yarnbombing Los Angeles launched our latest project at Manhattan Beach Creative Art Center. We will be doing a yarnbombing of many trees around the center along with a community tapestry and an exhibition of other yarn artworks in the gallery.

Our next two community workshops will be April 26, and May 3, both at 1-4 pm. We will also be working on the yarnbombing and the tapestry at our regular stitching sessions on the 3rd Saturday of the month at the Craft and Folk Art Museum.

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Helen and Tiffany working on the community tapestry.

Helen and Tiffany working on the community tapestry.

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A community tapestry woven into a beach volleyball net.

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Charlotte, Jane and Judy working on tree wrappers for the yarnbombing.

 

Fun A Day Reseda

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I’m doing Fun-a-Day, Reseda as a new project for the new year. Fun-a-Day is a project that started on the East Coast a few years ago as a fun, creative, exercise for the coldest, dreariest month of the year. Chloe Cumbow, a recent refugee from there, brought Fun-a-Day to Reseda this year.

The idea is to pick a creative project – it can be visual art, writing words or music, cooking, dance, collecting something special, anything – and do it everyday in January. Then there will be a show/exhibition/presentation at the end of February. IMG_2938

there were some meetings in November and December. I’m not sure, but I think someone could still join in if they wanted to. FAD has gotten an agreement to use a space for the exhibition, and the next meeting will be this coming Thursday, the 16th at 6:15 pm; at 7143 Baird Street in Reseda. They advise to bring a chair if you don’t want to sit on the floor.

I decided to do something fiberous, of course. And crochet, because all I want to do lately is to crochet. In December I went out to Riverside to see my son and his girlfriend, Jessica. Jessica has recently learned to crochet, and she wanted a pattern for a flower. I took my copy of 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet. IMG_2950We picked out this lovely coiled rose, and it became my motif for Fun-a-Day.

I decided to use up a bunch of old clothes i have had sitting around with the intentions of cutting them up someday. Knowing Irv and I were going to be gone the first 8 days of January, I started early. I had 8 flowers done by the time we left for our cruise on Dec. 29.

We got home this last Wednesday, I went to the doctor Thursday. I came home from the Caribbean with a sinus infection. On Friday I realized I was already 2 flowers behind. I cut up a bunch of jeans and t-shirts. I made two flowers Friday evening and another five yesterday, including two from blue jeans.

The first 11 flowers.

The first 11 flowers.

Today I needed to rest my hand and I decided to document the process.

In the wee hours of the morning I had the thought, “what if I kept going after January; what if I made a flower a day for a year?”

no. 12

no. 12

Here are some process pictures.

A denim pant leg

A denim pant leg

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t-shirt sleeve

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Sweet Zoe sleeps in my studio

Romans & Grannies & Dogs – Oh My!

Whoa, it’s been almost two months since I checked in here. From where I left off last time:

I got the 45″ wide warp for the window shade fabric on the loom – not without some glitches (of which I’m just going to stop reporting all the details; since I’m afraid I’m beginning to sound incompetent). I wove a  62″ sample and cut it off the loom to show the clients. Why 62,” you might ask? Why not weave a 12″ sample and not risk wasting that much of my materials? 62″ is long enough to be a shade if it wants to be, and it gives the clients a fuller picture of what the fabric will look like. It can be difficult for non-weavers & non-fiber-people to visualize something that doesn’t exist. I threaded the loom with a 3 yard leader warp. My warp is 8 yards, of which there will be very little waste at the back end. The project requires about 4 yards, finished, for the two 42″ wide shades. If I don’t use the first 62″ sample, I’ll still have plenty of warp; and the finished fabric should have plenty of extra for wiggle room. 

first sample

Anyway, the clients put the sample up in their living room and they love it. Now all I need to do is to dye another two pounds of the cotton flake weft yarn, and 2000 more yards of fabric strips.

Oh, and weave the remaining 6+ yards of 45″ wide fabric, then tie on the 36″ wide warp and weave 16 yards of fabric.

Piece of cake.

At the same time, I have been participating in Yarn Bombing Los Angeles’ Grannies Squared project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with granny squares.

Definitely check it out on YBLA’s Facebook page.

At some point a couple of months ago, I was at one of the Stitch & Bitch session at the museum. Someone mentioned that they were looking for some kind of crochet-related pin to give to their 100 Club, the people who had crocheted 100 or more squares. The solution was obvious to me instantly, and the wire grannies were born. They only needed 50 of them.

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Wire grannies for the 100 Club.

I have made pins, necklaces, and I’m in the process of making earrings for the CAFAM gift shop.  My wire granny jewelry will be there late next week, along with other granny square themed merchandise, in time for the opening on Saturday, May 25th, at 7 pm. YBLA will be having a Photo Op across the street in the park at 5 pm. I will be there with the wire grannies for the 100+ granny contributors. 

AND. . . somewhere in between my last post and this one, I did something really stupid. I must have had a stroke or other mental defect, because we got a

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stinky dog.

I’ve got to go crochet wire granny squares. Hopefully I’ll see you on Wilshire Boulevard, next Saturday.

Spring Forward

Spring is three days away. The smell of flowers blooming is in the air. We have already set the clocks ahead, and went around all last week feeling like we lost an hour somewhere. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the LA Marathon was run this morning,  and it’s another one of those perfect days in LA. Of course, true to our wonderful weather: yesterday it was foggy in the Valley in the morning; then it was sunny and almost hot Downtown at noon, and by the time I left the Yarnbombing Granny Squares sewing party at the Craft and Folk Art Museum at 5, it was completely overcast and cool. As I wound my way up Laurel Canyon, over Mulholland, and dropped back down into the Valley, I drove into a hazy sunshine. The morning fog had never really lifted. I think it created an inversion layer, keeping it slightly hazy all day. As I headed west on the 101, I could see over the top of the hills, the heavy cloud cover sitting in the Basin.

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

But that was yesterday. Today it’s windy, clear and warm. Our orange tree, which wasn’t blooming three days ago, is in full bloom today.

Since returning from Stitches, progress on the window shade fabric has been slow. I had one week where I had four medical appointments over at UCLA and in Santa Monica – this was all follow-up on my thyroid surgery three years ago; and all the tests came out fine. But each trip over there takes a huge chunk out of the day.

I lead a twill weaving workshop for my guild, Southern California Handweavers. it was a great group, and we all had a wonderful time.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, 7 Myrna.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, & Myrna.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert's loom in the Twill workshop.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert’s loom in the twill workshop.

During these past few weeks I have been beginning to dye the 5/2 Perle cotton for the warp of the window shades and some to the fabric strips for the weft.

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But now, I’ve got to start cranking on this project if I ever want to get it done in this lifetime. The picture shows a small portion of the yarn and fabric strips I’ll need to dye.

Coming up: I’m going to Vogue Knitting Live in Bellevue, Washington April 5-7. I’ll be in the Art Gallery portion of the Marketplace with my smaller coiled baskets and jewelry for sale.

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I’m working on a new group of jewelry designs involving wire granny squares.

grannies1 The time has come for me to take over Michael’s bedroom – all of it, not just the half that serves as my photography studio. It is also time to pack up Samantha’s things and turn her bedroom into a guest room – so Michael has some place to sleep when he comes home from school.

Stay tuned.

Out in the Valley

A couple weeks ago I mentioned three things I had underway: my Designing Weavers piece addressing opposites, preparations for my Exploring Twills workshop, and the samples for the window shades.
November 17 & 18 was the twill workshop out in the Central Valley of California, and it was a great time. First, I had good weather for the drive out to Exeter, CA. Second, the Handweavers of the Valley are a lively and fun group of weavers.

I stayed with Judy Trimble at her beautiful home in Porterville. Her children are grown and she lives alone. Judy’s house has a room with two looms in it, just as every house should have, don’t you think?

There were 15 in the workshop, all at different levels of experience, and I had a great time spending two days with them.

I haven’t been able to work on the window shade samples. The week after the workshop was Thanksgiving week, which included Irv’s and my 25th wedding anniversary.

I have made a little progress on my DW piece, but not much.  The truth is I have more than three projects going at any one time. The Wells Fargo Green Team Trophy is an ongoing project that I needed to get a coiled piece completed for. This project came about during my long hiatus from blogging. Here is my Green Team Trophy,

Stash of Trash

and here is the second token, which I’ll be shipping soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems there are always side projects. This is one of the eight harness twills from my workshop. It will be a scarf, and it will be a gift for our Chanukah party on December 8th. 

This loom is sitting on a folding table in my dining room, and there’s another one on the dining table. So I not only need to finish the scarf as a gift for the party, but I’ll also need to get the looms out of the dining room so people can sit down to eat. And there’s a Baby Wolf in the living room I’ll be wheeling into my daughter’s bedroom. One of these years I should just leave all of the looms out and have everyone take turns weaving on them during the party. Wouldn’t that be fun?

What’s Next?

Again, it’s been a while since my last post. I did clean my studio. It took much less time than I imagined it was going to. Then I launched right into my next set of projects; and those are:

Woven fabric for window shades – for cousins Candyce and Adam; 18 yards, two warps, two different widths.

A new workshopExploring Twills

Designing Weavers 2013 annual project on the theme of Opposites.

I will be leading the Exploring Twills workshop for the Handweavers of the Valley in Exeter, California on November 17 & 18; and for the Southern California Handweavers in (the San Fernando Valley) Los Angeles, on March 9 & 10, 2013. I have compiled a notebook of twill drafts that range from beginner/easy: 4H Straight Draw to intermediate/more complex: 8H Elaborate Twill.

I will be demonstrating one of the twill patterns at the SCHG Weaving and Fiber Festival (WeFF) at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3350 Civic Center Drive, Torrance CA. The hours are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. This is a fantastic Fiber-centered event. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never been, and you’re interested in anything that can be done with fiber, you need to check it out.

There will be a wonderful variety of demonstrations throughout the day. My demonstration times are 10-11 am; 12-1 pm; and 2-3 pm.

The window shade fabric is in the very beginning stages of design. The warp is going to be a variety of white yarns with white fabric strips, and white, tan, & light blue yarn in the weft. I’m going to make some samples first with some different treatments for the weft.

I have about 10 different white yarns. I’m currently working out the arrangement of yarns for the warp.

 

 

 

 

 

I also have a coiling project underway. This is the 2nd token to go with the Wells Fargo Green Team trophy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a piece started for the Designing Weavers Annual Project. Here’s a sneak peek, but I’m not going to show too much of it.

Productive Avoidance

Ah, hello again so soon. I have managed over two days to not even enter my studio, much less get it cleaned. But I’ve still been productive, doing this:

This is my new website/blog for the show at LAX, and I built it in two days – on WordPress. I’ve had my ups and downs with WordPress over the last few years. Either I’ve improved my knowledge since a year ago when I declared it impossible, or they have improved their support and tutorials – or some combination of both.

I set up the website for Connecting Threads so people in the airport can look up information on the artists. The Home page has statements, bios, and website links on all of the artists in the show. The Blog/Virtual Opening page will have running posts. This is where I’ll post the pictures people send me from the Virtual Opening. What is the Virtual Opening? Follow the link and find out. You can sign on to follow  connectingthreadsatlax.com. 

If you’re going to be traveling through Terminal 1 from August 23 through February next year, please stop and look at the fiber art. And join the Virtual Opening, send me a picture, and I’ll post it.

What about cleaning the studio? Yeah, yeah, i’ll get to it. . .

The After Pictures

 

The Before Picture

 
 It’s past due time I posted the after pictures of the Studio Move. First, let me review the before picture.
 The walls were a light, dirty yellow. The lighting was a really ugly ceiling fan with a four-blub fixture.
The 4′ x 8′ work table was in a corner, so the back half was essentially unreachable and I used it for storage. It was also covered with manilla pattern paper.
How did I ever design in there? I would put a piece of white paper on the table to lay out colors. I would take things to other parts of the house to see them in daylight.  
 
 
 
 
 

Sam's new room

 
 
 
 
 The New Studio
The old room was 11′ x 11′ 6″. The new one is 12′ 6′ x 13′ 2″.
 
The walls are painted white, we put up two flourescent light fixtures, and I now have access to three sides of the table. You see the computer at the end of the tabel? That’s where I’m sitting right now, typing.
 
By putting the table away from a corner, it’s like getting a second 24″ x 8′ table. However, it also meant I had to find other places to put all the stuff that was stored on the top of the table.
 
This was solved in part by getting a new small bakers rack for the corner between the table and closet. And as you can see, the wire cube book shelf is still on the table top.
 
You can kind-of see I have a white flannel covered bulletin board on the closet door. This was in the old studio, on the closet door. I made it  and it was hinged so it could swing open the full width of the closet. It was covered with flannel on the inside and outside. The idea was that I could lay out designs on the flannel, and fold the board closed when I wasn’t working on it. But I never fully utilized it.
 
You see, I was going to make art quilts when I went into the fiber art classes at CSUN.  My background, long before I learned to weave, was sewing. I was a patternmaker in the garment industry here in Los Angeles before I went back to school to get my BA in Art. That’s why I have two industrial sewing machines. The rulers hanging next to the closet door in the top picture are left over from patternmaking.
 
It’s also why I still have two dress forms. There they are, crammed into the closet behind the small baker’s rack, in a place that will be very hard to get them out of if I ever want to use them.
Which is all very curious since, as I have been known to say, “I don’t do garments.” They caused me quite a conundrum as I was moving in.
 
Professional organisers have a rule of thumb: if you haven’t used something in over two years, you should get rid of it because you aren’t likely to ever use it again. Those forms were in the same place in the closet in my old studio. Not only had I not used them in over two years, I would forget I even owned them!
 
I stood there for a long time one day arguing with myself. I hadn’t filled up all the drawers with yarn yet. I had the dress forms in the closet. I put the bakers rack together, but hadn’t put anything on the shelves yet. And I knew that those forms are going to be damned hard to get out of there (I’ll have to lift them up over the baker’s rack while swinging them over my head to clear the work table) if I ever decide to use them.
 
But IF, the argument goes, I ever want to make a garment, I can’t do it without having a dress form to drape it on.  
-But I haven’t made a garment in over TEN YEARS- 
But WHAT IF  I want to? If I get rid of them, then I won’t have one to use.
-So, get rid of one of them-
But which one? The one that’s in better shape is a size 5 petite, and the one that’s a more realistic size is falling apart.
-Maybe get a used size 12 or 14 downtown, in the garment district-
They still cost money, even used, and I may never use it.
-Get rid of both of them, free up the space in the closet, and get one of those El Cheapo one’s from Joanne’s IF I ever make garments again-
Oh no, not that! –No, just put them in the closet. Keep the door closed-
 
It took me two weeks to unpack and move in.

The Warping Board is still behind the door.

 
 

new storage area

 

The cabinets from the old studio are hung higher, so I can walk under them. I got myself a new step stool so I can reach the high shelves.

 
 

There are two large windows facing east and south. I found some wonderful fabric shades at Lowe's that let in bright white light.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In Transition

I’ve gotten behind in updating again. Since Thursday we’ve been very busy moving back into our new rooms.

Sam's new room as of Thursday morning, with new paint, light fixture and Carpet.

My new studio with new paint, light fixtures, white cellular fabric blinds.

 
On Wednesday, the day after the painting was done, we put up the new light fixtures and the blinds in my studio. Since then, we’ve been moving in. We got most of Sam’s room done first because she has to get resettled before she goes back to school next week. On Saturday, with Irv’s help, we anchored her bookcases to the wall and put up her curtain rod. She got mostly moved in.
 
 
I’m going to reconstruct her two sets of curtains to make one set for her window which is twice as wide and half as high as the windows in her old room. I want to get it done by the time she leaves, so I’ve got to really get moving this week and get my sewing machines, tools, thread and such unearthed from the boxes in the living room. Or dining room – I really don’t remember where anything is. Irv also put up my wall cabinets on Saturday.
 
 
I’m still figuring out where everything is going to go. Over the years in my old studio I learned that little logistical decisions have a big impact on functionality. For instance, where  you store the ironing board when you’re not using it can make it a hassle when you need to get it out to use it.
 
I still need to do some woodworking before I can start moving the contents of all those shelves and cabinets into the studio. The tall white cabinet that sits on the floor needs a wood base to raise it up 1/2″ and make it more stable on the carpet; then I can anchor it to the wall.
I need to rework the support for the plywood “floor” under the big work table. This is a major storage area for heavy boxes of fabric.

New baker's rack on the left will greatly increase my storage capacity.

 
Stay tuned. . .
 
 
 
 
 
 
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