Friday, January 27, 2017
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
We have classroom instruction and lecture followed by studio time beginning last Saturday and for the following two Saturdays. In between Saturdays Pat has set aside two open-study periods where we can meet with her for assistance if we want. I want! Saturday's class began with us each selecting one print out of a group of five. I chose the above interior scene.
We set those aside and queued up to one of the five stations placed around the studio. We had ten pieces of paper and started with blind contour drawings, one page for each station. In a contour drawing you never lift your pencil, and this means you sketch by only looking at the subject and never at your paper - without lifting your pencil. I added the watercolor today but this was my blind sketch of a rangy plant.
The next exercise was contour drawing looking at the subject. I haven't done this in 35 years and back then I cannot tell you how stressed I was. This time I had a blast, we all did. The subject of one station was a down jacket all wadded up. That was crazy.
The final part of the exercise on Saturday was to superimpose the traced image on top of one of our 10 drawings. This is what I took to Pat last night for my open-studio session. We were a small group so I got a lot of personal attention. She liked this and wants me to paint it with watercolors.
I fooled around with watercolor pencils today and for the life of don't see the attraction. First you have to apply the color by pencil and then you have to go back with a wet brush and smear it all together. You have to do everything twice -what a pain. I won't be doing this for my project.
I have this palette of watercolor paints that's probably ten years old but they're still good and I'm glad I didn't give up and throw them away in the move. Lots of stuff got tossed.
Last night Pat had me trace my drawing in grease pencil so I could superimpose it on my wood block.
This is my woodblock, or as much of it as I was able to carve last night. We pulled three proofs using a mustard gold and now I have to finish carving the rest of the block. I am meeting Pat at A6 on Friday at 1:00 to print my woodblock in black on top of my watercolor piece. Everything about this is new and exciting. The lectures are rich and challenging and this is just the first of three weeks. On the break I ran out and signed up for the second part of this which will be in May. And in case you're wondering, yes, this is expensive. But I rationalize that since my credit card is filling up with medical bills, why shouldn't I put something on it that makes my world go round.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
This is today's newspaper and the hope is that some of the schools can reopen tomorrow. The secondary concern is that rain and temperatures in the mid-40s are in tomorrow's forecast with expected flooding. My weaving guild meeting tomorrow is cancelled for that reason. The city has been a beehive of activity for the past two days as front-loaders are piling the mountains of snow into trucks and hauling it away from parking lots and intersection.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Ian gamely posed with his indispensable snow shovel. You reach a point where there's no where else to put the snow. Yesterday was declared a Snow Emergency - schools were closed, the public was encouraged to stay off the roads, the mayor released all non-emergency personnel and set up an EOC to deal with the large number of traffic collisions. That is the 4th snow day this school year.
Our backyard isn't going to get shoveled and doesn't need to be.
However the night before last we were abruptly awakened about midnight by Maddie yowling like I've never heard before, arching her back and storming around our room. It was unearthly. I looked out our door and right in the left corner there was a crouched raccoon staring into the house. Ian was concerned that might have gotten trapped beneath the deck, and was struggling to get out at this end. Just to be safe the next day he dug out an area in the event other animals might be trapped under. We don't need to discover we have a ripening raccoon come spring.
As long as I can remember I've heard the expression that "it's too cold to snow," but I'm here to tell you that is not true.
I made the best of my Snow Day Challenge and finished off the towels using variegated yarn. I'll probably call them confetti for my record keeping.
With the extra 3" panel in the center, these towels are larger than I'm accustomed to. I think they might be better in a bathroom. I'm sure they're more absorbent than terrycloth towels.
I've pulled these together so make another Four Towels from Four Cones challenge with the last cone of variegated. After five days we are going to be able to get out tomorrow and run our errands so weaving will wait. Our weather is predicted to warm up on Sunday with several days of rain in the forecast. That should keep things interesting.
Saturday, January 07, 2017
Snow is in the forecast for the rest of the week. Last year I felt pretty helpless. I didn't have good snow boots and my footing was terrible. Ian put his library reference skills to work and found that Keens are reputed to be the best. Everyone else is clomping around in Sorrels and I can't believe how flexible my boots are and how good my footing is. I'm passing that along in the event you're in the market for new boots. My day-to-day shoes are Keens so why not ?!
Sunday, January 01, 2017
I started with these cones but Old Gold on the left was too dull.
I twisted threads together from the pairs and realized that the ice lilac on the left would get completely lost.
So I substituted the mauve (on the left) and at this point, I think this is my final answer. Now I'm trying to decide how many towels I want to weave. My standard is ten. I guess I'm not completely sold yet.
So in the interim I'll weave towels from these cones. I've had this cone of variegated yarn for almost as long as I've been weaving but haven't known what to do with it, which is why I'm just weaving four. I think it's promising, at least in theory. I'll put the variegated yarn on harnesses 2 and 4 so all the square blocks will be that, plus the solid it's paired with. It'll either be a hit or a miss.
And then there's Crackle. It's so pretty that I've decided to try it again this year, but with just two shuttles next time. I couldn't manage three shuttles and made an error an inch. This was the first towel and yarn from all three shuttles kept getting caught on the apron rod and breaking at the selvage. It took a week just to weave this one and I was overwhelmed.
So for the next three towels I just used one shuttle and tried to accustom myself to the changing treadling each inch and keep track of where I was. It went better but I still made tons of errors. The fourth towel was error free until the last inch and when I saw it, I knew I wasn't going to unweave and go back. None of these are suitable for dishtowels so I'm not going to hem them. I think I'll sew something out of them, cutting between the bad spots - either a bag or a stuffed toy or...?