seashells on the seashore

the third eyepatch is a grouping of shell buttons and pearls. it was inspired by the artwork of nick cave. originally i had included the green crystal in it, but wasn't entirely won over; i like the piece more now, without the visual focuser of the blue green color. however, i maintained the hue in the backing fabric.

abalone and mother of pearl buttons are amongst my favorite; they're simple but lovely with the subtle rainbows which play across their surface.

gifts and gripes

christmas is a holiday which fills me with mixed emotions. i dislike the commercialism, the hokey songs, the male dominated themes of it (santa, scrooge, rudolph, charlie brown, tiny tim, the grinch, ralphie, frosty...), the cutthroat tactics of shoppers, the charity which only shows itself at this time of year (why not be kind all the time?), the fact that it starts in september now. but, i do like receiving gifts, creating handmade gifts, baking, spending time with family, listening to traditional music on performance today, and seeing the festive decorations. i could deal with all the dislikes if it was only for a short time, like say 25 days, rather than the three months christmas seems to be allotted now. in a way, it's really ruining a holiday which used to mean more. i'm tempted to throw the holiday out with the bathwater and just celebrate winter solstice.

well, putting the soapbox aside, my parents put a delicious gift under the tree for me, ippodo tea! a couple of new things i haven't tried before; individual sugared matcha packets, horai-no-mukashi matcha, and new year's bancha. then, an old favorite, karigane tea. how was your christmas, chanukah, kwanzaa, or winter solstice?



the next one in the series of eyepatches is about buttons. i love abalone shell buttons, they're so shimmery and opalescent. they're to be set against a pewter grey silk, with a grey green stripped silk lining. the green crystal is still up in the air, but i like the pearls spread throughout.

initially i wanted to use round buttons, but i came across these square and rectangular buttons at a knitting shop the other day and thought the effect could be interesting when paired with the few octagon and round buttons i already had.

dolls are for kids, silly rabbit

lately i've become quite enamored of a group of vinyl fashion dolls, called monster high, and have added 2.5 to my bookshelf. while exiting the wc at my local krogers i came upon a display of strange and whimsical dollboxes. they dolls are really quite creative, and have such fun shoes and outfits! as i'm quite confident of my self esteem, the whole size thing is charming; like little pixies really.

i overcame my fear of zombies by getting a doll named ghoulia yelps, daughter of zombies. i think it was the retro glasses and blue hair that won me over. the second one i collected is lagoona blue, daughter of the sea. she's just pretty, and in my favorite shades of blue and green. i haven't opened her box yet, as she's for under the tree.

now about that .5 doll. apparently there's a create-a-monster kit, and one of the add-on packs is a skeleton doll. she's awesome, the details are crazy! as i said to myself upon examining her limbs, "she really is model thin!". i didn't care for her face-up though, so after removing the paint with acetone, i painted a new sleeping face on. eventually i'll get her a torso and upper limbs, but for now she's content to sleep, a la hamlet on my shelf.


patches, patches, whose got the patches?

so, the story goes, i was at the eye doctor's and i thought i would have to wear an eyepatch; all because of a pesky tear duct. i looked at the ones available and my options were black, black, or black. blech. so, as a result of my findings, i decided i would make my own eyepatches and make a diverse range of them which i could theoretically choose from depending on how i was feeling. nobody really wants to look like a pirate day to day, or an extra from kill bill. some would say it was vanity, i will say it's a chance to create art where there is a void.

the first which i created is based on a peacock. i love the little feathers from the body of the bird, so green and shimmery, with hues of bronze and blue as it moves. the tail feathers are always associated with eyes, so it's only fitting that i embroider one for the center of the patch. i love this one. the bronze silk which was in the sneek peek photo was used as lining for the inside of the patch, it picks up on the bronze colors at the base of the feathers.

pussywillows fascinate me. i love to find softness in plants, it's the tactile quality of them; this one in particular is as fine as any silk velvet. this one evolved as i was laying it out. my sketch was of decreasing sizes of pussywillows, ending in the middle. but, as i was adding the third row, i saw the eye of an owl. so, i went with it. using the downy feathers i had snipped from the peacock feathers, i lined the eye, and created an iris from a swarovski crystal button i've been hoarding for nine years, and a blue tinted abalone shell button. the addition of the pink swarovksi crystal for the inner tear duct was the finishing touch. this eyepatch is lined in a pale blue dupioni silk, tacked down with light brown crystals, like a star studded dawn.

luckily, my eye healed and i didn't have to wear an eyepatch after all! but, i'm still pursuing the potential in them.



i'm up to something. so far i've created three pieces for my next series, and a dozen or so sketches. it's based on some thinking i had while at the doctor's office. worry gets me to thinking; it's a survival mechanism i think.

here's a peek at one of them while i was figuring out placement. i'm still working on finishing details, else i would show them all. it's really satisfying seeing a piece through from idea, to sketch, from choosing materials, to finished item. plus, i love gathering the supplies for each idea.

it's always neat evolving the idea as you go, to leave room for the piece to speak to you as it's taking form. sometimes the best art comes from listening to what the piece is telling you.


small works 2011

the five cushions i sewed last year (or maybe it was the year before that) are in a juried show/holiday sale, at my alma mater. i'm tremendously thrilled, and hoping some of them will sell. that would be cool. the exhibitions staff really placed them beautifully; apparently they built custom shelves for them, i like how they become almost wall art. it's interesting how the feel of them changes because they're at eye level.

i plan on participating in more shows next year. there's a new series i've started work on that's been gently simmering in my brain for a couple of weeks now, which i've sketched up drawings of. i'm really excited about it, and will be able to use a lot of the skills i've picked up.  


tussah discovered

not all silk labeled tussah is of unknown wild origins; sometimes it is from the ricini or muga silkmoths. muga silk is a champagne hued silk which can be spun from a lovely soft cloud of fiber into something shimmery with warm tones. the ricini silkmoth produces both red eri silk and white eri silk, the former producing a mushroom hued fiber with lots of sheen.

i happened across 100 grams of both the muga and red eri silk from a fiber seller at plying the arts, last august. i chose to spin them up on my jay spindle, then plied together. right now i'm allowing the fiber to rest in it's spun ball form for a couple of days before i skein and give it a bath to set the twist.

the feel is so soft, so delicate, and the sheen is alluring. i enjoy spinning silk by drop spindle and it is a good use of time when things are slow.