Monday, March 18, 2019

Still trying to find home

I wrote last week about my attempts to make "home" art with machine stitching, and how I abandoned them.  But meanwhile another train of thought was chugging along.

Previously a fellow artist in my gallery had suggested that I go through my 80,000 photos and find some having to do with homes.  I found a bunch that featured people's front steps, and I made 4x6 prints to show to my art pals.

They liked the photos a lot but thought it would not be sufficient to just hang the small prints, as I had done with a lot of photos in my solo show last fall.  Either I would have to print them up really big, or print them onto aluminum, or something else to give some oomph to the presentation.

I was not wild about these ideas, because I have never done any of those things with my photos and I don't have enough time to experiment.

What else could I do to get extra oomph?  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Last week on Art With a Needle

Great drama in our home this weekend; I was awakened at 6 AM Friday with beeping.  Was it a truck backing up?  No, upon exploration it was a never-before-heard alarm from the Bose radio in the living room.  Either the 8-year-old or the 1-year-old, both of whom had been visiting the day before, had apparently activated the alarm while playing with the remote.

After only three minutes of hitting the wrong buttons I managed to turn it off and stumble back to bed.  Mentioned this to my husband, who said he had the user manual in his desk and would look up how to turn the alarm off.

I was awakened again at 6 AM Saturday with beeping.  He had not looked up how to turn the alarm off, but at least I knew how to stop the beeping on the first try.  Later we got out the user manual, followed the directions, and couldn't unset the alarm.  Cussing.  Looked up the Bose website.  Nothing worked.  Cussing.  Finally I noticed that the remote in my hand didn't look like the remote in the user manual.  Guess what -- the Bose in the living room is a different model than the Bose in the kitchen, although they look the same and both have always responded to signals from either remote.  Not that we ever tell the radios to do anything other than turn on and off and change volume.

And the remote sitting in the kitchen belongs to the radio in the living room, while the remote sitting on the table in the living room belongs to the radio in the kitchen.  Since the 1-year-old likes to take things from room to room, we suspect her as the culprit, but then it's always more comfortable to blame somebody else.  The other remote worked.  The alarm will probably not beep tomorrow morning, although I wouldn't put money on it.

Anna left a comment on my post where I described my unsuccessful attempts to make stitched "homes" for our gallery show:  "Thank you for the insight into your process.  I love that you can just push through the try/fail cycle."  Anna, I guess I love that too, although the fail part of that cycle is not much fun.  However, it does help to document the failures.  First, I can often get an amusing (to you, at least) blog post out of the most abject mess.  Second and more important, analyzing failure helps you figure out what to do next, whether that's a tweak to the technical process or an understanding of why something didn't meet your artistic expectations. 

A couple of other readers left comments that they like the stitched homes, even though I rejected them.  I took heart from Mags' and Mac's comments that they like the pyramids, even though they look like they're falling on their faces.  Maybe I will finish them and make more, leaning, bent, crumpled, bulgy.  Among lots of other falling-down structures, they will look deliberate rather than pathetic.  At least that's the plan.  So thank you all for your words of encouragement!

Here's my favorite miniature of the week, a sprig of lavender from California:


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Finding home -- Plan F, or maybe it's G...

Faithful readers know that I have been struggling with something to make for our gallery theme show called "finding home."  I made a little stitched house, but that seemed too cutesy.  Then I made some stitched pyramids but the first one seemed to be not stitched enough, and when I made two more I failed to allow for distortion of the fabric under the stitches, with the end result that the pyramids were falling over on their faces. 

Then a brainstorm: instead of 3-D houses I would make 2-D houses and mount them on a thick black canvas.  Two years ago I had made some little hand-stitched pieces that I mounted that way, and they were all bought within days of going up on the wall in the gallery.  Maybe I could achieve a similar effect with machine stitching.  My plan was to make three pieces -- all with pink houses, but with different sky colors.  Maybe I would call them morning, noon and night.

I got two houses and one background stitched and showed them to two groups of art pals, who were generally underwhelmed. 

I was getting discouraged.  The art has to be on the wall two weeks from today and while I could easily produce three of them in time for the show to begin, I didn't feel great about it.  Usually I am not bothered by negative critical comments from others, perhaps because I don't often show work in process to others.  But for some reason this show has me jinxed, and I have lost my self-confidence.

What now????

Do not give me any suggestions, please; my problem now is too many ideas and too little focus.  In the next posts I'll tell you what I've decided (I think) to do for the show.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Last week on Art With a Needle

After I wrote about the "home songs" I'm doing in calligraphy, Gail left a comment:  "When I read this, my earworm immediately started alternating between My Indiana Home and Tie a Yellow Ribbon.  Yesterday it was Sweet Home Alabama and today it's Simon & Garfunkel's Homeward Bound.  LOL!"

I've already calligraphed (if that's a word) Indiana and Homeward Bound; Alabama is on my list but I haven't gotten to it yet.  But I had totally forgotten that Yellow Ribbon has "home" in it!  In case you've forgotten too, it's in the very first line of the song -- "I'm coming home, I've done my time."
So I immediately looked up the lyrics and did that as today's daily art.

If anybody else thinks of some home songs, please let me know.  Not the easy ones, like Home on the Range or Home Sweet Home, but ones like Yellow Ribbon where the magic word is incidental to the theme.  So far my favorite hidden treasure is Take Me Out to the Ball Game -- sing it to yourself and you'll find the home!

Here's my favorite miniature of the week.  When I was grating a nutmeg (hand-imported from Grenada) I realized that the inside was hollowed out, so I grated some more from the other side to make a ring.

You can check out all the daily calligraphy and miniatures here.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Home songs

I have written about how our gallery is having a theme show about "home," and one of the ideas I had about potential art I might create was to tie in with my daily art focus on calligraphy, by writing some of the many song lyrics that include the word "home."  Actually this idea struck while I was lying in bed at 3 a.m. not sleeping, and without even moving my head from the pillow I was able to think of at least a dozen songs that qualified.  A bit of googling the next morning, and three days of back-to-back music at a jazz festival gave me plenty of additional ideas.

I don't think this is going to be my actual art to exhibit, but I have been having lots of fun with "home" songs as my daily calligraphy.  You can probably even read some of them:

You can check out all my daily art here.