spooler

Category : Art, Color, Shakers, Textiles
Date : May 21, 2024
old spools
new threads
from a spooler


spool:  a rod or cylinder, usually having a hole running from end to end, and a rim at either end, upon which thread, wire, etc. is wound

spooler: one who or that which winds thread or yarn on spools

from 1983 Webster’s New 20th C Dictionary

studio rainbows

Date : April 23, 2024
studio rainbws
in circles & squares

waxed linen thread spool
'Thought Forms' squared chart
stacks of Shaker boxes
Winsor & Newton 'Revival' dot card
& grids of buildings clad in 'beauteous colors'

eclipse day

Category : Art, Color, Shakers, Textiles
Date : April 8, 2024
on eclipse day - 
circular images -
maps & cities
rugs & blots
sun & buckets
utopias & moons


1/Polly Jane Reed, Spiritual Map. The Holy City.1843, Philadelphia Museum of Art
2/ Mary Gartside orange blot, An Essay on Light and Shade, 1805, Dr. Alexandra Loske
3/ Elder Joshua Bussel, Shaker Village, Canterbury NH, 1850 - detail, Winterthur Library
4/Edward Deming Andrews color slide, Winterthur Library
5/Knitted rug attributed to Sister Elvira Hulett, C. 1893, Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon


winter fields

Category : Art, Plants, Poetry, Textiles
Date : January 20, 2024

snow on fields

stitched onto cloth

and written into this poem

unfurled a field, a sea of snow grasping onto goldenrod
filling cups aplenty, double dotting punctuation
 
seeing scarlet swatches of bitten bittersweet berries 
 
grapevines curlicue up trees, squirrel nest spaces
unfurling, falling, flouncing onto the forest floor
 
oak, aspen, maple leaves carried into spaces
intervals interlaced into fullness
 
unentangle someone else’s scrawled 
no-sense sentences unto snow’s solaced silence
stitched work from the winter field series exhibited at 2017 Norte Maar in a solo show, bewildered


winterfield stalks and stems, silk/cotton thread on damask, 16 x 15 1/2”


winterfield dots and dashes, silk/cotton thread on damask, 16 x 15 1/2”

glitter

Category : Art, Nature, Textiles
Date : January 1, 2024

seek glitter amidst it all

sending new year wishes 

[oranged orb, 2022, safflower on silk/cotton thread & textile, 11 x 11″]


studio slanted light

Category : Art, Shakers, Textiles
Date : December 3, 2023
studio slanted light

.
studio slanted light
Shaker color research
Mary Gartside’s colour blots
circular stitching.

Mary Gartside (c. 1755-1819) published 3 books on color theory. Her 1808 An Essay on a New Theory of Colours is illustrated with these amazing ‘colour blots’ —abstracted views of ‘white, yellow, orange, green, blue, scarlet, violet and crimson.” Abstract before JMW Turner, before Kandinsky, before…………

Thanks to Alexandra Loske  for her research on Gartside. [quotes and info from Alexandra Loske, ‘Color: A Visual History from Newton to Modern Color Matching Guides’]


color X 2

Date : October 14, 2020

The Shakers literally ‘colored their world’ from the interior and exterior of their buildings, to the objects they used and to the garments they wore.

Slowly this vibrant world began to dawn on me about a month into my residency.  Was it when we examined their garments with a blue warp and red weft, a process they called ‘changeable,’ that renders a vibrating look to the coat or gown?  Was it standing in the storage room and seeing painted pails all the colors of the rainbow?  Was it being overwhelmed by the multiple yellow ochre hues of paint–peg rails, floor, built-in cupboard, window trim—contrasted with the blues, greens and reds of the objects in the dwelling room?

Hard to say if it was just one moment, but more likely an accumulation of hues over time that dazzled. The Shakers lived in a vibrant world, both interiorly, with their religious beliefs and exteriorly with their painted world.  If only I could time travel back for a day, a week and take that color walk with them. 

I invite you to take two color walks with me.

Next week on October 22 at 5:30pm via Zoom, Hancock Shaker Village Curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo and I will discuss my residency, the search for the Shaker palette through natural dyes and mine the collection for brilliantly colored examples.

Please sign up to join us for A Coat of Heavenly Brightness and register here at Hancock Shaker Village’s website.

Last week, I participated in ‘COLOR + ECOLOGY’ part of the The Common Thread Series, a collaboration with the Southern New England Fiber Shed and the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD.  Laurie Brewer, RISD Museum Costume & Textiles Associate Curator + RISD Apparel Faculty Member along with Amy DuFault and Dora Mugerwa discussed ‘how color’s relationship to regional ecology and history impact the curation of how colors are represented in fashion and textiles’. 

Video of our discussion is available here via The Nature Lab.


fluorescent yellow

Date : September 16, 2020

Large swathes of goldenrod grace the fields now and sway in the wind on this late summer day. We natural dyers long for this time of year when we can harvest the brilliant flowers that make an eye popping fluorescent yellow on cloth.

The Shakers dyed with many fall harvests—goldenrod, sumac, walnut—but didn’t wear yellow.   Why I wonder didn’t they take advantage of these vast fields of bright flowers?  Deborah Burns notes “goldenrod grows in neglected fields” and “where corn had once grown tall, goldenrod now replaced it.” A ‘neglected’ field did not exist on any Shaker farm, so, perhaps, the goldenrod was not as plentiful as it is now. I still search for the reason that Shakers didn’t wear yellow, but maybe it is as easy as yellow shows dirt more than a deep butternut cloth.

If you go to harvest goldenrod, you will not be the only one, for the pollinators are out in full force taking nectar and pollen from the goldenrod, making stores for the winter months.

I invite you to carry Mary Oliver’s fitting poem, Goldenrod, in your pocket as you seek pollinators amongst the fluorescent yellow inflorescences. 

On roadsides,
in fall fields,
in rumpy bunches,
Saffron and orange and pale gold,
in little towers,
soft as mash,
sneeze-bringers and seed-bearers,
full of bees and yellow heads and perfect flowerlettes
and orange butterflies.
I don’t suppose
much notice comes of it, except for honey,
and how it heartens the heart with its
blank blaze.
I don’t suppose anything loves it except, perhaps,
the rocky voids
filled by its dumb dazzle.
For myself,
I was just passing my, when the wind flared
and the blossoms rustled,
and the glittering pandemonium
leaned on me.
I was just minding my own business
when I found myself on their straw hillsides,
citron and butter-colored,
and was happy, and why not?
Are not the difficult labors of our lives
full of dark hours?
And what has consciousness come to anyway, so far,
that is better than these light-filled bodies?
All day
on their airy backbones
they toss in the wind,
they bend as though it was natural and godly to bend,
they rise in a stiff sweetness,
in the pure peace of giving
one’s gold away.



Mary Oliver, Goldenrod from New and Selected Poems, 1992

Deborah E. Burns, Shaker Cities of Peace, Love and Union A History of Hancock Bishopric, (University Press of New England, 1993), pg. 190.


mending circles

Category : Art, Books, Textiles
Date : December 7, 2017

This fall I joined a mending group. We meet once a month, dragging in our big bags, filled with coats needing buttons, sweaters lacking elbow patches, socks filled with holes, jeans ripped at the knees, and proceed to share mending advice. Needles are threaded and away we go. We leave with garments ready to wear, again, and a sense of pride and accomplishment.

The act of sewing a button on one hand seems so simple and on the other quite a challenge. Do you have the original button, or will you replace it with one that doesn’t quite match? Will you use bright red thread when the original was a somber black? I intentionally make the mending visible, reminding myself and others that this garment has more than one life.

 

my mended sock

 

Embellishment in mending by way of using decorative stitches seems to be the next logical step. Why not make that mended hole stand out with a flurry of feather stitches, circled by chain stitches, denoted by a bevy of French knots and finished off besprinkled with beads or sequins?

Of course, one needs instruction and inspiration, both found in the work of Natalie Chanin and May Morris. Fortunately, two newly published books bring their endeavors onto one’s work table. The Geometry of Hand-Sewing: A Romance in Stitches and Embroidery from Alabama Chanin and The School of Making, gives practical methods of stitching based on geometry, with diagrams and images to guide one through 100+ stitches. The possibilities of adornment seem limitless. The catalogue accompanying the current exhibition May Morris: Art & Life allows one to linger over her exquisite and elaborate stitched tapestries, book covers, bags, and garments, as well as her wallpaper designs and jewelry.   Pull out your magnifying glass and examine her embroidery. Morris has been rightly called the “pioneer of art embroidery.”

Morris published her own embroidery guide Decorative Needlework in 1893. Anna Mason notes and quotes in a catalogue entry, “Through her writing as well as her practice, she sought to raise the status of embroidery: ‘in spite of the discouraging trifling and dabbling in silks, which is often all that stands for embroidery, I am inclined to take needle-art seriously, and regard its simply priceless decorative qualities worth as careful study or appreciation as any other form of art.’ ”

Chanin and Morris are birds of a feather. They both honor the hand-made and the hands that make. In my dreams, both of them will attend next month’s mending circle.

May Morris: Art & Crafts Designer with essays by Anna Mason, Jan Marsh, Jenny Lister, Rowan Bain and Hanne Faurby and with contributions by Alice McEwan and Catherine White, forward by Lynn Hulse (London: Thames and Hudson, 2017), pg. 122.

 Natalie Chanin, The Geometry of Hand-Sewing: A Romance in Stitches and Embroidery from Alabama Chanin and The School of Making, (Abrams, New York), 2017.

 


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