Photograph your work!

It's horrible to realize that you don't have pictures of all your work. There's at least 10 brooches out in the world that I have no photographs of. Having these pictures would help me to understand where Ive come from as an artist, and to see what ideas I keep working on. (Some styles/stitches/combinations are worth exploring in depth)

So I'm going to post a lot of links today, to great resources for taking great pictures and making it easier and less stressful.  

How and why to use a tripod. When photographing my pieces I ALWAYS  use my tripod. My hands tremor too much, even with medication, to capture a clear image. And cleaning up the image in GIMP isn't as easy for my brain as I'd like. I also like that my adjustable tripod can be used to hold my cell phone if I'm doing a Facebook video, or anything that requires me to look at the cell phone screen (such as looking at the inspiration pictures while I'm working) The tripod lets me adjust settings on my old point and shoot digital camera, without screwing up the setup or arrangements. (more on this later)

Etsy has some good tutorials and tips. Here's one   I'm not fond of the display set up in this tutorial but there are some great tips in it. The advice about natural light is wonderful. Some of my earliest pictures were taken just at dawn, when the light illuminated a specific table. It was very lovely, but, I don't feel I have the time to wait for a day that isn't cloud-covered, or otherwise unsatisfactory, to take my pictures.

If I have to, I use a photography box. It's a plain cardboard box, about 12"x12" I've covered the inside with white copier paper (it's cheap) On the sides of the box I've cut out squares, about 6x6  (I'd photograph the box, but I'm not sure where I put it, and I'm not really in the mood to make another. I may have loaned it out)  So I set it up with the opening to the front and that's where the camera is setting up, I put at least one light to the side of the box, so its light comes in filtered, and reflecting off the other white pieces of paper. That's usually sufficient, and I then take a LOT of pictures of the object, changing the settings on my camera, like color, shutter speed, light adaptations, things like that. (I have NO earthly idea what these settings do, except that the photos turn out faintly different) I also always use the timer on the  camera, 10 seconds, that way any residual shaking from my hands fades away.  

I always use a white bacground now, since it's easier to extract the image, in photoshop, for advertising and stuff.  

After all the pictures are taken I load them on to my computer and crop them all to squares (that's my prefered shape for pictures, I think it looks cleaner and special). After that I start going through them, two by two. And I ask myself "Is A better than B" and toss the one that isn't better. It's like being at the optometrist. At the end of the exercize I usually have 2 or three good pictures and I'm happy. 

Do check out the Etsy boards, they've got great tips for photographing your work, no matter what it is.  

(if you're curious about one of the tags "Aaron's Birthday", Aaron is my friend and a wonderful photographer, and is doing amazing stuff in the Boston area. Because it's his birthday, I wrote a post about one way I use photography)

Politics and fiber arts, they can go together.

There are so many links between protests and fabric, it's too big of a topic to cover. But a significant one was the development of the American flag, where we took the colors of our parent's (England) flag, and made them distinctly our own

I like many of the more modern expressions of political thought in fabrics and fibers. Many of the artists are using innovative techniques, and interesting materials. For example  "The Money Dress" is a glorious experiment with using currency as fabric, and as commentary.

 

Susan Stockwell  is an amazing British artist that uses technology, ecology and politics in her works while also incorporating recycled computer parts and other everyday materials. Here we have  "The Money Dress"  which she designed and was made with paper money from all over the world. These particular style of dresses were inspired by the very ones worn by british Female Explorers in the 1870's....  from Shawn Lloyd's blog   

Susan Stockwell is an amazing British artist that uses technology, ecology and politics in her works while also incorporating recycled computer parts and other everyday materials. Here we have "The Money Dress" which she designed and was made with paper money from all over the world. These particular style of dresses were inspired by the very ones worn by british Female Explorers in the 1870's....from Shawn Lloyd's blog 

"Line of Fire" by Adrienne Sloane is magnificent commentary on our current culture of gun violence. I suspect that she's trying to say a few things in the work, but I'm unable to find any source besides Pinterest (which is, usually, more useful than this) 

 

 "Line of fire" by Adrienne Sloane (my attempts to find a useful link to the artist have failed.)

 "Line of fire" by Adrienne Sloane (my attempts to find a useful link to the artist have failed.)

Other artists have used text to convey their intentions, others have used more graphic imagery. I love the use of a traditional technique to convey modern concerns, that make us contemplate those concerns in a new way. 

The Democratic National Convention is starting this evening. It makes me wonder what inspiration for work will I find in it.  

Finished!

The Or Nué "Pelican in its piety" is finished!
Essential information
150 hours of stitching
40-45 stitches per linear inch
26 rows per inch
6 1/8"x4 1/2" (15.6 cm x 11.3 cm)
Thread: 2 strands Sulky rayon
Gold: DMC 2 strands
Now to get started on the next ones.

Almost done!

The end is in sight! I *think* it will be done by Saturday (or on Saturday)

For those who like statistics. ... There are 25 to 27 rows per inch. And there are about 45 stitches per inch.  And, also, I've done a little over 100 hours of stitching.


Flower project

Both the new milagro, and the flower project are coming along well. The flower petals are getting backed in detached buttonhole stitch, before I add a buttonhole border. (possibly with lace picots).

I'm filling the milagro with white random stitches. (sometimes called drunken filling) I think it gives a texture and variegated sheen that suits the piece nicely.

Today will be a focus on Or Nuè.

Happy Stitching!


An experiment


Well, this experiment didn't quite work. Though I did learn from it. Cross stitch does, indeed, look better on even weave fabric. At 45 stitches per inch, mistakes show up, remarkably, clearly. And, I can stack magnification. I can use my reading glasses, with additional magnification clip-ons and use my magnifying visor. I have a focal distance of about 2 inches, but everything is clear.

I think this fabric will work well for future Or Nue projects.

(And amazingly, I realized this wasn't working, with only four hours of fussing and stitching, instead of 40)

Happy Stitching!


Embroidered milagro

This is almost done, I think I have about 6 hours of stitching left on it and it's done. I'm doing a series of small embroidered applique's for a local art show called "Love, Lust and Desire" and this just seemed to resonate with me for the theme.
I set up a Pinterest board where I've been collecting various images of different milagros. The next will be more Egyptian themed. (I also have plans for a green heart with designs from Italian manuscripts)

I'll be posting updated pictures of the vest tomorrow.


Progress


There is progress on the vest! I like how the pearls are working on this. I'm using size 15 beading needles for the little 2mm freshwater pearls. and for the rest of the embroidery, I'm mostly using size 12 quilting needles. It's a lot of fun.


Beetle wing added.

This is the first of many beetle wings to go on the vest. I'm cutting them into smaller pieces and sanding the edges to shape. After the sanding, I use a teeny-tiny drill to make some holes to stitch it down.

If I wanted the effect, I could gently steam them, and gently flatten them out a bit.

It's been a while

Hello, it's been a while (a long while) since I've updated what's going on with my projects. I'm going to be posting more regularly. I think that writing out what I'm doing may help me to think more clearly about what I'm doing.

So, the current big project is an embroidered vest. The theme for it is "Ripples" and I'm using couched gold threads for the actual ripples, which I think will give a flat, more reflective area on the vest. Around that I'm doing a kind of marbelized effect, with chain, split and outline stitch.

This is the first of three panels (left, right and back) when this layer is done, I may be adding 3 dimensional fish, or leaves and flowers, I'm not sure yet.

For now, Ciao!