I spent the day today in Elaine Huffman's studio, learning to make these button-like zendalas from the wonderful Chris Titus. (Yes, Chris is the originator of the Zondom, the clear plastic sleeve to protect Zentangle® tiles. I use these all the time.)
We spent most of the day making the backgrounds; I had to leave a tad early so I only got to tangle this one, but others were able to get a second one done.
Full disclosure: Chris herself had made the backgrounds for all of these to make it easier for us, and we each did the same tangles on them. Here is the group mosaic, with one wonderful exception:
They matched so well with Elaine's pink flamingo tablecloth, don't you think?
Definitely a hugely fun day. Thanks to Chris and Elaine.
A HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE TO ALL
(in the northern hemisphere)
This was my way of celebrating the Solstice and our gorgeous weather. I took ten skeins of fingering-weight yarn, each ten ounces, and dyed around the color wheel using the Wooly Mason Jar Dyeing Technique. Below they look even better, dried and rolled into yarn cakes.
This is the first time I've ever dyed the entire color wheel in one go.
I was trying for variegated yarn, which I prefer. I didn't succeed with the three primary colors (check out the evenly-dyed red, yellow and blue skeins at one o'clock, five o'clock, and nine o'clock), but I adjusted my method and am very happy with the variegation in the other nine skeins. I'll be using this technique to dye for my punch needle embroidery work, and also for future rug hooking.
Thank you Lucy Richards! (originator of this technique) Lucy should be canonized for answering all my dumb questions up to this point. Unfortunately I'll undoubtedly be sending more dumb questions her way in the future. But what fun, and I think I've finally gotten the hang of this. It can only build my confidence for future dyeing adventures.
If you read the previous post titled "A Good Yarn With a Sad Story," you'll know that a few days ago a friend and I took a very confused-looking cone of wool yarn from WEBS, carefully turned it into skeins, and made it glamorous.
Well, I went back to WEBS for more of the Sad Story yarn, because there was just one cone of fingering-weight yarn that I knew would be perfect for punch needle embroidery. And if you didn't already believe me about the sign on the shelf, here is a photo of it:
Unbelievably, the cone that I bought was in even sadder shape than the cone my friend had bought last week. Here is my cone on the shelf as I saw it:
It was this very yarn that I turned into the color wheel above.
I know it's much happier now. Me too.
The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with base notes, or dark lake with the treble.
I don't yet have a new project to dye wool for, although I'll be starting one soon. But I do have a dear friend who was visiting and interested in learning to dye yarn, so I thought it would be a good time to try out Lucy Richard's Wooly Mason Jar Dye technique.
And it was--we had a lot of fun last Saturday, even though we went "off-road" and did our own thing rather than following Lucy's directions. Why? Because I'd had no time to read Lucy's instructions and so hadn't done any of the prep work. She has a very specific and relatively foolproof system that I'm interested in learning.
Although we didn't follow her method, we still got into the dyepot and had a lot of fun. Here are some photos from the day.
Oh, and where does the title of today's post come from? Read on; the story is after the photos. Pretty funny.
The Lucy Richard method involves making dye solutions in jars. One of the 3 "starter" primary colors is Warm Blue, and that's what you see here on the right. We didn't have time to mix up all the initial solutions for this very exact method, so we ad-libbed and tried our own thing, which you see in the pink jar.
THE STORY OF THIS YARN AND THE TITLE OF TODAY'S POST:
We had gone to WEBS on Friday. While there, my friend decided to pick up some white wool with which to practice dyeing. After walking around in the warehouse, she spotted a poor...unfortunate...very small cone of white wool yarn sitting all by its lonesome on a shelf with a few other assorted fibers. This cone of yarn was. very messy and disorganized, to say the least. The strands of yarn in the upper part seemed to be trying to jump off the top of the cone and run away.
It looked like a fiber in distress. The tag said 100% wool and the price was only $2.50.
Next we spotted a sign on the shelf that said (I'm not making this up):
"Good yarn with a sad story." ???!!
Well, what could we do? She HAD to buy it and take it home. So she did. We carefully took it off the cone and wound it into 3 skeins when we got home. There was only about 40 ounces total on the cone, but it was enough to play with in the dyepot.
And so, our "good yarn with a sad story" actually got to have a happy ending. It now looks far more glamorous, and my friend will incorporate it into one of her beautiful woven wall hangings.
A very happy ending indeed.
Oh, and did I mention that she is now addicted to dyeing yarn? Yup. She'll be fabulous at it.
Above is the final tangle on my double-page journal spread exploring the tangelation of Verdigogh. The tangle Sema, new to me, seemed to fit in seamlessly and was the only other tangle I used on these two pages.
Below is a photo of both pages completed:
...and then I wanted to have some fun with the mirror app on my iPhone, which resulted in the crazy photo below.
MIDNIGHT PONY. Hand punch-embroidered by me, May 2018. Designed by Rob McClellan; design is ©2018 to University Silkscreen of Norman Oklahoma, all rights reserved. With heartfelt thanks to University Silkscreen for giving me permission to use this image in my work. I punched this (it's about 8 or 9" wide) using an UltraPunch needle with a medium tip set on #2 and using lace-weight hand-dyed wool yarns. I took the design from one of my favorite t-shirts (see the story in yesterday's post). A bad photograph, all my fault!
For the story behind this project and the artist who designed the t-shirt at the left, please take a moment to read yesterday's post.
There will be a third piece in this series, probably coming later this summer. Stay tuned.
I am so happy to finally be able to share some of my recent punch needle embroidery work. I haven't been able to show it before now because I did not have permission from the artist who designed the image below. In fact, I couldn't even find him. And then...I found his obituary. Tragic.
It has taken me months to discover who now owns the copyright for his images and to get permission to use them in my art. Here is the piece that I finished several weeks ago, and then the story of the artist follows--pretty darned interesting!
REDWING BLACKBIRD. Hand punch-embroidered by me, April 2018. Designed by Rob McClellan; design is ©2018 to University Silkscreen of Norman Oklahoma, all rights reserved. With heartfelt thanks to University Silkscreen for giving me permission to use this image in my work. I punched this (it's about 8 or 9" wide) using an UltraPunch needle with a medium tip set on #2 and using lace-weight wool and cotton yarns. I took the design from one of my favorite t-shirts (see the story below).
About 20 years ago I bought a t-shirt at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY with this design on it (see below).
Well, I've worn and worn and worn the t-shirt. I even bought a replacement t-shirt six or seven years ago (the store no longer sells them, alas) because I wanted a backup. Both t-shirts are gradually fading. What to do?
Eventually it dawned on me that I could make this into a fabulous punch needle embroidery project. I became obsessed with it, but how could I find the designer and get permission? I spent months trying to find "Rob McClellan," whose signature appears at the lower right of the circle under the redwing blackbird. I found another artist with the same name but a different style who was clearly not the right person. Finally I found a very few paintings and drawings by someone with the name, but I couldn't find HIM. I called the gallery with the paintings, and they were unable to tell me how to reach him.
Weeks went by. More sleuthing. Then suddenly one day while I was googling him, up popped this obituary. I was pretty distressed--was this the right artist? Was he really dead? Now what? But on the other hand, the obituary told the story of an utterly fascinating life:
Mar. 28, 1963 - Mar. 17, 2016
I finally had an "aha" moment and called the shop where I'd originally bought the t-shirt, and they were able to give me the name of the company that had printed them. At this point, I wasn't even sure that this Rob McClellan was my artist, but the mention of the Cheyenne Tribe and the other pictures of his I'd seen made me 99% certain that it likely was he.
Finally this week, I called the company and was incredibly excited to find that yes, I had located the correct artist and that University Silkscreen--a very interesting company in their own right--now owns the rights to his work. And they were kind enough to give me permission to use the t-shirt images in my punch needle art.
So now, finally, I can show two pieces (of three planned) I have already made but did not want to share until after permission was granted. Big shout-out and thanks to the folks at University Silkscreen.
I have completed a second piece from another of Rob's designs and will show that in the next post. And I have the third design drawn but haven't yet begun.
All in all, I own four different t-shirts with designs by Mr. McClellan and love every one of them. In completing these pieces, I want to celebrate his life and talent.
Still playing around with this lovely tangleation of Verdigogh, and finding it so restful to do. It's a wonderful form of moving meditation.
I am beyond excited to have finally obtained permission to use images from an artist I admire in some of my punch needle embroidery pieces. This is a long story and I'll save it for another post, but I have been trying to track down the artist for months and am so happy to have accomplished this goal. I think the "meandering paths" in the mandala above reflect how complicated it was to identify and locate him. Today feels like I've come full circle with this--hence, a mandala.
I did the above piece last night just before bed, using CZT Sadelle Wiltshire's Creative Calm Circle video for what she called a "Flora Vine" piece. It's a variation of the tangle Verdigogh. So calming. I went straight to sleep afterwards. The repetitive nature of the drawing here allows for genuine mindfulness. I'll be trying this again!
Wow, stunningly beautiful weather this last little while--sunny, warm (but not hot), and no humidity! Today was lovely. I drove to a friend's house for a rug hooking event, and we were able to work outside in her gorgeous backyard. Perfect weather and no bugs! We hooked on her patio while viewing her colorful garden and listening to the din from hungry baby birds and their parents in a birdhouse not more than 4 feet over our heads. The birdy-parents came and went ceaselessly, trying to stuff food into the mouths of the kids. And were those kids noisy and demanding! Parenthood is never easy no matter who the parents are...
Here are some of the rugs I saw (of course I got permission for these pictures--thank you all!):
And now for something completely different...
Diana had just gotten back from babysitting for four days while family members took a short vacation to Aruba (something they had won! What luck!). They brought back this amazing object for her. Even more amazing is the description of the artistic process that was used to create it--it may look painted, but it isn't. See the photograph right underneath it describing how it was done. I have never heard of this art before, but I love this little critter. Isn't he (or she) a beauty?
Truly impressive. I will have to google "mopa mopa," which I've never heard of before now.
I capped off the day by 1) treating myself to a wonderful documentary on David Hockney's 2012 and 2016 exhibitions of landscapes and portraits. More visual delight!
And then came home and finished a tense and good WWII-themed novel.
All in all, a delightful summer day. I am feeling fortunate indeed.
Today I've been thinking about restraint, a concept I've been considering in meditation. When to speak out; when to hold my tongue. Nothing in my exterior life has brought this up more than the political situation here in the United States. I am often shocked both by vitriolic, unwise speech and by what is NOT being said.
But I can only control what I say or don't say, and that is why it is something I've been pondering in meditation.
I spotted an old Joey Challenge (#214, here) on the tangle "Spoken," and gave it a go last night just before bed.
When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
I'm teaching a Beginning Zentangle® class at the Greenfield Community Center on May 29th from 1-3 pm. They do not have a website so please call them for more information.
I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.)
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society