Monday, April 25

Conversation 2 & 3

 While I didn't get to stitching up a new strip yet this week, I did spend several hours this past weekend finishing the previous week's strip and painting up Conversation 2. On top of that I cut about 20 stencils to use in a teacher workshop with my colleagues. (I refuse to do"painting with a twist" where all the paintings end up all the same!)
I didn't have as many photos to work from this week, but apparently it's Spring and all the Azaleas are in bloom.

From our pair of bushes I collaged these two together:
All those azaleas will be fun to paint.

I went to the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym on Saturday and saw Christina Day's piece:
She was working with all recycled materials- lawn chairs in this instance. I believe she had a RAIR residency, which I would love to do someday....

Monday, April 18

Conversation 1 & 2

After last week's digital collage I painted this small composition.
After another week of texting images with my friend, these 2 seemed to echo each other the most. I made another digital collage blending those with  3rd photo I took which became this:

Unfortunately, I spent more time napping than working this afternoon and evening. I barely finished last week's Daily Notes strip, and for the first Sunday since January I haven't got a new strip started.
 This past week was the start of PSSA testing at my middle school, and the accumulated stress of the week has taken its toll.

Sunday, April 10

Conversation 1

Starting something new with a friend. This is the result of week 1. I'm not sure if it will become something else or just be as it is.  We'll see.

Saturday, April 9

Daily Notes 13-14-15

I don't have much to say, except March was difficult. 
 This is 3 months worth of work. I took all the pieces down on Monday to share with a group of M.Ed students at Tyler. They gave me a great response, and I'm feeling good about how this project is progressing.
April is starting. I feel stressed with responsibilities, but I have a high current of creative energy running though me.

Sunday, March 27

Daily Notes 11-12-13

March has proved to be miserable. While Spring has supposedly arrived, my last 2 weeks of patches have remained dark. I prepared piece #12 in time, but then this past week I felt no motivation to stitch it. It was such a bad week, I didn't want to revisit it through stitching. On the other hand, I was also trying to complete an entirely separate piece of embroidery in preparation for Good Friday. Since the other piece had to meet a deadline, the daily notes strip stayed on the back burner.
This past week (#13) I've been on Spring Break from school. It was a much-needed rest and relief from this past month of stress, bad news, and worry. But perhaps things are looking up. The palette for #13 feels calmer. Soon I'll have to find another way to hang the piece- I'm running out of space above my desk.

Sunday, March 6

Daily notes 8-9-10

Week 8 was very creative. My daughter won a regional Shakespeare Monologue contest, I got a bit carried away with teaching color theory, I turned 38, I helped my 7th graders make about 80 clay creatures (leaving my hands dry and cracked from clay all week), I showed my screenprinting students how to create Benday dots, and I had a lovely walk in the woods.

In preparation for week 9 I dumped out my scrap box and went digging. But it really is starting to feel a little stale now. If anyone wants to send me scraps of fabric I'd happily do a small exchange (just comment). My aunt sent me some, which will find their way into one of these strips sooner or later.
Week 9 brightened to match the warmer weather, perhaps. I was thinking about math and surface area, braiding, types of mark, different roles I have at work, a little Moroccan inspiration,and another walk in the woods. Someday I really need to find somewhere closer to the Wissahickon to live.
 The strip for Week 10 has begun. March has not started off very well- but every day is just a pixel in the bigger picture. I have to keep remembering that.
Two months worth of strips now hang in my studio. They are starting to really look like something substantial, and I have a glimmer of what this will all look like in the end. I am enjoying the daily ritual  of journaling and the weekend ritual of finding fabrics and stitching. It's becoming a positive habit.

Saturday, February 20

Daily Notes 6-7

Week 7 is finished and pinned up. There was subbing for 1st graders, value/ proportion exercises, unfulfilled snow expectations, a visit to CHAD and PAFA, and Valentine's.

I've already picked out scraps and sewn them up ready for this past week's strip. Time to finish week 7 and head into week 8. 

My scrap bin is beginning to feel predictable though...

Sunday, February 14

Daily notes weeks 5-6-7

 My daughter found a pottery shard and gave it to me. Week 5 is all my busting of pride for all her accomplishments. The shard looks like a heart attached using shisha stitch. On Sunday that week, Corinthians 13 was read. Love endures all things. These are words I cherish.
A car accident shook up week 6. Everything I encountered seemed to radiate- the spokes of wheels, the impact of accidents, pistachio shells on a table, a student's collage, and confetti at mardi gras/ shrove pancake breakfast at church.
 I'm surprised how much red is appearing in these pieces. I don't really like red. It's my tension/angry color, but I think it's showing up more as a mark of energy or excitement. My scrap box has more of it than I'd have expected.
My energy for stitching was low through week 6. I didn't finish stitching on it till this morning and then lacked motivation to start on one for week 7. I suppose it's normal for enthusiasm for a project to wax and wane, but I don't want to give up on this project idea so soon. One month's worth of stitching is done and I can envision the potential of 12 months' worth.

Sunday, January 24

Daily notes week 4

I've decided on a loose working title for this project, which will be "Daily Notes". i'm not thrilled by it, but the name is helping me organize pictures... I've kept this project going so far for 24 days. The assignment strategy is working to keep me focused and keep my fingers busy. Here is a bit of progress from week 4:

 All week long people were talking about the impending snowstorm to hit the east coast. or me this translated to lots of anticipation and waiting. It's been very cold. My magazine collages for the week seemed very dark, but then the fabrics I chose were rather light. So I overlaid a piece of itajime-dyed navy blue and white organza over the patchwork to tone things down a little.

Monday was filled with friends and family as I enjoyed a day off from school in honor of MLK. A visit with Anne Minich, one of my favorite artist friends helped me feel like this project is worthwhile. Her house reminds me o the descriptions I recently heard of Louise Bourgeois' home where the whole building exists in service of art. It's always inspiring to sit with her among her books and art and shells and driftwood.
Tuesday was long and tiring, but I had an amazing time with my basic design students at Fleisher exploring organic and geometric shapes in balance with each other.
The rest of the week was a rushed blur of end of the quarter grading at school and anticipation for the snowy weekend.
Again, Friday night found me rushing to my scrap pile. Before I emerged from my studio corner to think about dinner, 2 inches of snow had fallen from the sky. It snowed through all of Saturday, and I was in bliss, eating lovely food, stitching, and watching movies.
It's Sunday again, and icicles are dripping from the eaves. We shoveled out, but are in no hurry to go anywhere. This week's stitched strip now hangs with the others, and January is taking form and color on my wall. One more week and I'll have a month's worth complete.

Friday, January 15

New Year, New Project

I've always been exceptionally good at doing school assignments. I always found some way to fulfill the requirements but in a way that also satisfied my own sense of creativity. Having the prompt was what helped- some exterior stimulus to get the ideas flowing. But you only get assignments when you are in school. Although I'm "in school" every day, I'm always the one giving the assignments. I seem to be very good at coming up with assignments and interesting challenges for my students, but for some reason I seem to struggle with challenging myself in the same way.

I've been thinking about how to best arrange my life to allow for more personal creative practice. I don't want to reach the end of 2016 with so little to show for it as I did this past year. So, I've analyzed what works and what doesn't for me. Schedules and deadlines push me. Regular habits keep me consistent in work and exercise. 

I considered an "artwork-a-day" project but realized it would be too much pressure to complete something. Have to be realistic. But once a week might be doable. An every day habit of journaling is sustainable. I noticed I kept that up for 4 months last year. I can top that. Now, last year I made a piece that felt very personal and beautiful and expressive, which was prompted by an assignment in "The Artist's Rule", a book by Christine Paintner that the Cathedral used in a weekly book study last year. It was to make a book of days, marking your hours, finding moments for prayer and creativity. I made a long, narrow embroidered strip with color blocks representing each time period of my everyday schedule. As we are starting to go through the book again, I was reminded of the piece and the simplicity of it.
So assignment part 1: every day, jot down any significant events, feelings, colors, patterns, images, or experiences. Cut out a square of magazine paper colors, patterns, textures, etc. to collage into my sketchbook. By the end of the week I have a color sketch of a piece laid out along with a wealth of images, words, and sketches to draw from for inspiration.

Assignment Part 2: Sunday is art day. I know, I make art every day. But it's Monday-Friday middle school, Saturday community arts, and I'm exhausted helping other people be creative and annoyed to not be creative for myself. So on Sunday I'll use the results of Assignment 1 to gather fabrics that best match the color collage sketches. I iron and cut them into 3 inch squares to be sewn together as a strip.
Once the patches are sewn into a strip, I back it and topstitch it. The machine sewing is quick and gives the piece a finished look from the very start.
 Finally, I can spend most of Sunday afternoon or evening embroidering. But if it takes longer I can continue stitching through the week.
So far I have completed 2 strips. The first one only represents 3 days because January started on a Friday and I began the project on Sunday, January 3rd. For week 2, the longer strip was a challenge. I pieced it on Sunday, January 10th and got some stitching done. However, I stupidly chose seed stitch to fill a significant area, which took forever. I stitched a little through my substitute day, some more Wednesday night, and finally finished it on Thursday evening. Having the deadline of the weekend was good pressure.
I've so far managed to keep up the journaling for 15 days and finished 2 strips. I was so excited to get started this Friday evening, that when I came home from work I dumped out my whole scrap box to find the best pieces for the week so far, cut and sewed them up already. The strip awaits Saturday and  Sunday's colors now. 
This is the first time in months I've felt motivated to spend real consistent time in the studio. I hope I can keep this momentum, and that it won't be just another failed resolution. I think that sharing intentions helps build a sense of accountability. I am not going to stress about "having an idea",and I'm not going to worry too much about how it turns out. I am going to keep the format consistent and then see what happens over time. It will be an interesting experiment to see visually over time how I experience the world emotionally and visually. Happy New Year!!