Friday, January 31, 2020

Blurry Black & White

Right up front... or near the beginning at least... let me say that this blog is not about gourmet photos. While I'm working to improve my photography, sometimes done and posted may often be as good as it gets otherwise the delay could go on and on and eventually I'd stop posting altogether. Mutual sharing, support and encouragement, and a community of creatives is more my intent that pretty imagery.

One of my all-time favourite pant patterns is Burda 7400. The only change I've made to the original is to replace the wide ribbed waistband with a narrower elastic one. It's a comfortable pattern I've sewn numerous time with endless compliments. A win-win.

Typically, I'm not drawn to high contrast colours and live more in the medium to dark range... except with black and white. There's a neutral yet high energy feel to that classic combination. When I finished these pants...

... it prompted me to go looking for this image I've had in my files for years because not only am I drawn to the complete aesthetic, I really want a necklace like that. Now that I am learning how to make jewelry, it's completely within my grasp and I'm definitely going to work on that inspiration some time soon.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new pants

Friday, January 24, 2020

Creative Metal Arts

Two things I wanted to focus on this year were learning opportunities and socializing opportunities in my community - ideally with a combination of both which is why...

... I used these images on my yearly collage and signed up for a Creative Metal Arts workshop at the local college. It's three hours, every Tuesday night, for eleven weeks and there are seven women and two men in the class with a wide range of goals. I'm really enjoying it so far.


One of my goals is to look at ways to combine the textile elements I'm already making with metal working ones. This piece beautifully illustrates what I'm working toward. Instead of that gorgeous agate, insert fabric. Unfortunately the artist wasn't listed on the Pinterest page where I found the image.

This is a scrap I was playing with to see what paint would do to the fabric surface. It's not a masterpiece; it's a practice piece. Practice (sampling) is vital to our creative growth. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to be amazing right away rather than playing with ideas to see what's possible and to allow our skills to develop and mature. It's ugly; it has potential.

I am exceptionally good at overthinking which is why this image is on my yearly collage - a reminder to learn to do by doing rather than stagnating by overthinking. It's also a reminder that one step leads to another and I can't go anywhere unless I take that first step... which is how the idea of creating textile jewelry has now led to learning creative metal arts.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - an interesting and local workshop

Friday, January 17, 2020

Garbage On The Counter

Part of the uniform-like way I dress is a statement necklace. I love jewelry of all kinds but I'm especially fond of necklaces. At my first Design Outside the Lines Retreat, I saw Diane's amazing textile jewelry pieces. Inspiring. Sophisticated. Elegant. Intriguing. And not at all kitschy as fabric jewelry can often be. I have spent the seven years in-between trying to make pieces that are predominately fabric and equally interesting to her work although in my own style. I am making progress.

One struggle has been to give the necklace weight and shape so it feels neither too heavy or too cheap. This piece was made by adding thread details to a piece of hand painted fabric and then wrapping it over a metal core. Finding the right core became an issue so now I am learning how to cut and shape metal. Needing to resolve a problem has...

... taken my learning curve in all sorts of interesting directions. I learned wire weaving in order to add metallic components to the textile pieces and give them some bling however, it was so much fun that I've continued to design wire pieces. The ones above were made by picking a starting point from the garbage on my jewelry counter and then taking it forward into another piece. Sometimes the garbage works out and becomes a finished piece and other times it does not. Either way, this method of working is fabulous for problem solving and developing my skills.

This ring began with three woven strips from a bracelet that didn't work out. I started bending and twisting them around each other and adding additional wires. While working, I try for as long as possible to not know what I am making and to just let the piece unfold as it will. Because this one was so large, I didn't think it would be a ring but it is... and a really fun one too. Once the patina is added, it will have added depth and the details will show up even more.

This piece also turned into a ring which is surprising since I am more drawn to necklaces. I don't think it's done yet but I'm going to wait until it has a patina as well so I can get a better idea of the dark areas that may need more light.

I am learning to finish the wire pieces up to the patina stage and then put them aside to do a batch together. Once the copper is dipped in liver of sulfur to add aging, it needs polishing and finishing. At that time, I also check to see if all the wire ends are safely tucked in and if any further details need to be added. It's not quite one piece at a time and it's not quite a bunch of pieces at once and yet this middle ground is starting to feel like a comfortable way of working, if only with jewelry.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the joy of wire wrapping

Friday, January 10, 2020

My 2020 Collage

In 2012, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I took a Design Outside the Lines Workshop with Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson. It was life changing... in fact so life changing that I went back the next year and then, when Marcy retired from teaching, continued to study with Diane in workshops and with...

... one-to-one coaching. An early assignment was to make a collage about the woman I was becoming. Having used collages in my own teaching, I knew how powerful they could be and I've since started making a collage each year either in late December or early January. My 2020 collage was made on December 27th, 2019. While the question is always the same - what does the next year hold? - the answers vary.

It's never surprising that the next year will hold creativity because being creative is how I breath. Nor is it surprising that I will lean toward ever increasing holistic health in all areas of life - spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and relational - because, as I age, wholeness has become increasingly more important. The surprises are usually in what shows up that I wasn't expecting or what's missing that I thought would definitely be there or in the ways in which I will be creative. I like comparing the current year's collage to the previous one and looking at areas of change and growth.

Last year, I was far more specific with what I wanted and the year certainly shifted as it unfolded. This year, the intent of the collage is geared more toward simplicity and play.

One thing I enjoy about the collages is seeing how the messages come into being, the directions life takes. It's one way that God reveals his path for my life and opens doors I didn't even know I wanted, or needed, to walk through. Life is certainly an interesting journey.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the fun of making yearly collages

Friday, January 3, 2020

New Year, New Decade, New Project, New Blog

The new year started just like the old year ended. It snowed... and snowed... and snowed and snowed and snowed. And, as pretty as that can be, it meant a lot of shoveling and shifting. I am happy to be spending time in the studio today.

The snow build-up on the railing above was only the amount of accumulation part way through the day. This deck is just off the kitchen upstairs and my studio is directly below. This past fall...

... I had patio doors installed so that I can see out at ground level and straight across to the pond located on the property behind mine. With a white coating everywhere, the piles of waiting yard work are beautified and hidden. It's very comforting to curl up in my chair and just watch, or knit, or hand stitch, while enjoying both the pond life and the neighbours who walk by on the trail. I bought this house four years ago when I moved from a community just over an hour away. It's such a gift.

Long, long ago, in my early twenties, I set a new year's resolution to work on one project at a time. Back then, I tended to start a lot of things and finish few and that particular year my studio was full of unfinished projects that no longer worked for me. It's a resolution that has not only stuck but served me well.

Now, as much as I am able, I attempt to end each year with no unfinished projects and an exciting one in progress that will transition into the new year. At first, I was quite rigid, wanting to get everything done no matter what. I've mellowed and now I'm more patient to delay finishing for the right answer.

In the jewelry part of my studio, I'm working on the pendant above left determining how I want to encase and hang it with wire or metalwork. With knitting, I am working on a simple, lightweight cardigan in a lovely turquoise colour, inventing the pattern as I go. And, with sewing, this purse is waiting for a handle answer. So far, every solution I've tried hasn't worked the way I'd like so I may take it apart and restructure it. I tend to do that a lot because...

... I don't need just another finished object. I am warm, dry, safe, fed, clothed, and loved. What I really want is another artistic adventure... oh... and... some pants!

This morning, I shifted my pattern collection to a new location while looking for this out-of-print Vogue 8712 pattern of Marcy Tilton's. According to my notes, I sewed this version...

... in July 2012. They were made from a stable knit and very easy to wear. I have a similar weight knit in stash so that's where I'll begin this new year, new decade, new project, new blog. Thanks for joining my journey.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new beginnings