'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Friday 22 August 2008

There are not many advantages to insomnia

but one of the few benefits to waking at 4 am is the chance of 4 hours uninterrupted play! Before Wensleydale got up I managed to finish the ‘rag book’ which is part of my Tamsin van Essen/white study, and get started on some stitch samples for the compost heap [a.k.a. studio journal.]

The TvE study is increasingly becoming a black and white study. I have found that it encourages me to try out techniques and ideas - the pages are small [14cm square], I'm not sampling for anything in particular, and I don't get distracted by colour choices. And I can try to make one page look pretty and scribble all my notes on the opposite page - although the backs of pages onto which I have sewn/stapled/whatever samples are often quite interesting in theri own right.

These are some of the the rag book pages. They are not pretty and don't have the crispness of the paper book [I deliberately haven’t pressed them] but still an interesting exercise.

Machine stitch with a strip of bandage to span the gap.


and insertion stitch.

Hand stitch - inspired by black work although you will be forgiven for not realising this in advance!

The punk page

more hand stitch.

and staples.

This is the spread I made the stitch samples for. It started as a Sharon Boggon colour exercise which went off track a bit when I found several space images in my stash. Then I made some thread wrappings and had decided to work a stitch sample but I hadn’t got round to it until yesterday morning.

I started with the square sample [top right on the left hand page], in crossed corners stitch, then played around with different layouts and finally got bored with sticking to the rules and did some liberated crossed corners [top left] – which I really like. This version doesn’t need an even weave fabric. I can imagine it worked en masse – perhaps even crossed corners over the crossed corners. I also like the more formal approach, although for anything but a tiny piece I would want to work on a larger scale. Interesting to try it on rug canvas with something really chunky - perhaps torn fabric or plastic strips. Perhaps in white?

I am less happy about the colours of the crossed corners samples– but that is all part of the learning experience, and I can't imagine ever wanting to work anything in blue, red and orange ...

The image above the sun on the right hand page is one I found on the net, showing crossed corners worked in a brick pattern – I’m afraid I can’t remember where I found it so if it is yours, please let me know so I can attribute it! The page looked prettier before I added it the idea but am trying to remember that this is a compost heap not a flower garden and compost heaps are not pretty - well, ours isn't.

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