Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ten years since I got my Laurel...musing late at night

This Friday will be the 10th anniversary of when I got my Laurel. For the non SCA folks out there (which is probably most of you), the Laurel is the highest level arts award that the Society for Creative Anachronism gives out. (The SCA is a historical recreation group that studies the Middle Ages and Renaissance. See sca.org)

I didn't feel I deserved it at the time. I was just, well, plain old me. As ordinary as a pebble. So, I started taking formal art classes at the local community college, to figure out what folks thought I already knew. Art history... 2 and 3D design... ceramics... photography... sewing... painting... life drawing... They had a hard time getting female life drawing models, so I offered to help out--even though I was just a middle-aged house wife. It is now several years later, and I'm still modeling for various classes. Pictures of middle-aged me have hung in museums and won ribbons in shows. (Talk about strange to walk in and see!)

I put the class teaching to use, experimented, learned new techniques on my own, and went to various weekend fiber retreats to learn even more. I passed on what I was learning to others whenever I could. And then in the last few years I opened my Etsy shop (tangibledaydreams.etsy.com) to see if I could give this whole professional artist thing a whirl. That has been a real trip!

My self image has been gradually changing. I call myself an artist now, and a model. I'm not just a middle aged house wife. (Though, I'm still that too. Layers of identity.)

I also finally decided to do a 'master work' for the SCA, and a few months ago completed that hand spun, hand dyed, hand woven dress. (http://tangibledaydreams.blogspot.com/2011/06/historic-hand-spun-hand-woven-tunic.html) It took a good part of a year plugging away at it, bit by bit. When I finished the outfit and put it on? And twirled around in it to flare out the full skirts? Then I felt like maybe I could call myself a Laurel, too.

It has been an incredible 10 years of learning, stretching, and reaching out.

I decided to celebrate this mile marker on my journey by buying myself a new Laurel medallion.

I got it from another Etsy shop, here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sjengraving . It is a beach stone, that they engraved for me. And I love it. Because, yes. Ten years later, and I still feel as ordinary as a pebble. I'm still just plain old me...but I do keep plugging away at it, learning and growing a drop at a time. And that does add up.

Given enough time, simple drops of water can polish rock.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Tour of my Studio

It is my habit after I've finished up a chunk of project to spend a day or so straightening my studio back out again. I am not the neatest person when I am creating (ok, I'm just not the neatest person, period), so every now and again I need to find the surfaces again. I have so much stuff crammed into my little room that I really need to put one project away before I can bring out another one. But, since this is probably as neat as it is ever going to be, I thought you might like a tour of the studio. Come on in!

Ok, you've walked through the door, and are standing in the center of the room looking back at it. Behind the door is tucked the ironing board, along with a broom, rolls of craft paper, driftwood sticks from Canada trips, a reed mat for rolling felt rugs, and walking staffs. The walking staffs are more for squishing scorpions than they are for walking. Scorpions may be a natural part of the ecosystem...but they don't belong on my walls. Turn a bit to your right...

This is my storage wall. My husband built this custom set of shelves. Fabric rolls on the left, tools on top, two shelves full of weaving yarn, pull out baskets for smaller items, and large bins down below for fabric and such. The white table pulls out, and folds out into my cutting/crafting table.

 Turn a bit more to the right...
And here is my computer wall.

Up to the left my shuttle collection is displayed on the wall. Fiber tools can be works of art in and of themselves. I like to look at them, and then pull them down off the wall to use them when needed. Functional art.
Here's my computer desk, where I spend entirely too many of my waking hours. And my fish tank, and my lunch. (That is home made egg lemon soup, from home made chicken stock. Yum!)
To the right is a second desk. My bead stash is tucked away in those bins in back. In front is my antique sock knitting machine, with the next set of sock yarn all wound on the bobbins there, ready to go.
Above my computer desk are shelves full of research books. I've run out of shelf space. Too many books? Nah! Not enough shelves!!

Turn to the right again, and this is my loom wall.

 Tucked behind the loom is my rack of sock yarn, waiting to be cranked into nice warm wool socks.
But my pride and joy is that loom. I got it at a garage sale for $20 (it is worth much more than that), and that find started this whole path I'm on. Above the loom is a window that looks out on my herb and flower garden, shaded from the AZ summer sun by my hand woven curtains.

One more turn around...

 ...and we're at my sewing and large item storage wall.

 My sewing machine is tucked in the corner there.
 Up above are shelves and shelves of old friends. This is my science fiction and fantasy collection. They probably belong elsewhere in the house, so I could make room for more research books and storage for finished product. But...they're mine.

This is my large item tangle of storage. In that pile there is a dobby loom, a warping mill, a standing inkle loom, a serger, a clock reel, a spinning wheel, a heater, and bags and bags of fiber to be spun. There is usually an easel tucked behind there too, but I pulled it out for my next project already.

And of course, smack dab in the middle of the floor, on top of my hand made felt rug, there is always an animal or four keeping me company.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Silk ties back from the dry cleaners

The first batch of hand painted silk ties is back from the dry cleaners!

I managed to get these four photographed and up in the Etsy shop, at tangibledaydreams.etsy.com . I've got three more here waiting to be processed, and hopefully I can get those up tomorrow. The second batch of 18 ties is still at the dry cleaners. I get to pick those up on Friday, so look for them to magically appear in the shop sometime next week.

I wish I wore ties now. I'm really tickled by the way these turned out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More silk ties, and being linked to by Interweave Press

Huh. A bit of meta blog stuff here for a moment... I use http://sitemeter.com/ to keep track of statistics for this blog, mostly because I'm kind of curious about such things. I know that not everyone who pokes their nose in here leaves comments, so I like to look at the foot prints instead. Well, recently there was a sudden surge of folks looking at an old post I made about the Medieval box loom that I picked up at last year's Estrella War.
( http://tangibledaydreams.blogspot.com/2010/02/medieval-box-loom.html ). Turns out it was linked to in Interweave Press's July 13 issue of 'Weaving Today'. ( http://e1.interweave.com/dm?id=236E95069D8B4FD0A721392A3AF9E7B4C30092B14F2F2183 . )

So cool! I'm kind of bemused over here. No, strike that. I'm very bemused over here. I subscribe to their 'Handwoven' magazine, and get 'Weaving Today' sent to my email. I just hadn't had time to read this particular issue closely, and click through on all the links. Seems other folks did!

In other news, I'm back in the studio painting some more ties. I did some more of the cool squiggle pattern ones...

And then also tried some stripes.

Yes, they're all actually the same 3" width. They look different because I was taking the picture at a weird angle, trying to get around the ironing board. That is set up so I can iron and heat set these babies once they dry for awhile, but it is kind of in the way in the mean time.

I personally like the squiggles better, but the stripes are cool enough that I may do some more of those as well, just to add variety to the options.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

D&D dice D20 choker

This post is just me bragging about my daughter Michelle. See the necklace I'm wearing there in the picture? She's been making these 'Gamer Girl' chokers, and I swapped her one for some of my hand spun yarn. It is made of Diet Coke pop tabs and one of my D20 dice. The die is caged in elastic, and can be popped out to use if I roll a critical hit in our role playing campaign. The design is her original one.

She's got a more elaborate version too, that has an entire set of D&D dice hanging from it.

Yes, my daughter is awesome.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hand painted silk ties

Last time I made a post about hand painting silk ties (http://tangibledaydreams.blogspot.com/2011/06/silk-ties-product-development.html) I was trying to decide which method of dyeing was going to work the best. On the one hand, I could deconstruct the tie, dye it, iron it, and sew it back together. This had the benefit of keeping the interfacing dry, but it was difficult to line the fabric back up correctly after dyeing. On the other hand, I could just dye the tie whole. However, the edges were a little wavy with this method.

I had an idea though. I needed to see if the dyes were going to stand up to the dry cleaning process, so I sent the tie that I had dyed in one piece to the cleaners. When it came back, the colors were as intense as they started out, so the dye passed the cleaning test. Also, the dry cleaning process evened out the edges of the tie, to the point that nobody else could tell that there had been an issue.

I decided that the extra $2.50 for dry cleaning a tie was definitely better than taking my time to deconstruct and re-sew the danged things. I don't like hand sewing, you see. I just want to play with the colors!

So, I got two dozen more scarf blanks. Yesterday I started dyeing. I'm pleased with the way they're coming out so far!

I have several more to make, and they all will need to be ironed and dry cleaned. But look for them in the Etsy shop (tangibledaydreams.etsy.com) in a few weeks.