Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Courtyard Wallpieces

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Over the weekend I made two wallpieces for my courtyard garden. The wallpieces will break up the wall while acting as trellises for vines.

Courtyard Wallpiece

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wall has a step design that makes it difficult for spacing. I tried equal spacing between and around the wallpieces, but the edge of the right wallpiece hit a step in the wall that visually wasn’t working.

I moved the pieces to 3 feet from the corners. Still didn’t feel right.

Courtyard Wallpiece

I am leaning toward placing the wallpieces centered with the wall steps. In the center of the wall is a Cordia boissieri (Texas Wild Olive).

Cordia boissieri

It is small now, but should eventually fill the space.

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wallieces were made using simple Bargello embroidery stitches. Materials List–1 inch fence (41″ x 31″), coconut fiber rope, and sisal rope.

Courtyard Wallpiece Rope

Safety when working with fiber–wear a respirator, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt.

Coconut fiber is beautiful, but it is extremely prickly, dusty, and dirty. This is part of what I swept up.

Courtyard Wallpiece Dust


What is it?

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Cooktop

It is not solder on metal.

Cooktop

It is burnt sugar on a glass cooktop. Burnt sugar is quite beautiful.

Cooktop

It appears that the pan had come in contact with the strawberry pie dish. Why was the bottom of the pan left unwashed???

Previous post on sugar and its possible use as an art material.

Burnt Sugar


Again With the Casemaking Moths and Possible Easy Solution

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

I am in the process of cleaning and clearing my studio in order to have enough space to begin a new project.

While cleaning my work bench I found casemaking moths.

Casemaking Moths

Casemaking moth in a small bowl of cold wax test pieces.
The casemaking moth is in the center on the penny bound with wool.

Finding the casemaking moths brought to mind a recent conversation I had with an entomologist. I specifically asked him how to address the casemaking moth problem.

He said that an easy solution was to put my work in the my car. What would that accomplish? One of the ways to kill casemaking moths is to use heat. He also recommended tossing the stuff in a plastic bin with a few moth balls. I don’t recall which moth balls he recommended, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. I would prefer not using chemicals.

But, it never occurred to me to use the heat in the car. That would be an easy fix, especially since most of my work will not fit in the freezer.

He mentioned that his wife had success killing an insect infestation in the wood horn of a recently purchased used saddle.

Previous Posts

It is Not a Pod…

What Happened?

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking Moth Damage–Alpaca yarn embroidered on harware cloth.

Tinea pellionella

A Perfect Environment for Moths


Would the interior temperature in a car kill moths?

American Veterinary Medical Association

AVMA Temp Chart

The AVMA credits–Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University,
for creating the estimated vehicle interior temperature chart.

Alternatives, A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet, Clothing Moths-Prevention and Control by Jennie Goldberg states–“High heat (in excess of 99”F for one week) will destroy all life stages of the moth.”

It appears that the interior temperature of a car will kill moths.
Need to perform some tests to find out for sure.


Dropped Leaves

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Plant

Succulent

The color of the leaves is definitely not right.
I took the photo with my iPad in my studio.
The color of the leaves should be a grey green.

Succulent

Flip side of the small leaf.
When I gathered the leaves I noticed that they felt soft and very warm.
Like a thick bunny ear.

Succulent

The leaves collect everything.
It is common for earwigs to live all cozy in the top leaves.
I give the leaves a weekly cleaning with a soft bristle brush.

Four leaves fell. I am drying two and the other two are sitting in a glycerin solution, just to see what happens.

Art material? Molds or stitching?


Living With Bunnies and Birds

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

When you share a home with bunnies and birds, you must make loads of compromises. Bunny proofing means protecting or removing anything that can be chewed that is up to approximately 3 feet high, unless the bunny likes to climb on furniture. One of our bunnies runs laps on the back of the sofa.

It is incredibly difficult to bird proof a room. Removal of plants and anything that they might want to tear and shred is a given. But don’t forget about the thin iPad/iPhone power cables. They love to chew them.

One of my See a Penny pieces has been hanging on the dining room wall since I completed it in March of 2013.

See A Penny

Completed See a Penny piece prior to hanging in dining room.

Today I found one of the pieces of mirror on the floor. When I replaced the mirror, I noticed damage–

See A Penny Damage

and certain the culprit is either The Bird or Bob.

The Bird

The Bird

Bob

Bob

They both love landing and perching on the piece, but I didn’t realize chewing was involved.

I could attempt giving the birds a misting with water as a deterrent. Probably would not be a deterrent for Bob because he frequently takes a bath in Big Baby’s water dish.

Big Baby

Big Baby

Haven’t decided if I will be moving the wallpiece to a different location. Repair will be time consuming, but doable. The squares are constructed of roofing felt, tree wrap, mirror, hardware cloth, and cotton twine.

See A Penny

See a Penny, Squares Used for Code–Spacer, Dot, Dash

Slipping in a new square of tree wrap won’t work. They squares were perforated for ease of binding with the cotton twine.

So, what is the solution to prevent Elliot from chewing my shoe laces while I am wearing the shoes?

Laces

Repaired laces with embroidery floss.

Elliot

Elliot in the studio.


Hawthorne Piece Progress

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

The coded Hawthorne quote used:
Words – innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Frame of Stitched Squares

January 11, Frame of Stitched Squares

Stitched Squares

Layout of Stitched Squares

Stitched Squares

January 24, In Progress–Squares in Each Row Stitched Together

Stitched Squares

January 28, Rows Stitched Together


To Do List:
Bind and Stitch Cotton Rope Border
Stitch Paper Backing to Piece Without Perforating the Paper


Work in Progress: Hawthorne

Friday, January 6th, 2017

One of the reasons I write about projects is to work through details and to have a record of choices and decisions.

I have been thinking about making a piece to hang over the fireplace in the family room/office for several years. Actually it is a bit of a funny story. During our house remodel that started in January of 2002, we removed the ugly shiny black tile that surrounded the fireplace. We had been living with concrete board, until last year when we finally installed tile.

The space above the fireplace is 68” wide and 64” high. I decided to make a piece that is roughly 36” wide and 58” high. The piece will be constructed of 522 embroidered hardware cloth squares (1.75″) that will be stitched together. Yep, quilt-ish.

As always as of late, I use coded messages or quotes. This piece will be a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote, Words – innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

The code for the Hawthorne piece contains 190 dots, 162 dashes, and 170 spacers.

Hawthorne Layout

These are some stitches that I tried. After trying all of these different stitches, backgrounds, and yarn colors…

Multiple Squares

my favorite stitch is the one in the lower right corner… I selected three stitches to use and spent several hours stitching these for the dashes…

Stitched Squares

Decided I would soon regret my choice and not enjoy working on the piece. I will save them for a future project.

Had the idea, rather than perforating the background material (roofing felt and tree wrap), which can tear and sometimes the holes could be seen, I decided to use stitches that would wrap around the background material.

Pretty sure I will be using these unless I decide to switch the dot and dash background and yarn. Have time to think about it while I am making the spacer pieces.

Three Squares

Spacer (roofing felt and cream wool)
Dot (veneer with brown and cream wool)
Dash (tree wrap with brown yarn)

Also an interesting thing happened. I had planned to use the same background material for the dots and dashes. While I was looking for safety pins in my studio I ran across the veneer business cards that I purchased from Lee Valley. Thought they were cool and maybe they would come in handy in the future. Today apparently is that future day. The veneer can be cut with scissors, but a blade would be better to prevent splitting. I can cut two pieces from each card, definitely plenty for the project.

I like the idea of three different backgrounds to make the code a bit clearer. Currently planning to stitch the squares together with three strands of yarn, one of each being used.


What is it? Sugar and Rodin Quotes

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

“To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.” Auguste Rodin

When I started to clean the oven after a baking mishap, I paused to look at what I scraped up.

Burnt Sugar

It is burnt sugar from an apple spice cake. At fist glance it looks black, nearly ash. On closer inspection it has a lovely texture of holes and craters.

Burnt Sugar

In the past I used sugar as a stiffener and in molds. There is a history of folks using sugar as a stiffener for crochet. I had been using microcrystalline wax, shellac, and varnish to stiffen and age my work. Wondered if sugar might work as a substitute.

Sugar Twine Vessel

This is my first test piece, made in 2006. It is constructed of cotton baker’s twine. I immersed the cotton vessel in molten raw sugar. The sugar impregnated twine collapsed. I wrung it out and place it over a foil covered coffee can taller than the vessel. Placed the lot on a plate to collect the sugar run off.

The piece is still strong and not in the least bit sticky. And no insect activity.

I also made a series of cast sugar vessels. I used several recipes for sugar glass. One recipe was 3 1/2 cups of raw sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, 2 cups of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I used a silicone mold for the casting.

Melting Sugar Cup

Clearly I did something wrong. Raw sugar rather than granulated. Possibly the thickness. Temperature.

But it was fun to watch the sugar cup melt.

Will I try it again? Sure. Will I have success? Maybe.

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” Auguste Rodin


Spencer Byles and Andy Goldsworthy

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Today I ran across the work of Spencer Byles. I was not aware of Byles’ work. So, I looked at all of the images of the project, A Year in a French Forest before reading about his process and checking out his body of work.

Spencer Byles Sculpture

Sculpture No 15. from A Year in the Forest. Photograph by Liza Karakova.

This is a portion of Spencer Byles’ artist statement:

Every piece I create is a different and new experience. I work with different materials, these can be ‘man made’ or ‘natural forms’. There isn’t a common link to these other than I find I am drawn to materials that lie abandoned, or discarded.

I find that one of the most interesting things about choosing materials that have been abandoned or discarded is to integrate reference of their previous life into a new context. That doing so respects the previous life of the material. It can also act as a point of access for the viewer.

While viewing the images of Spencer Byles’ work, I of course thought about the work of Andy Goldsworthy. I love Goldsworthy’s work. It is lovely and elegant, often seeming to defy gravity, but always feeling that it somehow occurred naturally.

Goldsworthy Arch

Andy Goldwworthy Woven Branch Circular Arch, Dumfrieshire, 1986. The image was found here.

Some of the materials that Goldsworthy uses include: large rocks, ice, branches, and even leaves. I have not seen any of Goldsworthy’s work in person, but suspect if you are lucky to happen on one of his works what would occur is what folks write about when they use the phrase, startles the soul.

There are several books of images of Andy Goldsworthy’s work. I only own two: Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture 1976-1990 and Wall.

To see more images of his work, check out the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue.

There is also River & Tides, a great video about Goldsworthy’s work. It is available to rent on Netflix, and to rent or purchase on Amazon.


What Happened?

Monday, October 31st, 2016

I was looking through some work in progress and thought this looked odd.

Casemaking Moth Damage

The last time I saw this piece the stitchwork background was completed. The plan was to add another layer of stitchwork with fiber and seeds with the code, A Fragment of Memory.

When I opened the graph paper I found this–
Casemaking Moth Damage

And this–

Casemaking Moth Damage

So what caused the damage?

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking Moths.

I have a weird fascination with the critters. They totally creep me out. And yet they are rather interesting the way they become active with a bit of light. And how they carry their shelter with them.

It is frustrating to have work destroyed. Even if it is work in progress.

This is a image of the damaged alpaca lace piece and a piece that is stitched with bamboo.

Casemaking Moth Damage Comparison

They were on the same shelf, right next to each other. Does this show a fiber preference? Or maybe the difference was the alpaca piece was partially inside of a piece of folded paper. That would make for a darker more protected environment for the casemaking moths.

I have written about casemaking moths in the past here, here, and here.

The first time I wrote about casemaking moths was March 2012, the last time was in September 2014, well until now.