Archive for the ‘Code’ Category

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.


Jefferson, Monticello, Notebooks, and Tools

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

I am an obsessive note maker. A small notebook is in pocket or bag, always at the ready.

A Staedtler Lead Holder was my go to writing utensil, until last night. I am in the process of planning a wool, knitted and fulled wallpiece.

The problem with using lead is the possible disappearance over time. But it is easy to erase for changes.

Pencil and Eraser

One of the cool things about the Staedtler Lead Holder is the built in sharpener, which eliminates the need to carry another tool.

Pencil and Sharpener

There are two problems with a felt marker, not permanent and mistakes.

Marker

I stopped by target today and picked up a bottle of Bic Wite Out.

Bic Correction Fluid

It is so much nicer than the last bottle. No longer is the applicator a brush, it is a little sponge wedge that glides nicely.

Back to notebooks and note making. I was delighted to see reference to Thomas Jefferson and his pocket notebooks at this great book art site. It was a different time, but I am not keen on the material that was used for the pages. I do like the idea of reusable pages that you could write notes in pencil and erase when notes are transferred to sketchbook or journal.

Jefferson Ivory Books

According to the Monticello site, Jefferson carried a small ivory notebook on which he could write in pencil. Back in his Cabinet, or office, he later copied the information into any of seven books in which he kept records about his garden, farms, finances, and other concerns; he then erased the writing in the ivory notebook. The photo of the notebooks was taken by Edward Owen.

The Monticello site also included additional information about tools that he carried with him, Among his collection of pocket-sized devices were scales, drawing instruments, a thermometer, a surveying compass, a level, and even a globe.

Got to thinking about tools that I tend to carry with me. When I go hiking I always carry gloves, tool for digging, small cutters, bags for finds, a magnifier, a small flashlight, twine, and often a camera.

The Monticello site has loads of interesting facts and fun things for purchase. I am an avid gardener and have purchased seed from the site. My favorite seeds have been: Sunset Hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot), Aquilegia Barlows, and the Fringed Pink (Dianthus superbus).

Every time I visit the site I look at the wheel cypher decoder. Maybe one day I will actually purchase it.

Jefferson Wheel Cypher Decoder


50th Birthday Gift for Tim

Friday, August 26th, 2016

This is the 50th birthday piece I made for a friend from grad school.

I used cream wool to loom knit the band, 51 pennies (1966-2016), and fiber for binding and code.

Tim 50th Birthday Piece

50th Birthday Piece for Tim

Tim 50th Birthday Piece Untied

Birthday Piece Untied

Tim Birthday Piece Bound

Bound Pennies 1966-2016. Each Penny is bound as part of code for Tim’s Name.
Dashes-Yellow, Dots-Green, Spacers-Orange.

1966 Penny

1968, 1967, 1966 Pennies

2016 Penny

2016 Penny

Ties

Top tie code is 09091966 and 09092016. Bottom tie code is Happy Birthday.
Dots knots are rust yarn, Dashes knots are green yarn, and spacers are cream.

Triangle Pattern

Loom Knit Pattern


Work in Progress: A Small Link to the Past

Friday, June 10th, 2016

I was in the process of making a piece with grass that would have the coded message, A Small Link With the Past. As a test, I bound some grass to a piece of hardware cloth. The grass was a bit prickly, but I quite liked it.

Grass Piece

The plan was to bind grass to hardware cloth to make 3 pattern blocks…

Blocks for Pattern

then bind the blocks together to make a pattern.

Pattern

The pattern with the code will have 117 blocks, 81 will have the addition of a code component in the center square.

When I decided to use the 1/4″ hardware cloth the grass did not work. Instead, I am using Tecoma stans pods that have been soaked in a solution of glycerin and water.

Tecoma sans Pods

I wrote a post about collecting the Tecoma stans pods 12 November 2015.

Cream wool yarn will be used to complete the blocks.

Link Blocks

I just noticed when I shot the photo of the blocks, the one with the cream wool center should have been rotated for the stitch work to be vertical.

Unfortunately, making blocks in low light while listening to political news resulted in several mistakes. In order for the pattern to work properly, the grain of the pod must be bound vertically.

The right block works, the left one does not.

Link Block Mistake

The dozen that I consistently stitched incorrectly can be used for a different project. It will be easier, and less time consuming to replace the mistakes than to take them apart and rework them.

There is another issue with changing from grass to Tecoma sans pods. Grass fits with the idea of linking to the past, a childhood memory. Tecoma sans pods does not.

So, how will the pattern work as a connection to memory, or a link to the past? The pattern with the code will be a portion of the piece. Grass, hardware cloth, and wool will be woven together, most likely with the word memory in code, and the pattern with code will be bound to it. That is the current plan, but things can change during the process.


Work in Progress–Accustomed to Being Invisible

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Have you ever been standing in a shop looking at what is on the shelf a few feet away, suddenly someone walks in front of you, and in between you and the shelf? You step back, out of their way, because you were not seen. Have you ever walked up to an automatic door and found yourself standing there waiting for the door to open? Your presence was not recognized by a sensor. How many times have you touched your iPad screen to open an app and nothing happened? Could you be invisible?

Got to thinking about, well being invisible. And since most of the time I don’t really care if I am noticed, I started thinking about things of substance in nature that are hidden or invisible. Things that have an important function, but remain hidden to the casual viewer.

I am in the process of using plant parts that are typically hidden in my invisible series. The parts are beautiful, often with patterns imprinted on them as the result of their function in the life-cycle of the plants.

Interior Bits

These are the interior bits of Pandorea jasminoides. I collected some pods that I thought would be fun to use. When I opened the pods and removed the seeds, I found these beautiful shields.

I recently purchased a Pandorea jasminoides, specifically to harvest the pods, seeds, and other interior bits. This is the first harvested pod.

Pandorea jasminoides pod

Glycerin Mixture

The Pandorea jasminoides bits were soaked in a glycerin solution to make them more pliable and easier to stitch.

Invisible Code

Code to be used on Pandorea jasminoides bits.

Invisible Stitched

The Pandorea jasminoides bits were stitched with Alpaca Lace yarn. Each piece was stitched with a letter of the quote–accustomed to being invisible.

The current plan is to make a page with the coded pieces on one side and a bound small round mirror of the other side. I seriously thought about making knitted and fulled pages, but I am not pleased with the results, yet.

Decided to try using some embroidered pieces for the pages.

Front Page

The right side has–take notice in code. Not sure that I like it.

Back Page

Each embroidered piece is 45 squares (11.25″) wide and 58 squares (14.5″) high. The openness of the stitches is one of the reasons for using the roofing felt in between. I love roofing felt–the way it feels, smells, and looks. I started using roofing felt when I was investment casting. Some of the roofing felt that had been used in the casting process had lovely plaster stains. I liked the used roofing felt so much I used it in my Headbox series.


Books and the Book Series

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Books have always been a part of my life. When we were children, my mother would take us to the library. When I was in college I would spend part of a day each week wandering through the stacks. After grad school, I started my library. I have nearly 1,500 books. There are books on art, artists, film, graphic design, gardening, horticulture, novels, children’s books, textbooks, and miscellaneous books on random topics.

I love reading, the way books feel in my hands, turning the pages, the fragrance of paper and ink. I was taught to respect books, but then something happened. I found that I really liked underlining. That grew to writing in the margins and using any white space to record ideas for possible work. Then I started folding corners and pages.

Books

When I open one of my books to locate a quote or some notes that I have made, it is quite enjoyable to revisit the story, to read a few pages or several chapters. To remember the first time that I read the book.


I resisted reading e-books. My iPad is thin, slippery, and has a bit of glare. How would I dog-ear pages, write in the margins, underline…

I tried reading a few books on my iPad and in doing so found that I could customize the text. I could make the text large enough that I no longer needed to wear glasses. I also found that I quite like reading light text on a black background. And I could read in the dark.

Then I found how easy it was to highlight, bookmark, and make notes. I could download the lot from amazon. A few adjustments to the downloaded file and I could import the text into my database of quotes and phrases. Yep, I have a database of words, phrases, quotes.


I have thought about making books, but one thing always stopped me. What will be on the pages? The thought of an empty book, seemed incomplete. I actually attempted constructing a few books over the years.

Twig Books

A couple of books constructed of materials collected from nature, fabric, paper, copper wire, and waxed linen cord. I saved a couple to remind myself why they did not work.

I also made a series of small books constructed of hardware cloth covers coated with Egyptian Paste. The covers were fired to cone 016. Hot enough for the clay to mature, but not hot enough to melt the hardware cloth. I cut copper and aluminum flashing for the pages. I bound the pages and covers together and fired the lot.

Egyptian Paste Book

Egyptian Paste Book Open

The pages have a lovely surface, but they are still empty.


The past several years I have used coded messages in my work. It is quite enjoyable to figure out ways to put text in my work that cannot actually be read as text but is seen as pattern. Well, the text could be read if the code is deciphered. And since I am not a cryptographer, it isn’t too difficult to figure out.

Dont Detail

This is a detail of code in a work that I have since completed. I used Morse code with rust yarn for the dots, gray yarn for the dashes, and cream yarn for the spacers. The bottom left corner has gray, rust, gray which is dash-dot-dash or a k.


I have decided to revisit books again with the idea of including coded text. Each book will have a theme: connection, grief/loss, invisible/visible, kindness, memory, nature, perception/seeing, power, reflection, self, truth…

My plan was to make wool knitted and fulled pages, with stitched coded messages, and dried and stitched plant bits. I knitted all sorts of stitch patterns to see which stitches would work best.

Then something unexpected happened. I had a dream, an epiphany. In the dream rather than making books I was making pages and framing them as artifact. Framed fragments of pages would be more compatible with my body of work. Was my creative self giving me a message or was the dream a mash up of a bunch of things that I had been thinking about throughout the day? No matter, I like the idea.

I began to approach knitting differently. Rather than knitting rectangles for book pages, I wanted the pieces to be odd shaped.

E wrap Purl Cable

The top portion was knitted. The piece was removed from the loom, rotated 45º, returned to the loom, and then the cable pattern was knitted.

Top Portion
Row 1 E-wrap (each peg twice)
Row 2 Purl (wrap)

Bottom Portion (Cable)
Row 1 Knit
Row 2 Purl
Row 3 Knit
Row 4 P,P, Twist Knit, P,P, Twist Knit…

This is the back of the above piece. It is important that the back is interesting because both sides of a page can be visible.

E wrap Purl Cable


This combination of stitches is quite nice. There does seem to be some consistency in my choices. It appears that I like knot-like stitches.

Figure 8 with E-wrap

Row 1 Figure 8
Row 2 E-wrap

If after fulling, the fabric still has holes, I plan to either weave in yarn or an i-cord.


Linen Stitch

The idea was to knit a long piece, full it, and fold it in half to create a signature. Then bind several signatures together.
Row 1 K all
Row 2 K, S… K
Row 3 K all
Row 4 S, K… S

It will be fun to see how the series evolves.


Slat Book and the Bead Loom

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Last night I was looking through some work in progress and saw a bead loom. It was a gift that I never used, but thought it might come in handy for something, some day.

Bead Loom

A bead loom is basically springs attached to a wood frame. In my limited use of springs, it makes sense that a larger spring would work when weaving thicker fiber.

Something that did occur to me when removing the piece from the loom, it would be a good idea to place a rod next to the spring and wrap the fiber around the rod before placing in the spring.

Bead Loom With Rod

After quickly trying my idea, I found that there was a need for clamps to the hold the rod in place.

Back to the weaving experiment: I strung the bead loom with some nettle and started weaving. I used cream wool, nettle, and Tecoma pods.

Bead Loom Result

The result is exciting because it might be the solution to my slat book problem. I plan to use Pandorea jasminoides parts, stitched with a letter in code.

Plant Bits

Slat books typically use regular shaped pieces for each of the slats. The Pandorea jasminoides parts are a variety of widths and lengths. I really like them because they bring to mind shields.

If I were to use a similar weaving process, I think it just might work. I plan to try using three strand of nettle on each side leaving the central section of the Pandorea jasminoides parts open for easy reading of the code. Well, maybe not actually easy reading. It will be code.

Slat Book with information about the plant materials and code posted on September 17th, 2015

Slat Book with information about glycerin and code posted on October 11th, 2015


Serendipitous events can result in great ideas.
Or, discovery makes making art so much fun.


Sticks and Stones

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Yesterday I hung Sticks and Stones, but immediately realized two things: the piece is far too small for the space, and the lower right corner tends to bow out a bit.

Sticks and Stones

It is nice having something in that space. Need to start planning a larger piece.

How to fix the bow?

The piece is constructed of two pieces of hardware cloth bound together.

Sticks and Stones Back

Sticks and Stones Front

Bending should be an easy fix for the bowed out corner, but when I gave it a go, it did not change how it hung.

It really should be bent a bit toward the center, but I do not want to risk breaking the sticks that make up the code.

Sticks and Stones Code Detail

The plan is to let it hang until I figure out the bow problem.


Slat Book Progress…

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

I have been planning to make a slat book using the middle bit (ovary) from Pandorea jasminoides seed pods. I planned the code, “accustomed to being invisible” that will be stitched onto the plant bits.

Invisible Code

Holes in Pandorea jasminoides

I used a needle tool to make holes in one piece. The piece fractured in half.
I then used a Dremel to drill holes. When I started stitching, with nettle, part of the edge broke away.


This is what the nettle twine looks like with the Pandorea jasminoides bits.
Nettle


I decided to give glycerin a go to soften the pieces and to make them able to take the stitching. I am trying to solutions–one with hot water and one with denatured alcohol.

Tadpole

The jar on the left is a solution of 1 part gylcerin and 2 parts hot water.
The jar on the right is a solution of 2 parts glycerin and 1 part denatured alcohol.

It is interesting that many processes do require waiting. Sometimes a process can be sped up, most of the time patience is required.