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Midland, Texas, United States
I write. I make stuff.


Monday, April 21, 2014

In A Really Good Place

What is that, New Age? "In a really good place"?  Googling doesn't tell me anything useful, so never mind. That's how I think of it, so triteness be damned, right?

Although, as I said, I'm preparing to be poor (which makes me think of Arthur (the original)), things feel really good anyway. I've got a bunch of projects going and enough ideas to last me for several lifetimes. I got to interview someone last week whose work I've long admired; I'm incredibly lucky to have editors who often love the same stuff I do. This artist was fascinating, sure, but also amazing to work with: her work sells in galleries for thousands of dollars, but it was like sitting on the porch talking about ideas with an old friend. This week's assignment is with someone I actually know In Real Life, so that will be fun, too. Hard work (it's harder, I think, telling the story of someone you know because your own impression can get in the way, and that's not my job), but fun.

Anyway: I'm also having fun challenging myself and trying to figure out stuff. I don't draw, I don't know faces, I have trouble thinking visually (I think in text, often lines of text running across the bottom even of dreams), I've never taken art classes (well, not since grade school), and lots of stuff just baffles me. But I love figuring stuff out: having a problem and trying to figure out a solution.

I alter and embellish garments. I work with linen and cotton jersey. I put images and text on them by hand. For The EGE, I put bold, graphic images on t-shirts. The challenge there is to make them read well, both from a distance (he wears them to school) and close-up (people will always check to see how something's made), and you don't want the effect to be ruined by distractions. Last week I put Bugs Bunny on a t-shirt for him, and it didn't turn out well. Everyone else thinks it turned out just fine, but I'm not happy with it. What I learned was that for images to work, they have to be larger than I think they should be and very simple. His hands and eyes just wouldn't work for me, no matter that I altered them (made the hands simpler and the eyeballs a tiny bit larger). Anything too detailed won't read well: these are made out of pieces of t-shirts, and they have to be stitched. Some simple images work well with a running stitch (space between the stitches). Others need a backstitch (solid line of stitching). I'm still learning which needs which. I'm almost (*almost*) tempted to do another one, make Bugs larger, simplify the hands more, add a highlight to the eyes, and do the whole thing in backstitch, rather than running stitch. I don't know, though: there are other things I want to do (Felix the Cat, for example).

I wish I had a photo of the Bugs, but I don't. I took one with the iPhone and stuck it on Facebook before I stitched, but I didn't get one of the finished shirt, and he wore it to school today.  Here, though, is the shirt I did yesterday, one that actually works for me:
 Sorry this isn't on Ricë, but she's got a jumper thing pinned to her and can't model for a while until I get to that project.
 The challenge here was to make the face immediately recognizable without having too much fussy detail. I found an image, enlarged it, printed it out and traced the outline. Then I traced the features and changed them: I enlarged the eyes and moved them up to give me more room for the mouth, which I enlarged and simplified. I left out some of the lines that didn't read well from a distance. Once I had the mask the way I wanted it, I traced it onto fusible webbing and ironed it to the back of the sleeve of a black t-shirt (when I deconstruct the shirts, I sort the sleeves by color; they're often exactly the size I need). Then I cut that out (I hate the fussy cutting because it's so easy to stretch the fabric and make the edges wonky) and ironed it onto the dark pink, then ironed it onto fusible webbing (and here you have to be careful, as too much heat will make the first, already-fused part, get too hot and melt into the fabric, breaking the bond). Then I trimmed around that and ironed it in place and started stitching.
 Well, not really: I had to wait for a sunny afternoon (yesterday) to do this part. Because these parts are so thin, they don't hold up well in the laundry, so I whip stitch them instead of trying to do a running stitch. I want the stitching to be really firm, but it has to be invisible.
 I used three strands (or two? I can't remember) of floss here, and I'm making it huge so you can see the tiny, fussy stitching. That white fuzz isn't even cat fur; it's just tiny, tiny fuzz.
 I thought about adding black running stitch inside the eye holes, and I thought to outline the black mask with pink running stitch (a shade that matched the shirt itself). All that seemed too fussy, though, so I just left it.

The word for the day, apparently, is "fussy."

I'm happy with this one. It amuses me: I love the pink with the evil black mask.

Then there's the Jumpron I'm working on. I appliquéd a face, and now I'm trying to suggest the facial structure with stitching. Since I don't draw, this is challenging for me, which means it's fun and frustrating at the same time. I *did* draw the aviator, though. Woot!
Eventually the whole face will be stitched, and I'm hoping it looks realistic, meaning that the bones and stuff show up. I have no idea what it will look like; I never do. I'm not too optimistic, since his nostril sure didn't work out very well. Humph.
 But it's fun trying to figure out what cotton jersey and embroidery floss will allow me to do on something that MUST go through the laundry.

[On a completely different note, you know what's funny? When you get a Facebook friend request from someone you know you've friended before, and you realize that, at some point, they de-friended you but have now changed their minds for some reason. I don't know why, but this always makes me laugh out loud. It's a funny world out there.]

I hope you have something fun to do today, whether you're playing or working, looking forward to the end of the work day or just hanging out~~XO


see you there! said...

You say you don't draw, I say I don't stitch. I'm doing some sketches (b/w) that I would really like to stitch on something or another though. Your drawing on this is actually quite good so maybe there would be some hope it I tried the stitching. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves.


Ricë said...

Thank you, Darla. And I think you have a good point—but I know stitching is WAY easier than drawing. Still, I'm taking your encouragement and running with it! XO

Zom Osborne said...

It is fascinating to imagine thinking in lines of text, especially to have that running in a dream! I often get pictures and then have to try and put them into words, which makes me stumble sometimes as 'too much' information comes in. Probably why I am fascinated by symbols though.