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Archive for the ‘Webstuff’ Category

Ugh!

Somebody took my mojo…and I want it back.

Today I am just going to bite the bullet and stitch…something…anything…I am not sure what.

I’ve not stitched in weeks and I”m really starting to beat myself up about it – why is that?  Stitching is an activity I do to relax, to feel creative, to enjoy, so why then would I be so hard on myself for not stitching?  Perhaps it is caused by the copious amounts of  languishig half-finished (or less) projects, or the mountainous piles of stash idly stuffed into drawers and cupboards?

I don’t know why, but today I am going to try and jump the monumental hurdle that is stagnation.  Perhaps a little freebie, something I can start and finish today.

On a webby-research note….here is a sensational site contining all the historic needlework resources one may ever need.  Everything is covered from the 10th Century, and all corners of the globe…I spent many hours reading and oogling the stitching beauty contined therein.

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A Sampler Blog

The lovely Carol has started a blog especially to showcase samplers….I’ve joined and have started adding my few meagre offerings – there are lots of lovelies to see there already!

Keep an eye on this one….it’s gonig to be a great source of inspiration.

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Samplers, samplers and more samplers.

The Sampler Stitcher posted recently about a site she had found dedicated to antique samplers. 

It’s a fabulous resource for those of us who are passionate about samplers.

I’ve registered of course (it’s free to register and browse) and I am going to settle in with a cuppa for a good look a little later, although I did have a quick look at the Q&A page which is very informative.

The pictures are lovely and the information provided about each sampler excellent.

Enjoy!

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And I can’t wait to get it!  It is number 12 in a limited edition of 18 and will be spectacular framed and hanging in my living room (when the decoration is complete).

I stumbled upon this artist Emma Kirsopp on eBay and I bid on a lino print entitled “Ask and Embla” and this is what the artist has to say about her inspiration.

“Part of an artistic study of the Norse creation myths. Ask and Embla were the first man and woman, they were brought to life from the ash and the elm tree.”

Wikipedia also says:

“Odin and his brothers, Ve and Vili, were the creators of the first man and woman. They took two pieces of driftwood from a beach and gave them human shapes. Odin then gave them the breath of life, Vili gave them wit and emotions, and Ve gave them senses and speech. These two people, Ask (“ash”), the male, and Embla (“elm”), became the progenitors of all humanity; they lived in Midgard.”

ask-and-embla.jpg

This is the print – I will be sure to show you another picture when it’s framed and hanging in it’s new home 🙂  I just love what it represents – to me a beginning and I think it’s a very appropriate piece to be hanging in this new home 🙂

The artist lives in Tasmania as well – my “home” state as well!

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Many of you will have heard of and discussed the situation surrounding the demise of Needle Necessities and the apparent ‘takeover’ (for the want of a better word) of ThreadworX.

I know I did – NN is/was one of my favourite overdye threads and I was devastated that Razzle Dazzle Red was to be no longer available to me.

Not to make light of the situation, for one reason or another NN is closing (or has closed) and as stitchers, the reasons for this really are none of our business.  These things happen and do every day for many businesses.  It’s selfish of us really to think that we deserve to be able to get the products we know and love at all costs to the business owners concerned.  Yes, we can be sad when these things happen, but do any of us really stop and think whether our gossiping about rumour may actually assist in the rate of demise of some businesses?  Yes we want to know the truth…but in reality – what business is it of ours…none.

However, the point of my post is this.  When rumours come to light, many of us discuss and distribute this information not thinking of what the circumstances may be occurring within the businesses concerned and certainly not even considering what the outcomes of our discussion and distribution may eventually be.

This week, a very good friend of mine (Dragonflydreams) has been deeply hurt by the results of gossiping and innuendo and it saddens me that this wonderful person has had to endure this situation at all.

I simply can’t express in strong enough terms how disappointed I am that Independent Needlework News (INN) posted information about Dragonflydreams BEFORE they had at least spoken with the owner.  Karen – the owner of Dragonflydreams is a VERY competent and conscientious business woman who would NEVER do anything that would jeopardise her business or any one else’s for that matter or do anything against the law.

The absolute last thing I wanted to read was what was on this website – a very badly thought out, slanderous attack on a woman just going about her business and one of the world’s BEST needlework businesses also.  Yes Karen is a friend, but I also support her business because she IS such a great store and provides great service!

While I think it’s admirable that sites like INN wish to bring the ‘truth’ to the masses, it appears levels of tact and ethics are wanting.  As investigative ‘reporters’ they should stick to reporting facts, not ill-informed opinion.

I posted initially asking if the rumour I had seen posted on a local newsgroup about NN going out of business was true, and INN posted that it was indeed untrue, I commented that I had seen ThreadworX product for sale here in Aus  and mentioned that I thought something weird was going on .  This should have given some indication of who to talk to and that the situation wasn’t as clear as maybe first thought.  Information from NOT staff or former staff, but the owner of either of those businesses AND no information about a business should have been posted with out being totally sure there was absolutely no doubt that the facts were correct. 

I deeply regret now that I contacted INN in the first place, I will certainly think twice before doing anything even remotely similar in the future.  You can’t imagine how I feel about the damage done to Karen’s business and my part in it.  I hope that this public apology will be at least a small way to begin healing some of the hurt.

I am of course 100% supportive of Dragonflydreams and I hope that after sourcing the correct information all the damaging statements made on INN about this wonderful woma and her business will be retracted. 

NOTE: I see that this has appeared on the INN website this morning and I am very pleased to see it.   

I have also removed the INN link from my blogroll and I urge anyone to think twice before providing any kind of information to sites such as this.

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More free knitting goodies…

You can go here for some more free knitting patterns – afghans and throw rugs, clothing, accessories, home items.

I’ve found a few things to add to my ‘to do’ pile!

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Something to ponder….

Sharonb over at Inaminuteago  has drawn our attention to an article by the inimitable Germaine Greer (text follows later).  Now, apparently this has stirred up quite a reaction in Sharon’s readers and there are some links to others’ opinions on her blog.  For me it raised a few questions which I seriously doubt I will have answers to today, if ever, but it sure does make me think.

Firstly, ‘What could be the point of such an exercise in futility?’  Why futile?  the definition of futility itself would infer that the pieces in question have no useful result; are useless,  lack importance or purpose; and are frivolous and, the creation of them is a futile act.  Does Ms Greer suggest that the art of women such as Judy Chicago is futile.  She calls herself a feminist artist and includes all media including needlework in her pieces (The Dinner Party for example)!

For most textile artists, embroiderers, quilters, etc the art is not only in the finished piece, but in the process of designing, the process of stitching, the process of completion and the emotional input and output of those processes.

From http://www.lewallencontemporary.com/judychicago

“Judy Chicago is an artist, author, feminist, educator and intellectual whose career now spans four decades. Renowned for the convention-shattering nature of her work, Chicago has served as pioneer for an enlarged definition of art, an expanded role for the artist, and a woman’s right to freedom of expression. Her seminal work, The Dinner Party (1974-79), is a monumental, collaboratively created, mixed-media tribute to women which in March 2007 will be installed in its new permanent home at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Chicago’s art is exhibited frequently in the United States and internationally. Her ten books, published in several languages, have brought her art and philosophy to readers around the world.

“Why any woman would set about to make a portable artwork, a picture, out of bits of old fabric?”  Those ‘bits of old fabric’ hold so much information about the lives of the women who lovingly kept what would be wasted – sometimes for years – in order to re-use and recycle into some thing of purpose and beauty.  How would we know present day how these women lived without the legacy of the things they created.

Women have been kept busy wasting their time?  Does Ms Greer not even entertain the thought that perhaps women CHOSE to keep themselves busy creating something that not only brings them joy and a sense of achievement, especially back in an earlier time when there was precious little output for women other than the pursuit of these apparent time-wasting activities. 

Making pictures out of strips of fabric isn’t art at all?  One definition of ‘art’ that I came across while researching is that ‘art  is the creation of beautiful or significant things’.  Does Ms Greer consider the creation of textile pieces not beautiful nor significant?  Needlework historians and educators such as Carol Humphrey might have something to say about the significance of historical pieces of textile art and the wealth of information about the daily lives of the creators they hold.

I’m sure there is more…to be taken from this opinion of Ms Greer, but at the moment I am reading something else of her’s that has made its way to the press this week.

“Making pictures from strips of cloth isn’t art at all – but it mocks art’s pretentions to the core

Germaine Greer
Monday August 13, 2007
The Guardian

On August 4, an exhibition of patchwork by Edrica Huws opened in the primary school at Llangefni, on Anglesey, possibly the most inaccessible art-venue in the British Isles. I had meant to make the 12-hour journey from east to west and back again in honour of Edrica, who was once very kind to me, and gave me an unfinished watercolour flower piece by her aunt, Ursula Tyrwhitt, who was at the Slade School of Fine Art with Gwen John, Gwen Salmond, Edna Clarke Hall and co. The flower piece, which Tyrwhitt abandoned when the composition went wonky, now straightened up as well as may be in the framing, hangs in my breakfast room to this day. Perhaps, if I went to Anglesey, I would find the answer to the perennial question why any woman would set about to make a portable artwork, a picture, out of bits of old fabric?”

What could be the point of such an exercise in futility? The work of art is supposed to defy time but fabric is bound to fade and rot, even when it is kept in between layers of tissue paper and shut away from sight. There’s nothing new in this kind of heroic pointlessness; women have frittered their lives away stitching things for which there is no demand ever since vicarious leisure was invented. Mrs Delaney was spending hours of concentration making effigies of flowers out of bits of coloured paper mounted on black card as long ago as 1771. Why didn’t she just paint them? You can see her paper mosaics in the Enlightenment gallery of the British Museum, if you insist, but be warned. You could end up profoundly depressed by yet more evidence that, for centuries, women have been kept busy wasting their time.

It is really difficult to make a picture out of scraps of printed cloth. It is not in the least difficult to buy a kit with pre-cut colour-coordinated scraps and toil away at ironing the pieces round the paper cut-outs, pressing their faces together, stitching them from behind and ironing them flat, until you’ve recreated the quilt in the illustration, but even then you can’t read or watch telly or even think while you’re doing it. There was a time when women made patchworks together, in quilting bees, and chatted as they worked. The materials were worn-out clothing and aprons; the pattern was a variant on a stock pattern, learned from the older women and modified to fit the circumstances. Such quilts are dignified, dense and often very beautiful objects. They have no pretensions to being works of art, or had none until some impious philistine decided to stretch them flat and hang them on walls. The same thing happened to the Navajo blanket. Taut against the walls of the Whitney museum, the lightning blankets that used to flash and flicker on the plains are dead as shot crows on a fence.

Edrica Huws, born in 1907, spent two years at the Chelsea School of Art, gained a diploma from the Royal College of Art, and worked as an artist until she married the Welsh sculptor Richard Huws in 1931. Five children later, and living in rural Anglesey with neither electricity nor running water, she turned her hand to poetry and began collecting fabrics for her patchwork. She was 51 when she began her first patchwork picture of a greenhouse. It took her a year. The challenge was in getting the assemblage of differently figured pieces to look like a representation of her subject, but not too like it. The scraps had to be treated like scraps, not like paint, or mosaic. Edrica said herself in a lecture in 1982 that to her “the essence of an aesthetic experience” was “the control just winning”.

What this suggests is that for Edrica, as for many other women artists, the art activity was haptic, like dancing, say, which may leave a pattern in the sand but the pattern is not the point. She chose to interpret visual subjects in fabric because she liked doing it. As she said of her setting out: “I decided that if I were to finish [the work], it must be representational; anything else would either be beyond my powers or would bore me.” As soon as the riddle was solved, and the fabric assembly had come together, looking as like the subject as she wished but no more, she was uninterested in it. She enjoyed this laborious and tricky process as she did not enjoy painting.

Other patchworkers have said that paint is too cold and wet; fabric is warm, tactile and surprising. Patchworkers do not work at the vertical, but engage with their pieces from outside in or inside out. Edrica said that she was never sure, working from back to front and back again, which way she was going. By making her cloth pictures Edrica was, consciously or unconsciously, subverting art, mocking its pretensions. Hers are pictures that refuse to be seen, that cannot be hung. Edrica Huws might be surprised to find herself shoulder to shoulder with Tracey Emin, whose untidily sewn tent, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-95, sadly destroyed in the Momart fire, is in the same self-mocking tradition.

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