Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Dec 31, 2014

Cloth. Vessel

Stitched muslin vessel.
Work in progress.

Dec 29, 2014

a few changes

I am in Year 10 of this blog and I have never made a significant change in its appearance in all that time. I have thought about doing something drastic for the last three years - three years!- and late yesterday I began to tidy up the sidebar a bit and then one thing led to another and I found myself staring into the code of the template, the ancient template I have used since Day One.

A little experimenting with removing this and increasing that and reducing those, a brief fling with switching over to Blogger's "new" templates with widgets and customization that did not work well and the disappearance of everything meaningful to me in the sidebar, and at 3 a.m. or so, I was finished.

And pretty pleased with what I got considering that it was all kind of "poke this, prod that, and see what happens."

It is simple. And fairly clean and tidy. But not so clean and tidy as to be unrecognizable as my online space.  And it feels good in here - technological feng shui has happened and swirls of newly-freed energy keep me coming back just to look again and again.

This whole thing may be held together with chewing gum and band-aids (please don't go look at the source code and tell me why it's all going to fall apart) , but today it seems like functional space to me and I'm pleased.

I may even be inspired by this to get my website in better order soon. (That is held together with spit and a prayer.)
And I might actually put things in my Etsy shop.

Oh! It's the FOCUS word-of-the-year thing!
I know it! I feel it humming away already.

FOCUS POCUS! Magickal!

Me, reading poetry at the Downtown Block Party
Terre Haute 2013

Dec 28, 2014

Cloth Projects: wandering uterus

I am still seeking a way to title these pieces as a whole. I tend to think of them as 'poetry cloth,' but the other day I felt I was working a some of them seem like 'spell cloth' to me.  For now, it is just Cloth.

Here is one finished fairly recently.
it's called wandering uterus, found

My Process
The phrase, 'wandering uterus found' came to me as I was typing stream of consciousness words and phrases on cloth. 
This whole piece unfolded  before me spontaneously. I was simply arranging things and stitching what visually pleased me.
When I stitched down that bright orange sari ribbon, I had no intention of it being a uterine form.  It wasn't until I chose to affix the phrase that I saw the image that way.
 After the phrase found its way (wandered?) onto my project, I looked it up.
 I'm fascinated with the quote from Galen.
From Wikipedia:

Wandering womb was the belief that a displaced uterus was the cause of many medical pathologies in women. The belief originates in the medical texts of ancient Greece, although the belief persisted in European academic medicine for centuries.

The belief in the "wandering womb" was part of the teachings of Hippocrates. A description of the theory of a "wandering womb" is from Aretaeus, a physician from Cappadocia, who was a contemporary of Galen in the 2nd century. He wrote that the uterus could move out of place, and float within the body:
In the middle of the flanks of women lies the womb, a female viscus, closely resembling an animal; for it is moved of itself hither and thither in the flanks, also upwards in a direct line to below the cartilage of the thorax, and also obliquely to the right or to the left, either to the liver or the spleen, and it likewise is subject to prolapsus downwards, and in a word, it is altogether erratic. It delights also in fragrant smells, and advances towards them; and it has an aversion to fetid smells, and flees from them; and, on the whole, the womb is like an animal within an animal.

Dec 27, 2014

Word 2015

It's that time of year.
Liminal time for me as I pause between the celebrations of Winter Solstice and my time of retreat.
Time to review 2014 and prepare for entering 2015.

One of the ways I like to enter a new year is to choose a word for it. This year, I came across Susannah Conway's page (not for the first time, but it's been awhile since I've been there.) She has some lovely free offerings: a whole workbook for end-of-year/beginning-new-year and a short, sweet and effective 5-email guide to help people find their Words. There's an optional Facebook group, too, where you can see how people are working on this.

Here's what I just posted there today:

I came to Susannah's wonderful Find Your Word with a word I was pretty certain about. It's the same word I had in 2010 - an exhausting, brilliant year in which I won contests, a state grant, had my first gallery exhibit and chaired a workshop on healing loss through expressive art. 

The word is FOCUS. 
I need an imperative, a command word. I need it to be a touchstone for guidance for this year. I need to cut through all the amazing things of this world that interest me, enchant me - so many things that I am overwhelmed, distracted, scattered. 
As I've worked through email 3, FOCUS remained the very best word for me.

 I'm blown away by the dictionary definitions and synonyms for FOCUS both as noun and verb:

center, heart, root, cornerstone, essence, convergence, 
concentrate, emphasize

adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly

become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy

It goes on. And the origin is Latin, literally "domestic hearth."

Yup, I'm in for FOCUS 2015. Maybe it will be my Word for the rest of my life. It's perfect.

Yet I have other words that resonated for other parts of my being. I don't want to let them go completely. I have a 2015 Word Constellation now.

dare - because I need to dare to try new things with my work

brave - because I need to not allow worrying & being fearful of so much
to interfere with my work

yes! - because someone told me not to think about letting go of things as I focus, but of what I am saying yes! to.

Finally "with shining eyes."
 It's one of the four principles of Saori freestyle weaving. Weave with shining eyes. To me it means eyes shining both with joy and sometimes with tears. I want to do everything with shining eyes.

I decided to create a visual with Scapple, *  a pretty fabulous mapping tool application. I wanted to connect all the words with each other. There are infinite ways to arrange this constellation, and I am still playing with that. Here's a picture of how it emerged right at first. 

I am joyful to have decided on my word. Even more joyful to feel so right about it. And about the whole Word Constellation. The last couple of years I don't think I've felt so right about my words. And I certainly did not utilize them as much as I'd like.

*(NOT an affiliate link- just a connection to something that has been fun and useful for me - check it out!)

Dec 26, 2014

Gift for my husband

It's gotten awfully hard to find gifts for my husband. Four days before Christmas I decided to make something for him.

I opened a not-very-focused photo of him playing saxophone:

played with it in Photoshop

printed it, along with some circles cut and pasted from the image, on cotton with my inkjet printer.

Then I cut everything out, arranged and arranged and arranged, took a photo of my final arrangement, then set to work stitching. 

For four days, I stitched right under his unsuspecting nose. 

I'm so happy with how this came out. And very happy to say he is delighted with it, too. 
It felt quite good to give him something full of my time, my heart and my love.

Dec 22, 2014

Sewing Kits

Today on Facebook, the writer Theodora Goss posted a picture of her sewing kit. 
I would love to see others' kits.
If you're so moved, post to Instagram with hashtag: #mysewingkit

Here's mine today, configured to my work on the poem cloths.

Dec 18, 2014

Don't Hide (your shadow side)

That's what I'm calling this piece.

After I posted yesterday, I decided to make the 'b' side of this stitchery into the 'a' side.  There was so much more going on with it. It had more life, more movement.

It was a bit of a leap to do it. To turn the 'right' side down and stitch it to the base and embellish with the 'wrong' side up.

I finished it with a piece of linen warp for hanging strung through the top, an idea that comes from the inspirational Jude Hill.  I am working through her course, Spirit Cloth 101, and this is my first completed piece.

As I worked on this, I thought about things we keep hidden, things we cannot share with others, and sometimes not even with ourselves. Things about ourselves. The side of our consciousness that Jung called Shadow.

Shadow implies darkness and gloom, but this is colorful and somewhat joyful. Still, there was something to hide: a private side with the frayed, uneven edges, the imperfect running stitches, the knots.

It was quite freeing to me to decide to work with the imperfect side. Just as it is freeing to embrace  Shadow, to accept, and even celebrate, those parts of ourselves that we, or others, find imperfect.

Of course, now that original back side is the "a" side and there is another "b" side. And I like everything about it.
But I think I shall just leave it unbacked, visible to anyone who cares to look. Or it could be hung with this side facing.

Dec 17, 2014

Shadow side

Why do I find the "b side" of things so compelling?
Here, in this particular stitchery, and often even in knit or crochet.

 It seems more eventful, wilder, on the shadow side.

Unashamed of itself.

A smile - a radiant, beaming smile despite crooked, tea-stained teeth.

Dec 15, 2014

New project ingredients

Dec 8, 2014

Playing with light and woven cloth

While working on a poem cloth, I draped an old faded scarf over the too-small lampshade because the unshaded light from the bottom was too harsh. And then of course became fascinated with how the cloth looked illuminated.  The last picture is of my piece-in-progress.

Dec 1, 2014

Felted Pouches for Wee Treasures

Was quite taken by this pattern, Teardrop Felt Pouch by Claire Fairall, and just had to order it.
You can see the results in these pictures.

Knitting in progress.

 Knitting finished, just before felting.

Felted, buttonhole cut and button sewn on. Done!

For this one, I followed the pattern exactly, using Cascade worsted weight yarn and size 10.5 needles.

The original pattern is knitted flat and sewn up, but I didn't see why it couldn't,  be switched to knitting-in-the -round on doublepoints.

I knitted the first increase rows flat and then joined, so I only had a little opening to seam. The whole thing could be done in the round, but I find it too fiddley when there are only a few stitches to start (5, in this case.) When I make other felted vessels, top-down hats, etc. I also usually knit the first few rows flat and then join.

I've made four of these now and have a fifth on the needles. They are fun, fast and rather charming, I think. I also love it anytime I can burrow through my vintage button stash.  I didn't get too adventurous with the buttons here, but I am imagining using some of my treasures.
I am also contemplating adding some needlefelted decoration.

 I wanted to see how these worked up in different wool yarns. Counterclockwise from front left:  Ella Rae worsted, Cascade 220 worsted, Noro Kureyon and Malabrigo.

I went down in needle size, too.  Wish I'd written it down - I think I used 9s for the Ella Rae (which is probably my favorite.) and 10s for the other two.

I am pretty pleased with the way all the yarns felted, except for the Kureyon. I should have remembered that it's difficult to felt it by hand at the sink - stitch definition still shows and it's fairly thin.

Now to ponder what or who will live in these pouches...