Tag Archive | fiber

15 years


My brother wanted to go to the 9/11 Museum.

We paid our money and waited in a long line of tourists for our timed entry to the steel and concrete underground crypt, complete with a gift shop (which we steered well clear of) and endless tape loops replaying the day’s events.


The new glass and steel monuments to commerce surrounding the plaza, with its beautiful pools, enclosed the space above the museum.


I found this ad  from the NY Times of May 29, 2015, when I was cleaning a few weeks ago.  I must have saved it, intending to do a headline haiku, but it got lost in the shuffle.  Having visited the site, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.


There is nothing “free” about the Freedom Tower, or the museum.  Is this the best way to remember this day and those who died?

it lingers
in the dazzling morning sky
like air
surround this opening

remember to breathe


Let there be light, and air, and songs, and sky, and running water, and the living earth and new growing things.  That’s what I think.

Words courtesy of the Magnetic Poetry oracle, for the Elusive Trope’s Magnetic Poetry Saturday Challenge.

Headline Haiku: Veterans Day 2015

veterans day 2015 2s

When I saw this story on the front page of the New York Times in September, it gave me a shiver of recognition.

Arriving battered
cut with perilous question:
Is This Life?

veterans day 2015 1s

In August of 2009, a similar story also appeared on the front page of the Times.  That one gave me a double take:  one of the soldiers pictured at the grave of a comrade was a young man who grew up across the hall from me, who used to babysit for my children.  The 1451st Transportation Company, home from Iraq, had experienced 4 suicides among its 175 soldiers in the space of a year.

“The ‘business as usual’ attitudes of the past are no longer appropriate,” said an Army spokesman at the time.

veterans day 2015 3s

Fast forward to 2015.  The Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, home from Afghanistan:  13 suicides in the seven years since deployment.  Four in 2014.

veterans day 2015 4s

“For years leaders at the top level of the government have acknowledged the high suicide rate among veterans and spent heavily to try to reduce it.  But the suicides have continued…”

There is no antidote to the horrors of war.

veterans day 2015 5s

The elder George Bush now claims that his son was ill-advised about the nature and cost of going to war in the Middle East by Dick Cheney and Donald  Rumsfeld.  Small comfort for the men and women who were sent into the maelstrom, whose lives can never be returned to the normal of “before”.

veterans day 2015 6s

Waving flags and solemn speeches and marching in parades won’t bring them back.

Headline Haiku: War Is Not Healthy (for children and other living things)

war is not healthy haiku s

memory fails to
stop enduring grief
face death alone

war is not healthy s

Two weeks ago the New York Times published a chart explaining some of the ways civilians have died in the Syrian War.  A little research online shows that in modern warfare it is estimated that 85-90% of all casualties are civilians (June 2014 American Journal of Public Health).  War also wreaks havoc on the environment, leading to more death.

war is not healthy top s

Some estimates of civilians killed in recent and ongoing conflicts:
Sudan-Darfur  200,000
Iraq  170,000
Syria  200, 000
Congo  60,000
Afghanistan  45,000
Pakistan  35,000
Mexico  50,000
Libya  30,000
Chechnya  100,000
Eritrea-Ethiopia  70,000
Sierra Leone  70,000

war is not healthy poster s

There are not enough tears to encompass all this sorrow.

Cleaning My Closet

tapestry grid s

I live in an old house with tall ceilings and you need a ladder to get to the top of the closet.  The stuff on that shelf has been there since we moved in seven years ago.

So I’ve been cleaning.  I was surprised both by what was there and what wasn’t.  A zip drive and zip disks?  Seriously?  And I guess I wisely threw out most of those hundreds of (pre-digital) photos I took of my freelance work the last time we moved.

miro tapestry s

Of course I hadn’t really forgotten that 40 years ago I owned a tapestry loom.  But I opened a plastic bin to find seven tapestries, four of them really large.  I know I was young with no children and the internet didn’t exist yet, but I was working full time and going to school at night…and tapestry is really slow…when did I have the time?  Plus, honestly, I only vaguely remember a few of them, and some I don’t remember at all.

My brain synapses have definitely atrophied.

rainbow tapestry s

Still.  It’s always good to see a grid (and interesting how my artistic impulses remain the same).  And how can you go wrong with a rainbow?  But some of them are really strange, even by 70’s standards.

landscape tapestry s

Charming Billy

charming billy close up s

Where have you been?
Sing the forgotten song, remembered
long after the question
is asked.

charming billy comp

Although this doesn’t resemble at all what I originally had in mind, like Billy it has its charms.  And it does have a dreamlike atmosphere, which was part of my intent.  Always a learning experience:  the tracing paper reacts very differently to glue than tissue paper, shrinking up in ridges.  And the embroidery backstitch worked just as well as running stitch on paper which is a good thing to know.

spero comp

And in the spirit of always acknowledging my influences, even if I’m not consciously aware of them until I finish a piece:  thanks, once again, to Nancy Spero.

“Charming Billy” can be found in Atomic Poetry #1.

Suns and Moons

sunmoon comp

Last week, Laura at Create Art Everyday had a couple of posts on suns and moons and it reminded me of a felt mask I did awhile ago.

view comp

She was exploring separate images from a quilt book for the sun and moon, but Mexican masks often combine the two into one, and that is where I drew my inspiration.

sunmoon mask comp

Looking at the embellishment on my mask made me think I need to do something with beads and sequins again soon….

sunmoon close up s

Bauhaus Grid

bauhaus grid front s

This is another fiber piece using the Pre-Columbian wrapped embroidery technique I discovered last year (https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/inspiration-pre-columbian-textiles/).  While the first used a grid-based design, it was more directly influenced by the Peruvian textiles I had been looking at, although the interest of Anni Albers in Peruvian weaving techniques was what led me to look more closely at how they were constructed in the first place.

bauhaus grid close up front 2s

So back to the Bauhaus.  This design more directly reflects the use of color and grids in Bauhaus design.   Of course Anni Albers and all the Bauhaus weavers, and Josef Albers and in particular the stained glass he did while at the Bauhaus, connect to this embroidery.  But the bigger influence in this case is the work of Paul Klee, especially Klee’s experiments with color value in grids.

klee comp

Once again, I also like the back of my embroidery, and would love to have the space to suspend it from the ceiling so both sides would be visible at the same time.  I like the texture that appears on the back of the wrapping, and may try something where I leave the embroidery floss ends on the front and use the “back” as the unembellished side.

bauhaus grid back s

Local weaver Matthew Yanchuk (https://www.etsy.com/shop/Jackpie) wove the base for me, as he did for the first embroidery, this time doing a black and white check to give even more dimension to the color changes.  He is currently making me two more black and white weavings so I can try out some more ideas using this interesting embroidery technique.

bauhaus grid close up back s

Headline Haiku: The Future Belongs To…

the future belongs 2s

This new ground:  where are
the paths for technology
itself and how now?

Once again, a ubiquitous ad campaign, this one by Hewlett-Packard, caught my eye and got me thinking.  This page, from “Bits”, a technology section of the NY Times, announced that “the future belongs to the fast”.

future belongs on hangar s

Obviously, they’ve never read Aesop.

What do I want in MY future?  More technology or more trees?

future tree s

Trees grow slowly, adapting themselves to their surroundings.  They need a healthy environment to thrive.  They are in it for the long term, and the nourishment they give back from what they take in provides life for generations to come.

the future belongs 1s

Technology does not consider or care about context.  Corporations are profit-making machines.  They want the most they can get right now.  The court says they are people:  “people” who are greedy, rude, inconsiderate, self-centered, and without morals or integrity, I’d say.  (Or was that politicians?…)  But I digress.

how now s

Should we be gifting our future to “the fast”?  Or should we be planting trees and saving the web of life that is our home?

Just asking.

Once again, the words for the haiku came from headlines in the newspaper section where the ad appeared.  Arrangement by me. Advertisement by Hewlett-Packard and the NY Times.  Stitched tree over ad by me.  And you can see my past Headline Haiku here:  https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/?s=headline+haiku

Endangered Species: The Sweater

4000 tigers 1s

I’ve spoken before about the show I saw at The Drawing Center with textiles as its theme (http://www.drawingcenter.org/en/drawingcenter/5/exhibitions/9/upcoming/806/thread-lines/).  It was interesting to me that a few of the artists used sweaters and sweater graphs in their work, but I was put off by the fact that they used sweaters that other people had designed, once again exploiting the creative work of those mostly anonymous and underpaid textile artists.

4000 tigers close up 3s

It occurred to me that I could exploit myself.  I’ve been re-purposing my unsold swatches from my own design work for pillows and dolls–why not make an artistic statement derived from their original purpose?  Over the 20+ years that I designed and made these miniature sweater fronts, I must have produced thousands of designs.  I have hundreds that were returned from my reps (because they didn’t sell) to choose from.

4000 tigers close up 2s

Animal skin as a motif is perennially popular; I decided to combine some of those patterned sweater designs with my concern about endangered species.   I embroidered in black and white duplicate stitch a statement–“there are less than 4000 wild tigers left in the world”–and a ghostly tiger face on top of the knit sweater front.

4000 tigers slant s

What do you think?

Unexpected Calligraphy

canvas back 3s

My grandmother always told me that the back of what you make with needle and thread should be as beautiful as the front.  Annerose Georgeson’s wonderful calligraphic paintings (https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/9502204/5809) reminded me that I meant to post the back of my cross-stitched graph because it surprised me with the interesting patterns that appeared.

canvas back 1s

I’m sure I could use this idea for something else…stitching over watercolor comes to mind.

canvas back close up s

…to be added to that ever longer list of ideas.

canvas back full s

You can see the front of this collaboration with the poet Tetiana Aleksina here:  https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/collaboration-a-canvas/