Monday, January 22, 2018

A week in England

I have just spent a week in England, visiting with Chrisse Seager. I had been co-reps with her when I was still a regional rep for SAQA, and when we parted working together she had invited me to come and stay with her to play in her dyeing studio. This past week was perfect as my son was on skiing week with his school, and my German students are doing a two-week-practicum, so I took the chance.
It was a very nice week. We concentrated on breakdown printing which turned into a steep learning curve for me. I had only ever done one single breakdown screen with Ali George in Australia, so trying this to a deeper extent was an interesting experience. I love the process, I like the results I got - mostly - but I have to admit that I think most of them are hard to use. Not all screens broke down successfully, either, I probably put too much thickened dye paste onto them, or did not push the mark makers in deeply enough. It was partly flow, and ‘oh, I love this’, and partly ‘so why is this not working …?’

Especially last night the screens I was trying were giving me a hard time. They had been finished for two days, perhaps they were too dry already. Or the problems I mentioned above... In any case, I had a good week and hope to take some textile inspiration back home.

A bit of touristy stuff came with it, apart from many good and long talks with Chrisse who has become a good friend. I took a long walk along the canal that her house is situated on, admiring the locks and the location of this little house which is now a café, seemingly at the end of the world.

And we went to Stonehenge. The pictures are misleading - it was full of people, but the way they lead the paths around it, keeping the masses out from between the stones, you do get a chance to take a picture with nobody in it. This was a good weather day, too. 

Stonehenge was awe-inspiring. The size of the rocks, the admiration of the technical effort that must have gone into putting them up on top of each other - and the wondering about what it all meant, even if I wasn't willing to pay £6  to get at least some of the explanation for that on audio. (I think an entrance fee of £19.50 is quite enough to justify the dispension of audio guides included. I know that maintenance and preservation of this or any such place cost a lot of money, and I understand that an organization like National Heritage must make ends meet, but I thought that was a bit on the impertinent side of rip-off!)

It rained heavily for the last two days I was there, which put an end to plans for bike rides or other walks, but did not lower our spirits.

Now I am back in Germany - a bit tired after a lengthy trip home from the airport because my family could not pick me up - and wonder how the coming week will turn out which has many issues up ahead again. One issue already should have happened today but did not, as a court hearing of one of my Senegalese students who is being put to court for 'illegal presence in the country' was postponed because the interpretor did not show up. Which might increase the cost for the defendant because the lawyer will charge an additional trip to the court room... Things like that make me mad.

I do hope that stitching will be a constant in my every days again, more so that it has been lately...

Monday, January 8, 2018

A scrap a day - new daily art project for 2018

Last year I did not really follow through with a daily art project. Plans for starting a daily drawing project fell through, I did not keep it up, and I did not do daily photography either. This year I hadn't thought about it well in advance of the beginning of the year, in fact, I did not even start thinking about it until the day we came back from our vacation.
I wanted something simple, something textile, not something that would include such a big obstacle as getting myself over my hesitations that I can' t draw anyway...

I have been collecting pieces of thread that occur when changing threads on the longarm.

I have a heap of pieces of linen that have awkward shapes, which I got from a weaving place in the Bavarian Forest, where they produce table cloths from their handwoven linen.

I also have lots of scraps, and embroidery thread in the same color.

So I decided to combine these ingredients. The project is called 'A Scrap a Day'. Every day I will take one of my (mostly yellow) scraps and attach that to the linen. Either by hand stitching, or by machine.
It will remain to be seen what lasts the longest - the year, the scraps, the thread, the linen... (probably the threads). In any case - I started yesterday.

The first scrap attached.

No rules regarding the stitches used, the size or the shape of the scraps.
Perhaps a bit of 'in the vicinity of the previously attached scrap', but even that I am not sure about.
This is the first two scraps:

I am looking forward to it. Just hope I don't usually leave it to the last couple of hours of the day...

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On vacation

We're on vacation, and I had planned to write a post. But internet is slow here, and I have decided that I won't spend a long time waiting for the computer to upload images while we're here...

Happy New Year to everybody - the picture is from a night-time walk on the moors with the first full moon of the year, on January 1.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas.

When I was trying to post a Merry Christmas greeting yesterday afternoon our internet connection wasn't working with any kind of noticeable speed, so I gave up and didn't get back to it in the evening...

So here it comes:
Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wise Trees

My current tree project is less involved than the former projects that I have done, DailyOak or my visits to the linden tree on the outskirts of town.
The linden tree has been severely reduced because of some fungus that is making it instable. But it wasn’t taken down completely, only looks rather ruffled now. About half a year ago a substitute linden tree was planted on the opposite side of the path. 

It will only take about 300 or more years to grow to a similar size as the original one. Only in the midst of this process, the cutting back of the old tree and then the planting of the new one did I realize that it had a name - they call it the Donatus Linde. 

But I still have a tree project, whenever I go to fetch milk at the nearby organic farm I take pictures of the large willow on their grounds. Willows grow much faster than linden trees of oak trees, so this one is probably by far not as old as either of the other trees I have been following.

But my affiliation with old trees continues, and when I see a link like this one I get very tempted.

So when I went to Fraueninsel in Chiemsee this weekend, I had to stop by the old linden trees there as well. 

Perhaps 1200 years old - Thassilo Linde on Fraueninsel in Chiemsee

It makes me sad that these trees have to be protected from too many people walking around them and thus condensing the soil, deprieving the trees of necessary air and nutrition. But of course, if I were let to do it, I would go closer, too.


 There is a special fascination in old trees. Just wish we had more of them still around.