Sunday, October 19, 2008

autumn equinox

Going outside or just plain looking out the window lately when it's time to get ready for work it's become pretty obvious winter is on the way. Christmas too. That means it's time to paint a couple of new scarves because I need a new one to wear and who knows who might need a present to brighten their life some very dark and cold day? The blue one here is the one just finished. I think I got bored half way through but it's okay. The words on the bottom say, 'Caution, slippery when wet'. I told you I got bored and that's what happens.

So I've decided to start another whose progress I'll post just in case anybody was curious about how one gets done. It's a 10' long piece of silk that's 18" wide pinned at the middle in a 22" x 24" stretcher frame. I've worked on really big stretchers but the problem with that is having to set the whole thing up on the floor with drop cloths. It's a killer for the back and knees.

I've mixed the silk dyes in the shades I liked and then added a thickener to stop the color running. You may notice the section is wet and I'm sitting here now waiting for it to dry before adding the next part. It's a slow process but I have time and with luck the result should be interesting.

I read an appropriate quote this weekend about the situation in general:
'Armageddon was yesterday. Today we have a problem.'

All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed for a grown-up result on November 5th. We need a governing body willing to help solve the problems. Maybe Michelle Obama would like a nice scarf to wear when she and Barack stroll down Pennsylvania Ave. to the Quickie Mart come January.


  1. Thank you for this lovely "beauty break" in our post-Armageddon lives. There are still plenty of problems to consider, but meanwhile I believe I'll start visualizing Michelle wearing that scarf on Penn. Ave.

  2. Very cool to give us a glimpse into the process.

    Armageddon was so fun, let's do it again!

  3. shit, you are ahead of me, beat me again. I must take precautions. No, not precautions - willful actions. Maybe I'll catch up one of these days!

  4. Very cool scarf-painting thingy ya got there Susan. Whenever I scarf, it's usually a sandwich or a burger and I usually end up with indigestion.

  5. That is really interesting, Susan. I love seeing the process you use. Do you practice the design on paper before you work on the silk?

    I think you're on to something. Send one to Michelle.

  6. i'm glad you showed (and described) a little how you make your scarves. i was curious about that. beautiful.

  7. be - With all you do in the real world I don't know how you find the time to visit but I'm very glad you do. Visualization is a powerful tool.

    randal - You mean Armadeddon II? Encore un fois! and this time with Reggae (happy music for me).

    zee - What do you mean? I was on my way over to check up on you in any case..

    spartacus - I usually end up with a sore back and dye in my hair if I don't remember the clips. Then I sit and do the other scarfing while visiting blog friends.

    dcup - Thanks for asking. I have some fabric pens whose ink disappears either when painted over or after 24 hours. I draw freehand on the silk for the scarves but the more decorative things like the cameo portraits are more complicated.

    sera - I kind of like doing some as mystery pieces. Last year I painted a couple this way starting at one end and pinning the roll as it dried. It was fun to see the whole thing for the first time when the last part had dried. It's nice leaving some room for detailing when the major part's finished.

  8. ... I was thinking that you are ahead of me creating things :)

  9. wow.... I never knew how that was done. Anda I loved the Armageddon quote.

  10. zee - It's not so much creativity as a lifelong addiction. If I'm not working on something then something's wrong.

    okjimm - It's not a working style that's taught anywhere. I liked the quote too.

  11. once i put rubber bands on a tee shirt and tie-dyed it. it came out ok. well, actually it was fairly ugly and i never did it again.
    i also tried painting tops and then using an iron to 'set' the paint, but i scorched the fabric each time.
    so seriously, i have no skills at fabrics. i wouldn't even attempt silk. it's interesting that you use thickener to keep the colors from running. even so, you have *much* more patience than i.

  12. sera - I didn't like tie-dye either - too much wrapping with string as you put them through multiple dye baths. By the time one was done you needed a degree in engineering to get the string off.

    I like having some control over the silk dying process and drawing with glue didn't suit me either. I learned Japanese kimonos were often painted and, remembering a couple I used to own, I devised the emulsion thing as a way of screening without screens. It may be time consuming but what else is time for?

  13. Hi Susan
    We need to be reminded of the value of personal effort and how much it enriches our lives, such as hand making such a beautiful scarf or in making personal gifts for others.

    It now seems assured your winters cold winds will soon bring with them a breath of fresh air for a far more hopeful political situation.

    Who would have thought such an outcome was possible only a few years ago.!!

    Even so one should not hope for too much too soon, it will be a hard grind ahead for Obama but hopefully the beginning of a more sustainable period.

    I was surprised to read that Wall Street bonuses have not abated this year and in some cases exceed the reduced total worth of those enterprises.

    Theoretically those bonuses would allow the recipient executives to collectively buy the company, but it seems they did not take up the option!!

    It seems to me they are still all singing from the same hymn book; entitled “greed”.

    It reminds me of my time of employment with one of the largest service organizations in Australia. My Friday afternoon task was to consolidate and understand the estimated/actual weekly results; expected to be within 1% accuracy of my more detailed monthly board reports.
    If I didnt achieve that accuracey I would be asked if I knew what I was doing!!

    No chance of paying bonuses based upon bad information.

    During one rough period during the early nineties our executive salaries were all frozen for several years; the idea was: don’t take an increase in salary as it will help save a job for your mate and the company. As employees and shareholders how different was the reaction then in comparison to the greed of some today.

    Best wishes

  14. A walk to the Penn Ave Quickie Mart? I do like the sound of that. And the scarf would show excellent taste.

  15. You should totally send one to Michelle Obama---look what happened with that dress she wore on "The View" store could keep it in stock!

  16. Lol, love that quote. Nice to see how you make those.

    I am sure Obama will win. In some ways it makes me happy but i am not too happy with his plans for the money we are sending in through taxes. If the plans i have heard come to fruition we are going to end up with a national dept increase far larger than the bush admin has been able to saddle us with in their years. It should be interesting to see where the dept stands in four years. And this time there can be no finger pointing at anyone other than the democratic party as they will have complete control of the congress, senate, and presidency. They had better behave themselves or they will lose what they have gained the very next election. That is what has me worried.

  17. You can't have Armageddon with reggae, it's gotta be loud guitars!

    Now I'm going to take spartacus' implied suggestion and go scarf something down.

  18. lindsay - It's always nice to hear your reactions. Whatever I do is only a small reflection of what people have always done throughout history. As a race we're good with our hands. We solve problems and innovate as required. We're capable of long term planning and passing on our skills through the generations. We sing, dance, play games and tell stories both fictional and true in hopes the lessons of our lives might help another on the journey. It's not about how much we acquire or the lengths of our lives but that we continue to grow.. and you know what I mean by that.

    This morning I read about the amounts of money the bankers and brokers have taken from the bailout as personal compensation. It's as if someone came to a village and took away all the food to feed some imaginary friends. It's hard to believe, isn't it?

  19. ben - I loved the image.

    cdp - Good idea but if I did send it she'd be unlikely to ever see it. More likely I'll send it to a friend :-)

    avshar - I think he'll win the popular vote too but as you've mentioned before both parties have been adding to the problems for a long time. One man in one term (or even two) won't fix it all. It's an unreasonable expectation.

    randal - Okay, I agree but can it at least be Jeff Beck as well as Metallica?

  20. wow! now i want to try painting silk. i have a gig this eveing, at which i'm wearing your beautiful scarf while playing my harp. will try to get someone to take a decent picture for you.

    yesterday one of the foremen @ the evil oil company where i work needed some names on some training diplomas. i took 'em home over an extended lunch break and did 'em up in caligraphy. now i'm an office celebrity... been a long time since i dipped pen in ink.... i used to do a lot of it, with illuminated captials, etc..... had plans for a book of quotes once upon a time. i'm missing that side of my self terribly.

  21. gfid - I am looking forward to that picture and I'm glad you feel inspired to try it yourself. Perhaps I should mention that painting yours was a lot more involved than the one I'm working on now but if you can do calligraphy you could do this. Let me know if you need any tips.