Saturday, July 24, 2010

me and my bright ideas

In the midst of packing, or at least thinking about packing, I kept looking over at the corner of the living room where the silk dyeing supplies live. There's a fair amount still in the manufacturer's sealed containers but there was a complication and that was the large number of little jars of colors I'd mixed myself.

The silk painting projects required a number of different shades that don't just arrive on the doorstep pre-blended and besides that, I also use diffusants and thickeners to control the flow while I paint. That means I had dozens of 2 oz. jars at least half filled with dye that just might not be very secure in containers traveling a long distance. I could almost hear the Canadian customs agents demanding that everything be opened because weird colored chemicals were leaking out of a couple of boxes. That's an ordeal I'd rather not experience.

My first thought was to paint a few more scarves to use up the dyes but next thing I knew I was mixing more colors to get the effects I wanted. Obviously, that wasn't going to solve the problem so I came up with another idea, which is the one I've been working on for a couple of weeks. You see, since I have a lot of small pieces of white silk - both heavy and light - I've been dyeing them using the jar colors. One week the yellows - gold, bronze, sand, yellow green etc. and the next week the reds - coral, copper, crimson, russet, vermilion just to name a few. Tomorrow I'll be dyeing blues and greens and once again I'll have a big area of the living room floor covered in drop cloths, newsprint, jars, water, rubber gloves, paper towels, brushes and plastic drying racks. Once again, I'll be hoping the landlord doesn't decide to bring a potential new tenant to see the place. I hate having to keep everything tidy just in case..

I let the etsy space fade away a couple of months ago; I'm just not very good at that sort of thing. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean I won't be working on some new projects. In fact, I have one or two in mind that will make good use of some very prettily colored pieces of silk. What do you think of little stuffed beings wearing silk and beaded costumes? Some may even have wings, or tails, or scales. I don't know what I'll get up to next in the crafty side of things but whatever I make you'll see them here first.

Maybe I'll re-up etsy or seriously consider a web page. Then again, if you come to Halifax you may find me sitting by a quayside with handmade treasures for sale. Nah.. likely not.


gfid said...

years ago, my daughter received a child's calligraphy set for christmas, with wedge-tipped felt pens. she made a number of things with it, but the one we still have, in a frame, says, "Creative minds are rarely tidy". it hung on the door to my study for years, where the fabrics and stained glass materials and watercolors, sheet music and instruments lived. Norman Rockwell, on the other hand, said he couldn't tolerate a messy work space. his studio was always immaculate, organized to the n'th degree, and his time very structured. i think a bit of creative turbulence is healthy, but i can't work in the chaos i frequently produce. you inspire me to get my house in order (literally and figuratively... the renovation chaos is mind boggling at present) that i may once again find productive places for my creative tools.

linda said...

i love the idea of little stuffed beings...not too practical for kids, etc., but wonderful idea....monsters are the newest things in "things" i think....well, they were....

don't look forward for you in this move ahead....hoping it goes very smoothly and as i was reading this, i was holding my breath dyes didn't leak all over the rug! xoxo

Spadoman said...

Thanks for telling us what you're thinking about, you know, thanks for sharing. Makes me feel like a real true friend, and you're just fillin' me in on what you've been up to. Tghinking out loud. Very cool indeed to feel this way about written words in a public forum. I'm not sure that was your intent, but that' is certainly the outcome at Spadoville.
Maybe it is because of the super kind words you shared over there. Whatever it is, thanks. It's great.
I really want to trade something at some point, I'll wait until after this move, even if it is a long time away, (but hope it's not).


Lisa said...

I love the way creativity can lead us from one thing to the next. You know, for a minute I misread the part about the little stuffed creatures and thought you were thinking of making silk outfits like the ones you've shown here and you would put them into silk bags for packaging. And then you wrote about them having wings, etc. I though "I would love a silk outfit with wings." and then I remembered that I'm not eight. Sigh.

I like the idea of stuffed creatures, too.

Nancy said...

I love the idea of little figures dressed in silks- especially with wings. Very whimsical.

Liberality said...

Your artwork is always so colorful, creative, silky--just beautiful. I treasure the little purse you created.

Randal Graves said...

Oh jeez, Canuck customs. Like terrorist implements are ever that colorful.

La Belette Rouge said...

A stuffed crow would be lovely. And crow would need a stuffed friend. If you need suggestions of other animals all you have to do is ask.;-) This is me whispering suggestions that only your subconscious can hear: Weasels; West Highland White Terriers.

susan said...

gfid - Now I understand why Norman Rockwell's art, although popular, always struck me as being formulaic and uninteresting. For most of my life I've always had pretty limited space for my projects, so even though chaos ensues when I work, I try to limit its scope and tidy up as soon as I can. On the other hand, when I'm working on a painting - watercolor or silk - I start with everything clear and then let entropy run its course. As you well know it's all part of the process :-)

linda - I wouldn't necessarily plan on making creatures for children but there are some I'd like to see in reality just for myself.

The move is moving along and we're mostly dealing with the bits day by day. I appreciate your concern and you're right, it's not easy. However, keeping dye off the carpets and furniture has become very easy (plastic drop cloths for containment and newspaper for absorbtion :-))

spadoman - You're right in noting I don't write about personal stuff all that much but that's mostly because my daily routines aren't particularly interesting. Usually I prefer writing about broader subjects. However, I have been planning to write about the places we've lived in out here - 5 in 17 years is rather a lot.

I promise you to be ready for a trade once we get to Canada with an emailed selection of choices. Does that sound okay?

lisa - Hah, I'd love to make silk outfits with wings (and tails) for us to wear but when I was 20 I promised myself to tone down the costumes once I got older :-). But I can still make weird little people and creatures in fancy dress if I like. I know you'll like them when you see them :-)

nancy - Yes, that's the idea. Whimsy is wonderful.

liberality - I'm so glad you like it.

randal - Canuck customs insist that everything be emblazoned with a maple leaf.

belette - A stuffed Crow and friends would be very lovely. I'll bear your subtle suggestions in mind :-)

marja-leena said...

Well, I'm just impressed that you'd have the energy to do any dyeing during packing! Certainly a good idea not to carry liquid dyes. A whole stash of dyed pieces ready for future projects when you arrive in your new home might inspire you to pick them up sooner than later. Selling them at the quay sounds good to me, too bad it's too far for me.

The Cunning Runt said...

You'll be on MY coast, so do indeed set up a stand!


susan said...

marja-leena - You know how it goes - I just can't waste art supplies and yes, I'm going to need a project to work on along with exploring a new place, relearning French and finding a food co-op and a Habitat project that needs help. Perhaps after all that I'll be happy to sit on the quay :-)

cr - Yes, I will be and I'll be on the lookout for you.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
Packing is quite a chore isn’t it and tends to open the memories. I enjoyed reading all your prior posts and viewing those exquisite 18thcentury dream homes- how you could you ever bear to tear them down and not want to restore them even at double the cost of alternatives buildings. I enjoyed your Crow story and all I can say is God helps those who help themselves.
Best wishes

Seraphine said...

i know you well enough to know if you make 'stuffed beings' out of silk, that they will be delightful and well received.
the sock monkey will suffer in comparison.

jams o donnell said...

Very nice Susan! A pleasant diversion from getting ready to move I bet!

Gary said...

I like your little people idea! And anything you do is lovely and etsy-ible.

Anna has been making and selling felt animals, hangings and figures and some are selling well locally (when she can bear to let them go).


susan said...

lindsay - Yes, packing is a chore but it's one our lifestyle up to this point has seen in abundance. We've lived in Portland 17 years and our current apartment is our fifth. Maybe one of these days I'll write that story.

I'm glad you enjoyed the other posts and your comments in both cases are very true.

sera - Poor misbegotten sock monkey :-)

jams - The larger part of getting ready to move is in the details. The rest is all about putting stuff in boxes and writing an inventory.

gary - Yes, I'm not quite sure what they'll be but I have some time to consider the idea. I'm glad to hear Anna is doing well with her felted animals - it's always hard letting any heart's work go :-)