Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Porch Garden Update II (July 27, 2010)

It's amazing. The garden just looks more enormous every week. The lettuce is now HUGE, and the zucchini have started flowering. I recently got some fragrant flowering plants (dianthus and heliotrope) to try and attract some bees to the second-floor garden. I took some photos when I went to check on the garden at 5am the other day. It was beautiful.

zucchini flower;

radish flower (I let them bolt because they didn't have the space to properly produce, and anyways the flowers are a pretty color!);

adorable mini lightbulb tomatoes;
and so much lettuce!!

Today I also noticed that the one strawberry still tagging along on the strawberry plants I got from my friends in Warwick has turned pink!

It's so adorable.

Singed Fabric Flowers

I've seen many tutorials on making fabric flowers, and the multicolored creations I saw at Sew What recently inspired me to start making them myself. I found some remnants that were being thrown out and decided to experiment with them.

The technique I followed involved cutting circles from fabric and singing the edges (I used a candle) to make them curl and also seal the plastic fabric from fraying. Since I was using white fabric, at first I tried very hard to keep the fabric from taking on color from the candle smoke. However, that method doesn't allow the fabric to curl very much, and I discovered that if I dyed the fabric a little with tea (plastic materials don't really take up tea particularly well, but it was enough to make some difference) the slightly charred edges actually provided a nice contrast and a more organic look. Today I wore a necklace with a flower pendant;

 I also wore floral hairpins yesterday on a trip to the beach.

The "leaves" are small snips of leather remnants that I received from a handbag designer I met at Somerville Open Studios. Her bags are really amazing, and it was an incredibly thoughtful gift! I've been using the scraps to make cuffs in all colors, and will post when I've worked out some of the ideas I have for them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crocheted Lace Bracelet

I have been experimenting with freeform crocheting with embroidery floss and found an application that I enjoy. It's lacy but not overly so, and the colors are very spring.

I started by doing random and open crochet stitches in an approximately rectangular shape. I pinned the piece to an ironing board so it would settle into a rectangle and ironed over it several times to hold the shape.

Then I laced a piece of nylon ribbon through it. I originally intended the ribbon to be a base to tack the crochet to, but I discovered that the bracelet was easier to tie and had more dimension if I gathered the crochet a little and used the ribbon ends as a tie. I singed the knotted ends in a candle to make sure they don't unravel (that's always so annoying...)

In the end, it's a lot of steps but not a particularly difficult project, and I like the effect and the fact that each one will be unique.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Porch Garden Update

It's funny to look at photos from when I first started my garden. By now there are plants all around the railings, and some more closer by the house. Everything has sprouted, and the tomato plants have tiny tomatoes already. The zucchini and the radishes are flourishing, and I could probably make a little salad from the lettuce and beet greens. Since the photos for this panorama were taken I repotted my watermelon seedlings, and I hope they'll start growing more. They seem to be super slow.

Click on the panorama to enlarge. It's hard to see all of it on the page.

ArtBeat in Davis Square

This coming weekend, July 16th and 17th (Friday and Saturday) is ArtBeat, a big yearly music and art festival in Davis Square, Somerville. I will be showing new art and jewelry at the Burren (247 Elm Street) on Saturday the 17th from 12-6 and hope to see lots of people there. For those of you that haven't been to SLAM before, the craft fair is in the back room of the Burren, so it should be nice and cool (as opposed to all the outdoor stalls!). As always, they have $5 lunch specials during the show, which is yet another reason to come by and check it out.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Colored Maps

I've been experimenting with making entirely colored map drawings. I did a large one using blue and green acrylic paint and the effect worked really well. It also sold really quickly when I showed it at Somerville Open Studios.

I've tried it again, this time using colored pens as well. I like that it makes each element stand out a little more. It's less purely graphic than the other maps, but with the slightly more realistic approach that I'm using these days, I think it helps to make the maps more interesting.

During the last fair in Union Square I talked with a silkscreened clothing vendor who had a stall near me at SOS as well. He said that he had remembered my maps from that show, but he thought they were just drawings over antique maps, not completely new cartography. I thought that was kind of interesting. I'm not really looking to replicate any place too closely because I think it would be more interesting for people to be able to invent a place when looking at them, but it's good that they are recognizable.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Embroidered Maps

I have been trying different ways to incorporate maps into textile pieces. I tried embroidering a map freehand last week. It was difficult to create order without the blocks of water to separate everything, but it was a different way to work. I found myself referring to it while drawing a paper map, so I suppose the exercise was good for something. It's hard to get the same kind of precise, architectural lines that I like in paper maps. The fabric I was using was just too thin to support backstitching, so I used more of a dashed line, sort of like a treasure map.

After I finished the map, I framed it in a basic clip frame that I had left over from SOS. I hadn't bothered to iron it, so the fabric bunched up inside, but I think I like the effect. There isn't much to suggest topological features in my drawn maps.