Wednesday, March 31, 2010
My left hand's been acting up again and I noticed last night my wrist was swollen. I switched the mouse to my right and it's improving. Not much stitching over the weekend and none at all this week.
I'm still walking mornings. The lawn with blue fabric fragments has been raked and the fragments gone--mostly. Before the raking, I began to find strips of the blue fabric all up and down the street. Even now, I'll see one or two fragments on my walk. I'm assuming the local creatures grabbed them up for nesting and dropped some along the way. I have my own little nest of collected bits of blue strip and thoughts of embroidery.
Monday, March 29, 2010
© Original Design by KAREN L. PLATER
In Japan , the symbolism of the Koi fish represents perseverance in adversity, determination, and strength of purpose. It is usually considered a symbol of masculine strength, though it can be applied to women as well.
Try your hand at a variety of traditional Japanese Embroidery techniques in silks and metal threads while creating this playful and symbolic design.
Class: SAT – MAY 22 and SUN – MAY 23, 2010
Place: Hyde Park – Chicago , IL
Proficiency Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Design Size: 6” circle
Cost: Complete kit - $100 + Teaching fee - $50
Registration: $75 deposit
Deposit Due: May 1, 2010
Contact: Ruth Bloom - firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Teacher:
Karen L. Plater has mastered all ten Phases for certification as a teacher (sensei) of Traditional Japanese Embroidery and has been teaching for 6 years.
In 2006 she completed a two-year teaching apprenticeship at the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta where she continues to teach. Karen also has monthly classes in her Florida home studio and is now expanding her teaching locations to include Chicago , IL . She continues to travel to Japan for study with professional embroiderers and recently taught an original design at a retreat in Maine .
Her work has been on exhibit in Japan , the United Kingdom and the United States . In October, 2008 she hosted a one-woman show of her embroideries at the University Club of Winter Park, FL.
“ It is only through achieving a combination of technique and design skills while expressing a personal sensitivity that one is able to pursue the beautiful art of Nuido or the “way” of embroidery.”
Class: SAT – MAY 22 and SUN – MAY 23, 2010
Class time 9:30A to 3:30P. (Classroom will be open at 9:00A for set-up). Lunch 12N - Bring a lunch. Please be prompt and plan to stay for the entire class.
Place: Hyde Park – Chicago, IL
The location of class is Regents Park Apartments 5020 S. Lake Shore Drive (enter via East End Ave.). Please tell the concierge that you are visiting Karen Plater in “corporate” apartment 316N.
Design Size: 6” circle
Kit Fee/Contents: $100; traditional small Japanese frame, obi silk with design and special dyes applied, all flat silks and metallic threads required to complete the design, special tools (tekoburi, koma, assorted needles) and instruction booklet with color image.
Teaching Fee: $ 50
Supplies to bring to class: Please bring your regular stitching supplies plus - notepaper and colored pencils, small ruler in millimeters. Should you feel the need for a magnifier or project light, bring your own.
Registration and Deposit Due: $75 - May 1, 2010
Fill out registration form, then make check payable to KAREN L. PLATER
Get all information and check to Ruth Bloom
Contact: Ruth Bloom ( Chicago-Hyde Park contact)
4940 S. East End Ave.-Apt 18B
Chicago , IL 60615
HOME 773-752-2420 WORK 773-702-3628
Teacher: KAREN L. PLATER
Class: SAT – MAY 22 and SUN – MAY 23, 2010
STATE: _______________________ ZIP: ______________
MAKE $75 DEPOSIT OUT TO: KAREN L. PLATER
MAIL DEPOSIT TO: Ruth Bloom – LOVING KOI CLASS
4940 S. East End Ave. –Apt 18B
Chicago, IL 60615
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I also took time to compare the DMC Brilliant Cutwork and Embroidery thread #16 with Floche. They look the same, really, except the floche is thinner. It's about half the diameter. While I was at it, I checked and #12 of the Brilliant Cutwork thread is about double the diameter of #16. But the sheen, twist and look of the threads are very similar.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I've begun pulling books from the shelf--which means they're among my oldest books. Most never found shelf space. A few I'm passing on to my sister or sister-in-law. Others I've decided to keep. I reread this short book last weekend. I find it an enjoyable and interesting journey. I think the lesson I get is that I need to pay attention to that little inner voice.
I'm still reading this book. It's denser than I'd remembered. I don't think I actually read it before, just browsed it off and on. The focus is most definitely on ethnic textiles done by traditional peoples. I previously mentioned it here.After the country-by-country stylistic/materials survey, the author discusses symbols used in the embroideries. First by type (protection, sun) and then by religion to explain the types of symbols found on ethnic embroideries and how they evolve and abstract over time and distance.This kantha was used for weddings. Isn't it amazing? It just blows me away.Looking back at my books, I realized that I got into embroidery pretty much by way of sewing and clothing. Much of what I did early on was clothing for me and for friends. Some of my early projects included embroidery on the garment.
This is one of the first books I got. It's not large but for a long time it was the classic on ethnic clothing. (sorry for the glare, I took these before the sun came out this week.)I followed Cut My Cote with Five and Plus Five by Yvonne Porcella. She became quite an influence on my aesthetic. I always thought of her as fearless--she was doing what I wanted to be doing. Five is a book how to make five basic ethnic tops that are perfect for embellishment. Plus Five contains five "over-tops" (coats) to go over the first five. Or they can stand on their own. Also perfect for embellishment. The books are short and to the point--get the fabric and get going.She followed these two books with the following two that use the same patterns. These guide the wary into how to use the ethnic patterns--they're full of ideas about what you can do with the basic patterns. Pieced Clothing and Pieced Clothing Variations.
My problem with them has always been that these patterns are simple and striking and very versatile but they are just not made for short and wide body types. The drape wrong, they pull, they aren't flattering. And quilted clothing can be a disaster unless done really, really carefully. So, I looked (and observed and learned) and made some for friends, but never made any of this clothing for myself. I did use some of the ideas in other projects. I have a couple more of her more recent books, too. This is another of my early books that really influenced me. It features costume from the Middle and Far East from the American Museum of Natural History's collections. The book has both photographs--and by the time this was produced, more color was being used--and line drawings. I have a lot more on ethnic and other clothing, fashion, sewing, and the like. These are just my oldest that I pulled down to enjoy once again. (these are all keepers)
The clothing of an area is inextricable from the lives and work of the people wearing it, the climate, the economy, the society. Just this one small study can teach you a lot about everything about a society. Plus, it's way cool to look at.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
My friend Jenny's article, "Lewis Carroll's Shifting Reputation," has been published in the Smithsonian Magazine. It's up on their website. I really enjoyed reading it.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The neighbor with the rocks, from yesterday's post, has a plant that's intrigued me all winter. It was lush and green, of course, all summer, with big, striking leaves, but I find it far more interesting now. It's circular form, tangled stems and striped leaves remind me very much of the work of Dale Chihuly. First I find an interesting section and crop it. Here I like the juxtaposition of the smooth, solid colored maple leaf peeping out from under the curling, shaded leaves.The difference here is kind of subtle and easier to see with the two images enlarged and side by side. The striations in the leaves are a little more emphasized here and the color flattened a bit. This one is just an inversion in Photoshop of the previous image. Even if I don't like the colors, I find that inversions help me see the design lines and not just the image. It's easy to get lost in an image and lose the overall composition. Most everything I do in Photoshop is done in the Image>Adjustments menu options. If I don't like a change, control-alt-z will return the image to the previous step.
This, I think, is my favorite. It has all the aspects I like but with a more subtle color palette. I really am intrigued by the stripes on the leaves. I played with Photoshop layers to subdue the remaining bright turquoise at the bottom.
(Alena: please send me your address, too--I'll find a consolation prize for you.)
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, the new giveaway will be this Celtic Knot. It's from a Welsh company, not Irish, but the spirit is right. (I actually bought it in Wales!) If you are a fan of Celtic design and like counted cross stitch, you may enjoy this project.Please make a comment to this post before the end of March if you want to be included in the draw (random.org) for this kit. I will send it anywhere in the world. I will draw the winner on Thursday, April 1st.
I do ask that you include some way for me to contact you directly. If your blog profile includes your e-mail address, direct me there--that'll work. If not, please e-mail me directly or include a spelled out or otherwise uncopyable address in your comment and I'll use that. I cannot go looking for you and if I can't reach you easily, I'm going to have to skip you and I really, really hate doing that.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
They've wintered interestingly--the centers of the fabric have darkened but the frayed edges are pale (which does not show in this picture). Some bits have soaked in mud. I gave them a bit of a rinse and laid them out to dry. They make me think very much of Jude at Spirit Cloth. Blue fragments.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
This has been one of those weeks at work. I begin the day with a list of things that need to be done and never even get to start on it. I spend the day fielding all the stuff coming at me. So, I'm not stitching in the evenings but crashing--and reading.This is my current book I'm reading. It begins with a survey in photos and words of the general types and styles of embroidery around the world. An Identification Guide. I'm still in that section and haven't read beyond. It's necessarily survey-like, broad but not deep, but still interesting. There's a photo of a kantha with stars on it that has my fingers twitching. My attempt at a photo didn't come out at all (glare on an almost all white picture).This is my current book to browse when I don't want to read. I find it very inspiring. It's another book I got used, from a friend, not all that long ago. A product of the 70s, it's mostly black and white, which is a shame. It would be wonderful in color but I've noticed most books from before the 90s had very small color sections.While I didn't own it until a few years ago, I had read this book back when it was new. In the upper center of the photo above is a design with sliced shells and vertical stitches that has always stuck with me. The book focuses on embroidery for clothing and covers design, materials, and techniques.
The textures here are marvelous. I've been tempted to print this and color it in.Some of the text on designing is here. You can see how the author evolves a motif from the frieze on the upper left to the blouse on the right.
I wonder if others are as stylistically at home in the styles of their youth as I am with 70s?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
She had the altar cloth they wanted the design on. Right now I'm just doing the outline. After the committee reviews it they will decide whether they want the interior embroidery done, too.
I made a pattern from folded paper and used a dressmaker's chalk to trace the outline. As it brushes off, I just go over it again. The fabric of the altar cloth is a polyester and rayon blend. I saw that and kind of winced but it's actually a good fabric for this. Slightly sheer but with good body. It shakes out hoop marks. And, most important for me, when I unstitch it's invisible.
I'm also using trailing. The cord is two strands of DMC perle 8. The overstitching is done with DMC Brilliant Cutwork thread #16. My outline is much stronger than that of the model. I did that because they wanted it plain, with no seeding, so it has to stand out. Also, this is a much larger piece of cloth--a very fine cross would be lost. I hope they like it.
I forgot how very hard it is to keep the thread exactly where I want it on the design line. Otherwise it's going along okay. I have to be careful about beginning and ending--anything off of the design line will show through.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Mostly life is boring right now. There are signs of spring. Work is busier than ever. But I do have one fun project in the works. More on that tomorrow.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I'm back stitching, some. First Thursday mornings is the Japanese Embroidery class at the Hyde Park Art Center. I lost a piece of my frame stand (I left it at the art center and didn't notice for a month, so it's gone!) and haven't gotten a replacement, so I worked on my Oriental needlepoint (shown here, the design with the black background). We had two other needlepointers, a knitter and four people working on Japanese Embroidery. Ruth gave a great lesson on pasting up a finished design. I'm working on the or nue leaves in the needlepoint design. They're tedious (but the effect is worth it). I completed two leaves this morning. I'm still taking my morning walks. It's easier now that the walkways are mostly clear. I have some rules now. (My husband will tell you I always have rules!) I get up, dressed and head out--no sketchbook or camera and no glasses--Just me. I can see okay and the no-glasses made sense on snowy days but now I kind of like the just-out-of-focus view. Down the street to the corner, cross, up to the other corner, cross and back home. We're on a small hill, so it is up and down. I have to watch my step, too--we're an old neighborhood with lots of trees. Big trees that have heaved up the sidewalk here and there.
Last weekend I completed my walk, went in and grabbed the camera and went out a bit. I'm learning a lot about the many textures of snow. (This morning it was crystalline with the nappy texture of suede.) I had watched this leaf gradually melt into the snow over the course of a week. It's gone now--this was an unshoveled part of the sidewalk and foot traffic has erased all sign of the leaf.
These are the bushes in front of our house. The snow was icy around the edges and sparkly. It didn't photograph too well, but the photo acts as a memory aid to me.
I'm finding I'm about 50/50 observant of things around me and looking-inward contemplative. I don't have any goals (or rules) about that. I am amazed each morning by how loud the nearby expressway is! Yikes! I never really noticed before.