Friday, July 31, 2015

For the Love of Stones

Bathroom medicine chest installation: found stones

In this world there are those who love stones. Not special stones, not scientifically significant stones, not valuable stones ... just stones. They pick them up, they put them in their pockets, they have stones all over their house. I am one of those people. 

When plumbers arrived to tear out my bathroom walls, it presented an opportunity to resort some of my stones into new configurations while leaving others solidly in place. Here are the results.

New wall arrangement

Vintage, rusted scale; found stones; "pillow rock," once a San Francisco cobblestone, used for ship's ballast after the big 'quake and washed up on shore

Framed stone A

Close-up: found, rusted metal; stone; steel wire

Framed Stone B

Close-up: found, broken transistor; stone; knitted steel

Unframed hanging stone: found scrap metal, knitted steel, stone

Close-up of stone and knitted steel

Medicine cabinet installation: Stones on the Move and Bottled Emotions

Close-up: Bottled Emotions

Window arrangement: Pillow rocks, knitted steel, found stones, old branches and air plants.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stitched Selfies: Jersey Shore

A trio of hopeful optimists posting at the shore

This is the next-to-last piece in the Stitched Selfies series, executed in the tradition of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and the millions of people with iPhones and time to kill who find the capture and contemplation of their own image more fascinating than anything else the world has on offer.

Click to enlarge

The image is from a snapshot taken at Ship Ahoy beach club in Seabright, New Jersey. At left, cousin Peggy; at right, my annoyingly adorable little sister Susy acting out "I'm a little teapot"; and at center, myself, in a bathing suit I wish I still owned. Materials: photo transfer, cotton, embroidery, vintage Jersey Shore lifeguard patch.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Playing with Corn Husk Creations

Corn husk flower

In the past I've made corn husk dolls, a relatively easy craft. Look for a how-to sometime near the New Year because for me, making, drying and then burning corn husk dolls is an end-of-the-year ritual.

This time around I decided to noodle around with corn husks and see what else could be done. If you've never worked with corn husks before, head for your nearest Mexican grocery store, buy a bundle of dried corn husks, and separate a bunch of them to soak in cold water in a large pot for a couple of hours. This makes them soft, pliable, and easy to work with. Once you've finished your creation let it dry and the husks once again become rigid and fixed in whatever shape you've created.

Corn husks: a very cheap craft supply

You can also dye the husks using a natural dye of your choice, from onion skins and beets to red cabbage, turmeric, or blueberries. This time around I experimented with pure cranberry juice, letting the husks soak overnight, and got the lovely rose shade you see here. Rinse the dyed husk thoroughly before using to get rid of the juice; the dyed color remains.

Corn husk necklace

My initial goal was to experiment with corn husk jewelry and I came up with this creation, comprised of cranberry-dyed corn husk disks and a couple of woven corn husk spheres, strung onto thin string. When wet, corn husks are easy to sew, which opens up lots of other future possibilities.

Corn husk necklace close-up

Because I couldn't stop there, I experimented with making a couple of miniature boxes, using a smaller version the recycled cereal box pattern I've posted previously, and an alternate pattern I found on the Web.

Corn husk boxes: natural and cranberry-dyed

Corn husk boxes

Finally, with a few remaining husks, I made a couple of corn husk flowers. These were assembled and then stitched together to secure the petals.

Corn husk flower

Corn husk flower

Expect more corn husk experiments in future months. I will be experimenting with more natural dyes, with stitching, and with corn husk flower brooches.

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