Archive for March, 2008

Book loving Noah

My three-year-old grandson reading books at our home.

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Having finished editing and commenting on my granddaughter’s third novel manuscript and sent that off to her, I am finally ready to return to stitching. However, my first project is a gift that I can’t show here in progress. Instead, I’ll show you a little goldwork study I did in 2002.

I wanted to use a bird image for the design. Since my husband is a birdwatcher, he has a large library of bird books. Searching through them, I found a small drawing of a tree sparrow that I thought would work well. I scanned and enlarged the picture.


Then I played around with some simplified thumbnails for design ideas, and chose two that I thought were the most interesting and promising. For each of these designs, I developed a stitching plan.


I almost always have a practice or trial cloth for each of my projects on which I try out different stitches and different threads and practice unfamiliar techniques. Here’s the practice cloth for this study. I tried out a number of different ideas.


Having done my experimenting, I was ready to settle on the final stitching plan. I think you can see my notes.


Here are some of the gold metal threads I used in this plan.


And the stitched study–Tree Sparrow. On heavy silk. Click on the image to see it enlarged at Flickr. I still enjoy working with metal threads, but I’m mainly interested in using them as part of contemporary embroidery rather than in the traditional ways.

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Buying gas disinformation

Oh dear. It seems I have been guilty of spreading one of the urban myths that travel around cyberspace. For the corrected information, go here. Sorry about that.

My thanks to Sue Krekorian in the U.K. for putting me straight.

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Those of you who have read my Blake essay will appreciate this talk by a neuroanatomist who experienced Oneness as a result of a stroke. She describes what was going on in her mind as the brain hemorrhage occurred and she accessed the right brain. She discovered that she could consciously go to the right brain through meditation practice and experience the same bliss. Her talk is only a few minutes long and there is a transcription you can read if you prefer. Well worthwhile.

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Sand mandala

Oh my friends, go here to see photographs of the work in progress of the creation of an incredibly beautiful and complex Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala. One of the things I love about Tibetan Buddhism is the colorfulness–pure, vivid, primary colors in complex designs. There are so many parallels between Blake and Tibetan Buddhism. I could only allude to them in my Blake essay. In this mandala, I see many comparisons with Blake.

Go take a look. And textile artists, see how similar painting with sand is to painting with stitches.

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Blake memorial

David Whitmarsh-Knight, a Blake scholar who has written two books on Blake’s epic poems, sent me an e-mail about my Blake essay in which he mentioned a video on YouTube of the 250th Blake anniversary service held last year at his gravesite, which had just been verified. You can see the video.

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At last, I have finished my essay explaining why William Blake is important to me. I wrote it for my grandson after I sent him my college papers on Blake, but it is just as much written for me. I wanted to articulate for myself what Blake means to me but I sure didn’t intend or expect to spend five months doing it! It’s been well worth it. I got so much out of it, including a great deal of pleasure, as I spent hours pouring over Blake’s art.

Blake’s painting, above, of the Angel of Revelation, shows Blake seated between the angel’s feet, recording his vision of the apocalypse.

If you like, you can read the essay, and even if you’re not interested in Blake, you may enjoy seeing the pictures. why-blake-is-important-to-me_0001.pdf

Before I can go back to stitching, however, I’m going to read granddaughter Michelle’s 163-page manuscript of a novel. She’s 18, a freshman in college, and this is her third novel. But while I’m doing that, I may also show you some previous needleart in a day or so.

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