Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer of "REST" Or How I Spent My Summer "Vacation"

I haven't posted in a really long while, all summer really.  I do have a good excuse.... I have had back problems all summer and spent five weeks of my summer in bed.  Crawling from the bed to the bath is really a bummer, but it certainly beats getting carried, or rather dragged there.  I herniated a disc this summer in addition to some problems with my iliac joint, so I spent five weeks of my life in bed and crawling.  Looking on the bright side, I did get a lot of knitting done.  I started a coat last fall and had only gotten the front done.  I am now 2/3 of the way up the back, I got to watch almost every World Cup game, I learned to stitch on my back in between reading books, that is when I was concious and not swooning from narcotics.  (Nasty stuff that I don't recommend at all, doesn't agree well with the digestive system, don't ask).  Here is my Alabama Chanin shirt that I stitched while lying in bed.

In between my bouts in bed (I had three separate bed ridden periods (one iliac joint displacement and two herniated discs), I attended an art composition class.  I did sneak some fiber arts into the class, but the first main project was a pen and ink portrait that used the idea of value.  We had to scribble symbols to make different values to give the portrait depth.  I decided to make a portrait of my nine year old son.  Instead of symbols I used words that had meaning for him in his life.  Here are the results of that exercise. 

Our final project in the class was to make a "book" of the Jack and Jill rhyme:

Jack and Jill
Went up a hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

Each line was to be represented by an illustration which had to be at least 8"x11" and we had to have at least 6 images, but could have more.  Students came in with all kinds of projects.  One was a wood sculpture, another were 6 pots with plants in them, another was a power point presentation of water problems in Africa, two were anime boards of a cartoon Jack and Jill.  In the end I chose two dandelions to represent Jack and Jill and made a quilt showing the life cycle of the dandelions. 

The class was a fun learning experience that I am glad that I took part in.  The quilt is now hanging in my studio.  Now I need to get to work on my other projects.

I did do a little experiment during this summer.  I am thinking of doing a large scale color field.  I have so many scraps laying around.  I had seen the work of the artist Barbara Winoski on Lotta Helleberg's site that I thought looked interesting.  I decided to use the scraps I had laying around to see what happened.  Here is my little journal scrap quilt.

I want to try something on a large scale to see what happens, but I want to dye the scraps that I have, or rather overdye them to shades of blue and grey. 

I guess the last project that I did, which I have been trying to do for some time was to make some big chair napkins.  Having two young children, our chairs in our kitchen take a beating.  White upholstered chairs are so beautiful when you are young and single.  My husband had these chairs, but after a few years of kids sitting in them they became really disgusting.  I recovered them, but the fabric didn't stay clean but a couple of months.  I had the idea to make washable covers that I could use everyday and just take off for entertaining but never got around to making them.  I finally did, and here are the results.  I made them our of scraps of organic cotton that I had left from covering a sofa.  I then took and sewed a double layer so we could use either side.  I love Lotta Helleberg's work and decided to try my hand a leaf printing.  I used oak leaves from around our farm and then also used fig leaves.  Here is a photo of the results. 

So now you know how I spent my summer "vacation"!


K Spoering said...

Oh, my! You have my COMPLETE sympathy! I spent a good part of a summer in bed about 5 years ago from that same back issue. I have never felt such pain. (And I also had the same reaction to the narcotics, so can sympathize with that, too!) I, however, was not at all productive during that time. I can't believe all you've managed to get done in spite of it. I LOVE the portrait of your son! I hope you're feeling better now. Did you have surgery? I didn't, but my husband did when it happened to him, and it gave him immediate relief.

Threads of Inspiration said...

Susan,I'm so sorry to hear about your back, but you did get a lot done. I probably would have just taken the dishrag route! I really love your dandelion piece. Where did you take the class? Piedmont? I took many good classes there, especially design classes.