After staring at the small mammoth (is that oxymoronical?) I made a head for the two person mammoth for the upcoming show. The next steps are to get a layer of padding and fabric over it, and settle on the construction of the trunk.
I finally started work on the Crane Estate sale works. I am stumped by the current map-like view of the marsh, so I started this one today. It is from a photo I took on my mother's back step, looking north and east, across Plum Island Sound and the marshes behind it.
I had to spend some time dyeing the fabric for sky and water in the marsh, but I am pleased with the way this came out so far.
I was surprised at how many subdued fabrics I chose for the base layers in this piece. So I compensated by making most of the threadwork more intense than usual. Alice likes this one. I like Mt Warner there in the very background - a tiny hill anywhere except around here, where it looms over the very flat floodplain!
I seem to be developing a good habit, to my surprise. Frequently I get stuck and can't figure out what to do next. I used to sit and read for an hour or so, to let things in my head settle, and then try to go back to work, which wasn't very effective. Now I take a break and work on something that made me happy the last time I did it.
I loved the moonlight on the ocean the last time, but I added too much thread. So this time I tried it smaller, and have more clouds and some trees. I was thinking of Maine when I was working.
I know, it doesn't look like this now. But things change so quickly around here! And fall really IS coming; Alice and I, the polar bears in our family, have been enjoying cooler weather and snuggling into sweatshirts in the morning, paired with basking in the sun around lunch time.
I have a second fall piece in the works, possibly a third. Whatever is finished before September 20th I'll take up to Grow Gallery. The it's time to focus on finishing up work for the Crane Estate art show and sale.
We had a week of sunsets like this while we visited my brother and his wife and their son. (In my opinion th ebest nephew in the world. Please don't tell me otherwise!) We rented a house on the hill, so we could see over Manana and into the west - the views were expansive, but the sunsets were particularly lovely.
Once we got home, it was time to get the big one organized across the river to college. It was easier this year, and will probably easiest next year, when we've had all that practice. She's carrying two orange codas and a bag of cookies to thank her dad for carrying her.
And the day after that, school started for the other one. Alice is looking rather more awake here than is usual for this time of day. The excitement of the first day of school clearly got her moving more quickly than usual.
I'm designing sets for the fall production at school. We are doing Skin of Our Teeth, the Thornton Wilder play that isn't Our Town. I spent a happy morning making 1/8 scale models of spiral stairs, turning triangles that I keep thinking of as trilithons, and people sized blobs. Since everyone works better with something concrete in front of them, I glued this together so the directors and I can talk about possibilities and exactly HOW big those spiral stairs are...
And that's what I've been up to lately. I'll talk more about the Holyoke show soon.
Sometimes in the middle of something I am not confident of, I have to stop and do something I know I understand completely, to reassure myself of my hard won skills.
Alternatively, sometimes in the middle of working on one thing, the urgency to do a different thing becomes overwhelming and I have to drop the first thing and do the new thing now, and then go back to the old thing.
The above piece was a breather in the middle of the elaborate saltmarsh and beach piece I'm working on. I finished most of the salt marsh yesterday. I was delighted to find I had exactly the color of perle cotton I wanted, and I used that in the bobbin, and ran a green and brown variegated thread through the needle; the end result looks amazing. But then I desperately needed some pink and yellow and blue-green in my life, so I finished this piece early this morning and now I shall go back and think about the next part of the salt marsh puzzle.
Meet Iris - finished but nekkid! I think she might need some clothes, but Alice says dragon girls are fine Just the Way they ARE. Thank you.
The pattern was wonderful fun. She is knit entorely in the round, and each piece begins by picking up stitches from existing pieces. I thought it was going to be crazy-making, but instead I had a wonderful time, and was SO relieved at the end when I didn't have to sew anything together. I did get kind of carried away with her lower legs and ankles - I added some shaping the designer didn't have, but I have a major thing for a shapely calf, and it came out well enough.
The last thing that surprised me is how solid the knit fabric is. I was using tiny needles for largish yarn, so it makes intellectual sense, but to be able to stuff her fairly firmly and not have the stuffing show through the knitted fabric was lovely. I have lots of experience stuffing muslin bodies and faces, and they take a phenomenal amount sutffing; just when you think they might be finished, you are only half-way done, and the same amount again of stuffing goes into them and smoothes out the lumpiness. Iris is not stuffed to that standard, but she did absorb more stuffing than I anticipated, and is much sturdier because of it.
Of course, much of what I like best about the original idea I had was the focus on details of how water carved channels through the marsh and offshore. And that is the part that is the most difficult to convey. Which is just how life goes, yes? Yes.