Second one of a set for the November TIF challenge - use type as a design element.
I have to admit to a couple of strong opinions concerning type. It has to be black, on white. It has to have thick and thin places. It is nice to have serifs but not necessary.
I worked for a couple years on the Massachusetts State Atlas Project. I was lucky to be there close to the beginning, when we got to think about which type face we liked, and the grid for the pages, and the sizes of maps we would use for different themes. I love type with the same kind of abstracted affection many people feel for maps - I know it carries information, but I like the graphic detail of it as much as the information carried.
When choosing a type, we looked at Ps and Qs, and ampersands. The P showed up enough in regular use that it had to be elegant without being too frilly. Qs because they had to look unified even though they were used infrequently. Ampersands because they could, and did, contain every flourish the type designer could cram into them. They made me laugh, every time.
I still have trouble separating affection for type from affection for the fact that I can read, so I knew I had to use an ampersand as part of my design. The et cetera is because type has to say something, and it pleases me to "yadda yadda" in latin.
I still have two in process, but I did want to demonstrate proper effort before the end of the month.
The Artist Support Group (4 out of 5 or 6 of us) Travelled west to North Adams to see the Sol Lewitt wall pieces retrospective at Mass MoCA. It was interesting, and frustrating, and illuminating, and partly quite funny.
The building itself is the fabulous late-19th/early 20th century industrial design, all bricks and giant trees for trusses and turnbuckles on iron bars the size of my thumb holding it all together (plus about 28 coats of paint coming off in verry scenic worn ways). The Lewitt exhibit was on three floors arranged chronologically. We started in the middle. The colors were muted, the shapes large and interesting, the pieces huge. One of the great things about MassMoCA is that it has these HUGE spaces for display that are still inside.
Up one floor, the colors got so intense I couldn't look at some for too long, they made my eyes buzz. My favorite there was a long black wall matte black on top,shiny black on the bottom. When photographed the shiny black reflects and looks anything but black.
Down to the earlier work we got the giggles. One official piece was a huge existing wall, with doors and fire alarms and beams at intervals on which people had gone silly with a chalk line. There were some very detailed instructions on the wall about how to create the particular piece on the wall which made it feel very recursive. We had the most fun in one that did not photograph at all well, but made each of us think of something different; a set of lines and arcs across a square, in pairs. The entire piece was all the possible combinations without replacement (the mathematical formula for it is a factorial, with an exclamation point, which used to make happy every time I used it in math. I mean; 20! How is that not good?) we stood there for a long time pointing out particular runs of combinations we liked, and arguing over whether a lapse in the pattern was play or rigorous adherence to the pattern. (rigorous adherence)
Then we flew through the rest of the place because we had left later than we meant to and someone (sorry) was starving and couldn't go on without food.
I am behind-hand in almost everything at the moment. The excitement of the elections, new babies and a perfect storm of kid related activities is making it hard to sit and sew.
The challenge for October was to make a piece that reflects how I feel/think about my work space. I am lucky to have a half a room to call my own - shared with Al's electronics and robot building. I spent most of September taking things out of it and making it nicer. I spent a good deal of October putting things back into it again, but only things I need, use, or love.
I rely on my room for making my work. I don't do a lot of handwork, most is a combination of fusing and heavy machine embroidery. I have found that I can't work if I am not in my room. I can make tiny thumbnail sketches for design ideas, I can make lists of what I think I making next, but I can't work on a particular piece if I am not in my room. It makes it hard to do something like a Quilter's Retreat, because I inevitably forget the piece I need most, or want a scrap or bauble (or yard of fabric) I have left at home.
Being in my room, making things in my room, is soothing work, most of the time. I have the current work pile, the pile of things that are ready to fuse, and a gorgeous box of thread ready to use on the machine. I can sit and look out the window, or poke along on the current piece. When I haven't made something for a while, a couple days or a week, I start to get itchy and grumpy. My husband recognizes it before I do, and tells me "go make something."
I did work on some pieces in October. You can find them here, and here.
Brownell Walker Stevens Thomson was launched November 8 at 10:25 am. Displacement 8 lbs 3 oz, length overall 23", powered by a twin lung howler. Everyone is fine. They'll be ashore for further inspections until the 14th when they expect to transfer operations to their home port of Monhegan Island.
I'm so pleased. I've been waiting for this for a long time. Which startles me.
For the first time ever, I brought the work I've been making to a craft fair, and offered it to the general public. On the whole, I did a good job. I had some good lists from doing my research and thinking about how the process might go. I had a tasty and filling lunch that I could put down if I was interrupted by customers. I had a water bottle. I was lucky that friends came so I could take a short bathroom break (Hi Kate! Hi Abby!). I was lucky with my table, and I had a couch to sit on.
For a day that was an utter bust financially, I learned a lot of useful things, most of them "don't panic." Had more people come in, I probably would have sold more, it was just really, really quiet today.
But - I have a data point. And I can do it again, knowing more this time.
What if you really like rust dyed fabric but you want a little more control over it? would shibori techniques work? what about contact with interesting shapes? If the washers won't rust now, what do I have to do to remove the finish and let it rust? How about letting the girls hammer them?