Your house is on fire.

During Monday morning’s history class I made up this pretty warp for my scrappy indigo neck cuffs. Wasn’t sure about the colour combo to begin with but I like how they jive.

I’ve also finished tea dyeing the cloth strips for the weft.

Also on Monday I finished up and presented my mixed media nursery rhyme collection. The next step is to develop a repeat pattern and a few co-ordinates from my favourite. I’m going to go with Hickory Dickory Dock.

Interesting factoid: “hickory, dickory, dock” probably originated as “hevera, devera, dick” which meant “eight, nine, ten”.

This was made using a textured gesso ground with acrylic paint rubbed in. The little mouse hand is copper foiled.

This one follows the rhyme: “Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children are gone.” Very cheerful. It was made with textured gesso and acrylic with collaged red silk.

This next one is from Sing a Song of Sixpence. “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.” I’m not quite as pleased with this one as it doesn’t really go with the rest. That wasn’t a requirement but it would have been nice. The background is uneven-dyed silk, and the pie is simple cardboard. Many of the blackbirds are cut from old children’s books I bought at the Owl’s Nest used book store. If you are ever in Fredericton check it out, it’s a labyrinth of stacks and owl paraphernalia.

This last one is from the very best nursery rhyme, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater. It was Warren’s favourite of the bunch. He had the idea to paint little rivets on the vellum windows, like it was sealed from the outside. This has a whole host of collaged elements, from tinfoil to string to cloth to buttons. It looks extra cool with light shining through the translucent window areas.

These were very fun and gestural pieces. I would recommend that everyone try playful ventures like these. Before this stage we made about 40 8″x10″ samples to try different textures. It’s been a freeing exercise, and I now have all these greats bits and pieces I can re-purpose later.

Also this week a few of my screen printed scarves were up in the hall at school. The print on the left was made from a photo of some laptop circuitry, and was printed on silk with fibre reactive dyes. The one piece on the right was discharge printed. The image was derived from a charcoal drawing of my grandfather’s headphones which I made when I worked as a demonstrator at the open house in November.

The center piece in mauve is velvet with burn out printing (also called devore). You print with this fancy chemical which when ironed removes cellulose fibres. Since the pile on the velvet is rayon, it gets eaten away, leaving only the protein-based silk underneath. It gives a very lacy feel to cloth and is quite simple to achieve. The only tough part is knowing when to stop ironing.

We have a soft book assignment coming up in my Digital Tools class which is a thousand times less restrictive than more of the projects in that class. I’m thinking of a circular science-themed book. The hard part is figuring out which sciences to include.

Hard to think of anything much until I get the lighting commission taken care of. It’s due in about a week and a half and so the anxiety it rises. It’s coming along, and I’ve hired the boyfriend to help speed up the process. Wish me luck! No time for mistakes, knock on wood.

When nature overtakes architecture

Today was an extended and entirely pleasant day in the surface design studio. Many people around, some sort of open house to publicize the school and they were all very inquisitive. I was working away on some screen printing, texture samples, and a cityscape while the lady at the table across made encaustic board games. I spent the whole day intoxicated by the smell of beeswax. Could there be a more sticky drug? Teehee.

Here are the beginnings of my salt crystal cityscape. I left it at the school to grow (far too fragile for frolicking) and am chomping at the bit to go check on it. I suspect it will be half way to full-grown by the time I wake up. Probably make some coffee related excuse to go downtown and see it first thing.

Step One: Fabricate a cardboard city. Massacre it (and your hands) with food colouring, everyone`s favourite multi-medium.

Step Two: Flood your city with a foul-smelling blue concoction (recipe courtesy Mik3 at Instructables).

Step Three: Wait for the magic! I made this tester in advance so the suspense wouldn’t kill me. It makes me think of what skyscrapers might look like if all the people left and nature reclaimed its territory.

Also, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my dinosaur prints. Hooray for discharge paste! Here are the first couple bags. Need a little embellishment yet. Maybe some zigzag stitching and a button or two.

Time for sleep, more projects tomorrow :)

– Allison Green