Aug 31, 2010

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone for all of the sampler love yesterday.  I packed up all the orders that came in before I went to bed, and am headed out to the post office now to get them all mailed out to everyone.  I hope you enjoy stitching them up.  I really can't wait to see how they all turn out!    

I am looking forward to working on my own copy this weekend,  on the back porch in a comfy chair while drinking beer and lemonade with my mom in Michigan.  It is predicted to be in the mid sixties there, so (fingers crossed) maybe I'll wear a sweater!  Chicago needs to cool its jets in my opinion.   

For a chance to win a free copy of the new Cake Sampler, please leave a comment here.  I'll choose one at random this Saturday morning, and mail it to you from Michigan.  Comments will close at 8 am Eastern Time.

**************And the winner is..............Jen G.  Please give me an e-mail and let me know your address. ************************************************************************

Aug 30, 2010

A New Sampler, and a Winner!

Well folks, after an evening spent screen-printing, I am pleased to announce that the new sampler has arrived!   The new image, inspired by vintage cake decorations, is printed on 100% cotton with a cantaloupe colored textile ink, and comes with a stitch suggestion sheet.  Of course, feel free to go off the map and invent your own stitches.  I love an improviser.

It is literally hot of the presses this morning (and boy is it hot here in Chicago!)   The new samplers are freshly ironed and ready to go out to a mailbox near you.  It's so new that I haven't had a chance to stitch up the sample yet, but fear not!  A new  image of a work in progress will be coming your way this week.

 And now, we have a winner!  For posting an image of work in progress on the first sampler,  and having his/her sampler chosen at random S Hart 1 will receive a free copy of the new cake sampler.  Please send me your mailing address within 24 hours, S Hart 1!  Congratulations!

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed.  Stay tuned to the blog this week for more images and another giveaway.....and if you can't wait to try your luck, the samplers are now available on etsy.    Since next Monday is Labor Day, I'll be doing two mailings this week, on Tuesday and Thursday.

Aug 27, 2010

Let them stitch cake

 One of my sources of inspiration for the forthcoming sampler was a book that I've had kicking around in my studio for years. 

It's one of those books that I could look at for hours.  The bright bright pinks, the super saturated yellows, and the unbelievably over the top patterns and textures are so satisfying.    The technicolor pictures are not in focus, but the color is so, so rich and vibrant, and the decoration, well, I love decoration.  I am a self-described maximalist.  When friends or students as me if they should stop or keep going with whatever it is they're doing (painting, embroidery, cake decorating) I always say keep going.  If this decorator had not kept going, would there be a polar bear on the roof of this honeymoon sugar shack?  No way.  And it would be worse off for it.  Just imagine would just be a roof, you know?
And these.....well these remind me of a particularly great cake from my childhood.  My mom made one, and I can't remember if it was homeade chocolate (probably) or Betty Crocker Confetti (which was my favorite as a kid) but I do remember that it was served at the beach, and that there were probably sparklers since I was born on the fourth of july. 
I recently cruised through the cake decorating section at the local craft store and was beyond horrified to see that there, next to the doilies, were dolls with no legs!  Dolls with no legs?  Instead of going to the trouble to hollow out the part for the doll, now you can buy a doll with no legs and just stick the pick right into the top of the cake.  I was appalled.  Half the fun of a doll cake was getting to keep the doll afterwards, right?  That temporary skirt was fun and all, but there was a real doll in there, and she was mine!   
Anyhow, whether you are a cake froster or not, please stop back on Monday to see the newest sampler, inspired by cake decorating.  And if you're working away on the original sampler, please do post an image over in the flickr pool to be entered into the drawing for the new one.   

Have a great weekend!

Aug 26, 2010

Fellow Embroiderers.........

I finished drawing up a new sampler design yesterday, and plan to print the first batch this weekend.  For those of you who've been stitching along on the first one, post a picture of your in-progress or completed sampler to the Sampler Flickr page (there's a link just off to your right).  I'll select a winner at random on Monday at 9:00 am (central time) and mail one lucky person a free sampler.     If you do not have the original sampler (or have it tucked away for winter), fear not!   I'll host another giveaway next week for newbies.    In the meanwhile, here's a sneak peak of what's to come. The real thing should be hitting etsy next week.  I'll be sure to post an announcement with full size photographs when it does.
PS:  Jenny Doh is having another drawing over at her blog for the new Squam Journal.  The giveaway also includes items from four Squam teachers, including the original sampler that I be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment over at crescendo.....

Good Luck!

Aug 25, 2010

Hard Telling, Not Knowing...

One of the most exciting parts about going to Haystack was the lobster dinner that was served out on the rocks during the middle weekend.  The work study students carried the feast nimbly through the woods and out onto the rocks.  There were no tables, no chairs, and no tools.  We used rocks and brute strength to crack open these tasty creatures. 

Here is my plate before I dug in.  With lots of help and laughter and butter I ate every last bite.  So much fun.  The next day, on a trip into the tiny little lobstering town of Stonington, I found this amazing lobster print at the V&S variety store:

I brought a half yard of it back to Haystack and asked one of my students, Mev, to over-dye it in a pot of turmeric that she had cooked up.   I love the butter background.  Not sure what it will become, but I thought I'd hang it out on the line today as a reminder of the cool breezes and sea treats of Maine.   I can't wait to return.

Aug 16, 2010

Collaborative Embroideries

As a part of my class at Haystack, everyone started, and then passed a piece of embroidery.   Everyday for seven days these got added to in different ways, collecting words, textures, images, and distractions.  Here are some of my favorite moments from the project.....


These photographs reaffirm my belief that I need a better camera, because what you probably can't see but what I know is there are fabulous small details, rich rewards for looking closer.  Those sunglasses?  They are made completely of two-turn french knots.  And that hair dryer?  It's completely covered in text that was all stitched in an afternoon. (!)  The students that I had at Haystack were unbelievable.   Smart, fast, interesting, amazing artists.  We had so much fun.  Here's an image from what I think was one of the best collaborations, the one that ended up being the most "finished" composition of them all, almost as if it had been planned that way:

Aug 15, 2010

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.....

For two weeks, I was in Maine, sleeping under a heavy wool blanket and listening to the lobster boats come in in the morning.  During the day I taught an amazing group of artists.  The class, Fast Draw/ Slow Stitch focused on drawing with pencils and thread amidst a discussion of time and materiality.  I feel lucky to have had so many amazing students and to have been a part of so many interesting discussions.  What a time we had!
Here we are enjoying happy hour at picnic rock, where all of us brought embroidery, and none of us got anything done.  Would you?  That ocean calls you out and won't let go.

Here's one of the views from our classroom.  The whole campus is built on a granite slope, and each building has an incredible view of the Penobscot Bay.  The air smells wonderfully salty and there was a fresh ocean breeze every day.  Occasionally it got too hot to be indoors, so we moved our whole operation out onto the deck.  It was fantastic.

Here is a sneak peak preview of the collaborative project that everyone worked on.  I'll show you some beautiful individual photographs and close-ups tomorrow in another post.

Aug 14, 2010

I'm Back!

I am home in Chicago for a little while.  I had the most amazing time teaching at Haystack, truly a great experience, filled with lively conversations, great experiments and artwork, fresh lobsters, a seal sighting, an otter that ran across the rock I was sitting on, and many new friends, not to mention the best weather of the summer (59 at night!)  I will post more about the trip and the class that I taught tomorrow morning.  Hope you're all having a great weekend.