Self-portrait

I hoped to finish ten new embroideries this summer, but it looks like I’ll have maybe three. I did embroider a lot, but I started a large self-portrait and I really enjoyed doing really small stitches and taking my time. The hoop is 35 cm in diameter. It’s my favorite embroidery I made thus far, I’ll probably frame it. I stitched it on cotton canvas that I have dyed with onion peels and turmeric (it’s from the same old bed sheet that I used for sewing a blouse.) I used the sewing machine with a thread in a very similar color to the canvas for larger surfaces (like the forehead), but I stitched most of it by hand. I like the “watercolor” effect this embroidery has, even more so in reality (the photo makes the lines just a bit harsher).

When I finished it, I was kind of sorry to lose such a pleasant way to spend my free time, but I have already started another, very detailed, embroidery.

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Diary blouse

This blouse is something I partially sew by myself as a school assignment, but also as something for myself to wear. My friend helped me with some of the sewing, but I made a lot of things by myself, too (I copied the pattern, I cut the fabric and I did some of the sewing). Also, I dyed the fabric (an old cotton sheet) with onion peels and turmeric and I embroidered the text. So, I can say I did a lot of it :).

The fabric is really nice, the old cotton has a softness that only something that was used for a long time gets. Also, I like the color that turned out after dyeing it. I lose some of the color with each washing (even if I fixed it with vinegar and I wash it only by hand in cold water), but still it becomes paler and paler. But, at some point, I can dye it again, because the embroidery thread I used is synthetic, so it won’t be affected by the dye. But, for now, it’s fine.

I embroidered on it a text in my handwriting that you can see only if you come close enough and you make an effort to read. There are random thoughts that I had while working a lot at home during this spring, but if you don’t read them, they are just a vibrating color and texture. The text, roughly translated, says: ” …the small noise that the needle makes when it goes trough the fabric…I listen to the news and a sea of anxiety and despair overflows…sometimes, hope…when you get closer to reaching the age of forty, everything is the same, only you judge yourself a little less harshly…and getting legitimization from others is much less important…sometimes…this body that carries me through the world so well…maybe there is some more ice cream left in the fridge… ”

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Felting

I started this embroidery at my favorite class in the M.A. program I joined this fall. I used for the first time a needle felting machine and I was really excited to use a new technique for my embroideries. I did an outline of the self portrait, I felted the lighted parts and then I stitched the above the felting and the shadow parts. I didn’t want to use wool and I wasn’t sure if artificial fibers will work, but they did, and I’m glad I can still use this technique even if I try to avoid using animal products. It was really relaxing to do this and I like the result. It’s not perfectly similar to me physically but I do recognize myself in its atmosphere. img_5917img_5920img_5911img_5907

My favorite flowers

From time to time, I remember that I would really like to draw more, even if it is something that I do quite rarely. One of the things that I would like to have till the end of the year is a notebook full of small drawings of things from nature. I was thinking to have 100 of them (till now, I maybe have 20 or 25). I took some photos of dandelions next to our building and did two drawings of them. I have always loved these modest flowers.

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Plein air

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I have found this box yesterday at the flea market, for quite cheap. It’s a small size case, with some of the original tools still inside: a metal bottle for turpentine, a dipper and a metal charcoal holder. The palette is not there, unfortunately. There are also some pastel sticks and 2 old brushes with bamboo handles marked Japan. Also some newer pencils. Obviously, this box was used in a really long time span or had different owners using it.  It was made by Sennelier Paris, an old and famous art store. Their logo is different now and I couldn’t find any listing of their previous logos, so I could have a definite answer regarding the age of my box. But, I think the box and the original accessories are from the thirties or forties, from the feel of them.

I don’t plan painting en plein air again (something that I was very fond of when I was 15), but it’s a very nice box to store some of my drawing and painting supplies in, while trying to imagine who were the ones using it before me.

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Linking up with Vintage Bliss Tuesdays.

Ink pen and nibs

I have this wooden pen since I was a child. My grandparents had their saving accounts at the socialist state owned bank (named CEC) and my grandfather and me would visit our neighborhood branch quite often. They had there these wooden pens and ink bottles for people to fill their paper work with and although I was too small to be really sure about this, I suspect that these pens were one of the reasons we would be there so often. My grandfather knew the women working there and he would enter sometimes just to say hello. While my grandfather was solving his banking things or would chat to the employees, I would draw with these pens and inks. This is such a serene memory for me. At some point one of the women working there gifted me one of the pens. I used it a lot, as a kid but also later in art high school and university.

The small metal box with nibs is my friend’s flea market find. She borrows me the nibs.

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