Original designs teaching

What’s On My Work Table: A Giant Lighthouse Mockup and some Kantha Fabric Flowers

Mocking up ideas for my found object/stumpwork light house piece – final dimensions 12 by 15 inches or so. It’ll be huge!

This was sort of a mixed work week because I’m teaching my kantha scrap flower class tomorrow, so I’ve been busy both prepping samples and class stuff as well as ordering supplies and playing with mockups for my next piece. I feel like all of the textile artists I know spend a lot of time posting pretty pictures of finished things but we don’t often show the messy process pictures or what we actually do all day.

I’m working on this piece featuring a pile lighthouse, which are typical of the Chesapeake bay region. I was inspired by a tour of the one at the St. Michaels Maritime museum, which has outfitted theirs evocatively to give you a sense of what living in one alone completely surrounded by water would be like. I think it would have been beautiful, incredibly lonely and also occasionally dangerous (apparently falling through the trap door into the water below was a regular cause of serious injury and death). It sounds like many keepers took up various hand crafts to pass the time, so it felt like an appropriate subject for the “Craft As Comfort” show theme.

Another test with different wood for the door – I ended up keeping neither and found some tiny driftwood pieces instead.

I sort of accidentally ended up with a perfect collection of found objects for this piece, and then had more added in by other female artist friends as I started to talk about it more. The seaglass came from my friend Ginger who does oyster shell art and the seashells were collection on a beach in Greece 20 years ago by my friend Angela. She mailed me her whole collection all the way from the Lake District! The crowing achievement was the sea glass moon, which Ginger slipped into my jacket pocket on a dog walk as a surprise. Since the moon will make it a night scene, I decided to experiment with using sewable LED circuits to make the lighthouse tower actually light up. I’m going to combine the found objects with classic stumpwork techniques and threads to make a huge fusion piece. After all of these tests this week on the to scale printout I ended up sourcing some tiny pieces of driftwood for the door, which I think will work better.

The next step is to set up a huge slate frame next week which I am really not looking forward to. I am really slow at setting up even small slate frames and this one will be a 24 inch one! Thank goodness for audiobooks. I’ve been totally engrossed in The Peripheral by William Gibson for the past week and have the sequel ready to go.

Kantha flower petals in progress

I’m teaching my 3D kantha scrap flower class all day tomorrow, so I also spent the week making a second set of petals. These are all finished now and I will cut them out in class and wrap the stem so the students can see how it all works. People are usually the most nervous about the part where you take scissors to your work, but it’s usually the easiest part when you see it done once. I also put together materials and made handouts for everyone, so I was pretty tired by the end of the week! I have a birthday party to go to tomorrow after I’m done teaching and I’m contemplating sleeping all day Sunday after that.

Stumpwork kantha flower mounted on canvas on display.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *