Precious Goods.

I am incredibly lucky, and so very privileged to know so many wonderful people. Voyager has been helping to clean out an attic, among other things, and came across a bounty of vintage embroidery thread, including a good deal of silk, which I always covet. Voyager was generous enough to offer it to me, and my jaw about hit the floor when I saw two packs of Milward Needles, the real deal, before the needle business moved out of England and went to hell in a handbasket. That was an unexpected bonus, and I can’t wait to use them! Click for full size.

© C. Ford.

Time for Goop.

No, not that goop. The real stuff. As every needlesmith and other handcrafter knows, hand care is extremely important. You can’t have rough bits of skin snagging expensive materials and so forth. So, goop. When your skin reaches a too rough to work point, spoon a bit of sugar (couple tablespoons) and the oil of your choice, whisk it up, and have a good, long hand scrub. Most artists have their own formula, some prefer specific sugars, or coarse salt, and the oil choice varies quite a bit. I usually go with olive oil. I don’t use coarse salt, because I can always be counted on to have small nicks on my hand somewhere.

Shades: Still on the Couch.

rq asked if I had made any progress, and I promised another pic. Another bad one, I’m afraid. I didn’t feel like dismantling the quilt frame top and hauling it outside. Not as much progress as I’d like, but I haven’t been able to work on it consistently. The current section is 13.5″ x 5″. Click for full size.

© C. Ford.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Photos: Niklas Adrian Vindelev.

Instead of accelerating the demise of traditional craftsmanship, what if digital tools enhanced it and expanded the possibilities of what we can make?What if an architect could use a digital tool — a CNC machine, say — to create something with a distinctly human quality? How might the machine be applied to skills such as woodwork and metalwork? Could it be used to make objects with the aesthetic appeal, including the touch and feel, of a handmade object? Could it also make objects that can be scaled — objects with applicability to architecture?

These were the timely questions that three architects recently explored as residents at SPACE10  — IKEA’S external future-living lab. With a shared interest in exploring how digital tools can be applied to traditional techniques — and the potential of a CNC milling machine in particular — Yuan Chieh Yang, Benas Burdulis, and Emil Froege together found answers in three very different but eye-opening ways.

You can read and see more at Space10.

If you’re in Ottawa, consider Indigenous Walks.

Indigenous Walks is a walk and talk through downtown Ottawa exploring landscape, architecture, art and monuments through an Indigenous perspective.

The character Danerys Targaryen finally returned to Westeros on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, but the actress, Emilia Clarke, shot the scene on a Northern Irish beach called Downhill Strand. Much of what viewers know as Westeros, in fact, is actually Northern Ireland, including parts of Winterfell, Slaver’s Bay, and the Kingsroad—all thanks to the nation’s open tracts of land and many surviving castles. To draw attention to this fact, Ireland’s tourism board commissioned a massive tapestry that details every episode of the series.

The 66-meter-long artwork is on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. A group of artisans including the museum’s director, Katherine Thomson, are embroidering each meter with characters and symbols that summarize each one of the episodes preceding Sunday’s “Dragonstone.” As Season 7 progresses, they’ll add more yardage to the tapestry to reflect new developments on the HBO juggernaut. By the end of season 7 it will be 77 meters long.

You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

On The Couch.

I’ve had this abstract dwelling in my head, so time to get it out. Couching is very old, and there are many ways to couch, and there are near endless cultural variants. I’m not doing any particular one, or paying much attention to the rules. I’m just having fun, going where the thread wants to go. It doesn’t look like anything yet, and I apologize for the terrible photos, it’s late, and I’m out of patience. I’ll do better in a few days. This will be all shades of gray, and the size will be 18 x 24, and it will be mounted on canvas board when done. Hopefully, I won’t be so pain-induced cranky in the next few days so I can get it better seated in the frame, and do decent photos. All that said, I will be snoozing in, so it’s going to be a slow and dozy day here at Affinity.

© C. Ford.

Work, Work, Work 98.

Current Hours: 1,219. Skeins Used: 191. Current hours are from yesterday, today was just too fractional, a bit here, a bit there, and I’m not aware of time enough to keep track things like ‘7 minutes’, ’22 minutes’ and the like, so I just don’t count it. Also, today, I had to spend a fair amount of time line breaking. Usually, I’m not paying attention when I’m working on the tree quilt, my mind tends to wander on to other things while the fingers work. When working on large blocks of one colour, it’s easy enough to fall into doing rows of knots, rather than random sets. I don’t want people focusing on lines or rows, so a few knots here, a few there, break up the visual line.

© C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Changing of the Thread.

Having gotten thoroughly confused over just which green I had been using, it called for a changing of the thread. Down with the tree thread, up with the foliage thread. Some of the greens, I’m down to 3 skeins, and it doesn’t take much to go through a skein. Others I have a great deal of, so I need to do larger blocks with those particular colours.

© C. Ford.