Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lacemaking - yes, I've got started!

Remember, a while ago I was talking about my new vintage finding – lacemaking pillow? I‘ve also mentioned that I would one day get myself learning how to use it for it was not intended for only staying like a beautiful decorative object?

Last week we got back home from the public library with like tons of books about lace making with very inspiring examples. Even more inspiring was walking around Rauma and seeing them real, made of beautiful linen threads. And to top it all it‘s even more tempting seeing someone making lace – that‘s what I‘ve come across last Saturday (yes, I‘ve gone into that lace shop knowing that there‘s always someone making lace). And yes, they wanted to share it and had time! I‘ve spent like one hour learning how to make this sample with three basic motifs that is now pinned on the right at my pillow.

Now I‘m reproducing it, it‘s not so fast and I have to correct my mistakes myself and unravel it or re-start if necessary, but it‘s fun! And as I‘m still a couple of days in that sabbatical research thing, where I committed myself to starting any project appealing to me, no matter how out-of-the-ordinary it may look like, well, now I‘m in!

As for now, my sabbatical weeks are coming to the end, but not the research. I‘ve not made that much in terms of finished pieces, because of reading/learning/searching, but I‘ve finally managed to force myself to get started and to learn how it works, and that‘s important for me. I‘m thinking about spending further some hours on folk arts on regular basis like a couple of times a week and maybe writing one-two posts about it weekly.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hello teddy bear

It‘s getting colder and snowing, and one good way to adapt oneself for another season change is a bit more of hard physical work to keep warm. That‘s why while my little girl is hopping and jumping all around, I‘m sitting at the kitchen table working the modelling clay for a new teddy bear pattern. This clay is particularly tough so that it can stay in form for nearly any model, and that means lots of efforts involved to get it in the right shape. This bear‘s gonna be middle-sized – about 15 cm high, and I needed another pattern because of another shape and proportions. This one will be sewn, not knitted/felted, as my summer bears, because it has to be stuffed firmly to have some weight and stay in form.

So today I‘m sharing a rough draft in modelling clay and gonna work out the pattern coming weekend. Teddy bear making is particularly nice and pleasant during the cold season, maybe be that‘s why they are popular in northern countries like Germany,USA/Canada, Russia. 

It‘s still snowing outside, and it‘s all of a sudden full of that „Winterzauber“ – with all the fall‘s greys gone. They have been replaced by winter's greys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fork art research - traditional decorative handpainting

Today I‘m gonna show some of stationery items, that I‘m currently decorating using the elements from the folk decorative arts, that come from the northern regions of Russia. This style is not particularly famous, because, well, there are lots of other styles that are more decorative, more „russian“ for tourists and many native russians as well, thus more exploited for souvenirs etc.

All these are sort of drafts, made of paper and light cardboard, with colour pencil and sharpey, where I play around with element arrangements and how they interact with ornaments around.  Actual decorating is made on wooden objects, using semi-liquid paint for colour base, and liquid black paint for detailing with thin brush. Now my objective is rather to learn about composition, and how different surfaces can be decorated in this technique/style.

This one is rather minimalistic and graphic, the elements being rather simplified, and organized in ornamental friezes. If you look at it nearly, you‘ll see all the similar elements varying into infinity thanks to many graphical details and alternation.

I appreciate on the one hand certain ridigity, but also endless variation possibilities because of right amount of constructional elements - neither that many, nor few - so that certain coherence within the painting can mostly always be assured. It also has something meditational about drawing the reiterating ornaments. And I'm fascinated every single time, how the elements had been conceived, so that with some experience and time invested in learning them, they are building some sort of harmonious micro-universe.

Of course there has been meanings for all the elements like differents representation of the sun, rain, rivers, tilled fields, harvest symbols, and much more. The different elements were picked to build messages. I‘m not going that deep, my experiments are about compositional studies. Whether it‘ll be used in my stationery projects, or transferred to textile – that remains to be seen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Making a traditional short - how to...

And today I‘m sharing the explanation drawing of how this traditional shirt is basically made. I've made it based on fabrics that I've actually picked a couple of days ago to make the shirt itself (see my previous post). 

As I‘ve told, there are all only rectangular pieces for both front and back side, except of bottom parts of sleeves – for that there‘s a corresponding rectangular piece to make, then cut it along the diagonal into two triangular parts. It‘s very simple and easy, so that the main concern is actually how to decorate it. 

It can be easily embellished with lots of techniques because the rectangularity offers nearly endless possibilities to incorporate anything you may want to put there – like fabric stripes, crocheted lace, all kind of ribbons, patchworked elements, any type of embroidery – so that it‘s very wide open space there.

Today I‘m back to decorative folk painting – I‘m gonna show some results tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Carrying on the research way...

Well,as much as I appreciate short projects so that I can finish a piece within a day or at least in a couple of days, it took me some time to move forward and kept me from updating this blog as I used to.

Right now I spend a lot of time reading, rough drafting, trying, failing and starting over, reading, and more reading. Of course it‘s an endless topic for any profound research so now I‘m feeling myself a bit overhelmed with everything that might be worth learning about folk arts. 

And it‘s challenging – as much as I enjoy the proces of discovering, learning, understanding, I admit, I‘ve had some troubles and doubts about working in uncertitude. So I keep repeating that it‘s actually more about challenging myself to go a narrow and less habitual, but also widely ramified path than having (and being more or less sure to regularly become) smart and presentable results as I used to publish before. 

Though I wouldn‘t say that I wouldn‘t like to have those result now as well, I just have to keep in mind, that with all the learning and failing and searching for how to incorporate it all, I just inevitably have that lower speed and a bit of frustration involved. Frustration, because it‘s not very easy to plan and even less to predicate and expect anything, for the way is unknown. I do not have a clear learning plan with specified objectives, and it's fun, but that's why I'm sometimes having that incertitude - the price to pay for being flexible and learn what I select following the feeling of the moment.

Here‘s a peek from my current project. I like the traditional costume, but not that much the omnipresent red in it, so my interpretation is blue, light cerulean blue. I‘ve enjoyed a lot sewing it, for it was simple because of rectangular structure, so the focus was on decorating – I‘ve crocheted, patched, and cross-stitched. And I‘ve spend a couple of days modelling a figurine of wire, papier-mâché and some other additives before I've got started with the shirt itself – another brand new experience. 

So at the end it‘ll be a roughly modelled doll wearing that traditional folk shirt. Stay tuned, I‘ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back home doing research

Well, I‘ve not forgotten this blog, neither am I sitting back home and doing nothing to share here with you. 

I‘m finally back and since a couple of days I‘m busy with some other stuff. I‘m taking a couple of sabbatical weeks for a research. 

Have I mentioned, my roots are in Russia and Latvia? Well, now I‘m knee-deep in folk art of both countries, also taking some of my findings from Hungary, where I‘ve spotted a dozen of precious old books on applied arts which I find related to Russian/Latvian arts in some ways. 

I‘m learning old techniques of weaving, of applied arts, art of traditional costume. I have some books, I also visit as many shops/galeries/work spaces/work shops/museums as I can absorbing as much as I can each time I‘m travelling there. Each time I get back full of deep admiration for everything that can be done/woven/sewn/paint by simple means and with very simplified shapes, but very accomplished and harmonious in appearance, and functional. And this is something I appreciate a lot - simplicity, harmony, usability, using mostly natural/ecologically friendly materials like natural linen, wool, wood, simple paints, natural dyes, with this individual touch on each piece.

I‘m gonna talk about a traditional costume and how it was cut and sewn so that the home-woven fabric was used with as few rests as possible – cut of straight pieces of fabric, like japanese kimono, very simple. About woven belts, used for decorating capes, pillow cases along with embroidery. About decorative paintings on all kinds of objects of utility – where the scenes where represented with a very particular language of forms (I‘m talking here about the northern regions of Russia, because this particular one I'm favouriting the most).

So in the next couple of weeks I‘m gonna talk about those projects – like weaving, applied arts, costume. I‘m not gonna copy any of objects from my books or what I might have seen somewhere – all the photos represent here what I‘m learning now about the principles, forms and expressive possibilities and how I interpret them in my current "sabbatical" creations for the sake of research. I have no idea where it can bring me, but I do want to spend my time investigating this cultural heritage.

If it appeals to you, stay tuned, I‘m gonna share more of my research results soon.