Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beginning my Virtual World Embroidery tour - first stop, Japan

I love seeing embroidery from around the world ... and have decided to learn a few of the techniques which differ quite widely from my own. So I'm planning on documenting a "world tour" of sorts on my own blog.

My first stop will actually be a recurring one as I've also decided to add a bit of "formal" study to inform my own techniques and use of materials. In May I visited a course sponsored by the Japanese Embroidery Center in Georgia and in August I began as a "Phase one" student with a local private tutor so that I could join quarterly classes offered locally by a traveling tutor. It's sort of like working toward a Black belt ... there are ten phases to the program and specific pieces one chooses to work to learn increasingly difficult techniques. The classes are conducted in near silence and the teacher moves through the class providing the opportunity for guidance and questions. I've never been into yoga ... but the near meditative state achieved is as close as I get. Working with untwisted,pure silk threads is unlike anything I've ever tried before ... at times it is like trying to sew with a spiderweb strand (though a little less sticky). Some twisted threads are used but one twists them manually and on demand (Unless you are a master in which case i understand you have an understudy who does nothing but twist thread for you!) Each type of twist reflects light differently.

students working on a variety of phases

This is a Phase 9 piece though when Susan (pictured) began it was classified as Phase 6

When I was working on finishing my Phase I piece --- I tried to spend an hour or two each morning bringing out my inner perfectionist (she doesn't often make an appearance :))I enjoyed the discipline and the concept of there being a right way and a wrong way to work even though this is pretty far from my personal freewheeling style. Below are some photos from the class and of my own Phase I piece at various stages of completion. (Between the lack of both available light and great photography skills I do not have a picture of the completed piece).

While I don't anticipate making a career of embroidering ceremonial kimonos the experience in learning to work with silk will probably find it's way into some of my work. I sold a few of those embroidered jewelry pieces (brooches and pendants) in the gallery this holiday season and will be adding some to my etsy shop as well.

Japanese embroidery is worked on a special frame -- the right hand is always above and the left below (rules!)

this phase one piece (NOT mine) is nearly complete

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Handmade Channukah preparations

Just wanted to share a small portion of our family's handmade hannukia (menorah) -- The rosewood and aluminum one was made by my dad and is the one I grew up with, the painted wooden one was created by my niece, and the fused glass and ceramic versions are my own creations. On December 1 this year we'll light them all and a few more and eat too much fried food. Here's wishing a happy holiday season with family and friends to everyone.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Which came first?

Which came first?
Originally uploaded by safischer1

I joined a swap on Flickr and created this little hoop based on the swap rules and my "secret" partner's stated likes and dislikes. I guess I didn't feel I had enough to do getting ready for the holiday gallery and shows :).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thoughts for a Sweet New Year

The Jewish New Year falls particularly early this year ... right upon the heels of summer and the start of the school year -- it made scheduling a bit tricky but also seemed so right because regardless of our beliefs and persuasions this is traditionally a season of new beginnings for so many of us. On a personal level taking the time to reflect and to be reminded to listen to the shofar as a wake up call that each of us matters and how we move through this world matters to us and to it was particularly welcome and timely. On a side note -- the tradition of dipping apples in honey is a delicious one that anyone could try :).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Where Fiber Frolics and Goes to College (and so do I)

by Sharon of Stray Notions

As a fiber artist I'm lucky to get to spend a good part of the summer in Maine where there is a very active community of fiber artists and producers - over 134 fiber studios, farms, shops and learning centers, are listed on the
Maine Fiberarts Tour Map.

In June of each year the Fiber Frolic is held at the Windsor Fair grounds ... somewhat in the style of a traditional agricultural fair (minus the midway). Rain or shine individuals involved in any aspect of fiber art turn out along with alpacas, sheep, goats and bunnies to sell, learn, demonstrate and in some instances compete. This year featured a sheep to shawl demonstration, and Make it in Maine with Fiber contest, hands-on workshops and limboing lamas. Vendors sold tools, fiber products and handmade goods (along with THE BEST FALAFEL ever!) Several years ago I was so taken with some (very expensive) yarn that I bought it even thought I
DON'T (didn't) KNIT.

fiber frolic  mosaic

In September Fiber College takes place in Midcoast Maine -- back to back and overlapping workshops, demonstrations and guest artists all on the shores of the Penobscot Bay and outdoors, weather permitting. It's like camp for grown ups in the best way possible.

In between there is a weekend in August when all of the sites on the aforementioned map are open to the public.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Boston Handmade Marketplace - Dry Run

... but sadly not a dry day ... so rain date plans are in effect!
(updated Friday night)

dry run

by Sharon of Stray Notions

Saturday July 10 (or Sunday the 11th if it rains which seems likely at this point) ... will be the third annual Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square Somerville. As a new member it will be my first show with the group and my first outdoor show in ... well ... ever. I'm totally psyched and a little nervous ... thus the compulsion to create a mock up of my set up in the living room complete with a recently thrifted "plus size" and headless model sporting my newly crafted show apron. Here's a peek at at what I've been working on.

new work mosaic

I'll be sharing a tent with Crystal "sharing the Square" with more than 20 other indie artisans. Complete details on the events and participating vendors are here. Here's a peak at some of my newest work. Come on down!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Welcome to my virtual blog

pillows and other
Originally uploaded by safischer1

And and I mean that in the ancient sense as in ... barely existent (existing in essence or effect though not in actual fact; Existing in the mind, especially as a product of the imagination) rather than the more modern usage involving technology and computers.

That may be about to change though I do hope that "products of my imagination" will find their way here, that the "bold step" I announced over a year ago will finally be followed by at least a few more.

If you' ve landed here I'm going to guess that it's because you saw me on the Martha Stewart show (1/18/2010) or on one of the links on her website. Thanks for stopping by .. let me know in comments or by email if I can answer any questions you may have on any of the embroidery techniques which I demoed or if you'd like like to commission me to embroider one for you. I'm also planning on offering Custom Kits if there is interest --- where I would trace your design onto a tote back or pillow cover --- for you to embroider. These could be offered alone or fully kitted up with thread, needles, hoop and a guide to some simple stitches. I'd love to hear your thoughts.