Monday, February 27, 2012

magic diary monday

stepping into anything sideways always involves its own set of complications, and this time is no different.  first, to bring myself to work in a palette i would not ordinarily choose to work in. second, to conform my ideas to someone else's structure, yet transform it into my own vision. finally, to settle on an idea that will work with the palette and structure harmoniously.

after tossing around several ideas, i finally settled on doing one of my favorites: an alphabet cloth. it can be inserted into most any structure and is nondependent upon any color scheme. can be embellished in unlimited ways and is, again, one of my favorites!
almost seems like cheating...


Saturday, February 25, 2012

shifting weather patterns

the weather her in the wilds of montana can't seem to make up its mind. we still haven't had a "real" winter (though there are those who are sighing in relief). lately, it'll seem like spring is poking her head around the corner. then old man winter wakes up and shakes a flurry of snowflakes from his robes and reminds us that it's still his turn to wander the countryside...

in reflection of this, i have added some more clouds to the skies around the rusty sun. they are batik scraps from the same old class project. added some kantha stitching to fill in where the scissors took out. whispers of thread chants and romping beasts fill my ears this evening. this cloth is far from fully realized in its manifestation...

this afternoon saw a new flurry of snow. perhaps old man winter hasn't given up the ghost yet either...


Monday, February 20, 2012

magic diary monday

not moving forward. not moving backward. just jumping in sideways. . .

it's all too easy to get yourself bogged down in the minutia of everyday concerns. like a crow lost in the euphoria of finding so many sparklies that he just can't figure out which one to grab first, knowing full well the limitations of his beak!

several months ago, i embarked on jude hill's most amazing whispering series yet, the magic diaries cloth whispering series. last month began part 2 of the series. part 2????  wait! i haven't even begun needle chanting my way through part 1 yet!!! sure, i've been reading along, listening to the sound bytes, watching the vid clips, entertaining ideas, daydreaming about fantastical magic diary cloths... but i've had to limit my participation to...well..none! which is entirely strange for me. i'm an immensely social being and to not interact odd as weird exercising poodles (and this is absolutely surreal!).  

so, in an effort to get back on track, yet not be so ferociously behind, i've decided to jump in sideways. i have this idea of taking a vintage in which i can find little to admire...and use it as the backdrop for my own spin on the magic diary cloth. i've seen so many amazing things manifesting in the workshop already! so many ideas. directions. but being one who tends to listen to drummers that others rarely hear, i had to come up with something different...yet attempt to maintain the essence of the magic diary cloth. i don't know if i will succeed. or if i can even find myself liking anything that manifests from this hideous old quilt! but i'm willing to try...

first, some ground rules (which, for those of you who know me, will probably be broken soon enough):

1. utilize this unfortunate twin sized thrifted quilt as the foundation and stage for my magic diary cloth.

2. maintain, as best as possible, the integrity of jude's shared ideas, techniques and visions for the magic diary cloth, yet stay true to my own, oft times warped, artistic view.

3. allow the deformed creature that is the salvaged quilt a certain amount of presence in the finished cloth (how much, you may well ask? i have no idea...but my idea is to have at least some of the quilt's personality radiate through the transformation).

4. utilize, as much as possible, salvaged materials to express my ideas through this cloth building experience.

5. participate in the amazing community that jude has founded through the whispering series itself and its forum.

6. document the transformation here with weekly updates each monday. monday. moon day. a touchstone that bespeaks of jude to me and therefore relevant in my thinking on this cloth experience.

that's it for the moment. i am quite certain new ground rules will introduce themselves as i delve deeper. i am also quite certain that there will be pieces that will need to be picked up along the way....

and now, i'm headed into the studio to hack that obnoxious machine stitched binding from the edge of the elephant cloth! it will do little more than the torn burlap sack did for the elephant man....but it will be a start.


Friday, February 17, 2012

a little rust break

taking a little break from the batik large cloth to dig around in my rusted treasures pile and collect a few new sun shapes to play with. these ought to create interesting suns!  i've also found a stash of interesting rusty shapes that i hope to play with soon, too. more on them later...wouldn't want to ruin the suspense now, would i?

meanwhile, i've also been doing a lot of thinking about my magic diaries quilt. you know? that wonderful whispering series by jude hill that i've been following for months on end now but hiding from like a hermit crab? it's not that i've not wanted to participate... but rather, that i've simply had to limit my time. but i'm beginning to get cave fever and need to crawl out into the cloudy light of winter and play!

so, i'll be starting "magic diary monday" here at manhandled threads to chronicle some of my progress, as well as participating in the series group.  i'll be approaching it in a somewhat unorthodox manner (what's that? you say! joe! unorthodox? never!) i'm going to be jumping in sidewise with this one...but you will have to wait until the first magic diary monday next week to find out what i mean by that, so stay tuned!

(was that just too mean of me or what?)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


while playing around with ideas to help this rusty sun's whispers to take form, i came across this old batik that i did while teaching at a local fabric shop. it was buried deep in my great, great uncle's steam trunk. forgotten for its perceived imperfections. colors that bled when washed. attributes which conscribed it to the depth of this oubliette. but now, under the oxidized rays of this primordial sun, the imperfections transmute. become strengths. time now to begin tearing. stitching. digging for more fragments. but, most of all, to listen intently for the whispers and the story hiding therein...

this appears to be my current preoccupation, so expect updates and new pictures in the next couple of days.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

thread chanting

in keeping with being gentle, i've been quietly thread chanting this little peacock based on a vintage pattern found in an old sewing box. most of it is kantha stitch, though they did not call it such. my mind has been wandering around other designs and images that could translate nicely into kantha stitch. perhaps this will be a new direction for quiet moments when my fingers are not in the mood to be needle chanting 4,320 inch and a half squares into a bed cloth...


Monday, February 6, 2012

being gentle

"although we are not often taught this, 
the most skillful way through an impasse 
in meditation is to become aware of it 
and of what holds it together 
and keeps it running."
-jason siff

i find this to be true in anything. be it meditation. art. work. whatever! the trick, though, it seems, is to figure out how to actually do this. for me, if i simply keep doing the meditation...the art...the the manner that has gotten me this far already, and resist the temptation to push harder, but rather applying a softer, gentler touch, then the impasse will begin to dissolve and fall away. sometimes i don't even notice the moment that it does. i just notice all of a sudden that the resistance is no longer there. other times, it simply remains as it is. and that is okay, too. i just allow them to be what they are until they choose to be something else (notice i did not say "something more"). perhaps this is why i no longer stress over what others call their uncontrollable pile of ufo's. by allowing them to simply be, i am able to enjoy them nonetheless...and remove the stress of feeling as thought i simply must finish them this moment!

though, there are those who will stress over even this... ha!

today i am inspired by this.


Friday, February 3, 2012

unexpected finds

digging through boxes of rusty metal dyeing resources that i recently acquired offered this little gem. i'm not sure what it is from, but it seems to make a rather nice frame, don't you think? now to find and interesting old wood box...or piece of barn wood...or other rustic bit to tack it to. oh...and the perfect picture to put in it, too, of course!

as you can see in this close up, it has a lovely patina. i had originally purchased it to rust dye some fabric, but hate to destroy this beautiful job that age has already done with it...

perhaps an old photo of my great great uncle and attach it to his steam trunk? or a wedding photo of my folks and attach it to...something else?

whatever i decide, i'm certain it will become a treasure to enjoy for many years to come...

today, i am inspired by this. not only by the beautiful image, but also by the words...