frenchtown fiber

Chris Mundy and Kate House try to make art while navigating the crap life throws at them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Peters Valley: Day Two

The sun woke me up at the crack of dawn this day, and that's OK. Breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:30, so I had time to stitch on a little side project I had developed. Then it was a shower and then make my way back up Thunder Mountain Road. I saw a green heron on the marsh, and a beautiful woodpecker, that I still have to look up and identify.

Day 2 was the day we soaked the paper off of our transfers. We all had mixed results, largely due to the weather. Barbara gave a slide show, and she also showed us a quilt that she brought to put in the faculty show at Peters Valley. The main section is a leather glove that belonged to her Aunt that Barbara washed and spray painted gold. She took that piece and had it reproduced by a printer, into a repeat pattern on fabric. That fabric is what made up the rest of the quilt. She told us that she had 5 yards made, at a cost of around $800. Very interesting idea, don't you think? A bit expensive, but... Then she mentioned an opening she was having in June, in of all places, the Clinton Art Museum. This is 12 miles from my house and I drive through Clinton on a regular basis. Mary says she can go as well. Looking forward to that.

After this we were to work on projects of our choice. We were cautioned not to feel we needed to come away with a completed project. We only had one and a half days left. We could continue with our fabric experiments or try to start a project. I took one of my transfers, a bird, and painted her with fabric paint. That paint is something else that has been hanging around my studio that I hadn't tried. I started making an arrangement with the bird and the bleach-penned denim patches. They seemed to have a similar quality. Then I took a piece of burlap and arranged everything in a symmetrical pattern, with the bird in the center. Barbara came along and rocked my world a little. I ended up with different fabric and an off center bird. I played around with the arrangement for a while. At one point I spread the fabric onto the floor to cut it, when right next to me was a big table!

There were two college students among my classmates. I noticed that they did not even try to start a project. I think they have plenty of opportunities to work. Robin had just learned to make french knots and was just making so many beautiful knots. Cathy was the other student, I remember hearing her talk about trying to arrange her school around her two young sons.
Bev was a retired art teacher whose daughter was an accomplished artist and a former student of Barbara's. Cheryl was a recent widow who was emerging from a painful time in her life, but you knew she would be OK because she had so many interests. She ended up making one of the best projects. Kim and Jannika were friends and came together. They are both prolific and experienced quilters. Kim described herself as a "gadget girl" and really knew the ins and outs of all the different sewing machines. Jannika was from Holland and had a slightly off way of speaking English that was delightful. She reminded me a little of Gunnel. If you have ever visited her blog, you would know what I mean.
At dinner we sat with some of the people from the fine metals studio. They were hammering out bracelets and other jewelry in that class. The teacher, Wayne Werner, was a real character and was cracking us up at the table. He invited us to a party in that studio in the evening. Check out this man's jewelry if you get a chance, it is fantastic.

Wayne came into the fiber studio later (Fine metal is right next to fibers) looking for a picture of a tick. There are signs all over the place with tick warnings, and there was a pamphlet stapled right on the wall in our studio. That wasn't cutting it for him. By the way, if there is internet access at Peters Valley, I wasn't aware of it, so googling an image was not an option. He said he needed the image because he wanted to forge a bronze tick to hang on the wall in the food house! There was quite a bit of art like that around, maybe left behind by students or instructors.

We get thrown out of the fiber studio at 10 pm, but I guess if the instructor stays, you can be in the studio as long as you like. That's why the metal studio remained open. Mary and I went over to hang out. There was wine and beer in a 5 gallon pail with ice. They were all working over there, banging away, making some really cool stuff. Wayne was working on his tick. I was just checking everything out, and he asked me if I wanted to "bang on some metal?" "Hell yes." was my reply. A young man named Kat (Cat?) was the student assistant in that studio. He annealed a piece of bronze for me that was already in a ring shape. Annealing is when you roast the metal with a torch and then quench it in water (Some metals you quench in oil, but not this) This leaves a brine on the surface, which I had to steel-wool off. Then I put the ring on a rod that is a ring sizer, and I had to bang on the ring with a hammer, which made it bigger, until it reached the size I needed. I got carried away and got to size seven, which is almost too big for any of my fingers. Then I had to bang the ring on it's sides to flatten that back out. Then I banged with a sharp hammer, to make ridges all around the ring. I was given what I would describe as a vegatable peeler for metal. I scraped along the ridges I had created to shave off the high spots. Then I polished it and, viola! A ring! I don't really think small forge is for me, but I really appreciated having an opportunity to give it a whirl.

We were hanging around talking after that, and I was running my fingers through my hair and found a tick. Wayne was thrilled. He took a picture with his phone and zoomed in. Unfortunately I never saw the finished tick.


Susan said...

Your recent posts are so exciting! I would have loved to have been there with you and the others....and yes...I most certainly would have tried banging on the metal too! I hope you get to see the finished tick! There's a painter at Gallery 80808 who often portrays some of the dead cockroaches (actually...these are Palmetto bugs....flying cockroaches native to our area!) They are actually quite adorable. I have one. I can't find the email that someone (I think it was you) wrote asking about my grave rubbings. If it was you: I cover the crayon markings with a piece of Seal release paper and iron. Most people don't have this paper but baking parchment is basically the same thing. In truth, one could cover the crayon with plain paper and iron. I do this to avoid smearing the crayon with the heat. After the first ironing, the paper is no longer necessary. All the extra wax has been melted away. The resulting fabric is soft and pliable....just like it was before the rubbing.
PS I know just where Dingman's Fall is located. I've been there twice. Did you know that my married name is Susan Lenz Dingman!

Anonymous said...

Love your whole Peter`s Valley travel log.
Now I do not have to write it.(With my twisted english!!!!!) The best thing is that I now get to see your work on the blog and etsy.AMAZING.

Chris said...

Hey Janneke,
Thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting! I sure did have fun at Peters Valley. I had a hard time getting back to work.

I still have to write about day 3 on my blog. I have to hurry, already starting to forget the details. Well, I can always make things up!