Monday, March 30, 2009

Josef Albers in Wool

The embroidery ist going on. I started it months ago. The size is 7x8,3". It will not be perfectly alike, but similar enough, I hope.
It could be an amusing game to find the differences.

I have always thought it is kitsch to reproduce a painting by embroidery. What do you think?

Spring is coming, and my husband and I put the oleander into a new pot, not a clay pot which tends to dry out, but a plastic one. Last year, there was a splendor of blossoms. Wait and see what the oleander will be up to this year.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Palaces and huts

Yesterday and today I spent a lot of time working on the website of a real estate broker. Wanna buy that villa in Turkey? Business is difficult, due to the crisis, banks are not giving credits. But it did not come to a grinding halt as it seems in the USA.

When there is a little time in between, there is art like lino-print: The second picture shows a kind of deconstructed effect from the paint that ran into the gaps, so I pressed the cloth deeply into the gaps. It is the Estonian folk pattern which I like so much and do in rememberance of my ancestors.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Heritage Challenge

When my husband went to see his parents the other day, he took back a big bag of wool. "From Mom's neighbour. She doesn't use it any more." I thought of my stash in the bedroom drawer. When I found out that my favourite material is not on the market any more, I bought the last boxes in E-bay. I was one of maybe 3 customers interested in this wool. This craft is dead! But, as the last heir of wool embroidery in Germany (it seems), I get flooded with similar material.

I started another embroidery, another mini-quilt-like pattern. I don't have a plan; I just set rules. I chose a pattern which is much like quilt blocks and just let it go on without knowing the next step before I do it.
There is a risk that I won't like the whole thing; the challenge is to find a way to make it meet my demand. At the moment, I don't really like it yet; but after increasing the contrast, I feel it will work out.

Here is a detail of the stitches. Doing it all in one direction, it tends to distorting the embroidery; that's why I planned squares of 18x18 stitches and let the stitch alternate in a chessboard pattern way. As a quilt pattern, I think this is a nine patch + hour glass, or what is it?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So much work!

Last night I finished working at 10 p.m. after 9 hours in front of my customer's screen and took the subway home which is a one hour ride to my 'burb. (Nice word, thanks Reyna!) Today I'll see our tax advisor, then I'll serve another customer. Funny how it accumulates now. For months I had very few jobs and very little income, of course. So I decided to apply for old people's pension, and here we go! Okay, I don't mind, after months of draught: A monthly income of 70 to 250 Euros. How good that my husband has a solid job. In summer, we'll spend 2 weeks in Denmark in a little house which looks like a container near a bay of the Baltic. The view across the water shows the German coast. Not at all spectacular, but hopefully calm and down-to-earth relaxation. Long walks and funny coloured Danish food.
I started some embroidery, not worth showing yet, and some printing experiments with the small stamp from last week. Sorry to disappoint my readers, but I'm not getting on with arts.
Today, my Jacob Nielsen book arrived.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring is here

"Parle-moi d' amour!" Great crested grebes are performing a cute mating ritual on the pond.

We took a walk in cold wind under blue sky and discovered a part of Hamburg on foot which is one of our favourite things to do on weekends with good weather.

It was really cold! We stayed in the streets and did not head for the shore of our beautiful Alster "lake" -- actually an artificial lake formed from the river Alster. It is nice there, but the wind was too cold. It felt like zero!

The Alster in summer
In the Middleages, people of Hamburg created a reservoir by building a dam into the Alster which drove a mill. Later, when sailing became popular, this was a space to find recreation in sports. Swimming was possible still in the twenties/thirties. Now, water quality has been improved to the point that it is possible again to swim in the Alster. But nobody does; it is not forbidden, but not recommended either.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Changed my room

Today I changed my room back to what it was like when we moved in. I pushed the bookshelf over to the other side and turned the bed by 90° angle. I have my own bedroom because we sleep more quietly in single rooms, we start the night together and finish it separately. It was some work to take the books out and move the furniture alone -- I want to surprise my husband --, and I think I haven't been constructed for physical work, other people do such things every day. I did not take a photo of my working table, I thought it is too messy. It always looks messy in my place! Do you think something should be done? This is what it looked like when my job was finished. --
Yesterday in a street cafe: A lady with her parrot. The bird seemed to feel at ease and was very quiet and did not even seem disturbed when someone walked closely by that table.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What is a modern website?

Today I found a link in one of the blogs I follow. I wanted to inform on this attractive and obviously practical thing. What do you think about the website? Did you find it easy to surf or difficult?

If you are especially interested in web design, I recommend to read the very clever analysis site of Jakob Nielsen. He did not bother to make it look nice, but it is full of great informations for web designers.

Looking forward to comments!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunny busy Tuesday

After redoing some of the stamped letters by stenciling, I tried a little lino cut. A traditional Estonian pattern. First I tried acrylics, but they don't print well. Haha, so I have a reason to buy more textile paint...
Judy, there is the Laufer eraser we talked about. It is no larger than the other ones.
Little advice for all lino cutters: If you have a larger piece and plan smaller ones, make the cut first, then separate it from the rest. I started with a small piece which is a nuissance. Well, I guess you were wiser than me.

How long ago did I do lino cut? It must have been about 40 years. It was easier than I thought, and it smells nice. I'm sure I'll be doing some more. But now I have to go out into the sun before it is gone and maybe cut some shoots from trees I will plant into the new gaps.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Embroidery sold

I can't believe it. They are all sold. The second piece took me ages. It was done in a very fine stitch. But, after all, I did it for fun and would never know where to store all these things and what to create out of them.
I couldn't make a living on this, but I am happy someone likes it and will use it. It is quite amazing, because for 30 years I have been living on other jobs because it seemed to be impossible to sell art, be it paintings or whatever. I did some custom portraits, but only one of my paintings was sold in an exhibition. Maybe it was because I just couldn't give them away. My fault. I have always loved "real" things a lot more than money. From the point where I got what I urgently need -- a heated place to live, food, medical care -- I don't care about money.
I published these things in order for you to use it as a kind of marketing research, as I try to find out in Etsy what other people have been able to sell.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

They're chopping down my poplars

Yesterday, I was quite upset. They are chopping down my poplars. This is public ground. The trees are sort of protected by law, unless they are regarded to be a danger to people walking by. Just as it is in the USA, also in Germany someone has to be responsible for whatever happens. In Turkey, they would laugh and say, "then don't walk near trees in a storm and look up, stupid!" -- In Germany, this isn't so. Everyone is afraid to be taken to court.
I'm so sad about the loss of these trees very close to our flat, and I'm afraid they will spoil the view from my kitchen window completely. This row of trees has been protecting our place from northern winds, nobody cares about our Feng Shui. Also the wild cherry tree which blossoms so nicely in spring has been badly damaged by the falling logs.
And the end of Eli Stone was stolen. We are so disappointed! I wrote mails to the companies.

But: Today I saw a group of cranes heading east. About 20 of these beautiful birds, flying no higher than 150 ft, sending out their melodic calls. I saw them as a prophecy of good things to come. Here's a video of cranes in East Germany.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Try something new again

Not satisfied with the printed letters, I bought stencil paint. It is oil-based and buttery. I cut letters out of a transparent foil which works very well, because the letters are clear and crisp, as I wanted them. I finished the first spell which is to give a person appetite and well-being.

The other one is more a kind of epic poem and describes how someone is carried away by a crow who keeps the speaker under her wing and takes him (her?) to the Golden village to the Golden Chamber of Happiness.

Vares oli vaga linnoke / võttis mind teise tiiwa alla/viis mind ilo külasse/viis mind ilo kuldatuba/ilo kuldakamberisse.

If you'd like to know what this language sounds like, here is Estonian rap.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Freedom for Tibet

March 10th is the day of the rebellion of the Tibetans against the Chinese occupation and the bloody defeat of Tibet. With first hand informations from people who live next to the border, I know that still today young girls and boys reach India over strenuous and dangerous paths from Tibet across the highest mountain passes, walking for days in deep snow into an insecure future, but at least into freedom. Their parents let them go, rather tolerating the separation than seeing their children being trained against the moral principles of Buddhism by the Chinese. As far as violence has grown, the Chinese education may be called successful. The helpless despair of some Tibetans and the cruel 100fold revenge from the Chinese has illustrated that their philosophy is showing effect.


Working for the importer of Himalayan salt yesterday afternoon. It was fun! I have worked for this man for more than ten years, and in the beginning it was not so easy -- my authority problem. I can't help racking my brain over others people's problems. But in this case, he seems to appreciate that I think about coming problems in advance and warn him. Most German bosses hate that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cutting Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamps, cut out of slices from an old eraser which I sacrificed to the project. The handles are formed out of a molding paste which mainly consists of paper clay.
After drying, the rubber letters will certainly have to be fixed to the handles with glue. I used a fine cutter and tools for woodcut or linoleum cut.

PS. Decided to replace the molded handles by cardboard, because the drying process will drive me nuts, I need it quick.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More about white printing

Again I cut turnip stamps, this time in Latin letters. I used white acrylic paint. The letters aren't as nice and crisp as on the white cloth. I think I'll do some more experiments with linoleum letters -- after all, these can be reused for a long time. Or perhaps I'll try a rubber eraser, cut in slices and glued to something I can use as a grip.
The spell is for someone who has lost appetite. Is is another Estonian spell from the 1851 Kreutzwald-collection, St. Petersburg.

Today I turned my German blog into a language blog, in which I will criticize the development of German since the spelling was "reformed". Catastrophe! Talking about catastrophes: the collapse of the Cologne archive. This 6-storey-building fell into the subway building site the other day, you may have heard about it. 2 human lives and precious medieval scripts will have to be mourned. "A subway nobody needed and nobody wanted", said the priest of a nearby church which also shows heavy cracks in the walls.

Printing with white

Printed another spell with white acrylic paint onto the black cloth. Doesn't satisfy me really. Picture tomorrow, when there is light.
Got a haircut, quite short. Spring is coming closer. The sheep has to be shorn.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I don't know if "outsorcing" is Denglish, as we call bad German English over here; today I went to the copy shop and paid 36 $ (28 Euros) for 2 copies on cloth. It would not be so much cheaper to do it with my own ink printer -- if I had one.
Then I cut patches with single nudes.

The print had not worked perfectly; in some parts, the paint did not get fixed on the cloth. It may be linnen and not cotton, it was an old bed sheet.

Then I put the pieces onto the Witches Gown and will be fixing them between snake, homunculus, eyes and bird poles. More spells are due to follow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Foto Transfer

I went to the quilt shop today, about 1/2 hour from my home by tube. Bought a roller cutter and variegated thread for almost 20 € both (about 26$). They did not have any aids for foto transfer. But the lady was very nice and wrote down the address of a Munich shop for me. In the online shop, I did not find anything I need. Now I'm waiting to be called back.
Well, they have the liquid, but no transfer foil.

I made up my mind.
I'll be going to a copy shop and have my photos printed out. Right now, I'm creating a large photocollage which looks like Michelangelo's Last Jugement. I'll have it printed on cloth, I will cut it into pieces and use them in the project.

The Devil Wears Prada

A film I had wanted to see for a long time -- we recorded it the other night from TV. Not all husbands would have stayed all the time; mine was fascinated. What struck me most was the business style in this magazine. The way the heroine had to adapt to the demands of her job seemed pretty tough to me. Is it really that bad?

Experiments with Foto Transfer
Today I made a few experiments, as I had planned. I tried the ideas you kindly shared in your comments.
I tried some cleaning liquid with orange oil, natural turpentine and petrol-based turpentine, but none of them worked, and not the wonder under idea either that I wrote about. The toner remained firmly fixed to the paper; I threw it all away.
Normally I don't fight with things. It works, or I look for another way to express my ideas. But in this case, I have a vision of my witch gown which has to include human forms in a very convincing way. The photos I want to be on this cloth like trophees are nudes. I want to surround them with more spells. It is all laid out in my head, but I can't go on. This is tantalizing!

You are right, Reyna, there is nothing like being taught by a personally present teacher! So sorry I cannot present any successful fruits of my studio.
Today I'm going to a quilt store trying to inquire about workshops or advice. But I have to have breakfast first, I just did not have the patience. Now that all of it went wrong I can have coffee in peace.

PS. Tried nail polish remover. No effect either.