Friday, September 30, 2011

Feynman, Quilting Arts and tangents

Most of my art appears at a tangent to what I expected to be happening. I think it's there lying in wait for me, and the oddest things act as a trigger. That word always reminds me of a schoolfriend, one of those kids who gets words a bit wrong, but is very dramatic about it, announcing one day in class many years ago to her friends "If you ask me to do that, it's like holding a trigger to my head!" and she was very annoyed with me when I pointed out that anyone who did that would be aiming at herself. Where was I, oh yes.

Several things unrelated to actually making new art, happened today. I found a new bio of Richard Feynman at the library, checked it out and found it was a graphic novel, what we used to call a comic book. But tried it anyway and could not put it down.

In fact the graphic approach is exactly right for him, since he used to orchestrate his thinking in physics with diagrams, rather than only blocks of equations. I loved him from first discovering his lectures for the nonphysicist, partly because he tried to demystify the subject, always a winner for me, and then because I found he had pronounced synaesthesia, saw numbers in color. And he could not recognize people, though he could tell they were people (!) and finally that he had learned to do lucid dreaming. All of these are important things for me in my own life, and I just had such a ride trying to follow this brilliant path through a science I know little to nothing about. Anyway, it's "Feynman" by Ottaviani and Myrick.

Then Quilting Arts magazine came, which annoyed me, because my favorite FiberArts went out of business, too costly, and the publishers substituted this mag. as a way of filling out the subscription. It was a gift last Christmas from HP and HS and I loved the mag. No respecter of boundaries in the arts, it ranged over fibers and painting and printmaking and artists who combined all of them, perfect for me. But found to my surprise since I have little to no interest in quilting, that today's QA magazine had the same effect.

What happens is that the atmosphere around the mag triggers all sorts of great art ideas and impulses, that have nothing to do with what's written there, I expect Feynman would know the name for this phenomenon, and it happened today.

So before I knew it I was poking around in the studio for fabrics, any fabrics, felted who knows, for backing for the current fiber arts wall pieces I'm working on that need a solid backing just so the eye can rest of them better. And found some great silk pieces.

and using Feynman's explanation of the principle of least action, I did the simplest thing with them: white silk being too oh well, it needed color.

I made a cup of strong coffee and dunked the pieces in it, keeping air bubbles in there to get interesting creeping patterns

then hung them outside, and painted them further, using a turkey baster.

Ironed them, put a temp. casing on each one and here they are on the wall showing their paces before I figure out which other artwork they belong with.

Possibly the knitted piece I'm doing now, in fine cotton thread, feather and fan design, a long panel.

But we'll see.

Wonderful day of artmaking, very happy return to being able to do that. And my new glasses helped a ton, too since I was able to see what I was doing, a big point. My hands are healing quite well, too, since they have been rested from nursing and constant use now for a few weeks. They feel pretty good even when I knit and do all kinds of things.

All in all, very good day was had by all.


  1. I was one of those kids who gets words a bit wrong but is dramatic about it - elementary school, beginning of the year, knew the "big kids" hated and groaned over a particular subject, so when I was given the book, came home, stopping along the way at each neighbour's house (moms outside)groaning "my dictionary, now I've got a dictionary, dictionary..." when what I should have been referring to was "history". I did wonder why everyone gave me a queer look. Your art projects are intriguing. Happy to hear your hands are feeling better, too! - Jean from Cowtown

  2. Love the coffee-dyed silk. Great.

  3. what a wonderful effect, boud. I've been looking for something interesting to do with the sheers that will go on the 'street side' of my new curtains, and this effect is pretty much what I have been seeing behind the eyes, so to speak. Seeing it in action tells me this is what I want, and I've got all winter to play with it.

  4. Love it! Art can be very simple or achingly complex. Guess which I prefer.. ~giggles, though that could just be my laziness talking.

  5. Oo! Feather and fan! :)

    I saw a review for the Feynman book that was quite positive, too - I'm going to keep an eye out for it.

  6. I like your silk au lait. ;-)

    And I LOVE that feather and fan design. I'll have to look for the pattern. It would make a lovely scarf.


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