Tuesday, May 26


#the100dayproject began on the 7th of April this year.

I've decided to create 100 collages. 4" × 6" collages, upcycling materials found in my home, between the pages of my journal or from my surroundings. Quotes, poems and general words of wisdom. 
So why not celebrate them and make them a set of 100 cards which one can pick at random and feel inspired when one reads a quote and find reassurance in the words of a poem. At some point I did consider 100 Covid19 jokes.  

I've become a hoarder of all sorts of scraps and bits. Bills, moth wings, beer bottle tops, envelopes, plastic casing of tablets and the twine used to tie a package. everything has potential.

Here are the first five of hundred.

1/100 - Diwali sweet box base, poem - Finding Courage, Blanket stitch.

2/100 - Moonsoon Harvest muesli carton, quote - Robin Wall Kimmerer, faggoting with embroidery thread done to hold the pieces of the card together.
Cutting the pieces of the muesli carton so that they fit was an exercise in balance.
Must find ways to give back. 
3/100 - envelope to which strips of paper from a Tupperware flyer were woven and stuck.Further embellished with cross-stitch done with embroidery thread. Quote, hand written on brown paper from an envelope.

4/100 - Teacher's 50 whisky carton, brown paper envelope, Ferrero Rocher foil, handwritten bit of wisdom.
Have to learn to focus better and stop getting involved in too many projects. Oh! But there are so many interesting ones.
5/100 - Citibank flyer for the blue base, Scottish leader whisky carton, cotton twine which was used to tie a package for the embroidered quote and embroidery thread for blanket stitch along the edge.
Need to set the benchmark high.

100 cards in a 100 days is not going to happen. It's going to take longer than that. 
The coming together of the base card, the quote, poem or recipe and the ephemera takes time but at times it all happens in a day. 
It's going to be a 100 cards following a slow process but the 100 collages shall be made.

How are you doing in your corner of the world?
Hope you and your families are well and safe.

Sunday, May 17

The Birthday Present - a commission

A prayer for a best friend's 40th birthday and I was asked to interpret it as an embroidered piece.
I was introduced to Michael Leunig. An Australian cartoonist, writer, painter, poet and philosopher.
One of my favourites is Bunker.  Absolutely delightful little characters and a reccuring motif is the teapot, probably why the the cartoons appeal to me even more.

Found this font trawling the internet and felt it resembles Leunig's style

From my stash of fabric swatches I chose indigo,blues, blue greens and some shibori because the recipient loves the sea and on a strip of muslin I cross stitched a wave pattern in blue thread.  

A variation of darning used to join the strips of fabric together. In the lower right hand corner I embroidered what I think of as coral. Growing slowly.

This is the finished piece.Wonky edges, a slow cloth. A piece to invoke contemplation. 
I'm contemplating a tragedy unfolding in the country.
These are troubling times,uneasy times. 
An uncertain future for millions across India. 
Millions of migrant workers make their way on foot criss-crossing the country to reach home. Pregnant women,young children and men carrying all they own on their heads making their way home in the summer heat which is at 40 degrees centigrade now across most of the country. 
They have not been paid their wages and have no access to food or drinking water. 
Everyday there are more horror stories to be heard.  
Empty promises. Talk is cheap.
Government assistance to transport migrant labour back to their home towns has come too late. 
This crisis over shadows the pandemic. It's a lethal combination. 
It's a cry not just a prayer - God help us to live! 
Millions are contemplating - emptiness.
What will the heart create for us? 
A revolution me thinks.    

Saturday, May 9

21 Kusudamas for the 21 day lockdown

With the announcement of the 21 day lockdown in late March, I set myself a personal challenge, to use the time to learn to fold and create 21 origami kusudamas.
The Kusudama or medicine ball is believed to have originated in the Heaian Period (794 -1192).
Fragrant woods and herbs were put into a small cloth bag, decorated with blossoms of sobu, iris and other flowers, long silk threads of five different colours were attached to the bag.On May 5th this bag was hung in the house to ward off evil spirits and disease.  
The Emperor at the time would invite officials to Butokuden palace and give each one of them drinks of sake and a kusudama, this custom continued until the beginning of the 17th century. 
Going forward the connection of the kusudama with court functions ceased to be and instead became an ornament in the homes of the common people and a plaything for children.

Sorry about the spacing, can't rectify it. 
 I didn't know at the time that I would commit myself to a few more challenges so instead of completing 21 kusudamas in 21 days,it took me a good month and a half.
The process was meditative because of the repeated folding of modules for each kusudama. Some required as few as six modules whereas most required thirty or more.Especially the larger ones. I used old Tupperware flyers with their colourful pages to cut squares for the origami.     

This one is an exciting one, a transformer. It's called the Revealing Flower or Pop Up Star. Designed by Valentina Gonchar  and I followed this tutorial to make it.
There's more than one reason why you should use contrasting colours for the outside modules and for the revealed flower modules - first reason impact. Kind of lost in the one I've made, shall rectify that and make another one with contrasting colours and a tad smaller.
The second reason is that you won't go and mess up while assembling the modules.A lot of time wasted in reassembeling! Totally unnecessary.   

This one is called Electra. Designed by David Mitchell and here is the video tutorial if you would like to try your hand at making one. The tutorial is in Portuguese but it doesn't matter if you don't understand the language because the folding of the modules is clearly demonstrated.      
This delicate and pretty kusudama made with just six modules is called a Traditional Kusudama the tutorial can be found here.

This Kusudama is my favourite. The tutorial and all other information was in Russian so I don't know the designer or name of the kusudama. Unfortunately I didn't save the link to the tutorial. 

 Nine kusudamas, these are larger. Twelve in the picture below. A total of 21 kusudamas.

 These are smaller and require anywhere from six to twelve modules.
Some kusudamas can be created with twelve modules and increasing the number of the same modules to thirty gives you a kusudama with a whole different form.
I'm going to give these kusudamas to friends to hang in their homes or verandahs and hopefully there will be healing of the world at large and in their homes.I'm also going to leave them for people to find.
Here are the links to some of the other kusudamas which I made
1. Top left corner - The Kusudama Spiky Ball Star - uses just 6 modules. No need for glue. Makes a great Christmas decoration as well.  
2. Top right corner -  Origami Kusudama Little Turtle - requires 30 modules.
3. Bottom left corner - Origami Kusudama Star - requires 30 modules.
4. Bottom right corner - Crystal Star Kusudama - designed by Denver Lawson. Requires 30 modules  
I was surprised to discover a Coronavirus Kusudama as well. It requires 30 pieces of paper 1:4 proportion. Does not use square pieces of paper. I tried it but the paper I had was too flimsy.

I find origami like embroidery a meditative process. A slow process, requires precision and the results are rewarding.
I can watch my movies on Netflix and fold modules for a kusudama or do a bit of mending for #mendmay2020.
Have you got involved in any creative challenge during this period of social distancing and isolation?  Hope you are well and safe.