Friday, March 29, 2013

Miles to go Before I Sleep

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

I remember when I was at uni my tutor in English lit nearly died laughing when I wanted to talk about a Robert Frost poem- Mending Wall as it happened- she did belong to the feminist  clique who were enamoured of Leda and the Swan- but  Frost was considered so gauche and pedestrian and well hick I guess- I think  it sealed my  fate  in English lit, that, and my attempt  to write an essay about misogyny in  DH Lawrence's book Sons and Lovers( for which I got a big "0"). Yet  as a kid from the country and  with a sometimes darker insight than might be necessary, his poems always spoke of a deeper and  soulful meaning than the words  slipping across the page might suggest. And indeed Robert Frost himself was a complex man and not always easy or nice, but he touched at the core of insight much in the way that Rilke does- yet these two poets write so differently , one familiar and colloquial, the other dense and difficult- but at the core I think they both  touch on the same subject- what is within , deep within, and the questions it raises. I don't know how often I  say to myself "And I have miles to go before I sleep" not  to dwell on what has to be done, but to know that it must be gone through and on- it's a sort of incantation that both soothes and makes ready. And once I start thinking about "the woods lovely, dark and deep", it's usually at the end of intensely working and so new work arises that was not intended or even planned but comes nonetheless as if bursting from the rhythm of working.

And so what has this to do with quilting... I don't know except work is bursting and I have 6 days before I leave and there is a long way to go still, miles in fact. I became so intrigued by the elongated figures of ChartresCathedral in what are said to be  kings and queens of the old testament, that well they have  taken over, in particular the  image of the queen without hands ( why are her hands missing and what is that brooch on her breast ?)- the draping of her clothing is very fine compared to the male figures- so fine as to suggest a very finely woven fabric. The edges of the sleeves of her over gown appear decorated ( this is when I wish I had taken a better photo...had paid more attention to the detail)

The background cloth was a drip cloth/back cloth laid on the table when I was breakdown printing and trying out printing the  sort of toile design I made with thickened dye- it created a rather dense and rich cloth which was too good to discard and in the end good for balancing the digitally printed image ( cloth painted with Inkaid gives wonderful prints, though the fabric does change hand, but which I will use to create a puffiness to suggest  the roundness of the original sculpture). The background cloth started to look a little like a stained glass window, which then altered the way  I was thinking about the four leafed  motif- now I will have to print off some more.But she emerged when I was in fact planning other things.

 And here are more faces inspired by the Bayeaux Madonna- these will  balance the Norman knights I finished last week.The pieces are 120cm wide and one metre long. They will form a sort of gallery at  my exhibition space at Quilts en Beaujolais. In the end I won't finish the book I had intended to make about "France" - though it will get done, once I get back and keep working with other work I had intended to make,  and it will showcase many of the techniques I have used in creating the work  as well as telling the story  of my enamourment of France.

And then there are the dollies- that all have to be kitted up- first printed and then the thread kitted up. When I first started stitching  these I was not very clever and just went for a colour that appealed- however I  needed to be  organised and simply  stick to  a few colour ways so that they will kit up more easily.They are hand printed on khadi cloth and then hand stitched. If you are interested in a kit email me.

 And last but not least after  more than 3 years without a vegie garden a friend and her family gave me a small above ground garden  which arrived late January- it was a bit late to put in many summer vegies, but I did manage to get some tomatoes and basil and  chillies and broccoli- this is some of my harvest!

Online Linocutting Class- 13 May 2013
Oh and I will be  starting another on-line linocutting class once I am back from overseas. The class will start on Monday 13 may  2013.
Here is a precis of what we will do:

I deliver 4 pdf lessons every fortnight outlining  principles and exercises with which to hone your skills. The first few lessons look at the possibilities of the mark making qualities of your tools, and the blocks you will make for this can be used for background printing. We will look at how to print on fabric though you can print on paper if you would prefer. Then we look at design aspects of making blocks, positive negative balance and using marks to create texture. We will explore making a monogram,using lines to create movement, simple landscapes. The exercises do increase in complexity ( however it is possible to keep it simple to make smaller stamps for example). We look at using photos to create linocuts, at three colour printing and registration and other fun things to do with lino.
I also set up a yahoo group for discussion. It is hoped you will share any photos of work made and will also ask questions and use the forum to troubleshoot.
Cost of course $60 AUS and you can email me me if you would like to join.


Nina Marie said...

I remember the first time I heard that poem in Mr. Mez. in 9th grade - thanks for bringing back the memory - and the column photo is so inspirational!

Unknown said...

It also brought back school memories for me too. I love the dollies also. I'm making good use of your lino cutting course hope the newbies get as much enjoyment as I do.

Bodenseefelchen said...

Happy Eastern :)

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