Things Said And Left Unsaid by Kirsten Weis

Last week I finally "finished" this piece. 

  Things Said and Left Unsaid , 2016-2018. Cotton, linen, wool roving, rust-dyed fabric.  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, 2016-2018. Cotton, linen, wool roving, rust-dyed fabric.

© Kirsten Weis

It is the culmination of countless hours making tiny stitches in this fabric. Transforming it from soft to stiff. But I'm unhappy with it. Despite it being 'finished' it doesn't feel finished to me. It feels like it still has some story to tell. 

Partially my dissatisfaction is the result of technical mistakes made early on. When I began this piece, I didn't anticipate the way the fabric would shrink when I stitched it. I used an old piece of polyester fleece as batting. It peeks through the edges in a way I didn't intend. 

  Things Said and Left Unsaid , detail, 2016-2018  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, detail, 2016-2018

© Kirsten Weis

I tried to solve this issue by whipstitching and filling in the edges of the piece with rust-dyed thread. The effect on the back feels intentional and energetic. The effect on the front leaves something to be desired. 

  Things Said and Left Unsaid , 2016-2018  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, 2016-2018

© Kirsten Weis

More than that however, the piece gives me a feeling of unfinished business. This piece feels like it should be the center of something. That it is a beginning rather than an end. It's pulling at me, almost asking to be cut up and re-worked. Pulling it apart after so much work feels unimaginable, and yet necessary. 

  Things Said and Left Unsaid , 2016-2018.Cotton, linen, wool roving, rust-dyed fabric.  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, 2016-2018.Cotton, linen, wool roving, rust-dyed fabric.

© Kirsten Weis

Studio Update: "Across Oceans," a family quilt by Kirsten Weis

Since just before little L arrived this summer I've been working on a keepsake quilt for my in-laws for their 30th wedding anniversary, which was in August. 

  Across Oceans , in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Across Oceans, in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

I've been wanting to make a neutral strip quilt for a long time, and this was the perfect opportunity. The top is improv pieced. It took me forever - for the longest time I kept trying to make a design work that just wasn't working, either in scale or visually.

  Across Oceans , in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Across Oceans, in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

Once I conceived of strip blocks alternating directions, the whole piece came together in a few weeks. The little red half square triangles were the last addition. I think it gives the pattern some depth and interest. And they remind me a little of sails. 

  Across Oceans , in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Across Oceans, in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

The quilt is machine pieced, using linen and cotton fabric. Most of the fabric in the piece came from family trips or from a box of old family linens and saris that my mother in law gifted to me last summer. The ecru is linen from her family's home in Umbria, Italy. It once belonged to her mother, who passed away in early 2017. The red comes from a sari that once belonged to my husband's paternal grandmother. I never met her, but his grandfather was able to tell me the story of most of the old saris of her that I have. One of the white linens comes from my first trip to Rajasthan with my husband's family last winter. The block printed cotton is one of the tablecloths we used at our wedding. I've tentatively titled the piece "Across Oceans." 

  Across Oceans , in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Across Oceans, in process. 2017-2018. Linen, cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

It's basted now, awaiting hand quilting (which, if I'm honest, will probably take me until their 31st wedding anniversary to complete with everything else I'm working on right now). I almost wanted to leave it as it was, hung in the window in the winter light looking like stained glass. 

A walk in the snow by Kirsten Weis

Walks these day, especially those that I take alone, are few and far between in this season of endless laundry and floor play and nap training and trying to keep my head above water. 

Snow Scatter 1

I managed a short walk this Thursday. I was supposed to be working, writing, but it was one of those days where my energy was off, scattered in a million different directions, and thus things were going nowhere. 

A warm day had our snowpack melting, and I couldn't help but notice the lovely scatter of vegetation in the slush and the depth of its shadows.

It gave me inspiration for some embroidery and quilting projects I've had in mind for awhile. 

Gatherings by Kirsten Weis

  Nidi I  in process, 2017. Crepe paper, paper cord, wheat paste.  © Kirsten Weis

Nidi I in process, 2017. Crepe paper, paper cord, wheat paste.

© Kirsten Weis

I'm supposed to have a baby in nine days. I imagined by this time I'd be "nesting" as I've heard pregnant women do--preparing a nursery, folding and sorting baby clothes, generally being all-consumed by the impending arrival of our new family member. But instead I find myself frantically working in the studio, terrified of how little time I'll have to create for the next few months. 

We are gatherers,
the ones who pick up sticks and stones
and old wasps nests fallen by the
door of the barn,
walnuts with holes that look like
eyes of owls,
bits of shell not whole but lovely
in their brokenness,
we are the ones who bring home
empty eggs of birds
and place them on a small glass shelf
to keep for what? How long?
It matters not. What matters
is the gathering,
the pockets filled with remnants
of a day evaporated, the traces of
certain memory, a lingering smell,
a smile that came with the shell.
— Nina Bagley

In the midst of binding languishing art quilts and finishing up old projects, I've found myself curiously drawn to these nest forms. I sketched them out a few months back when I plucked an abandoned nest off of our gutter and starting thinking about home, and about safety, and about scraps woven and plastered together to create a vessel. A shape for gathering and a shape gathered.

Not sure exactly where these pieces are headed, but they feel full of possibility.   

  Nidi I  in process, 2017. Crepe paper, paper cord, wheat paste.  © Kirsten Weis

Nidi I in process, 2017. Crepe paper, paper cord, wheat paste.

© Kirsten Weis

Studio Update: "Things Said and Left Unsaid" by Kirsten Weis

I began this piece in a fury in mid-July 2016. 

  Things Said and Left Unsaid,  in process. 2016-2017. Linen, merino, rust-dyed cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, in process. 2016-2017. Linen, merino, rust-dyed cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

I didn't have a plan, per se. I had a stack of 3x3" squares, I had a pile of roving I had recently purchased at the local Fiber Fest, and I had a deep need to reflect on the way that the way that words spoken and words unspoken are both tangible. Both come together to form a dense fabric of memory. Of family. Both shape experience. Both can be done in the spirit of love and yet can be destructive in their own way. 

The longer I stabbed fleece through cloth, and the longer I stitched absence into tactile presence, the more I both understood that and found a kind of peace within it. 

  Things Said and Left Unsaid,  in process. 2016-2017. Linen, merino, rust-dyed cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, in process. 2016-2017. Linen, merino, rust-dyed cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

In spite of all of the things we may wish we had heard, or wish we had said, in the end we are still left with a dense, nubby thing that, for better or worse, simply is. Gaps and ground both equally material. I recently finished Ruth Ozeki's wonderful A Tale for the Time Being, and old Jiko's Zen reflections seem appropriate: Said, unsaid, same thing.   

  Things Said and Left Unsaid , in process. 2016-2017. Linen, merino, rust-dyed cotton.  © Kirsten Weis

Things Said and Left Unsaid, in process. 2016-2017. Linen, merino, rust-dyed cotton.

© Kirsten Weis

On Connection by Kirsten Weis

"Weave real connections, create real

nodes, build real houses.

Live a life you can endure: make love that 

is loving.

Keep tangling and interweaving and

taking more in,

a thicket and bramble wilderness to the 

outside but to us

interconnected with rabbit runs and

burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may

happen:

reach out, keep reaching out, keep

bringing in.

This is how we are going to live for a long

time: not always,

for every gardener knows that after the 

digging, after

the planting,

after the long season of tending and

growth, the harvest comes."

- Marge Piercy, "The Seven of Pentacles"

 

Morning walks by Kirsten Weis

This has been my season of cultivating new habits, and one amongst them is to go for a walk every morning. Occasionally I run, but for me there is no substitute for a brisk, contemplative walk. It's a good time to think and to quietly observe the world around me and the world of my thoughts. 

I often find little bits and bobs, textures that I want to wrap up and take home with me , tiny inspirations that may show up in derivative forms in my sketchbooks or stitchings. I'll be cataloging them here, taking photos on a single theme during my daily walks.

Today's inspiration brought to you by thick fog and delicate webs: 

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