Thursday, February 28, 2008

Batik Art - My Precious Past

A scarf and a piece of cloth ready for sewing that is never going to happen. I used to make batiks few years ago when there were good dyes around in shops. They are gone, replaced by some new ones that give half of the color intensity of the old ones, and with that all the joy of making this craft has vanished for me. Anyway, I guess you can see that I liked Gustav Klimt, Egon Shiele and Paul Klee at that time a lot. I even tried to get the same motifs that Klimt had in his work but luckily (for both) didn't succeed, today I kind of like how it looks little naïve and deteriorated compared to those big art nouveau artists.

As for the Klimt's inspiration, I have especially this piece above on mind with its "round squares". At the time I intended to make a dress out of different batik pieces and put it together as a patchwork. I started and finished with this one (I realized it wasn't easy to get good matching colors from all the pieces). The thin brown edge was actually meant to be cut off, I was lazy to paint to the very edge and waste wax, but it turned out as a nice framing for the whole piece.

More nice Klimt’s
paintings right here.

The material is 100% silk, I painted with a bee wax mixed with paraffin and I used a brush. As for the actual method, I post here a manual from the only book I have about batik,
Schöne Batik. Technik und Modelle by Karin Gumbiller from 1984. It is quite time consuming work, it always took me several days to accomplish a piece because it had to dry after each dyeing. I tried to sell them in the local designy gallery but luckily no one bought them.

And of course, I shouldn't forget to mention my mum again, because she, guess what, taught me all of that. She compiled her thesis at the Faculty of Education from batik pieces, she gave most of them away later as gifts to different people (grrrr!), only one nice picture stayed at home.

Coming soon: MORE batiks!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The holes are marvelous!

This is another piece out of my mum´s knitting ready made portfolio. I remember wearing this sweater at a high school when it still held together, that is between 1987 and 1991, but the sweater must have been older than that. We later started to rip it off but I got somewhat melancholic and kept this part as I wasn't able to destroy it. First the colors are crazy, combinations of reds and yellow, and also the red triangle took some work, my mum composed a special yarn out of leftovers of reds (knitting from leftovers was a specialty of Czech poor knitting materials), violet and yellow. Materials, the bulky yellow yarn and the composed yarn with little knots on the rear projecting to the surface, actually refer to the 70s and its need to use the natural material and techniques that would reveal simple method of making so that one could "read" it just from looking at how the sweater was done. Definitely, it had to do with the hippie culture of preceding years and coming back to nature of then present years. But the holes, the holes are new.

A doll and a vase on the other photographs are a test on how well my sweaters go together with equipment in my house. So the vase is a do it yourself piece from the 60s, originally a simple bottle with a splashy painting over on it in the style of Jackson Pollock. The vase has always been in our house, someone probably made it for my mum. And the little cloth girl she did herself for my nieces, she's got sort of scary face, there are more pics here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

End of the Artist. Contribution to Street Art.

This building is under construction and to block the windows in basement they used some old board they found laying around. They tagged a piece of wood to it from outside to prevent the house from thieves. I am sure they had no idea what an exhibition they installed for passers by. No one really cares anyway, people just rush by without hardly noticing it. So, who is that painter whose pieces finally found a practical usage? Being always kind of naïve I hope for him/ her that he/she just switched to another creative period and threw the old junk on the street.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

psycho test of my 1980s

I came across these designs for sweaters that I made sometime in 1990. I was going to knit it! Luckily, the fashion changed from this 80s artsy diagonal discotheque style to somewhat more rural and natural. I made a bunch of them but honestly only these three are worth showing. In fact, I really like them now, the time proved them. And, of course, the overall nostalgia for the 80s that's back has its part on it. Anyway, I don't think I am going to turn them into real, I find them more as a kind of my psychological test of the time.
So, the other day I came over this sweater on someones blog. It's by Scandinavian Marimekko and of course can't be compared to my poor designs, it's much more beautiful.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Key board lesson and peek in our room

I like this picture because it shows me as if I were a musical type. And I don't care that it makes me look like a giant. We pulled out daddy´s keyboard one day and made noises. It has a synthesizer and no matter what you play it makes an impression you play it right. My son loved it although it does not seem so from the picture.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Deers are in vogue

My mum knitted this sweater after Norwegian classy types. It is two sided, the neck part is done in the way that the baby can actually wear it either side. And the back side is slightly different, so it looks like a different sweater. Which I like, it is kind of crazy. Beside that I am intrigued by these two main icons of kitsch - deer and mushroom (on my sons overalls the mushroom hides underneath the sweater), at least that is how it is seen from our middle European view. The interesting part is how it suddenly becomes popular in art and design despite its bad reputation. As things in general come back in circles after a certain time I wonder whether this is the case or it is popular because it's odd or it has been viewed as odd and it shows kind of a self-destructive taste of the audience. Anyway, I like both for both reasons and maybe for something else as well. Mushrooms are worth its own entry so one day it will be here.
This is pdf with the layout of the deers and some knitting instructions.

Horizontal zig-zag sweater

When knitting I like playing with colors but with this little sweater I tried to be more sophisticated and I made a system how to combine the yarns. So I always combined two yarns, I started with black and brown for the first zig-zag pattern and for the next row of zig-zags I combined brown and violet. And the next row of zig-zags violet and blue. And then blue and pink. Pink and reddish-brown. Reddish-brown and brown. And so on. So the second yarn in the couple is always randomly chosen.

I kind of liked it but then, when knitting the back part I rather forgot all about it and switched yarns more often because I felt like it had missed some "freshness" of the whole color knitting.

And also the sleeves I though should have been completely different like all blue or pink but the sample I made did not convince me. So I knitted just plain rows, trying to keep the same system again but not so strictly. It was all fast knitting on needles number 8, the sweater is a size 12 - 18 months (I guess). The yarn is 100% Acrylic, it is Czech made, it is called Elian and the type is klasik. I even found the web page of the producer, they seem to distribute abroad as well. 50 gr costs 1 dollar.

My son tried it on and liked it, so did his dad. It is still little big so I keep it for early spring days.

I am enclosing pdf for those who would like to knit it. It is an attempt to give a pattern although I am not such a professional to present it like in a magazine let alone I am not good in the English knitting speech so I leave to you the artistic part on it (e. g. collar). Let me know how it goes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Traditional knitting in Southern Bohemia

I made my two beautiful nieces pose for me in their knits. And they made their dolls pose in their knits with them.
Their grandmother (not my mum this time) mostly knits for all of them and the things she makes are close to folk handicraft pieces in a sense to show lot of knitting skills and to knit similar patterns like other women used to do and still do.
She might not like to hear that but I find something nice about it. Otherwise it is far from traditional knitting with patterns which would differ from place to place. The girls live in a village, unfortunately not right in that funky house, which is in a neighboring village, but it gives an impression about what the environment looks like there. Of course the normal life is completely different from what such an architecture gives an idea of.

Her orange vest was worn by her mum when she was five herself, she even looked pretty much the same. Also the shirt is from the same time, that is around 1976.