19 Apr

Still Scattered, But Slightly More Content About It

You guys are right. I can’t separate it all. Although my head says that showing the public a focused side of me where they can predict what I’ll produce (be it art quilts, craft ideas, a lifestyle type blog…) my heart knows that it’s just not me. What I really have to come to terms with is that to be the better person I want to be, I need to let go of the expectations or conventions of others. I need to stop comparing what I’m doing to what others are doing, and I need to define success for me only.

This post is evidence of that inability to separate that which excites me. I had what I thought was three separate posts swimming around in my head, but they kept converging. Bear with me as I just throw it all out at once.

I think it begins with the Ripple Afghan which is coming along nicely. I ripped it out and started over when I decided that I wanted more white. I contemplated leaving out a few colors, but once I added the white and toned down the orange with a half row of red, everything decided to play together well. I had originally imagined the color scheme as a beach wedding with red coral accents, but my daughter pointed out that it looked like lava to her and I love the way that tied my greyer colors in conceptually. So now, it’s a beach on a volcanic island (which I guess I really was from the start anyway).

As I’m rippling away, I’m watching the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. I’ve decided that I really like the ancient chanting dances known as Kahiko Hula. It’s very different from the Don Ho hotel show style that usually comes to mind, and it’s not the coconut bra, wild hips of Tahitian dance either. I highly recommend going here to KITV’s Merrie Monarch page and look for the column of videos. Under “Watch Hula Kahiko Hälau Performances” are videos that will probably challenge your ideas of what Hula is. Check out the Hälau Hula O Kahikilaulani under Wahine Kahiko. I love the way their grass skirts move! Hälau Ka Liko Pua O performed a chant from the coronation of King Kalakaua (you may remember him from one of my 12 x 12 chair quilts). Kane are men, and you might want to check them out too — there’s more than a few bare chests.

(via the Polynesian Cultural Center)

Under the same general list of videos, Cherissa Käne, Kaholo Panui, and Pohaikau’ilani Ann Nu’uhiwa show a nice variety of costume and style within the chant category. I found myself fascinated not only by the rhythm of the chants but also by the outfits. The sheer yardage amazes me — just think that all woven cotton fabric would have been imported by ship in the days after “contact.” Before that, when these story-telling Kahiko were at their peak, I’m pretty sure the dancers would have been wearing Kapa cloth meticulously pounded from tree bark and then patterned using small bamboo stamps. I can’t imagine pounding or purchasing enough cloth for the full Pau skirts. I believe the puffy hip wraps I saw on both men and women were meant to represent kapa cloth, which would probably tend to puff rather than drape. Even with those, there was a variety of ways they were fastened. And the tops were fascinating to. At first I thought they were all variations on the tube top, but I realized that the tight fitting ones were actually ingeniously wrapped around the womens’ torsos. Again, they looked like they’d need lots of yardage. The men wore all kinds of loin cloths or skirts over pants. Again, the fastening of all the fabric intrigued me. There were dry grass and fresh Ti leaf skirts too. Amazing.

Probably because of all the mesmerizing drums of the Kahiko I’m feeling the urge to work on my tropical fabric designs (I realize that even if that’s a go-nowhere direction for me, I still have the urge to pursue it).

I’ve been working on other fabric-y art quilt stuff too. Earlier in the week, I decided to play with my Setacolor light sensitive paints. I wasn’t too happy with the results, which I attribute to my using a loosely woven, re-purposed duvet cover and cardboard stencils. Today, I tried again, with finer PFD fabric, plus I found some eight year old cyanotype fabric I had forgotten I had. I cut shapes out of fun foam, and it worked a treat. I don’t have photos of today’s work, but here’s my secret project from November. I wrote a proposal for my Süße Sac shoulder bag pattern using various types of complex cloth one might have around after trying the many techniques found in Quilting Arts Magazine. They rejected it, but now you get to see my summery, tropical (the convergence part) version made with sun printed fabric!


10 thoughts on “Still Scattered, But Slightly More Content About It

  1. your ripple blanket looks AWESOME!
    I’m not a crocheter at all, but I guess I really need something like that on my couch as soon as the living room is redone (if I ever start redoing it…). I love how it matches the gorgeous deer-pillow! 🙂
    (Thinking about it… It might be easier to steal your stuff instead of redoing mine…! *gg* Be aware!)

  2. OK, virtual daughter, here is your basic lesson on sun printing. There is no magic in the paint. Any paint will work. What is happening is that as the fabric dries, the paint wicks away from the covered area which is not drying as fast. You can do sun printing in a dark basement, it will just take days, instead of an hour. I think what happened the first go around is that all the fabric dried pretty fast so you did not get the wicking away of the wet paint. I would think that in Hawaii, sunny and dry as it is, that a heavier more tightly woven fabric will work best for this procedure.

    The afghan is looking great. The bag is super.

  3. Hi! Ripple looks fantastic! Gerrie gave you some sage advice about sun printing. I have found that I get the best results on days that have higher humidity (far and few between here in the desert!). The rate the paint dries really affects the outcome, as does the contact between the object and the fabric. When I have done leaves and flowers, if I let them wilt a little and then lightly hit them with the brayer, I can get the veining and detail I like. I have used all kinds of fabric, it doesn’t have to be PFD, but the better quality fabrics give better results. Have fun experimenting! Cheers.

  4. This is the challenge I face. Comparing myself with others. Letting go of the “ego” of it all….and just accepting that what I do is perfect for me just for today and as time goes by I will improve in whatever way is necessary.
    It does not matter what everyone else thinks…right? Beautiful colors on the crochet and we are lucky to see your great handbag!

  5. Hi AQT friend, Thanks for sending the link for the Merrie Monarch. When I lived on Oahu (’81-’86) I was in Olana’s Halau. My friend and I were the only blondes. I’m short, but it was the only time I ever was in the back row. What fun to see her dancers in their gorgeous blue outfits. Too bad they covered everything. As for sun printing, a friend and I recently had fun doing it with Pebebo Setacolor. I really love what happens when you add coarse salt. Our fabric dried too fast due to a breezy day, but I hope to do more soon. Sally M

  6. Seems like the current 12 by 12 theme “identity” is right on the spot for your thoughts! I can sympathize with your line of thinking – is success defined by reward ( = payment/publication)? It’s taken me time to get away from that modern ideal, “die Superfrau”, who effortlessly manages career, family, and hobbies, and it still attacks me occasionally. What’s the line from Sting’s song? “Be yourself, no matter what they say.”

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