bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Tag: process

Process.

 

So I’ve been spending a lot of time working on products for my shop, which requires me to indulge in my favorite embroidery addictions.

I’m happy to say that it seems to be paying off just a wee bit – as I’ve had two sales in two weeks, and two more of my upcoming embroidery projects have garnered a lot of interest – which is an exciting and welcome distraction from the emotional intensity of the last two weeks.

Since the items folks searched for most often as well as ‘liked’ most often within my shop happen to be

’embroidered altar cloths’

and

‘runes’

Thus I’ve been testing different patterns of runes, along with testing out different thread blends, stitch patterns, and a lot of sketching (because one of my favorite things about my product process is developing various ideas and incorporating new imagery for embroidering onto altar cloths.)

But as much as I have been making a lot of altar cloths for my shop, I decided to make a new altar cloth for my personal altar.

I didn’t have a concrete idea in mind, though. I hadn’t mapped anything out.

But I figured that I would come up with something.

So, beginning at the lower left corner, I started stitching a smaller version of this design:

(It’s hard to see out of a color scheme but it’s a heart entwined into a triple horn – a design I’ve come to use to represent both of Them.)

And if you know me, I like working with color blends.

 

It’s a little more work – but I think it’s definitely worth it.

(One shade of red, two oranges, and a yellow for Loki, and four shades of blue for Odin. )

At first, I’d only intended to stitch this design onto one corner…but it’s as if I like to make work for myself  when it comes to embroidery

so I stitched it onto two corners:

Then, I sized down a particular border layout, as I wanted to test out some of my new silk thread blends, so I began embroidering

my favorite thing:

a border of  Elder Futhark runes.

But a challenge arose with the fabric – a black and grey cotton tie dye – as I found myself struggling to find a color combination that would ‘show up’ against the fabric which had so much variation in color and shade.

A lot of the lighter colors appeared ‘washed out’ in the pattern, so I tried several shades of blue, lavender, and grey thread as tests:

(For example, the Ansuz (ᚨ) is a light blue thread, and the Kenaz (ᚲ) is a lavender thread, though here, they look the same, in that light. O.o)

So I picked out/undid the stitching of the lavender thread, and continued the borders in a light to medium blue.

Fehu to Jera on the left side…and Eihwaz to Othala on the right side.

So, I thought perhaps the two heart/triplehorn should

flank sixteen larger runes

– *an invitation in dark blue*-

for the central portion of the altar cloth.

But this blue looked oddly ‘sunk’ (appearing to fade/disappear) against the darker portions of the pattern:

So, as you see here, I decided to outline the darker runes with a silk blend silver thread…

and I really liked the way it looked.

I liked it so much that I don’t know what I was thinking but

– silly me! –

I wondered how long could it take to outline sixteen runes?

I love embroidering runes (really I do!) so it won’t take long, I thought.

I mean, I’ve had lots of practice, eh?

Since it took me about a half of an hour to hand-stitch the 24 runes (12 on each side)

and about twenty more minutes to stitch the sixteen runes in the center

 I figured it would take me an hour

– maybe two –

to outline all of them.

Heh.

Well, I am a lot slower than I thought.

It took me almost three hours to outline just those sixteen dark blue runes on this altar cloth.

(Perhaps some other day, I will outline the 24 lighter ones that border the edges at the left and the right.)

~~~

And then the next day…after walking the dogs and doing my daily routines,

I decided that this altar cloth also needed to have a design to separate *the two sets of eight runes in the center.*

That invitation which looks like this:

(Laþu Loki)

and

(Laþu Odin)

At first, I thought I’d just make a little twist or a swirl, but no matter what I did

It didn’t look right.

So I picked, cut, and pulled out all the threads of that little swirly circular button.

And then I decided, how about the World Tree?

I mean, I had about a 2 or 3 inch rectangle to work with, so I thought I’d stitch this, in bright green thread:

(Psst…it was harder than it looked!)

It’s so hard to make things look symmetrical after midnight.

So, again, I unraveled that design and I picked out all those long, graceful stitches

so

so

carefully.

And I sat there staring at it for a bit.

But then I did another World Tree:

I thought it covered up the pulling spots nicely 🙂

Finished outlining the letters…

 

and as the finishing touch, I stitched a purple border around the heart/triple horns.

~~~

And here it is – my new altar cloth –

Hail Loki ❤ Hail Odin

 

Month for Loki, Day 29: Schism

Well, here we are, almost the end of July.

There were some posts that I’d meant to write that I never gotten around to actually finish writing much less posting, such as

* That much promised post on polyamory and jealousy that I’d left and come back to so often that its length has grown to over a dozen handwritten pages in my notebook.  The other day, I joked with a friend that if I ever cut it down enough to post it in its entirety, I’m still going to title it TL;DR

* A post concerning reluctance, runes, and shadow work.

and

*A requested follow-up concerning devotional tattoos.

As well, there were posts that I finished writing but I could not bring myself to post for various reasons.  These still sit in a digital folder on the hard drive, concerning:

* A particular example of how I often get pushed out of my comfort zones.  This was also by request.

* A personal background post about a spiritual re- connection that I’d made in April 2008 that followed the near-death experience of a family member.

* A poem of heiti and slippery metaphors.

One could say that I didn’t intend to post about this, but when I consider the particular requests and topics with which I’d begun the month, this topic is cake* in comparison.

What I’m about to write about is loads more pleasant and easier to discuss that some of the other requests.

~~~

Speaking of requests, I have started working on a series of drawings which are intended preparation for a much bigger project.

I love to draw, and I have been getting a lot of sketching practice, mostly with charcoals, pencil, and ink.

I was content to just keep on with the pencil sketches.  Patterns started developing with my sketching, and I even started putting aside the sketches that I was more than slightly pleased with to post on my DeviantArt account.

As you may have read in one of my earlier blog posts this month, I’ve long had a preference for drawing Loki.    About a year ago, this began to extend towards drawing His family too – I started drawing Angrboda, Hela, Fenrir, Sigyn,  and Sleipnir.  Some of my better drawings of these can be seen on my DA account.

But then I started noticing some synchronicity in what was coming up whenever I was working on new face and body studies to draw.

I’m a pretty avid people-watcher, and I started seeing a lot of ‘odd couplings’ during my walks:

– I’ve had several sightings of a pair of construction workers –  a much older man with a longish greying beard and a middle-aged redhead – working at the ever-increasing construction site that has sprung up two blocks from my home. (With the extension being added to an existing hospital, and a huge new entertainment complex being built all within a mile of my house, you can imagine that I may see a lot of construction workers, but still…)

– A large grey-black fluffy wolf-like dog being pursued by several children (which reminded me of this)

childreleasesfenrir

(above comic created by JellyVampire on DeviantArt.)

– A tall man walking along the sidewalk, who stopped me, and asked to pet my dog.  He had the most interesting light brown eyes that I’d ever seen.  His eyes appeared to be almost gold.

And then the dream-visual related to this song:

…which got me to thinking about Odin and Loki catching sight of each other on the huge plain at Vigrid where Ragnarok will be fought…

And I have been visualizing that scene every time I hear Schism ever since

And for some reason, this project, this vision is growing into more than a sketch.

Perhaps it will become a painting.

Not that I am well-versed in painting, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

Process, and projects.

So, as I mentioned a post or two ago, I have been working on several projects.

I have been making jewelry that mostly consists of beadwork and wire-wrapping.

I began last summer making necklaces and ankle bracelets, simply because I found that the process has become quite a meditative and calming activity for me.

I’ve made several pieces now, mostly for myself, as devotional jewelry, because most of the devotional jewelry that I’d purchased from retail was beginning to fall apart.

As well, I have been wearing an ankle bracelet 24/7 * for several years now, and I have found through experience that a lot of ankle bracelets (whether purchased retail or hand made by me) aren’t sturdy enough for such constant wear…or at least, the clasps aren’t.  I’m still trying to work out a means of clasp attachment – or a clasp/attachment combination – that will hold for longer than four months.  I’m getting there.

On the other hand, I switch out my necklaces a lot more often.  I have made several pieces each that are dedicated to specific Gods, and so I often wear those necklaces for shorter periods of time.  I might just phase out some of my older (retail purchased) pieces in favor of wearing exclusively handmade ones.

And, of course, there are times when I make something quick, thinking that I might wear it, and then I get the distinct impression that Someone likes it so much that I’ll end up just leaving it on Their altar…

Laufeynecklace

 

…as is the case here.

The beading cord is recycled hemp, which I’m not familiar working with, and thus the attachment point for this toggle clasp is probably not sturdy enough for wearing for any length of time anyway.

But I have come up with other ideas to expand upon this design, as I really love the earth-toned color scheme.

 

*Loki seems to appreciate that I have been wearing an ankle bracelet which has a design/color scheme that honors Him and His families.

~~~

I’ve also been working on an embroidery project that features all the Futhark runes.

When it is finished, I will be sure to post a picture of it, as it has taken me a while.  Certain runes seem to be a lot more difficult for me to stitch than others, and my perfectionist tendencies aren’t serving me so well in that department.

But as it is with beading, I find embroidery a very satisfying and meditative devotional activity.  I am guessing that there might not be too many people in this world who enjoy embroidering their altar cloths as much as I do, but I enjoy it very much.

I probably should switch out my altar cloths more often, or likewise, create more layers on the altars to showcase the ones I have finished.

I usually have one to three unfinished cloths at any given time, so I definitely have an altar cloth embroidery addiction, at the very least.  Ahem.

~~~

And finally, drawing.

I was puttering around DeviantArt the other day, and I realized that it has now been 3 years that I have had an account there, and yet I have never submitted any artwork.  Still.

(Still, a year or more after saying that I would.)

So, I was having a conversation – no, more like an argument, honestly – with an artist friend of mine yesterday.  In the course of our heated discussion, my artist-friend gave me all kinds of grief in regards to my obvious procrastination/aversion towards actually posting artwork, which led to his calling me out in his frustration, in a very Loki-esque manner:

You know what, Heathir?  

You need to stop talking about doing, and…f***ing DO.  

You need to either shit or get off the pot.

And it was a small thing, such a small thing, my not posting any artwork, you know.

I don’t know what I have been waiting for these past three years.  I’ve never had any excuse whatsoever not to post artwork…but I kept hemming and hawing, anyway.

And there was absolutely no reason to be afraid.

So, as soon as I got off the phone with him, I went to DeviantArt, scanned, and finally posted some artwork.

And the more that I scanned, the more that I wished that I’d keep my artwork in one place in a more organized fashion.

I scanned six pages from my sketch-book.  I started to wonder where I’d put some of the other sketches that I had done last summer.  I began looking through my notebooks, looking specifically for my vulture sketches, and all those face and figure studies that I did last month.

I couldn’t find a lot of what I was thinking to post on DeviantArt because I have been so disorganized in storing my artwork.  *sigh*

But, there’s actually artwork there now.

(There should be more, but I learned that my scanner doesn’t pick up my graphite sketches as well as I would have liked.  I’ll take that as a sign that I need to draw more confidently, ie; press down a little harder with the pencils, so the scanner will pick up the lines.)

 

In related news, I did a few more face studies, and one figure study yesterday in preparation for a t-shirt silkscreen project that I have been putting together:

Figure study 1

 

(Figure study #1: I am pleased with the leanness of the body, but I’m not as pleased with the face as much.  The eyes are fair to good (right eye is clear, left is not because of erasures), and I like the slightly raised eyebrow, but the mouth, nose, and facial hair need work.  And I realize that the hair on the head is all wrong.)

Face Study 1

(Face study #1: I love the hair, and even though it’s shorter than intended, I like the flow.  I like the left eye; too many erasures are muddying up the right eye, but the eye placement looks good to me.  The nose seems wrong somehow, and the mouth seems a bit too wide/too stiff of an expression.  Overall, He looks older than I intended, as well.)

Face Study 2

(Face Study #2: Facial feature placement seems good, but He still looks older than I intended.  Nose is better, and mouth is better.  Tried to keep the raised eyebrow.)

Face Study 3

(Face Study #3: Most of the time, I look at several photos of actual people and study their faces, and practice drawing the parts of the face several times before incorporating the details of several faces while I’m drawing one face.  This was a total freehand in that this face came together all at once, rather than incorporating the various details of several faces from studying photos.  This is the last, and oddly enough, the most simple face of the three that I drew.  I know that this one still needs work, but I really like that He doesn’t look so…middle-aged as He did in the other ones. )

 

Hail Loki, Fair of Face ❤

~~~