May 15, 2008
Gossamer is a great word - soft and ethereal. But, man, it is challenging, too. I looked up the definition right away. I knew the sheer gauzy fabric part, but not the bit about cobwebs. That little part stuck in my head. I could not get spiders out of my brain.
My first thought was to knit something super lacy out of soft mohair yarn. There was that problem of my wrist and how I really can't knit right now. Then I planned to use the yarn and fabric and make some kind of multi-fiber collage/web thing, but I had to give up on that too. I couldn't find a suitable fabric. The closest I saw was a silk chiffon, but I didn't think it would hold up to applique. In retrospect, I probably should have at least tried. In the end, I turned to paper and my sewing machine and my gocco.
My inspiration came about two weeks ago when looking out the kitchen window, I saw the teeniest, tiniest lime green spider, suspended in mid air. Looking closer, I saw that she was suspended from her own thread right there behind my screen. At first glance I had seen right through it. And there she was, getting ready to spin a web perhaps. Maybe not - she may have been traveling from one point to another. Regardless, gossamer popped into my head.
First, I drew a graph to make the window screen. I printed this on vellum using the gocco. Then, I stitched the spider on a piece of muslin using free motion quilting. After I copied it, I made my second gocco screen. I printed the thread portion in white and the spider in green. The white is hardly visible, you really have to look to see it.
I printed the screen grid on one side of the paper and the spider on the other side. I was going for transparency - I hope I got it.
When Shari gave us this word, I would have never imagined it would lead me here. In my head this word is so floaty and ethereal and what I made is not. Plain and simple, I am a bit disappointed with the outcome.
I tried amending this print - adding to it, mounting it, but I think it is best its simplest form. I know that part of my disappointment stems from uneven printing. And because I am a procrastinator, I didn't have any time to try it differently. But, as Emily reminded me, wordplay is about the process. It's interesting to look back and see how I got to this point. I can't help but wonder if I didn't have tendinitis, would I have gone a different route? If I hadn't spent half of the six weeks down in the dumps, would I have seen inspiration elsewhere? What if I had bought the silk chiffon? If I hadn't seen that spider, what would I have done differently?
The next word is in an envelope I received from Jen. I'm going to open it tonight. I can't help but wonder where it will take me. Emily and Tracy, are you ready?
You know, I like it. I was expecting to see something transparent, flowing, and sheer, and you have done that, but you've also added the permanence of the object, without which, gossamer would not exist. You looked past what "is" and found "what could be"...the potential to be so much more. Deep, huh? Good for you. I like it.
Posted by: Rebecca | May 15, 2008 at 04:59 PM
Your process really went in a direction I wouldn't have imagined, yet it seems so natural. I love that you sewed, and then printed from that. And I like the experimentation of printing on both sides of vellum. I'd like to see it not held up to light too, to see how different it is in different environments.
This was such a hard word. Challenging.
I'm ready ladies, I'm ready.
Posted by: Tracy | May 15, 2008 at 05:08 PM
the vellum. printing on both sides. the spider! (how is it that i never thought of spiders, even once! through this process? webs i thought about plenty. spiders, never.) the embroidery. printing the screen from stitching! the process is fantastic, beginning to end. and though i understand your frustration with the final product, i think the print is great - i especially love the way you've photographed it there against the screen. and the way the colors and patterns in the print are reflected in the screen and beyond.
Posted by: emily | May 15, 2008 at 05:13 PM
i love that you printed on both sides of the paper. the screen "uneven" feel is perfect. i love the bits that are missing. and that wispy thread-like web. yes, a web and mesh. you've sucessfully created an image and gossamer feel for me. have fun with the next word!
Posted by: TD wool design | May 15, 2008 at 05:13 PM
What a wonderful word. I love your interpretation and the process to get there!
Posted by: nicolette | May 15, 2008 at 06:18 PM
erin, i love your interpretation of this word, and I think the print is brilliant. The vellum, the 'uneven' printing - all really comes together to create something 'transparent' - it's beautiful. Can't wait to watch the next word unfold.
Posted by: amanda | May 15, 2008 at 06:33 PM
Oh, I love this creative process thing so much! Gossamer is the name of my local friend's yarn store and I've always loved its multi-layered meaning...
Posted by: Berlinswhimsy | May 15, 2008 at 07:15 PM
I've checked your blog like 7 times today to see what you came up with for gossamer - & I was quite pleased! I love the spider inspiration, the vellum, everything! It is very unexpected, and that's part of the charm.
And I'm looking forward to see what's next from you three girls!!
Posted by: Tonya | May 15, 2008 at 07:36 PM
i love that it is so different than emily's. so different. yet, so lovely. and i love hearing about your process. the vellum. great idea. great idea.
Posted by: leslie | May 15, 2008 at 07:43 PM
you did a great job, erin!
Posted by: amandajean | May 15, 2008 at 07:51 PM
I love the part about the process. Whenever we are working with children and art we emphasize the process over product and I think we all need that reminder! Your post today also reminded me of a great children's book: Sophie's Masterpiece, by Eileen Spinelli(!)
Posted by: Karen | May 15, 2008 at 08:34 PM
Erin, I thinks it's great. It totally evokes gossamer. Well done!
Posted by: caroline | May 15, 2008 at 08:37 PM
love the entire journey of your thinking process.
cool erin. really really cool.
to see what develops from different minds is also incredible.
Posted by: leslie | May 15, 2008 at 10:04 PM
very cool - i love this challenge.
Posted by: kirsten | May 16, 2008 at 08:55 AM
I haven't seen the other interpretations yet--I admit, pink and chiffony is how I think of this word, too--but you've gone past the initial connotation, and I think that's great. Thanks for walking us through your thought process...the pictures seem to show the frustration, if that makes sense. The vellum looks like regular opaque paper (almost) in the picture...I don't know anything about gocco, but if there were some way to print on a gauzy fabric? Would that make it closer? Or is this one you could ponder for a while?
Questions and what ifs aside, it is a nice interpretation--and even more so because it's an unexpected interpretation. On to the next word!
Posted by: Meg Evans | May 16, 2008 at 09:16 AM
I love it erin. I love this interpretation of the word. And I really love the fact that the spider inspired all of this. I really think it's wonderful.
I'm looking forward to see what's next.
Posted by: molly | May 16, 2008 at 09:29 AM
I like hearing about your process, about how you came to the finished product. That process makes it that much more meaningful. I think you did a great job!
Posted by: beki | May 16, 2008 at 11:33 AM
Erin, I love this. I really and truly do. The whole process is so fascinating to read about. And the process of inspiration is something that has been on my mind a lot recently, so hearing about your experience with the tiny spider is just amazing to me. Beautiful work, my friend.
Posted by: Grace | May 16, 2008 at 02:24 PM
if there's green - you shall find it. how cool that at hill road even the smallest of critters are decked out in the green!!!! and how cool that you found that tiniest detail and celebrated it! that's why i love your solution/creation. can't wait to see what blooms next. :)
Posted by: kristin | May 16, 2008 at 04:21 PM
Posted by: Julie @ Letter9 | May 16, 2008 at 07:40 PM