Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Johnson’

Margaret Johnson’s Blue Spirit Woman talisman
the finest detail carrying love and hope for our beautiful broken world
Margaret makes such good magic!

blue moon talinistic dilly bag by Mo 2014The Blue Moon Talinistic Dilly Bag (aka everything I know about the moon and the sea) by Mo 2014
air-moon-detail-mo-2014detail of the air moon
fire-moon-detail-Mo-2014detail of the fire moon
many thanks go to all the cloth conjurors who have contributed materials
Glennis Shibori Girl indigo moon on sheer organza & indigo dyed silk threads
Arlee Barr  indigo & rust dyed silk
Patricia Spangler indigo dyed air moon on linen & rust and indigo dyed fire moon
Dee Mallon indigo dyed cord that finished the top edge
Margaret Johnson vintage Silkworm thread and a wonderful ecru thread for all the free hand netted lace
the supporting exo-skeleton is immature stems of a Bangalow Palm infloresence
other materials are African clay, bone and myrrh beads, burnt ivory, shells, feathers, printmakers mull, flax, nettle and hemp string
you can see this piece in process widdershins here, here, here & here

The Snail Journal

Posted: February 26, 2014 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time
Tags: , ,

snail-journal-by-Mo-2014 Snail Journal (for Richard) by Mo Orkiszewski 2014
4 & 1/2 inches (11.5 cm) H x 6 & 1/2 inches (16.5 cm) W x 1 & 1/4 inches (3.25 cm) D
old cat scratched leather, vintage Silkworm thread, lined with handmade spiral paper from Thailand, cartridge text block with hand deckled and painted edges
snail-journal-by-Mo-Orkiszewski-2014front flap with closure detail
snail-journal-with-distressed-edgedistressed edge hand deckled & painted with layers of sepia ink, “Bark” Derwent Intense water soluble ink pencil, burnt umber & yellow oxide acrylic mixed with Matisse water based antiqueing medium & golden Titanium White fluid acrylic
snail-journal-in-processgetting the edges “right” took about 10 hours but it worked!
snail-journal-inside-front-pagefront page
snail-journal-inside-back-cover-and-dedicationback page
snail-journal-dedication-back-pagededication to my good friend Richard who has taught me so much about seeing in the last 7 years
snail-journal-inside-of-front-flapdetail of stitching inside of front flap (above) and outside (below)
snail-journal-foredgethe amazing Vintage silkworm thread and no 7 crewel embroidery needles
Silkworm-Thread-&-no-7-needlesthanks to Margaret Johnson for giving me these “proper” needles and introducing me to this magic thread !

thank you JudeJude Hill of Spirit Cloth is the queen of cloth conjurors & a very generous spirit! I was so lucky to buy her 3 Leftover Hearts Mended which arrived on the doorstep last week along with this beautiful card bound in her black & white magic thread & the Spiral Heart of Truth.
Jude Hill 3 Leftover Hearts MendedJude Hill spiral heart of Truth Jude has realized the heart “that”s burnt & broken” in Old Man Crow’s song “Truth” !
My old glass engraving teacher Anne Dybka said when you are learning a new skill it’s best to have some fine examples around to inspire as you make your way. Jude’s work feels so good, she marries the layers of cloth with beautiful stitching making for deep magic. She has gathered an incredibly talented circle of cloth conjurors to her Spirit Cloth blog and gives so much of her huge heart there and in her online courses. Inspired by watching the videos of her  sure handed  gentling of the cloth, I took up the challenge of making a nightdress out of this amazing gift of vintage lace, threads and cloth from Margaret Johnson who sent me the bundle of Hopeful materials last year for Hopeful Lunacy & the Flame Tree.
materials form Margaret JohnsonA friend helped me get the bobbin winder working on the old hand cranked Singer to sew the basic seams
day-1-bobbin-winderMargaret’s totem animal is a case moth & on the second day this little moth was helping!
moth-helperI am amazed by the delicacy of the lace insert
lace-detailenjoyed trying to make a perfect buttonhole and had a lot of fun knotting the cord and making the tassle
cord-detail-2here’s the finished nightdress… perfect for cloth conjuring at 2 am and taking photos of the moon in the middle of the night!
nightdress by Mo 2012the ragged edged flounce is a good place to experiment with lace ideas and develop needle lace techniques
ragged edge flounceMargaret sent some of her hand spun thread which made a lovely edge to the gathered seam
ragged edge flounce detailthis emu feather did not want to be trapped behind the silk organza  so it’s allowed to be free
Ariel-and-The-Cyclists-Rest caught Ariel napping earlier under the wonderful vintage embroidered pillow case called The Cyclist’s Rest
mo2013me showing off my new nightdress and here’s Old Man Crow channeling the spirit of Hunter S Thompson
channeling-Hunter-S-Thompsonso now it’s time to go into town for the last day of our holidays & have a look at some art (Anish Kapoor at the MCA) will get back to work tomorrow on the next crow drawing and our gardens will have grown like mad after two weeks off!!

So long 2012!

Posted: December 30, 2012 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time
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silkworm threadsOne of the treasures that Margaret Johnson sent with her hopeful bundle earlier this year was the wonderful vintage Silkworm Machine Twist Thread which I used heaps of in the Hopeful Lunacy scarf & found a whole box for sale at the fabulous shop Habadash in Castlemaine, am looking forward to lots of experimenting with needle lace in 2013. You can see the beginning of  a new piece called Flame Tree in the embroidery hoop that was started on the Solstice with echoes of the old Cold Chisel song of the same name after we had seen this beautiful tree on the side of the road.
flametree2it really started to come together yesterday when the wonderful cloth conjuror Grace wrote about the ragged edge, it’s the beginning of a new scarf to play around with ideas of lace and memory and nostalgia, perhaps the Winter Solstice will be on the other end…
flametreetea stained scrim, very old cotton cloth and batik are all gifts from Margaret Johnson and inspiration is from Jude Hill and her Spirit Cloth community
Have put away the Hopeful Lunacy scarf for now but it’s always there for when I need to stitch more hope into the world
hopefullunacy3hopefullunacy1hopefullunacy2hopefullunacydetail2hopefullunacydetail1indigo and rust stained silk from Arlee Barr,
indigo dyed scrim, organza moons and silk velvet moon from Glennis Dolce Shibori Girl
inspiration in trying to make lace from scrim from Deanna’s Eclectic Meanderings and Karen Ruane’s exquisite embroidery
and the most helpful word of advice was from Jude Hill – “slow” 
now it’s time to get back to the drawing board and see if I can finish the Road to Malabar before midnight…
& a few hours later here it is time to put it away and onto song no 17!
Road to Malabar by Mo 2012Road to Malabar illustration by Mo 2012

stitching more hope with this vintage Silkworm thread & hope coloured laces and cloths that Margaret Johnson sent along with the crow woman talisman  last month. The thread is teaching me so much about working with a twist on delicate indigo dyed scrim, a velvet moon & the finest organza silk ( it’s like holding a piece of  moonlight) from Glennis Shibori Girl to extend a glorious length of rust and indigo dyed silk from Arlee Barr
this is an ongoing exploration of the first verse of “Hope” by Emily Dickinson

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all”

you can see my variations on this theme so far here, herehere & here

This is one of the most inspiring & beautiful essays I have ever read about the power of love & hope and cloth and giving and the power of well wrought words
“Hope Arrived Yesterday” by Wendy Golden-Levitt for HandEye Magazine
thank you Velma for sharing this link
After reading those inspiring words I had to stitch more Hope into The Thing with Feathers on this first day of Spring, photographed in process with the beautiful handbound book by Margaret Johnson of  “Hope” by Emily Dickinson that she gifted me last week, a wishbone from one of Ariel’s organic quails and beads from Nancy of Pomegranate Trail.
detail of  “the thing with feathers” which is finished for now but will get more hope added over the years when needed, earlier this week I thought it was an object poem that could be exhibited with Margaret Johnson’s handbound book of “Hope” in the previous photo but this one is Home, it doesn’t need to go out in the world
“the thing with feathers” by Mo Orkiszewski 2012
emu feathers, printmakers mull, melauleuca bark, very old glass beads from Africa, cotton and linen thread, a wishbone (from one of Ariel’s organic quails that he eats for dinner) and a piece of driftwood from the cove where we do our crow feather giveaway at the Winter Solstice each year.
Update on this second day of Spring, this hopeful glass just happened… “the thing with feathers” needed somewhere to rest and I have carried around this cracked crystal vase for the past 3 moves hoping to carve the edge to make it safe to handle one day… well I just did it! after receiving the most beautiful e-mail from Wendy Golden-Lovitt, a woman of great grace & getting started with Jude’s Spirit Cloth Diaries, talk about moving energy!!!
“the thing with feathers” holding Margaret Johnson’s handbound book of “Hope” by Emily Dickinson
I woke up dreaming of how the nest of feathers makes the perfect setting for Margaret’s gift & it works… this is exciting!

This week I received the most inspiring & beautiful gift of Hope from Marg Johnson – Crow Woman Extraordinaire and amazingly gifted artist
here’s Marg’s description when I asked how she had made these treasures;
“Yes I made the book cover, from the same leather as
I used for the bag.  I love working with leather.  Over the years I have
made all sorts of things with it.  Your little book is not the smallest item
either.  I love making stuff in miniature, cos it’s a challenge to having
them look authentic. I also love ageing stuff too.  The crow woman is made
from paper clay, painted  with a graphite paint, then buffed with a cloth.
The paint brush is just an old one cut down.  The pencil is one of a few
my daughter had as a child. I scraped the paint from the surface.  The nib,
just one of many, I love to write with them. (takes me back to my youth)
The black and white feather is one from a rooster I had many years ago. (a
Plymouth Rock).”
I am totally blown away, here’s my latest “Thing with Feathers” with Marg’s “Hope” & the opened bundle of beautiful old lace, fine cloth, raw silk, threads & needles she sent for inspiration

I have never had a proper set of needles in my life & Marg has set the benchmark considerably higher with the finishing off of this next “Thing with Feathers”
will add some wishbones, beads and more stitching to the loose printmakers mull round the base and may try some feather stitch for decoration between the lines of words, the leaf may or may not be part of it but it made a good stand for the photo!
( progress pics of this piece are herehere & here widdershins)
& here’s two things with feathers that popped out yesterday for two of the best Virgo girlfriends Julie & Sep whose birthdays are next week
the feathers are emu, crested pigeon & lorikeet, the wishbones are from Ariel’s organic quails, the words are the first verse of “Hope” by Emily Dickinson
 The poem “Hope is the thing with feathers” is the backbone of all the work this year, the crow drawings have been underpinned with it as well as so many good friends needing just a bit of extra hope & these feathered things are giving me a way to help here, here, herehere. This morning I woke up feeling so blessed with having such good friends & these projects to work with and being able to share them here on my blog which is over a year old now and making a good record of the crow drawings as well as more confidence with writing about the process (thanks to Jude Hill for wanting a blog link rather than the website for her Spirit Cloth sewing circle forum) This is such a golden time in our lives !
Julie, Sep and Lou at the Nimbin Hotel last year (it’s where we first met in 1976!)
NB Oh! & you must have a look at Judy Martin’s latest hand work, her stitched & covered bundles of branches speak with a quietly powerful & patient voice for all women & are just so beautiful.