Posts Tagged ‘Once in a Blue Moon’

this morning I cleaned the studio after a nerve wracking few days worrying that my Volvere 8 dentist drill was cactus
I bought this machine to engrave glass back in 1989, it is my favourite tool, it carves, engraves, grinds, polishes & can drill holes in most materials. It has become an extension of my hands but I nearly killed it trying to drill a hole in the lid of Moon Unit II.  The drill caught the edge of the synthetic interface lining the surface of the papier maché mold and seized…
I took it to the service department at Gunz Dental on Monday and waited nervously for 24 hours, it was like taking my best friend to the hospital only to find there was nothing wrong with it, I had accidentally flicked the forward switch to neutral in my panic…
here’s some process shots of Moon Unit II
the awl worked perfectly to make the holes for stitching the leather to the lid
the leather stretched well although controlling the edge of the stitched moon was tricky so I added a knotted piece of Perlé cotton
the 1.5mm round leather cord finishes the edge well
started stitching a spiral base with three different weights of black linen thread, the thick waxed thread which I thought would work is too coarse, will start again with some Gütermann black linen thread tomorrow & see if the branch hanging in the garden across the road will be good for the dreaming tree

Moon Unit I resting at the Xroads altar cloth by Grace of Windthread
I needed to finish this moon test to release it for the Full Moon by stitching tiny black glass beads into the piping ’round the edge to help balance the two sides of the moon… it may well have been better left alone but I had to give it a go!
from the side
the spiral dark side of the moon
now it’s time to move onto Moon Unit II in preparation for finishing Once in a Blue Moon


Moon-Test-1-Mo17Moon Test 1 Mo17
H 5cm W 10cm
electric blue suede, vintage thread, Abaca paper, blue silk cord, blue piping, vintage starry cloth from Nancy of Pomegranate Trail, grape vine tendrils, 1.5mm & 2mm black leather cord, beads, Lapis Lazuli
side view
dark side of the moon stitched with Gütermann black linen thread
it’s a bit wonky but I learned a lot!
suede doesn’t like paste
the edge of the papier maché mold needs to be reinforced
the decorative piping is a bit too trizzy
Moon Test 2 will resolve more issues before working these ideas into Once in a Blue Moon
“I dream of a world where love is the answer” rough scale drawing
it will be app 10-12 foot high & wide
the 44 pennants cut out of the vintage wedding dress have flown out all around the world
to be filled with good vibes, hopes and dreams and returned by December 2018
will wait to begin making the dreaming tree and moon boat until this time next year as I will need to arrange my studio space to fit it in & make it narrow enough to fit out the front door when it’s ready to go, will start waxing the rusted steel dress form at the gallery soon
with deep gratitude to the wonderful circle of cloth conjurors for the encouragement & good vibes, magic is afoot!

Moon Test 1 is still in process
the hand of the suede and the fine stitches were mangled by the PVA glue and trying to stitch through it just made it worse so that gave me an excuse to play with more glue, adding some Japanese abaca paper and cutting out some tiny stars from a wonderful starry cloth Nancy of Pomegranate Trail gifted me awhile back, then the over the top piping and silk cord for the edge, a few blue glass beads and some Lapis Lazuli
sitting on the base of the old Starry Container to get an idea of how the form will look
stitching the 1.5 mm leather cord with Gütermann black linen thread and pressing each round over the mold to keep the curve even for the dark side of the Moon
Visited Birdsall Leather in Botany yesterday, bought 50m of 2mm black leather cord and a reel of Crawford no 18 4 cord black waxed linen thread for the big moon as although this test is working well it will need lining &/or reinforcing to be sturdy enough to hold the top
also popped in to see Rosemarie Jeffers-Palmer of Amazing Paper & Sydney Bookbinding to buy more paste & Kozo repair tissue. She confirmed that suede and paste are notoriously difficult to combine because pig skin is so porous but recommended making more tests. I will try rolling out the glue on a sheet of glass and pressing the leather onto it, using a few different mixes- 50:50 PVA to starch paste & 25:75 PVA to starch but feeling that stretching the leather over the papier maché mold with the interface glued into place will work best, like stretching a canvas for painting.

a small stitched blue suede leather moon, synthetic interface and papier maché mold formed over the old Starry Container, one of my first glass engravings on slumped glass from back in 1987
glued down & drying under the weight of the lid of the Starry Container, the acrylic interface was invisibly basted to prevent the paste from damaging the surface of the suede
there was some leakage…  next time I will use a 50:50 mix of starch paste and PVA more sparingly, this was straight acid free PVA brushed on with enthusiasm at 3am, worth a try
the big papier maché moon needs trimming, a few more layers of paper & then sanding before pasting down Once in a Blue Moon
I learned a lot, this is going to work but need to get some more starch paste, it extends the working time of the PVA and is kinder to the materials and my hands
going to Birdsall Leathercraft in Botany on Wednesday to buy a 50m roll of 1.5mm black round leather cord for the dark side of the moon & will have a chat to them about what is the best glue to use for pasting suede

Once in a Blue Moon Mo 17
27cm D moon stitched with vintage Cintax mercerized sewing cotton on vintage blue suede from the 80’s
stitching detail
today I will have a go at making a papier mache mold in my iron wok to dome the leather & Old Man Crow (who is much better at mathematics than I am) worked out I will need 38 metres of 1.5 mm of round black leather cord or 57metres of 1mm round black leather cord to stitch a spiral basket form for the dark side of the moon
enjoy the Solstice wherever you are
Magic Days!

Once in a Blue Moon in process week 3 & 1/2 Mo17
stitching is helping me find some sort of sense of sanity in amongst all the lunacy…
this is a very strange year for our beautiful broken world