Nancy Stahl
Making Lace for the Met Museum
"Before" photo of lace on a gown to be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum. This was a good section, but there is one worn area.
A friend of mine who works as a conservator at the Met Museum had a problem to solve. They had a gown from the turn of the previous century with lengths of the lace trim threadbare and they needed to find a way to present it looking more intact.
Miriam knew that I had done illustrations using my embroidery machine, so she asked me if I thought I could make free-standing lace with it as well. I never had and hesitated, but with her help, I found links to the technique of stitching on water-soluble stabilizer alone. Once you have done that, you can simply wash away the surface and only the stitches remain.
I started by drawing a schematic of the section of lace in Illustrator, brought that into my embroidery machine's software and redrew it... many, many times. Then there was practice with various weights and brands of stabilizer. I tried every thread I could get my hands on; viscose, poly, cotton and every combination of thread and stabilizer.
Inset with ruler marks my segment of lace.
My first efforts were too precise and rigid. But I finally achieved the right amount of variation and look of slight wear to have it blend in with the less damaged portions. The sample above was approved and I moved into production of 6.5 yards in 7" segments.
With the new lace in place. One side of this neckline was almost completely gone.
The exhibit is titled "Death Becomes Her". It opened today (I got to go to the opening party last night..!) There are about 30 gowns from a century of mourning on display. It will be up through Feb 1st.
I commented on a FB article by Ross MacDonald today that I want to be him. That's so true, but instead of binding books and creating letterpress morgue tags, I want to be sewing, knitting and "tatting" my forgeries..!
NY Times article
Instyle article
The Citizen
This was my first attempt (using a different design and a poor choice in stabilizer). It gives you a look at the set-up. Hooped water-soluble stabilizer which will be washed away leaving only the lace.
The Sun Sets on the British Empire… maybe not so much
It has been about a month since I did this illustration for Christian Science Monitor. The vote hadn't taken place and Scotland was on the fence about remaining in the UK. 
I am proud of this image because it was completely my idea. It's pretty rare these days that things don't get put through the decision-by-committee mangler. Thank you, CSM..!
Also, fun for me that I used a photo of the public tennis court surface as the texture map. I had taken it six or seven years ago and stored it in my textures file. Perfect for that big round yellow ball of a sun.
After twenty-two years on the computer, I decided it is time I informed my digital work with more tactile attempts once again. So I enrolled in a printmaking class.
But the first real session was cancelled due to snow. I'd done linoleum block printing in high school. Why not spend the same class time cutting on my own?
Well, it isn't as easy as I remembered. The linoleum is tougher and I keep skittering off course, making little digs into areas I want left untouched. Anyone have helpful hints on controlling my Speedball?

Update: I finished cutting the linoleum and another for a second color using tips from you guys. Keeping a lightbulb on the work was a big help. And one of my own: use a lightbox, too, to get an even warmth. Like butter..!
With class cancelled for Presidents Day next week, I wanted to get an idea of what I had so did a rubdown of the two blocks. This is fun..!

For John
My brother, John, lives in Southern California overlooking the Pacific with a spectacular view from high on a cliff. (He went into business, not art.) John isn't exactly an animal lover so it was surprising to see how enthralled he was by the hummingbirds that would come to feed on a bottlebrush plant outside his condo. He knew their habits. When they would appear, how they would go clockwise around the plant, gathering nectar from each blossom for a set amount of time. He talked about their colors, the speed of their wings and ability to hover.
Then the Homeowner's Association decided that the landscaping for the community needed to be uniform or something and they took out the bottlebrush (which would have been just left of where I stood to take this photo). It's still a mystery to me what was so offensive.
Six years ago I began this stamp for the Postal Service as part of what was called an "unofficial series" of animals. I chose the hummingbird hoping that I could give a printed pane of them to my brother. The series came to an end without the stamp being unveiled, so I thought it was dead. But still, I couldn't show it to him as that isn't allowed by contract.
I no longer have to keep my big mouth shut..! Yippee..! The stamp has been previewed and will be out as a postcard rate sometime in 2014.
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