Monday, June 6, 2011

Curtain Of Stars

Out here in the country, there's little point in closing drapes in the bedroom. When sleep eludes me, I lie next to the window under a curtain of stars finer than any lace I might hang over the glass to keep the wonder out. For the Night Vision series, I wanted to do a Starry Night vessel, but lace curtains kept getting in the way in my mind's eye. And then they seemed to belong there.
Curtain of Stars by Donna Kallner
Like other pieces in Night Vision, this vessel incorporated recycled materials. Under the silk skin, there's a substrate of mystery fabric from a mineral dyeing experiment. The inside of the vessel is silk from a solar dye experiment. Layers of batting, army blanket and buckram were stitched on the machine to start building some structure.

Using a zipper foot, I added boning I bought at a garage sale.

After building the walls of the vessel, I traced around the bottom to make a pattern for the base.

The base includes an inner layer, an outer layer and a weighted layer to help counterbalance the height of the vessel. The weights are lead shot (look for shotgun reloading supplies). I sewed the shot into the foot of a pair of old tights, stitching baffles to keep the BBs from shifting. The stocking is basted to the outer layer of the base. Then the base layers were all stitched together. Then the base was stitched to the vessel.

The silk skin on the outside came from some acid dye sampling, a few scraps of solar dyed silk, and a piece from my Black Hole. Once I started hand-stitching I forgot to take pictures but it went like this: Drape, pin, baste, repin, rebaste, shift, ease, stitch, repeat.

For the looped sheath, I used 2-ply bleached linen thread I had left from a class years ago. I painted the thread with Dye-na-Flow.

The image on the inside of the vessel is from a photograph I took near my home a few years ago.  

This vessel is in a show at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet, Michigan through June 29. Next time, I'll take you inside another of the pieces in that show.


  1. Thank you so much Donna. That was inspiring and beautiful.

  2. What a lovely wonderful to move into the 3D world with textiles. And such great demonstration of the process for us. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks, Linda. I've loved making vessels since that first reed basket I made in high school!


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