Monday, March 31, 2008

So Long March

It's been a bit stressful - I destroyed my laptop when trying to install the Service Pack for Windows Vista and had to take it to the repair shop. I lost all my files which is not so bad as I'd backed up most and the better pix of embroidery are still on this blog, but I now have to re-enter all my contacts. O well. This pic of the neighbour's cherry in blossom was from a few weeks ago, and the iris was taken on Saturday before we went to the market. Both make me happy.

Here is my March piece, which I think is finished. I'm not sure what it is - perhaps a wall hanging? I've pinned it up in the studio so I can continue to look at it in the hope that inspiration will occur.

This is a pic showing the piece before I couched the gold around the scribble shapes.

And this pic shows the couching partly completed to show what a difference it made, and also what a difference lighting makes to the colours of the pix.

I 'm not convinced I did very well on this challenge, starting with ranting about the colours then abandoning one piece and not knowing to do with this one. Still, I shall think about it some more and try to come back to the pieces later to salvage what I can from them.

Sometimes creativity is like that - if I don't allow myself to try, I lose not only the failures but the chance successes, too. Mum used to say, "The door to success is marked 'Push'."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March TIF Progress

I don't know what this piece is yet, I think it's about writing. The snippets of sand-coloured fabrics in the middle that I appliqued with the gold passing thread remind me of Japanese brushwork.

I started to Kantha-quilt around these shapes - there's a lot more to go, including some lines of beading because I have the exact colour of purple beads in my stash. I think I want to use the purple beads on the green background and the green beads on the purple background.

On the edges, I decided to do this Maltese Cross composite stitch, using a glittery purple Goldfingering thread over some pale green chainette. To hold the intersections in place, I added a light green bead.

One edge finished, this is where I am this morning.

Still on the subject of "little things that make me happy", DH poked some holes in these boulders in the garden and planted some of these little plants that I think we used to call "chickens and hens" when we were kids. They are already in flower and I had to take a pic because they are so wonderful. Thinking they might become an embroidery, I played with the pic using the software that came with the digital camera, but wasn't able to come up with anything. Instead, I added this little poem to the image and made some cards:

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris,
I wonder where the birdies is?

And because I had the cutting mat and the glue out already, I decided to cut up a gardening catalogue to use the rest of the card stock. It made me think I could send these cards to celebrate Springtime, saying "Season's Greetings" - instead of only once a year at Christmas - create my own new tradition... It would give me at least 4 design themes during the year...hmmmm....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One abandoned one to go

Well, I started the sand and burgundy colours and this is what I came up with, thinking of the idea of small blocks of time when you stop to smell the roses.

This is the point at which I abandoned this piece - I just don't like the colours and besides the olive and purple materials were on the worktable and I just wanted to get on with them. Things I like about this piece: I figured out how much to adjust the tension in the bobbin for the gold passing thread, and I like the roses just not on this background. It goes into the experiment pile for recycling one day.

Here is a pic showing my first ideas with this group of colours.

In reading through comments on the March TIF Challenge, I realised that I could actually use all the colours together if I did something small like cross stitch - doh! I guess I was just having a rant about colours.

Here is a pic of the goodies I found on sale for just 50cents Euro a tube. I've been looking at beading websites and must try some of those techniques.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Colour analysis - March TIF

I had a good old rummage through my stash in search of the colours for the March TIF Challenge , and I came up with this:

I just couldn't seem to resolve the sand and burgundy with the others, so I separated them off by themselves, giving this, in which I've added a medium sand and a lighter burgundy, so I have light, medium and dark in the two colours, with the black represented by the shot burgundy sheer jersey. It doesn't photograph well as usual.

That left the olive green with the purple and black:

And I found that I could add a touch of the sand to this using snippets under the green organza. I also want to experiment with the cone of gold passing thread in the bobbin on the machine, thinking that this gold is loosely related to the sand colour and might add sparkle and maybe even "zing" if used judiciously. Loosely speaking, this grouping has the greens as the lights, the purple as the medium and the black/purple shot jersey as the dark.

Finally, I decided I could maybe add a small amount of the green to the burgundy & sand mixture as I think that piece will be about "litte moments of time when you stop to smell the roses" and I need green for the leaves.

So it looks like I'll be doing at least two pieces with the two bunches of colours because by separating them, I feel the results will be more harmonious. The pieces may be put together in a book or used as the front and back of something, but there will have to be a separation.

I've read through some of the comments already and a lot of people like the pallette, so I shall be very interested to see what they do with it - a real voyage of discovery this month!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Using a negative reaction

Well I was really looking forward to the March TIF Challenge but when I saw the pallette of colours I'm sorry to say that my reaction was negative.

When I get a reaction like this, I find it useful to go with the dislike because it makes me work harder to create a thing of beauty. I started by naming the colours then assigning them a value: burgundy (dark), sand (light), olive (medium to dark), purple (medium to dark), black (very dark). Then I listed my problems with them:
I don't think there is enough light.
I don't usually think of the sand colour as "light" and I find the dark and medium colours depressing except for the purple.
The only complementaries, at a stretch, are the burgundy and the olive.
Juxtaposing the highest contrasts doesn't give a "zing" (sand and black).

I resolved to try to do each challenge using both the concept and the pallette, and I think it will be a stretch this month, but after all, isn't that what "Take It Further" is about?

Ideas to transform the dislike:

"Burgundy and olive" evokes lovely moments having apero during the summer, sitting on the front terrace.

"Not enough light" makes me think of moonlight.

"Sand and black without a zing" sounds like a cool title and could produce a figurative piece.

I have loads of ideas for the "little things/small moments" concept though:
Seeds, those miraculous packages of DNA,
Atoms and molecules, those gorgeous units of universe that make cloud shapes shown on The Hubble photo gallery,
Sand, that can trickle through the waist of an hourglass grain by grain, counting the seconds of our lives,
Insects that colonise our patches of garden - ants, grasshoppers, ladybugs,
Rockpools that contain their own little but complex worlds.

I may play with all these ideas as I'm currently on a roll, but I still have to deal with the pallette. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fibre collage

Here's my little thread end pot. My friend Felicity made it in a pottery class and gave it to me when I praised it. It lives on my sewing worktop and I save up all my thread ends in it as I sew. It reminds me of an upside down top hat. Periodically I turn it out and sort through the colours to do fibre collages, using up scraps of fabric from various projects.

Here's a green and purple one - this pic shows the collage before I put the pale blue/gold organza over it...

...and after. The organza unites all the colours, knocking back some, enhancing others.

This pic shows the back of the finished collage.

And this pic shows the front. I added a pale sky blue satin backing and I think it is a book cover, but it may be a bag.

These pix show another collage using the screamish orange, before and after putting on the organza,

and after stitching around the shapes. I found some medium and light orange raffia which I am using to make a crocheted chain to stitch around the shapes next.

I don't know what possessed me to start these - I was waiting for SharonB's March Challenge and just decided to clear out the thread pot in the meantime. I had a marathon session ironing scraps and have now used them all except for some cotton. I suppose I could count these for the March challenge, because they are thread ends - little things - but I'm going to do a separate post for the March challenge in a minute...