Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wanted: Inspiration

I don't say this often but I need inspiration.   I have just spent 10 days on a whirlwind tour of the Gaspe in Quebec.   We combined camping and bed and breakfasts.   In 10 days we hiked, went on a whale-watching tour, kayaked, toured les Jardins des Metis (a wonderful garden - I'll post pictures soon), took a boat to Ile Bonaventure to see the gannet colonies, ate a lot, drove a lot, got wet a lot (it rained almost once a day), and stopped a several art galleries and craft stores.   I've not had a needle in my hand for 2 weeks and I'm suddenly not sure where to start.   I've looked at my vacation photos for ideas but nothing jumps out at me yet.   I have a couple of pieces that were partly finished when I left and I do have a theme I am working on but nothing seems to appeal to me right now.    

So.......I decided that I need to tackle my work space.   Somehow that always gets me motivated.   And my 'stuff'' has gotten out of control - especially since I work partly on my kitchen counter and table but store my fabric in my very small upstairs office.   I need to be very organized.   I'm trying to be innovative and think outside the box.   I'm also trying to be ruthless and get rid of pieces of furniture that take up space where I could have shelves full of fabric.   Priorities right?    Some days when I am working at my kitchen counter surrounded by bread boxes, a pile of bills, various small appliances, with my cat trying to climb or sleep on my work and the phone and doorbell ringing, I wonder if art can survive these challenges.   Then recently I started to read about other artists who have the same issue and it gives me a boost to know that beautiful work can come out of less than perfect conditions. So  I'd better get back to the cleaning and sorting.   Hopefully it will lead me to new ideas.    

ps - a friend just sent me a very appropriate email called 'how to deal with housework'.    It says "make a file on the computer called 'housework'.   Go to the file, right click then click on 'delete'.   When it asks if you are sure you want to delete 'housework' forever, firmly click on 'yes'."...................you'll feel much better!!! :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raccoon Embroidery - Taking a Break from the Joys of Motherhood

 I've been stitching away at my raccoon/zentangle/embroidery piece.  It's slow going but very soothing and portable.  I am using the word 'zentangle' loosely.  It's probably not strictly a zentangle but more of a doodle.  Here is the progress so far.  I had to extend the picture somewhat because I wanted the finished size to be 8 x 10".    It is really good practice in stitching.   I can see why young girls were taught to do 'samplers' back in the old old days ( not that I would approve of that kind of fixed gender role for women:)  I've had to think of what type of stitch worked best, and even tried some french knots.   At times I wished I wasn't so free and easy with the twists and turns of my pen.  Here's a close up.

I used double thread for the main lines, then switched to single threads to fill in.   I may use green threads for the background since I painted the leaves green but outlined them in black.  I am also using black single threads for the veins of the leaves. So a little colour in the background might be the thing to do.   I have another zentangle of a mermaid that would look good in multicolours of embroidery thread......

And here are a couple more photos of the pesky creatures who inspired this experiment.  I certainly don't encourage them because they are pretty destructive but they are darned cute!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

From photos, to doodles, to postcards, to stitches

I recently completed a few 4" x 6" pieces which I sent to be judged for a postcard exhibition.   Some were stitched while others were drawn with markers.   One piece was inspired by photos of a mother raccoon and her babies sleeping in my elm tree.  Mom had gotten tired of having 4 little ones jumping, grabbing at her and sleeping all piled on top of her on a hot summer day.   Soon, I saw her get up, wearily walk out on a limb and collapse onto it, legs hanging out on either side (she later returned to them).   Using the photos, I started doodling a caricature of them and ended up with a kind of zentangle in black and white with a touch of green.   This became my postcard entry as shown.   Then I decided to enlarge the picture and trace it onto a piece of white cotton which I am embroidering with black thread.   I will post a photo of the embroidery as a work in progress once I get a few more (hundred) stitches.  I decided to add touches of green on the leaves with watercolours as I did with markers on the postcard.