Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Fibre Art Challenge - Stittsville Library Exhibition

View from Robert's Mountain, Cape Breton

 I'm back from my hiking trip in Cape Breton and I finally have something to blog about and time to do it.   First of all, I was proud of myself on this hiking trip to be able to finish one 24 km day hike through a wet, rock-hopping, stream-crossing trail with no ill effects.  I have noticed in the past couple of years that my endurance is decreasing - having some foot pain etc - so this was quite an accomplishment for me.   Another day (our first day of hiking) we hiked up the steep Robert's Mountain and were rewarded by a beautiful view.  After 3 days of sun it rained for the next 3 but we still managed to enjoy the experience.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City

This piece is part of a challenge to create fibre art with the theme of From a Book.  I spent last week finishing it up and still need to mount it on a stretched canvas.  I hope you can see that it is from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - the yellow brick road leading up to the emerald city.  There are a couple of firsts for me in the construction of this piece.   For the first time, I have used my sewing machine to do some of the piecing of the background, still using raw edge applique and mostly zigzag stitching.   Then I switched to hand stitching for other edges.  Can you see below which pieces are attached by machine?

Here is a close up of the tulip garden using french knots and the tree section using heavy silk thread.  I added the scary tree section and a section of 'rocks' to signify that the journey was
not all a bed of flowers.

I was able to use a lot of symbolism as the path winds from lush green fields, past flowers, rocks, dark forests, plains, and on to the sparkle of the emerald city.  Below is a close up of the embroidered sunflowers which I added to represent Kansas, Dorothy's home.

And here is another first for me - using bead work exclusively to create the city.  I have used beads for emphasis in many pieces but using such dense bead work was very difficult since I realize that I don't really know how to bead onto fabric.   Adding random beads is one thing but beading a solid object is something else.  Keeping them straight and even, making sure they lie flat - yikes!  It was mostly done by trial and error (and is a little wonky for sure). Note to me - I must take a class in beading onto fabric.

Finally,  I used the letter capability on my machine to write the name of the book.  I actually saved letters in the machine's memory and let the machine do the rest.  I had to save in two different memories because I didn't have the capacity to sequence all the letters at once and didn't know how to add a second sequence to the same memory (or maybe it's not possible?)   And though I set the first part to tie off it did not and started to repeat the pattern (so I had a little picking out to do).

My plan is to mount this on a thick stretched canvas.   The emerald coloured piece with the title will become the spine of the book.   The other three edges will need to look like the pages of a book.  I am still thinking about how to do the page edges so that they look like pages but are still somewhat interesting to look at.  So far I just have white fabric with lines along it.   May need to sew along some of the lines with sparkle thread perhaps.

This will be part of a group exhibition of work from my fibre arts group - Out of the Box.   Each piece will represent a theme 'From a Book'.   The exhibition will hang in the Stittsville, Ontario library from November 1, 2012 to November 30, 2012.

One more exciting thing!   A few years ago I read Deanne Fitzpatrick's rug hooking book, East Coast Rug-hooking Designs and I was 'hooked'.  She tells stories with her beautiful rugs combining various fibres, mixing traditional methods with new patterns and ideas as well as recording the history of Newfoundland in her rugs (she also has three other books and some wonderful YouTube videos).  It is the storytelling aspect of her work that really appeals to me since I also work with stories in my quilts.   A couple of years later in Newfoundland I saw more rug hooking, including some lovely pieces done by my friend Joyce.   So I bought a hook and some yarn and started hooking.   I nailed it to a wood frame but found it awkward to do.  The piece was never finished.   On this last trip to Cape Breton I visited Les Trois Pignons, a museum near Cheticamp,  which is the centre for a long tradition of hooked rugs.  There, I saw some Cheticamp style rug hooking frames which were exactly what I was looking for.   Last week, I contacted the maker and the result  is that I am in the process of ordering both a floor model and a portable tabletop model - both very reasonably priced.  I am so excited!!  I will post photos when I receive them.  

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