Saturday, February 25, 2012

more close ups - sketchbook challenge

Here are my latest sketchbook close ups, this time with markers.   Amazingly, since I pulled out my sketchbook for these close ups I have started sketching more landscapes from photos,using pencil crayons. markers, and watercolour crayons, and have moved to painting some small scenes on fabric which I will finish with stitching etc etc.  It really is a motivator.   Here are some 'closer ups' - mushrooms, pebbles, flowers, seed pods etc.  I'm thinking, after reading the latest Sketchbook Challenge post (Up Close Imaginary Worlds), that I need to add some smurfs under those mushrooms.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fibre Art - Attention to the Details

I have been thinking a lot about detail - adding tiny details to our work that create interest (like in the picture book Where's Waldo).    I like to give the viewer things to discover after they have taken in the big picture.   After sketching 'close up' with this month's sketchbook challenge and having a friend remark that what she likes about my work are the details,  I took my camera and shot some of those details for discussion.   I have just finished several pieces that I need to keep under wraps for a little longer but I'll share some 'details' with you.

I'll start with a piece that is not under wraps called  "On the Rocks" where my intention was to describe the ultimate getaway - being a mermaid out on the rocks surrounded by sea and being catered to yet unreachable (this one was posted in its entirety last spring).  Here are photos of some of the tiny details I included that, to me, makes this piece more interesting and meaningful (in a fun way).

 I gave her book an appropriate title and note that her sunglasses have rose-coloured lenses, the best way to see the world when you are taking a break from it all.  Here is the full view.

Here are some details from a recent piece which is still under wraps.

The chickens are small and I wanted them to pop so I used shiva paintstiks, pearlized paint and metallic threads. I used a gel paste dyed red to form their combs.  The foliage and trees were cut into very narrow fronds, stitched down then covered with tulle to keep them in place.

The next piece which is also still under wraps is a representation of Kuan Yin, who is called the mother of compassion in Buddhist tradition.     To her facial expression (which seemed a bit Disneyesque), I added crows feet around her eyes and a slight shadow under the eye to give her more character.  She is supposed to be carrying the weight of the world.   I used some metallic fabric to create a necklace.    On the curves of her gown, I placed symbols that are sometimes associated with her - a bowl of rice, a lotus, a dragon.   I stitched tiny bumps on the dragon to give texture to it.  In one hand Kuan Yin holds a willow branch which she uses to sprinkle the nectar of life.   In the other a precious vase from which she pours out the nectar of compassion and wisdom (I used rainbow coloured thread to represent the nectar pouring down).   To represent compassion, I placed a tiger next to an exotic bird.  I did a lot of research and read several articles about her before starting this piece but I also created her in a way that reflects my own vision (ie using bright  colours).

The last example represents my then preschooler and I picking blueberries.  In the photo inspiration, I was pointing out the berries hidden in the grass and bushes.  My son was leaning forward peering intently at them.    We were up on a hill with trees and hills in the background.    For interest, I decided to add a mother bear and her cub observing us in the distance.  It gave a whole other dimension to the theme (Blueberries for Sal?). We actually did see a bear that day but it was busy picking berries.  I tentatively named the piece "All Kids Like Berries, Don't They?" but that may change (Naming your piece might be the topic for another post).   I cut tiny red and green leaves for the blueberry bushes and added blue and purple seed beads for the blueberries.  I stitched the figures' hair in several shades and stitched hair on the bears as well.

This has become a rather long post.  My suggestion from all this is that when you are designing a piece you might start with the obvious - for example, mom, child, berries - then think about subtleties.   Give your piece more meaning and definition by adding fine details.   It's fun to add a little twist like giving the mermaid's book a title that reflects the theme.    These details can add depth to the theme.    The next consideration is knowing when to stop adding things.....I'm still working on that one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sketching - Close Up

I sure love the sketchbook challenge themes.  I have been doing much more sketching and I find it such a break from sewing (which is a break from housework, shopping, shovelling snow, exercising, cooking.....).  But I have been doing so much hand sewing - finishing things up in preparation for my summer show,  our latest challenge, and for a fibre arts group exhibition in the  spring that I decided I need to take regular breaks and get 'close up' - to the center of an iris, a begonia, a swallowtail butterfly and lichens on a log.

And here are more close ups - with a camera.  Some of these have yet to be sketched.  But do you recognize the iris?

And a close up of some of my close ups.....

Friday, February 3, 2012

See My New Bookmarks Page

I have added a new page to my blog for fabric Bookmarks which are now for sale!   I have also added a few new items to My Gallery.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fibre Art - Mosaic Challenge

My quilting challenge partners and I met on Monday to unveil our latest challenge pieces.  Last year we decided to do a piece based on a mosaic style.   That was the only rule.  After many months of hard work, here are the results.  My piece might look familiar to my regular visitors because I first posted it several months ago.

This first piece is by Shirley Santos Pedro and it is a depiction of 'the king'.  She used two different 'elvis' fabrics, one for the clothing and another for the guitar.   If you look closely you can see that the mosaics in the clothing have words printed on them.   She also cut out words and expressions to attach to the background fabric.   Isn't it great?  And what a lot of work!

The second piece is Iris Krajcarski's interpretation of the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park, New York City.    Note especially all the tiny square mosaic tiles around the perimeter.   The fabrics chosen for the piece have a faint pattern which really captures the mosaic feel of the memorial.    Perfect! 

In case you are thinking that our theme was a musical one as well, here is my piece.  It is called simply "Iguana" and I started with a small sketch which I coloured with pencil crayons then roughly drew horizontal and vertical lines over it - each square would be equal to 1".   I chose and fused several fabrics then cut a zillion 1" squares and fused them onto a black background then hand-quilted the whole piece.  Aside from placing all the squares, it was the easiest piece I ever designed.

Here are some close up shots of the pieces.

Now on to our next challenge.   We have added a fourth member to our group and, inspired by the book Twelve by Twelve, we decided to each pick a theme and it will become the four by four challenge.     We are giving ourselves two months for the first challenge (yikes - I still sew by hand) and the first theme is 'resting places'.   The next themes are houses, clocks, and dragonfly.    We have set the size as 12" x 12" ( I suggested 4" x 4" since we are the group of four but after much laughter they all nixed that idea).  So stay tuned for our next challenge results.