Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not my Usual Style

In my last post I was auditioning fabrics to use as a background to a new piece.  The theme of this year's library exhibition is '1914'.   I chose the Women's Mock Parliament which took place in January of 1914 in Winnipeg Canada.  Tired of hearing why women should not have the vote, Nellie McClung and a group of suffragists performed a 'Mock Parliament'  at the Walker Theatre.  They reversed the question to ask "Should Men Vote". They used the words of the parliamentarians to describe what would happen if men got the vote.  With gender bending humour, they drew great crowds and managed to reverse the general beliefs about votes for women.
I wanted to use strong colours for strong women - red, fuschia, purple
 I thought I would start with a crazy quilt background to pay tribute to our grandmothers but I felt that the random placement of many colours and shapes would be too distracting so I stuck to squares and rectangles but hand stitched them to resemble a crazy quilt.

In the meantime I researched extensively and downloaded the script and poster of the event as well as several old posters and photos of the fight for votes and women's rights.  Before using them, I went back and recorded their origins, checking to make sure I was not violating copyright.  Most of the items were widely available in govt archives, teaching sites, historical societies, were published in newspapers from the day, were public domain or had been used extensively in the public domain for many years.  I found one that was a photo taken from a recent play so I decided to omit that one rather than have to track down permission.  The items are mostly Canadian but I also included some American and British pictures or posters - the fight for votes for women is universal.

Here are a couple of tongue-in-cheek excerpts from the play arguing that 'men' should not vote - "Man has a higher destiny than politics....the man who pays the grocer rules the world!" and "When men once get the habit - who knows where it will end - it is hard enough to keep them at home now!"  - Nellie McClung.

I finished stitching the background....

I had already figured out a placement before I started stitching.   This part was difficult for me - squares and text are not my usual cup of tea!   I knew this was an educational piece and may not be pretty but I wanted it to be easy on the eyes nevertheless.  While messing around with placement I accidentally came up with this brilliant - well, at least significant (!) idea.  Votes for women right??

X marks the spot!

Luckily I thought of this before I started stitching because I decided to carry it even further and use only x stitches to join the pieces - which I had fused to a backing so I wasn't really 'joining' them together.
close up of stitches

I will finish the edges and mount the piece on a 16 x 20" canvas.  I plan to cover the edges of the canvas in bits of quotes and articles about the event and votes for women.  On the back label I will include my sources.  A fun piece about a serious evolution in our Herstory!
I finished my second small stitched landscape piece.  This one was from a photo taken on the Jack Pine Trail when wildflowers were blooming everywhere with trees lining the background.  I love to have something to stitch in the evening when I am watching TV.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Fibre Art - Red Sails in the Sunset

Linking up to Off the wall Fridays

Sometimes what you finish up with is not at all what you had in mind when you started!  And that can be a good thing!  My fibre arts group is having another colour challenge, this time - magenta (kind of a fuschia/magenta shade on the colour chip)  It was to be 12 and 12" and at least 20 % magenta I think.  My plan was for a sunset with silhouettes of trees in the foreground.   I machine stitched the sky with many small curvy bits of fabric, then stitched the water, then I was ready to add the trees.....but I couldn't do it.  I just loved the sunset as it was.  Also I had extended it to about 14" and found that it would look a lot better as an 11 x 14 than a 12 x 12".    I added tulle and cut it to size then music took over again (this happens a lot for me - as in Fields of Gold, Heard it Through the Grapevine etc).    The old song "Red Sails in the Sunset" kept going through my mind so I added tiny sailboats to the sun's pathway on the water.

Red Sails in the Sunset
So here it is - wrong size, no trees, great title - and I think the colour reads magenta:)   I will mount it on a painted stretched canvas.   However it will not do for my colour challenge so I need to start another one.  I think I might do a sunset with dark trees silhouetted in the foreground........?

I also hand stitched a little 3 x 5" piece from a photo I took at the Purdon Conservation centre where we went to see the lady slipper orchids in June.

Original Photo

Stitched piece
I am working on another one of this size with wildflowers and trees inspired by a photo I took recently on a hike in the Greenbelt near my home but it is not ready to post yet.

These two were done with lots of hand embroidery -  I posted one of them before but here they are together.  I was inspired by photos of fall flowers in my friend's garden.  I think the one on the left could do with a little more definition on the petals but it's too late now.

My Helper
 My next big project is a piece for our library show based on the year 1914.  My cat decided to help me audition fabrics for the background.   My piece will be about Nellie McClung and the fight for Votes for Women, specifically the Women's Mock Parliament held in Winnipeg in January 1914.   The women held a mock session where they debated the question - Should Men be allowed to Vote??  It was a tongue in cheek skit which gained a lot of support for women's right to vote.   I think it will be fun to do!

This week I posted more items in my  Etsy Shop   (note my new header).    I plan to work on more jewelry too - maybe try some new colours and shapes.

When I am feeling brave I will tackle my website.  It sadly needs updating.
This is my creative 'to do' list for now.

More photos from Purdon Conservation Centre.  These are the beautiful orchids.