Thursday, January 24, 2013

Those Eureka moments

It's funny how things come about. I've actually had time in my studio this week, something of a rare occurrence, and have enjoyed being here.

I took a workshop last Saturday with my friend, Maggie Vanderweit. She never fails to inspire me and she has taught me so much that I have been able to use in my own work. The class was on Sketchbook Stitching, I have to think about how I say that, it always comes out oddly "skitchbook stetching" or something equally silly. The class certainly wasn't silly, and I had a wonderful time as always, Maggie's enthusiasm and instruction make me want to shut the door on the world and create.

I turned out four fairly decent pieces which I am rather pleased with. Maggie showed us how to transfer our designs onto fabric, and then free motion stitch on the machine and then paint using either watercolours, in pan or pencil form, and other methods.

I used an Indian red rayon thread, and Inktense pencils, which are a love of mine. The first image is of a fishing boat on the beach in Hastings, East Sussex. I had to make the trip back there last year to see my Father. It wasn't an easy trip to make, or a pleasant one, but that's the way things are sometimes. All I know is that he was thrilled to see me and we spent time together while he was in Hospital talking about Art in general and my work, which he loved.

The old fishing huts and fishing boat

A barnacle encrusted anchor

It gave me great pleasure to leave my mini portfolio with him so that he could look through it when he wanted.

I spent a lot of time on my own while I was there, and the weather was beautiful for February, so, I took myself and my camera off to the Old Town and spent the day taking photographs as I knew I would never go back there.

I took the printed photos with me to the class not knowing if I could use them but pleased that I have, it's turned into quite a cathartic exercise. I was excited about using them and had some lovely shibori dyed fabric that I did last Summer and was going to use it but hated the thought of cutting into it, but the way the fabric dyed reminded me of sand. In the end, I found a piece of blue ice dyed fabric which was just perfect, so spent an afternoon plotting my design.

I liked the layout as I didn't want it to be regimented and I had done the anchor on the diagonal rather than straight. Having got the pieces fitted together and stitched, I then pondered the quilting. My lovely Shibori piece was the inspiration for it, so I did wavy lines and pebbles all over the blue. I think it works well and I was glad to try out machine quilting again, I am getting looser every time and the more practice I get, the better I will be.

It's not perfect, but it's a good start.

So, this morning, I decided I really should tidy the studio, and was putting things away when I came across a piece of cheesecloth that I had dyed. I was thinking about how I was going to bind the quilt, it was then I had my Eureka moment. Why not use the cheesecloth? I don't like things all neat and tidy, it bothers me unless I really feel I need to do a "proper" binding. Then I took it a step further, what if I draped the cheesecloth over the front of the quilt? After all, it has a fishing theme and the cheesecloth does look a little like fishing net. So that's as far as I have got with it today, pinned to the design wall and thinking about where to go next, I may need to add some beads to it. Hmm, there's another class I can do.

Oh yes, I opened a new pack of cheesecloth and painted it so that I will have something to bind it with too as there wasn't enough with my draping.

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