I love working with wool. Recently another felt-maker I know wrote to me saying that no matter what other medium she experiments with she always comes back to wool. Me, too. And I especially love working with wool this time of year.
It sure has been a cold January. The only good thing about the weather is that it’s kept me indoors. So I’ve been doing lots of stitching.
I finished another “small piece” that really has outgrown my definition of small. Once framed it will get to move to a different part of my collection; it’s too big to be small. The fascination with layers continues to haunt me. Years ago I started exploring the idea of layering imagery in my work with a series I called “Mazes”. I layered fabrics and stitching. I was a bit timid with it all and when I look at those pieces I smile. Very timid. As I return to exploring layers (maybe I never left) I am getting bolder! Here’s that outgrown piece when it was pieced and embroidered. This is before it got too big to be small.
I’ve started my exploration of tree imagery. How many different ways can I capture the idea of a tree? What happens when I play with shape? Texture? Color? Materials? Does the eye (and mind) still see “tree”? When does it stop seeing “tree”? How much distortion does it take? Some of the same questions the cubists were asking; and answering.
Now I layer a grid onto it. Are we playing hide and seek? Camouflage? Or am I adding emphasis, as in a frame?
I’ve started to explore a new and fun technique. Well, new for me anyway. I am stitching on paper. I have a felt piece that I will be embroidering upon. Then I want to add stitched paper to it. Integrating stitched paper into a whole other felt piece is foreign to me. I feel as if I’m all thumbs. I am totally unsure of how to go about it. As I was thinking about this project, trying to decide how & where to begin, it occurred to me that I might be approaching it backwards. I need to feel comfortable with the stitched paper. To learn it’s subtleties, moods, unique characteristics. So I picked up a piece of paper I’d painted, and really liked, and decided to stitch that. Then I will create a piece of felt to go with it. I am hoping this approach will aid in increasing my comfort level and give me ideas of how to proceed.
Here’s the paper:
It started out rectangular. I painted it with acrylic paint. Then I cut out the shape to (hopefully) enhance what I saw and how I wanted to stitch it.
Stitching on paper is fun! After pulling out a pattern or imagery from the design the paint has formed, I decide on what stitches I’d like to use where. I then choose my threads to enhance both the image and the stitches. So now I am dealing with imagery, texture, color, 3D feel, softness, and probably even more. I practice the stitches on fabric if they are not old familiar friends. The I draw out the hole pattern made when executing the stitches, since paper needs to have pre-punched holes for the stitching. It’s interesting to me to see how I can often decrease the number of holes by utilizing them twice. Kind of like a mathematical puzzle. Here’s the stitching so far:
I’m going south for the month of February. I’ll return riding on the back of spring. Stay warm!