Sunday, February 28, 2010

Three D isn't just for movie screens and funny glasses

I've wanted to work in a more sculptural or three-dimensional mode for quite a while. Other ideas and projects kept popping up, and I didn't follow that urge. I am easily distracted by all the cool things I see other folks doing, and I tend to want to try everything. In the past, it could take many years before I gave myself permission to leap in a new direction. But I think fear has a little less of a grip on me than it used to, and I'm getting clearer about following my inclinations instead of getting distracted by the latest and the greatest. I can admire others' work and learn from it, but I am doing myself a disservice if I don't pay attention to what my heart is telling me.

Sculptural work feels way out of my league. My brain has been very 2D, left-to-right, top-to-bottom -- I was a bookworm very early on, and my synapses are most comfortable when my eyes are scanning a page of English prose. Yet I've learned over the past 10 years that I am far more visual and color-oriented than I ever would have guessed. This journey is far from a static thing. So why not try something more 3D?

I've been looking at my copy of Three-Dimensional Embroidery by Janet Edmonds. There are so many intriguing ideas in that book! Not quite knowing where to begin, I cut ten hearts from some quilted red patchwork fabric I made last year. Now I'm sewing various white fabrics to the back side of the hearts with embroidery floss. Some will have additional embroidery, some may have beading or found objects or photos or text -- I don't have much of a plan at this point. I am happy to play.

red quilted hearts

When I have ten finished hearts, I plan to combine them in some sort of three-dimensional way. I've played with some ideas, but nothing has struck my fancy yet. I'm perfectly happy to wait and see what happens! It feels very freeing to let my planning mind take a break. Curiosity will draw me along.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Simple beginnings of spring

I choose to rejoice in the simple things.

Enough daylight and warmth to take a walk at 5 pm.

Spotting my first crocuses this year.

First crocuses of 2010

Working with my camera, outside, where I belong. Where I breathe freely.

Walking along a park trail, then striking out for orange light on the ridge.

Sunset on High Ridge, 2/18/10

Glad for silhouettes, glad for the crescent moon in the pine branches, glad for dog walkers and bicyclists, glad for beautiful houses; glad to come home with fresh air in my hair, and spring whispering its name everywhere.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heart Signals, really finished at last

There's nothing like a deadline to prod me into finishing a piece. I call this one "Heart Signals."

"Heart Signals" (final)

(The color is off in this photo -- I really need to invest in some better lighting!)

Once I got the piece mounted onto a stretched canvas, I began to sweat how I'd finish it. It came to me that a knotted cord or ribbon would mimic the embroidery I'd done on this piece, which is alternating French knots and straight stitch. I sewed a kind of ribbon or bias tape, then knotted it and glued it on as a frame.

I've got to admit -- once I'd glued on the knots, I thought it looked like a wedding cake! The knots remind me of fancy icing doodads.

"Heart Signals" in profile

Then I wondered what to do with the sides of the canvas. I'd made some pink "fabric paper" by gluing text from old books and handwriting samples onto muslin, then gluing pink tissue paper over it. Eventually I cut circles with a punch, again thinking about mimicking French knots. But the plain circles lacked something. So I punched small holes into the circles with an awl, then sewed white embroidery floss through them. A little glue, and there it was.

Left side of "Heart Signals" (close-up)

Center heart

"Heart Signals" was by far the girliest thing in the Raw Space show. I felt a little odd about it hanging with some fairly dark pieces. But hey -- it was unique, a little confectionery, and a break from all the seriousness.