Monday, July 19, 2010

Face #14

What if I use single threads, cross-hatch style like colored pencil?

This wasn't quite what I had in mind. It got too fussy as I started building up layers, so I decided to try to keep it simple. Need to play around with this technique more.

I have guests staying with me for a week, then a trip to Seattle, so this will be the end of the faces, at least for a while. I really enjoy working in a series like this. It seems for every one I do, I get two new ideas for more. Thanks for following along!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Face #13

What if I piece a background out of printed silks, then machine embroider from the back side?

I didn't like the stark white area so put a printed sheer on top. Didn't love the line from the machine stitching, so I hand embroidered to get more variety in it:

Too much going on, so I toned some of the background down with white patches:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Face #12

What if I start with a painted line drawing and fill in color book style?

This one was challenging. I tried to fill in all the way with color, but it became too much. I finally decided to keep part of it sketchy and was much happier with it.

Someone asked me what I'm going to do with all these faces. I have no plans at all. I'm just enjoying experimenting and will probably come back to work with favorites later. But maybe not.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Face #11

What if I build up features sculpturally using white on white?

I wanted to keep this light and transparent to integrate it with the background, but it does tend to disappear. I'd like to try it again on a dark background.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Face #10

What if I try hand embroidery on top of the pieced background?

I experimented with using 1, 3, 4 and 6 strands of floss to get some different line weights. I love what happened on the back, especially those little running stitches:

Working from the back side will definitely be a future "what if"!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Faces 8, 9

A new direction. What if I start with a patched background?

I found fabrics with lots of white in them, hoping the face would show up better that way. This ended up reminding me of my Mom's old hankies:

First--What if I machine stitch directly on it?

I had to fight the print so much that it ended up being overworked. Sometimes, though, I think the ones that don't work are more useful than the ones that do. This led me to thinking of all sorts of other approaches to using a pieced background.

What if I do the face on sheers and attach? Since I had Face #7 on organza sitting here, I attached it on top and left it floating on the bottom. I had a bit of text "She likes to float" left over from my little boat piece a while back and it seemed to belong there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Face #7

What if I reduce it down as simply as possible and just add a few stitches of color to a line drawing?

Not nearly as dramatic as the last one, but may have its place in a quiet corner. This technique was inspired by seeing the back of face #6. I like the looser rambling hand stitches here:

End of my one week challenge already--that went fast! I'm having too much fun to stop, so will continue til I hit a wall.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Face #6

What if I simplify my approach from yesterday to allow some of the white and line drawing to show?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Face #4

What if I start with a line drawing done on machine and add sheers like a watercolor wash?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Face (s) #3

What if I make the features in separate pieces then mix them up Mr. Potato Head style?

They pop on a neutral potato:

What if I put them on more energetic backgrounds?

What if I can't stop making these to try the next What If?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Face #2

#2 in my week of faces challenge-- What If I started with a busy print background and worked from there?

And since I didn't explain face #1 posted yesterday--What if I used all sheers to create vague features?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Struggling with Story

Sometimes I feel like I hit a wall, especially when my pieces feel like they've become soulless. I was at that point so was very happy to start an online class with Jude Hill on Story Cloths, hoping to get back to something deeper in my work. The thing I most admire in Jude's work is her connection to the fabric and the deep meaning behind every stitch she takes--something I felt I had been drifting away from.

The online class is, as to be expected, wonderful, but I've found myself struggling with the concept of using a story in my work. Jude uses the term "story" pretty loosely. Sometimes there might be a clear narrative and figurative pieces that have almost a fairytale quality to them as a story unfolds. I like seeing others do this, but it is not me. Sometimes, for Jude, a story is more nebulous, more the way the cloth speaks to you as it goes. (At least I think that's how she interprets it.)

After wrestling with the concept, I decided my piece had to be about where I was right now. I wanted to create something about emerging from periods of darkness.

I started with a solid black background, a base of darkness. Then layered on dark pieces that had vague bits of light to them.

Thinking about how moods always cycle in and out, I added some circles of dark and light, using a technique for frayed edge applique that Jude showed. (oh how I love this technique--it's hard for me not to use it for everything now!).

I stalled on my story until I found this Persian proverb in a book I was reading:

That seemed to give me direction. I wanted a face that was vague and uncertain, with some lightness emerging out of the dark.

And stars that appear as cracks in the darkness.

It's funny that when I started laying it out all together, it looks much more bright and joyful than I thought it would:

Another nice thing that has happened along the way is I've returned to my love of faces. I have been collecting pages of "what if" ideas for doing fabric faces, some so old that I've forgotten what the notes mean. I've been inspired by my friend Z'anne--who is making a pair of earrings every day for a year--and decided to give myself a challenge, with a much lower bar, of posting a new face experiment every day for a week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Nautical Treat

Last night Dayna held a little party for our art group aboard her yacht! She and her husband Howard, the ultimate hosts, are parked (I'm sure there's a more precise boating term to use here) at the Portland waterfront, among many other boats, for the blues festival this weekend. It was one of those magical nights with perfect weather and a crystal clear view.

Everyone outdid themselves with the potluck goodies:

We sipped wine on the deck and thought we must look like the Real Housewives of Portland, minus the plastic surgery. Here's Cynthia, Lenall and Lorraine:

Steph, Dayna, Carrie and Jill:

The whole gang of happy girls. Howard graciously snapped photos using each of our cameras:

I have been taking Jude's online Story Cloth class (more soon), and made this little piece as a thank you for Dayna:
It was huge treat to get to step into a different world for the evening! Thank you Dayna and Howard!