wow it's almost April.

In March, I was busy with a lot of things. mostly computer oriented and I found I was getting frustrated not sewing , or painting. A good sign for it means that February where I concentrated on doing something almost everyday has become a choice. One that I have come to expect and perhaps even continue.

I can’t call it a habit for that will jinx the process… oh I’m learning how to deal with this rebel inside of me. Grin.

I began the collage cutting pieces of a previously painted cotton and was playing with its position on various backgrounds but that decision making process was not keeping my hands busy enough. Pictures of that are coming soon!

One rash Saturday I decided it was time to tackle some tidying in the basement and I found a whole load of old cotton shirts I had cut up thinking I would paint on them at some point. One small piece still had a part of the front buttonhole placket on it and it was and interesting shape. It was quite creased from being thrown in a box so I thought why not use the folds to define some planes and see where it might take me. So I began to make tiny stitches in a very light thread all along the folds making angles and dart like shapes.

white small piece-1.jpg

I forgot to take a picture before I started placing the shapes on the front so here you are seeing the tiny stitches that end up being larger on the back.

The detail photo below shows you the front with the tiny stitches cascading down the folds. Looking rather like tiny beads. I really like the sheen of rayon thread.

white piece detail-2.jpg

Write here…

white small piece-3.jpg

This gives you an idea of what the collage will look like when it is all sewed down and the single buttonhole at the top will be a place from which to hang it. It should be complete soon so watch for the final photo.

and I zig back to fabric

Since the fish collage, I have returned with renewed interest to a fabric collage I began last summer. I had decided on a circle, and I had fussy cut a flower that I painted on cotton years ago but hadn’t found a place for it yet. I had lightly glued down the pieces and I had done some hand sewing on it but I felt it was perhaps a little too pat… but that critical voice is being told off at the moment so it was a good place to begin again. With the backgound fabric a lovely spiral pattern I refer to this piece as New Zealand #1.


Here’s where I restarted.

nz detail-1.jpg

Detail of flower with beginning hand stitch. the dots are mostly ink pen but I did highlight some later with black thread.

nz  finished-1.jpg

And here’s where I finish.

nz  finished detail-1.jpg

Detail of the bottom band with french knots in green and fuzzy yarn sewed onto silk fray piece.

nz  finished detail-2.jpg

Detail of top band , which was painted linen with freemotion machine stitch in variegated threads.

nz  finished detail-3.jpg

Detail of flower with hand stitching and a portion of couched metallic thread accenting the spiral.

meld can mean more....

Well scrapping the list making was a good thing. But I did keep coming back to the notion of painting. I was not yet sure where to begin or whether to give up. So I did what I usually do I went to work. if I wanted to do collage, do a collage! I got out an old canvas that I painted a while ago with ink tense blocks. It was ho hum… but a place to start. I sat for about an hour placing small scraps of fabric on top of this painting and was not getting anywhere then a fish scrap found its way to the top of my scrap bag and that was the catalyst!

It worked from there! next came the problem solving that many authors insist art is actually about. How was I going to get these fabric scraps onto the canvas. I initially thought I could sew them , using the canvas frame like a quilting hoop on my machine, canvas being way to hard to easily hand sew.

Cooking dinner and a couple of days thinking intervened and I found I was realizing I might be chickening out of trying my hand at painting again… and reading some of my new books on Acrylic methods and supplies started reminding me that I did want to paint still , but how?

Meld! DO both together! Paint, collage, sew, maybe I could do it all!

Yesterday I took myself for an exploring trip to a new and very close-by Art supply store. Being in an Art store for me is like being a kid in a candy store. I asked some questions and left with a new jar of soft gel acrylic medium. It both glued down the scraps and intensified the colours of the ink tense. For I also found the canvas frame was too thick to fit under my sewing machine needle. But my embroidery hoops will ,so another part of this project takes me onward.

I have learned that I can also mix soft gel with paint for textured effects, and that might be a cool additional element here but it might be for the next project too. Anyway I feel like I’m moving forward with my work!

baby fish-1.jpg

oh where two weeks will bring you

So two weeks have gone by and I have been working on the plan, designing my own exercises to further my painting specifically on cloth.

I have made lots of notes in my paper journal and I have even written down some actions that would get me going. One of them was to start thinking about backgounds , would I paint solid colours, would I try abstract surfaces, would I do some fabric scrap weavings then overpaint or would I do some crazy quilting style painting to then overpaint etc…. there were lots of avenues for experimentation.

Yesterday I started thinking about just how to proceed with the paint. most of my reading about acrylics has to do with using prepared canvas. I wondered how or even if I needed to prepare ordinary fabric. I have done other fabric painting classes and they tell you to firmly clamp it to a frame . I have one square one, but I thought it might be nice to entertain my circles so i purchased some inexpensive embroidery hoops in various sizes and I have stretched some linen onto them.

Everywhere you read, one is told that paint needs a ground to help it adhere and yet I don’t really want the stiffness that that entails. Any way I thought well, I’ll try some small pieces with various ground surfaces and pick the one I like best. This was what I was writing down yesterday and I started a list then changed it to make another kind of list but both were actually leaving me cold! I was reminded once again I am not a list maker! And I actually hate doing “samples” My Pisces nature also floats to the surface here and whispers, how can you be sure that the ground samples are accurate given that every fabric choice I make may be slightly different.

All of a sudden I felt and enormous amount of preliminary work shouting to be done before I could start. It’s not that the work has to be perfect but I do have this ‘best practice” mentality that other artists must know more than I do and therefore…. sigh… another huge circle hooping me away from the initial desired end. I am also now reminded of why I haven’t planned like this before. And even a reason I have always thought a teacher would alleviate these issues. STUCK!!!

It is a really good thing I have a lot of time on my hands right now. In fact I had been thinking I had too much and was getting a trifle bored. Always a sign that something new is about to present itself and I have to hang around and listen for it to make itself heard.

I addressed these issues this morning in my paper journal and wrote this, I quote,

“Today both lists feel like more than I want___ Once again It’s like I have to start learning a new medium and it all has to find its best practice method which makes me yawn to start with then makes me feel more and more anxious and unwilling to even start. Maybe I’m being told something I’m ignoring. Maybe instead of painting right here right now I would do more if I collaged and stitched drew.”

then this… “ Part of the problem here is I don’t have the language to describe what I want to do.”

But my hands love collage. That is where I felt the most power before and after the planning class! I really like using the stuff I had to make new.

Part of this last two weeks has been spent going through my studio to see if there were some magazines and other stuff I didn’t need to keep anymore… you know clear space and new ideas will come…

Well one of the “ideas” I clipped out of a magazine, I cut off the title of the article to again keep less paper. That word with its 3 small photos was laying on my work table as I came into my studio to be distracted, to give my brain some sifting time… I collaged this piece into a piece, a piece of language-art that will not be deflected and that is actually a sound word for my year! Even though it may be a slight change in direction…

meld… merge, blend,combine, (n) a thing formed by merging or blending possibly from melt + weld

and melt… soften change or merge imperceptibly into another form or state

weld bring together into … an effectual whole.

hmmm sounds like where my power lies!

Are you surprised? I am a little

meld -1.jpg