Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Free Motion Stitching

I spent today working on some art projects of the hands-on variety. Exercising the creative brain parts was a nice change of pace. I've really not spent much time in that mode this summer, although I had big plans to work on all kind of projects.

Today's piece was a fabric postcard for a friend. It started with several layers of various fabrics tacked together with a couple ribbon sections. My attempt to draw the FME design on was really a non-productive exercise: my sewing machine has an LED-type light that is going out (giving a nice strobe light effect--ever sew in a disco?) so I have a lamp that I shine strategically into the sewing space to lessen the effect, which essentially erased my light-colored chalk lines. Consequently it was even more free free-motion, that's for sure! If you've never tried FME, I recommend it--very (dare I say it?) freeing. Ha, ha, ha! Okay, bad Rin, I know. But it is quite fun. I highly recommend a darning foot, also. In all my years of sewing I've never stitched a finger, but it would be awfully easy to do while doing FME without a foot. (Of course I don't bother to put my projects in a hoop, which probably adds to the danger of footless sewing.) If you've tried FME and are frustrated by it, I would encourage you to give it a bit more practice. If you can get into a rhythm, everything starts to flow so nicely. After finishing up all the FME sections I took my heat gun and burnt off the layers of chiffon and some of the netting, to go back to my bottom layer. I really should have taken pictures before and after the burning because it made a dramatic difference on the piece. I'm very happy with it and now have to send it off.

Here is another fabric postcard I made recently and finished up today. It needed a little more color, so I pulled out my water-soluble wax crayons (a favorite toy), colored, then brushed on some water for some soft accent coloring. Free motion stiching and burning fabric also played a part here. (The burning thing could get a little addictive--I might finally understand my husband's desire to have a burn pile twice a year. The first year we lived in town [we're both country kids] he burnt the lawn in the spring. I told him that city folk just mow it--lol!) It will also be sent off to another home.

And finally, here's a little reject from a swap I participated in with some other artists in the Christian Paper Artist Yahoo group. We made pages for a Fruit of the Spirit book; my page was joy. Knowing the Lord always gives me a deep-seated feeling of joy; I am not an Eeyore (sp?) Christian. Even in the hardest of times I feel joy deep within. How to express joy on a piece of paper came easily to me--color. Every idea I had for how to approach this topic involved bursts of color. In the last year I've begun to realize that a large portion of my art falls into the category of non-objective expressionism and I find that I frequently want to express emotions with colors. Words and letterforms have always fascinated me, so this depiction of joy worked for me. And I had fun playing with my brush pen that gives such fun lines--sort of a French feeling.

What makes you joyful? What expresses joy to you? How would you depict joy? I would love to know (feel free to leave a comment. I moderate my comments, so it won't come up right away, but I check in frequently). I really would like to hear from people on this topic, because I'm trying to expand my interpretations and understanding of what I see in art. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself well, so here's an example: there are many paintings that I encounter that I dismiss as simple sentimentality, but I'm starting to wonder if I am missing something in the interpretation because of my personality. I'm not highly sentimental, so if I looked deeper would I see that the painting really says something bigger about love (for instance)? So, in that mode, I would really enjoy hearing how other people would depict an abstract concept like joy. BTW, this little page was a reject because I stitched it the wrong from the wrong side and then tried to cover the resulting ugliness with a satin stitch, which effectively made a cutout of the fragile sheet music on the back. The rest were stitched correctly and sent off. I can't wait to get the book.

1 comment:

Ellene McClay said...

oooh, I struggle so much with joy. I had to repeat "the joy of the Lord is my strength" for so long, and still do at times. When you grow up with a cloud of sadness over you for so many years, then realize that's not how God intended for us to live, it's like breaking a bad habit. Now I can sense when the 'cloud' starts hovering, and I know how to fight against it. The book project sounds lovely. I haven't done much in the way of altered books, or swaps, but i signed up for a 26 page one at theAlteredAbbey, and I decided to use the ABC's and do them about God. Like A will be Almighty, and have visual elements to go with it.