Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Question for you.

 What inspires you? Do you dream deep in the night and awake with the idea nearly formed? A walk through the town or woods? Or maybe an overheard word that sparks an idea?

I have been thinking about this for a few days. Libby Fife of Libby Fife Fine Art-Studio Blog wrote a post about influences in ones creative life. What are yours? Where do they come from? What was your start onto an artists path? Where has it taken you over time?
   A hard one for me to answer. I grew up with art everywhere. A mother who was an artist and freely shared ideas along with art supplies and trips to the museum. Two brothers who have followed that path as well. So, in truth, everything turns into art in my head. I find my fingers tracing the lines of people around me, the faces, buildings, trees. everything. I dabbled in many media. Always drawing somewhere. Never really satisfied with my drawing skills. Photography was an answer for years. But my hands wanted something tactile. I embroidered my designs on my jeans in those late sixties days. Not really thinking of that as art since I didn't see anyone embracing cloth as an art form though there were some who were venturing into that realm in those early days. Art took a back seat to many things at different times. The need for a steady income and family dependences came first. But there is no turning off the drive to create. So I doodled, took photos when I could, made things with my hands that served a function. I don't remember that a ha moment when fabric, embroidery, stitching became my art. I suppose it evolved a bit at a time. My mother made clothes for my daughter and I embroidered them. We made a bunch of children's vests with crazy quilt satin and velvet Fans with embroidery on the backs. Took ourselves to a craft fair and sold them all on the first day. Most of them going to a woman who had a small boutique who upped the price by more then double in her shop. I embroidered osh gosh overalls for a shop and for small commissions from friends and friends of friends. Had we put our minds to it we might have been able to grow it into something. But, job security for my mom and a growing wanderlust from me eventually did that in.
   Now, I am retired from the energy sapping day job, have time again to play. I thought I was going to push for more recognition and try to get some work into shows. But it turns out that I really just want to do whatever strikes my fancy. I don't want the pressure of trying to please someone else. Oh, don't get me wrong, recognition and accolades are really great,but that isn't what drives me now. So I draw my sub par drawings and stitch my favorite ladies into mermaids and maidens with fairy tale joys. I make toys for the grandkids and pillows for home. Happily being an artist in my own small way.
  What about you? 

Friday, September 11, 2015


how I came to find myself stitching a mermaid.

water. Its about the water. blessed to live in a place where water is clean and easily available.
it is good to be living near one of the great lakes.

Spend a morning listening to the gentle push and pull of the waves. very calming, refreshes the soul.

take a walk along a river. listen to the gurgle as it tumbles over rocks.

walk around the pond where so much is going on every day.
above and under the murky waters.
the hours spent at the waters edge refresh my whole being. so it is no great mystery to me that I find a mermaid in threads now and then...
from a doodle experiment with the sewing machine and oil sticks

to a post card stitched up quickly for a friend.
to the maiden who is not a mermaid but lives among the fish any way.
for now, the work is about the water. and water is about life. and mermaids lurk in memories of a long ago painting my mother made on a wall for a special man.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Like a Cha Cha dance.

Changing direction. Going a bit backward while moving forward. I jumped out of my comfort zone and played about for a while. Now I am happy to head back to the zone with renewed ideas and skills.
  Was I satisfied with the work I did out of the zone?
Easy answer is no. Actually it is a mix. Glad I tried and learned something about how I work. The work itself seemed to lack a feel of myself in it. It felt, without soul.
   My drawings and doodles during this time kept going back to what I really liked doing. Lots of sketches of what I call my Ladies. The long hair that requires mucho hours of satin stitches when done in fabric.
   So in spite of my declaration of no more ladies! I am going right back there happily. Hopefully I have learned something from my foray into other realms and will bring some of that along to what I do next. Maybe. Probably.
   Bottom line is that I am going to do what makes me happiest. Thats it. thats all. I am going to try not to fret over the inaccuracies of my sketches. The blips of oops and whoops. Just going to stitch. Not trying for shows or sales. Of course I like the compliments when given, but it is in the end an endeavor I do out of a compulsion to make art.
   Thus, going full tilt ahead, Cliches and all, I have begun the first of the second go round of my Ladies.

The start of the newest. A mermaid with her friend. Having fun here with my favorite color combinations. Of course it is satin stitch. Smallish, probably finishing up around ten inches give or take.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

as spring begins to turn towards summer

It has been weeks since the last post. So you would have thought this one would be finished. And you'd be wrong! I had such a hard time getting back to stitching on it. I knew where I wanted it to go so that wasn't the problem. The weather turned nice and I spent a lot of time outside and even took the work outdoors to stitch in the warmth of springs sunshine. Yet managed that only for a short span of time. So I distracted myself with other things. I picked up the sketchbook and drew. I was so very rusty and the sketches were not where they should be technique wise. I practiced daily for a week and they got better by a bit. I doodled on post it notes and pulled up this one to commit to fabric.
I drew it onto a small piece that was eco-dyed last year. It makes me think of cave drawings and the fabric has such an earthy look to it. I haven't stitched it at all though. First I want, no, I need to finish this one!
So from this sketch,
To where it is now,
has taken longer then I thought it would. I like it though and maybe I am staying with it longer just to spend more time up close with it. All that is left of the stitching is the bottom quarter of it, hair strands and leaf bits.
She is still becoming...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

She becomes spring.

she progresses slowly. One stitch at a time.
Colors playing in the strands of hair. The hoop moves from there to here in small bits of movement. I sat outdoors in the warmth of early spring sun and she became a bit more real with each pull of the needle. She feels like spring to me, with her one precious drop of rain or dew almost falling...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

from start to??

This is a drawing from my sketchbook from some years ago.

I transferred it onto a large piece of fabric with the intent of putting needle to it. I wanted to add just a bit of color, keeping the sketch feel to it by not overdoing it. Then she sat dormant for years. I felt I had bit off more then I could chew. 

While digging through a bin of fabric for something else I came across her again. Wrinkled and forgotten. I pulled her out of that dank place and decided to just go for it! After all what would be worse, never trying? Afraid I would ruin it,or fail miserably? But I would learn from her even if I failed in my vision of what she should become! I would not shrink from a challenge. So she was ironed and trimmed and sandwiched with batting and backing.
  I did a bit of tinting to one of the grass fronds and the droplet. I drew the strands of hair with two different colors of inks. These will be embroidered with a variety of colors.

While I still have a long way to go and some clear obstacles  to face, I like her. I am glad I decided to be brave with my needle and floss!