Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sewing and Listening

Decided to do a bit of stitching instead of cogitating…and made this little piece….
I like the way it reminds me of the ranch house in Flame Trees of Thika, a lovely BBC tv series based on the Elspeth Huxley book Memories of an African childhood (her parents planted a coffee farm there before the First World War).
stitched
Sometimes when I’m working on a piece for a while, a book I’m listening to or thinking about gets totally stitched into the piece.  I don’t know if that happens to other people ( do comment!).   This might  be good or bad.  I made one piece listening to Schindler’s List and of course couldn’t stand it after it was finished.  Thank goodness I never told the buyer! Usually, however, more positive messages get stitched into the work!

The piece above (nameless as yet) began life as a large length of screen printed cloth where my emphasis was on buildings disintegrating…as the image disintegrated on the screen, the cloth became more evocative of my intent.   Or so I thought as I romanticized at the time.  But after washing and ironing,  when I looked at a couple of yards of this, it really was dreary and dispiriting!!  Black and white desolation!! Ugh…too nihilistic!
So it took me a lot of looking before I discovered this tiny vignette ( I guess it’ll be about 14” x 15” when I get it faced) in one corner.  I added a bit of that gold ( a lovely strange old dye called Nickel I found lurking in the cupboard at Penland last summer), and also some silk organza to create some depth and shadows.  If you want to you can see a person, but if you don’t, then don’t!!  I do like it when a piece suddenly comes to life and reminds me of some strong visual memory that I couldn’t quite remember at the outset.
I started thinking about visual memories of scenes from the past because of the book I'm currently reading about drawing scenes from memory (David Friend's The Creative Way to Paint) and I think it’s going to be a great exercise to help to sharpen my visual skills.  In drawing from memory, you include only what was really important to you at the time, unnecessary details are forgotten.  So it helps you both in simplification and in deciding what should definitely be included.  With luck the essence is there but the forgetobilia is not!

Okay…back to sewing and listening….
And if you have been, thanks for reading!  Elizabeth

11 comments:

Jill said...

Love the mystery in this piece. What is this book you're reading? Sounds interesting...

Ruth said...

Do tell, what is the book?

Quilt or Dye said...

And the name of the book is....?

Elizabeth Barton said...

wow and there was me thinking 3 comments already!! that's great! but all you want to know is the name of the book!!!
WEll...far be it for me to disappoint: it's David Friend's The Creative Way to Paint. ;)

June said...

I'm interested in that book -- there will be a run on it. I have a pretty bad visual memory (but it's getting better, as opposed to my to-do memory). And I would like to simplify my paintings. Not the textiles, so much -- I'm not the most patient person with sewing small bits -- but with the paintings, I could really use some ways to stop "fussing."

I like your house, too, and the way you "found" it.

Cathy said...

Wonderful...I can see the outback in it! I loved Haley Mills in that show!

Jackie said...

Fascinating about painting from memory including only the most salient features! I think I'll try that on my next piece: study the inspiration photo and then remove it just to see what I come up with. Very good idea--thank you! What's really important in my mind's eye! Wishing you and your family and Happy Christmas and New Year's!

cyn said...

Oh yes, do hear you on external factors (books, music, stories happening in life) getting stitched into a piece!
I can pick up a work that I haven't touched in years, and as I look at it, all the memories of that time period come flooding back into my mind.
In fact, that's why sometimes I have to turn off a certain book or music, because I'll feel it's not harmonious with my intentions for a quilt!

cyn said...

Oh yes, do hear you on external factors (books, music, stories happening in life) getting stitched into a piece!
I can pick up a work that I haven't touched in years, and as I look at it, all the memories of that time period come flooding back into my mind.
In fact, that's why sometimes I have to turn off a certain book or music, because I'll feel it's not harmonious with my intentions for specific quilt!

California Fiber artist and composer said...

I find it hard to sew when listening to books, unless I am doing something repetitive and mindless. However I do sew to classical musical and KUSC (classical radio station). The rhythms affect my speed but do not usually ifnluence my work.

Kristi said...

I listen to audio books while longarming and have the same experience as you do. The two become very connected. My last few were done with The Hunger Games. Last month was Elie Wiesel's Night. Music isn't enough to keep me company and keep my brain shut off.