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).
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