Thursday, August 23, 2018

Queen of My Mother's Garden

Queen of My Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage

This began as a mere experiment of cross-stitching a simple pattern on non-evenweave fabric - in this case an iris on a scrap of jacquard tablecloth. I'd like to incorporate a greater variety of cloth scraps in my collages - and here's a chance to tailor make some particularly special ones.

Turns out the waste canvas does the job though for me it can be tricky to align with the grain of the fabric underneath and stretch it out without warping. (In a second attempt on a later project, centering letters on a true horizontal to the piece became an issue too.)

Queen of My Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-a

With a usable experiment in hand, I had an itch to contrast this cross-stitching with free-motion stitching. There was an image in my head that I could not shake: hand drawn circles overlapping as if for emphasis.

And then what? Try at not trying. Continue with this loose, spontaneous approach. I set out a two baggies of scraps (one, cottons and the other, everything else) and my big box of ribbons & lace. I happily auditioned fabrics, and they eventually sorted themselves into the configuration you see here. I was in the rumored Zone.

Queen of My Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-b

Deciding what to embroider where however, doesn't usually flow so easily. I've done my fair share of unpicking - even more than once. What I envision doesn't always translate successfully. Sometimes colors stand out too much or too little; and thread thicknesses can appear clumsy or stingy. It has to feel right, right? - or at least not wrong!

Queen of my Mother's Garden, mixed media textile collage, detail-c

When I think of irises, my first thought is that they are my mother's favorite. She was quite proud of the ones she grew in a side yard removed from foot traffic and playing kids. In retrospect I realize that gardening was where she found her Zone. Yet I was a little jealous - as an only child of course I wanted to be the center of such absorbed attention. And so here I managed to sneak in that little drama as shown above.

Queen of My Mother's Garden comes mounted on a 5" x 7" textured cotton background, and is available in my Etsy shop:

To see my latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Cafe, oui!

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage

While traveling overseas, I brought along a very basic art stitching kit. It consisted of denim and osnaburg scraps, a handful of perles (sizes 5 & 8) in neutrals and basic colors, plus scissors and needles. And a seam ripper. It would be a the fun challenge: what could be created with limited supplies and the occasional found object.

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage, detail-a

I knew I wouldn't have much time to give myself over to some big complicated project - that's what home studios are for. But I knew I would jump out of my skin if I didn't have something to sew even if only to make chicken scratches.

A little burst of inspiration came in the form of the ubiquitous cookie served with cafe au lait. I even had an affinity for the colors on the wrapper: buttercream, red oxide, and rusty orange. Why not a still life of sorts. 

Le Grand Fabrezan, textile collage, detail-b

I set to work piecing my "canvas" because I'm so taken with the look of patchwork. It adds instant texture and visual interest to the background. Then with my rudimentary drawing skills I sketched out a basic coffee cup and went over that with thread. The kicker would be the real live wrapper. And actual coffee stains for effect.

Very satisfied with my minimalist textile collage. It was completed in several days between jaunts to quaint places and periods of idle conversation. I gave it as a tiny gift to my hosts who already had purchased another (grander) piece for their collection.

To see my other latest stitching and inspirations, visit me on Instagram:

I also my original artwork in my Etsy shop: