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Monday, 9 February 2015

Secrets of a Fibre Artist

It's been a while since I've shown any process photos, so I thought you might like to see my latest.  Just don't tell anyone!  I have this wonderful vision in my head of what I want it to be, but I'm struggling with carrying it through.  I'm not exactly sure how to achieve what I'm aiming for so it's all learn-as-I-go.  

It all began with a scarf.  I'm not even kidding.  Here it is.

I discovered it at a thrift store and immediately thought, 'ploughed field'.  

PLOUGH.  My spell check says I'm doing it wrong, but I'm sure I am not.  (Am I?)  

Eventually I told myself, 'Gross. Who knows where this scarf has been.'  I began to leave the store.  I was almost out the door when the regret of leaving it behind was too much.  'Wait!  I can wash it. Yes. Okay. I am getting it.'  And so I did.

About a week later, my husband and I were returning home from Sutherland Beach (an off leash dog park in the city) when I spied that field.  I pulled over and grabbed my husband's cell phone, ran out and snapped a few pictures.  Obviously, the fence was in the way, but eventually I managed to climb a little snowbank and was able to reach up over to get more images.

Yeah - I know... not exactly art-worthy.  But I saw the frozen puddles and the stubble of what was last year's corn field here and thought I might like to try it out.  That scarf was just the thing.  I went home and played with the images until I came up with this:

you should be able to click on this to view it larger

I like that.  And though my finished piece will not be a carbon copy of the photo edit, I think it's the perfect inspiration for the original idea I had.  I'm going to work on a closer view of this.

So... I chopped up the scarf and felted it a bit by hand to create a background.  It's all hooked up on my scroll frame & stand.  I've been very slowly working on it for many days, but only for short intervals at a time because I really do not know what I'm doing.  Every once in a while, I still see a scarf and so I needle felt it down a little more.  Still, the bumps and lumps are good the way they fall into rows like the old corn field did.

The section I have is a couple feet wide, so it will take a lot of stitching to fill it up.  It's fun though!  I have so many yarns now that having the right colours, sheens, and sizes is pretty likely.  That makes the job much easier.

So far, I have stitched into the earth a bit more to refine some of it.  I used a shiny icy blue & white to stitch the frozen puddles.  I will pull some of the icy colour out and add more blue in some spots.  It needs to be more wet looking.  The silver flecks in the scarf are terrific though!  I have lots of dry looking yellowish beige yarns that will be great for the stubble.  So far, so good.  (p.s. this is very difficult to photograph.)

in progress, lots more to do

I'm really glad now that I didn't leave the thrift store without that scarf.  Maybe I'm more embarrassed admitting to you that I chopped up and mashed a scarf into my art.  lol  Ah well.

Wish me luck!  This will be the fourth piece that is part of the SK Arts Board Grant project.  *** I'm not showing you #3 because I think it was a bit of a flop.  I actually took a pair of scissors and hacked out about 150 French Knots.  I'll chalk it up as an abstract.  ;)


mjlydia said...

Your inspiration amazes me! Not everyone can look at a scarf and see a ploughed field (yes, you had it spelled correctly.) I can hardly wait to see what you come up with next!

Margaret said...

Monika, it's going to be wonderful. And "ploughed" is fine. It's UK, which means it's also used in Canada. Your US fans would write 'plow' (but we know better ;-) ).

bridgetflynn said...

Monika, as usual, it's inspirational. This year's annual exhibition of the ACT Embroiderers' Guild www. embroiderersact.org.au will have a challenge of recycling something, so you've got me thinking! And yes in Australia, it's also the English spelling of "plough".

Faith said...

Brilliant! love this. It looks real to me. Those silver flecks look like ice in the mud.

Molly said...

so what you are saying here is that the whole world offers inspiration to you for your art and that you see connections between things that other people would never, ever connect - for example, a thrift store scarf, a ploughed field and a growing work of art... wow! i love the little glimpses you give us into how your brain works!

arlee said...

brilliant, inspired, uncopyable, one of a kind --that's you!

Mary Ann said...

I can totally see a ploughed field with icy puddles...brilliant:)

Valerie Wilson said...

It's looking good. I too see the ice in the field. I love how you have incorporated the scarf in to your work!

Lin said...

Buying a scarf is not different to buying a piece of fabric - I usually snap up silk and chiffon ones. Your piece is looking good. xx

elle said...

What a score. It'll be truly artful!

Sheila said...

I often see some type of landscape in clothing and would have snapped up that scarf too , looking just wide fun so far :-)

Renate said...

Where you get your inspiration from just amazes me! A ploughed field from a thrift store scarf!!! I'll start to look at things in a whole different light. Oh BTW your spell checker is based on the US dictionary, but ploughed is spelled correctly for us familiar with the Oxford English Dictionary. (LOL!)

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

P.s. the scarf had a tag on it. . . It was not a handmade item.
I would never chop it up if it were handmade. ;)
Sorry I scared some of you!

Judy said...

That's a great way to recycle the scarf and to put it to good use. Thanks for sharing how you work, from photo to the actual piece, it's so interesting to read about.

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