(Feeling) Powerless

The latest in my Feelings work was difficult to create.  An interesting side effect of making a piece named “Powerless” was the actual feeling of powerlessness that entered into the design and completion.

I name my art pieces before I actually start to make them, which is probably the opposite of what a majority of artists do, but it’s how I work — the name gives me the art.  To name the  abstract shapes used in my Feelings series, I hold a drawing of the shape in one hand and a list of both positive and negative feelings in the other.  I look at the shape, then skim the feelings list.  At some point, never too long into it, one of the feelings on the list will sort of pop out at me and resonate as the proper feeling for that particular shape.  This is what happened with Powerless.

I rarely feel powerless.  Ever.  It’s just not how I see myself.  So to create an unfamiliar feeling in fiber was a challenge and an education.  When I was making the other pieces – Inflamed, Inquisitive, Frisky – I was unaware the feeling OF the piece informed the feeling FOR the piece but with Powerless, that was quite evident from the beginning.

The final piece bears little resemblance to the original sketch.  I went through a variety of templates and design ideas before I settled on the figure trapped in a web.  I considered ditching the piece and moving on to the next (one doesn’t always have to finish what one starts), but the experiment was too interesting.  It took quite a lot of effort to finally “see” Powerless in fiber.  At that point, it finally came together.

I will leave it to the viewer to decide if this piece evokes an image or impression of powerlessness.  All I know is I’m happy to have my power back.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Powerless (link to poem)

Powerless-Full

Powerless-Detail 1

Powerless-Detail 2

Powerless-Poetry Label

Powerless-Orig Sketch

Original sketch

Next up: Back to the positive feelings with the next piece!  And in direct contrast to Powerless, I can already see this next feeling finished in fiber.  I can’t wait to get started!


Info about my Feelings series: I interpret my random abstract doodles as emotions.  The guiding point is the outer boundary of the doodle.  The boundary evokes the feeling.  From there, I contemplate how to bring that particular feeling alive in fiber. 

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Frisky

My Feelings work continues with Frisky.  I had so much fun with this one.  And I love the colors!

When I think “frisky”, I think of kittens and puppies, of the old television series Happy Days where Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham would occasionally disappear upstairs because one or the other was feeling “frisky”, and of childhood play, particularly spinning in circles until we got so dizzy we collapsed on the lawn in fits of giggles.

We grow up.  We stop spinning.  We forget the euphoria that comes from simple play.  What if we took that feeling back and inserted a little friskiness into our every day?

Be silly.  Act goofy.  Re-invent an imaginary friend.  Do whatever natural thing works to lighten your mood.  Don’t worry about what other people think.

You’re the one who matters so matter to yourself and feel a little frisky!

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Frisky (link to poem)

Frisky - Full

Frisky - Detail 01

Frisky - Poem Label

Frisky - Original Sketch

Original Sketch

Next up: The next Feeling comes from the opposite side of the emotional spectrum.  This could get a little dark, but that’s okay because we can’t feel positive ALL the time, can we?


Info about my Feelings series: I interpret my random abstract doodles as emotions.  The guiding point is the outer boundary of the doodle.  The boundary evokes the feeling.  From there, I contemplate how to bring that particular feeling alive in fabric. 

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Iron (Hot Cross Eight)

I took a short break from the studio over the Christmas holidays, but as soon as we rolled into 2017, I was right back at my Hot Cross series with Iron Cross.

For Iron Cross, I wanted layers.  Not just the traditional top, batting, back layers.  I wanted more.  I wanted depth.  So I created mini quilts to stack on mini quilts to stack on the primary cross, using felt for batting.  Each of the minis was stitched to the next largest after quilting until the full piece was completed.

This piece rounds out the Hot Cross series and is meant to represent inclusion through use of all the colors in the spectrum.

To see all of the pieces in the series, please go to my Gallery page.  The first four in the series were a standard 18″ h x 12″ w.  The second four were completed in the cross shape with full pillowcase facings to finish and run a bit larger in size.

I really enjoyed working with shapes; I intend to fully incorporate “non-traditional” shapes into my art practice, which could be interesting as some things won’t lend themselves to a non-rectangular or non-square shape.  However, I always have to rebel against something, so I’ll rebel against “square”.  🙂

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Iron Cross (link to poem)

Iron Cross (Hot Cross 8)

Iron Cross (Hot Cross 8) - Detail 01

Iron Cross (Hot Cross 8) - Detail 02

Iron Cross (Hot Cross 8) - Poem

 

In other exciting news, a co-worker made his bi-annual trip home to India to visit family and he brought back a TON of fabric for me.  Silks and cottons, prints and solids.  It’s a glorious stash of art making material.  I’ll share photos in a future blog post.

In other even more exciting news, I’m getting a dedicated studio!  I’ve been using our dining room table, with supplies stored in the basement and both boys’ bedrooms.  In essence, the whole house has been my studio but we’re finally consolidating.  I can’t wait!!  Once I’m all set up, I’ll post about that too.

Next up: Airport Layout – Houston Hobby

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Coptic (Hot Cross Seven)

When I was out visiting my parents last February, I took some of my art with me so they could see the pieces in real life, including several of the crosses from my Hot Cross series.  My Dad suggested I include a Coptic cross, based on a small collection of Coptic crosses they have had hanging on the wall of their home for 50 years.

Coptic Crosses

These were a gift sent from Ethiopia and the inspiration for this piece.

So I took the photo above and added it to my design file.

While planning my art piece, I knew I wanted to incorporate all of the crosses mounted to that piece of green velvet but I also knew I wanted to include them as part of a larger piece.  I did a quick image search for Coptic Crosses on the internet to find the traditional shape – as soon as I saw it, I knew how this piece would come together.  There was a lot of fine cutting to create the smaller crosses and their design elements before fusing them all to the larger cross background.  One color component from each of the small crosses was also used in a second smaller cross, integrating the colors throughout.  To pull in the brass from the original metal pieces and the gold from the frame, I used gold and copper metallic threads in the quilting.

In hindsight, I do wish I had finished this piece with zig zag stitches to bind the top, batting, and back.  Instead, I used my usual pillowcase facing.  It took some effort to turn the piece right side out through the narrow leg of the cross; however, that effort does not outweigh my satisfaction with the overall piece.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Coptic (link to poem)

Coptic Cross

Coptic No. 1

Coptic No. 2

Coptic No. 3

Coptic No. 4

Coptic - Poem

Next up: Hot Cross 8 – Iron

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Celtic (Hot Cross Six)

The Hot Cross series continues with Celtic, the sixth in the group.  I’m not going to present any false modesty with this piece — I’m in love with it.  While the colors are much more subdued than my usual choices, I find them soothing.  They work in just the way I’d intended when I designed it.

I’ve carried a fondness for celtic knots and spirals for years.  It’s hard to believe it’s taken so long for them to appear in my work.  I enjoyed making this piece so much, I expect to include knots and spirals in a lot of future art work.

As always, constructive criticism and comments are welcome.  Let me know what you think.

Celtic (link to poem)

Celtic - Hot Cross 6

Celtic - Detail 01

Celtic - Detail 02

Celtic - Poetry Label

Next up: Hot Cross 7 – Coptic

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