Studio Update: February 2019

We’re going to try something a little different this year — monthly blog posts!  Since art production has slowed due to an increase in the amount of stitching (and larger work), I decided I wanted to write here more often than just when I finish a piece.  So I’m keeping it simple and striving for studio updates every month.  And when I do complete a piece, I’ll add a bonus post!  🙂

I’m working on (Feeling) Woeful at the moment, my first piece this year.  However, I closed out 2019 doing a little experimenting in the studio.  Here’s what I tried:

When I was younger, before the age of so. many. distractions. on the computer, I used to play with the Paint accessory in Microsoft windows.  So I decided I’d recreate that experience with real paint on cotton fabric.  I grabbed some paint brushes, filled a palette with a bit of each color paint, and then began painting.  I used plain white cotton as the canvas.  The result shows above.

I’m not sure yet what I’ll use it for, but I found I really enjoyed the experience of painting.  Going forward, I plan to incorporate paint days into my studio practice, focusing on painting only solid colors – large fabric paintings all in blue, or red, or… – to then use in my (Feeling) series as I gravitate towards solids there.

My second experiment was also a return to the past:

In the early 2000s, I dyed a lot of fabric.  I enjoyed taking plain white cotton, immersing it in buckets of color, and then waiting to see how it all turned out several hours later.  It’s like dyeing Easter Eggs but on a larger scale.

For this experiment, I purchased natural dye material and then adapted the instructions for cold water dye.  The natural dyes called for boiling the fabric, or doing the dyeing in the washing machine.  Neither of those felt right to me – one, I didn’t know if the dyes would remain in the washer and then dye our clothes; two, boiling fabric on the stove meant I could only dye one color at a time and I just don’t have the patience for that.  So I decided if I was going to experiment, I’d go all out and not follow the instructions.  Turned out pretty well, don’t you think?

What I find most intriguing is the fabric appears to be linen in the photo but I assure you it was plain white cotton.  I’m looking forward to using these in a future (Feeling), which will be a departure from my usual vibrant colors.  Some feelings are more muted, and these hand dyed fabrics will be perfectly suited.

Like the fabric painting, I plan to include fabric dyeing days into my studio practice this year.  The nuances of hand dyeing create interesting colors and visual texture to the fabric, which I believe will only enhance my work.

Once we got past the holidays and rolled into 2019, I returned to my (Feeling) work with Woeful.  It’s still a work in progress and is larger than the earlier pieces in this series.  I’ve attached a few progress photos to whet your appetite for the final piece.  Enjoy!

I’ll be back in a month with another Studio Update – or sooner if I finish Woeful.  Thanks for hanging around the studio with me.

What have you been up to?

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(Feeling) Impulsive

The final piece of the year is complete.

This has been a year of slow and contemplative art making.  I’ve been focused on building a business as a job satisfaction coach and, while I’ve spent some time most days of every week in my studio, production has slowed.  My annual intention is to create 12 art pieces.  This year, there are only 4.  However, they are 4 pieces of art that please me tremendously.  As I continue to create feelings out of fiber, my voice grows in definition and clarity.  And that brings me joy.

(Feeling) Impulsive is an excellent way to close out this year’s art creation.  Vibrant color placed with wild abandon aligns with impulse.

How could you be more impulsive in your life?

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

Impulsive (link to poem)

Impulsive-Full(c)

(c) 2018, Hilary Clark, Impulsive, Fiber, 17″ x 24-1/2″

Impulsive-Detail 2

Impulsive-Detail 1

Impulsive-Detail 3

Next up: A short hiatus for the remainder of the year from creating feelings out of fiber.  Time spent in my studio during this season will be focused on experiments like paint on fabric, fabric dyeing, and ways to hang my Feelings series as stand-alone pieces rather than attached to a painter’s canvas.  I’ll post about whatever experiments I undertake.  As soon as 2019 begins, I intend to dive right back into my Feelings.  Enjoy the remainder of 2018.  May peace and joy be with you.


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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(Feeling) Fear

Three and a half months of slow and steady progress – (Feeling) Fear is finally complete!

As this year’s production has slowed, creating these fiber art pieces has become an opportunity to be more contemplative, contributing to my personal growth as I construct each one.  I seem to choose the feeling to create that I most need to understand and process in the moments it takes to make my art.  To state that more clearly, every time I step into my studio to work on the fiber feeling, I give mental focus to the actual feeling and how it impacts me and my life.  As a result, I discover the ways the feeling is serving me and where it is holding me back from achieving my goals.

Through my art making process, I am learning to find solutions within my feelings.  What more could one want from their creative life?

What have you learned from your creative efforts?

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

Fear (link to poem)

(Feeling) Fear - Full

Fear-Detail 3

Fear-Detail 2

Next up: (Feeling) Impulsive


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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(Feeling) Serene

Production is slow this year.  I’m building a business as a Corporate Change Coach, which, as you might guess, takes a lot of time.  However, I always make time for the studio – but not as much as I’d like!

There is a great deal of stitching in my Feeling series, which also takes time.  Each individual piece is stitched in a corresponding thread, each stitch line 1/4″ away from the next.  The outline shape calls to mind a happy, fat, little Buddha while the blue and green evoke a feeling of serenity for me, much as sitting on the beach, gazing out at the ocean.

Time is a theme in my life lately.  It takes time to build a business.  It takes time to make big changes.  It takes time to make art.  And yet, even in the midst of tight scheduling and priority juggling, I can always find moments of serenity.  How do you find serenity in your life?

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

Serene (link to poem)

Serene ~ May 2018 ~24"x17-1/2"

Serene ~ May 2018 ~24″x17-1/2″

Serene - Detail 1

Serene - Detail 2

Next up: (Feeling) Scared


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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(Feeling) Anguish

The first piece I’ve completed this year is also the last piece I started last year.  Two months to create Anguish!  That seems like too long but the reality is there is a LOT of stitching in the Feelings series.  Each separate fabric strip is stitched individually in its corresponding color, with less than 1/4″ between stitched lines. The stitching follows the outline of the fabric shape, continuing in a smaller and smaller “circle” as I work towards the center of the shape.  There are more stitched lines and more yards of thread in Anguish (and the other Feelings) than I am willing to count.

I’ve gotten very Zen about the stitching.  It used to be my least favorite thing about making my art.  Now, I look forward to it.  Sitting down to stitch, whether for 15 minutes if that’s all I can spare, or an hour when I’ve got more time available, centers and grounds me.  I meditate better sitting at my Bernina then I do sitting quietly on the floor, following my breath.

I hope you enjoy looking at Anguish as much as I enjoyed making it.

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

Anguish (link to poem)

Anguish ~ 22-1/2"x16" ~ February 2018

Anguish ~ 22-1/2″x16″ ~ February 2018

Anguish - Detail 1

Anguish - Detail 2

Next up: (Feeling) Serene


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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