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SAL #5 ~ Portsea Cliff

This is where I got to last time…

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Now I can reveal the finished work!

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As you can see I worked on the sand and cliff. I wanted the sand to be unobtrusive, so I chose to do it in a simple half stitch, which linked it into the sky. The cliff, however, needed to be more wild, to create the texture that I love.

(The yarn is another merino wool yarn from Fibreworks. This one was specially dyed for me. It is a colour that, surprisingly, occurs in Australian landscapes. It is wonderful for eucalyptus bark.)

Progress photo…

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The next stage ~ the trunk ~ was trickier, and to be honest, I am not sure it works quite as I wanted it to. I am not sure how the branches merge into the canopy. Any thoughts?

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I tried to include the background colours too. I suspect my problem is that I hadn’t thought it through ~ the original planning was incomplete. That area may well come out. However, I value your thoughts.

One of the things that I do love about this work is that it has brought be back to being creative after many months of obstacles. It has helped me realise that while I am not ready to get back to paint, pencils and paper, I am ready to solve creative problems (which I love doing!) with something that I can pick up and put down with ease.

In fact I have already begun my next SAL project. More of that next time.

There is a great group of creative stitchers involved in this SAL group, organised by Avis. Do drop into their blogs for their latest SAL posts. Prepare to be amazed!

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny,Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie

 

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SAL #4 ~ Portsea Cliff

I am a little late in getting this post out, but I have just picked up my computer.

I did a very silly thing. A friend supposedly sent me a message, via Messenger, about a video I was in. I am usually very wary about clicking links and I am far more likely to delete a message/email/link than click on it. The message didn’t seem my friend’s style, and I couldn’t image that she would have a video I would be in, but instead of the warning bells going off, I thought “Oh well, let’s see what it is”. Click!

Of course, her Facebook account had been hacked and the message sent to everyone. So, caution finally kicked in, and I took my laptop to the computer shop…just to be safe. Everything is okay. Phew! I am a couple of days older, much wiser and far more cautious, and a little bit poorer, as peace of mind costs money.

So, I haven’t had the computer for a few days and this Stitch-a-long post is a day or two late.

I have been working. My wild, freeform work is progressing well.

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As you can see I have worked on the bushes in the foreground. (The photo I am basing it on is the feature photo at the top of the post.) I used the same yarn, a variegated merino wool, as I used for the tree canopy. The stitches are random cross stitches. I wanted to keep them small to look like the small leafed foliage, and to make them different to the canopy. I enjoy the challenge of working the tones with the variegated yarn. Often the effects are quite serendipitous.

I left parts around the trunk. I can fill them in after I work on the trunk, as then I will be able to tell where the tones need to be.

I am moving on to the sand and cliff face next, and am really looking forward to working all those nooks and crannies in the face.

Thanks to everyone for your very encouraging comments on the last couple of SAL posts. I am part of a supportive group of embroiderers who regularly post about their personal stitching work. Do have a look at the others involved in the group, hosted by Avis, and be prepared to be amazed by their beautiful work! A welcome back to Connie.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie,Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy,Anne, Connie

(Apologies to those of you who blog at Blogger. I would love to leave a comment about your work, and I have tried, but I can’t. Is it something between Blogger and WordPress?)

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SAL Portsea Cliff #3 and a starting point for freeform embroidery

Well, I have been beavering away on the background undergrowth. I wanted to create the rounded shape of the bushes without being too detailed. The lighter yarn helps to add the illusion of highlights on the tops of the bushes.

Anne Lawson textile artist

The overall view shows me just working my way around the background, either using random stitches or a very loose form of cross stitch.

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I am happy so far. However, I am not sure what to do with the next elements. The tree (the blobby space in the centre) is the focal point, and so it need to be quite a contrast to the rest of the foliage. At the same time while the foliage on the right side of the tree is lighter than the background I have done, I don’t want it to compete with the tree. (The header photo on the post is the photo I am working from. Looking at that might make more sense!) I think I will have to work my way around the areas, looking to see what looks right and what doesn’t.

Thank you to everyone who left such supportive comments on my last SAL post. I got the feeling that some people would like to give freeform embroidery a go, but were not quite sure of where and how to start. A way to dip your toe in is by creating samplers.

An inspiration for my more over-the-top freeform style was Stitch Magic by Jean Littlejohn.

Jean encourages the stitcher to play with different stitches ~ exaggerating, layering, using different yarns and threads. So I did.

They are a small 10 x 10 cm square. Easy to play, without feeling daunted by filling a larger size. Little samplers that don’t have to be anything but experiments.

I love to use tapestry canvas, as it handles the bigger yarns, and I can work boldly and quickly. However, you could do exactly the same with linen or any other backing. Draw out a small square and see what your favourite stitch can do.

Which has made me think…maybe the trunk of the tree would work well if I couched it? Hmmm…..

A big thank you to Avis, who organises this stitch-a-long. We post on the third Sunday of the month, local time. I think, like me, you will be blown away by the beautiful work that the other stitchers create. Jump over and have a look, but remember, the time zone may be different.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Clare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnne

Reference photo for tapestry

SAL#2 ~ Portsea cliff

Well, I am now officially part of the Stitch-A-Long group. Thank you Avis for hosting it. There are a quite a few people who show their personal stitching, so do have a look at their lovely work. The links are at the end of the post.

Last time I was mulling over the cloud in my tapestry.

Anne Lawson Art Textile artist

I was happy with how it turned out. Time to work out the next section, the bushes on the cliff in the background.

Using the photo as a guide ~ that’s the feature photo at the top of this post ~ my stitching interpretation needed to include:

  • the dark mass behind the tree. The tree is the focal point needs the dark tones to make it stand out. However, the mass is not a uniform darkness, it has different tones within in it.
  • some of the sky showing between the bushes, especially at the top of the cliff.
  • a suggestion of individual trees and bushes, without too much detail.
  • a density

These were the yarns I selected from my stash. The big browny/green ball is the main colour. My notes tell me I got it from Swish Yarns, but nothing more than that. It is quite a wiry yarn, which may be linen, and I think it works well.

Anne Lawson textile artist

The others I used as highlights and extra tonal contrast, which you can sort of see in this photo.

Anne Lawson textile artist

The stitching is very random, although I tried to show the direction of some of the canopy; trying to give the impression of individual trees rather than stitching each individual one.

Anne Lawson textile artist

This is where I am at the moment.

Anne Lawson textile artist

And the overall view

Anne Lawson textile artist

I think it works. I know from my other art works that a work in progress is very hard to judge. Although I can compare what I see in my mind and how I want it to look, in reality this section can only be compared to the sky. How will it blend in with the other elements, especially the focal tree? If it doesn’t work I will remove it and try something different.

Many of the yarns I use, like the sky and the shadow area, are merino wool from Fibreworks. They are a delight to stitch with. However I have found that the moths find them delightful too, munching holes in the balls. Fortunately I use shorter lengths, rather than needing the continuous yarn for knitting or crocheting. Any thoughts on how to keep the critters away?

Anne Lawson textile artist

More stitching adventures can be found below. We post on the 22nd of the month, so, depending on your time zone, some posts may not be up. Drop back later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLindaHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Clare, Mary MargaretReneeJennyCarmelaJocelynSharonSusanAnne

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Stitch A Long #1

I am gatecrashing a monthly get together that Kate at Tall Tales of Chiconia hosts. Edited correction ~ apparently I not only gatecrashed the party, but got the address completely wrong! It’s not at Kate’s house, although she does write a mighty fine blog, but rather at Avis’. She blogs at Sewing Beside the Sea  and hosts the Stitch Along where each month a group of stitchers post progress on their stitching, work that is purely for pleasure.

You may know my art work ~ watercolour, sewing on paper, oil pastels etc. If you would like to see more you can jump over to my Etsy shop, or get a closer look at a watercolour tree that is for sale.

However, you may not know that I create tapestries, where I interpret a photo with yarn. They are landscapes, and, of course, usually include a tree or too. Like this one from my time as artist in residence in Flinders Island. I loved the weather beaten landscape and the coastal heathlands.

Embroidery ~ free form landscape

Or this one from the outback landscape around Menindee, NSW. Very few trees in that environment!

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Winter is a great season to create these as Summer is too hot to work with wools and the the canvas crumples.

So time to get going on a new one, from a photo taken at Portsea during my artist in residence at Police Point.

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There are strong diagonals in this photo, which lead the eye to the focal point of the tree and there are darks to give contrast. As well I loved the texture of the cliff face, and my fingers are itching to work there, and the twisty trunk of the moonah tree, is a joy.

I set up the tapestry canvas with minimal guide lines, and began with the sky, using variegated blue wool and tent stitch.

Anne Lawson Art

 

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The clouds were trickier. I thought a beautiful silk thread I had would be right, but it didn’t work. A hunt in my stash gave me the perfect wool ~ white with a slight roughness, which gave the cloud the fluffiness I was looking for. The beginnings of it are at the bottom of the cloud. I used a cross stitch to give it more bulk.

You can see why I was dissatisfied with the silk. I had to carefully unstitch the silk thread, which is handprinted and expensive. No way was I going to chop it up.

Anne Lawson Art textile artist

Much happier.

Anne Lawson Art Textile artist

I am looking forward to selecting the yarns, and stitches, for the next part, which will probably be the background foliage. I am excited to see what emerges!

Next time I hope to include a link to others who are taking part in the Stitch-A-Long.

Sewing on paper

Lately I seem to have blogged about non-arty things, although I have been talking about what I have been up to in my newsletter. (If you would like to have my art news delivered to your inbox each fortnight, simply sign up here.) Originally I added “….an update” to the title of this post, thinking I had already told you about my latest obsession ~ sewing on paper ~ but it turns out it is a long time since I have written about my art, and haven’t told you about the sewing much at all.  (See, it pays to subscribe to my newsletter!) So, here goes…

Last year I began sewing again, hand-sewing and machine-sewing, creating trees mainly. All the while there was the little thought at the back of my mind “What it I sew on paper rather than material?”. Those What if …..? questions are the backbone of my creativity. So I did. I began with some experimental pieces that I made exclusively for subscribers. They were a combination of machine and hand sewing. (Some are still available, so let me know if one or more take your fancy.)

I was hooked.

My next “What if….?” was “What if I sew over an existing watercolour painting?”. The composition of an old fig painting had never moved me, so I changed it by sewing over the top of the figs, cutting them out and attaching them to another piece of paper, on which I had sewn the outline of a fig leaf. A much better composition.

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Since then I have sold a capsicum

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a leaf

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a teapot

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and a pumpkin

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There is another pumpkin almost finished

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It is waiting for me to return from my latest series.

About a year ago I was playing around with watercolour representations of the trees on Flinders Island. There were parts of the pieces that I loved, but something didn’t quite work. Nothing to ruin by experimenting with sewing over the top.

This was the first one to go under the sewing machine:

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Definitely a good learning curve there. (At some other time I am going to blog about the things that surprise me when sewing on paper.)

And then the second:

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You can still the glorious watercolour, the way the colours mix together, while the sewing has given the piece movement and flow.

These two photos show the piece at different stages, to give you a sense of how it progressed.

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There is another work in progress……I love the watercolour effects of the trees in the original. It seemed to capture the canopy really well. The understory didn’t work; maybe the wrong colour; maybe too many trunks was stopping me from finding my way through. Whatever, it didn’t inspire me, until the sewing stage began. Now I am really liking it. It has a drawing quality about it.

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I think I will leave the canopies of the defined trees, and just work up the part that meets the sky.. I will see how that works, as I am not sure about the edge between the background canopy and the other trees. Perhaps highlights there will help. And I think I will leave the dark green area in the middle.

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The sewing has improved the understory, and I am still working my way around that, trying to keep the ‘taking a line for a walk’ effect.

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It has taken me a while to get to this creative place, a place where I feel confident that I have something to pursue, a direction, to create a series that might be interesting and different. I shall see where it takes me.

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The next edition should be out tomorrow.

 

 

Now, here’s the nest

Last post I put the nest in the title, and made no more mention of it! So, here’s the nest.

Kate from Tall tales from Chiconia had the joy of watching a sun bird build and raise a family in her nest, hanging just outside Kate’s back door. There’s a photo of it here. I was delighted when Kate sent the nest to me.

It is a beautiful little thing, delicate, and yet so strong. There are feathers tucked into the dried grasses.

 

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But, because it hangs rather than sits on a branch, it is not the usual nest shape. That’s the basic issue, I think.

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I have had a few attempts at creating it….with pencil

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and with ink and pencil.

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And one with only oil pastels

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These were studies to learn about the shape and tones.

Then I went to Mark’s workshop in Bendigo, and thought that I would use the technique he taught me with the nest.

First step was to lay down the watercolour.

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Then to go over it with oil pastels.

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Does it work? Well, I think the basic problem is the shape of the nest. I love it, but, as it is not a classic nest shape, it is hard for the viewer to understand what it is, hard to read visually. So other parts of, such as the materials it is made of, need to be very clear. I like the texture in the oil pastel only, and it comes closest to the grasses, feathers and seeds woven into it, but still doesn’t explain it to the viewer.

I would love to know what you think. Do you think “nest” when you look at any of the studies? Does one work better for you than others?

[It may be hard to see all the versions at a large size, so this gallery may make it easier.]

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