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 Sketchbook in all its glory!

The other day the Fella brought in a box left by the postie. Immediately I knew it was the Sketchbook. Normally I dive right into things, but this was one parcel I wanted to savour. I sat down with a cup of tea, marvelling at the journey it had made. Then I carefully opened the box, and again, just took my time to enjoy looking. There was a card from Trish that I opened and read.

Then it was time to slowly take the sketchbook out of the bubble wrap and hold it in my hands. Oh it felt good! Deliciously fat, full of all the creativity that the Sisters had put in.

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And more delights……Alys had attached some ladybird stickers, to be added next to each Sister’s address before sending on.

Jan had crocheted a pouch with Cambrian wool, “from the flocks of Wales”. The Sketchbook sat snuggly in there.

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Now was the moment to take it out and hold this treasure, that has journeyed around the world, making connections across the lands.

To the pages……and the link to each Sister is her explanation of her contribution.

The front cover is a sketch of sprouting garlic bulb, and it always reminded me of a flying garlic ~ a symbol of the Sketchbook flying around the world.

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Kate’s beautiful quilting and calligraphy is on the first page. The blues in the feather are so rich and strong.

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Then Lyn has done freeform machine stitching and appliqué to create some very cute Sisters holding hands. (Can I be the one with the polka dot bow in her hair?!)

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Sandi, the next contributor, is a very talented poet, and her contribution ‘The Explorer’ continues the sewing theme.

I chose my poem, well before the book began its journey. I watched, via a computer screen, as each creative page was added. I had chosen my poem for its light-heartedness, and reference to embroidery. Little did I know, I would join the small boy in his experience of discovery, when the travelling sketchbook arrived in the mail. The tingle of awe I felt was unexpected. I had reality, wrapped up, in my hands, and I couldn’t wait to touch it.

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M.L. Kappa’s work is on the next spread. The colours of her picture just glow, and the writing is the story of the naming of Athens.

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Then came Chas’s contribution, a map which needed to be unfolded. The first part was her sketch of a painting in the National Gallery of Victoria, honouring women as growers and nurturers.

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Then I unfolded the map of bicycle journey from her home to the National Gallery of Victoria. Such detail, and many of the places I know (but not from riding a bike 😉).

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We leave the bike paths of Melbourne and head to the Welsh hills. (One of the many things I love about this Sketchbook is that the Sisters felt free to add their contribution wherever they wanted to. They are not in the order of the journey.) Jan crocheted tactile, warm spirals out of Cambrian wool. You may not be able to read the message that circles around……

“Encircling the Earth: the skill of our hands, the love in our hearts. Brought together by our creativity and kindness, although we are separated by hundreds of miles….our shared passions bind us together. One sisterhood, representing one world, united in love.”

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Alys’s contribution was another creative one. She used photos of all the contributions so far and made them into a miniature quilt, with one patch saying, “Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching together art and friendship around the globe”.

Sandra’s passion is cooking, so naturally her’s was a recipe, for ratatouille. On the page she has drawn big lush eggplants and a chilli, and it is all on thick paper with deckled edges.

Margaret has added to the quilting theme, again in a different way. She has embroidered nine little squares, each representing an aspect of her favourite walk ~ and the detail needs to be seen in real life. On the other page is an embroidered landscape of Catcalls on Derwentwater. (Lots of inspiration for me here!)

The Sketchbook arrived with Constanze during Winter, as she says “A real one, with snow crunching under my feet and temperatures below freezing.”! Her contribution captures that Winter, with the snow and bare branched trees. (Again, more inspiration for me!)

Turn some pages and there are Sue’s vibrant patchworks. Like all the others, there is so much detail to look at and admire ~ and so tactile! Photos don’t do these pages justice.

Rich is not how much you have, or even where you are going

Rich is who you have beside you

writes Trish. Thoughts that resonate with us all. She has added a rich red, woven shawl to go with her words.

The last contribution is from Ushasree. Her work is another patchwork of nine creative, colourful paintings, each one using a different technique. Read about them here, including why the portrait of her son has a special place.

The very last page shows just how peripatetic the Sketchbook has been. It’s a map of its travels, and the special places it has stopped at.

It is a truly wonderful thing, more amazing than I thought it would be. So creative, so tactile, it is warm and full of love. It has created a bond that has encircled the globe, and has become more than just pages in a sketchbook.

Where’s it off to next? And where will it settle down? We don’t know! Discussions are ongoing, but more urgent now that it has come the full circle. We are looking for an appropriate permanent, but special, home for it, so any ideas are welcome.

Meanwhile I am proudly showing this wonderful treasure to anyone who wants to see it!

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The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook has left the States and arrived in Greece. Now it is not only international, but global! How cool is that?!

It is a while since I have written about it, but I have just updated my Sisterhood page. It gives you an overview of the contributions all the Sisters have made, as well as the background to the Sketchbook, and who the Sisters are.

Our blog The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is another way to keep up with what the Sketchbook looks like. Simply follow the blog and you will receive posts as they are published. Here the Sisters make links to their own blogs too. The blog even has a natty interactive map. 🙂

It is an amazing project. So many walls are going up, so it is lovely to know that the Sketchbook can just fly over the top of them!

 

 

Tapestry

A big, warm thank you to those who responded to my last post about my brain taking time off. I am fine, but am artistically working at a slower pace. And I am so pleased to be back blogging again.

I know that I want to blog because I am hearing that blogging voice in my head again. Not a scary voice in my head, just me composing blogs about the things I come across during the day. Most of them never get written, much less published, but I enjoy them, sort of a diary of my life. For example, as I was driving to my hairdresser, about a 20 minute trip, I was musing about how contemplative I find driving and I started to mentally write a blog post about it. I hasten to add that I was still driving very competently. In fact what I was thinking was how doing the routine driving tasks ~ changing gears, monitoring the traffic, etc ~ freed up a part of my brain to think about other things.

Do you have that blogging voice too?

In that last post, where I was wondering about my creativity at the moment, I mentioned something that had fired my creative juices.

I have always loved yarns and textiles. They have been more of a constant in my life than paints. At school I did Craft rather than Art and I remember the delight of learning how to smock and embroider, and even basket weave. So while I don’t talk about much about these projects, I usually have something involving threads on the go. I made bags for a few years and used embroidery and beading to decorate them.

You will also remember how fascinated I became with the melaleucas on Flinders Island. EllaDee mentioned that from the photos she “could see the potential for a textural approach.” Gradually that thought about using the photos as a reference, moved from the back of my mind to the front, and I started working on representations. This is one of the photos I used as inspiration

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Mt Strzelecki National Park, Flinders Island (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

One of the early tapestries

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(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

This is the latest in the series of about four tapestries. You can see how I am much more adventurous with the stitching, and how it helps me to create texture and depth. I think it makes a more vibrant and interesting work.

About a month ago I was trawling Pinterest and saw a weaving loom that I just had to buy. I followed the link to the Etsy shop of the Unusual Pear and bought a simple loom about A4 size.

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My new loom from the Unusual Pear. The weaving is a sample that I used with kids from the holiday programme. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

I immediately knew how I was going to combine some weaving with the tapestry. It was the answer to that excellent creativity question “What if…..I created a rock with weaving and added that to a tapestry?” After a short practice I had a woven rock intended to be the massive rock face that was at the entrance to a valley in the national park. And I had a little feeling of creative excitement.

This is where I up to at the moment.

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Tapestry, with woven rock, work in progress (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

The white stuff are the threads for the weaving that I am binding into the back of the tapestry. It’s not quite how I envisaged it, and I think it is too tonally similar. Next time I will try for a lighter grey for the rock, and try to work more variation in it. It is very much a work in progress ~ I have to add the waterfall and the other side of the valley and the background, and I am gong to work into the rock some more. That said, I think the idea is an interesting one, and worth considering for other works.

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Close up of the work in progress (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

So something satisfying has emerged from the “holiday” I have been having lately.

Like to check out my Pinterest finds? AnneLawsonArt 

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Kate, who does beautiful quilting, commented on one of my photos from the last blog, remarking how she could see colours and textures to make a quilt. I was delighted that she might like to use it. EllaDee saw it as a woven piece, and I see paintings and maybe tapestries in it. Personally I think we are responding to the textures, the colours and the patterns and rhythms of the bushes as they flow up the bank. So, a couple more photos. I would love to know if they inspire you in any way.

Just add heat — Wendy Korol

I love to find out the creative passions of people. When we work full time we often have to put those passions to one side. Working is such a drain on our energies, emotional and mental, not to mention just finding the time. Even when we have the time it is often difficult to crank ourselves up to begin painting/writing/sewing/potting/printing/add own creative passion here. Hands up those who agree. Yep, a forest of hands!

My friend Wendy was like that too. When we taught together I knew that she was fascinated with making jewellery. However, it wasn’t until she left teaching that she was able to pursue it — and she has done with fabulous dedication.

On Friday I went to Wendy’s exhibition of her amazing work from her Masters year at RMIT. She has been working with thin copper sheets to create enamelled vessels. The forms looked so solid, and yet, at the same time, looked so light. She says “The protrusion of the metal with its crinkled and unrefined ridges provides a dramatic surface for the enamels to amplify the slopes and valleys of the creases”. The photos of her work will tell you much more than my words will.

Wendy Korol's work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol’s work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol's work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol’s work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol's work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol’s work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)

See those little chairs and tables there too? Wendy said that they were inspired by a childhood memory of a cafe she went to. She was intrigued by the chairs there, those ‘s’ shaped chairs. How could you sit on them and not have them collapse? Now she has created hundreds of them, piling them up on tables, putting them around tables, tipping some over. One of the other viewers at the exhibition thought it was like the morning after a party!

The chairs were made with copper wire and copper for the back and seat.

Wendy Korol's work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol’s work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol's work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol’s work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol's work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Wendy Korol’s work (Photocopy right: Anne Lawson, 2013)

I would love to be able to say “Go and visit the exhibition”. However, it has finished. But there will be more and I will let you know about it. I will be very curious to know what Wendy will create next.