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

Reference photo for tapestry

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.

Reference photo for tapestry

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.

“My life has been a tapestry….”

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous, woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold

Carol King’s song has been streaming through my head lately. I love this first verse, and think it is a marvellous way to see my life. However, I remember that there is a bit in it about someone turning into a toad ~ I hope doesn’t apply to my life!

It has been in my head because I have done more work on my tapestries. It was my tapestry work that was inspiring me through a grey period of creativity.  This is how it looked when I last showed you; I had attached the woven boulder to the canvas and had begun free form sewing.

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Tapestry work in progress (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

This is where I am now.

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Tapestry work in progress (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

Still a work in progress, but nearing completion. I want to check the line of the mountain tops against the original photo. The tapestry is not a direct copy, but I need to get the perspective of the the ridges correct. The vegetation on the bottom left still needs work. If you look closely you will see how I mucked up the line on the bottom right. Annoying to have to sew one row. I may add some vegetation to the top left of the cliff. I also want to sew detail into the rock face, to build up its form.

Then there is the sky. I have light blue wool, but I think it will be too vivid. I may have to look around for a softer blue grey.

The focal point is the waterfall, and it is more obvious with the real thing. The photo has flattened out the colours. I like what I have created, and am certainly going to experiment more with the combination of weaving and sewing.

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Tapestry work in progress (Copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

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 

Melaleuca tapestry

You know that I love to paint, but I am not sure if you know that I love fibres and textiles too. In fact I started my creative life after retirement form teaching making bags, often embellished with embroidery, beads and ribbons. That’s why my Etsy store is anne4bags, even though I no longer sell the bags.

I still get the urge to create with yarns. My latest series are tapestry pictures of the melaleucas from Flinders Island. Series is stretching it, because I have only finished one! However, the second has begun and I would like to do a third.

While one the Island I found some beautiful yarn from Fibreworks. When I returned home I ordered some more because it was just perfect for what I had in mind. It is Australian merino wool, smooth and even. The colours are hand dyed and are rich and slightly variegated. The slight variegation gives me the subtle changes that I was looking for. For the finished one I did use some other wools but I found the colours changed too abruptly. It made it harder to control the tone.

I have had wonderful service from Gill at Fireworks. If you want yarn for your next project, drop in; I highly recommend a visit to the site! How can you resist yarn like this? 🙂

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