Reference photo for tapestry

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

 

Reference photo for tapestry

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?)

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.

Embroidery ~ free form landscape

Winter textile work

When I create a post I write, add photos, edit and then press ‘publish’. Most of the writing has happened in my head, so I am usually happy with what I write. This post has been different; this is the third or fourth go. The post is about ‘where to next’ with my fabric art work, and as I wrote I learnt more about where I am going. Let me be more concrete…..

This is how I began, and I am satisfied with it as it is mostly straight forward.

In my last newsletter I was musing about the textile work I do in Winter. I try to keep that story telling part of the newsletter shortish, so I want to use this blog to work through some of the things I am thinking about.

I have always loved hand sewing. My early creative career as a bag maker was begun as a way to use the embroidery I was creating. Embroidery has run parallel to my painting, but since my return a couple of years ago from my artist in residency at Mountain Seas Resort on Flinders Island I have been more conscious about creating. Slowly I have been thinking more about where I want this to go. I will return to this in a moment, but let me show you what I am talking about.

There are two sorts of embroidery I am doing. One is on tapestry canvas. I have found beautiful merino wool from Fibreworks; it is the right weight for the work I am doing and Gill dyes the wool to create colours of the Australian bush. Perfect weight, perfect variegated colours. I use my photos for inspiration, set up some compositional guidelines and then sit on the couch, in the warmth and sew. You can read a tapestry post  here.

This is the sort of work I have been creating, works inspired by Flinders Island

and this from last year’s trip to Menindee

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This is my current work-in-progress, again inspired by the arid, salt-bush environment of Menindee. I think is much better than the earlier one.

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Then came this section, which is a second or third draft. What I wrote made me consider the options I had.

Which brings me to my deeper musings…..what am I going to do with these?  I have written a few drafts about this, and that process has helped resolve the question. I was going to ask “Should I do this [put them in my Etsy shop] or should I do that [exhibit them]”. Thinking it through has made me realise that I want to exhibit them.

Using the E-word (Exhibit) in public is a big one for me. I find it difficult to approach someone to say “My work is so good that you should exhibit it”. There is the risk of rejection, and there is fear of Pride. There is the inner voice telling me I am not ready yet, that I don’t have time, to wait until I have done bigger pieces. You know the reasons, as I am sure we all have that voice which tells similar excuses.

However, there is a council-run gallery that has applications to exhibit in one of their spaces, and that must be the Universe telling me to stop procrastinating and just do it. That universe is made up of everyone I know yelling out to me “Do It Anne!!!!”. I can hear you from here! So, yes, I will.

Which is where I stopped. Something wasn’t right. Then the Universe came up with a weekly newsletter from Sara Genn. This week she was responding to a query about being ready for exhibiting. Her advice shows that you can’t rely on the Universe for any meaningful guide to the way forward, as it was this section that resonated:

Have you got a few hundred paintings?
Select from this year’s production your best 20. If you haven’t got an embarrassment of riches to choose from, go back to your room and paint. Your shortlist should be thematic but varied in ideation and show an evolution of imagination, technique and skill.

That’s what is missing, my body of work. It’s not my inner critic saying “You’re not ready”, it is this true statement ~ I am not ready.

So, now to create those few hundred works…… Realistically that number is not going to happen. However I do need to have a body of work that I can show a gallery, rather than an idea backed up by one or two pieces.

I am (almost) ready to press ‘publish’ for this post and then go back to my creating. But just before I do…..I mentioned above that I am creating two sorts of fabric work, and I only showed you the tapestry-style ones. The others use stitching, organza and other fabric to make trees (no surprise there!). You can see them on my Instagram feed.

Have you had any experience with exhibiting, or preparing a folio? I’d love other from you.

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Would you like to keep up-to-date with my art work ~ textile work or watercolour works on paper? Let me send you my fortnightly newsletter.