Well I didn’t turn into a pumpkin! I got my May TIF Challenge piece done yesterday (just) but too late for taking photos.
I decided to create something that included some of the techniques I love most, and to try to express how I often feel as if I’m exploding in all directions – there’s such an onslaught of possibilities it seems impossible to choose between them.
For the background I used a piece of indigo-dyed shibori I made at a workshop taught by Nell Dale. I applied scrim that I’d dyed and torn, and some little bits and bobs – hand stitching, machine stitching, felt, knitting, dyeing, batik, printing, and layered fabrics. I also love textiles with writing, so I added the phrase that Neki of A Moveable Feast picked out from my thoughts on the challenge question – ‘naming is not defining – it is choosing’.
But choosing means saying no as well as yes. I long to learn to focus enough to practise, in every sense of the word. I enjoy exploring so many things but I also value skill and mastery, and to attain those things one must make choices and leave some roads untravelled. For now, as a student, I’m constantly trying out new paths and revisiting old ones, but I also hope that on the way I’ll discover which directions take me “further up and further in”… that I will learn my name.
Links to the beautiful and thought-provoking work being done for Sharon’s Take it Further Challenge can be found on her blog In a Minute Ago, the Flickr group, and the Take it Further Challenge blog.
When I was working on this quilted hanging, one of my aims was to use felt as the wadding in a way that made its colour a central element of the design. I’m still thinking about that, so today I’ve been stitching some studies for my sketchbook pages for the April TIF challenge (changing a piece of fleece in as many ways as I can). I collected a pile of sheer fabrics of varying opacity and made a small sample of each, layered with some of the pink felt I’d already made.
The best silk I’ve found for this is silk organza (top right) – it’s what I used on the front of my hanging; though I think you can get silk net and I’d love to try that. The manmade fabrics at the bottom – nets, voile and organza – are the sheerest of the samples but I really prefer natural fibres (although I confess I went and bought the finer net and the organza specially for this at Reticule today!). It’s partly because I like the feel of natural fibres so much more, but also because so many manmade fibres are petrochemical based. I think if I were to use them extensively I’d look for them in secondhand clothes and recycle.
In the middle are the cottons – an organdie on the right, and on the left my favourite – cotton scrim. I just love the combination of the open weave and the distortion from the stitching and the way the felt shows through and is furrowed by the pull of the stitches.
I’m going to try a kind of nuno version on a partially felted base, and also with dyed scrim and different colours of felt.
And I just wanted to share these, because they’re so lovely…