Monday, January 10, 2011

Pondering Fabric

Having said that I was going to focus on bright colors in a recent post -- I found myself pulling out this stack of colorful fat quarters.  There are oranges and greens and pinks and turquoise and the designs on the fabrics are modern and sleek and... Well, you get the picture.

It was time to start preparing a couple of new art dolls and I had all these marvelous designs and colors laid out in front of me.  Scissors ready I snipped away, I soon had a couple of bodies cut and fused and ready for embellishing and stitching.  It was at that point that I realized they weren't going to work for my particular style . 

For people who don't work in fabric art there might be a misunderstanding that you just cut it out, stitch it up and its done.  For me, working with fabric in a representatational way, each stitch is put onto the fabric with a lot of thought.  If the background fabric has a distinct pattern design of its own and says 'don't cover me up' -- its hard for me to find the spirit of the cloth. Don't get me wrong, I love the bold fabric designs and the colors, but for the work that I do I find that I need subdued fabric - something that will be a background for my stitchery.

And so I spent a morning pulling muted fabrics from my stash, laying pieces all over the table and looking at them.  An integral part of my work is the use of embroidery stitches to bring the background fabric to life. The stitch 'becomes' the fabric design.  Its very hard to explain but I guess I don't just want to make an art doll I want to imbue my very own consciousness into it.  I want to use my stitching and embellishment to create a theme that means something to me personally and that I hope will mean something to someone else somewhere along the way.

I love the work of others where the fabric is the key -- and I do so admire their skill at combining and displaying these beautiful, bright, modern designs.  Once again however, I've learned something about myself (do we ever stop learning?) and it relates to what is important to me in my work.  Because embroidery stitchery is important to me when creating art dolls I shall have to put aside bold patterns and go back, once again, to the subdued patterns and shades.

Now that I've figured out all of this about myself its back to the needle and thread.  Isn't the creative process wonderful?

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes". - Carl Jung


  1. This post is so true. Sometimes when we go against the grain it's hard to figure out what's wrong. It's good to know how to start before one begins. I find the longest part of starting something new is the thinking beforehand. Once that is done, it all comes together.
    I'm glad you learned. I am constantly learning too.

  2. I agree, Penny, what we do should represent something we feel, although I'm a bit opposite with my approach. Detail is important to me with making Spirit Dolls, but embroidery isn't my forte. I start by finding the theme I have in mind in the fabric, then I add other embellishments and details mostly through various beading techniques. It's always a learning process no matter what approach we take.

  3. So interesting to read about the different processes.



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