Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Challenge

Our InspiredArts Guild met the last week.  On the agenda was a decision regarding the 2011 challenge.  Several suggestions, ideas and random thoughts were made.  We ended up choosing Paul Klee's painting "The Balloon".  Everyone is fascinated by the images that this painting evokes.  The colors are a plus too - although we are not limited by color nor even by design.  Each of us will take this picture and redesign it in our own way.

Among our members' skills are felting, rug hooking, punchneedle, jewelry, beading, photography, stitchery - need I go on!  I can only imagine what each person will create with inspiration from this picture.

Luckily for us, and by design, we have given ourselves until the August meeting to meet the challenge.  I can hardly wait until the unveiling in August -- but then I don't want to hurry it because I too will be meeting this deadline and no there's no fun in hurrying!

"Art washes away the dirt of everyday life" - Anonymous

Monday, March 28, 2011

Abstract Design

 Art by San Base

abstract: (adj) ...of or pertaining to nonrepresentational art; using only, lines, colors, generalized or geometrical shapes, etc.

I'm thinking in the abstract these days.  So far my punchneedle has been very representational - landscape scenes and folk art birds.  My mind seems to see things all in neat formal patterns.  A tree here, carefully balanced against the sky and the mountains.  Not that there is anything wrong with that -- BUT these days I feel the urge to just put color and thread down on fabric in all sorts of patterns.  I want to feel the freedom of free-form shapes, of colors that I don't normally think of 'going together'.  I want to start a new journey!
Art by Georgia O'Keefe

I've been using the internet and books from the library to look at what constitutes abstract.  I've found that some of the designs are free of any desire to convey a thought or mind picture while others represent 'something' in their abstract forms.  I would love to look at an object or a landscape and be able to translate it in my mind (and eventually down through my fingers) into an abstract design.  To tell you the truth I'm not sure I can do it -- after all these many years thinking one way.  Can I turn my mind inside out (which is what it feels to me) and make stitchery that doesn't represent something 'real'?  Can I create my own reality through needle and thread? 

"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality". - Pablo Picasso

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Planting Time"

Every time I've gone out recently I've seen another plot of land with the dirt turned and ready for planting.  What a sign of hope this is to me.  Each year people dig, and turn and prepare the earth for seeds and seedlings.  Each year there is the hope that the sun and the rain will bring forth yet another year of crops.  Can anything else be more hopeful?

This punchneedle design is a stylized vision of a local road winding past a turned field.  Notice the pale green trees/bushes in the foreground.  At this time of the year that is my own version of hope as our tree limbs are still bare of bud.  They will soon sprout their pale green leaves fulfilling spring's promise.

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all". - Emily Dickinson

Monday, March 21, 2011

Morning Has Broken

As I welcome this 'first day of spring' I can't help but sing!  While winter has the feel about it of curling up in a safe warm cocoon, spring has a 'busting out all over' feel.  Its time to stretch my arms to the sky and welcome the sun and the early green into my life.

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven above
Like the first dewfall, on the the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

                                                            written by Eleanor Farjean/sung by Cat Stevens
Happy Spring everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Homespun Heart" Bird

I really thought that my 'heart' month was over.  But then I came up with this design and just had to try it.  Here I am, ready for spring and all things green and I end up engaged with deep pinks/corals and blue.  I blame it on Caron's 'Wildflowers' yarn titled 'teak' -- once I saw the combination I had to use it.

This is the first time I've used 'Wildflowers' for the overall bird (rather than just the design) and it was an interesting experiment because it seems to have ended up looking 'homespun' - like a rag rug that has been made into a bird.  I discovered some wonderful grey buttons that I could use for eyes. I'm now on the lookout for 1/4" buttons in various colors.  Who knows what will come next - but I think I have hearts out of my system for awhile.

"Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken". - Albert Camus

Monday, March 14, 2011

Read Me A Story...

A long time ago, my husband and I had the odious task of painting what seemed like hundreds of slats on our front porch.  It was a job that neither of us wanted to do -- but it had to be done.  So, we decided that while one of us painted the other would read aloud and then we'd take turns painting and reading.  We chose an author we both liked and got busy.  It was perfectly lovely painting and listening to each other read.

As I have become more and more involved with punchneedle I've found that once I have the design created and drawn it is just a matter of punching in and out, in and out.  Unlike beadwork or book art or even doll art this is a quiet, routine art form. 

On my last visit to the library I picked up a couple of audio books.  I wasn't sure whether or not I would like having a book read that way but once I tried it, I was hooked.  I've found that I get quite involved with the story -- more so maybe than when I'm reading to myself.  The voice reads the words and I'm listening as I punch and the voice has my complete attention. 

As a lover of the written word, I'm now becoming a lover of the spoken word!

"There is creative reading as well as creative writing". - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"In The Garden"

Are you ready for spring?  I am!!!

Here's my latest doll, already working in her garden.  What will she see as the season comes on?

She'll start with seeds and find a few small stones as she turns the earth over.  She'll see a bright green stem reaching for the sun and later on tiny buds.  Finally, at her feet she'll see flowers. 

She'll literally be surrounded, front and back with all things growing.

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul". -- Alfred Austin

Monday, March 7, 2011

Strolling Around Charleston

Let’s walk down one of the shaded pedestrian walks in downtown Charleston. This city is very walkable but mind your step -  the cobblestones are uneven and may play havoc on your feet, let alone your balance.

We'll wander into a small cemetary set in a churchyard.  This one has stained glass windows overlooking the markers.

There are wonderful old homes – this one captured my imagination with its open doorway which led into an inner courtyard garden.

Mind you, we have to stop occasionally to step into the many galleries along the way and check out the Belgium chocolate shop!

"A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again". - Margaret Mead

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Swamp Fever

Don’t you love it when you take a vacation (long or short) that involves sights you don’t usually see? The joy of driving over to Charleston is that we get to explore worlds that we don’t have here at home.

                                                                  Photo by Tom Baugh

Our first stop on this recent trip was the Audubon Swamp Perserve. This swamp area is part of the original Magnolia Plantation lands. That plantation’s crop was rice and the wetlands served as a perfect growing placeToday it is a preserve for all manner of wildlife. We were so very fortunate because both the egrets and the herons were breeding and the rookery was filled with these beautiful birds. They would swoop up into the air and then settle down in the trees.
                                                                    Photo by Tom Baugh

The egrets were my favorites because their beautiful, white, fluffy feathers just captured my imagination. What would it be like to crawl onto the back of one of these majestic birds and hitch a ride, nestling down into their white, fluffy feathers? I wish I could know.

There was a thick carpet of bright green duckweed coating many of the surfaces of the swamp. It was so dense and smooth that it looked like a floor of bright green linoleum that you could easily walk upon and never get wet. Of course we weren’t allowed to test that theory.

When I saw this stand of trees with lines and shadows running across the top of the duckweed, my imagination took over. Do you think one day I might translate this picture into punchneedle? I think I might try!

This log, seemingly wrapped with vines (or whatever) made me think texture and sculpture. How I would love to have this in my yard so that I could study its turns and twists and intricacies.

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous". - Aristotle

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Road Trip

We're setting out on a small road trip - driving over to Charleston, SC.  We have been to Charleston once - in the summer - when it was so hot and humid as to be intolerable.  We vowed we would go back one day - when the temperature and humidity were more tolerable.  We tried one October only to have to cancel at the last minute because there was a hurricane off the coast and it was raining so hard that we would have been trapped inside a hotel room if we'd made the trip.

And so, hoping that the third time's the charm we head off down the highway to the ocean and the history of a very historical town.

For the first time I am going to be taking stitching with me -- in all my years of art/craft work I have never been able to take something with me.  Book art could not be done far away from glue and sewing machine and lots of supplies - beading could be transported but never seemed like something that could be easily done while sitting on the beach (just too many little tiny seed beads).  But NOW I have punchneedle and it is totally portable.  I have prepared a bird design and have already punched the center design - so that on our trip I will only be working on the background (which eliminates having to take 1,000 embroidery skeins with me). 

See you in a few days.

"Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living". - Miriam Beard


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