Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Light and Shadows" Heart

I've completed another heart - this time calling it "Light and Shadows".  The fibers that I recently acquired made this story easy to tell.  I couldn't resist combining the Wildflower shade of 'winter wheat' with warm gold and soft lavender.  As I punched this heart it seemed to speak to me of canyon walls with their warmth and the depths of the shadows within.  The button in the center (which unfortunately reflects light so that you aren't getting a true picture of its color and richness) looks like a glazed tile piece - also in a rich, warm gold color. 

I'd love to know what you see when looking at this design?

"Shadow is a colour as light is, but less brilliant; light and shadow are only the relation of two tones". - Paul Cezanne

Monday, June 27, 2011

Soft and Warm

These fiber packs arrived recently - colors of gold, grey, purple.  The gold is the color of tobacco leaves, a deep, warm tea, or perhaps an old, expensive brandy.  The grey is the color of fog, mist, a soft cat, a favorite warm sweater.  The purple is the color of mountains in the distance, a royal cape all draped and rich, an iris blooming in the garden.

I love both the way the grey softens the purple, the way the deep gold warms the grey. Today I'm  busy creating a 'light and shadows' heart with these threads and feeling both their warmth and their richness as I punch and stitch.  

"Such lovely warmth of thought and delicacy of colour are beyond all praise, and equally beyond all thanks!" - Marie Corelli

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Love Letters" - Heart

This latest heart was inspired by my earlier thoughts on hand written letters.  The colors seem to reflect the colors of summer - aqua blue and lavender all blended together. As I worked this piece I also thought about the contrast between using a punchneedle to create loop-pile embroidery and using my needle and thread to create traditional embroidery.  Punching in and out is 'physical' - not difficult, not intrusive but there is the in and out motion over and over again.  Once start embroidering the felt for the back of heart I begin a very quiet, almost still movement.  I like it because as the end of the project approaches, I'm working with silent, slow, movement across the cloth.  It seems a perfect way to end each piece.

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light..." - 
Elizabeth Barret Browning

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Hand Written Word

As I work on a piece entitled “Love Letters” I wonder “when was the last time that you received a hand-written letter?”  In some cases, depending on your age you might answer that with the word ‘never’.  You may receive birthday cards with a note jotted inside – but a full blown letter written out by hand?
I’m old enough to have lived when penmanship was still taught in schools, when hand written letters were the main communication with friends and family who were not close enough to visit in person.  I remember laboriously writing a letter to my Grandmother, sitting at my Mother’s desk and printing out the words of a third grader. Later in life my aunt showed me a letter that my mother wrote to her when she was pregnant.  I have all the letters that my son wrote to me when he was stationed in Iraq during that first war.  There are many cases where the letters of famous authors were kept and later printed out for all of us to read.  Somehow I'm not sure that saved emails would have quite a same allure.
My penmanship is not very good – a handwritten letter from me would require hours of work to even be readable.  I welcomed the electric typewriter, the word processor and the internet.  I love blogging – both writing and reading them.  I love that I have developed friendships with people I would never have known if not for this wonderful invention.  But I think back fondly to the many handwritten letters I have received in the past - of brewing a cup of tea, curling up in my favorite chair and carefully opening a sealed envelope.

"Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them". - Johann Wolfgang von Goeth

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Journey" - Heart

This heart became what it is in spite of any preconceived ideas that I had.  I began with the spiral button.  You probably already know that I love spirals - a circle that is open - never closed, always moving (just as hearts should be).

As I worked, the whole 'planned' color scheme changed - more toward 'jewel' tones than I had planned.  The design spaces also lost the boundaries that I had originally planned for them.  My lesson learned is that no journey, not even a thread journey, should be overly planned.

"What you are comes to you." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 13, 2011


Tall oaks, maples, pines and all manner of trees surround me here in North Carolina.  The trees in the northern Arizona desert are quite different - mesquite, pine and my favorite of all, the Arizona Sycamore.  This large, sturdy looking tree has beautiful white bark.  When the bark pulls back from the trunk of the tree the darker bark underneath is revealed. 

The textures of this tree fascinate me.  What pictures come to mind as I look at the images of light and dark?  What stories could this tree tell me?

"A tree is an incomprehensible mystery".  - Jim Woodring

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Looking Within"

What if I put the key in the door?  What if I turn the key?  What if I actually look within to see what is there?  Do I hesitate to open the door or do I turn the key and hope for wonders and magic.  I'm on the side of opening it - of looking within to see what is there.  I may like it, or I may not like it - but how will I know unless I look?

This heart is 5-1/2" long x 4-3/4" at its widest.  For some reason I am drawn to rose and green these days.  Perhaps it is the time of the year, perhaps I'm just becoming a romantic.

The back is embroidered felt -- I love working with felt, don't you? 

And here I'm sending along x's and o's just for each of you.

"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold". - Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, June 6, 2011

From the Heart

I'm off on a new adventure - loop-pile embroidery-wise that is.  Recently Jude posted on her work with hearts - it seemed to be a healing time for her and of course her work is beautiful.  I had been thinking about working with the heart shape but a little voice kept saying 'its been done over and and over again'.  But then I thought, perhaps its been done so many times because it is a symbol that each of us can relate to.  Its our center, the core of our being.  Its our life force and symbolizes all that is good about us.  With those thoughts in mind I thought I'd play around a little.

Anytime I start a new project there are all the "what-ifs" to go through and the mundane questions like 'how big should it be', 'what do I really want to convey with this subject', 'how will it work with loop-pile embroidery'.  The planning began!

One of the first things that I did was to paw through my 'found objects', buttons, and 'junque' collections.  This is when I got really excited about the heart concept and the possibilities that might be before me.  Drawings have been made, patterns transferred to cloth and punching begun.  The most important piece of any fiber work (in my mind) is that my heart goes into it also.  That the time spent is time of gratitude and peace and joy -- let's see how this goes...

"Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” - Rumi

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Desert Dreaming"

I began work on this bird after we got home from the desert.  The colors used, seem to reflect what I saw while out in that wild world.  Do you think this guy is waiting to fly off to the west, back to where he'll blend in well?

I experimented with his top-knot - by using loop levels of 10 and 11.  Now I know what those loops look like and they certainly made a good head dress!

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds". - Aesop


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