Monday, January 31, 2011

Tetes au Dessous- Beverly

15 1/4 by 10 1/4
Cotton sateen, oil paintstiks, machine quilted, hand embroidered
I had a very difficult time choosing one piece.  I had to spend a lot of time trying to remember what my original goals were!  I know I wanted to get better at abstracting, and using surface design to create cloth.
This piece stands out for me for a couple of reasons.  First, the figures in the picture freaked me out- I don't do people, even dolls!  Once I got over that hump, though, it was a real learning experience.  I learned to take parts of the photo, and don't worry about the whole.  In this case, there were a lot of distractions.  Second, I had to come up with a way to represent one aspect of the chosen element- in  this case, hair.  I originally had the idea to use cheesecloth, and when that didn't work, had the epiphany of the embroidery.  I think my success with this piece encouraged me to use hand stitching in others, and it is something I want to continue to incorporate into my work. I think I succeeded in evoking a mood.  I found the picture rather disturbing and eerie, and think my piece conveys that also.  

And, it took my out of my comfort zone of strip piecing.  I still love it, it can be relaxing and meditative- but I don't want it to be my 'signature.'

It's not perfect.  I learned that using quilting to represent less distinct elements in a photo sometimes works, sometimes not.  If I were to redo this, I would use quilting that is just background- maybe simple vertical lines, like the lines of the curtain.  I originally put a binding on this, but when a friend commented that I'd made a place mat, I took it off and replaced it with facing.

Most people in this group have a very recognizable style.  Me, I still feel like I am all over the map, trying to figure that out. Here's a photo album with all my work- I've looked at it multiple times, trying to find a common thread that unites them all!  If you want to know about my thought process while creating, it's on Beverly's Page, along with photos of each finished piece also.

I think part of the issue is working with a photo that I otherwise wouldn't have chosen.  It was sometimes difficult to get inspired with those, and I know others felt the same way some months.  I'm not even sure I'll continue to work with photos as a starting point.  Some of my best work in the past has just originated inside my head!  I do know I want to continue to use my fabric in my work- I just love the idea of starting with white fabric that I alter in some way.  On the other hand, I know I learned a lot from having to work from someone else's photo.  I totally agree with Kay- half of creativity is just showing up to do the work, regularly and consistently. 

This has been a wonderful year that challenged me on multiple levels.  Completing a piece monthly was definitely a huge accomplishment for me- like Kay, I'm proud that I did each and every month.  I enjoyed getting to know the other members, and valued their input about my work.  I'm working to be more objective about my art, learning to be better about self-critique.  This past year has definitely helped with that.  I've made cyber-friends that I will continue to follow through their blogs.

It was a year well spent.  I will miss those reveals, it was such fun to see what everyone came up with! 


  1. I enjoyed this piece immensely. I loved the abstraction of the dolls and the colors you chose to use. Your choice of how to interpret the hair was a perfect compliment.

    I will definitely miss the challenge each month but plan on trying to discipline myself to stay in the same routine.

    I don't think you need to worry about where your inspiration comes from. I think you will find that parts may come from a photo but other parts may come from your head or an experience or just about anything. Photos are always useful in some aspect or just to remember a color scheme or shadow or how the sky looks on a particular day.

    I know you will continue your journey, as we all will, with much success and will continue to follow it on your personal blog.

  2. Like you, I tried to leave my comfort zone for these pieces too. Sometimes I wanted to cry because I felt so childlike in my approach but it was good to stretch. I think you showed repeatedly that you have the ability to move past strip piecing as your signature style. One day you may even decide you want to add surface embroidery to your strip piecing-who knows?

    I applaud your courage to present work that was new and raw to us here in the challenge. It's tough to do that. What you showed us always had a clear purpose & well executed presentation. Ya can't ask for much more than that!

    I am encouraged you are continuing the journey with me. I look forward to seeing where the surface embellishments take you (kicking and screaming!) this next year!

  3. Actually, I think your work is quite recognizable. I've liked it since your self-portrait. You have very clearly defined shapes and designs, even though the fabrics themselves are very soft and textured looking. It's an interesting combination. I'll be looking forward to seeing more as you continue.

  4. I enjoyed your "distillation" style of most of the photos. Though the one that wasn't, the hippies cottage in the English garden, is a favorite that I'm looking forward to seeing finished. Although, come to think about it, your stripping away the years of patina is another form of "distillation".

    I look forward to following your adventures in creativity through your future work.

  5. that photo was one of the ones I had the most trouble with! I love how you have refined it in this piece. A joy to watch each months reveals!

  6. I enjoyed your pieces and posts because of the thoughtfulness of your approach. I liked this one in particular because I think you achieved a lot of depth. I liked the cherry blossoms one also because you achieved a lot of movement in that piece. I know you are trying to look for the things that unify your pieces. I have looked at your work several times now and just as a suggestion, just a thought, I think it is your ability to utilize the space (if that doesn't sound too new-agey)to suggest something. Maybe if you looked at your pieces again with this idea. Anyway, I enjoyed being in a group with you so thank you:)

  7. This interpretation of Kay's photo was one of my favorites. I liked the contrast between the abstract forms and 'hair' against the more realistic black-on-black quilting of the background.

    I'm not sure if finding a style is all that important - but isn't the journey fun?


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