what if?

I recently made this small collage piece and thought that if I could see it easily in my workroom and be reminded daily, I might actually challenge myself more often to take a familiar technique several steps further than I currently do. When I have a piece which I consider a fail, I try to work out what has gone wrong and mostly I think it’s my colour choices so even though I have two colour wheels and an Ultimate 3-in-1 Colour Tool within easy reach, and I decide to use colour combinations that compliment each other, what actually ends up on the fabric falls far short of the original expectations. I’ve also always known that putting random colours of paint on fabric and expecting the end result to look fabulous will rarely, if ever work, but I do it time and time again and get the same muddy results or clashing colour combinations each time. I’m never surprised when this happens and I don’t know why I haven’t stopped doing this, but I’m hoping that from now on, seeing my “what if?” collage will be like someone shouting, “STOP! What if you actually think about this before you paint/draw/sew/cut….” Maybe I need several of these collages in strategic places around my workroom. Hmmm.

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Not sure about the heavy border of black soft cord but I think the appliquéd letters are a success. The large piece of painted interfacing the letters were cut from was a fail, but in smaller pieces the poor colour combinations seem more acceptable. I would consider this collage a success but I can’t really explain why. Do you agree? I welcome your opinions and or suggestions for improvement. I’m already working on a second piece using the same letter cutouts but in a different “what if?” manner.

Cotton fabric background coloured with acrylic paints. Letters hand cut from heavy-duty interfacing previously splattered with acrylics, and free-motion stitched to the background. The blue rectangles (painted cotton sheeting scraps) were stitched around the borders using a normal sewing machine presser foot with reduced tension and a very short stitch length. Backing fabric (not shown) of bonded twill fabric.


aiming for abstract

My current book at bedtime is a beginner’s guide to abstract art. For as long as I can remember, abstract art has left me shrugging my shoulders and frowning in perplexity. I just don’t get it. I rarely see what the artist’s intention was and several chapters into this book I am still in the same state of mind. Perhaps I shouldn’t be reading it just before I’m ready to sleep.

If an abstract piece is made from fabric, is it then classified as a collage instead? Fabric and fibre abstract/collage pieces sometimes perplex me too, especially scrappy quilts and fabric scrapbooks. I frequently read articles which assume that everyone did collage on a regular basis in school. Perhaps I was even more perplexed about collaging back then because no matter how hard I try I can only ever recall two or three instances of collaging in all my years at school.  Was the experience so bad each time that I have since stuffed the related memories inside a mental cupboard from which only the occasional draught of a partial memory escapes from under the ill-fitting door? Who knows?

I’ll continue reading the book and perhaps a lightbulb moment will happen but I won’t hold my breath. In the meantime, here’s the little piece I made from the jug and ginger jar scraps. I had no particular intention in mind when I began it but I liked how it turned out so I’ve since framed it.


stitchy challenge

Decided to do a little Photoshopping to bring up the colour on the C&D challenge but I’m not sure it worked that well! Time to read instruction manuals again.

Layers of various fabrics free-motion embroidered and the desert and sand dunes colour-enhanced with oil pastels. The camel was machine embroidered and then hand-appliquéd.