You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

A couple of months ago I set myself a deadline to finish this by, the outer couching that is, as it has been with me for some years, although I had picked it up earlier this year and started working on it again.  Part of my journey with Soul Food has led me to rediscover my love of textiles, of stitch to be more precise.  The pure joy there is in stitching, creating bit by bit by bit and I love to work by hand as the slowness of the pace allows for much thought and deliberation.  I find it endlessly calming.

Over the past few weeks, in between a few other project pieces, I have done nothing else but stitch and stitch, determined to finish the outer couching by the 31st October, Samhain…..I am so pleased that I made it.   The pictures are not great sadly but, hopefully, I can get better ones at a later date.   It is very dark inside at the moment, so I resorted to the washing line out back….however it is more than a little windy so the piece is not hanging straight, but you can get the general feel of it I think.   The backing is canvas and the patterns/trails/paths have all been formed by couching hundreds, if not thousands of strips of various fabrics to the surface.    What is to go in the centre?  I still have not decided…originally I was going to couch a spiral…..I may still.   For the time-being it is hanging back on my wall where I can see it when I wake – I will know when I have alighted upon the right way to go.  Oh, and it measures approximately 4ft by 4ft, almost as big as the smile on my face!

Just blowin’ in the wind:

A touch closer:


This month’s theme was Autumn or Halloween – I went with Autumn:

The background fabric is heavily machined calico in various reds, onto which I stitched into place a square of woven fabrics, the colours of which I felt are autumnal – I then hand stitched over this square.  I wove a variegated dyed wool around the edge of the square and finished it off by couching the leaf shape in a thin velveteen ribbon.  I am happy with the result, hope the recipient is :).

Wow, four lovely surprises this last week – each arriving on a separate day – certainly cheered me up no end.  Thank you so much to Carol Desjarlais, Mollye Self, Norma Soulet and Brittney Young.  Please follow the included links to see more of each of these artists’ work.

First to arrive:

These beautiful and spirit-full objects were crafted by Carol Desjarlais, and I am thrilled to bits with each and every piece.  She also enclosed the story behind the making of the flowers piece, which is actually made from fish scales – just incredible.   The spirit doll has been placed as directed with deep respect.  The painting has a place which has been awaiting its arrival – these items are special and filled with a very real sense of the person who created them.   These will definitely be treasured.

As if that wasn’t enough to raise my spirit, the following day the second carton of the week arrived:

This literal box of delights arrived courtesy of Mollye Self.  As you can see the carton contained a real variety of goodies, including a fabulous badge which made me laugh, a wonderful pendant beautifully crafted, a bottle of turquoise and some clay glazed hearts – I already know on which piece of work I shall be using these, just lovely.  The ATC is not very easy to see here but is glorious and is a fabulous addition to my collection.

Third to arrive:

This one from Norma Soulet which included the most beautiful glass-faced spirit doll – sadly the picture does not show this too clearly.  She is taking pride of place amongst my plants by the central fireplace – seemed appropriate somehow.  Norma also made a fabulous felted pin/needle holder which will get a lot of use and some fabulous hand-crafted beads which will also all be utilised….beautiful work for which I am very grateful.

And then, as if all that wasn’t more than enough, a fourth arrived:

This one is from Brittney Young.  The wonderfully textural bookmark is already in use – I am an avid reader so it will be well used believe me.  The earrings are beautiful, very delicate and will be worn with pride and pleasure.  The third item is a bell hanging from a beaded wire – you cannot from this picture see the detail on the bell or, of course, hear it – it has the most lovely sound and is already hanging on the inside of my front door – in the summer I shall move it to the garden door, but for now it is in the right place.  Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

I am so grateful to all these wonderful artists who have created such beauty and given of themselves so generously.   It is an absolute thrill and joy to be part of this exchange, thank you Susan.

This is the title of another of Juliana Coles‘ wonderful extreme journalism booklets on art journaling that I am currently working/playing with.   Her direction is to get to us to not necessarily produce works of art or even attractive pieces to view – it is about communication.  The approach appeals greatly to me as that is my aim, albeit not necessarily always conscious, when creating, journaling etc… thankfully I am past the ‘producing to please others’ phase for the most part although it still bites me on the bum at times.

For the first assignment the instruction was to take 30 minutes and doodle across both pages in as many media as fancied -oh yay, one of my most favourite things to do!  She says “you should be quite satisfied if this looks a complete mess when you are done” – what a great lesson in giving up control.    The next part of this was to look at it deeply – to find your inner portrait within this mess – to pull her out, allow her voice.  Can you see her?

The next exercise I found really interesting to do.  The first part was to write stream-of consciousness starting with “I think people think I’m…..”  The instruction was to write for 5 minutes, I went on until I had filled both sides of the spread.  The next part was to counter allowing ourselves to be defined by others.  To quote Juliana again, “When we allow that, we lose soul parts.”  Oh yes!   The writing was used as a background, the instruction being to create an image of self as the chosen one.  Now I wasn’t sure whether she meant in words or in imagery, so I went with my instinct remembering to preface the text each time with “I am…”:

The final exercise I have done so far started in a very familiar way, to cover both pages with scraps of text – aaah home ground, comfortable.  Um, not for long…practicing drawing was coming next!  The booklets come from workshops that Juliana holds, so given that, the instruction was to draw your partner – I was not in a workshop but at my own art table on my own, so used a mirror.  Time limit 5 minutes to draw – making a “good” drawing that looked like the person was not the point here (thankfully) – the looking was the point.  Next came drawing an item that could fit in the palm of your hand – I used an altered matchbox given to me by a friend – two different views of this were to be done.  Painting around the drawings was the next step followed by writing about what kind of artist I wished I could be….famous?…studio?….materials?  etc etc.  I was genuinely surprised and pleased with the results of this writing:

That’s it for now :).