For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .

''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More revelations from a dim and distant past.

More sketchbook glimpses! I have so many photos now of all this 'history' surrounding my creative life that it makes me feel quite strange. I can't imagine that I painted these dying flowers and seed heads let alone had the time. It also makes me think about the choices we make, the way we turn toward a certain process at different times. I am usually very critical and negative about my painting and drawing skills and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying these are masterpieces but I really do like them. If you have been reading this blog for a while you will surely recall all the times I have said that I feel I am a frustrated illustrator, well I wonder, what if I had decided in 2003 that painting and drawing was my way forward not stitch. Surely by now I could be accomplished at this, better and definitely more confident. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying this out of regeret, I am merely wondering, what if? and thinking about how we make those choices and where they take us.

This picture illustrates perfectly the 'signature' in all my sketchbooks. I absolutely had to do this every time, paint tiny colour swatches in the corner as I was mixing, infact I think this was probably my favourite part of the whole process.

and then there is this, another illustration of turning away from a process. This work is so far removed from who I am now creatively that it is even harder to believe I played any part in it's making. A module called Design and Make (I think?) where we had to design and make a man's tie. I carried out the initial research (drawing and painting) screen printed the silk and then embellished with machine embroidery. YES MACHINE EMBROIDERY!!! As if I could ever do that now. There are people out there who have amazing skill in this work but personally the very thought of doing this fills me with horror. I am definitely not a frustrated machine embroiderer!
It is shown here still in the mounts that I put it in for assessment, to try and remove them would ruin the work and they have survived really well for five years so I am going to leave them like this.

Back to now, 2009, swaddling band three. I have begun to play with patchwork templates. My thinking here is long, thin, narrow patchwork interspersed with text on vintage linen then more hand embroidery on top. I have used vintage cloth and more of the comntemporary linen for the hexagons. Swaddling band two is still being considered somewhere in the deep recess of my brain, I am waiting for the light to go on and haven't forgotten about it!


Miss 376 said...

I would love to be able to draw and paint but I can't, though my youngest son can! I love the pictures and am finding it fascinating seeing the creative journey you have been on

Diane said...

I miss my artist period. At oe time I really felt that was the direction I would go but things changed. It does make you wonder when you look back doesn't it?
I can't wait to see your new piece progress. The last one was just wonderful!

Victoria said...

I so enjoy seeing your process and the creative path you have traveled.

Your delicate paintings are so lovely. I remember when I was sure that I would be an illustrator. Funny how life puts different paths in front of us, and one does wonder what makes us leave one and turn towards another.

Ulla said...

Oh my God, I really thought first that the first pictures were photos of flower petals! You should continue painting as well.

Hotter Than... said...

The piantings are beautiful. It's interesting to see how things develope and how some aspects are "Karen". I think these insights are fascinating.

Jacky said...

I am really enjoying seeing your development over the years... what beautiful watercolours, so subtle and delicate and love the colour swatches!!!
The colours you have used in your Design and Make piece are stunning. Amazing, strong colours and beautiful stitches. Such treasure these pieces.
Thanks for the lovely close up pictures of your pieces for the new swaddling band...I love to take a good look at all of the wonderful detail.

Jacky xox

Melissa said...

All your work is beautiful! I love your hexagons, but I'm very partial to that shape. Do you ever quilt your work? I was wondering how you go about doing that



Gina said...

You painting is beautiful and delicate Karen. I love all those little hexagons.

jennyflower said...

I just love how free your painting is/was. The hexagons look really cute, used to love sitting taking the papers out of Mums. x

Gunnels blog said...

I love your patchworks, the hexagones are so lovely !

jude said...

it is nice to see the pieces of your puzzle karen, all the steps that have brought you to this point of your journey. each one is key but none would be as significant alone. as always your special eye for detail and balance shines through.

Embroidery said...

Thanks for the lovley ways of displaying the different stiches.
Good Luck,