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







Wednesday, April 7, 2010

sampling

One word titles seem to be the order of the day. It's not deliberate, just seems appropriate for the moment. It sums up this post anyway, sampling, it's what i've been doing. Playing with techniques, stitches, fabrics, colours, it all informs the process and what comes next. Not that I have a clue what's next, not yet anyway. But don't you just love pleated, smocked fabric. Not that this qualifies as 'proper' smocking. The first stages are the same, hand marked dots, equally spaced. Rows and rows of running stitch through said dots. Tying all the ends tightly together and then no restriction on what comes next, just embellishing and creating random folds and hidden pockets of cloth. Then there is crazy patchwork, jumble it all up, no method, no plan, just keep stitching and see what evolves. It may not be the best matching process but hey, it's only a sample, it informs even if only to say don't do this again. Then we have shapes, circles to be precise, how many ways are there to create or embellish a circle? I am beginning to think that my surface pattern is becoming a little predictable, circles, petals. What do I do about that? Do I change, find another form? Or do I keep on because it 's that which says 'Karen Ruane'?


Despite what I said this sampling has informed my process, or has writing this informed my process. Thinking then putting it in black and white does help to clarify thought I'm sure. It has given me an idea, totally unrelated but it's still an idea. That's because sampling allows thinking, it allows your brain to wander wherever it likes which sometimes is a good thing and writing seems to bring it all into focus. Does that make sense? Anyway I have decided not to actually make any finished pieces for a while. Occasionally it is good not to have an end, an aim. Instead I am going to play. I have a longing for little things, tiny expressions of creativity and am excited to discover where that will lead.

13 comments:

Miss 376 said...

You go and have fun, it will all reappear sometime in the future. I do like the patchwork and the smocking. Smocking always takes me back to my childhood

Gina said...

I love your sampling!

Rachel said...

Playing is important, Karen - that's where the new ideas come from, and the refreshment and exhileration if you've been keeping your nose too close to the grindstone. Enjoy!

deanna7trees said...

You should change what you are doing only if YOU are bored with it. I don't think any of your followers will ever get bored with your work. And yes, you should also just play to have fun. I play all the time and occasionally finish a project.

Marie said...

Playing is good! Everyone needs
a break from the "must dos".
Have fun :)

Ingrid said...

Just love those french knots all over that pleated smocked fabric,it just has a beautiful look to it,To me it doesnt have to be "finished"love the embroidery for what it is,gorgeous stitching on beautiful fabric.
have fun playing:-)

Threadspider said...

Playing lets your mind wander and sometimes, many times, just playing is what needs to happen to let your mind have a rest. Enjoy your play.

Victoria said...

I've recently started doing small samples as well, generally with no preconceived idea of how it will turn out, and I am really enjoying the process. As for changing things up... do so if it pleases or interests you, experimentation is a really good thing for expansion. However don't feel that you need to in order to please others... your work is always beautiful and brilliant.

Amelia said...

look forward to seeing where it will lead too!

Amelia.x

Ruth O'Leary said...

It'll still say 'Karen Ruane' if what you're doing comes form the heart. It's when you try and second-guess what other people want that you'll end up with something that isn't 'you' and that you're not happy with.

Kaye Turner said...

That sounds like a fine idea. I find (to my surprise, actually) that doing something and then writing about it really helps to clarify what happened. Your work is very distinctive and easily recongnisable, petals and circles or not. Look forward to seeing where you go next.
PS my word verification for this comment is 'straying' - how about that?!

meandering pearl said...

tender & delicate beauty!!!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Oooh, I love your Sampling, Karen. And yes, I love pleated / smocked fabric. The smocking secured by French knots is gorgeous!
Janice.