Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sixty minute feast

I couldn't help myself! Sixty minutes of image feasting! A quick dive into some 19th Century print images, and more thought about repeating patterns and lace motifs.

By the way, I forgot to show you this, which I feel certain you'll adore too! It comes from Poppalina a blog that I discovered recently.

A little indulgence is ok, right? ... so I did some quick sketches (and took some more poor quality images!)

This is an initial idea for a repeating leaf motif, which would probably make a neat border.

This is the second one.

I'm not sure yet how I'll develop these sketches or translate them into embroidery. But sooner or later I figure they'll find their way off the paper and onto the cloth. And I'm excited about that!

I stepped outside and spotted this...

A neat repeat right there in the mud! It's just where the rain has dripped off the roof laminas. And I see some opportunity to incorporate small glass beads in place of the gravel. This also reminds me of those repeating leaves that I did a while back and still really love. You can see an example here.

While I was feasting on the 19th Century prints I came across this magnificent beast! You have to admit, it's begging out to be transformed onto cloth. And moments later I found Susan Fletcher Conaway's marvelous blog Fiber Art and Craft and fell in love with her work and particularly with her strange bird. Just perfect!

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Strange things happen!

For example, all of a sudden I find myself fired up by things that would never have occurred to me previously, - right now it's vintage lace - It usually starts as a glimmer of an idea, something very simple, usually something visual that catches my attention, and I start googling around that initial idea for further images to feed from, and.. POW!... I find myself in a whole new realm, considering new possibilities.

Does that happen to you too?

Currently, Nilo and I are reading C.S Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" from the Narnia series. It just struck me that he had such a good point, about how we come to enter magical "places" (Narnia) by first entering the "everyday" (a wardrobe).

It's interesting, when you think about how much time so many of us - we who blog on cloth and other expressions of creativity - spend appreciating, reflecting upon, and even incorporating into our creativeness, those humble, everyday objects and occurances. And I continue to be blown away by all those who can work magic from it.

From the blog of Pia Jane Bijerk, entitled Enhance The Everyday - a blog that I follow whenever I have the time - I came across this link, introducing the work of Hannah Bertram. WOW! There are obvious references to historical patterns. I think my favorite pieces are those which, to me, have the appearance of vintage lace, and which feature in the series Now they are gone, I hold them. And for somereason these intricate installations also made me think of the shadows cast by plants, particularly at night, and how those are like lace, with their their forms and transparency. Hmmm... hold that thought (since I have no time to play with it at the moment!)

Another strange thing, I want you to meet my new friend. A very special little cat that I spotted running out of the garden of the house we rent in town last weekend. At first, I thought I was imagining it... but no, it's true, he has spots! I have no idea what he is, perhaps a domestic cat crossed with a Marguay? Whatever he is, and wherever he comes from, he sure is adorable! Have you ever seen anything like it?

We're experiencing a cold front (if you can imagine that!) it rained and rained and the river in the village burst it's banks. This is how the day looked from the balcony of my house...

The power went out for most of the day, which provided me with the shove I needed to get to work on another billion stitches on my latest piece (which, let's face it, is going to take me FOREVER to finish!)

This is as far as I've got. Forgive the poor image, taken with the camera on my phone!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Small - and rather over ambitious - beginnings

Well, I'm back at the farm again for the weekend after a very crazy week at work. More tree planting and a day of driving - ok, of being driven - across the southern part of the country looking at plant nurseries, which is always interesting. I'm pleased to say that this morning my pattern drawings showed up. So, little by little, I am edging my way back into it all.

Today I started out just fiddling with white on white, and white on neutral. That's not a new idea, more like a reoccuring interest, and I will definately be coming back it at some point. This is what I came up with:

It's not quite there yet, but I rather like it. I'm going to let the idea rest with me for a while, and then see where it takes me.

But back to those patterns... I have a very good friend who's birthday is coming up at the end of October, and I've been wondering what to give him, and decided that I would stitch something for him. Because, certainly, nobody else is going to gift him with an embroidery piece! A few months ago he took over a new office space, (see image below). Black, white and green being his company logo colors.

And do you notice that white sofa on the right side of the image? Well, I decided to make a cushion cover to go on it. This is the beginning of it (I don't think he's ever read this blog)...

In stark contrast to where my day started out, the design will be embroidered in white and green on a black background. And after 500 hours of running chain stitch with a single strand of embroidery cotton (I'm such a sucker for punishment!) this is how it's looking...

And closer up, it looks like this...

And I can't tell yet whether I'm happy with it or not. Think it could go either way. I think one of the reasons that I'm finding it hard to judge is because these are not colors I would ordinarily choose to work with. What d'ya think?

Months back, I had my mother-in-law - the amazing Mercedes Fernandez - work on the center panel for something (still haven't decided what), using the same base pattern, but in red, green and blue on a black background. This is how it finished up...

More like my colors!

What's interesting is to take this pattern, which was originally born out of an idea for something quite traditional and folksy, and see how, by just changing the color combination, it has a completely different feel. I've no idea if I'll be able to put in the hours to finish this new piece, given that I have a (more than!) full time job now. But I'll keep you posted.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

Sunday, 12 September 2010


As you can see, I'm trying to do a better job of it. Getting here and getting there (i.e. to visit what you've been doing recently).

When I started working full-time, I moved into town, and somebodY (?) cleaned off my desk, packed away everything on my shelves and bagged the fabric stash. This weekend I am up at the farm, noticing little twitches of "clothiness" pulling at my hems, and feeling that I want to get back to it. The problem is the inspirations is fleeting, you have to jump on it while it's there, and I have a billion things to do and no idea where anything is!

Where is my last set of designs? That would be a logical place to pick up where I left off. But No amount of turfing out junk has made these appear so far!

I am thinking about very simple motifs... leaves again.. and have fallen in love with antique-styled printed thin cottons (I treated myself to some new blouses in Zara, the last time that I was shopping in San Jose recently!) old lace, and a hint of the sea. Where on Earth did that all come from! Perhaps more importantly... where is heading?

Hope everyone is enjoying a peaceful weekend.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Dropping in for a visit

Hello dear friends!

It's been so long! So long, infact, that I've forgotten how the functions work, but I'll have a go!

I am at home on the farm (this is only the second weekend that I've managed to get up here, since I started working full time, what... 5 months ago?) Alot has happened since then. Alot has changed. For one thing, I decided to see what it was like to go blonde for a while. And why not, eh? Afterall, you're only young once, and... Opps... I'm a little late! ;)

Well, I've been missing you all and I'm really miss following everybody's creativity! I haven't had a chance to do anything with cloth and needle recently. My own creativity has been diverted - at least temporarily - towards creative management choices and finding solutions to things like, how to get 15 meter tall palm trees from one part of the country to another...

...and how to plant them when I get them there.

A strange transition, no? From stitching to supervising heavy equipment! Life is just full of surprises ;)

Luckily, in all of this, I have a fabulous crew who work directly with me, and who, over the weeks, have become like family. We laugh alot, which is what gets us through some pretty hard physical work, out there come rain or shine. We're either soaked to the skin or toasted! That's the tropics for you!

Above: a whole new take on reforestation! I love this image and often wonder what the folks in the car coming in the opposite direction must have been thinking.

Some of my best friends: The landscape architect and two of the landscape crew making braces for the larger palms. I have this thing about taking pictures of these people at work. There's something about these images which reminds me of the brass statues that one fsometimes sees in public areas, which represent Freedom, if you know what I mean.

This is another from that series.

And this one too! The crew literally pulling a tree into position for planting, in the late afternoon.

Well... just thought I'd share that with you. I have to head back into town now, but I'm hoping later to drop in on some of you and catch up with the news.

See you then!
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