A Jolly July!

July is here!!

And I’m super excited about this month for lots of reasons. There will be celebrations – the Fourth, our daughter’s half-birthday, and my own birthday at the end of the month. There will be travels – we are driving to Arkansas to pick up our son who is performing with Opera in the Ozarks; and I hope to travel to Virginia to visit with a childhood friend. I’m planning on drawing and sketching my way through the month, knitting up some pretty things, and stitching my drawings onto collaged fabric fragments (my recent obsession:).

To start off my birthday month with a bang, I’m offering a little present to you, Hobbit-style! For anything and everything in my ETSY shop, you may use the discount code HAPPYBIRTHDAY to receive 50% off the price! No, I haven’t gone nuts! Well, maybe I have…I’m setting my intention for this month to be a a jolly one, a true Christmas in July sort of celebration from the beginning to the end.

I do hope you will avail yourself of this once-in-a-blue-moon offer!! For cheap as chips, you can enhance your sketching and drawing practice by purchasing the Discover Your Life Beautiful, One Drawing At A Time ebook & video course. For pennies you can knit or crochet a lovely shawl or sweater, wrap or scarf. So go ahead and indulge! Use the above discount code when you check out. From now until the 31st of July! Enjoy!

I just returned from the Ocean’s Edge and I’m refueled and ready for this Jolly month. If you’d like to read all about the week by the Ocean and see some stitcherly goodness, plus drawings and sketches, visit The Silver Dapple, a new blog dedicated to an exciting medium as I stitch my drawings onto collaged fabric fragments. It’s slow stitching, but all the more savory in its slowness.

To catch all the drawings, watercolors, knitting and crocheting, stitching and whatever else strikes my fancy, do follow me on Instagram as that is where I tend to hang out the most. Above all, I hope you have a Jolly July making things with your hands! Indoors, outdoors, on the road or at home, may your month be an Artful one!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Befriending Curiosity

Do you ever look around your studio and scratching your head, wonder…What am I doing here? Not because you have a temporary lapse of memory as to your location (which happens to me on occasion ;/), but because the things you are making are new and different in some way.

I find myself scratching my head a lot. Have done so for lo these many years. The flip-flopping around from drawing to knitting, painting to crochet, realism to abstraction, weaving to embroidery…fairly makes my head spin sometimes. It is a very real struggle that brings not a little consternation to this artist’s heart.

I was listening to a podcast recently whose topic was completely unrelated to art. The person interviewed was talking about “befriending endings”. That phrase sounded lovely to me, a true way to affirm life and it’s many beginnings and endings, directions and switch-backs. I’ve been thinking of all the ways this helps me as an artist:

Befriend Interruptions. Befriend new directions. Befriend busyness. Befriend the curiosity to try new things.

This curiosity leads me down some magical paths. I seem to return to a very familiar intersection where creativity meets all manner of mediums. At this intersection a host of questions begin to fill my head… how can I make images with yarn? Can I create abstract drawings that have movement and feeling? How can I translate my drawings into embroidery? Oooohhh…could I even create abstract  embroidered pieces? Or superimpose line drawings that are stitched onto abstractly collaged fabrics?

These and other curiosities light me up and send me off down new paths, or sometimes old paths with a different twist or a more fervent embrace. I seem to feel the need to create fresh blogs for each of these paths. It may seem silly to you dear reader or perhaps it doesn’t matter a hill of beans that I do this. But my need for each new path to have a fresh, uncluttered page seems to defy what my studio looks like, and affords breathing space for all the questions and curiosities I am currently working out.

With the onset of summer, I’ll be camping out on a new blog created especially for my embroidered fragments. You can read more about them here and here and even follow me there if you are curious to see where this path takes me. Perhaps you’d even like to join me in a Summer of Stitching. But I will also be drawing and painting abstracts. I am particularly interested in seeing if I can create abstracts that are based on actual things/objects/places etc. Above you can see the first of its kind and you can check in with numerous others, as well as the embroidery, on Instagram as the summer unfolds. These two things are not mutually exclusive of one another. In fact, I’ve been creating abstract fabric collages and stitching my line drawings atop of them. I recently made a fabric collage based on an abstract sketch from my sketchbook. It is being stitched and embellished with embroidery, beads, stitched drawings, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves.

If this is all a bit dizzying to you dear reader, please know that it is for me as well. But I am endlessly curious, and seem to thrive on trying to solve creative riddles and searching for answers to the numerous artistic questions in my head. What is a constant and helps me make sense of it all, is that all roads seem to branch off of and lead me back to my sketchbook. That’s a pretty cool idea –

A sketchbook is an intersection where magical paths await exploration.

Let’s go exploring this summer and befriend curiosity!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Yep. That’s me! Sitting at the intersection, sketching the path ahead. 🙂

A New Pattern: Roomy Tunic!

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I’ve actually had this pattern out in my ETSY shop for a few weeks and just have not taken the time to let you know about it. I’ve been wearing mine and loving how it fits and how comfortable it is. The added cowl is just perfect for the cold weather we’re having.

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This is a terrific pattern for beginners! Simple shapes, simple stitches and the embroidery is optional, but it is certainly not difficult! I love the look and feel of tunics, like Patsy’s Perfect Tunic from last year which is a free pattern written for you in the blog post. The Roomy Tunic uses seed stitch as the accent to stockinette and works up beautifully with the Calypso yarn by Tahki Yarns. You can find this yarn locally at Knit One Smock Too in Winston Salem, NC.  Click here to read more details about the pattern you might want to know.

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m offering this pattern and all others in the shop at HALF PRICE!!! So from now through Monday, you can purchase Roomy Tunic for only $2.50!! Just use the coupon code ILOVEYARN2 to receive the 50% discount.

Enjoy!!

A Recent Conversation

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Curiosity: “Hmmm…I wonder what my line drawings would look like embroidered?”

Reason: “What, really? Ok, seriously…you’re not thinking of starting something new are you?”

Curiosity: “Why not? It would be fun! Just give it a go, and see what comes of it.”

Reason: “Jen, come on…you have so many projects going now already!! You do not need to add any more. Besides, you know how you hate feeling pulled in so many creative directions!”

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Curiosity: “But just look at those stitches! Look at all the colors of thread, floss, yarn…not to mention the cool stitchwork, the embellishing I could do with buttons and beads…”

Reason: “Yeah, well surely you realize just how time-consuming embroidery is! You can draw 50 drawings in the time it will take you to finish one embroidered drawing! Please be reasonable here!”

Curiosity: “I don’t care if it takes me forever, I just wanna try it! I’ve thought of this numerous times in the past and never actually tried it. I just need to explore it a bit, see where it leads. I may just need to get it out of my system.”

Reason: “Well, you and I both know that sometimes your “just trying it” turns into months and years worth of work.”

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Curiosity: “…months and years worth of PLAY! and enjoyment and fun and oh have you seen Rebecca Ringquist’s work? Ooooh….now that’s an embroidery I could get into. Or at least try some of the elements she uses. And then there’s LiliPopo Sketches…oh and Jenny Hart…”

Reason: “Oh golly, I can see you have already succumbed. You’re gonna be pulling your hair out and untangling tiny threads and wishing you had even more time to do all the creative stuff you get yourself into. Don’t come running to me when you’re fretting!”

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Curiosity: “OK…I won’t. This is so cool…do you see this? The layers of fabric are like collage…the machine stitching I used to baste the fabrics is like an underpainting, then the stitches of lines I have drawn from sketching at the Ciener Botanical Gardens downtown, and I can’t wait to embellish with some beads and buttons maybe…and then……..

 

From Vision to Reality

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From this sketch of an idea before starting to knit…

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To the final version in reality!

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Husband took these photos on a blustery day at the top of our neighborhood, in front of Mr. Whicker’s farm.

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Being silly ’cause I love my new sweater very much!

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Here are some up close photos in not so good lighting. 🙁

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As the sweater evolved, I felt it needed a band at the bottom to lengthen it. Seed Stitch at the bottom kept the edge from rolling AND seemed the perfect stitch for a flower sweater.

I LOVED doing the embroidered lettering!

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The stems and leaves made ME laugh!

I had to keep trying on the sweater to see how it draped and thus how the stems should flow. 🙂

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And of course, I had to take Brown Sweater’s photo on Genevieve, the name of my dress form. I’ve had my dress form a bit longer than illustrated Genevieve has been with me. I must like that name, a little bit.

**Do you see how I “wrote” Emerson as the stem of the last flower?

That little flower is also the period at the end of the quote,

“The  earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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This will be the perfect thing to wear to the Art Show at my school this Thursday.

It’s going to be a grand evening!