What if….?

all6fplowres

What if you could create for just 7 days, a mere week of your life, and at the end of the week have a small series of works that hold together, have taught you a lot, and bring a smile to your face? And what if you didn’t have to go anywhere or pay lots of money in order to have a week like this? And furthermore, what if you didn’t have to clear out your entire life to create some small works of art?

fiberpaintingprep

The last seven days have been an answer to these questions and more as I said Yes to Tara Leaver’s offer to join her in a 7-Day Mini Painting Challenge. Surely I can commit to something like this for one week? Before thinking too much about it, I was pulling out leftover bits of yarn, a couple of crochet hooks and sketching out some thumbnail ideas for the next 7 days.

I’m not going to say that this was easy. In fact, I probably should have thought twice about what it would mean to try to make a small fiber painting each day. Working with stitches and yarn requires far more time than it does in paint and paper! And then to make these paintings in and around a full-schedule and a holiday weekend. But I didn’t think about this. I just dove in. Sometimes it is best  NOT to think. Just begin!

fiberpalette

Even though I had made a couple of  fiber paintings in the past, I still had lots of questions I wanted to explore. Tara’s 7-Day Challenge was actually supposed to require 30 minutes or less, which I could have certainly done with paint, pens or pastels. But I regularly work this way…small increments of time happily drawing and painting, filling sketchbooks with images from my everyday life. For this challenge, I wanted to explore the questions I’ve had banging around in  my  head concerning making these images with a crochet hook and yarn, even if it meant spending more than a half hour each day, which I did, and staying up a couple of days past my usual bedtime to finish them. 🙂

Here are some of the questions I wanted to explore:

day1fp

Day 1: What if I used fibers to create the shapes of trees as well as suggesting light falling on the scene?

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Day 2 & 3 (largest fiber painting of the bunch): What if I tried to use varying tones of the same color to indicate volume and how light plays on a still-life subject? Can this be done with flowers?

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Day 5: Can this be done with fruit? And can I make “cast shadows” read as such in fibers?

silverdapplefiberscape

Day 4: What if I used the textures of fiber to suggest nature? i.e.. leafy trees, a “smooth” path, etc.

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Day 6: What if I used stitches and color to show the movement of water and sky? Could I also indicate the texture in a waterscape? i.e.. the foamy waves, the fluffy clouds? (Note: the photographs do not show off all the textures of the yarns. I do wish you could see them “in person”.:)

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Day 7: What if I tried to indicate depth in a landscape with things in the foreground and things in the background? Can I successfully portray this to the viewer? (This was explored in each of the landscape fiber paintings!)

Whether or not I successfully achieved all the “what if’s”, (or took two days to complete one painting!) these six paintings make me smile! They still have a bit of work to be done–backing them so they can be wall-hangings and some final embroidered touches here and there.

I know I will create more of these in the future, but for now I’ll just look at the ones I’ve made and smile. When they are fully finished, I may hang them in my home. Or I might exhibit them at my Annual Art Show in November, or offer them on ETSY. I don’t know yet. I’m just enjoying having made them and having many of my questions answered.

shapesofstitches

I appreciate all of your positive responses to this little 7-day journey on FB and Instagram! And I’m thankful for Tara Leaver and her wonderful way of inspiring artists to be freed to create, to move through blocks and to offer our work in the world! If you aren’t familiar with Tara’s art and workshops, do check her out! She has a workshop coming up very soon you might want to participate in. She has lots there on her website to encourage you to be the artist you want to be.

OR, in my case, to spend 7-days being just “ONE-OF-THE-57-ARTISTS-THAT-LIVE-INSIDE-OF-YOU”! Thank you Tara!

Artfully Yours,

Jennifer

Fiber As Medium

FreeformJewelArt

Making lines with a pen is grand. Splashing on a little watercolor is divine. But drawing and painting with fibers seems to take artistic expression to a different plane altogether.

Freeform crochet allows me to create lines for sure. As I choose the yarns in all their varied colors and textures, it’s as if my palette of watercolor has expanded exponentially. Abstraction gets worked into form and shape…something that can be worn.

JewelFreeformStart

I started this piece as a demonstration for a Freeform Crochet class I taught recently at Knit One Smock Too. I love communicating the basic tenants of freeform fiber work: No pattern. No rules. No boundaries (only the ones you dictate for the piece you decide to make).

FreeformFrontOutside

For some folks, the magnitude of the choices available to you are staggering and perhaps at first, a little paralyzing. We work with that. We start slowly. Even though we dive into our stash of fibers and just begin. A motif. A bullion circle. A stitch pattern.

Then add on. Whatever stitch. Whatever yarn. Any color, texture, direction.

Scrumbling to our heart’s content. Making shapes of we know-not-what.

Until something presents itself in our minds. A scarf? A hat? A purse? A vest?

JewelBody

Then we begin to work the abstraction into a shape needed for whatever we want to make it into. For this one, an open yoke. Then add a mesh bottom with more freeform trimming the edge. Asymmetry. Whimsical. Fun.

FreeformLine

And then I have to draw it…the lines of the yoke work.

FreeformWatercolor

But it is also translatable to watercolor. An abstract piece on paper.

FreeformJewelFrontOutside

But I prefer the original item, fashioned from two hands, a hook, and various fibers. From humble, leftover, stringy beginnings to a wearable piece of art.

Knature & Knitting

DelGradoCozy

I often stand in a place of beauty and I see it in fibers. Wools, cottons, silks, acrylics pop out of the landscape or garden I’m viewing. Colors and textures get translated into yarns. And when I go to my favorite LYS I see them: the bright colors of cocks comb and cosmos, the lovely hues of hollyhock and lily, the golden wheat of Mr. Whicker’s field, the rich tones of our plum tree.

Tea&Cozy

But this time, it worked the other way ’round. I picked two balls of a cotton tape yarn purely because of the lime greens morphing into every shade on its way to black and back again. I knew it would make for another wonderful Shoulder Cozy. I had knitted one with Rowan Bamboo Tape (shown below) and loved it in the hot weather. This one would be perfect for early fall here, when days are bit cooler.

FiberGreensPlant

And then, on my walk one day. I saw my finished black/green Shoulder Cozy lying underneath a mailbox in our neighborhood! What? Oh! A beautiful leafy plant growing all around the base of it in the exact colors of the Lang Sol Degrade yarn I had used to knit it. Lovely.

DelGradeCozyEdge2

A pleasure from cast-on to bind-off and even in adding a touch of crochet to finish off the top and bottom edges. Not too fussy. Just right. I’ve already worn it a few times, but now it hangs at the shop, hopefully enticing folks to sign up for my class on all the many ways you can knit this Shoulder Cozy!! And hopefully to entice them to pick up some yarn to make one while they are there!

ShoulderCozyDelGrade

I’m already pulling the yarns from my stash for the next one. I love this pattern for its simplicity and versatility. It can be worn as the capelet shown here or as a cowl for warmth and a touch of color around your neck. Mindful knitting at its best! No charts to follow or complicated stitch patterns (although you could certainly add a few stitch patterns here and there if you wanted to!). Just knit and enjoy the colors and textures flowing through your hands.

ShoulderCozyBamboo

<sigh>