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?

flowervasefp

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?

mamababypearfp

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.

seascapefp

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”.:)

sunrisescapefp

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

Dancing through Pain

DancingFreeformVest

Pain is an odd thing. It has lingered far longer than I had thought it would post-surgery. It takes a stronger hold in the evenings, keeping me from feeling like I want to go out anywhere. It can drain the life right of you. I’ve been trying to fight it by not only taking pain medication but also employing natural pain meds such as drawing, painting, knitting and crocheting.

FreeformVest

In my last post, you saw the crocheted motifs I had made originally for a capelet design I had milling around in my head. But I switched gears and decided to make a vest out of them instead. Freeform crochet is one of my favorite things to do…no rules, only boundaries (ie. the shape of the vest).

FreeformVestStitchery

My husband has officiated several weddings this summer. I have not been able to attend any of them. This past weekend was a wedding of the daughter of some dear friends of ours and I just didn’t want to miss out on it. So I pushed myself to attend the rehearsal dinner on Saturday evening and then the wedding and reception on Sunday evening.

FreeformVestStitches1

Pain doesn’t take a holiday when you decide to go out and enjoy life. I barely made it through the majority of the rehearsal dinner. And I made myself make it through as much of the reception as I could.

I am so glad I did!

FreeformVestBack

Sitting at our table while others were out on the dance floor, my husband nodded to me and then nodded in the direction of the dance floor. I was surprised he wanted to dance and even more surprised that my response was OK! Let’s go!

FreeformVestSideBack

Walking is painful in the evenings and I knew dancing would not be any better. But somehow, as we started our “swing” moves to the beach music being played, I forgot about the pain and relished dancing with my husband. I made it to the end of that song but knew I could not do any more.

But I did it! I danced through the pain! It may have been the vest I was wearing! Ha!;) I’ve also been crocheting through the pain. Knitting through the pain. And painting and drawing through the pain.

Me&FreeformVEst3

A couple of friends have been asking how I do this even though I’m not feeling well. My response is that I somehow forget about how I’m feeling while I’m being creative in some way. It is indeed a natural pain medication.

So I’ll keep on “dancing” no matter how I feel. Every stitch of this freeform crochet vest was so enjoyable…I’m dreaming of other freeform works!

If you’ve never tried this type of crochet, you should! Typically, I cut out of muslin a “pattern”…a simple shape of whatever it is I want to make: vest, shawl, etc. I didn’t do that on this vest, just winged it and kept laying out the pieces as I made them to see where I needed to go next. I wanted the bottom edge to be organic, not straight. Freeform crochet allows you to add any stitch, any where you like.

Me&FreeformVest4

I have a couple of books that inspire me and give ideas. But this one is my favorite: Creative Crochet Lace: A Freeform Look at Classic Crochet by Myra Wood. It shows how you go about designing and creating a freeform crochet piece to wear. Myra calls this method “doodling with yarn”. I love that! Instead of doodling with a pen on paper, you really are doodling with a hook and yarn.

So fun! You should give it a try! It will even help with any ailment you may be experiencing!