Friday, August 22, 2008

Stitching Grass

Stitching grass,  it just sounds so funny,  Like taking little blades of grass and stitching on them.  OK really I am not quite that nuts.

I used painted  green scrim (cheese cloth type fabric) The nice thing is that it is open enough to show the background through and fine enough to scrunch it some for areas of more density and texture.  I think that I may be adding wildflowers to the rolling  hills  of my meadow.  I am thinking of daisies and possibly other flowers as well. 

One note on the symbolism that I am including,  I am not going to include all of the possible symbolism to all of the parts, partially because their is a lot of symbolism to some of them and some have stuff that doesn't apply to me and my life and since this is a self portrait I am looking at  what applies to me, especially on things like the landscape that I put in to make the piece complete and weren't as special or didn't have personal meaning to me.

That said let's start with grass.  Green and lush grass is a symbol of a healthy land and fertility.  It also symbolizes humble usefulness, utility, submission and the fleeting quality of life.  I guess that means We only have so many years here to accomplish our passions and that we should make the best of our time.  At least my grass is lush and green. 

I couldn't decide exactly what type of geography this is so settled for rolling hills and meadow.  Hills  represent, aspirations, constancy, stability, innocent pleasures, freedom from care, eternity, fertility and is among 1 of the many feminine emblems in my piece.   Meadows have some less happy connotations that I am skipping because this is a happy place.  Along it's happier notes it represents peace, patience, dreaminess, gladness and is connected to the river of life.

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moss at the Roots of my tree.

I have always loved moss and when Wayne and I are out hiking we often take photos of it.  I love all of the different types of moss that are out there and all of the itty bitty details they have.  They tend to grow in places that look inhospitable on the side of rock cliffs etc and I always appreciate that life can thrive no matter what kind of conditions there are.  

My moss is made up of french knots, lazy daisy stitches as well as a scattering of straight stitches.  They are the same stitches I used on my February BJP page only without any beads.  I used a mix of rayon and cotton threads.  I had already fused on a background of painted fusible web where I wanted the moss to go.  The webbing as a background gives the moss a nice  texture and depth.  

Now for what it symbolizes,  humility, service, friendship, boredom, a parasite and maternal love.  I am sure that on the items where I have a ton of information I will edit it down to the ones that have meaning to me but I thought the 2 obvious ones that I would delete were kind of funny.  Boredom,  I don't ever remember being bored in my life.  I love to read and creating gives me such joy that I couldn't consider what it would take to make me bored.  I can't even get my brain to slow down enough to successfully meditate.  The other is parasite,  I don't look at moss as a parasite and sure hope that nobody thinks I am a parasite.  I hadn't looked up the meanings behind moss before I included it on the piece and find it interesting that after what I wrote about the roots that I have put the moss at the base of the roots and that 2 of the things that moss represents is friendship and maternal love.  I have a strong feeling that I am being guided on this project.  Things that are meant to be will be.    

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Getting to the Roots of the Matter

I haven't found as much informations written about the symbolism of roots yet but that is OK since I have plenty of personal meaning for them.

I will start with what I did.  The stitching is done with both a rayon thread and a cotton variegated  embroidery floss.  No particular stitches  mostly a mix of this and that to get what I wanted.

The symbolism that I could find for roots makes perfect sense.   Being grounded and personal background  are two that you would expect.  I did find one that was interesting: it was that roots are the foundation, but that they did not necessarily imply stability.   

OK now for the deep down and personal part of what roots have meant to me.  December 11th, 1970 my parents adopted my brother sister and I.   Two weeks before Christmas and they suddenly had a 1,2,and 3 year old.  As the oldest I always knew that I was adopted.  My parents got divorced when I was 6 and when I was 11 my Father died.  There were times when I had trouble with every thing going on in my life and the loss.  Although my Mother was always a stabilizing influence and loved me unconditionally there were many years in my teens and early 20's that I felt like I had no roots.  It was like I had come out of nowhere at 3 years of age.  I didn't remember anything before then and I felt a need for more.  

My Mom always supported my desire for more information but in small town Iowa getting even non-identifying information was next to impossible at that time.  I didn't really want to meet my biological parents ( I had a great Mom)  I just wanted to know where I came from.  I went through a period of depression during college but through the love and support of Family and Friends I managed to get through it.  I went through a lot of counseling during the summer between my junior and senior years in college and that helped.  

The next fall I met Wayne and fell deeply in love.  Wayne was very good for my self esteem which was not great when I met him.  I had some trust issues and feared being abandoned.  All of the things I went through taught me some very valuable lessons.  I no longer needed to find out about my biological family because I could make my own roots.  I already had a wonderful loving family, a man who loved me more than I had thought possible and through him even more family that loved and excepted me.  I also had some great friends who had seen me through some tough times.  

You can create your roots from what ever you want or need to.  You don't need to have a family linage that you can trace back generations.  I have added to my friends and family as we have moved around and now I have a foundation that is built with all of the love that we give to each other.   I reach out  my roots to all I love and now have a foundation that is very strong and deep.

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages 
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ocean Waves

Water is the primal life source and represents our spiritual life and our emotions. All life sprang from the oceans. It is the symbol of the womb, motherhood and feminine energies. The Ocean in a dynamic force and is constantly in transition representing the sum total of possibilities. This is where we find our sub-conscious mind and even our unconscious mind.  The ocean is a dynamic force and represents universal life, spiritual exploration, time, and  eternity.  Ocean swells  symbolize activity in our unconscious mind.  Waves are for regeneration and dreams.  

The waves of my ocean are done with different metallic threads. I have learned several things with working with metallic threads. For the mylar type of threads work with short lengths, don't pull to hard and be careful not to pierce the thread. Although the thread breaks fairly easily it does give lovely sparkle and is easier to hand stitch then you might think. All metallic threads seem to do better in shorter lengths and with regular knots on the back in case of breakage.

I chose to add a bit of surf to my ocean by using some white netting and a pale blue sheer ribbon. I kept breaking threads while attaching it and finally figured that cotton was the best because it was a bit stronger to pull the scrunched up netting in. Regular knots on the back helped, too.

For the most recent photos of my project go to My Web Gallery or Artistic Kreations and Passions.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stitching Up A Fern

The stitching has started so I am guessing that my posts will probably start coming a bit farther apart since the embroidery work will take a bit longer to do. I have had a headache everyday since the second week in July so things are going a bit more slowly than I might like. I have also been working on a couple of other projects which you can see if you go to my main blog.

I am not sure yet how I will break up all of the stitching blog entries but I think the first couple are going to be by area. That may not work for all of the areas of the piece since I have been doing the handwork in whatever area I was in the mood for so far.

I am using a variety of threads so far for my stitching. For the ferns I used rayon sewing thread and metallic sewing thread both from Sulky. I have been using several different embroidery stitches and some sort of free form embroidery stitches. I am not to worried about whether a stitch is done just so or if it is even a "real" embroidery stitch. I am very much after getting the look and feel I am after. I think having no formal training in embroidery is only to my advantage, not that I have ever been very good about falling the rules. I think in Art rules make good guidelines but are meant to be bent and broken. A favorite quote "We must be fluid, flexible is too rigid" not sure who said it but sure describes some of my design philosophy.

The stitched area that we are going to look at is the ferns that are growing at the base of my tree. I decided to add the ferns and some other items without looking up the symbolism first. I love ferns and find them fascinating plants. They are ancient plants and grow from spores and not seeds. I love seeing the furled up fiddle heads as they grow. A forest floor blanketed in ferns feels very peaceful to me and I love to take photos of ferns when I can.

Ferns symbolism includes magic, fascination, confidence, sincerity, endurance and shelter. It is interesting that looking at the symbolism I probably would have chosen the ferns anyway but the ferns came first. They are on the secret door which leads to the other side giving me the magic and confidence to open the door and see what it reveals.

For the most recent photos of my project go to My Web Gallery or Artistic Kreations and Passions.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Door Takes Form

In my last post you read about the door getting cut out of the main collage. Part of the reason I chose to do this instead of making a separate door was because I wanted the door to blend into the tree and be somewhat secret.

I started my stitching on the door because it was a manageable size and so that I had a better idea where I wanted to go with the stitching. I used rayon machine thread and embroidery floss and cotton embroidery floss. Some of these are variegated which adds a nice realism to the piece. I started with the wood of the tree, the fern and moss bits were next and last was adding the ivy which is waxed cotton cord couched on with rayon thread and a few stitched tendrils and interfacing ivy leaves. The leaves are only stitched along the center vein so the edges are free

I wanted to use the brass hinges because they would stand out. I want the door to be somewhat of a secret but not completely. I found these and the latch at Michaels, I was hoping I could find them small enough and I did, but how to attach them. I could have just stitched them on but wanted them to look more door like so I found some small brads for scrap booking and used them instead of screws to attach the hinges and latch. To give my door some stability and to help support the brads I used Tacky Tape to attach a piece of card stock to the inside of the door and then cut small holes for the brads and opened them up.

I wanted to have the inside of the door to look like real wood and since I have done some Marquetry for the ottomans my husband made for our living room I happened to have a collection of wood veneers on hand. I painted both sides with clear acrylic to protect the other surfaces from the acids in the wood. I used more of the double stick tape to attach the wood to the inside of the door.

Now I have a really cool door for my piece. If the rest of the piece looks half as good as the door I will be so happy. I LOVE IT!

For the most recent photos of my project go to My Web Gallery or Artistic Kreations and Passions.