How many of you are familiar with this movement? I first became aware of it almost ten years ago. It’s a way to encourage reading while recycling books that you have finished reading. Anyone can erect a little library on their property by becoming a steward, building the library and registering it at the organization’s site. There are little free libraries all over the place. Check out the organization’s website, which has a map showing the locations of these tiny structures.
On a recent walk through my neighborhood I discovered that a neighbor had installed a little free library in her yard. What a surprise and delight! Inside I found a beautiful book of photographs that looked very promising as a source of inspiration.
Maxwell MacKenzie is an American photographer born in Fergus Falls, MN. who specializes in architectural photography. This book includes some wonderful images of abandoned structures on the Northern Great Plains which he captured between 1996 and 1999. They were built by settlers, farmers and pioneers who abandoned them, generally due to experiencing some kind of hardship. I found the images to be haunting. I began to imagine the people of the past who had lived and died there. And so I began sketching from the photographs, with an idea about recreating some of these ghosts. Here is my first sketch, of an old one-room schoolhouse. It is almost finished.
This exercise is a good way to take a break from fiber arts, while continuing to develop my skills with pen and ink.
As much as I enjoyed our little trip to visit family, it’s nice to be back into my routine. Just as an aside, the faux suede baby booties, while slightly too big, were well accepted by little L. In the meantime, she had also acquired two other items of footwear – a pair of sneakers and a pair of snow boots. She did a brief baby runway show, modeling all of the above. It was so funny to watch her toddle around the house awkwardly, although looking quite pleased with herself and her ability to work the crowd.
Back at home, I have picked up where I left off on various fiber projects.
First of all, I’m knitting a birthday surprise for my daughter. (A big clue to the surprise is found in the sketch above.)
Secondly, I’ve resumed efforts toward making the Arches quilt. It’s amazing how just writing down the next steps motivated me to work. I have finished drawing the full-size patterns for each block. And by completing this step, I have been able to determine exactly how may squares of each color will be required. Over the past two days I have been painting the background fabric. I chose to paint the background squares on a gray fabric, in order to keep the background looking like the night sky.
Here are my drawings from the Inktober prompts for Days 21 through 26. This week I wanted to work on improving my technique.
The prompt was Treasure. I thought about the great treasures of our material culture, specifically art and the artists that created it. My portrait comes from Georgia O’Keeffe’s autobiography. In this scene she is blind and over 90 years old. The techniques I worked on here were ink washes, shadows and stippling. Also, this image allowed me to practice drawing faces and hands – both are considered challenging subjects for artists of all kinds.
After working on the O’Keeffe, my mind was lingering on Santa Fe. For the next prompt, I drew a ghost in the Loretto Chapel. Lots of line work here, as I focus on rendering architectural detail and dim lighting.
More artwork: sculptures from ancient times. I practiced stippling and the night sky.
The prompt was dizzy. As one who suffers occasional episodes of acrophobia, I chose to face my fear and draw from the dizzying perspective of a high overlook. It was a challenge to get the perspectives right on the suspension bridges.
I was keen to draw some more birds. So I took advantage of the prompt Tasty and drew a momma bird feeding her chicks.
That’s all for now. Only a few days left in Inktober. I am looking forward to getting back to fiber arts, especially sewing. I have many ideas for quilted gifts.
Okay, I have been enticed by The Frugal Crafter into making some ink drawings in conjunction with #Inktober2019. While these efforts have nothing to do with fiber arts, I decided to share them in this space, since so many of my WordPress blogger friends are sharing their drawings. Here are the first five days.
Thank you for your patience. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
It’s my desire to note each season as it arrives with a fiber project that celebrates the specialness of the season. When I learned of the passing of Gloria Vanderbilt, I decided to include a small tribute to her in today’s celebration of summer.
I remember Gloria Vanderbilt best from her television adverts, promoting her line of jeans. She promised to make jeans designed to fit women’s curves. That promise was fulfilled – those jeans did fit us! She branded her product by signing her name on the hip pocket. Soon, all the designers were catering to women’s shape and placing their logos on the pockets.
So, thank you, Gloria. You made us feel good about our bodies, at a time in our lives when we needed a boost to our self image.
Today’s fiber object shows a woman contemplating the sun while lying on a beach. In tribute to Ms. Vanderbilt, my lady is dressed in a pair of cut-off jeans. Here is the sketch I made with the design’s basic elements.
I toyed with the idea of inserting the Gloria Vanderbilt logo somewhere in the design, but ultimately decided not to. Here is the finished object.
I’m happy with all the elements of this piece. First of all, my ability to draw is getting better. It only took me two tries to sketch this slightly stylized female body. I am also getting better control of the fabric paint while using the wash technique. And finally, both my hand and machine embroidery are improved.
My fiber efforts have been rather uninspired over the last two days, so no new posts. Then I picked up this book written by Georgia O’Keefe. It is an autobiography told in her own words and in beautifully reproduced images of her paintings. It got my creative thoughts moving again.
While she spent most of her life living in and painting the American Southwest, in the early stages of her career O’Keefe was best known for her large-scale paintings of flowers. Here is what she has to say about these works:
Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small. So I said to myself – I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint is big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it.
Exhibition catalog, An American Place, 1939
So I decided to create a fiber flower, because I want to look closely at a flower. I chose to make a Moonflower, partly because of its star-like shape, and partly because I don’t see them growing around here. When I lived in Texas, I grew some moonflowers. It was way too hot to enjoy the garden during the day. Instead I sat outside at dusk, when I could watch the moonflowers swirl open.
Here is a pencil sketch I made of my moonflower:
I plan to use white poplin for the flower, with fabric paint on the shaded areas and embroidery on the bright areas. Here are some green fabrics I have chosen for the background and the flower shape I will cut from the white poplin.
The next steps are to piece together and sew the background.
Here is my little collage, inspired by the Kente cloth of West Africa. I learned about this form of weaving while doing research for my fiber classes. It has captured my imagination. The Asante weavers work in narrow bands on a horizontal loom. The finished weave is under five inches wide. To make the cloth, long strips are sewn together, giving the artist much scope for juxtaposition of colors and patterns. I had the naïve idea that I could learn to make this cloth for myself. Ha! After reading about the process and watching videos, it is clear that Kente can only be mastered by years of practice under the guidance of a master weaver. So I have confined my enjoyment of the medium to collaging (is that a word?) with photographs of Kente.
This cat appears to be floating in mid-air, but I assure you she is solidly on the ground. The jungle is dark, but shimmers with heat and light. A sassy bird perches above her head. To make this image I used photographs of my color wash fabrics, adding black and silver markers, and sequins for eyes. Here is a nice close-up: