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 is the final result of my O’Keefe inspired fiber object. I have to say, it only partially matches my vision for the piece. Something happened between the sketch, the painting and the embroidery. Take a look:
Here is my original sketch for a moonflower. I was very happy with this effort:
Here is the flower after roughing in the design with fabric paint.
Even though I am not experienced in painting, I was fairly happy with this result. So I guess the only part of the effort that disappointed me was the embroidery.
Dear friends, what do you think? Do you have any recommendations for me that could improve my final result? I am eager to learn.
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.