Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Musings: 1st day of Advent...and counting

Though, today is the first day of December, Autumn still reigns until her elder sister Winter takes over December 21st.  Here in northern California, the days are warm and the nights chilly. Sunrises are foggy and the sunsets flame-on!  The deciduous trees in the area are lemon, mustard and a riot of reds, rust, tangerines and corals.

Inspired by this colorful season and with a desire to improve my creative practice in embroidery and textile painting, I whipped out some muslin and stenciled, using fabric paints, oak leaves and acorns. Out of practice, I used a bit too much water and the paints bled a bit beyond the stencils. I was not waylaid by this and I am working with 'this mistake' (always a learning experience rather than a problem) and using embroidery to outline the leaves and acorns to define them as well as bound the eye within the shapes.

I am not sure what I am doing next with this piece - ah, the joys of experimentation! - but I wish to use various stitches - running, kantha-like or shashiko-like to build the background which is pretty say the least.  It has been my habit to spring into a project out of fear that I won't do anything.  So during those moments, I plunge in with only the details in mind and not the broader picture. The result is I get stuck with nice image(s) but might not be sure what to do with them to make the composition cohesive and finished.  I tell myself that I need to do is slow down, and think the process through.  And, yet I don't want to lose the spontaneity of the process. Mistakes can become happy resolutions. A shift in ideas is a welcome re-energizer when the project loses its sweetness.  I envy those who can use sketch books to build ideas and go from there as it seems to keep them on track and focused on the outcome they want.  For me, past experience with over planning a project results in my work feeling stiff, and staged and a dull imitation of the original idea.

In any case, with this project I was not actually looking for a specific outcome.  I wanted to play with paints and threads and learn from the experience.   So, we shall see how this evolves over the next few weeks.

"Analysis kills spontaneity.  The grain once ground into flour springs and germinates no more."
 - Henri Frederic Amiel

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? -- How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!”  - Jane Austen, Emma