Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crosscurrents: Finale!

Now that I finally have people reading my blog, it's a bad time to neglect posting and keeping things updated!  Sorry that I disappointed anyone by not sticking to my plan of daily updates on the Crosscurrents workshop.
My progress at end of Day 4.
Little green centers (cotton lame') added to X's.

One of my favorite "units" was the one below, which I started on Day 4 and finished the last day.  It's based on Lisa Call's style (the example in that link shows her typical use of solids and repetitious stitching), though mine is a little different. 

First, the base is made of 9 fabrics, stitched together at an angle.  A stabilizer was added to the back, then I used a fabric chalk marker to lightly sketch in a grid on the front, totally ignoring the lines created when I stitched the 9 pieces together.  I began straight-line stitching, changing the direction of the stitching lines within the grids to create lots of movement. I believe Lisa does her stitching in the quilting stage, but my goal was simply to make an interesting "background."

On our last afternoon, each workshop participant talked about their work and what they learned that week.  For me, I learned to think differently about backgrounds.  Rather than simply a base to add your work to, I learned that the background could more accurately be described as "the first layer," and to make it as interesting as every other part of my design.  I now realize that multiple layers give a richness to your work, and can be the element that beckons the viewer to come in for a closer look.  I'm not sure I'd previously heard the phrase "Would it make a man on a galloping horse come back for a closer look?" but it really makes sense to me now.  And finally, I liked Rosalie's term for negative spacesthe spaces in-between! Like the background (or "first layer"), those spaces provide another design opportunity.

More tucks.

During the week, I left my piece of Black Cherry-dyed shibori hanging on my design wall because it gave the impression that I'd made more progress than I really had.  But as I explained this during my turn to sum up my experience, several classmates encouraged me to include it.  I hadn't thought the color worked with my overall design, but I've played around and casually made some tucks and fabric inserts, and now think it might work.  I think tucks (which I used successfully in my piece for the Bits & Pieces exhibit) may become a recurring element in my work!

There's still one more story to tell from this week, but I'll save it for the next post.  Thanks for reading about my explorations!

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