Archive for October, 2008

You’re going Greek? I’m going green….

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t think about or plan out a part of this Myths and Legends challenge. It’s such a great topic, and I want to do so many images to explore myths and their place in modern life.

But I’ve decided. I’m making a Green Man.

Green Man

Green Man carvings – and they are nearly always men – are often found on churches in England. When we lived in Oxfordshire, we used to look for them every time we visited a country church. They’re often at the top of pillars or perched in a corner, looking down on the church nave through the mask of foliage and leaves that sprout from their mouths, sometimes from their nose and ears as well.

Sutton Green Man

Green Men can be disconcerting and they can be surreal, they often invoke shadows of the power of the ancient religions from the time before Christianity came to Northern Europe. Wood spirits, folk deities, ancient gods and spirits, they are associated with Pan, Herne the Hunter, Jack in the Green and the Old Man of the Woods. Some say the Green Man is a source behind the Robin Hood legends and Peter Pan, even early images of Father Christmas.

It’s an ancient myth – as old as the hills – that strikes a chord with me for the basic love of the earth and the seasons, and the quiet power of the forest; sometimes benign, sometimes dangerous, always powerful.

A quick search for good material about Green Men gives me three interesting articles:

An Introduction to the Green Man

The Mystery of the Green Man

Wikipedia entry for the Green Man

Life is busy at the moment, but I’m going to enjoy creating my own version of this ancient symbol. Stand by for reports: Wednesday afternoon is open for crafty business, and I’ll start my Green Man then.

Bev

I’m Going Greek.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Hi Bev.

I’ve been researching this month’s Myths & Legends theme and have been pulled back to the Greek mythology that captivated me as young girl. I love the the stories of the gods and their powers. I had forgotten that Athena was the goddess of crafts and domestic arts because it seems she was more widely regarded a guardian of those in battle and the goddess of wisdom. It rocks that there’s a goddess of craft! I think she will be appearing in my next quilt. Now I just have to figure out how.

How did it get to be Oct. 19 already?!

Cheers,

Jennifer

Myths, lies and the truth:

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

“Myths define enemies and aliens and in conjuring them up they say who we are and what we want, they tell stories to impose structure and order. Like fiction, they can tell the truth even when they’re making it all up.”

- Marina Warner, Managing Monsters: the Reith Lectures 1994

I drew a mythical village…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Doodling some houses last night, and these ones look like they might come from a myth or a folk tale:

Folk tale village

Sort of Swiss-German, with Regency British touches around the doors. Hmmm. An architect I am not.

Bev

Inspiration for myths and legends

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Hi!

This month, I’m reading on the theme, for inspiration. Myths and legends, folk and fairytales. I could read all month and not set a stitch. (Never fear, I’ll start sewing soon!)

What I\'m reading

Historian Michael Wood takes the premise that some myths might have a kernel of fact buried in their centre. He’s explored these themes for years: Was there a king of Britain called Arthur? Who was Alexander the Great? Did the Trojan War really happen? I’m a big fan of his eclectic approach to archaeology and ancient history, chasing any echoes of ancient literary references in the real world.

If you ever get a chance to see his TV programs, have a go! They are fascinating and a thankful antidote to those cheap ‘torches and swords’ re-enactment ‘history’ programs we get all the time (gack.) This particular book and program, In Search of Myths and Heroes, looks for evidence of Arthur, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba and the kingdom of Shangri-La.

Printmaking has caught my eye recently, due to the effect of my recent screenprinting class at ThreadDen, which was wonderful! And there’s been a bit of a stencil-along going around in the Aussie and online crafty scene – as you know from last month’s quilt. I got some easy-cut lino blocks, tools, and a basic printmaking book for my birthday this week, and I am now all set to go!

When I came along for the ride on this challenge, little did I know that it was going to turn into an exploration of applying paint and ink to fabric. But that’s what’s happened.

So, what’s sketching? So far, I drew random images that remind me of myths: red apples, flowering trees, a white stag, mistletoe and a harp. Green will feature. I think I’m a celt at heart.(smile)

Bev

The new theme: Myths and Legends

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Bear Gate, Rome

It seems I’m still thinking of ways that I could stitch the last theme, and the next one is upon me.

This month’s theme is Myths and Legends.

It’s such a rich area that I am almost paralysed by a wealth of possibilities.

There are legends, tales and epics: King Arthur, Robin Hood, the Fisher King and Beowulf. The great myths of religion. Symbols and signs: the crafty fox, the regal lion, the mighty bear. Fairy tales and children’s stories, and tales told to teach, to moralise and to express a rough justice.

Stories to explain the stars, to bring back the sun, to heal and help, protect and give power, and promote a rich harvest.

How will I choose from a whirl of ghost ships and fairy godmothers, witches, wild men, talking foxes and dancing shoes?

For the moment, I am reading. King Arthur, kids’ literature, and Touch Magic - three books with rich tales to tell, and somehow an image will emerge that I will start to stitch.

Bev

Balance: Tree Pose

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Hi Bev.

It’s been days since our live reveal on Skype and I finally made time to photograph my quilt today. September’s challenge ended with a quilted butterfly doing a yoga pose. I’m not really sure how to explain this exactly. I had other plans, but this is what came out when I started working this piece. Do you love it when the unexpected happens?
I Iove butterflies and regard them as a symbol of life. They’re beautiful and delicate and graceful. I like yoga, too, but have difficultly fitting it into my schedule. And since my yoga class attendance is rather sporadic, I haven’t progressed much farther than the tree pose that the butterfly is doing above.

This is my rendition of balance. And I’m happy to report that I used pieces from all the fabric you sent. In fact, I’m sure that my commitment to try to use only your fabric lad me to the butterfly design. I knew I could use all those prints on the wings. Thanks for the inspiration.

Your balance quilt turned out fabulous! Way to use those paints and beads! You go, sister! Now we’re off to create October’s “Myths & Legends” quilt. The adventure continues…

Cheers!

Jennifer

P.S. I still need to post about the new method I tried out on this quilt. I didn’t forget. I’m just pressed for time.

Finished: a Fine Balance

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

We’re finished! Here is the finished quilt for the Balance theme:

Balance Bevs finished quilt

This month, I decided to create my own version of a circus poster. In the middle, there’s a woman who is walking a fine balance on the tightrope. She’s got so many things in balance: her life, her career, her family and her artistic and intellectual thoughts and ideas.

Balance finished face

Some days it feels like I’m in the middle of my own circus (wild animals and all!), and this quilt gave me a chance to smile about it all, while making something colourful and with a bit of bling.

Here’s one of the many posters that inspired me – this one, for the figure of the woman:

Circus Poster

1890s circus poster. Originally posted at the Circus Museum of the Netherlands.

The quilt includes a stencilled design, lots of beads, embroidery, drawing, fused applique’ letters and prairie points around the edge. It’s quilted onto cotton batting, and the back was left plain this month.

Bev

Tiptoe-ing to the finish….

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Hi again,

More and more beads have been added, and we’ve been out in the sushine this morning for a progress photo-shoot.

Tip toes

Tip-toeing towards the finish!

Bev

The mystery….

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Felted vest

Hi there,

Okay, so I know we’re both almost almost neeeearly finished the latest of the art quilts. As for me, my fingers are stiff tonight from sewing on about twenty zillion little beads onto my image. It doesn’t help that I’m sitting on the sofa and every once in a while I hear a little ‘ping!’ tinkle-tinkle-tinkle as another bead escapes and skitters across the floorboards.

I can’t wait to reveal this month’s quilt!

As if we didn’t have challenges enough, my personal skill-testing technique this month is stenciling, and to do this, I am participating in a challenge issued by a very fun blog here in Australia. Head on over to Hoppo Bumpo‘s blog to see her excellent Stencil-Along research and testing. This girl is taking the challenge seriously, and like all good girl guide leaders of our little troupe of sewer-stencilers, she’s doing prep beforehand (“Here’s one I made earlier…”) You can find the original post about the Stencil-along here.

Let’s just say that my quilt isn’t going to lead on the technical accomplishment sideFelted vest, but the graphic turned out just fine.

So, Jennifer, let me guess… I bet you a pack of beads that the wonder product you’re raving about is a tip from the workshop you went to with Sharon Schamber. Her art looks amazing, and if you are sharing any techniques, bring out the goods! We want to know!

There’s more to talk about, including the Fibre Forum, of which I’m including just a couple of photos as a teaser. The photos above and to the side are of stitched, felted and embellished vests made by the ladies in one of the week-long workshops. You can see more photos and my post about going to the Forum here on my blog.

It’s late here in Australia and this bead-sewing quilty chick is off to bed. (P.S: don’t believe the time stamp on this post: it thinks I’m in America).

Bev