A showcase of fiber art, including discussions on the art forms of weaving, spinning, tapestry, embroidery, knitting, crochet, cross stitch, mixed fiber arts and mixed media arts which include fibers and/or stitching and cloth
Here's a beaded sampler I embroidered a few years ago. The fabric is hand dyed Aida. Most of the beads are from Mill Hill except for the red beads forming the outer square which were re-purposed from a necklace that broke.
Not related to the piece above, but I've been browsing through Judith Baker Montano'sFloral Stitches: An Illustrated Guide. It's one of the first embroidery books I bought, and I think I refer to it more now than I did when it was new in 2000. It was this book that gave me the idea to start hand coloring Aida, and since I didn't really know what I was doing when it came to dyes, I came up with my own method that continues to serve me well.
Because this is the first post, it's full of information and a bit on the long side. You don't have to read it all. You can just scroll down and look at the pictures. But if you're interested, there's a bit about how and why I began this blog, and bit about who I am and why I'd want to do this.
Take A Stitch Tuesday:
When I started my blog ArtiphyTheHeart, at the end of 2007, Sharon Boggon's Take A Stitch Tuesday was just coming to a close. I was so disappointed. Over the years, I had gradually gravitated from using the full library of stitches I had learned, to a small handful of favorites that I regularly used. Some people would label this, "finding your style". I call it self-limiting. I love words like freedom and expansive, and I want to explore and include whatever works. So when Sharon announced the return of TAST, I was one of the first to throw my name in the hat. It was a big hat, which got bigger and bigger, and now there are a gazillion participants making this one of the most wonderful sharing and learning experiences on the web. Not to mention that Sharon is an expert in her field. A true expert, wrought through years of study, trial and error, and a thirst for excellence.
It was no surprise when the group hit the 500 mark, and it was then that I decided I needed a separate fiber blog. Not that one goes with the other. It's just when I decided. So I set up ArtiPhybers first as a home for my TAST work, and quickly decided it should hold all things fiber.
Sharon introduced the first stitch last Tuesday: Fly Stitch. I knew I'd want to compile my stitches for future reference, and being a book binder, I decided on book format. Paper and card, not cloth. So I designed and cut frames to house my stitch samples which would easily identify them and allow them to be easily removed from the frames and replaced again. 52 frames, one for each week, to be bound into a book at the end of the year, along with pages of notes and ideas, and places to add more notes and ideas. The frames took some time, so I just completed my fly stitch page last night, the day after our second week stitch was announced. I'm sure I'll be on-track with this one, and eagerly waiting for the next. And for those of us in the U.S., Tuesday is Monday. Sharon is in Australia.
One of the things you'll discover about me if you read to the bottom is that I spent some time designing and manufacturing cross stitch kits. Consequently, I have an abundant supply of Aida. Some people turn up their noses at Aida, but mine is 100% cotton, one huge bolt is cream, the other is white. To keep it interesting, I hand dye the pieces I use. These are the pieces I have on hand at the moment, and I decided to use this evenweave for my first TAST stitch.
I don't work with an embroidery hoop or stitching frame. I tape the edges of my piece and am somehow able to hold it taut with both hands, even while stitching. It sounds complicated, but comes naturally to me and allows me to stitch quickly, evenly and more accurately than when I try to use a hoop or frame. This is not a suggestion. I think it's probably a quirk of mine and not a discovery of a better way to do things.
Here's the stitched piece inside the frame which will eventually become a page in the book I bind. Not so interesting as a photograph, but it does show how everything fits.
My first look at the fly stitch brought to mind patterns of coral and sea weed. The sea horses are motifs from one of my earlier original cross stitch designs, and I've used them as props or background material to emphasize the stitch.
Since stitching this, I've taken a look at dozens of variations and interpreatations of the same stitch from other stitchers in the group. You can access a list of participating blogs from the TAST page, and see for yourself. It has inspired me to think about creating a second sampler of this stitch for my book including other ways this stitch can be used.
A Bit of a Bio:
I couldn't tell you if I began as a fiber artist, or not. I was deeply influenced by the colors, patterns and textures in the sewing box that travelled with my Grandmother on her all too few visits. I was probably 3 or 4 years old then. But I was also drawing, coloring, making newspapers, and making books by folding paper into pamphlets, so perhaps I began with paper. I remember sewing on paper, and sewing cloth to paper, and vice versa.
By the time I was 12, the art museum classes I'd been taking finally introduced collage and mixed media, and I became enamoured with combining everything I'd learned so far. Much like a cook's first foray into the kitchen, I wanted to use all the spices at once. But Grandma had just sent me a nice mix of buttons, hanks of silk, satin swatches, some linen, and wool felt in every color imaginable. She tossed in a rainbow of threads, some of which I still have today and are remarkably not too brittle to use, along with a smattering of notions. Back then I used these things with abandon, and made whatever my heart dictated (because it was more than desire) as if there was an abundant stream that would never dry up.
Art classes through high school were drawing, drawing, and more drawing, plus a little bit of printing and print block making, and some pottery. I had a little side business, drawing posters for local rock bands and printing them in the style of San Francisco's the Family Dog. Stitching was temporarily put aside.
In college I flitted everywhere, taking every class in every medium available. Thankfully, everyone within the art department at that time saw the advantage of a diverse arts education, and did not try to pigenhole students into genres. We were all encouraged to supplement our required classes in classic drawing and painting with as many other things as possible, and also to learn to make our own tools. I took a fiber arts class and was introduced to a world of expression like no other. It was a creative textiles professor who helped me see and identify fourteen separate colors in a white rose -- not the drawing prof. who had assigned the exercise. I found creativity and comfort in weaving, creative crochet (which was much like today's scumbling), learned to tie forty-eight knots, embroidered with silk, cotton, and even the fibers from a stick of celery. I quilted, worked needlepoint, petit point, gros point, and studied chemistry of fibers, learning the underlying structures of everything organic and inorganic, and identified unknown fibers with a microscope, as well as chemically and by burn testing.
There was always another class to take. By the time I realized that I was well on my way to becoming a professional student, I had spent six years playing with paper and fiber. An environmental psychology class which was a required prerequisite for decorative arts inspired me to add enough psych and sociology classes to my schedule so that by the time I finished, I was just nine credits shy of a second degree. But it was time to leave. I was only 23, but I was beginning to identify with the handful of 40+ year olds who had never set foot in a world outside of campus life. I think that was my will bending to zeitgeist. If the time had been now, I might have set up camp and stayed.
So onwards and upwards (?) to a world of non- and semi-artistic jobs in advertising and government. It was OK, but every night I went home and drew. And stitched. So that finally, I began stitching my drawings and entering them in juried fiberart and needlework shows, and winning ribbons. I started selling cross-stich designs to a catalog company. It was so easy. I made a phone call, they asked me to send samples, then they called and asked me how quickly I could deliver when they needed inventory. I did this for two years, and realized that I had become a business. I no longer designed much or drew much. I printed, packaged, bought, sold, and shipped. Now I know that this is what a lot of artists have as a goal, but for me, creating art is my goal. So I wrapped it up, closed it out, and never looked back. Now I sell when I have something to sell and if someone asks to buy it. And I'm very content with workshops, exchanging knowledge, and creating things.
Funny. I forgot to mention teaching art as part of my job history. Probably because I don't equate it so much with work, but with a natural sharing of myself instead. I've taught beginning drawing and painting to adults, art to third and fifth graders, and arts and crafts to a combined class of kindergarten and first graders. I've never given instruction in fiber arts. I tried once, but I learned that the infinite patience I have while teaching art, becomes impatience when attempting to teach a fiber skill, and impatience doesn't teach well. Fortunatley, there are people like Sharon Boggon in the world who share their knowledge generously and patiently.
ArtiPhybers is still a baby. I have art galleries to add, links to share, and things to post. Often there will be more pictures than words, but occasionally it will be the other way around. Every once in awhile you'll find a slide presentation, and possibly a video or two, and I'll share books and supplies that I've tried and liked in almost every post. Please drop by often and leave a comment so I can visit your space on the web, too.