That’s right, in order to test the new products, I’ve had to reach WAY out of my comfort zone, get artistically “naked”, and experiment with some new products. It’s rather precarious as I’m VERY loyal to the tools I use, but with Sinister Stitch in the making, I want to invite as many tools on board as I can — more experience for all. In order to make some progress on both product-testing and the Sinister Stitch Chronicles sketches, I took my watercolors, needle & thread outside to my oval garden and soaked up a little March wind while I painted and stitched.
One of the cool things about mixed media sketchbooks is that your book serves as a frame for the work, and a portfolio, and a work space/surface. Very sweet for working on the go. Now that the weather is turning springy, I’m really looking forward to doing some theater-in-the-round style public stitching. One of the things I want to b sure to bring to Sinister Stitch is the public component. There are so many misconceptions about embroidery being monotonous or boring, but not the way I do it! Whether I’m spray painting a background graffiti style or dreaming up poisonous recipes, the stitching is dynamic and relevant — and certainly all inclusive!
And lately, I’ve discovered a sweet way to park my needles:
HA!!! It’s just a quirky thing that I almost always wear a hat — it used to be that in order to curb the light sensitivity aspect of my headaches, I would wear a hat to shield my eyes, or wear amber or rose tinted half-glasses to shade my eyes… Quite by accident, I stowed my needle in my hat brim and a habit was born. No more losing needles in my lap or my stitching book; I just park them in my hat.
Since I’ve been concentrating on Monkshood and Wolfsbane, I’ve been working those sketches with paint and stitch to finalize the look of the embroideries. I really love how they’re turning out. More than anything, I love spending time with these characters, listening to their stories, and seeing what they have to say. The more I work on the visuals, the more I see what these 13 poisons have to teach me. Now that spring is springing up all over, I’ve captured the first Poet’s Narcissus as a reference for the embroidery – and THIS one is an excellent specimen!! The yellows are absolutely dimensional and all butter-creamy, and the shape is an endless array of geometry and line…
As an artistic type, I’ve learned to “listen” to my subjects and materials, to pay attention to what simple things like color, texture, and composition might be trying to express. It never ceases to amaze me what I discover.
Over the past few days, we’ve been looking over my diaries from 2006 to present to document the roots and genesis of the poisons as an interest — I’ve been IN to herbology and botanical pursuits since 1991 when I began collecting and drawing trees, herbs and plants in my journals.
It’s so cool to go back and see the roots of these ideas. We’ve also been working on interviews to get into the backstory of how in the world my zine making and community activism is manifest in my embroidery — it’s a helluva story, and revealing itself even to me as I unpack the details and connections. I found myself rather surreal-ly spun around as we discussed how “I never intended to become an embroidery artist”… But I am energized and focused on birthing this amazing tale. What it has to say about the art, and the journey and heart of the artist, and the things that we ALL value and strive for (no matter the obstacles) are really something to be proud of. I am honored to be chosen to share this journey.
As for Today I’m filming the dream sequences — It’s been rather wild that I dream about the Mandrake & Womandrake. As I research and learn more about the properties of each plant, I sketch and listen to what they have to tell me. Often I find myself having conversations with each character about how they want to look, or what medium they want used to create them. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that from the very start of the project I began dreaming colors and smells surrounding each plant — and it was the first dream about the Mandrake that set the tone: I dreamt he crept up the foot of the bed & suffocated me!!
(As an aside: I’m also really hoping to NOT have to strip down to panties for my art again — MAN, if I’d known I was going to be cast as the Fearless Stitcher character, I’d have given her MORE clothes and certainly positioned her MORE comfortably!!! (My little post-cancer kidney removal midsection is STILL aching after perching on that damn stool in front of the green screen for two days of multiple takes!!!) But it says something about the sort of model I was that: WE GOT THE SHOT!!!!! Whee!)
There’s a… NewPostInSinisterStitchChroniclesDiary so check it out!
I’ve also listed the Stitcher’s Garden Book online class for May 1 (registration begins April1). I think it will be a great time to be out gardening, playing in the mixed media, and stitching in a new book — I’m blending it in with the Sinister Stitch work and building a new book as I go:
Visit the Schoolhouse and scroll down to the Garden Book description — there’s a Buy Now button to get rolling if ya need a little Garden in your Spring!
Thanks for coming along on this crazy adventure — it’s only going to get better!!