Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Levels....

Yesterday, while I was wiling away some hours in two airports, I perused the internet on my iPad and the June issue of Elle Decor that I purchased in an airport kiosk.  I did not have my stitching because I packed it into my checked luggage.  The piece I took to work on is a bit large so I just packed it for the return trip home, and prayed for no lost luggage!  

The magazine had a very interesting article about an amazing artist;  Lucy Williams, a British woman whose work boggles the mind.  She is a mixed media artist, specializing in collage.  What caught my eye particularly, was this photograph of her piece entitled Diving Pool:
I hope you can see it clearly, but look closely.  The sky is all needlepointed in tent stitches!  The rest of the composition is layered and pasted cut bits of paper!  Stunning, isn't it!  And I find it exciting to see an artist incorporating stitching into a gallery piece.  I don't know what her work sells for, as each time I saw one of her works posted on the internet, (because I had to see more!) instructions were to contact the featured gallery for prices.  Wow!  That makes me think gazillions of dollars!

The Elle Decor article quoted her describing how she 'farmed' out the needlepointed sky to friends to do for her, while she concentrated on the other collage details.  She remarked how quickly each friend would return it to her, unfinished, saying how boring the stitching was, time consuming, and not something they were interested in doing.  I had to laugh, because a few years ago, Sundance 'farmed' out a piece of mine to a woman who had stitched models for them on occasion.  She also returned it rather quickly, saying the tent stitching was driving her crazy and that she hated it!

Hmmmmm.  Maybe it is because I do so many other techniques when stitching, that I find tent stitching or basketweave a 'relief' of sorts.  The mindless stitching is soothing and relaxing when one is compelled to stitch, but too tired to think.  In any case, I studied that sky for quite a while and the stitching is beautifully done.  I wonder if the artist had to rip out her friends' work, and just do it herself?  You know...if you want something done, then just do it yourself, (said the little red hen)?  And I would add,  "if you want it done right!"

My internet searches led me to another British artist, Inge Jacobsen, who takes the covers of Vogue magazines, and stitches directly onto the paper.   While she does this with cross stitches, the resulting work is rather amazing as well.  It transforms a slick glossy image into a tactile, dimensional piece of art.  Not that the photography isn't, but see what a little cotton floss and the repetition of stitches can do:

This work sort of reminds me of my own experiments with stitching paper images, that I blogged about not that long ago.  (March 21, 2011, Something New...Something Springy)  I urge you all to try it because it is really fun.

On that note, let me also urge you to take your needlework to the next level, whatever that level might be for you.  Perhaps you have not tried silk ribbon yet in your stitching, or perhaps you have yet to incorporate beads into your pieces.  Have you tried open stitches with complementary thread colors on a painted canvas rather than matching thread to paint?  Try it for some beautiful artistic effects!
Whatever you do, do not be afraid.  Some of the best things happen as a result of unintended occurrences  that we call "mistakes."