Sunday, 18 December 2016


Last week, instead of dedicating Monday to do my 'weekly art challenge', I chose to produce my piece over the whole week, as I was visiting family in New Zealand.

I also chose to take inspiration from a plant that does not dwell in my garden at home!  It does, however, have a firm & deeply rooted place in my 'spiritual' garden!  This is the garden where plants that we associate with people, places & memories exist. It's a garden where we don't need to worry about soil quality, rainfall or how this plant will survive the summer! (Wouldn't the spiritual garden make a wonderful subject for an art project!)

The Pohutakawa was my inspiration.  It is one of a few trees & plants that represent my homeland to me.  These trees, dressed in  bright red splotches greeted me as soon as I left the confines of Auckland Airport.  They kept me company in the Bay of Plenty & a few could even be spotted in the Waikato!

These tennis ball sized blossoms are actually made up of a cauliflower!

On a previous visit to New Zealand, I had pressed one of these florets & drew a sketch afterwards.  This sketch was used as a base to start the process of developing a design.

During the flight over, I started playing with the floret design.  I find that repetition is a good way to get to grips with the essential lines & shapes of a subject.  Playing also allows thinking space....especially as to HOW this might be represented in fabric & stitch!

Some quick line sketches provided me with the bones to start my piece.

I'd taken 5 pieces of fabric, including a backing.  The goal was...since I couldn't fit the sewing machine in the attempt this piece using the traditional reverse applique technique ie; cutting back,  needle turning & stitching in place.

All I can say about this idea is...."Bwahahahahahahahahaha"! Let's just say that traditional reverse applique is not in my skill set!  It requires more planning than what I was able to give it.  So this piece ended up being created in a combination of applique & contemporary reverse applique.  The latter, because I lost concentration at one point & reverted to what I knew!!

Progress was slow, but I rather liked the irregular lines & naive style that was appearing.

Before leaving for New Zealand, a friend had wrapped a gift for me in this fabulous 'merry christmas' fabric.  I chose it for the background to reference the fact that outside of NZ, the pohutakawa is known as the NZ Christmas Tree.

The final result, which I finished off on my arrival home  yesterday. When I had used yellow thread for basting the red pieces in place earlier in this process, I'd liked the effect, so decided to use yellow running stitch as a feature.

Whilst this is not recognizably a pohutakawa blossom, it is the process that has been important & given the circumstances, I'm quite pleased with it. I'm also pleased to have maintained this weekly discipline. Phew!

1 comment: