Monday, 6 March 2017


Over the past few weeks, two of my friends have lost significant women in their lives.  Naturally that has led me to think about my own losses, and in particular, my very dear friend, Tanya.  She was a warm, creative & vivacious woman who affirmed my own creativity & was a wonderful role model.  When she died I planted a Correa Alba in her memory.

It is currently flowering, so it seemed appropriate that I have it as this week's muse for my weekly art project.
As per my usual practice, I did some sketching first.  The process of sketching requires that I REALLY look at what is in front of me.  It connects my hand with my eyes as together we get to grips with the shapes & positioning of each aspect of what the plant looks like.

As it happens...I also bought this book this week.  To be honest, I thought I'd give it to my daughter to put away & then give to me on Mother's day...but... I just couldn't resist looking beyond that beautiful foxy cover!!!!

Therefore, with fabric collage in mind, I rummaged through my green scraps for fabrics that matched the Correa Alba, always keeping in mind that the colours seemed to vary in different lights.

Once the chosen fabrics were ironed, I set about the process of moving them in, out & around a 15cm space in search of the perfect combination.  You would not believe how LONG this process took!  Perhaps I shouldn't have been so fussy, especially given this was to create a background, not the main focal point!!
 Without any particular formula, I wanted it to feel balanced & look 'right' to my eye.  This was the final combination, which I then fixed to the backing with running stitch.  It would have been quicker to have machine sewn, but I particularly like the process and look of hand stitching, so hand-stitching it was !!

The focal point was to be the flower, which I was representing in a stylized form.  Once the winning fabrics were in place, it was time to stitch the design through the flower fabrics AND the background.

There were a few layers to cut back.  As each layer is cut, it is a little like unwrapping a gift...I'm never quite sure what I'm going to find.  Although I do know what fabric is in that layer, the mystery is how it will look in cohesion with the other fabrics & within the context of the design.  Whilst I was very pleased with the flower itself, I was annoyed that I had oriented it so centrally.  I had intended it to be upper right more.  How was I going to redress the balance?

I started by softening the dramatic impact of the white flower.  On the bush, these flowers are tiny dots.  Coincidentally, my friend Tanya loved Aboriginal dot painting.  With these in mind, I explored the possibility of adding white dots.  As a trial I emptied the bottom of the hole punch.  Thank goodness it has been a while since it was emptied....there were lots of little paper dots I could move around my design to try & map out possibilities.  Once settled on a plan, I used the end of a pencil, dipped it in white fabric paint & dotted away!

The piece still needed something more.  So making a rough cut out of a branch of the correa leaves, I traced around it with black pen.  This proved to add interest.

This is the final, untrimmed piece.  I haven't cropped it because I really like the bits that stick out beyond the square frame.  In hindsight, perhaps I should've used a more appropriately coloured backing instead of my usual calico!  If this was a real piece of work as opposed to an exercise, I would actually unpick that flower & do the whole thing again, relocating it further upper right.  Regardless of that glitch, I am very pleased with the additional extras I've added.

It is such a pretty little flower & imbued with meaning because of who it was planted in memory of.  This little exercise is also special, because I have included a tiny section of one of Tanya's shirts she gave me, into the background.

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