Saturday, 17 June 2017


'Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  
Always work with it, not against it.  
Make it your ally, not your enemy.  
This will miraculously transform your whole life.'
                                                                                 Eckhart Tolle

Well....I'm waiting for that 'miraculous transformation' to happen, but I must admit that having a more 'go-with-the-flow' attitude the past few weeks has helped me tolerate the fact that I am two weeks behind on my weekly art project!

Some people refer to these commitments as 'weekly art challenges', in fact I probably have at some stage.  That is because  choosing to maintain a disciplined practice IS a challenge.  Sometimes other priorities just have to supersede the discipline though and that has been the case for me. 

Friday afternoon saw me attempting to make up for lost time.  It coincided with a number of buds appearing on one of our cacti/succulent plants. They are a fabulous shape, which inspired me to take a closer look.

 I was immediately attracted to the hill-like patterns, reminiscent of scales on an armadillo.  It also intrigued me that each 'scale' was trimmed with such a dramatic colour contrast. That closer look inspired me to have a go at developing a little 'something' from it.

It was time to get the pens out to play.

My first exploration was an effort to get to grips with the form & the context from which this bud arose.
My 2nd attempt was a focus on pattern.
Keeping in mind that I was aiming to produce a 15cm square piece using contemporary reverse applique, I needed to be mindful of what was physically possible to produce within that space...& what was not!  
As you can explorations took me further away from the overall shape of the bud, and closer to the patterning.

The colouring of the bud was quite dramatic & I had a few fabrics which colour matched well.  Earlier in the week, a friend had given me a pile of curtain fabric swatches.  One had a bold leaf pattern, so I chose that as my background.  It  coordinated & gave relevant interest.  The top layer, which would provide the creamy outlines of the 'scales' was calico.

Once I had sewn the pattern through the sandwich of layers, I used my air erasable pen to prepare for the first lot of cutting back.  This is my favourite part of the whole process!

You will notice that I have cut back more than one layer here!  Once the 'scales' had been revealed, I then drew on the edging shape of my bud & cut all the remaining fabrics back to the background.  This ensures that the form is maintained.  You'll see what I mean with the next photo.

After cutting back a few more times, this is what my bud looks like.

I am very pleased with the colour choices & it's off-centre placement.  However, I'm not so happy with how it's edges melt into the background instead of popping out.

I COULD have edged it all in the cream, but I think  the shape would actually have been lost in the process of doing that.  It would have been all about the pattern.  By not having the whole form outlined in cream creates variation & therefore more interest.  Another thing I could have done, is create a second 'outline' layer, which is something I have used before to good effect. That would certainly have worked here too.

But...I didn't choose to do that, so what other options do I have?

I chose to outline it with fabric marker pen!
It has popped the bud, so that it is clearly in the foreground against a more definite background.

What a fun little exploration to get myself  back into my weekly art project.

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