Standing Out

At a loss for what to contribute to last week’s ArtWalk, I decided to pull two incomplete felt pieces out of retirement. Too short on time to build something new from scratch, I decided to see what I could do with something long abandoned.

Since I am not a painter by training or inclination, my primary complaint with the original composition was just how flat it was. Hoping to take advantage of the inherent strengths offered by fiber art, I built my piece out to give it depth and texture. Leaf shapes were cut from a piece of barely laminated nunofelt, then handsewn over the background tree trunk.

I wish the background were wider to allow for more of an exaggerated swoop in the shape of the upper story. Overall, I’m pleased with the texture and colors in this piece.

For the second piece, I turned to a sample made two years ago, preparing to teach a summer workshop for kids. Using various fibers in my stash, I built surface detail by needling  romney and merino locks, bits of silk noil and some clean wool from my Lopez fleece.

I wanted the handstitching to be a more prominent part of this piece, so I positioned the knots on the surface, and chose a contrasting color to stitch the noil in place. Happy with the general shape of this snag, I left the trunk exposed.

Unsure how to display two pieces of art with greater depth than most work, I called in Nate Stottrup, a talented artist down the hall from my studio for some advice. He suggested a weathered wooden background to offer a visual transition from the wall to my work. I bought a used pallet from the Re-Store, pulled it apart and rebuilt it, with the help of my home carpentry team, into something new.

Bringing these pieces to completion was much more difficult than I expected. There was lots of angst and casting about for my muse. When I finally figured out what to do, it was like being struck by lightning. While I received positive feedback from the visitors to the ArtWalk, I am eager to present both pieces to our local  Surface Design Association chapter for their critique.


3 Responses to “Standing Out”

  1. 1 TJ Dawe Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

    “There was lots of angst and casting about for my muse. When I finally figured out what to do, it was like being struck by lightning.” – this is an excellent description of the artistic process. I so often find that lightning strikes because I’m in the ring, working it out, struggling to find that… thing, whatever it is. If I hadn’t gotten in the ring and got digging, no lightning. Because lightning strikes from underground, apparently.

  2. 2 Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Oh, love these Leah! And also LOVE the background boards. I’ve been wanting to use something with weathered wood!

  3. 3 Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Rather, I want to make something out of weathered wood, or use weathered wood to make something. Ha. I need a studio, too, while we are at it!

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