Thursday, February 17, 2011

remembrance of things past...

This was my turn to provide the photograph that would be the inspiration for the Digital to Textile group's challenge this time 'round, and I chose a quiet vignette I had found on my husband's family farm some years back.

The myriad shapes, lines and textures appealed to me, but I found that I was too close emotionally to the subject to work with the image -- dear family history kept visiting me as I tried to create, sidelining my focus.

I decided to look at the image as an abstraction, and honed in on one area that offered a wealth of possibilities. Here it is:

I painted this image digitally, and altered the overgrown foliage, containing it in a sphere-like shape. This was starting to look like some abstract moon-set. I painted the "sky" to the left of that new moon, using warm colors to reference the warmth of such a scene, adding flecks to create texture.

The remaining shapes, now vestiges of the old tire in the photo, became the foreground earth. I repeated some of the red from the forms above these, and layered that with a cool blue-to-purple hue. My digital image was finished. Here is the file as it looked on my computer screen:

The purple seemed too strong, so I pulled back on the intensity, meandering into more blue. The piece needed a home, so I added a large black border. I printed this on a cotton sateen.

The stitching is both spare and dense. The image felt minimal and uncluttered, so I only highlighted the shapes with thread, emphasizing the curves of the sphere, as well as the vertical lines that were once the weathered wood of the old outhouse on the family farm.

My goal with the vertical stitching in the black surround was to add vibrancy -- a lot of energy seems to arise from the areas where the lines of different colored thread overlap, a contrast to the quiet image in the center.

In the end, I still see the farm in this piece, and I like that.  A lot.

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