Progressive art challenge, in progress.
Too. Much. Fun!
July 15, 2019
One of the groups I belong to issued an eight week summer challenge, a progressive art project. Start at the bottom and work your way up each week adding to your piece not knowing where the muse would take you. Subject matter should be "nature".
It was suggested to use an 18" x 24" piece of paper and a portrait orientation. So of course, I opted to use a 45" x 25" piece of free fabric and a landscape orientation instead. (Most of the other group members use traditional art materials: graphite, colored pencil, watercolor, etc.)
There are three layers pinned together: the top, shiny fabric, a cotton batting, and a black backing. The stitching will look very different depending on which side is facing the viewer. I am stitching on the light, shiny side and consider that the front.
I've wanted to study moss for awhile, so that's what I started with. It didn't sew out like moss, so I added soil underneath it. Got bored and added bones and worms - that got bigger as I went along.
The bones and worms set my mind to thinking of prehistoric things. Cyclamen plants send up leaves that look like aliens, so they came next - along with some other green things, some rather whimsical.
I was at rug hooking school with family. No progress on progressive art project, but hooked the front of a purse. Had a blast, learned a lot about rug hooking, made great memories, and someday I'll actually make this into a functional bag.
Bromeliads. They look primitive. Let's put one in.
And a calla lily. (I bought one last year. All winter I thought it was dead but never got around to getting rid of it. I was stunned to discover new growth this spring. Now it is immortalized in thread.)
Gotta love the library! Checked out a book on fossils for more prehistoric inspiration. My art friends, some of whom are also doing this challenge, inadvertently inspired me also.
There is tree bark based on Lepidodendron, a scale tree, that is believed to have reached 98 feet tall in the Palaeozoic Era and a skull inspired by the Basilosaurus, a large whale, that is believed to have reached 52 feet long in the Cenozoic Era.
I added some simple vines on the tree since it made sense.
You've undoubtedly noticed by now that there is no scale to this artwork. It's a total hoot coming up with the next idea and placing it somewhere.
Due to the nature of stitching on fabric, I need to progress to an adjacent area so I don't get puckers in the cloth. My personal addendum to the rules is I cannot remove any stitching unless it caused a pucker or if there is a mechanical malfunction. It makes composing on the fly more challenging. Thus more fun!
Here's a peek at how it looks from the back.
Thinking about what is foreground, what is background, and how hard it will be to stitch. I'll have lots of little threads to clip when all the stitching is done.
So now there are ferns behind the skull, another bromeliad behind the ferns, and a large area to fill in with some kind of background. I had vines in mind, then added who knows what to them. Not my favorite section, but no ripping out!
I did enjoy adding the spider and what's supposed to be a cockroach.
It's such a treat being so excited to work on a project! I'm making a point of putting time in on it before doing some of the other tasks on my "To Do" list.
It's an 8 week challenge and there is more than one week of work I want to do. I'm thinking about some of the finishing touches while I'm trying to figure out what to put in between the unfurling fern and the weird vine background.
I know there will be bird of prey talons coming in from the right edge but I can't stitch them in yet. I added a sweet little critter under the front bromeliad who is totally doomed.
Flipping through the fossil book, I noticed a Dimetrodon skeleton from the Paleozoic Era. Take that top predator, Google "lizard nose" images, and make up a scary creature. I drew the composite on a whiteboard (so I had a clue of what I was doing before committing it to stitching). I've never drawn a dragon face before!
The predator is almost invisible from the front but very obvious on the black back. Just the effect I wanted.
Some more fern fronds and random grasses fill out more of the background.
Starting Week 8 and now there is texture in the tree bark that lets the greenery show up better. Finally, I can get to the talons. They make me rethink my rule of not ripping out, but there they are. I may trim some of that side off when I am totally done.
The rough dragonfly needs to be in so I can do the last background around it. The background will show through the wings, but not the body. After the background is in, I will restitch the dragonfly and add the lacy details to the wings.
The finished piece will be shown August 1, so I still have time to play around and get areas to pop more. I'll probably add a bit of light color to it, too.
Hah! This is the first post I've made that didn't have a completed project in it
See you soon...