Larye and I have belonged to the art quilt group at Ruby Street (RAQ or Ruby Street Art Quilters) for four years. Each quilter has a different talent and interest which results in a great deal of inspiration to all of us at monthly meetings. In 2014, our de facto leader and admitted enabler, Margie Horton, challenged herself to produce a small weekly art piece. The result was an amazing and inspiring collection of 52 fiber “needle books” orchestrated in a variety of surface design techniques. Needless to say, she created a lot of enthusiasm for this type of project…at least in me.
I decided to produce a weekly piece of art and document via blog on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis (perhaps more often if the mood strikes…but noting my last blog entry is 12/2013, don’t hold your breath!).
A number of different fiber arts attracted me…thought for a while that I would do a foot square tapestry with weekly additions to complete a mountain scene…too much work; thought for a while of doing a piece of needlepoint with 52 squares with different bargello stitches added to the squares each week…too much work; thought for a while of…well, you get the gist!
An overwhelming desire to play in my bead collection won hands down and the rules formed in a very haphazard and simple manner thereafter. The pieces would be no larger than 3 1/2 inches, have beads on them, of course with the incorporation of some type of face (either defined or impressionistic).
These small pieces of beaded fiber art have rapidly evolved into either lapel pins or pin “books”…with, perhaps a beaded bag or two sometime in the next 42 weeks (I am on schedule with 10 completed to date..starting each on Sunday and completing by the following Saturday). The process is feeding the artistic soul enough to, perhaps, continue as planned throughout the year. Here is the first instalment….
Week #1 Winter still has a hold over the Pacific Northwest…but the New Year this week brings a dream of spring along with the still dark, rainy days. Felt base with encrusted bead background and flowers, face, fringe and butterflies. Thread and yarn waste fiber quilted into fabric as backing.
Week #2 The days are slowly getting longer even though the percentage of light to dark on this pin is still out of proportion to the season…still dreaming. Felt base and back with bead embroidered surround to dual faced cameo; fringe.
Week #3 Light green represents the moss clinging to the rocks and side walks even in the winter. Felt cover and “pages” form needle book. Bezel around face and beach shell for body form goddess outline…picot beaded edge holds cover and insert together.
Week #4 The beach stone found at Ocean Shores during a weekend outing begged for a little winter warmth and I knew “he” needed to be part of this collection. Stone cabachon “face” with peyote stitch stocking cap and bead encrusted tie. Pin edge is series of 5 bead “lazy” stitch connecting front and back felts.
Week #5 Another stone picked up at Ocean Shores is the centre of this beach scene that includes waves, sea anemones, starfish and shells as well as a dark new moon. Felt base for both needle book cover and insert; picot edge with embellishment of beads and shells.
Week #6 Spring is starting to send out new buds and leaves that intermingle with early camellia blooms and old fall leaves. Imbolc (Pagan/Wiccan) on February 1 marks the beginning of spring…half way between winter solstice and spring equinox. Handwoven base for needle book cover with face “bead” made by stamping on warmed acrylic sleeve covering newsprint and coloured with alcohol paint. Bead embellishment and picot edge to secure cover and felt insert.
Week #7 It’s the week of February 14 and everyone needs a valentine. Another reason for the emergence of a “good” heart is Sunday’s (Buddhist) Nirvana Day which begins Random Acts of Kindness Week. Fimo face with extra clay above face form that has holes in it to fasten the beaded head dress…bead encrusted felt base and back with picot edge.
Week #8 This week has several important “holidays”. Chinese New Year (Ram), Tibetan New Year (Losar), Maha Shivaratri (Hindu) and, of course, presidents day, Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday…whew. Felt cover and inserts…embellished with quilted thread waste fiber, antique buttons and Buddha face bead. Picot edge.
Week #9 This week was all about the sun, warm days and exercise. My partner and I started our Spring bicycle season. Milestones include: first ride for Larye in over 4 years with no chest pain on exercise and first trail ride since Larye’s bypass surgery 8 1/2 months ago. The sun was, indeed, in evidence all week! Handwoven cover with bead and sequin embellished fimo face; felt insert with picot edge.
Week #10 Dark of the moon inspired the blending of the face into the background. I read somewhere that, as pertains to daylight savings time, aboriginal society was credited with the observation that “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket”….so goes my grey-white-grey opinion of this yearly event. Felt cover and insert embellished with dyed lace, fimo face and beads with picot edge.