Friday, August 31, 2007

Challenged? You Bet!

On my to do list were Challenges 4 and 5 for the Artist Muse group.
I didn't think I had been putting these off, I had just had so much else to do.
Now I realise I had. Sorry Sue.

Sue Bleiweiss sets the challenges based on the book The Artists Muse.
She does a great job.
These chapters were basically about being free with your work and doodling and splashing paint around.

Now you would think for someone who always tells people she comes from the "old slappers

school of art" that it should be an easy project.
Huh, read on!

The first challenge was to gather 12 different fabrics.
OK the first problem came right here.
Good grief I think I am being brave using 4 or 5 colours in my art work!
In retrospect I should have picked different fabrics in similar colours but by now my brain was already in overload so I grabbed anything - this is me trying to be free!

Next we had to cut the fabrics into pieces and apply them to a background. Easy.
Well the pieces had to be in a bag so you couldn't see what you were picking then once you had
placed them on your background you couldn't
move them again.

Oh good grief, I spend days moving stuff around on my collages.
This was so hard for me.

The result was utter chaos. I put a piece of sparkley tulle on the top and thought, what the heck chaos it will be, and did some mad free machine embroidery over the top of that.
I put this to one side and started the next challenge.

We were given 3 choices and I chose the fabric weaving challenge - that should be OK, yes - no!
This time we could use 6 to 12 fabrics. I chose to use 8 and had learned from the last exercise to pick them more wisely.

Now to make the strips. We had to rip the strips not cut them. OMG! It had taken me 5 (yes 5) years to get to grips with ripping paper for collage!
We weren't even allowed to get rid of offending, dangling pieces of thread. (whimper)
I did as suggested however and carried on.
Once the weaving was done I covered the piece with a chiffon scarf and stitched a grid. I couldn't help myself, it just had to be a zig zag over those offending raw edges - sorry Sue.

Another piece thrown to one side.
I went to bed.

Yesterday I decided I would see how I could
make the pieces more to my liking - I know that wasn't the idea.
I decided the first piece was just too dizzy and stitched a grid pattern in silver. I think it has made it more unified. I am doing a circus quilt and I think it will be a great background for this.

In the Artists Muse book the 5th chapter is about splashing paint around.
My first idea was to couch some threads to the piece but instead I decided to play with my machine.
I do not have a good grasp of free style embroidery with the machine other than doing random spirals and vermicelli so I thought I would work in the squares and make patterns.
I had great fun and managed a few little flowers and am happy with this piece. I will make it into a cushion I think.

I know that if Sue, Jan or Laura had been here they would have said leave the pieces alone and learn the lesson that you can make something good from chaos and being free but, I think I actually learned a very important lesson for me.

I'm not such an old slapper after all!


Homeleightigger said...

Oh Alis! You've done so much better than I did. I also found those Challenges non-inspirational, but at least we completed them. You me and about four other people I think! Val

Doreen G said...

Well done Alis-I believe that if we can learn something from participating in these challenges then it is not time wasted.
I know that I have learned a lot and I have ventured into areas that I never thought that I would.

liz said...

I love your first piece, Alis. That's how I always do things, at random:) (or surrounded by chaos, depending how you want to look at it).I joined the artist muse group but very quickly fell by the wayside.

Susan said...

I think I just left a comment on your earlier post using the wrong "account". Some computer functions confuse me!

Anyway, I love your "old slapper school of arts" phrase. It certainly seems to apply to me! Your recent work looks quite wonderful..."slapper" or "non-slapper"!

Susan D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan D said...

Well done Alis, I love your 1st piece very colourful. I think the idea is to challenge our preconceptions and try new things which I know I have I'm doing things I wouldn't normally do.

Sue B said...


Cellostitcher said...

You are quite right I would have said leave alone but I would have been quite wrong to. You have taken the pieces even further and into something you are happy with and I think you are flying free! Well done. I love them.

Judy Rys said...

Good job. It's hard to give up control and trust that something will come out of it. You really met the challenge.

Jill said...

Both pieces are utterly really turned your fear of the first into something rather wonderful :o), and the fabric weaving is fab.

Julie said...

I really like the weaving and the stitching you have done on top. It is difficult to work outside our comfort zone isn't it but you have done so well.

Angelcat said...

These are lovely ALis. I think you did an amazing job for someone who didn't feel too inspired. I particularly like the weaved piece.

Sarah Nopp said...

I like the bits of quilting you did on that second piece. It is still very free and fun, but with just that bit of something- it really makes the piece.

molly jean said...

Thanks for showing your and explaining your creative exercises. I like the colors of the last piece when you were more selective. But I like the way you unified the first piece with overlays and stitching!

Anonymous said...

I love both of your pieces. That is exactly what I want to learn. Will have to get that book.
I think you did a great job.
Doreen Kinkade