Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Stitching Journey

In the last couple of weeks MacSoph and I have been posting on Queendom Website various portraits of historical women. I was toying with the idea of stitching a portrait to pair with my Elizabeth 1. Just toying, but I thought it might make an interesting feature for a couple of weeks on my home page.

MacSoph (my trusty little computer) keeps files of portraits and paintings for me and so I rifled through the files and found first some beautiful French ladies painted long ago by Elisabeth Lebrun, herself an interesting figure.

I posted them, then asked my followers at Shining Needle Society which they liked the best and why.

Next I posted a series of portraits of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, both contemporary to her and modern and asked again for the favorites.

People liked some of the French ladies but I thought their reception was a bit luke warm. Georgiana fared less well, and many of my followers suggested, if I wanted to do another portrait, why didn't I do Henry VIII.

I replied, 'no Henry'.

I didn't hit my stride with the portraits feature till I posted five paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Now those my followers liked! They liked one better than the others, so I posted it and then extrapolated some colors and made a Kuler-style panel of the colors.

Yesterday I went shopping, armed with a notion of the portrait and the Kuler-style colors, and tomorrow morning (Sunday April 21) I will post the results of my threads spree. BTW, I had a great time shopping for threads!

So do I plan to make a Rossetti portrait with all these threads? No, I'm not going to make a Rossetti portrait or for that matter any other portrait. The colors did inspire me and as a result I have three designs planned for them, but none a portrait.

Did I think this is where I would end up when I started the portrait exercise on Queendom Website? No, no idea where it would lead.

Now I have grand plans and a nice stash of very pretty threads. So will my projects end up looking like the threads? Maybe, maybe not. If I follow my natural inclinations, I will in time subtract some of the threads, add others, and likely end up with a project that looks quite different. But then again, I could end up with a project that follows these colors. Who knows. We'll have to see.

One time, several years ago I came back from the framer with a newly framed piece (over time it has turned into one of my favorites), I was excited about it and showed it to a friend. She reminded me that she had seen the original drawing and the finished piece looked little like the original drawing and nothing like she had expected.

She then asked me if I knew when I started what the piece would look like in the end. I said, no of course I didn't. How would I know where it would end up? She thought I ought to exert more control over my work, and maybe so, but the charm of needlework for me is the journey and the excitement to see where the piece does end up, what twists and turns it takes along the way and what it looks like as I take the last stitch. Actually, I don't often know for certain till the piece is in its frame.

I believe I start a piece and then it takes on a life of its own. It will likely tell me the direction it wants to take and my skill comes not in controlling it but in observing and recognizing the direction it leads me. That's why I am a 'trial and error' stitcher. I want to see what my piece tells me each step of the journey and then test myself to see if I can interpret its messages.

New threads, new promises, new pieces, new directions. Time and again that's My Stitching Journey.

Gay Ann