Friday, December 16, 2011

Getting Past the Dazzle

If there's one thing I have found out for certain recently its that its so easy to get sucked in by the dazzle of it all.  After all, the  ~WOW~ factor is huge.  Also is the idea that it is very much possible to recreate this oneself.  You don't have to have an art school degree to have this kind of beauty in your life, just time and patience and some skill with a needle.  If you aren't up to generating your own patterns, there are certainly plenty of patterns out there that you can fill in with your own colors and sense of style.  The allure is enormous.  And I have certainly been out there on the internet, trawling for pictures and ideas, collecting images of inspirations like a high school girl collects pictures of movie stars.  Now I'm at the point of working to get the skills to match up to my aspirations.  Taking quilting classes at the quilt shop helps a lot - getting the skills.  Joining a quilt guild helps too - lots of nice folks there to encourage a newbie.  I managed to make that blue and green block myself - unsupervised.  Now I need to actually dig into the tiny stash I brought home from Houston and start on a real quilt.  Although I've been an artist all my life, and have designed embroidery patterns and jewelry for years, I am really excited about doing this.  I have fabric, a sort of a pattern, a good sewing machine, and friends who will help if I get in too deep - who could ask for more.  The center panel is Laurel Burch's Celestial Dreams.  What could be more apt than a lady with a cat dancing in a sea of celestial rainbows and flowers.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I’ve been working on the Butterfly series for a while now and liking the design more and more. I never thought of myself as a butterfly sort of person – all that fussy lightness just doesn’t’ feel like me actually. But there is something about this design that just resonates (well it should because it is, after all, my design – butterflies seen through my own particular lens). I’m not doing it because I thought commercially butterflies would be a good idea (which they are and it will be). This started as a design with an antique border pattern of flowers that I found in a very very old pattern book, and, by the time I was done, it was flowers and butterflies and antique monograms. The more I developed it, the more I enjoyed it. I am calling the pattern “Butterfly Memento” – because what I see is that its a moment in time – a summer day – poised and perfect with flowers and that butterfly – the butterfly itself is a moment – poised so briefly transforming from one state to another. A day, no matter how perfect, is always changing – like the flowers and the butterfly – you can’t press them or hold them – but you can remember them at that one perfect moment. So the colors are clear and bright, the frame and background are antique – the lettering and monogram are quaint. Even the blue flowers are Forget-Me-Nots.

As I look at this and do the work, I’m beginning to see that I’m redefining myself. Actually this whole process of the designs and the kits and all has been a process of redefining myself that I really didn’t notice until recently. I remember clearly the sense of rightness and joy I had when I decided to embark on this. With each series of designs I have found parts of my artistic self that have been just waiting to be explored that somehow I never found a way to reach before. I am comfortable with this in empowering ways. I have always found my way through a time of change by creating something – a major cycle that totally absorbs me and transforms the way I see myself and the way others see me. As I look back I realize that its embroidery that has always led me to the most positive parts of my artist self. Jewelry was the way I made a living – hard work – connected with lots of stress. I will not deny that jewelry has been how I kept us all alive and how it led to most of my public life. I have done well at it and I’m pleased with that. But embroidery is my special treasure – my private personal ting that has led me to recreate myself almost literally. It has always been my gateway in the SCA – how I manifested first Koshka and not Safiya – the vehicle/bridge that opened into the artistic communities. Interestingly enough embroidery, is the only art or endeavor that my grandmother unreservedly praised me for. Everything else was “yes, but” – embroidery was just fascinated praise. So I’m following that – living from the heart and letting that transform me.

I will admit to the base level of core programming that is our beginning definition. If it is my grandmother’s voice that shapes my personal definition, then I will let it be this. I will choose the healthy positive framework for this new growth – I will listen to the positive voice but from the past and from my own heart. Its right and fitting that embroidery can open me up to the wider world and expand my spirit. So, yes, the Butterfly Memento – its a good image for this Now.