Stitching Mythology: the White Stag

Art

I’m sure everyone can relate when I say that it’s always difficult to get back into the every-day routine post-holidays. With the close of the hustle and bustle also comes the inevitable energy crash.

It has definitely taken me some recovery time this year to get back to my normal routine, but I am happy to share that with this frigid don’t-leave-the-house-because-it’s-way-too-cold-outside weekend also came the time and energy to re-focus on my work.

My un-finished nutcracker embroidery is way too seasonal to work on in January, so I decided to put him away for the year, to be finished next December.

Looking to start something new, I drew inspiration from the -30 degree Fahrenheit weather outside and sketched the outline for a new fiber piece:

Now, before you start thinking that I’ve turned into a hunting-crazed Central New-Yorker, I’d like to clarify that what I have in mind for this piece is much more magical than a taxidermy deer head.

In fact, the white stag has a firm footing in mythology found in several cultures. It is often a symbol for purity and good fortune, and in Celtic myth is said to be a sign that the otherworld is near. The white hart is also a staple element in Arthurian legend.

I love the stories that accompany this seemingly ordinary animal and am looking forward to making this piece magical in subtle ways. There’s certainly more of a challenge in making a stag appear magical than there is in doing the same with a dragon.

Here’s to many cold New York nights ahead that will be spent working on this piece!

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Hippogriff in Paint and String

Art

Fibernation post #5! And probably the last of my fibernation posts for a little while. I have found myself partaking in other media this winter as well and I don’t want to neglect them!

I’m hoping, however, that this mini series ends with a bang, as this piece took me quite a while to complete. The imagery is, obviously, directly inspired by Harry Potter’s Buckbeak and is a mixed media piece, created with commercial fabric, acrylic paint and embroidery floss.

A little history:

When I was a senior at SUNY Cortland, I created, hung, advertised and hosted a senior exhibition. The show was called “Idle Curiosities” and this was one of the pieces displayed:

dragon idle curiousities

Receiving overwhelmingly positive response to this piece, I thought to myself, why not make another? A follow up if you will. And so I went from dragon to hippogriff.

Fantastical Series:

As two pieces from the same puzzle, both creatures are approximately the same size and made from the same materials. While I bought the fabric at Walmart, the rest is purely handmade (although I did have a professor accuse me of hodgepodging my dragon).


The tricky part of making both of these was painting on the fabric, as thin cotton has a tendency to want to move around. Also, as the paint dries, it soaks into the material. Meaning, 3+ layers of paint are often needed to get an opaque aesthetic.

While the dragon is adorned with both hand and machine embroidery, the hippogriff was all done completely by hand, again, making it one of those pieces that took a little while to finish.


And so ends this mini-series. While I focused on embroidery this time, there is so much more to the world of fiber art. Hopefully I have opened up a few minds and eyes to this world and perhaps event inspired some of you to try it for yourselves!

The Fox and the Feathers

Art

Fibernation post #4! So far, I have given you two different embroidery-oriented posts. Today’s post is an example of something I have become a huge fan and practitioner of: mixed media.

As I have mentioned before, I do not have my own studio. What I do have is a kitchen table.This means that I am always looking for house-friendly forms of art. While there are many different forms of mixed media, one of my favorites has grown out of the combination of paint, ink, fabric and embroidery.

The piece that I am featuring today was made from fabric, markers, paint and thread and is titled “The Fox and the Feathers.”


Although foxes have become trendy over the last couple of years, they have always been one of my favorite animals. I loved them so much in fact, that as a child I begged my parents for a fox costume, not unlike the one worn by one of Peter Pan’s lost boys. Inspired by this animal, this piece came together relatively quickly, only taking a couple of hours from start to finish.


Having drawn the feathers and the fox in black marker, I was able to smear and smudge the ink using white acrylic paint and a rubbing technique with a paint brush. By doing so, I was able to create a sense of depth and form that was lacking in the line drawing.

I finished the piece by using my sewing machine to embroider over two of the feathers. While I had considered embroidering the fox, I did not want to clutter the piece, so I only added embroidery to his ears. I am quite fond of the simple composition and did not want to ruin it.

  Another reason I love this piece is because it reminds me of what art is really about: creativity. There are those in the art world who believe mixed media is a cop-out, and that if you are a true artist then you should be able to communicate through a single medium. I, however, believe the opposite. To limit one’s creativity, in media choice or otherwise, is to limit the whole purpose of art.

So whether you are creating in one media, or two, or ten, it doesn’t much matter, so long as you are creating.

 

Fleece Coat for Skeeter

DIY

Fibernation post #2! As my Facebook friends and Instagram followers already saw, I made a custom-made coat for our dog, Skeeter. Skeeter, being ten years old and having relatively short hair, was in desperate need of a coat, especially considering last year’s winter temperatures trumped those of Alaska.


Although I could have easily bought a coat from Walmart or Petco, I decided to make one myself because:

  1. It was way cheaper.
  2. It’s fun to make stuff yourself.
  3. I could make exactly what we needed to supply for Skeeter’s needs.

In terms of material I bought your average variety of fleece. I decided on fleece for a few reasons:

1.It’s cheap.

2. It’s warm.

3. It’s easy to work with. If you are new to sewing I would definitely recommend fleece for your beginning projects. It runs through machines easily and you don’t have to worry about fraying.

I wish I could provide a pattern for this coat, however I cannot. This is because I was “winging it.”

All I did when making the shape of this coat was determined how long I wanted it to be and tapered the fabric accordingly for both his front and back legs. I did not want his movement to be impeded.


I used adhesive velcro on both the front and the belt to make them close, and while the adhesive seemed to be strong, I sewed over it just to be safe. Both straps with the adjustable fastening help keep the coat in place.

This project only took about an hour and provided me with a fun challenge. So if you are planning on sewing a coat for your canine friend, I hope that you find fun and success! I also hope that your dog loves his or her coat as much as Skeeter does!

 

“Fibernation”

Art

Defining Fibernation: The act partaken by select mammals in which such individuals spend the winter months creating fiber art and/or crafts.

OK, obviously I made up both this term and definition. It is my slightly obnoxious way of saying “Winter is a great time to partake in all things fiber!”

What do I mean when I say fiber? I mean:

1.Knitting/Crocheting

2. Weaving

3. Embroidery (hand and machine)

4. Sewing

5. Quilting

All these and more are great ways to utilize fibrous materials for crafting and, as I prefer, creating art!

For those who don’t know, yes, fiber is an art form. While there are many fiber-related crafts out there (knitting, crocheting, sewing, etc.), it is the execution that makes these techniques art. While I was at SUNY Cortland I had the privilege of taking surface design, weaving and auditting Fibers III. I continue to do fiber art on my own for several reasons:

  1. It’s awesome, fun and relaxing.
  2. It’s cheap.
  3. It is space-efficient (aka: fold-able and easily stored).

So although I have not yet blogged about any of my fiber obsessions, I plan on sharing a lot on this subject in the near future. Winter weather causes me to hibernate, or fibernate if you will.

To start off this series of posts, I am sharing two of my most recent embroideries. Both pieces were done using hand embroidery and what I consider to be a drawn style. While most of my embroidery pieces mimic paintings, these look more like drawings. This is a style that I had recently decided to try out.

The first one was completed this summer and is (obviously) an ice cream cone. I had a lot of pink embroidery floss and had been looking for a way to use some up. Both the ice cream stitches and the cone stitches utilize the back stitching technique, however the running stitch can also be found in the cone.

 
The second was completed this month and features Elsa’s glove from “Frozen” (I know, I’m sorry it’s another “Frozen” inspired piece but the imagery is just so inspirational!). In the movie there is a lot of symbolism that surrounds characters and their gloves. I thought it would be fun to represent this important article of clothing in a cloth medium.
Both pieces began as old cloth napkins (another reason why fiber art is awesome is that it lends itself to recycling). After drawing inspiration and shape from different images, I sketched the outlines lightly in pen. After that, it was just a matter of going over the outlines with 3-ply embroidery floss. This is great for when you are watching movies on a cold winter night.

 Hopefully this post has at least created some interest in the world of fiber art and, if not, I still have many planned posts ahead! Whether you are crafty or artistic, fiber is a medium that I would definitely recommend.