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{Thread Drawings} From Heads to Figures…

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I took on a new project a few weeks ago. You may remember me mentioning awhile back in a post , that Chris & I were recently contacted about creating some new art pieces for an upcoming gallery show. The deadline was really tight but we both took on the challenge. The gallery opening is this weekend & Chris is dropping off our work today. I wanted to share a bit of the history behind what I ended up making… 

Back in 2005, I started fiddling around with drawing in thread on the sewing machine using free-motion sewing- relying on my ability to draw more than my ability to sew. The first images that I ever drew were people. They weren’t people I knew, they were just made up characters. I ended up framing about 18 of them. Since then, they have been in different shows, I sold some and the rest ended up on our bedroom wall. I did start drawing birds, nests & other woodland creatures shortly after -which paved the way for my thread drawing tees, pillows, mobiles, & prints. You can see an example of how I draw in thread here

The gallery that contacted me was interested in my thread portraits, but also liked the  untraditional format of my screen of printed lino block portraits (on vintage patterns) too. I had been thinking about making figures in the same free-motion drawing method for some time so this gave me an opportunity to play around with that idea a bit.  One of the  tricky things, is that I don’t draw things out on the canvas first. I can’t really see it at that angle under that machine & I lose concentration in the actual drawing if  I try to follow lines. So, I really just go with the flow. For the figure, I needed to draw the head & the body separately. If I work with too much fabric, the drawing becomes even more difficult, not to mention, I can’t judge perspective accurately from  where I am sitting behind the machine. I really had to cross my fingers that the bodies & head would work together. But then I gave myself another challenge- I decided to draw the backs of the figures too…..

To say that these characters are quirky, is an understatement. But I do like the way that they turned out. I really love how the two figures relate to each other too. I did them on different days and never intended for them to be displayed together. They ended up being, “Circus Lady” & “Circus Man” quite organically.  This process is really interesting for me because it uses the right side of my brain when I draw- but the left side of my brain to actually sew & make sure that I don’t sew over my fingers. When I am done- I’m usually cross-eyed and 100% spent. I like the sculptural quality that the figures have & hope to continue to explore making more figures when I have time. I have to say, I’ve enjoyed making new “fine art”. It was also really fun to have Chris & I both in studio mode into the wee hours. I would go to my studio (in the attic) & Chris would go to his (in the basement) every night. Last night we met in the kitchen at about 1:30am – bleary eyed & rummy – excitedly chatting about what we had made. Those are times I really enjoy & I’m grateful I married another artist. It’s Sayer’s morning wake up call at 6am that is a little tough. So that’s what I’ve been up to (aside from filling KLT orders). I’ll take my camera to the opening to see what I can capture. Oh, and l will definitely show you what Chris ended up making too. That’s worthy of it’s own post. Thanks to those of you that encouraged me in the last few weeks. I really appreciate it! I think I had better head to bed now… it is officially tomorrow.
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