Nellie"s Needles

Monday, May 22, 2006

More Dottie Moore

Dottie had requested that we bring five items of inspiration to the workshop. I brought only the thought that had possessed me since the moment I read that requirement ... "Sea (see?) of green." I hadn't a clue how that was going to be manifested. Would it be water? trees? what?

After a morning of experiencing various exercises to hone our intuitive powers, the time came to work with a chosen inspiration. However, something tangible was required ... not just a thought. My friend Gayle had brought a handful of photos and offered me a choice of them. I chose one with a "sea of green" trees across a river.

Dottie gave us a few moments to study our piece. Then she instructed us to write down our initial thoughts about what we envisioned in our finished piece. I wrote abstract, orts, threads, and painted fabrics.

She then gave us two minutes to make a quick sketch.

My sketch featured the elements where the darkest values would be placed. I rarely make drawings. When I do, it's a value sketch. The placement of values affects all other organizational principles: dominance, pattern, and rhythm.

Another zinger to boost our intuitve powers was for each of us to pick a packet of Dottie's 8"sqaures of hand-painted fabrics out of a pile. This was much like choosing a fortune cookie. We were to use these as the main fabrics for our inspiration piece. Mine had a perfect piece of shaded blues for my background plus there were some greens and a green gold. Exactly what I needed! There was also a purple that ended up with Gayle for her piece.

When the workshop ended at 3:00 I had gotten this far. It was frustrating that I hadn't taken fabrics that were suitable for tree trunks and limbs. The dogwood blossoms are the triangle points made by pinking shears that I cut off fabric samples which Gayle had brought.

I got some "viewing distance" on this piece during our critique session. It's difficult to really see what's going on in a piece when it's directly under your nose. (In my studio I look through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars to get far enough away.) I saw that the darker tree branches and trunks were very much missing. I also determined that a touch of color was needed in order to draw my eyes to the bank across the river (my pre-determined focal point). Aha! A few young red dogwood branches would get me over there.

When I got home all that was added, plus more leaves and blossoms. The photo is cropped to where I think the finished edges will be. Most likely, I'll couch yarn around the outside to soften those edges. That will make a nice transition to the sun printed/hand-painted background I think it will end up attached to.

The layered finish will be yet another influence from Dottie. Most of her pieces are "layered quilts". There will be a smaller piece with finished edges (or then again, left raw and open) quilted onto a larger background quilt ... or two. This presentation contributes to the many layers of meanings and symbols within her art. My intent is for it to extend the "forestry" beyond the less than 8" square scene ... to be a unique frame. I won't be able to work on it again until after I get to Michigan. I'll keep you posted.


jenclair said...

Thanks for the step-by-step progression on this. The difference is amazing, and I'm eager to see the final transformation.

Dottie said...

I thought about your mini-piece that you did on Saturday in class as I drove to Charlotte yesterday. I loved seeing it develop. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Sending giggles and the taste of South Carolina strawberries.

Melissa said...

What a lovely piece, Nellie! Thanks for the insight into your process and allowing us to view the progression. I've been looking forward to attending the workshop in June, but am now even more excited.

Finn said...

It's neat to see the progression from your thoughts to the almost complete square pinned to the larger fabric. Thanks for taking us through the steps...loved the pics of the grandsons at your knee..good job Nellie!