Around The World Blog Hop

Kirsty invited me to take part in this blog hop. The idea is to answer a few questions about your work and then you in turn invite others to do the same. See below whom I have passed the questions on to.

Frida pattern - work in progress

What am I working on?
I’m never working on just one thing of course, but for the last month or so, probably a bit more, I have been slowly working on a pattern/portrait of Frida Kahlo. Like so many others, I have been inspired by Frida for many years. I think Frida is sort of a patron matron saint of (female) artists. She is certainly a motivation for me. If she could keep creating despite all the difficulties in here life, I don’t really have any excuses!

How does my work differ?
I feel that it can be a bit difficult to look at my own work and see what sets it apart. And in a funny way, it feels kinda self-absorbed to talk about my work like that. Which is pretty ridiculous, eh?

But, hmm… how does my work differ..? It is definitely colourful. (Unashamedly so.) Bright, bold colours – as many as possible at one time. Perhaps even a bit too much. Colours make me very happy.

Nature, flowers in particular, appear again and again (and again). Usually in a simplified, stylized form. Folk art also influences me a lot. But I guess what it really boils down to is that all those things (and a million others)combine inside my head and out comes something that (most of the eime) delights me and hopefully others who see it.

I wish that all my work has some combination of colours, curiousity and joy.

Frida pattern - work in progress

How does my creative process work?
I have two main ways of working on something, but they often combine in various ways.

One is when the idea is purely unexpected and our meeting is completely serendipitous. Maybe I see a great colour combination or spot a flower painting in the background in a magazine page and that starts something in my brain. Hopefully my sketchbook isn’t too far away so I can write down or sketch the idea. Quite often the sketch/idea doesn’t really have much to do with the thing that inspired it. It is more about a feeling than the actual thing.

The other process is kinda the complete opposite. I will have an idea for which I need to do some research. For example, the Frida portrait I am working on. I wanted it to actually look like Frida (whether I’ll succeed, well, that’s a different matter), but relying on my memory wouldn’t be the best method. I am not a portrait artist after all.

So I looked at as many different photos I could find of her and her own self portraits. I also wanted to include other elements which she maybe would have related to, like the kind of clothes and jewellery she might have worn. And flowers.. always flwoers.

This process often starts with a tiny sketch, like 2″ in diameter. Once I know the various elements I want to include, I make a larger sketch and that then goes into the computer and becomes a final sketch. It’s still a sketch at this point, because there may be changes as I stitch the pattern.

Regardless of which process a project goes through, and even if I have a fairly good idea of what I am making, I try to always leave room for things to just happen. Creating things isn’t linear for me.

Why do I create what I do?
That’s a really big question! I find it very difficult imagining *not* making things. If I think back, I have always made stuff. Not what I am making now, I only started doing embroidery about eight years ago. I think I was really lucky to find a book about drawing in the school library right around the time when most kids stop drawing.. that book made me keep going. If only I could remember it’s name. But I remember very distinctly picking it up from the shelf, it is stuck in my memory. Drawing rules. :-)

For about five years I took a ceramics class as an after school activity – it was pretty much the only creative thing available (apart from clothes making but I wasn’t even close to being into that!). Later I stayed in the class because the teacher was awesome and I made great friends in the class.

I was always making stuff and interested in art. I’m not sure my parents enjoyed taking me to art museums as much as I did. ;-) Drawing was always the thing I went back to. There’s just something about the act of putting lines or brush strokes down on paper or canvas. It makes a connection between the world around you and the world inside you. My greatest treasure from our honey moon in Rome is the sketchbook I used while there. I can look at the sketches and although I only made a note of the date and place, I can remember smells and sounds from doing each one.

Creating things is my job now, which is pretty mind blowing, but even if it wasn’t, I’d still do it because it keeps me from going crazy. The world is a crazy place and I really believe that making things with our own hands, or writing, helps make the world a better place. And I love it. I love making things.

And I love, love the connections I have made because of it. Amazing friends! I got to write a book. That’s a bit of every day magic. And just because I can’t stop making… :-)

Now I get to tag some of those friends, to continue the blog hop next Monday, June 9th:

Julie Zaichuk-Ryan – who is a gooood friend and we live close enough to each other that we can hang out from time to time. She writes a brilliant blog, Button Button, that is mostly about embroidery but other things too. And she designs literature inspired embroidery patterns with her mother.

Christine Asbridge – who is also a friend, but we have yet to meet. She writes the blog Chrissie Crafts where she shares all the things she makes. There’s lots of embroidery and sewing and baking!

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