Mixed media textiles inspired by rebellion and the natural world
I haven’t posted in ages. Not because I have stopped working, but more because of an excessive amount of ideas all competing with eachother. This makes me confused and disorganised!
One of the themes I have been working on is hearts and their symbolism for love. This is in combination with a continuing fascination for erosion, deterioration and the ensuing potential for rebirth and renewal.
In my last post I blogged about a little stuffed heart I had made which had been covered with holey fabric. As it was made from tattered denim I felt it evoked the grunge clothing and music vibe in the nineties, as the title of the blog ‘grunge heart’ describes.
It also seemed appropriate as the spirit of grunge is so much about being ravaged, and a defiance that nevertheless survives.
I was really touched when one of my friends on Facebook saw the textile heart and asked if she could have it. She felt it was the only object she had seen that captured the pain she feels, due to tragic events in her life.
I had made the heart to express my own experiences in love; both sublime and from hell… and the journey it takes me through. Likewise the heart in this post speaks simply of the same.
The silver fabric was heated until it melted. The quality of melting, as often used to describe the surrender to love from another eg to melt in someone’s arms, to melt in a loving gaze, and so on…was something I wanted to refer to.
In addition the idea of melting suggests heat and fire which brings to mind more challenging elements, such as incineration, burning and purging by fire, providing apt metaphors for the more painful experiences of heartbreak and torment that the path of love likes to take us through.
Sometimes the pursuit of love feels too perilous. Much like in the Greek myth, where Icarus in his exhiliration, uses his wax and feather wings to fly him too close to the sun, we can fear that the longing may well lead us to a place too powerful and we too will have our wings melted and will be left to fall to drown!
Oh well, hopefully all of our little melted hearts although threadbare, are still just about beating to love another day or two!!
This time I wanted to return to a distressed look and make a heart with a grunge look. Made in tattered denim and repaired with metallic lurex fabric and machine-stitched darning.
I worked some free form crochet while stitching it to the heart as decoration. I think that the addition of beads and sequins could be nice too.
Patched, stitched and padded heart.
I really like the idea of creating hearts that look repaired, mended and healed. Also the concept of something once broken but now repaired and somehow much stronger for it.
I love the distressed denim look as well as embroidered denim so I thought I would try appliqueing a denim heart. It’s very soft light denim so it wasn’t too much trouble to stitch through the layers.
Heart stitched on patched fabric
I have a real love for gemstones! and recently I have felt very drawn to incorporating them into my textile work. I have yet to decide exactly how to do this, but in the meantime I am getting a collection of beads together in readiness. Above is a string of labradorite chips, a very popular stone due to the captivating but elusive colours found within it’s structure, definitely a favourite of mine! There is an otherworldliness about it that is entrancing.
This is clear quartz, pure, clean and evocative of winter due to its similarity to crushed ice. These chips in particular have a beautiful sparkle to them.
This is fluorite and it can exhibit both purple and green within the same specimen. This to me is a dream, as I love that colour scheme in all it’s possible variations.
I was so pleased to get my hands on these! They are pink tourmaline beads and the colours are a mixture of rose and (I think) champagne! – pink champagne! and as divine!
These are emeralds and there is something really beautiful about emeralds, rubies and sapphires in their more humble and less expensive form. The photo does not capture the depth of green in the actual stones unfortunately, but in the flesh it is reminiscent of an evergreen forest in the darkness of winter.
All of these stones are different types of opal. There are fire opals (the bright orange ones if you haven’t already guessed:)) Egyptian, Australian and pink. Again, definitely one of my favourite gemstones! Another stone displaying shifting colour within itself. When these qualities are present in a stone, I think that they seem to suggest other dimensions and realms.
Now all that remains is for me to find ways to use these treasures within textiles; a journey I look very much forward to beginning.
I have been buying quite a few of these plants this year and roses have been a focus for me. Do you find that different things can catch your attention at different times and almost seem as if they are asking you to notice them? I find this happens with colours, gem stones, plants and animals, but also sometimes characters from myths or fairy tales. I believe that there is a reason for this and I think that the symbolism of certain things are relevant to us at different times during our journey through life.
Last summer I felt an urgency to take care of all the rose bushes in the garden as well as collecting these little pots of miniature roses as in the photo above. The garden had been neglected for a few years and the roses were no exception. When we first moved here I made the mistake of planting the rose bushes in a shady spot in the garden under a tree – foolish move! Unsurprisingly they really haven’t prospered in the way that they could. So this autumn I prepared a new border for them where they will get plenty of sun and I am waiting for the winter before I transplant them while they are dormant. I can’t wait to see them flourish!