Monday, January 09, 2006

Broccoli Tree Horizon for Want of a Better Name

I know I posted a picture of this last week or the previous week but the quilt is now finished, I have even sewn down the binding- just the sleeve to go! I am calling it Broccoli tree Horizon for want of a better name as I printed the trees with pieces of broccoli sliced in half and brushed with textile ink. The dabs of paint are just that- i took quite a broad brush and loaded it with an amount of textile ink and just made dabs ont he fabric. I have then stitched around it with dark thread which really pops them out ( the camera doesn't pick this up very well. ) I am constantly searching for slightly thicker threads with which to sew. I use rayon machine embroidery threads but really like the way heavier threads sit more on the surface whilst still creating texture. Madeira put out a 30 weight thread but only selected colours come in 800 metre spools most are 150 which goes nowhere at all when you stitch as heavily as I do. I have partially solved this problem by using a 90 needle and running two rayon threads through my machine- it gives the desired thicker line but of course you need two spools of thread.

Omega mentioned that the human figure keeps recurring in her own work- and do look at Omega's website you will see what she means- some pretty wonderful things there and i love the way Omega has incorporated traditional textile motifs from Greece, part of her childhood heritage. I find trees recur often in my imagery even when I am doodling and spirals. I once gave a talk at a rather large symposium and was showing slides of my work- and one of the quilts that came up on screen had spirals- someone near the front of the audience said "my spirals"- I must admit that comment took me aback a little, for since when have spirals belonged to anyone? They are so universal. And likewise whilst looking at maori/polynesian motifs- the four leaf image seems to occur very often and one artist using it in a fresh way is Dagmar Vaikalafi Dyck, although she uses other traditional motifs as well. But anyway when I was looking at a book on architecture in Lisbon, Portugal- the same four leaf motif appears on the bulastrades of buildings- wonder whether it came to them via South seas explorations in the fifteenth century or otherwise? When i was doing my lace work ( and I intend to do more) I was looking for motifs I could use that would not appropriate culturally- an impossible task as I found for influences come from everywhere. I found it fascinating that real trends and fashions for motifs occurred in lace for example the introduction of tulips from Turkey saw a rage of lace making incorporating a tulip motif and likewise the introduction of the peonierose from China. Memory and heritage is also something I am looking to incorporate into my work.
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Joanne S said...

Love this work. Could you mention the size of the pieces when you show them to give us an idea of the space involved. the broccoli does give an indication on this one. Your work is amazing and your description of the work involved-well, it is helpful.

Omega said...

Thank you for your compliments. Broccoli tree horizon is my favourite of all your work I've seen on screen so far. I find it works both as an abstract composition and a figurative one. And for me it is evocative of both Australian design and African, without any hint of copying traditional motifs. Great. It will be areal wow in any exhibition.

It is interesting how many symbols are universal - in form, if not in meaning. Sheila Paine's book Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents is a fascinating and inspiring read. Finding something new is almost impossible, but I reckon broccoli comes close!

I prefer to see the personalising of motifs, whether they are traditional or not. Especially if they actually mean something to the artist, and are not just borrowed for effect. There is an extra attractiveness to honesty.

Sue Sanderson said...


i was struck by your comment about spirals. I too love spirals and often refer to them as if I own them. Do you think that maybe it means we're comfortable with those motifs - when we feel they're part of us?

Mind you I do struggle and get impatient cos often I think to myself - what can I do with a spiral that is original? Haven't found anything yet.