Monday, December 5, 2011

A Stitch In Time

Wow! It’s hard to believe that it was over a decade ago when Joanne and I were living in beautiful Nelson, British Columbia, as I worked to complete the artwork needed for the project entitled ‘Canada: Glorious To Be’.

I was exploring many new mediums during this stage of my art endeavours and while we were in BC my methodus operandus was needlepoint!

It was a lot of fun working with needle and thread. I didn’t stick to any of the normal stitching patterns like cross-stitch – I liked creating my own unique stitching patterns.

I also did a lot of my own thread colour blending and this technique really added a lot to all of the art peaces that I created, during this time of my life.

I was working as the Night Auditor/ Security Dude for one of Nelson’s downtown hotels – The New Grand Hotel. During the night I had a bit of time, between work duties, to fiddle around with my artworks. My boss didn’t mind. In fact, Danny rather enjoyed watching my progress each morning when he arrived to his office.

I created several needlepoint artworks for the staff of the hotel. Every once in while I think about them and wonder if they still have my artworks hanging in their homes.

Carol was one of my fellow ‘Front Deskers’. She usually worked the evening shift and so I saw her almost every night, as I was her relief. She loved things with smiley faces. She was a smiley face freak!!!!

In fact, she sent us a letter – after Jo’ and I had moved to Nova Scotia – and the envelope was filled with many smiley face stickers. I shared them with my friends and kept a few for myself.

I stuck one of them onto the side of my microwave and I see it every single day cuz I still have that microwave! It always casts my mind into many wonderful memories. Thanks, Carol!

Because of her passion for smiley faces, I became inspired to create a special smiley face needlepoint artwork just for her!

Whenever I teach a class, or simply talk about the world of art, I will always talk about the importance of texture. To me – texture is art!

Now, a smiley face is a very simple design. You’ve got a big circle, for the head, a couple of smaller circles, for the eyes, and a nice big curve, for the smile. So, when I was designing my smiley face needlepoint, I had to think of a way that I could make these four simple shapes more interesting, by creating a unique texture.

I thought that it would be very interesting to create the design using one continuous line of black thread. This one line wiggled this way and that way across the fabric canvas and many, many times it would cross over on itself.

When the black thread crossed over or looped around on itself a shape was created inside of each loop.

Once a loop was created, I would use coloured threads to fill in this space. Simple idea, yet I found myself getting dizzy and lost in this design all the time!!!

The colour scheme was rather simple: the background, the eyes and the mouth would be purple and the face would be yellow.

I decided to make this a little more interesting, as well. I used four different colours of yellow threads to create five different colours. Some of the shapes were filled in using only one colour of thread and other shapes were filled in using a mixture of yellow threads.

This colour blending is easier to see when viewing the purple shapes, especially if you look closely at the lightest blue shapes. You can see that the light blue threads were mixed with a dark purple thread.

I think that these colour blends kinda make the whole thing sparkle in a way!

It took me about two months to create this artwork and since it was to be a surprise present for Carol, you can imagine some of the trouble I had hiding it from her until it was completed!!! She absolutely loved it!

About a week ago, I was rummaging through one of my older art boxes when I came across this design. It’s always nice to find things that you’ve kinda forgotten about or misplaced. I smiled while remembering the history of this artwork and then an idea resurfaced in my mind. The idea was born during the creation of this art but I didn’t have the tools or technology at that time to bring the idea to life. I have those tools now…

I remember thinking that it would be really cool to create an animation film showing the adventures of that one continuous black thread line as it wiggled its way throughout the canvas… and that is just what I’ve done. To do this, tho’, I had to work backwards. I used an ‘erase’ tool on my computer to do this. I erased a few threads and then saved that image. I erased a few more and then saved that image and after close to 400 erases I had created all the images that will go into making this short animation film. I’m hoping to have this video ready to upload to my youtube account by this coming spring. I’ll be sure to post a link to the video when it’s completed.

I certainly did not want to post all of the images that were created, so I’ve posted every 30th frame for this story. I’m sure that your imagination can fill in the rest.

I hope that this story and these images have lifted your spirits and have put a smile on your face.

Until again… be smiley… it’s contagious ya know!!!!


No comments: