Monday, November 22, 2010


matisse 012
It's journal time again. This small monthly activity is sometimes the only thread of fiber connection I can conjure up. Thank goodness for quilt journals! This month's focus, from the MASTERS, was brought forth by Terri, who seems to always come up with good artistic challenges. In my mental ruminations, I felt I had two options for approaching this: to study the style of one of the masters and create my own piece in that style, or to just replicate a piece in fabric. With my busy and disheveled life, smack dab in the middle of  remodeling projects, I chose the latter.
One of the things I love so much about my new town, Jacksonville, Oregon, is the library. In my summer spot of Refuge Cove, the closest thing we have to a library is a tiny book exchange. In Mexico, there is a great gringo library, but mostly filled with donations over a period of 10+ years. No interlibrary loan, no search engines. Mostly I am forced to bring along my own books to keep my reading spirit fed, and I'm always checking with friends to see what they have available. Here, I am a 15 minute walk away from a small but beautiful building that has the world at my fingertips. So on a lovely fall day I headed downtown to check out books of the MASTERS.
Dali, Degas, Renoir, Matisse, Monet, van Gogh... I spent a lovely hour perusing through these books to see what would jump out at me. What was I most attracted to? What could I handle in fabric? It was the color, shape, line and abstarct qualities of Henri Matisse that led me to focus on his work. And from there I chose his 1950 piece "Zulma" (he was 80 at the time) to recreate.
I dug out my stash of hand-dyes to look for potential colors. I started slowly (hand stitching all the way) with the shapes of the background, moved into the side tables and then struggled with the body form. Achieving that perfect drape and stance next to the table was tricky. And then when done, my form was so much more MATURE than his. But I let it go and continued. After all, mature figures are a good thing, as I tell myself these days! I know, many fiber artists use transferring tricks and materials to get the perfect copy, but that's never been my thing. There's something about the "look and cut" method that I far it works for me!
I was just about ready to leave off the two vases but then decided to go for it. The stark white against the colors of this piece seemed to be quite an anomoly to me, so I chose to go with buttons which also stand out in this piece. I'm happy with those little white buttons.  The eye is drawn to them, but then back to the colors, the shapes, the lines. There's much going on of interest in my little piece.
Thanks again Terri, for your MASTERS challenge!

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