Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Working Wednesday: Experimenting In New Media

Follow Your Bliss
Artwork & photo by Susan Sorrell, reprinted here with permission.
I've decided to embrace the idea that creative people periodically need to shake themselves up a bit by going outside their comfort zones or niches and experimenting with new skills, new media, new techniques and/or new materials.

So I'm taking an online class from the amazing Susan Sorrell to learn a mixed media fiber art technique she calls fiber collage. And oh, it's really charging my batteries that I hadn't even realized were getting low on power!

I just started on lesson two (out of six), so I have created my quilt sandwich (right).

And then it was time to start figuring out exactly what I wanted to put on it. The idea is a quote or phrase or snippet of song lyric, etc., to give a theme that then gets illustrated with applique that's embellished with pretty much whatever the artist can think of. :)

Take a look at some of Susan's other works:

Art Snob
"Art Snob" by Susan Sorrell

Bad Day At Disney-2
"Bad Day at Disney-2" by Susan Sorrell

Eye Love Me
"Eye Love Me" by Susan Sorrell

Susan's art is so amazing that I've worried a bit that I might only be able to mimic her work and not create my own. And time will tell whether I can manage it or not. But I'm having fun in the mean time!

The first thing that came to mind was a little "poem" that my mother liked to recite to me when I was growing up: "There once was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid." (I had curly hair, including curly bangs, and I'm pretty sure my mother thought that little rhyme had been written with me in mind.) I could even picture in my mind the girl I would create for it.

But that was way too much text for me to try to fit on a 7"x7" square of fabric. (If you browse Susan's work, you'll see she has worked in longer pieces of text, but I don't even have as much talent (or experience) as she has in her pinky finger so I figured I better start with something smaller.

Those of you who know us know that our 7.5-year-old daughter is obsessed with fairies. So, after considering and dismissing numerous quotes, I fell back upon one from Peter Pan when Tinkerbell was at risk of dying and the audience was required to help her survive: "Clap if you believe in fairies!"

So that's what I'm going with. :) I've been playing with some doodles in my sketchbook. I'm not very good at drawing (and I can hardly believe I'm going to post my sketch here, but hopefully I won't hear you as you laugh at how poorly I draw!):

After doodling in my sketchbook, I took a piece of paper the same size as my quilt sandwich to see how it would all fit. I think it works. I plan to embellish the words "Clap" and "Fairies" while leaving the other words plain.

My second-grader had to help me with getting the shape of fairy rings right. Truthfully, I'm very tempted to use her drawing instead of mine:

Ellie says this fairy has "advanced artist" wings, but "you're not ready to draw these yet." Which is OK because those wings look too much like udders to me. But her fairy is adorable, imho. :)
One of the best parts about trying something new is that it inspires me to look at everything around me differently than I previously did. Which is good! I'm looking all over for interesting items or textures that I can incorporate in any art I make, including the pieces I sell on Etsy.

I'll share my progress as I go through this class. But if you really want to be inspired, go browse Susan's Flickr site (because she has so much amazing work that it was torture to limit myself to just a few of her pieces to show you!), and then visit her website and consider signing up for one of her other classes. And if her work isn't your thing, look around elsewhere for a class that interests you, whether it's online or at a local business.

Note: Susan Sorrell generously gave her permission for me to post some photos of her work here. The opinions here are my own, and I'm not being compensated in any way for promoting her work or her classes. I paid full price for the class I'm taking (as well as a previous one of her classes I took last spring). This kind of stuff should go without saying, but I've learned that it's important to say it so no one gets the wrong idea.

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