How it began

In my other blog post (“Hommage à mes grands-mères”) I wrote about how I was informally taught needle arts by my two grandmothers before I went to school. With this article, I would like to tell you how my interest in fiber arts further developed.

I loved school in general, and this included the “arts and crafts” lessons of course. I think it was in second grade when we were assigned to embroider a small picture and could choose between a few patterns. I asked my teacher whether I was allowed to come up with my own pattern and she said yes (well done, Mrs H. ;-)!). We had a picture book of cats at home that I used to read to my little sister, and it had a nice drawing of a young cat in a red shoe on the cover. I loved this cute picture and copied it onto fabric. I then embroidered the outlines and filled the forms in simple manner (I only knew three types of stitches back then) and gifted the finished picture to my mother for her birthday. I don’t have a photo of my embroidery but I found a photo of the original drawing:

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So you see, I always liked textile techniques. But in my teenage years and my twenties, I was more interested in the fine arts and experimented with drawing and painting. I had several Salvador Dalí posters hanging on my bedroom walls and was fascinated with how the surrealists translated psychological conditions and emotional moments into surreal paintings… I still love the surrealists to this day, and I think this appreciation shows in my work.

During the third trimester of my first pregnancy (I was 30 years old), I was on strict bedrest for 6 weeks. I lived in America at that time and sent my husband to the craft store to buy a cross stitch kit for me so I could at least do something creative with my hands. I stitched a winter scene with grey wolves and thus came back to working in fibers. I immediately fell in love again with this medium and ever since, I haven’t stopped creating with thread and fabric!…

 

Ceramic work and stitch fusion

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detail of “Mare” 2017

With this series, I aimed to explore how ceramics could be adorned by embroidery. When I went to the local ceramic studio that is open to the public, I had no other concept in mind than to create something that I could possibly stitch on later…

While the clay was processed through the compactor, it lay between damp cloth. Immediately, I noticed that there was an interesting imprint of the cloth on the clay. It looked as if the clay was a thick piece of cloth itself! I then decided to not further process the clay but to simply cut it in small squares and to prick random holes in them that were large enough for a common embroidery needle. I then had these “tiles” put in the kiln.

A few days later, I picked up my now fired tiles and brought them home. I sorted some out and arranged them on my studio table. They looked like ceramic “inchies”! That’s why I decided to arrange them in fours and paint them and decorate them in an “inchy-ish” way.

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painting the ceramic tiles with acrylics

To have a neutral background, I cut out some felt squares. I then stitched the tiles on the black felt and further adorned them with beads.

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one finished tile, adorned with bullion stitch and glass beads

I then arranged the tiles in groups of four and sew them on cloth and put the finished pieces on canvas or directly sew them on painted canvas. The painting of the canvas and the fabric manipulation of the background fabric contribute a lot to the finished pieces!

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“Basalt” (2018), on painted canvas
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“Mare” (2018), on manipulated fabric on canvas

Looking at my creations, I wondered if anybody would buy my works… I thought, I could maybe add a functional bonus so that the works could be viewed as well as used! Thus, I made some of the final pieces into key/jewelry holders. 🙂

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“Volcano” (2017)
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“Mare” (2017)
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“Rustic” (2018)
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“Sunkissed” (2018)
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“Chili” (2018)
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“Rose” (2018)

 

A teabag a day (part 2)

Remember this project I worked on together with my daughter last year? Well, she finally finished her little book of arty-fied teabags! 🙂

So I can share part 2 of the story: A Teabag A Day by RHN


 

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Rust meets textiles

Pentecost this year was very creative for me!

I was able to attend a 3-days-workshop at the art studio of Arti Lemon (artbylemon.com) about oxidation processes in painting. Arti is a painting artist specialising in rust, ink, marble flour, bitumen and some more techniques.

In Arti’s workshop, I learned how to initiate and moderate oxidation processes for mixed media art pieces. Iron becomes rust, other metal particles become patina. The shading depends on many factors such as temperature, humidity and – of course – the sort of chemical you apply to the metals.

As I am primarily a textile artist, I was experimenting with fusing textiles and rust.

These are my “results” so far:

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Rusted 1 (2018)
  • wallpaper and vintage lace on mdf board
  • oxidated silver, copper and iron
  • 15 x 15 cm
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Rusted 4 (2018)
  • vintage lace on mdf board
  • oxidated iron, copper
  • hand embroidery
  • 15 x 15 cm
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Rusted 3 (2018)
  • pressed dried physalis petals and cloth stripes on mdf board
  • acrylic paint, oxidated copper, graphite
  • hand embroidery
  • 15 x 15 cm
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Rusted 2 (2018)
  • vintage lace and synthetic gauze on mdf board
  • oxidated capper and silver, acrylic ink and acrylic paint
  • linocut stamp
  • freestyle goldwork
  • 15 x 15 cm

 

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Rusted 5 (2018)
  • background mdf-board: Chinese paper and acrylic paint
  • foreground mdf-board: oxidated iron, acrylic paint and seed pod
  • 20 x 20 cm

edit July 2018: I was thrilled to learn that Rusted 2 won second prize in the “All Waterscape” competition of the CAGO (Contemporary Art Gallery Online) within the cathegorie “mixed media”! 🙂