Story cloth...


...a bit of a departure for me, this kind of stitching, this kind of story telling.  Actually, it's more than a departure - I think this is a new path.  

There's a marvelous phenomenon happening within the cyber world...online workshops.  Artists are generously sharing their knowledge & experience through the computer these days.  If not for opportunities like this, I probably would never have the chance to learn about telling stories with cloth from a textile artist like Jude Hill.  Spirit Cloth is her blog, an inspiring place to visit and learn.

The 'Spirit Cloth' workshop is over now, but I am still (along with several others) finishing my piece.

Oh my, what I am learning!  I started out wanting to teach my hands to stitch.  And this is indeed happening.  What is also happening is learning the language of cloth...how different fabrics *sit* with each other, how edges speak...or shout, how moods can be created with piecing techniques and how texture lends personality.

My story cloth is also a sampler of sorts, as I've never before done any kind of quilting and I wanted to experiment with all that Jude had on offer.  I am even going to add words, something I mentioned in class that I have always avoided.  Just because I want to break some of my own rules - try on a new dress of a different color  :>]

All the cloth I'm using has been repurposed from something else.  Old shirts, blouses, stained linens, a torn skirt, and a discarded pillow case are included in this making.  Also, precious bits & pieces from blog friends in other parts of the world...Teresa's natural dye fragments from Australia...pink avocado-dyed sheers from Heike at Gerdiary, in Germany...Diane's amazing embroidery thread, all the way from France.

Working style for our class was completely improvisational.  There was/is no plan.  I didn't even have a story to begin with, just a jumble of cloth pieces waiting to tell me where they wanted to go.  And then the story did begin and the cloth went through several permutations.  This way of working is exactly like improvisational bead embroidery (my first love) and the entire reason I wanted to learn how to make story cloth bases.  Because for me, its all about creating landscapes where beads will live...


Now, a bit more stitching to do, words to collage into place, and then on to the beadwork...

Here are a few other stories that came from our workshop, each unique and WONDERFUL.
Susan C.
Linda S.

Till next time friends,


Over the rainbow...


This story should perhaps start with, "Once upon a time, there was a soulbead sister named Grace..."  What is so amazing is that I've never actually met Grace, but somehow we are getting to know each other quite well through our mutual love of all things beady.  This often happens with bead people - we can't seem to help ourselves.  That's a long story in and of itself, but the important thing I want to share with you is that Grace has sent
the most incredible gift!
A collection of beaded cards - story cards really, each with their own theme - full of so much whimsy and delight, I just have to show them to you. Have you ever in your wildest, seen a flying butler?!  What is he doing out there in the garden with the chameleon and the ladybugs?

~ Chameleon eating buzzy bug ~
Czech brown striped beads, lampwork ladybugs, faceted Prenhite beads containing rutilated inclusions

Grace made all these cards all by hand.  They are hand stamped, with beads from her stash carefully stitched in place.  She kindly provided me the description of the various beads since some of them I had never even seen before.  Oh, be still my heart  :>]

~ Hoarding hedgehogs ~
Lampwork beads: turquoise discs & clear beads with cobalt dots, Tibetan bone beads

I should let you know that I have this *thing* for hedgehogs...ever since living in England awhile back where they'd come out at night and cavort on the lawn.  Took quite a strong liking to the little mites.  But I didn't know that Grace knew this!

~ Sealife ~
Stick pearls, seed pearls, African-trade Chevron beads, Japanese seed beads, vintage glass Czech beads

~ Draw your own beads! ~
Japanese seed beads, German molded glass beads (long "petal" beads & turquoise scarab beads)

I can't say I've left the best for last because all of these are so, so splendid, but I just get so darn happy whenever I look at this one:

~ Hedgies in my garden ~
Peruvian hedgies (ceramic?), green turquoise (tubes & pebbles), Howlite melon beads, amethyst beads

There's just no way to have a bad day when you've got hedgies around doing this,

and when you've got wonderful, creative people in the world who shine their light on you by gifting you something so AMAZING

But that's not quite the end of the story.  The evening of the day that Grace's gift arrived, the sky put on a beautiful light show.  I took this photo quite late in the evening across the veg garden.  After a rainy afternoon, the sunset turned the sky all pinky-gold...and this appeared,

a double rainbow.  You can just barely see the 2nd one, off to the right.  I couldn't help but think of Grace's gift as my own very special *pot of gold*...