Monday, March 19, 2012

Deer Love

One of the things that I am enjoying about this whole blogging process is the opportunity to look back at my own thoughts and creations over a span of time.  Sometimes patterns begin to arise and it is interesting to me to see related ideas evolve.
For example, here is a piece of Anna Maria Horner fabric called Forrest Hills.  I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with AMH three years ago, shortly after Lydia turned one. The workshop was about working fabric onto a canvas and then painting around and often over the fabric so that it becomes an inspiration to the painting.
I arrived at the workshop with the idea of doing something about Dianna, goddess of the hunt, and using fabric that I had left over from Lydia's first birthday dress.  You can see the beginning of my painting above.  Dianna was based on a statue of the goddess at Builtmore Estates in Asheville NC.  Below is a picture of Lydia in the dress that I made for her first birthday.
I started the painting process by gluing (using modge podge) the diamond pattern and butterfly pattern fabric to the canvas.  I then added the image of Dianna on top of the fabric and let the fabric become the background.  I decided that the diamonds looked like chain link fencing so I went with the idea of animals that were separated from this hunter goddess by a fence.  I couldn't decide if it was better to be trapped behind a fence or hunted by a goddess.   In the end, I allowed the chain link to denigrate in some areas of the sky so that the butterflies could be free.  (what kind of a goddess hunts butterflies anyway?) 
So that brought up the question of what exactly was the hunted animal in question.  Anna Maria had brought along some scraps of her newest line of fabric, Little Folks.  I had seen this amazing pattern with deer and houses, but someone else was working with the only scraps of it.  By the time I got pretty far along with my image, though, that person had used what they needed and there was a tiny strip of it available.  It is hard to see, but in the lower right corner of my painting, there is a landscape, partially inspired by the Forest Hills fabric. I can still spot two tiny deer near the horizon.  I'm not sure if Dianna sees them or what she intends to do about them!
Anyways, I got the idea then and there of getting my hands on some of this lovely fabric and making something out of it for my Lydia Diann.  When I came across it in a fabric store, all they had was the pink and orange color way, but I was so excited I didn't care.  I also didn't bother to find a pattern and just bought a random amount.  This is a voile, so it was really soft and sheer, but also really pricey so I didn't buy much, maybe a yard of this pattern and a half yard of a coordinate.
I held onto that fabric for almost a year trying to decide what to make and regretting my impulsive (expensive) purchase. Then I was asked to make a dress for a friend's daughter that basically amounted to three rows of ruffles attached to a sundress bodice.  I realized that I could cut whatever amount of the Forrest Hills fabric I had into strips and then divide up the strips so that the first ruffle row was bigger than the bodice width, the second row was bigger than that, and the third row was the biggest in length, creating a gradually widening skirt.  I forget what my exact measurements were, but it didn't really matter.  It was mostly a math problem to get equal width strips in a number that allowed me to use more length on each row.  I think I had something like 3 fabric lengths on the bottom and 2 in the middle and one length on the top.  Anyway, this dress was the perfect bright flouncy addition to our "Tea for Two" mad hatter themed second birthday party
A few months later, I started work on Lydia's "big girl bedroom". When I painted the landscape on her walls I knew I needed to paint some living creatures in all of that land.  I immediately thought of those sweet deer and houses in the Forrest Hills fabric.  I still want to add some more "life" to the mural, but for now I am happy to have the two deer.
Then, last week while looking for fabric additions to use in the nursery for the new baby, I stumbled on this cute Michael Miller fabric.  I think I am in love....again.  Or maybe I am just obsessed!  I am waiting to order it until I decide what to make, but maybe I should learn from the past and get a yard or so and see where it takes me.....and maybe I should add some of those trees to the landscape mural!

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