April 18, 2008

November Pawpaw, and vintage textiles

As I was auditioning the fabrics for "November Pawpaw", I made the decision to keep the color palette rather muted. I wanted to capture the feel and slanting sunlight of the woods in late autumn, and highlight the beautifully decaying pawpaw leaves found by a stream. Since the color contrasts would be soft, I decided to add depth and interest with textures--one of the lovely prerogatives of being a fiber artist.

The cyanotype in the center is on silk, and I picked a mix of wools and corduroy for the bottom panel. The top panel is a mix of silk, raw silk and cottons, some of which I painted, and the left panel is a coarsely woven multicolor silk twill. That left the right panel. Again I rummaged through the bins of vintage goodies, and after some deliberation came up with a crocheted doily/table runner.

This one had caught my eye at the flea market because it had been worked in two different colored cottons, one the standard white, and one ecru. I love speculating how and why this happened--perhaps the woman who made it was elderly, with failing eyesight, and didn't notice when she picked up a new ball of cotton that it was a different shade. Perhaps she ran out of white, and made do with what she had. (A Pennsylvania Dutch woman of that generation would have been a practiced master at making do.) Perhaps she was attempting delineating the spot where a lamp would be placed on the runner. It's a fun mystery.

I backed the runner with a piece of silk, and did a lot of stitching to keep it in place. I like the texture it adds to the work, and the subtle hint of incipient snowflakes it adds. Below is the full view of "November Pawpaw", and you can see more at my website.

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