I may be easing into a new way of working. As I focus more on drawing, it is only natural that I try to make a connection between my works on paper and my works on fabric. The connection need not be obvious or intentional — I’m just trying to be mindful of it’s possibility.
The last Twelve by Twelve challenge of the year is Sweet. It will be my last challenge with the group, so “Bittersweet” came to mind. As usual, I went to my working sketchbook and wrote down things that came to mind when I thought of sweet or bittersweet. Then, instead of going to my fabric stash, or being satisfied with rough little sketches, I went to one of my heftier sketchbooks and drew/painted studies of bittersweet. I drew two varieties of the plant, and painted abstractions such as the triangles in the page above, and a stylized berry pattern on another page which also included a drawing of a pile of dark chocolate.
I like the concept, and there are some interesting elements going on. But I’m quite sure I don’t want to be so literal as to recreate my sketchbook drawing in fabric. So often, something is lost in the translation when trying to recreate a drawing or a photo in fabric. The medium is so much a part of the message. So, what to do, what to do?
Somewhere along the way, keeping up with the doings of our teenage German exchange student, something caught my eye. She had posted a cute picture of herself and her sister on Facebook. A friend responded with “sweet,” but in German, which is “suess.” He used the extended German alphabet, with contracts the double esses to an eszet (ß), which looks to Americans to be a funny B, and changes the ue to a u with an umlaut (ü) — which looked to me like a cute little happy face in the middle of the word! Süß! How sweet is that?! You never know where inspiration will come from.
Now I’m thinking I will go with the typographic interpretation of Sweet and not the bittersweet aspect. So, was all the drawing and exploration of Bittersweet a waste of time? Absolutely not. It was part of the process. It helped me clarify. It provided me with a color scheme I will stick with, and options for details if I want or need them. I’m thinking that the triangles could reappear as a quilting motif, and the red berry pattern could translate nicely to embroidery…