I N C E P T I O N

MEET: INCEPTION

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As an artist, I have always struggled with coming up with some fancy conceptual names for my work, probably because I’m not that great at getting super conceptual. As a person, I am pretty straight forward, it is rare that as a friend, family member or husband that you might be confused, unaware or unsure of how I am feeling about certain things. This is not a quality that I am bothered by. Rather, I applaud my ability to tell people exactly what I expect, how I feel or what I am working towards. Kind of like talking to the person next to you on a plane—you just never know how they might be able to help you or provide you with connections. The world is smaller than we think.

But I digress. 

It was a proud moment when I named this piece Inception, because it felt so perfect. I know that at some point a couple years ago, I drew a sketch where I wanted to combine multiple leaves to create a larger piece, and I posted it up. (At the moment I cannot find it, but when I do, I will be sure to share it with you.) Even a couple years ago, I was dreaming bigger for my work. I had bigger and better ideas, but just wasn’t quite ready to create them. Well, I am now [somewhat] ready to take that step. About a month ago, I started “reading” [audiobook] Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, and I will have to say that her book is probably the best book with that type of content that I have come across, and I mean it. I’ve listened to podcasts, and fed into plenty of “personal coach” content, and I am always skeptical. Much of it is the same. And sure, there is some overlap in content with Girl, Stop Apologizing,  because its the same type of message, but there was something different about it. However, that is another blog post for another time. While reading this book, and pondering my direction in life, there was a spark for me and one day I decided that I was going to make a larger piece. From what I can tell, that was on May 16:

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I didn’t ponder too long before I had made my decision on what to do, and clearly didn’t have that much need to fully render a sketch. It had been a while since I had made any color bursts, and I really wanted to bring them back, so I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity. Then I thought hmm, why choose a color palette with multiple leaves when I can just do the whole color wheel. Yeah, that’s pretty fundamental—I’ll just stick to the basics. This could make sense. And that is literally how my brain worked for this project. I grabbed a spare leaf I had in my moleskin, and started to “play” with my idea during lunch that day at work. That leaf that I started just to “play” with, became:

Once I finished the red, I moved on to the orange, yellow... then green, then blue, and finished off with the purple. I was so excited with each leaf that I made that I finished this piece in just over a week. Now, connecting them was still the brain teaser.  Do I find a way to make it a seamless connection? Make the connection obvious? How do I do this? Just connect with a running stitch? Connect with the appliqué stitch?   I mean, once I get going there really isn’t much turning around. This is not fabric. And this is a huge part of why I love this work v traditional embroidery. You’re either in, or you’re out. I was IN. Committed. This piece was happening, but I also had to finish it like meow because I wanted to have it for the Marietta Artisan Market that Saturday, May 25th. After a little back and forth in my head and a  small  test piece, I decided to make the seams as invisible as I could, using a brown embroidery floss. It was tough you guys... it was really a bit of a challenge to splice these together. First I had to hold them in my hand and get them to the right angle, then somehow I had to flip the whole piece over and tape the backsides so that they would stay at that angle. Furthermore, 3 of these leaves were extra fragile in that they did crack small in places. Ahhh! I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. In the end, I finally finished it and it didn’t get any easier as I went. It got more challenging because it was difficult to hold in my hand, ever so gently, while also trying to poke my very small needle thru 2 layers of leaf and not crack the leaves with the force of my fingers. Phew. I finished it. But was it done?

Once I finished the red, I moved on to the orange, yellow... then green, then blue, and finished off with the purple. I was so excited with each leaf that I made that I finished this piece in just over a week. Now, connecting them was still the brain teaser. Do I find a way to make it a seamless connection? Make the connection obvious? How do I do this? Just connect with a running stitch? Connect with the appliqué stitch?  I mean, once I get going there really isn’t much turning around. This is not fabric. And this is a huge part of why I love this work v traditional embroidery. You’re either in, or you’re out. I was IN. Committed. This piece was happening, but I also had to finish it like meow because I wanted to have it for the Marietta Artisan Market that Saturday, May 25th. After a little back and forth in my head and a small test piece, I decided to make the seams as invisible as I could, using a brown embroidery floss. It was tough you guys... it was really a bit of a challenge to splice these together. First I had to hold them in my hand and get them to the right angle, then somehow I had to flip the whole piece over and tape the backsides so that they would stay at that angle. Furthermore, 3 of these leaves were extra fragile in that they did crack small in places. Ahhh! I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. In the end, I finally finished it and it didn’t get any easier as I went. It got more challenging because it was difficult to hold in my hand, ever so gently, while also trying to poke my very small needle thru 2 layers of leaf and not crack the leaves with the force of my fingers. Phew. I finished it. But was it done?

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For some reason, I wanted the piece to be independently stable even though it was going to be framed, and it was still pretty flimsy with them all being connected as they were. I debated backing it somehow, but then thought well maybe if I add white to the center. Like a proper color wheel. All colors come together to create white. That would add some extra stability, but if I do it, I’m doing it. No turning back. And I did it. Part of me regrets that decision, part of me still wonders if I should just add more white. But thats the thing with this project. It is the inception. It’s a starting point to something more. This... this piece is technically just a sketch. A sketch for bigger and greater pieces. This piece is where I work out some of the kinks so that going forward I know what I am doing. This sketch, took me approximately 15 hours of work.

In my head, I envisioned this piece in a glass on glass solid white frame around it. Someone that very week asked to see a picture of the back of my work. Something I think some of us artists let slide or forget about— how interesting the process is to viewers. And granted I share much of my process openly, but the backs. To see the back of the embroidery. So this very question from a curious follower was part of my decision to frame it between glass. And since the piece is full of color, clearly white was the way to go. I envisioned this piece in some classy home with lots of white walls and white furniture, a grand piano, and black and white tile floors. Or hardwood. Either way, this piece, once I saw it finished. This piece is my current masterpiece. In my opinion, it even surpasses my Starry Night rendition. But that’s still not finished, so there is time to make it. 😉

 

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The morning of the 25th at 4am, I got up, went downstairs to my basement studio and got straight to work. I had just bought this hanging shelf from Hobby Lobby the night before for $6, but it needed some work to make it work with my space. But what I really needed to do was finish painting the corner. The room came with this awful sea-foam green paint on the walls, and its the basement, so like, who cares. But when we first moved in, I knew right away, that color would throw off all my creative vibes. I needed crisp white walls. Mostly for the photographing element. So, I had about 20 ft (x7ft tall) of wall to paint, I had to set up lighting with one clip lamp and the dull overhead lightbulb and hope it was enough, I had to DIY this shelf and make it hang (which required cutting the rope they had, and adding in some more so it could hang from the ceiling since its a concrete wall and I don't have the tools or knowledge to drill into it), I had to photograph this piece...just in case someone were to purchase it at the market, and I still had to load up my car for the market, all to complete in 1.5 hours. But by golly, I did it. All of it.

And thus, my studio got a little more picturesque (for what it is), which means my desire to work there has increased, I formed a staged area for new photography of my work, and I freaken did it. Inception, y’all. This piece started it all.

 

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And believe it or not, this piece is up for sale. And it can be yours, whether or not you have all white walls, furniture, or a grand piano. It will come with this frame. Exactly as you see here. Price: $610. Frame size: 11”x12”

Another fun note about this piece, in a topic I will get into more depth about later, but I have entered it in an online exhibition competition: The Power of Color. It’s perfect! I should find out by June 25th if it is accepted.

(But if you sign up to be a part of my newsletter, you can get a 15% off code)