Thursday, 29 November 2018

Wabi-Sabi I




Size approx: 12” x 12”
by Terry Phillips
Quadra Island, BC

Materials and Techniques:
Upcycled Linen/Tencel blend, commercial batik, cotton thread, cotton/poly batting, cotton backing. Janome domestic machine stitching, hand appliqué.

Theme:  "Oxymoron".  The theme for this piece was admittedly a struggle to begin with. I googled every 'oxymoron' I could find and wasn't happy with any of the traditional ideas of an oxymoron. It wasn't until reading one of my Japanese garden books that I realized I have been working on an oxymoron garden for the last year.

'Perfect Imperfection' is my oxymoron and could be one way to describe the aesthetic of this asymmetrical, rough, and simple wabi-sabi garden. The imperfection is seen in the rough rocks and the gravel. The perfection is man's attempt to shape the land by the placing of the rocks and the daily raking and cleaning.

Wabi-Sabi could be said to have three tenets; imperfection, impermanence, and transience and is derived from early Buddhist teachings. By immersing yourself in the viewing of a miniature rocky landscape or an ancient gnarled tree you begin to see and understand man's relationship to our place on earth.

As you view this piece I hope to impart a small glimmer of Wabi-Sabi.


Here is a detail.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Endless Mystery Complete

The best I can do for a straight on shot at the moment.  The hanging system is complete; a 2" velcro strip (fuzzy side) sewn onto the sleeve at the top.  The velcro hooks are stapled to a 3" maple rail which can be screwed to studs in the wall.  Hanging system should be mostly invisible.

Out of interest the piece weighs 5 lbs; a lot less than I thought it would but of course there is no frame and glass.





Monday, 27 February 2017

Endless Mystery V

Here is the completed piece!

Finished size is approx 38" x 68".  The branches are constructed and applied, as is the 'Old Man's Beard' hanging from the trees.  Edges are bound except for most of the tree trunks which are allowed to extend.  Still need to find a way to get a straight on shot and when I do I'll post again.







Saturday, 18 February 2017

Endless Mystery IV



Quilting the layers together is complete.  The trunks now have their curve and the background has texture.  The ferns and shrubs have some dimension. Paint has been applied to the trunks, the foreground, and the ferns. At the moment I can't get far enough away to get a straight on photo, but here it is sitting on a table.  The next part will be to construct some branches.







This photo shows some of the quilting in the background sky.











Saturday, 11 February 2017

Endless Mystery - Part III

A couple of days have been spent stitching down the ferns, shrubs, and padding the tree trunks.  Here is how I construct the ferns first onto a piece of parchment paper.  The leaves are all prepared ahead of time and ready to apply.  I was quite struck by the abstract energy of the rows of leaves and am planning to do this deliberately one day.  Love how those colours look together.




This is the whole piece with the ferns stitched down.  Still more stitching to do on the shrubs.






And here is a close-up.  The trees have more dimension now with 2 more layers of batting.

















Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Endless Mystery - Part II


The title for this piece was inspired by Emily Carr.  She loved forests and trees more than just about anything and at one point in 'Klee Wyck' she says "For all their crowding, there was room between every tree, every leaf, for limitless mystery."


I have spent a couple of days stitching in the tree trunks.  Here is the piece from the back showing the white stabilizer that keeps the piece from getting distorted during construction.





The shaping of the tree trunks begins at the back where the seams are graded and stitched down so that the trees will have the correct rounded shape in the final product.




Here you can see the main structure of the piece taking shape.  The main trunks are all in place as is all the foreground.  There is room to walk right into this forest and become immersed.  





There is still lots to go!  Next will be ferns and shrubs, followed by tree branches.  Before the quilting the tree trunks will get some extra padding to make them stand out.   Here is a close up.


'Endless Mystery' in progress

Endless Mystery - Part I

"Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky."  This is a quote by Kahlil Glbran from "Sand and Foam."  It explains maybe why I am so passionate about trees. 

I'm documenting progress on my latest forest scene; this one will finish about 36" x 60" landscape.


Here is a sketch of the tree trunks with the foreground taking shape.















Here is the background fabric together with the foreground.   The fabric was dyed back in August using various techniques involving sun, salt, and silk dyes as well as procion dyes.  The effect is that of trees in the distance.




And here I am starting to put the background trees onto the fabric.  These trees are burned out of polyester sheer fabrics using a woodburning tool.  That seals the edges and then the trees are carefully free-motion stitched in place using the paper pattern as a map.





Here I am trialing the tree trunks onto the background fabric and moving them around to create different effects.  They didn't stay this way!