Continued from Special Event City Part 1...
The second special event came about because of an organization I recently joined: Austin Songwriters Group, which celebrated its 25th anniversary on April 6, in conjunction with the 7th annual Merle Haggard Birthday Party. ASG's executive director mentioned the need for donations of items for the silent auction so I volunteered some of my fiber art. My original thought was to simply raid my inventory, but then it occurred to me that here was a chance to custom-design something specifically for this organization and event, something with a musical tie-in.
I set myself the task of using my own photographs as fabric transfers, which meant searching through all my digital photo files for just the right ones. I ended up with two images that sparked ideas (see photos, below), but I couldn't really envision combining them. So that meant creating two pieces. I only found out about the silent auction on a Saturday and I needed to hand the pieces over by the following Tuesday, so I was boxing myself in with regard to time--but what else is new?
Here are the photos I selected:
|Musical Instruments photo by Nita Lou Bryant|
|Open Door photo by Nita Lou Bryant|
I began with the "Open Door" photo. The first thing I made was a wall hanging with a fabric transfer of this image appliqued onto a piece of green and blue and yellow floral upholstery fabric. I liked it, but it wasn't in any way...musical. So I turned my attention to the photo of the musical instruments. I loved the way the light shone on the curve of the guitar, so I cropped the picture (see photo 1, below), made a fabric transfer of it, and began the process of combining machine quilting and applique to build up a few layers on an upholstery-fabric background. (I do so love to take sewing three-dimensional.) I decided to call the piece "Let Your Light Shine" (see photos 2 and 3 below).
Cropped photo of guitar by Nita Lou Bryant
|Photo 2 (front)|
"Let Your Light Shine" Photo and fiber art wall hanging by Nita Lou Bryant
|Photo 3 (back)|
"Let Your LIght Shine"
Photo and fiber art wall hanging by Nita Lou Bryant
When I came back to the "Open Door" piece, I started by thinking about the kind of song the photo suggested and I came up with what I can imagine as the first line of a first verse:
Write a song to walk me through an open doorway
That was all it took to get me re-started. Using a fabric marker, I wrote those words on the velvet-ribbon portions of some sheer curtain material I bought in Santa Barbara, sewed them onto woven strips of Guatemalan fabric I bought in San Antonio, and in that way formed a kind of frame around the fabric tranfser image (see photos 1-3, below).
|Photo 1 "Write a Song"|
by Nita Lou Bryant
|Photo 2 "...to walk me through..."|
by Nita Lou Bryant
|Photo 3 "...an open doorway"|
by Nita Lou Bryant
The rest was just a matter of sewing the fabric-framed image onto a solid blue backing sheet, machine-embroidering the bejabbers out it, then attaching the whole thing to a wooden canvas stretcher frame using a staple gun (see photos 4 and 5, below).
|"Write a song to walk me through an open doorway"|
fiber art wall hanging
Nita Lou Bryant
|Photo 5 (back)|
And here's how it looks from the back, which is a rather anti-climactic way to end this post--so I won't!
I will go on to tell you that my biggest fear was that neither of these donated pieces would receive a single scribbly bid in the silent auction to benefit the Austin Songwriters' Group and in order to save face (as well as come through with some cash for the ASG) I'd end up having to buy them myself! Fortunately that didn't happen. Both pieces sold: one to someone I know (and I so love her for buying it) and the other to someone I don't know. Both buyers got a bargain--after seeing the prices on the fiber art pieces displayed at the Wesley Gallery the other evening (aha! see how I've cleverly brought us back full circle to Part 1 of this post?) I realize that I could have set a much higher starting bid on these silent-auction items.
Good to know for next year...
Happy sewing and singing and songwriting and
doing whatever else brings your heart joy.