Monday, July 19, 2010

The beauty of blackwork

I originally wanted to call my blogging alter-ego 'The ADD Artist,' and this blackwork embroidered bookmark is a perfect example of why. While working on my 'Look at the Birdie' collage, I happened to see some blackwork in a publication I was viewing. My collage became instantly passe, and I decided that I had to try some blackwork NOW!

Luckily for me, I had been enthralled with blackwork and embroidery in the past, probably four or five years ago, and so I had all the supplies needed to begin. I looked online for some patterns and found this bookmark. I think it turned out great. I am now in the process of creating my own pattern for a blackwork house, which I think will be fabulous when completed! (OK, I know I really should have said 'if completed,' but you gotta have faith, right?)

A little note on the history of blackwork embroidery:

The true origin of this type of embroidery seems to have been with the Moors and Arabs, who brought blackwork to England in the thirteenth century. It became even more popular when the Spanish princess, Katharine of Aragon, married Henry VIII and influenced the English court with her passion for embroidery. The stitch she favored was known as 'spanishwork,' having become part of the Spanish culture during the rule of the Moors.

When Katharine and Henry divorced in 1533, the term 'spanishwork' was replaced with 'blackwork' because of the use of black thread on white fabric. It became immensely popular in Elizabethan times, with many examples of blackwork depicted on clothes, particularly collars and cuffs, in portraits of Queen Elizabeth and her court.

Blackwork can also be worked with different colored thread on white fabric (I particularly enjoy red and white) or, conversely, white thread on black fabric. It's a very simple form of embroidery, but I must warn you if you decide to try it, your eyes will get loopy! Do you remember those 3D pictures that were all the rage in the early '90s that you had to stare at until your eyes 'zoned out' and then you could see the 3D image? That will happen with blackwork! But it's still fun and well worth the effort! :) I am, as always,

Dianne the Dabbler

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creative Collage

My last (and first:)) post talked about my love of learning. This goes hand in hand with my passion for creating. I enjoy dabbling in anything that is creative in nature: music, writing, designing jewelry, quilting, painting, etc.

I think we all need to be creative in some way in order to be completely fulfilled. God created us in His image, and since He is the ultimate Creator, it's only natural that we have that creative instinct inside us. I remember when I had a job in an accounting department, I would crunch numbers and send out invoices for eight hours a day. I happened to be writing a book at the time, and when I got home, even if I only wrote two sentences, I would feel such a sense of satisfaction and happiness!

I am now in the joyous throes of mixed-media art, namely, collage. (see above) I love using beautiful papers, fabrics, paint, markers, thread, and embellishments all in one crazy piece! In finishing my project, though, I learned a valuable lesson. Never attempt to brush a finishing layer of decoupage medium over colored markers; they will run. :( Instead, spray a thick layer of water-based polyurethane over top, and Bob's your uncle! I am, as always,

Dianne the Dabbler

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Dabble Or Not To Dabble?

I Dab, Therefore I Am? No. Not quite. I Dabble, Therefore I Ammle? Even worse :) How about To Dabble or Not To Dabble? Hmm... that IS the question!

I've been a passionate dabbler my whole life, mostly in the arts, but sometimes I venture into other intriguing and irresistible subjects such as gemology, English history, and the always fun paranormal field. Dabbling enables me to keep my thirst for knowledge and learning alive. To me, learning is an art form, and needs to be practised daily. It is a necessary component to living; without it my inner spark is gone and my life becomes a boring canvas of inevitability.

However, I do sometimes feel a little guilty being a dabbler. The dictionary definition of dabble is: to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner. Is it just me, or does this sound a bit negative? It's as though the world has judged me as a fly-by-night, inconsistent, shallow person who doesn't take her work seriously. Let me assure you, I AM a serious dabbler! (ooh, that didn't come out right)

Anyway, I am just saying NO to this negativity and have decided to celebrate my dabbling nature in this blog. I am, as always,

Dianne the Dabbler