My inspiration is a painting I saw on the cover of a magazine. I cut it out, cut it up, used it to make artsy postcards... Then I didn't send the postcards because I love the picture too much to let it go! I wish I knew who painted the original; the artist's name was either Chinese or Korean, and may have included "cheong"... and may have been hyphenated... and there's no way I'm getting out of this sentence without sounding racist, is there? I wish I had written the name down, but when I took the magazine apart I was just collecting textures for collage art, not expecting to need to cite my sources. Here are pictures of some bits of the painting:
Are those daisies or chamomile? Anyway, the painting is soft and spacious and lovely. It's almost all meadow, with the embracing lovers very small in the distance.
My intention is not to copy the painting, but to make my own meadow with flowers. If you know the artist, please let me know! I'd love to give credit where credit is due!
A LITTLE PLANNING
I start by drawing an asterisk. Then I measure from the center intersection out the same length along each spoke and make a mark. I connect those marks, and voila: an octagon, already subdivided into eighths! I use that template to make up several new pieces with quarter-inch seam allowances added: a whole octagon, three-eighths, a quarter, an eighth, and a corner piece. I don't bother with a half-piece because if I want to make an octagon with halves, I can do that super easily without a pattern. I do make a three-eighths piece because it's roughly leaf-shaped.
I cut various pieces in various colors, and start putting them together. Sometimes, if I think it's fun, I try to make a flower. Other times, if I think it's fun, I just put greens together. Flowers are more fun, but greens go faster, and I think there needs to be approximately a 1:3 ratio, so the meadow is mostly green rather than mostly floral.
My initial thought is to sew four corner pieces to turn octagons into squares and then assemble the square blocks in long rows. But when I do a few like that, I think it looks too staid and regimented to be a meadow, so I change it up. I sew two corner-pieces to each octagon, to make an eye shape, which I can assemble in wiggly rows instead of straight rows. That looks better!
I have made a good start, and it delights me to look at it. As I walk through Portland's beautiful spring, smiling at all the flowers and enjoying sunshine after a long gray winter, I think of my fabric meadow at home, and how pretty it'll look when it's done.
As for my fear of piecing, I find I don't care at all that some of my blocks don't fit together and have to be augmented with little slivers here and there. I'm no longer worried about piecing being an exact science I could mess up, because I have messed up, and fixed it, and it looks fine. The stakes (perfection or else!) were not as high as I thought.
(As a side note... remember my post about memories encoded in stitches? Well, here's an example: I was watching Dominic Noble's Lost in Adaptation review of First Blood one evening when I was making a lot of green octagons, and now the sight of the dark green batik reminds me of that video!
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