Thursday, January 29, 2015


(Editor's Note - I wrote this last week, and delayed posting it because I meant to write about the previous 3 finishes first.  I didn't get to that, and then work on Snowfall went more quickly than I thought it would.  Snowfall is now finished.)

My next UFO is a more complex piece.  It's called "Sampling the Snowfall" and was designed and taught by Susan Goodman at my EGA chapter in (I think) 2011.  Her specialty is combining photography with needlework to create unique and stunning works of art.  She doesn't have a website, but if you google "Susan Goodman needlework" you'll find images of her work.

On display at the Musee D'Orsay
"Sampling the Snowfall" uses a painting by Monet, "The Magpie," as its basis. The painting is a study of shadows on snow, and Monet experimented by using color to depict the shadows.  It made me think of solitude and serenity, and how quiet my neighborhood was on Sunday mornings when I walked down to Mass.

We began the stitched piece at the bottom, with bands of stitches in soft, wintery colors.  This was the easy part.  When I got to the top, where the snow and trees are, I got stuck.  The trees, in particular, had me stumped.  How was I supposed to stitch these shapes and make them look like trees?  Would they look like the painting?  And what about the building in the background?  Susan explained how to stitch it, but I just wasn't sure about it.  How would I fit those stitches behind the trees?  And would I be covering the right spaces and shapes?  Would it look right or would it look stupid?

copyright Susan Goodman, 2005
You're allowed - even encouraged - to make changes in a project like this, and not do everything "by the book."  I wasn't comfortable with the suggested stitch for the trees, twisted chain stitch.  And I wasn't sure about just using one strand of DMC 839.  In looking at it recently, I asked myself, "What am I trying to do here?  Am I recreating this painting, or reinterpreting it?"  To me, it's a reinterpretation in a different medium.  It's not about shadows, but about color, shape, and texture.  I don't have to make everything look exactly like the painting.  I can put in a tree where there isn't one in the painting, and I can leave out the building in the background, and let it be another shadow on a late winter afternoon.  I can create the texture of bark by using 3 strands of DMC 839 in the long and short stitch.  Thinking like this has freed me up to continue stitching and not get caught up in being so faithful to the original.  But I can't help wondering, what would Monet think of us stitching his painting?

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