Saturday, January 23, 2016

Trying and Trying


All this trying and trying.  It's  pretty trying.

Today's challenge:  trying to use fiber to show the strange and beautiful pods of the golden rain tree, koelreuteria paniculata.


There's no question that the pods are dramatic:

They can be two different colors, depending on the tree, but the tree on which my work is modeled, which grows in the atrium of a Unitarian-Universalist church in San Antonio, Texas, seems to develop the lighter-colored ones.

Aren't they lovely?

But their loveliness turned out to be confounding, as I was unable to live up to it.

I set out to reproduce the pods in silk, and not just any silk, but slubbed silk in two different colors, rose and ivory.  I tried and tried.  I outlined the delicate magenta veins on the pods, first with fabric marker, then with thread.

From among these, I chose the most symmetrical, cut them out, leaving a turning allowance, and very carefully hand-appliqued them to the square for the golden rain tree, which represents fall.
On the left hand side of this square, the top half represents the flowers of the golden rain tree and the bottom half the pods.

But I thought these silk pods, made over the course of the better part of a day, were weak, and so did my husband Joe, I guess, because he tactfully suggested that they gave the piece a folk-art look, and suggested photo transfer as an alternative.

And so it was to be.  We enlarged the image of the pods on the tree in San Antonio, then tailored that image to the size of the space it was to occupy on the stole.

 Here's the altered image, with the silk appliques removed and replaced by the photo transfer of the actual pods.  Ignore the seam allowances; this patch is going to end up smaller than it appears here.

I should have known I wouldn't be equal to the delicate beauty of nature as expressed in the pods of the golden rain tree.  I had to let the tree speak for itself:  arbor ipsa loquitur.

So another effort draws to a conclusion.

All this trying and trying.

It's pretty trying.

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