paying tribute with my art
When you look at the things that I make, the embroidered motifs, printable cards, projects made from felt, it would be easy to see fun, cute little things that are just that. Fun and cute. And you wouldn't be off with that idea. I make a point of trying to make sweet little things that bring a smile to people's faces. But often, there is more to what you see.
A set of illustrations usually starts with a theme. Sometimes the theme is random...something that I think would just be fun. Many times it is something that is important to me, for whatever reason. Then, once the drawings start coming, some are ones that just make sense for the theme. Many are drawn because they remind me of someone or something that I love.
Look closely at these photos and you'll see what they are really about:
A cuckoo clock like Papa's. Dad's favorite Christmas treat. A cookie cut from Great-Grandma Mollie's cookie cutter. My brother's favorite sport. A pecan roll like Nanny used to make.
These are just a few examples. The Virtues patterns that I post here on occasion are some more obvious examples, but my designs are full of them, hidden away in places that sometimes even I barely notice. I put pieces of the people that I love and the things that are important to me and to culture into my work. It's a way that I can remember them. Pay tribute to them. Honor them.
I recently heard an interview with Sufjan Stevens (yes, I mentioned him yesterday too), and he said that he does this same thing with his songs. If you listen to his music, this can come as no surprise. He didn't just take inspiration from a state or an eccentric artist...he honored them. How wonderful!
Last month I was drawing up some red things for the Pattern of the Month Club, and one of the things that I started thinking about was red wolves. Why? Because it's in a song lyric from none other than Sufjan. Animals are still not one of the things that I'm very comfortable drawing, but I gave it a try. After all, why not honor a song from a favorite musician who honors others?
Here's my "sleeping red wolf", which I've not yet stitched. If you would like to use it for some quick embroidery, please help yourself to the pattern.
Maybe it seems funny, given the fact that I draw things with faces on them, but I really do take all of this quite seriously. Just typing that makes me think that I'm probably crazier than even I thought, but there it is.
Things are better with faces, and they are made even better when there is a special meaning given to each of them.
By Mollie Johanson at Thursday, February 24, 2011