June 18, 2010

Phat Quarter’s Zen Swap

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:59 pm by Pam

I think I’ve mentioned before that the Phat Quarter on Flickr is one of my favorite embroidery groups, and it has been a big inspiration to me in the past year as I’ve taught myself to embroider. Last month, I joined the second swap I’ve done with them (the first is here). The theme was “zen,” to be interpreted however we saw fit. I joined up, and only after did I realize that I had only the most cliche ideas of what zen was.

It was a terribly hot day in Boston, unseasonably hot, and the whole metro area was under a boil water order thanks to a busted water main. I felt gross and dirty and hot, and I sat with my electric fan blowing right on me. I sat down to brainstorm ideas, and after throwing away every thought that came into my head, I realized that the answer was right in front of me. There is something so very zen about staring into an electric fan on a hot day, knowing that you’ll be cool if you just stay in this one spot.

I didn’t like any of the clip art of fans I found online, so I took a bunch of photographs of my own fan against a white backdrop, then traced a (slightly) simplified line drawing from it. The fan is mostly in silver thread (a pain to work with, but it looks so pretty), and I enjoying figuring out which lines went over other lines and how to make the whole thing a little more 3D. I opted for long blue “ribbons” to show the movement and evoke the coolness of the breeze. A closeup shot of the fan itself is here.

As soon as this was done, I packed it up and mailed it out to sailor.mouth (who made an awesome zen Steven Seagal for the swap).

A few days after mailing off my piece, I got this wonderful piece in return from seamlessgem. I love the simplicity of it, and the way she used free-motion machine embroidery to fill in the shaded space. It’s going to look amazing on my Wall of Awesome!