Almost like one of those paintings on velvet, don’t you think?
Here we are, mid-September, and the garden has cooled considerably. A few days of rain about a week ago interrupted a three-month drought in the Southern Gulf Islands. The soil is still not moist enough, but mosses are reviving.
Above, the bougainvillea that “pouted” all summer long, after a serious clipping back, is now in full glory. That is a close-up of the blooms (the little white flowers) and bracts (the flashy fuchsia/purple “wings”). This plant livens up a corner of the deck… but should come back into the greenhouse in a couple of weeks or so.
This is one of my succulents’ bloom. It is an Echeveria, I am not sure which one, though. After a summer on the deck, it is finally blooming. It also will have to return indoors in a couple of weeks, because it doesn’t like really wet soil.
True blue, that is my name for this Salvia “Blue Angel”. That shade of blue is very noticeable as you walk to the front door. Took all summer, but is finally blooming its little heart out!
And above, a hardy Cyclamen. The previous owners of this house planted some bulbs 30+ years ago, and I never saw these little flowers until we installed a deer fence three years ago. Now, I spot these little angel wings all over the front yard! Very elegant little flowers.
Here is a close-up:
Tonight’s sunset was heart-stopping. I was stalking it with my camera, from my deck. I knew it was going to be a repeat of yesterday’s show, and did not want to miss it.
A slow lowering …
With a touch of cloud, to provide a little veiling.
And the sun kept traveling down, cradled between two hills, before disappearing.
edge of the world
I added a little visual jazz to this last photo. Let us call it “The last heat of the day”.
I love poppies. In my garden, they finished their big show over a month ago, but that won’t stop me from bragging about their beauty. And individuality.
So today, I will overwhelm you with poppy gorgeousness. Prepare yourself.
Above, a picotée in delicate shades.
And its cousin, in dark shades. Note the hot pink near the center…
Isn’t this one the Drama Queen? Complete with fringe, and high contrast action.
A beauty in deepest red… and hot pink. Absolutely shining in the sun.
Hot colour, light pistil, in contrast with the one before…
I call this one the Cutie Pie. All pink inside, and deep red outside.
Up close and personal with the Drama Queen. Couldn’t resist.
Then, there is the white one with pink heart and exotic pistil.
And the aging beauty, starting to show its wear and tear, but still showing some flash. Feels familiar!
And this is the “all together now” moment. This is just a section of the poppy riot that occurs every spring in my garden for the past 7 years, because I shake the seed heads in late July, and I encourage a whole bed of them to flourish the next year. Best dollar seed packet I ever spent!
Traveling back in time, on this 7th of my posts exploring
the origin of the species some of the techniques I use to texture and quilt my work.
First, here is a photo of a sword fern frond, its sinuous lines highlighted with bright colours, lacy edges and all. It’s an introduction to the sinuous lines of a quilt I made long ago, celebrating my son’s birth, and my memories of the hours that preceded his arrival.
During those hours, I was hooked to a monitor that kept track of my contractions, with a very wavy set of lines, a visual description of what my body was going through.
A few years later, while paging through a photo album, I came across the monitor printout. Memories of that day just flooded in. I thought I could interpret those lines in a quilt. In hot colours.
Here is Contractions:
First, I inserted wavy lines into a black piece of cloth, using reverse appliqué.
I used bright colours to highlight the electric waves of contractions I remembered so vividly…
And about bright colours: I think that any rules you were taught (or read about) are meant to be broken, at least a few times.
To illustrate that, here is a close-up of a Rufous hummingbird.
Who knew that hot pink can be jazzy near this delicate buff, and russet? And that the heat of that hot colour actually brings out the subtle green below? Not me.
In nature, almost anything goes, so why not in textile art?
Back to stitching: after inserting the bright reverse-appliqué lines and shapes , I moved on to the finishing of raw edges. Lots of plain old satin stitching. Let me tell you that satin stitching along miles (or so it seemed) of curvy lines got a tad repetitive.
I started playing with the thread colours and the tension in my machine. I used two thread colours in the top, and a third in the bobbin. I added extra tension on top, to “pop” the bottom thread.
In a way, this approach is the equivalent of creating your own variegated thread. All three colours show up and blend. The above photo shows the progression from plain satin stitch on the left and middle, to jazzy “bubble stitch” with three threads on the right.
Between the wavy inserts, I added more texturing. I was hoping to create flow between the rows of contractions.
Above, the left blue and red curvy shape is entirely thread-play. The right reverse-appliqué in red is edged with moss stitch. This is very tight figure eight stitching. Very time consuming. And thread consuming too…
Above, on the left: regular satin stitching with two thread colours and with really tight top tension, pulling up the bobbin thread to the surface, and creating an interesting variation in the process. A “tribal” effect. I really like it.
On the right: satin stitch with spikes, in purple. The spikes were achieved by jerking the piece at some points, to break up the regular sating stitching.
Thread play. It’s fun, it’s not dangerous. It can keep you out of trouble. Well, you may end up investing in threads… So it could be dangerous, after all.
In closing, I offer up a sea star, gloriously red and ridged, hanging out on the side of a rock. Colour and texture, always a winning combo.