Sunday, August 26, 2007


Living in a place that borders on the subtropical, with a climate that can best be described as mild and equable, one is not as conscious of the cycle of the seasons as keenly as someone in the higher latitudes. Mind you, yesterday was cold, wet and windy enough for us to burn the fire all day......but today, after an initial period of mist and drizzle, the sun is coming out, and you could sit out on our front verandah in short sleeves.

This month's theme for the Fabric book Round Robin is "Autumn", and I was not sure how I was going to tackle it. The first thing one thinks of is autumn foliage, but we do not see those colours here. About the only tree I can think of that takes on those beautiful bronze hues before the leaves fall is our Persimmon tree - and I was a little late this year getting a picture of it in all its glory.

It is not that we don't have plenty of colourful foliage here, but most of it is those beautiful tropical reds and pinks and greens, and can be seen all year round.

Another difficulty for me is that I have convinced myself that I do not like autumn colours. I much prefer pastels and jewels and primaries, and all the shades in between. Part of the problem is having lived through a time 35-40 years ago when the whole world seemed to be saturated with consumer and decorator goods and clothing in burnt oranges and olives and browns, and I had an overdose. However, in recent times, I have discovered that if you throw in a healthy amount of rich red and purple and bronzey gold, then the autumn hues take on a new character.
Back to the book. For the first page, I decided to portray the "Spirit of Autumn". I had an image in my mind for months of how she would be portrayed. I planned to use a mixture of multi-coloured exotic yarns for her hair. But when I tried it out, it looked awful, so I settled for some crinkly vivid orange silk fibres that I had recently purchased in a collection, and within minutes, I had the effect I wanted. A wreath using some of my treasured collection of leaf beads completed the effect I wanted. The face was actually a doll's face, but had the wistful look I needed.

The background is some silk paper, and the piece of fabric at the base is from one of the most wonderful ties I have come across in my Op Shop adventures. The frill at the bosom line is one of those new knitting ribbons - a gift from Holly in W.A.
The second page uses some of the colourful foliage we have here, in autumn colours, but not strictly speaking autumn foliage. A row of Acalypha bushes grow outside our bedroom window. They are known as "Red Leaf" here. About 40 years ago, Bernie's cousin Marie used to export the leaves in bundles to New Zealand, where they were used by florists in wreaths.

I love incorporating the written word into images and pictures, so I printed part of a dictionary page onto "fabric paper" for the background. I scanned the leaves and printed them onto silk, cut them out, and lightly burned the edges to seal them. Then I put them, along with some crinkly yarns and threads into a somewhat loose and random arrangement - because that is the way they grow!!!
In spite of not caring much for autumn colours, I am definitely an autumn person. I just love the cooler days, and the opportunity to snuggle under the covers instead of throwing them off at night. My energy levels are higher in the more comfortable temperatures. Spring is a lovely time of year, too, but for me it is spoilt by the thought that the pleasant balmy days will soon give way to humidity and water shortages.


crazyQstitcher said...

What a superb artist you are Mary. Your Spirit of Autumn is a stunner. I looove autumn.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you and thank you again Mary - I am a VERY lucky woman - your pages for my book are stunning! It was fascinating to read your blog entry about how you created the pages too.
Quilty hugs

Anonymous said...

I love your Spirit of Autumn, Mary! She's absolutely beautiful!

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