Thursday, January 1, 2009
A new year, a new project
I'm starting 2009 with a new project that's quite a departure from my usual ones: stitching a canvas designed by someone other than myself! It's not often that I have either the time or inclination to do this, but every now and then a canvas comes along that just "grabs" me. And because I'm a stitch painter myself, the skill with which the canvas is painted is as important to me as the subject matter itself.
When Gail Hendrix of Squiggee Designs asked me if I'd like to stitch the model for her new design, "Nippon Textures," I agreed for a number of reasons. I love oriental art, I find it difficult to turn down a fellow dog lover, and the canvas is beautifully stitch-painted.
"Nippon Textures" is styled after the work of Suzuki Harunobu (1724-1770), a woodblock print artist recognized as the inventor of Japanese color prints. He spent his life in Edo, today known as Tokyo. Edo also lent its name to that period in Japanese history (1603-1868) when the country was ruled by military leaders called shoguns. Harunobu's favorite subjects were beautiful women and courtesans, or Geishas, three of which are featured here in Gail's canvas.
Interestingly, Japanese numerology dictates that odd numbers are lucky, with three, five and seven being particularly lucky numbers. So stitching three Geishas seems to me to be an auspicious way to begin a New Year!
The balance of color in this canvas also carries out the concept of "threes"--bold splashes of reds and yellows against an otherwise neutral pallette of browns, grays and white. I've decided to let my eye dictate where my fingers will stitch as I work on this canvas, within reason, of course! The white of the Geishas' faces must be completed first, but then I'll be able to indulge myself in some glorious color!