Distant Stitch 3
Choosing an Image
I had to choose between stars or crosses. I wrote down word association lists for both choices. Both lists got quite long! They were equally interesting but given it is a good time of year for investigating star shapes that is what I went with.
Once I made my choice I began investigating star shapes and patterns as well as symbolism. I looked for images of naturally formed star shapes and man-made star shapes. Not all the images are clearly star shapes, a little imagination is needed at times!
The dictionary definition of a star is
star |stär| (noun)
1 a fixed luminous point in the night sky that is a large, remote incandescent body like the sun.
2 a conventional or stylized representation of a star, typically one having five or more points.
Verb: To star in a film.
Adjective: star-like, star-less.
Stars are associated with religions, (ancient and modern, traditional and alternative), fantasy (fairies, witches, wizards and magic), mythology, fame and fortune, success, excellence, cleanliness, good and evil, brightness, rewards and awards.
Star shapes are all around us. In fact now I have started looking I can’t get away from them! (Shame about the reflection of the photographer!)
They are found in nature and in man-made objects.
The sun is the closest star to our planet. It is not as hot as newer stars which are blue in colour.
Starfish use seawater to move nutrients around their bodies like we do with blood! Their vital organs are in their arms. Some species have up to 40 arms. Some can regenerate their own limbs or whole bodies! They come in lots of different colours. All are sea water creatures. They are not fish. They are really sea stars!
I have put my collected images into 3 categories: Stars in Nature, Stars in Art and Celebration Stars.
Stars in Nature
(see also the sun and stars above)
I really enjoyed collecting all the images of stars in nature. It is always surprising just how much you see when you have a theme to investigate and the ideas that come to you. I have included an orange here and was wondering if I printed with it would I get a star shape from it? I will investigate further soon.The image of the Star Anis makes it look large but apparently it is a tiny spice which has a liquorice flavour and is used in Chinese cooking and in the tami flu vaccine! There are so many flowers of all different colours and sizes which I could have included here but thought this picture of a late tulip fitted the bill perfectly. It was past it’s best as far as keeping the traditional tulip shape but opened up to show off its beautiful markings before it withered away until next year.
Stars in Art and Design
The sun on the plate is raised from the surface and was fairly easy to rub over. I love the effortless swirls and peaks of the shape. The plate and coconut shell candle holder both came from the ……Islands. Unfortunately I have never been there! The floor tile and the stained glass window are from St Magnus’s Cathedral, in Kirkwall, Orkney. It is not a large cathedral but quite an impressive building just the same.
I taught art to 6-12 year olds for a year. Some of these images were taken from lessons done with them. I couldn’t compete with Van Gogh’s starry Night! I looked at fabrics and papers for star patterns. Most of the materials had similar designs although the size of star and colour varied. There are many more kinds of stars which are probably used in fabric design but I didn’t find any the day I looked in the place I looked in. I will keep looking though. There were many samples of stars shapes on papers. The wall paper people must have thought I was decorating a whole house as I collected many samples of paper. I liked the ‘flocked’ papers with starry flower designs which have clearly been based on flowers similar to ones I have in “Stars in Nature”. These gave a nice rubbing. I also like crocheting and made some stars especially for this project. The wool has been hand dyed with natural dyes which gives it the lovely space dyed look. The fabric design at the top of the page was produced as part of a day I spent with a lady called Pat Beveridge who I contacted when I bought my sewing machine. Pat is a fabric artist whose work is amazing. It was great spending the day with Pat and learning about her craft and techniques for sewing on my machine. http://www.patbeveridgeart.co.uk
The last section is about star designs which are used to celebrate a variety of special occasions.
(This was put together with the help of my husband who used computer softwear called ‘in-design.)
The Champagne labels have stars on them indicating excellence of quality and is commonly drunk on special occasions (or any other occasion if I have anything to do with it!) . Gift bags commonly have stars on them regardless of the occasion.
The star has very special significance at Christmas time, representing the star of Bethlehem. Stars appear in every commercial Christmas product imaginable as well as in religious tableaux. Stars are associated with people who are considered to be especially talented or well-known and are used to make less well-known people (but equally or possibly more special!) feel special even if it is just for a day, such as Mother’s Day.
Experimenting with Colour.
For this exercise I used water-colour paints. Mostly because I had as close to the recommended colours as was possible within my supply of paints.I drew circles to paint my control colour in. I wanted to be able to match future mixes as close as possible in case I did not have enough in one batch to colour the same piece of paper. It is very difficult to match colours exactly as this was not exactly an exact science. The marks around the circumference were trial colour marks. As you can see it was not easy to get an exact match.
Once I found colour mixtures I was happy with I also put them into the halves of these “Complimentary” circles. I was going to use these to help me decide which colour range to work within as this chapter progressed. The next task was to colour a colour wheel. Not being one to make life easy for myself I made my colour wheel into a star shape. I think it looks very effective. So that I knew where all the colours should go I made a sample wheel to practice drawing well and placing the right colours in the right places.
THe Colour Wheel
I am pleased with how well this turned out. I did not have gouache paint but the watercolour did a fairly good job if I used it thickly, and this also helped to produce a good strong colour in general.