Nov 7, 2014

AROUND THE WORLD BLOG HOP



I have been invited to join the Around The World Blog Hop ... a venture to showcase and connect artist/writer's blogs from around the world ... to read and be inspired by those who may work similarly but whose media, techniques and ideas are different from our own. 
After fulfilling the duties outlined (introducing myself and my work) I will introduce you to 3 of my favourite bloggers and fellow Canadian fibre artists ... Arlee Barr, Monika KinnerWhalen and Penny Berens. 

First of all, I would like to thank Margaret Robbie 'Charlton Stitcher', for choosing me as one of 3 artists to follow her on this Around The World Blog Hop. Margaret is a fellow fibre artist/blogger with whom I have been communicating for a few years and whom I found when she posted to another blog one day as I went blog-surfing.
Margaret Robbie
Recently, I was inspired by one of her lovely hand-stitched sketches to delve into some hand stitching myself. 
Much of Margaret's work is inspired by her beloved Cotswold Hills landscape. 

My experimental, hand-stitched piece, based on Margaret's method, started out with a small bundle of 'beige' fabrics and matching threads which I took with me when I went to house-sit for a friend. 
Sharron Deacon Begg
After I spent a few hrs. re-arranging my little beige fabrics, added stitches, the whole time trying to understand why I was doing this, a story evolved ... I was documenting Winter in the rural landscape of Southern Ontario, Canada. That story evolved even more when a backing piece which looked like leather (from a previous workshop, using heavy brown paper, waxing, crayoning, inking and general distressing) was added ... causing me to think about our pioneer forefathers that would have used and cherished any bit of leather they had. I attached the whole piece to the natural muslin background with a few hidden machine-stitched lines and then attached the edges of the paper with a few hand stitches ... reminiscent of how a pioneer may have stitched rents in his precious leather. 
So, it grew from something very simple and experimental into something just a bit larger, just a bit more involved ... into a piece that became a part of 18-Square Traveling Fibre Art Show ... which opened Nov. 4th at The Grange Gallery, Mississauga, and running through to Jan.23, 2015.
Thank you, Margaret, for the inspiring me to branch out from my chosen and favourite art form ... free-motion machine embroidery.

Please check out the link to the artist, Margaret Robbie, and follow the all links back to other fabulous artists and writers from around the world.

Let me introduce myself, Sharron Deacon Begg. I was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, directly descended from Scottish and Irish pioneers who came to settle in the Huron Tract, with very little but the clothes on their backs and a strong desire to make a better life for themselves. From women who knew what hard work was and who made small comforts for their families/homes from whatever they could get their hands on.
Now a 60 something wife, mother and grandmother, I can honestly say that I have been making art for 60 something years. Drawing, as soon as I could hold a pencil, and sewing by machine at 9, were my particular passions. High school brought several oil painting commissions by the time I was 17. 
Now, I'm not saying I was an expert ... but parents, and friends of parents, were all too eager to indulge a seemingly talented child. Especially an ill one ... I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 11. I mention this because it is so much a part of me and it's daily presence has significantly determined my work. Over the years I have had knuckles, both knees and a hip replaced twice. This extended support system made it possible to dream bigger.
Anyway, I confidently set out to the Ontario College of Art (now Ontario College of Art & Design) to become my fantasy ... a famous artist ! 
Well, what a surprise ! It doesn't happen that easily ;(. 
loved my year there but health and finances took a toll.
At 20, I had a job transferring collected data onto maps for the Soil Department of the University of Guelph. A collection of pen & ink doodles piled atop my desk lead to an observant boss asking me to co-illustrate a text book for the University of Guelph. What an honour ! I treasure my copy.
But, as happens so often with young women of my era, romance, marriage and motherhood put art on the 'to do' list for quite a few years. I married my high school sweetheart and together we raised 3 daughters and a son. Now we have 11 grandchildren !
At 34 yrs, while waiting for the birth of  my last child and needing a sanity break from the trials of child-rearing, I joined a local needlecraft guild. It was there that my drawing and sewing machine abilities came smashing together when I found free-motion machine embroidery. After many years of trying everything fibre art, I now concentrate on thread paintings ... landscapes with hand-painted fabric and thread. I started calling myself Threadpainter in the late 80's. It seemed an appropriate name when trying to describe what I do when asked 'what is this ?'. I started to say, 'these are thread paintings' explaining that "my sewing machine is my easel, the needle is my pencil and the threads are my paint."
I mix it up occasionally by working on water-solubles. 
When I find myself between fibre art projects I bring out my sketch book and start a small ink drawing which I find calming and I am absorbed for a few hours and able to mull over life in general or the next project. 


Four questions were to be answered in my Around The World Blog Hop post.
1. What am I working on ?
This summer has been a good one for me; acceptance in 2 juried shows, a Jurors Choice Award in one (and sold) and 1st prize in my category in the other.
Lake Huron Sunset - Jurors Choice Award
- received over 5000 views on Flickr
Winter Stream - 1st Prize
20"x38"
At this particular moment in time, I am recovering from rotator cuff surgery. But I have 2 projects in the wings ... one giant photocopy hanging on my studio wall wants to become a thread painting of about 18"x24". When my shoulder allows I am, also, trying to finish a small ink drawing of a pine tree covered in ice and snow. It will become the original for my Christmas cards this year. I work from my own photographs and my resource stash is quite substantial.

My thread paintings are usually of rural Ontario landscapes. Winter corn fields, the trees of winter (whom I call 'ladies-in-waiting), old abandoned silo's form the 1800's and old and tired fence posts are just some of my favourite subjects. 

The giant photocopy waiting in the wings, is an enlarged copy of an old abandoned silo with a small scruffy red pine in front of it. The pine tree will be stitched separately, on thread on water-soluble, then hand-stitched to the finished hand-painted, machine-stitched landscape/canvas.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I know of other 'thread painters' but we all have our own slant on to how we achieve what we do. I learned the basics from Canadian artist Martha Cole many, many years ago.
My thread paintings are comprised of hand-painted acrylics on lengths of white cotton fabric. A hand-drawn, simplified sketch is cut up and used as pattern pieces. Then the picture is put together like a jig-saw puzzle and detailed with threads. Does it differ from other thread paintings ? Probably only in minute details but I have a system that works for my particular quality control issues.


3. Why do I write/create what I do ?
Funny ... I ask myself that same question every once in a while and the only answer I can give is ‘because I like to/have to !' ... as simple as that.

4. How does my writing/creating process work ?
My creative process begins with 'desire to do' ... a photo, an idea or a scene I have just seen, pops into my brain, usually just as I lay down to sleep. More times than not, I awake still thinking about ‘it’ and before I’ve even gotten out of bed I have a complete picture in my brain and an almost step-by-step plan worked out for the completion of another thread painting. Of course the mundane part of the creative process includes the washing/drying/ironing of fabric, choosing the colours and painting lengths of fabric, more ironing of a fusible on the back of every length of painted fabric, ... but so worth it when I begin to draw, cut and sew ... and the feel of the resulting canvas is so luscious, becoming softened and all ingredients melding into one single fabric. 5 years ago I started stretching my paintings over painters' stretcher frames.
I start with a photo and a decent sketch on brown paper in the size I want to work with. Then I trace the major shapes of that drawing ...  again on brown paper. I will cut up the second sketch and use it as pattern pieces. Once all areas are placed on a backing fabric and fit like a jig-saw puzzle, I will iron them in place.
All detail, and the fun, begins when this canvas is placed under the needle of my ancient sewing machine. My machine is upwards of 60 yrs. old, has a straight and zig-zag stitch, and is strong and sturdy and does everything that I require of her. My only other machine was almost as old and she worked hard until bits and pieces just fell off of her. She has been retired and her newer but older sister (of the same name) 'Virgin' (as no man has ever laid hands on her) has stepped in to continue the work.
Well, enough of me. I hope you will take a moment to scroll through my blog and please say 'hello' before you leave. I love making new blogger friends ... you are all so inspiring ... and I would love to hear from you.


Now, I am very pleased to introduce you to 3 fellow Canadian fibre artists/bloggers whom I consider very talented in their chosen art form.

Arlee Barr : I first met Arlee on Flickr where we shared the trials and tribulations of hosting fibre art groups there. She lives in Calgary, Alberta and is feisty and colourful. Her beautiful dyed and hand-stitched pieces of art are worth watching and waiting for. She posts as she progresses and it is always exciting to watch her work.

Monika Kinner-Whalen: Monika lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is a very busy young mother, artist and teacher. 

She makes me smile ... a lot !
Monika is a fibre artist specializing in freestyle embroidery. Enchanted by the texture and intricate beauty that can be achieved by working with threads, her creations are expressions of love for the prairie and often originate from her own photography of Saskatchewan.

Penny Berens lives in Nova Scotia. Penny and I have been members of Connections Fibre Artists for many years and I am very familiar with her calm and steady hand-stitched pieces of art. She is a sought-after teacher of fibre art. Currently there are two things that guide her work. The first is a desire to never take her surroundings for granted and to record her reaction to the woods and shorelines that surround her. The second is a desire to make her work honest and personal ... 'no protective barriers ... kind of scary !'


Enjoy these lovely ladies and happy blog hopping !



12 comments:

  1. This is a lovely introduction to you and your work! I only recently began following your blog, but this post will be the one to cement my interest. I enjoyed reading about your background and your thought process and I find your work very compelling. And I need to thank you for leading me to Maggie Yanderweit as well via your blog list. I have communicated on occasion with Monika and I have met Penny through SAQA Atlantic - both very inspiring artists, so lovely choices for this blog hop.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer ... so nice to meet you and I am very glad to have led you to Maggie !
      I will look forward to future visits and hope you find lots more blogs to follow. Do you have a blog of your own that I might follow you as well ?
      Anyway, enjoy the blog hop !

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  2. I am not young.
    : )
    lol!

    That was wonderful to read all about you and your work a little more in depth than I had known before. And now I can clearly say that I have just become an even bigger fan of your work ! Beautiful - just beautiful how you capture trees and winter. xo Those of two of my favourite things. All the best to you always Sharron,
    xo Monika

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  3. You are too cute ... of course you are young ;) and thank you so much for the compliments.
    All the best to you, Monika ... we'll talk soon !

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  4. A beautiful and informative post about your personal history and stunning work.

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  5. Sharron, so nice to read some of your background as I find it really helps me connect even more with work that inspires me. Your work is indeed inspiring and has that special something that makes me sigh and draws me in! Thanks for sharing some of yourself!

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  6. Glad to share more about myself with you ... lovely comments ;) ... Thanks so much, Elle.

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  7. It is so lovely to read and learn more about you. We older bloggers have a lot to share with the world about our lives and such. Especially trying to make art while raising children and sometimes grandchildren. It isn't always easy but the satisfaction we gain is enough reward sometimes. Thanks for sharing all this......

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  8. Thank you Roberta. I wish I knew more about all of you, too. I wish that we old bloggers
    could sit and have a good yak over coffee everyday ;) We do have a lot to share. I am a font of information ... lol !

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  9. Thank you for visiting,and I wish you a speedy recovery.

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Hi ! Thanks for visiting and I hope that you can leave a comment on my blog.
I appreciate this connection to you and I will endeavour to answer you as soon as possible.
Word verification has been removed for your convenience ... it is such a mood breaker !
Sharron.