Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Magpie's Nest

I have finally completed my postcard for October's Take It Further challenge.

The challenge itself was straightforward enough... it just took me a couple of weeks to realize that the answer - the design - was right in front of my face! (Which is where it usually is. When am I going to save myself some time and start by looking there?)

Sharon's challenge for October was to think about our textile workspace and how we feel about it or what role it plays in our lives. I mentioned in an earlier post that I spend nearly all day, every day, in my studio. It's the best-lit room in the house and I need lots of light. It wasn't until I journaled about the topic one morning that it became clear to me that I feel about my studio the way I think a bird would feel about its' nest. It is a place of safety and refuge. I go elsewhere to get food (which may or may not be consumed in my nest/studio), and like a magpie I keep (nearly) all my treasures there. (When I settled on a name for this blog of mine I didn't realize quite how accurate it was! At the time I was thinking about the stories I'd heard of magpies collecting sparkly things and decorating their nests with them.)

Once I decided to give in and just make a nest all sorts of other design issues cropped up. Realistic or no? Try to fit in some of the things you'd find in my studio? How to construct it, how to embellish it, what colors to use? Finally I got into my scrap bags and pulled out some colors I wanted to work with. I thought it was going to be bright pure hues but that didn't happen. Instead I found myself trying to achieve a sense of depth by manipulating the values of the colors in the nest. Not sure I succeeded on that point. But using the leaf print to indicate a tree and finding the scrap of the 1930's reproduction print of the scottie dogs were serendipity. Because the scotties are so small it gives the illusion of distance between the nest and the dogs. And it was appropriate to use because I always have a dog or two running around the tree my nest is in!

I have tried to load this so you'll be able to click on the picture of the whole postcard and see it larger. I also did a detail shot of the nest so you can see the short little 'sticks' of yarn that I used to try to make the log cabin piecing look more nest-like.

Those were yarn color samples I collected back when I was making dolls. I was pleased to have finally found a use for some of them. I used another yarn to soften the seamlines of the leaf print and to try to give a stronger impression of leaves or a tree. Magpies always have to have their sparkle so I used as many beads as I could get away with too :- )

Now I can turn my attention to November's challenge, which is to use typography as inspiration. That means using the shape of letters or numbers as design elements rather than interpreting any particular text. Should be interesting. GuzzieSue has already done a 3-D piece based on the letter 'S'. Since I am also a Sue the letter 'S' would be a logical place for me to start as well. But that would be obvious, right in front of my face, and we can't have that!!!


  1. if an S is too obvious... what about an M for magpie? or an X for marking the spot? soooo very many possibilities for this challenge....

  2. I'm having to skip this month due to lack of time. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog - I just don't always leave a comment. This is the first time I've really thought about the "work space" thing, as I had to give mine up when I came to my dd's house. I had all my treasures - weird and wonderful - on the walls, etc. It was, indeed my nest and comfort zone. Maybe that's why I am so crabby lately - I have no nest.

  3. enjoyed reading your blog....and that cute little one on your lap is too dear. I was just thinking of hanging up some ufo blocks on my closet.... maybe I need to rethink, it might be way longer than two years if I did.

  4. at least I left you the rest of the alphabet :-)

  5. Mag, I love your postcard. As for your studio, we must be twins LOL mine is used just as yours is. Trying to catch up, and keep up. Reneorgeron


Due to my health issues I am frequently unable to respond to your comments but please know that I appreciate your thoughtful responses. I cannot respond to 'no-reply' bloggers either, much to my frustration.