Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Creative Space - Design

I've been thinking a lot about design lately.  In my opinion, the design process is as important as the making of something. For me and for many of my fellow crafters and artists, it's the design part of their work that makes it individual. When I make something for my Cotton Kiwi line, I might follow a pattern to construct an item, but the fabrics I chose and it's ultimate look will involve some elements of design and the finished product will be a reflection of my style.

A Cotton Kiwi sock monkey.
My sock monkeys, for instance, are based upon the original sock monkey pattern that has been around since the turn of last century. My version or design of sock monkey is very much a reflection of my style and technique and I'm sure that even if you followed my sock monkey pattern to the letter, your monkey would look different again. You would chose the colours of the socks, you might stuff it more firmly and place the ears and mouth further up or down the head and the final expression of the monkey would look different. That's the joy of handmade. No two things are the same.
Classic sock monkeys.
Image from here

The Maori Tiki (or heitiki) is a much repeated design in both art and popular culture. Although keeping the same approximate design is important for both cultural and recognition purposes, it can and has been interpreted in many many different ways.

Detail from Songbirds by Sarah Bird January 2011
I've been playing around this week with my version of a tiki. I've been recreating the same design using different techniques and materials and seeing how it changes the look. The first one is applique using stretch knits onto a bobbly red synthetic fabric that I found in an op shop. I've turned it into a cushion.

I'm really happy with the colours of this version. The texture of the red fabric and the stretchy nature of the applique fabric has led to quite a naive look.

Here's the same design recreated on Monday night with a simple back stitch, using embroidery thread onto an old wool blanket. It's much simpler but still very recognisable as a tiki. I don't need any more cushions so I'm thinking that I will turn this one into a laptop case.

My plan is to use the same image and do both a reverse applique and free motion embroidery version of it but it will have to wait a bit. I've got sock monkeys to make for Christchurch kids via Kiwi at Heart . Please do what you can to help.

For more Creative Spaces, pop along to Kootoyoo.


Sarah@Dolls And Daydreams said...

So true!!!! It's amazing how your original idea or design can shift over time to make something even more unique ... i love the journey. Thanks for sharing, I love the cushion too :)

Elissa Newton said...

It's what I love about handcrafted items. Even when I make two things from the same pattern they are not the same. The creation & design is a reflection of the Artist and their moods. Any anyone who knows me knows I'm quite moody ;o

Angel.Pearls said...

Yes, your design is very nice- me like! Eva

Anonymous said...

I too love how patterns/designs can vary between artists. I love how they even vary in my own work, all part of the crafty goodness. Your work is great!

Jennie said...

I love the hand embroidered tiki the most I think - it looks like a baby tiki!X

Leslie said...

I love this post and I find it so true about how when creating we all interpret things differently. The Tiki is great, especially the turquoise.

Jill said...

Great tikis! That's the beauty of handmade - that no 2 items are ever exactly the same (even if we try to make them so!)

Pearlin J said...

I like your interpretation of the Tiki, very sweet.

Anonymous said...

lovely Sarah - and so true! I found myself filling out my flight info last time I left the country and tentatively filling in "designer" in occupation, he he. Love your sock monkeys, their personalities are unmatchable. Have a great weekend x

Wendy said...

That sock monkey has run away with my heart. Just lovely, Sarah!


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