The Wonderful Chaos of Spring

A Creative Block

Early in spring I went on a long trip, and returned with Covid. While the illness itself wasn’t too bad, it left me utterly exhausted for several weeks. When I finally tried to get back into a creative routine after nearly a two-months break, I found it more challenging than I expected. I had projects I wanted to get back to, of course, but I just couldn’t get myself to start.

I didn’t force it. Instead, I spent a lot of time in the garden, where spring was doing its magic. When I left for my trip in mid March, my garden was still in winter slumber. When I returned in mid April, everything was humming with life. The fresh, bright greens of new leaves was everywhere, in all its glorious shades and diverse textures.

There was a lot of gardenwork to catch up on, and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly, doing whatever my recovering body allowed. It didn’t take long before my fingers started longing for some fabric and thread…

A Creative Jumpstart

The Challenge

Eventually, I found myself back in my studio. I decided to start small, by mixing some batches of bright green paint.

I hand painted fabrics in different shades of green (and discovered in the process that some synthetics don’t take acrylic paint at all). Then I searched my scrap basket for suitable pieces to add.

I gave myself a small creative challenge to get my creative juices flowing, as I know, from past experience, how effective this could be:

  • Make a series of four fabric collages.
  • Go small, with each of the pieces being 4.5″ square.
  • Use only greens for the background.
  • Add color only through thread.

The Process

I started by creating all four compositions simultaneously, laying them on top of fusible interfacing. When I was happy with the arrangement, I ironed them on.

Then, I used my sewing machine to sew the pieces of fabric onto the base. I used a variegated purple-magenta-teal machine thread, and kept the stitches somewhat organic, to mimic the chaos of spring and soften the straight lines and sharp rectangles of the background collages. I added some mark-making to bring in more movement.

When I was working on these little pieces, sweet peas were blooming all over my garden, adding pinks, purples and beautiful, chaotic curves and squiggles as far as the eye could see. 

I used embroidery floss and pearl cotton threads to recreate the joyous chaos these and other plants created. I embroidered the first piece in my sewing room.

Then I realized it would be much more pleasant to stitch in the garden. So I did.

I finished each of the collages by couching on a curvy line of bright green floss.

The Result: The Chaos of Spring Series

I ended up with four small, happy collages. Here are some close ups:

And here are the pieces themselves. I think they can each be enjoyed in different orientations. I randomly decided which way was up, but you might have your own preference 🙂

What do you think? Have they captured the glorious chaos of spring?

As for me, they definitely served their purpose. Once I started sewing I couldn’t stop, and went on to work on to work on bigger, more significant-to-me work…

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