Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Suits & Mourning

For this challenge, I resolved to use only fabrics from my modest gray stashSuits is the result.

As a corporate and regulatory lawyer in the big smoke, I became accustomed to being surrounded by men in gray suits and women in little black dresses.  Now, when I return to the city, I am struck by the waves of pedestrians in subdued attire, a stark contrast to the more casual vibe where I live at Copacabana where even the pharmacist has been spotted in board shorts.
Suits by Brenda Gael Smith
Up until yesterday, Suits was the only piece I made for this challenge.  However, I am convinced that gray works best with other hues as highlights.  Even before Diane shared her gray and red mola, I had prepared some red and gray pohutukawa flower monoprints to create Tangi, a companion piece to Kia Kaha which I have donated to the SAQA Benefit Auction.
Tangi by Brenda Gael Smith
By way of background, the pohutukawa tree is native to New Zealand and is reknown for its resilience in harsh coastal condition and its beauty.  In the summer, pohutukawas produce a mass of vibrant crimson flowers before the stamens fall off and moulder in the rockpools below. In Maori, the indigenous language of New Zealand, tangi is a verb (to cry, mourn, weep, weep over) and a noun ( sound, pitch, intonation, mourning, grief, sorrow, weeping, lament, salute, wave).  In 2010/2011, the pohutukawa season was bookended by two events causing national grief - the Pike River mine disaster in which 29 men lost their lives and the February earthquake in Christchurch which killed 181 people.

I'm inclined to nominate Suits as my official contribution but wanted to share both pieces with you all.  Here's how they each look with my Colourplay quilts so far.  I'm looking forward to seeing the other contributions to our gray colourplay collection.

 

11 comments:

donna!ee said...

the grey quilt reminds me of the gee's bend style...absolutely beautiful! :)

Karen said...

I'm not going to vote on this as I think both pieces are wonderful. That little bit of red in the Tangi piece is perfect, and I love the circle stitching around the edge. Suits is classic Brenda and aptly named as to me it looks like men in their gray suits marching off to work.

Gerrie said...

Like Karen, I can't vote on these. I like them both and they are so different in feel. The red with the gray is just wonerful. But I also like the use of different grays in the suit piece.

Terry said...

My vote is enthusiastically for the "suits" piece. I love the value variety you achieved in this piece and I think it looks like a black and white photograph of one of your more colorful pieces!

The delicacy of the blossom in the second piece is beautiful and the bits of red are striking, but I find this composition a bit static and not so lively as the suits.

Kristin L said...

I too am voting unequivocally for "Suits" as it embodies Grey. The mono print is nice, but as Terry said, static. However grey suits marching to work is pretty well universal and your piece shows it well. I would have loved to have seen some of the grey rectangles in actual suiting fabrics, but given the range of hand dyes you already have, your solution fits well into your established body of work.

Diane said...

I also cast my vote for "suits.". I love the variety of ways you find to work with lines and this "grayscale" version adds another great example to your line series. As a fellow lawyer who has lived in the gray suit jungle, I also love the abstracted message. I'd love to see this sort of color way expanded with a touch of other color. I like the Tangi print as well but the composition doesn't thrill me the way this one does.

Colorful Heart said...

I love the Tangi piece in and of itself, but Suits fits better with the rest of your colorplay pieces.

Renate said...

I truly like the Tangi piece, but when I view your colourplays, I must agree with the others here. The Suits piece fits very well with your collection of pieces. In some way it does look like a B&W photo of some of your other pieces which I think is brilliant!

Connie Rose said...

I especially like Suits. What a fabulous job!

Terri Stegmiller said...

I vote for Suits as well. I love this design and your story behind it is great.

Deborah Boschert said...

The variety of grays here is amazing! I really love "Suits." I am sure all those subtle variations is height and width of the bars was carefully designed and it paid off! It's so dynamic. I also love the rounded corners.