Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Süß (Suess)

Sketchbooks and process

As I started this particular challenge, “Bittersweet” came to mind. As usual, I went to my working sketchbook and wrote down things that came to mind when I thought of sweet or bittersweet. This time I also went to one of my heftier sketchbooks and drew/painted studies of bittersweet, since I have been working more and more with drawing and painting as much as possible in order to expand my artistic range. I drew two varieties of the plant, and painted abstractions such as the triangles in the page above, and a stylized berry pattern on another page which also included a drawing of a pile of dark chocolate. I like the concept, and there are some interesting elements going on. But I was quite sure I don’t want to be so literal as to recreate my sketchbook drawing in fabric. Somewhere along the way, keeping up with the doings of our teenage German exchange student, something caught my eye. She had posted a cute picture of herself and her sister on Facebook. A friend responded with “sweet,” but in German, which is “suess.” He used the extended German alphabet, which contracts the double esses to an eszet (ß), which looks to Americans to be a funny B, and changes the ue to a u with an umlaut (ü) — which looked to me like a cute little happy face in the middle of the word! Süß! How sweet is that?! 


You never know where inspiration will come from. 


I tried various typefaces on my computer and printed out a template when I was happy with the results. For some reason, I felt like I needed to use a reverse fused applique instead of placing the elements on top of each other where I could see them, so in the end, my ü is not exactly centered. But, I like that I was able to play with words and typography and still incorporate the color scheme and triangle motif of my original sketches.

10 comments:

Karen said...

Very elegant Kristin, your colors and design work together really well

Diane Perin Hock said...

Kristin, I agree with Karen -- the elegance of this design is terrific and because it's not an English word, it has a fun sense of making me want to look closer and know more. I love hearing about your process and seeing how the different elements evolved, too. That little U thingie DOES look like a smiley face!

Gerrie said...

Love the colors and the curvy letters. I did not see a smiley face! Thank you for sharing your process.

Helen Conway said...

Alles Ihre arbeit ist ganz süß und disese decke ist keine Ausnahme! Ich hoffe das mine deutche ist verständlisch.. Ich weiß das es nicht perfekt ist! Ich liebe das ich einer ß auf das ipad machen kann!!!!

Ok, enough of that. Am intrigued by the sketchbooks. Can we have more page pictures?

Kristin L said...

Helen, deine Deutsch ist nie schlechter als meine! Danke für deine liebliche wörter. Kennst du auch wie eine ¨ gemacht ist?

And for all you non German speakers out there, Helen says all my work is sweet and this is no exception, then she apologizes for her poor German, but loves that she can make an eszet on her iPad. I respond that her German is no worse than mine, but thanks for the kind words, and does she also know how to make an umlaut? :-) Silly, yes. :-)

For sketchbook picks you'd have to check out my Flicker sets "sketchbook" and "life drawing."

Terri Stegmiller said...

Your method of working through the challenge with your sketchbooks is so intriguing to me. A method that I would love to adopt for myself.

I think the alphabet characters in this quilt are so fun and the way you came about discovering this and using it for your quilt interpretation is so interesting too.

Françoise said...

I had to look for a little while before seeing the face, but now that I see it, it looks indeed cute and happy!

Renate said...

Okay! I'll bite! Ach Du liebe aber das ist ser schon. Ich weiss nicht wo meine umlaut ist! That's about it. Needless to say, I do love this piece for its simple elegance and for showing me that working with a sketchbook for inspiration can produce some amazing results.

Terry Grant said...

Well, I was blown away by your sketchbook painting of the bittersweet and now you have grabbed me by my typographical collar as well. I almost wish you had not explained the piece as it is so intriguing on its own and could drive one wild trying to figure out its meaning! Beautiful, beautiful.

Deborah Boschert said...

I love how you lifted various bits from the sketchbook to serve their own purpose on the quilt. I am always amazed by how carefully you think about what techniques are appropriate for each medium. I remember when you bought that red/orange shot cotton in Houston that you used for the background. I bought some too -- in fact, I used it in my metamorphosis quilt. Our time together in Houston is such a sweet memory.