Monday 21 March 2011

Charley Harper Quiltalong - the tale of the prawny thing -

As some of you might know, I’ve embarked on a little Charley Harper fun over on flickr 

This quiltalong has been organised by the uber talented Ethne over at flaming stitches - thank you so much Ethne ... this is the best fun!

I chose this wonderful print as my inspiration:


shopFront1Last year I went to an a-ma-zing Charley Harper exhibition (you can see some of the prints here) at Castor and Pollux, a wonderful gallery/shop here on the seafront in Brighton. 

I’ve always been a fan, but to see them in real life, oh my!  The colours!  The lines!  Swooooooon!

In the back of my mind was the intention to do something stitchy with his designs - I’d seen tapestry patterns but I’m not really in the mood for tapestry these days, so I just put the whole project on the backburner … until now.

Now, here comes the problem.  The largest image I could find online of the muskies was tiny.

Let's have another look at the print …. see that prawny thing on the left?  Yeah, small isn’t it?!


Blown up, you can see it’s even more difficult to work out those clean, sharp, Charley Harper lines …  What to do?



Well, I knew that Castor and Pollux also sold the amazing £120 coffee table tombstone of a book, “Charley Harper, an illustrated life”,  (There’s a more affordable £35 version too, but I needed big!)

... so I set off with my camera and a smile …  

I’m a regular exhibition goer there, so I was hoping that they’d kind of know I’m a good sort, and ignore any madness  …

me: “Hi, can I ask a really big favour?  I’m doing a Charley Harper embroidery and I really need to take a close up pic of the prawny thing in my favourite print … could I? Please??”

mr castor&pollux: “Err … yes, well, at least you asked!  Go ahead”



That’s a bit better!  The joy of Charley Harper is the simplicity of shapes that he used to create these works of delight.  I couldn’t see any of that claw or leg brilliance on my silly pixelated mess.

I also picked up a few more details … like the yellow lines and the red blotches  on the muskie himself … (not that it shows here, but the diamonds are yellow too)


and some sweet detail on the little fishies …



So, by way of thank you to them, and a little pressie for me, (it's still 10 days till payday, so I forfeited the roast chicken for Sunday lunch here!) I bought the exhibition poster, which I’d always meant to get last year - it was only £5. (Click pic if you can’t resist and want one too!)

charley poster

… and now the little prawny thing is cut, fused and ready to applique and embroider, along with the other creatures!



Yay!  Let the detailing commence!

Have you ever had to wait to really get started on a project?  Waiting for one key fabric, sewing thread, machine needle(!) ??


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