Friday, April 13, 2012

Keys and locks

Susan Brubaker Knapp here. This month’s theme – OPEN – made me think about keys and locks. We live in a 1916 house that came with a bunch of skeleton keys. We have never taken the time to test them out in our many doors to figure out which one fits where. So they have a wonderful sense of mystery to them. And they make a fabulous jingly noise when you shake them.

I worked previously as a graphic designer, and I love type. It is always fun for me to add words to my sketches. Each typeface has a personality, and it is interesting to try to pick one or create one that suits the illustration. This recent discovery in my sketchbook has gotten me interested in including type in my fiber art. If I am remembering correctly, I have only included type in two of my pieces, “House Rules” and “House Rules 2”.

“House Rules” by Susan Brubaker Knapp 12"x12" (2008)
I made the original piece in 2008, including the rules I had posted on my refrigerator when my children were small. I made the piece below in 2009, and made it a bit larger to accommodate more pets, and my husband and me, as well as our two daughters:

“House Rules 2” by Susan Brubaker Knapp. 16.5" x 16.5" (2009)
When I show this piece to quilt groups when I speak and teach, I always get questions about the type. It is my printing, albeit stylized a bit. I wrote it on paper first, to get it the right size to fit in the space, and then put it on a light box and transferred the type to the fabric. 

I think it may be time for me to create a fiber piece with a focus on type!

I had recently purchased a neat old-looking, rusty heart-shaped lock for my new shed. The shank of the lock didn’t fit through the loop on the hardware – rats! – but it was just too cool to throw away. And I’m glad I didn’t, because I was able to sketch it today:


  1. love the skeleton keys, we live in an 1850s house and have a couple lying around too which I have been wanting to use in an artwork.

    Love your house rules 1 and 2, very sweet!

  2. I've been thinking of the OPEN HEART theme too! gotta get it down on paper now...
    Keys are surprisingly fun to sketch and watercolor. very nice.

  3. What fun. I love a good mystery. I hope you hold on to these keys as they are a treasure to the past, and possibly to the future.

    Great theme for the Sketchbook Challenge.



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