Sunday, May 31, 2009

Match Making

Yesterday I went to the Parksville Quilt Show, where I bought these fat quarters. When I take recently purchased fabrics to my studio, I feel compelled to introduce them to their new neighbours - I love the surprise of finding potential matches. I enjoy this with new clothing purchases as well, bringing home an item and discovering matches made for each other. At the show, I also met Gladys Love and bought her new book 'Embellishing With Anything'. The quilt that I was most interested in was one where three women had each created a third of a quilt depicting a bridge that was based on the design of a painting they had gotten permission to use. I saw quilts that were made in classes with Barbara Olsen and Martha Cole, as well as one applique quilt based on William Morris designs. I notice I am drawn to novel presentation and interpretation of subjects, as well as good design and workwomanship. In seeing what other quilters and fibre artists are doing, I enrich my base of possibilities and refine my direction.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Inside Out

I'm getting close to completing this quilt which I call 'Inside Out'. The name appeared in my mind unexpectedly when I wasn't thinking about it. When I make an art quilt, the meaning unfolds along with the creating and the center of both original pieced blocks that I combined to make this, have flowers in full bloom. While that certainly mirrors what's happening in my garden, I also note how I felt the need to expand the bouquet beyond the confines of the center square, beyond two dimensional into 3D with the help of thread and batting, taking what's 'inside, out'. Creating is like this too - pushing past boundaries into the unknown, reaching for the next vista, making our vision concrete, adding a splash of colour to the world - and that's how we grow. The neon orange thread that echo quilts the bouquet gives a sense of vibration, to emphasize the vital and radiating energy of blooming in motion. The puzzle style quilting is the unknown - that place of mystery we enter when we create. The tablecloth base speaks to the need to have stability out of which to grow, and the horizontal quilted stitch on either side of the vase represents what is known - my experience and learning that are already established. I plan to add beads, a sleeve and signature. Many of the pieces I saw at FAN's 'Elements' show were simply signed with fabric marker on the back and I may choose to do that, as well. The photo directly above this writing shows a tiny piece of much quilting I had to undo because it went awry - I rethreaded and the problem disappeared and it happened because I didn't fully unthread the machine when I spun a bobbin. Even though I should know by now that shortcuts do not work and end up creating much more work in the end - I still take them now and then!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Border Patrol

I've been auditioning borders on and off for awhile now - who would ever guess how much time goes into each decision? Every time I choose a different fabric it must relate to the whole - value, colour, pattern and gut feeling all come into consideration, as well as leading the eye around the piece. And there is also the decision of length for each piece because where they adjoin another piece creates a visual line. I haven't sewn this combination of border pieces yet - I will let it sit for a bit, although right now it's feeling pretty 'right'.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stamping Stories

Last night I participated in a stamp making workshop along with my art quilt group, instead of doing our regular monthly meeting. I've cut stamps before, so this was really an opportunity to make a few more. I was hoping to learn something about layering stamps - designing with them - but I can do that at home and have time for the paint to dry in between stampings - and also have access to my other supplies such as foil. I work better alone, although the real value of working in a group is the learning from what others do - plus the energy and social aspect, of course. I was surprised that stamps cut shallowly still showed up so well. For the top photo with the deco-style flower, I used pencil on tracing paper to transfer the design which I copied from part of a stained glass pattern. The stamp is made from craft foam, cutting the outside edges with an exacto knife and using a pencil to indent the inside lines. I didn't attach it to a block of wood and I think it still printed very well. The next double flower was done the same way but using thicker 'speedy cut' and a lino cutter for the inside lines. It's attached to a wood block, but when I stamped it onto cardstock, some of the petal edges didn't print well. I had another stamp I made by indenting with a pencil that was made from a styrofoam tray, but once painted, it really didn't transfer well. The green stamp on the turquoise fabric is made from a thinner foam with a sticky back you peel off. I drew the design directly onto the material and then cut it out and indented it, and then stuck it onto a rectangle of another layer of thin foam and put them both onto a wood block. The shape is very simple, but complexity and interest can be added by varying the direction of the stamping, altering paint colours and spacing. While I use various techniques such as stamping, foiling or oil stick rubbings on my quilts as the need arises, I would like to make a piece of wholecloth with various techniques that pleases me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paint When the Sun Shines

These are some of the fabric pieces that I painted today - the green/purple one and red/purple one both were attempts at sun printing and if you click on the green/purple one to enlarge it, you can just see the outline of two ivy leaves in the upper right corner. I have one piece with ferns that turned out somewhat better, but none came out as I had envisioned. I will have to try again. It was surprising how quickly they dried in the sun. I wrapped the red, yellow and green fabric with elastic bands spread at intervals and then squirted paint on and misted it with water. For the white, yellow, orange and turquoise piece, I wet the fabric and twisted it tightly then secured it with elastic around a can. I painted the colours at intervals, twisting the inside of the fabric facing the can outward, so it received some of the paint, too. The orange/salmon coloured fabric is folded in half on the diagonal and had yarn inside that I then rolled the fabric around, then tied tightly forming a ruched ring. I squirted paint on at intervals and misted it with water. I also tried salt with paint on other fabric, which yielded zero results, and I have one black piece still wet and folded that I tested some Stewart Gill 'Alchemy' on by painting the edges of the folds, turning them a lovely metallic blue. I will have to apply more paint and techniques to some of what I painted today see if I can get it to look more satisfactory.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Adding More Colour

After I finished embroidering the bouquet on this small quilt, I felt disappointed at how my eye wasn't drawn to the flowers, but to the vase. I could see that the brighter reds, yellows and oranges were not bold enough in just thread, so I decided to paint the petals in. The sample on the right is before painting. I've also been auditioning various fabrics for borders and hadn't found anything that felt right prior to painting, except the plaid for a 'tablecloth'. Maybe now it will be easier to make a selection.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sea Art and Needle Gardening

Walking on the beach yesterday, I saw this dried seaweed - a piece of natural lace - and also this 'sand gown'. Today while at the Coast Collective Gallery's 'Memory, History and Family' show, there were displays of handwork, including the lace in the photo above, which reminded me of the seaweed photo because of the colour of the backdrop, as well as of the lace texture. I was delighted to see the fibre art pieces of two members of my art quilt group 'FAD' on display, although I had imagined there would be alot more fibre art in the show. There was also a display of crochet and fibre sea forms made by a variety of artists to highlight concern about pollution in our ocean and waterways, which I really enjoyed. You can see some of the sea art here: I'm continuing to embroider a bouquet into my small quilt and I keep thinking 'this will be the last flower' and then I step back and decide it needs some more. I'm stitching as I go, without any external reference and I enjoy the surprise of watching the flowers bloom into being.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thread Petals

I've started embroidering flowers onto my pieced little quilt that I took on my trip but never worked on. And I saw Susan Teece's trunk show today at the Victoria Quilt Guild meeting. It's always a pleasure to see someone's body of work and to hear some of the details about it. I'm reminded too, of methods I'd like to try and I also get completely different ideas that are sparked in some way by seeing what someone else has done. After travelling through mountains recently, as well as being surrounded by them for several days, I am thinking about returning to work on a quilt I have partially started that is based on a photo I took in the mountains. I also have a glut of new photos I could use and a completely different mountain-based idea. But whether any of these ideas take root and grow remains to be seen. I've also signed up for a workshop with Martha Cole that will take place in the summer. I've never met her, but I saw her fine work in FAN's 'Elements' show and she comes highly recommended. The class does not teach a specific technique or sample, but will involve bringing a quilt already in progress, as well as creating on the spot with a variety of materials. I am hoping to learn from her critique and to absorb whatever I can to improve.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two For The Price of One

While enroute to see the 'Elements' fibre show at Fibre Works Gallery, I found out the Sunshine Coast Quilter's Guild was having a show too, and it was on the way! The guild show included a wearables display, a 'Go Green' challenge and featured an exhibit by quilter Judy Ross. I really enjoyed the variety - most especially how many pieces were mixed media. A favourite piece was Judy Ross' autobiographical quilt 'What We Imagine, What We Become' (previously exhibited at Houston's IQF). You can see it here:
In the quilt description, she says that the image on the left side was inspired by seeing images of Klimpt's work and shows a 'person of surfaces' - what we imagine when we're young, whereas the image on the right depicts a 'person of content', and includes what actually makes a life. Further up the coast, Fibre Works Gallery was charming, and I loved the feminine feel of the circular spaces of the yurts, which are suprisingly spacious inside. The photo above is of gallery owner Yvonne Stowell and I in her studio, which is a fibre lover's dream - this shows only a small portion of it. She was finishing hanging pieces in one of the two yurts that the 'Elements' show was hung in. I was so impressed with the quality and interesting pieces - there was so much to delight in - 70 works of art!