Back in 2016 I used a phone to take this photo of a downtown Akron intersection, drew up a sketch from it, and then did nothing with it.
I resurrected the sketch when I saw an announcement for a juried local art show called Against The Sky. While I haven’t had luck getting into all media shows, I thought I’d make up my work and then decide whether to enter it.
Luckily I had bought the perfect piece of hand painted fabric for a sunset, which I combined with simplified outlines of the buildings in the photo. I adapted the technique Heather Dubreuil uses for her cityscapes. She outlines buildings and architectural details with black thread by drawing her design on a Sulky heat-away product. She uses the drawing to place fabrics underneath, fuses the fabrics, and then stitches the lines on the iron-away product over everything. She tears away the product after stitching.
Instead, I drew a line design, made freezer paper templates from the design to cut out fused fabric, fused the fabric on my background sky and pavement, and then traced the line design on the Sulky product (I had purchased a package at a quilt show) and stitched over it. Because my fabrics were dark, I used a dark gray thread.
Sketch as line drawing.
Freezer paper templates before cutting out.
Thread color trials. I went with the dark gray that’s on the bottom.
Start of stitching over Sulky product.
Despite the product instructions NOT to use a permanent marker, that’s what I ended up using as wash away markers wouldn’t leave a mark. I was able to tear away most of the plastic so there was little to remove with heat.
I may glue the quilted top to a pre-stretched canvas with black painted edges. Maybe that will make it more appealing to a juror.
Final (before edge finishing) on stretched canvas.
I’ll own up to a fascination with one-off home design shows, including ones that feature tiny homes. So, small abodes made from used shipping containers intrigued me. If I had made it to Tortona Design Week in Milan I could have checked out Containerwerk’s sophisticated reuse of containers.
The firm’s staff make several good points about their approach – reuse of the containers, adaptability, and affordability. You can tour some prototypes in this video from Design Week.
I went down a rabbit hole when I searched for shipping container homes. I knew they were popular when I found HGTV had a show about them. Even Akron, Ohio, is trying out containers for artist studios with Akron Soul Train.
While a single container doesn’t have a lot of space, you can get a comfortably sized home when containers are combined. Not all the homes pictured on Design Milk scream shipping container. Clever stacking and exterior cladding do much to soften the shoe box effect.
Obviously such homes have limitations. No one is going to transform them into a two story colonial, and they have a modern, industrial vibe. However, I’d love to remake one into a studio with a view. Now all I need is the land overlooking the ocean.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a pile of fabrics I’ve created with paints, stencils, dyes, and other surface design techniques. Since I didn’t feel up to deep thought projects but wanted to make something after my surgery, I sorted that pile and cut up much of it into 5 inch squares. Then, I arranged the squares that seemed to go together into more or less traditional designs.
The resulting tops are totally about texture and color. I meant no discernible message. Each is about 41 inches square and has a border (gasp.)
“All Decked Out” is a trip around the world design made with fabric I designed or dyed, with one exception. The center is a paintstik rubbing of a glass salad plate, accented with embroidery. The surrounding squares are either Marcia Derse fabric (the darker fabric) or sun printed with a crocheted doily. The blue and white squares are from a silk screening class, while the multicolored squares suffered through four processes – dyeing, fabric collage, cheesecloth overlay, and stenciling. The dark and light rose squares are hand dyed, while the blue and white border fabric is from a photo of my deck I manipulated and printed through Spoonflower.
“Sur La Table” is made mostly from tablecloths I painted and dyed. (Finally a use for high school French.) The yellow is damask that’s been printed with leaves, while the orange is a drop cloth I enhanced. The green strips are from a gradation and the outer border is linen I dyed. The diagonal strips are bias tape I made and some cording. The squares on the end of the green units are made from fabric I painted and stenciled. The thin green strip inside the border is Grunge fabric, the only fabric I didn’t mess around with.
I thought I’d do quick and dirty quilting on these, but already that isn’t going to plan. A group I belong to had lots of complicated ideas for quilting “All Decked Out.” Of course the ideas are much better than what I had envisioned, but also more work.
Garage doors in Lithuania were the prompt for photographer Agne Gintalaite’s beauty remains project.
From Gintalaite’s website:
I have always been attracted by a peculiar phenomenon of late socialism, large garage areas, called ‘garage towns’ in Lithuanian. Spanning extensive areas, these garages were part of the social fabric. For example, my classmate’s father used to park his Soviet Lada in his garage, but the garage was so far away that he still had to take a trolleybus to get home. Clearly, such garages were not just a matter of convenience, but rather homes for cars, which in turn were not so much a means of transport, but rather mechanical pets, that required time, attention and an array of extraordinary tools to fix them.
… on a recent trip to the IKEA that has recently opened up on the edge of Vilnius, I was surprised to see a sprawling garage town nearby. There I stood on Prusu Street with 500 garage doors were staring at me, a relic from the past inviting me to engage with a world in which there was no IKEA, no conspicuous consumption, and cars broke down. I accepted their challenge.
This is how this series of photographs of garage doors was born.
By documenting these objects that are, most likely, about to disappear from Lithuanian society, I wished to communicate to the viewer the ambivalent, aesthetic, but also human significance of these garage doors.
Beautifully painterly, these doors do not need be explained to the beholder. It is the fascinating play of colour and texture that I attempted to capture with my camera.
I love the colors and textures in the artfully arranged montages of some 200 garage doors. Even mundane objects take on beauty when viewed a certain way.
Recuperation is great for mindless sewing tasks such as sewing on quilt bindings. I actually got two largish quilts done since my surgery – Damask and Denim and Trip Around Columbus. It helped that the bindings were already made, so I just had to machine, then hand stitch them.
I quilted most of Damask and Denim (44 by 55 inches) with a golden yellow cotton thread, though I used a pale blue in the diamond interiors. The binding is a soft gray small print.
Trip Around Columbus was made from an Art Gallery pattern, and features many fabrics I made in a painted dye workshop. I had it quilted by a longarm quilter as the size (55 inches square) was just too large for me to deal with, especially after Damask and Denim. It’s bound with what I think is home dec fabric that was given to me. I also used some of it as part of the backing.
You can see how it crinkled up after washing and drying. I used a bamboo batting.
I have heaved a sigh of relief that these large projects are done, though they are no longer my excuses for postponing a piece that will require a lot of thinking and planning. It’s to be a map quilt of the Ohio and Erie Canal near my house. I’ve found archival photos that I hope to print on fabric. Right now I’m worrying over how best to do that, and have ordered supplies for different approaches – transfer printing and direct printing on fabric. I’m even considering a new printer, though I spent yesterday agonizing over reviews of various options. Some reviewers have had horrible experiences, which I’d prefer to avoid. If you have any recommendations, let me know.
As a quilter I sometimes forget that the world of fiber encompasses much more than a three layer fabric sandwich. Fiber Art Network, a subscription organization for “artists, collectors, enthusiasts, and leaders in the fiber art and textiles community,” presented a juried exhibition called Excellence in Fibers 2017 that’s full of unexpected and intriguing ways to create fiber art. I don’t claim to understand it all, but I like seeing a variety of approaches.
Here are a few selections that caught my eye. I deliberately didn’t select pieces I could identify as quilts, though many are in the exhibition.
Betty Busby, Wing
Emily Jan, Apologue
Mariko Kusomoto, Garden Mosaic
Ruth Marchese, Space in Time
Annette Heully, Interconnected
The Fiber Art Network website also offers some videos and galleries of previous Excellence in Fibers shows.
A pentimento (plural pentimenti) is an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent. (Wikipedia)
I have no idea how common it is for quilters to rework their quilts, but I decided to redo one abstract landscape mixed media piece I made in 2016. It’s made partly with fabric and partly with painted tissue paper coated with gel medium. There’s no batting; it’s quilted onto rayon/wool felt.
“Golden” was the last piece I made as part of my master class with Elizabeth Barton. Her comments were: “Love the sense of light in this one too…but be careful dividing the picture plane in two….perhaps consider adding another section on the left? it feels like it “drops off” a bit there. I usually suggest cropping but this time I think a little more would be a better solution – and we’d have more! the colors of the abstracted landscape are really beautiful…and the textures..
actually when you get a little added on the left, you might consider cropping the top v.v. slightly….just so you get as much depth in the middle as possible.”
I began by attempting to create a new section for the left side, but found nothing that worked after about a week of frustration. Then, I thought I’d make the left side smaller by cutting off a chunk and adding it to the right side. I also added a strip of tissue paper fabric to give a crisp vertical line, and cut off about 3 inches from the top.
To finish it off I created a binding on three sides using Sue Bleiweiss’ almost no sew technique.
The results? I like it better than the original, but I wish I hadn’t cut off so much from the top. Oh well, too late now. That piece has become part of what I created from my unsuccessful attempts to make a new left side. It’s not quite done, but close I think.