The Old Becomes New

I have continued to revisit old work that I wasn’t satisfied with, and revised two pieces, “Z Is For Zoom” and “7 Years of Bad Luck.”

Z was just too plain before, so I painted broad white stripes over the already quilted area and then covered the stripes with seed stitching.

Original

Add ons

Seed stitch detail

7 Years needed focus, so first I over-dyed the completed piece and stamped it with white ink. Then I cut off the top edge, added swirls of bias tape, and appliqued jagged chunks of silver lame on to represent the bits of broken mirror. As I was sewing the tape on I realized I was channeling Judy Kirpich. A new facing on the top and reattachment of the hanging sleeve completed the makeover.

Original

Revised

Do I think these pieces are now wonderful? No, but I think they are improved. My initial inspirations have been tempered with layers and more clarity in my intent, I believe. I’ve learned that a piece can take its own sweet time in revealing what it is meant to be.

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Inspiration From Illustrations

I’m not doing artistic endeavors this year, but I can’t help passing along goodies that appeal to me. Case in point, magazine covers by Ryo Takemasa. Here are covers he did for NON Magazine that I thought could translate well into fabric.

Each of these illustrations would take just the right fabric – bought or painted/printed to bring the image to life. The trees above the waterfalls could be done by printing with a cut out sponge. I’m not advocating breaking copyright laws by using these images, but such simplified images could be an interesting way to create quilted landscapes.

Takemasa’s website shows yet more examples of his work. I hope his work inspires you to approach design in new ways.

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A Fun Start To The Year

The excuse of a fresh new year spurred me to leapfrog over waiting projects to begin something new and fun. Of course it was conceived in 2018, but it was officially born this week.

I’m talking about my “Disco Woks,” a small (20 by 27 inches) piece made up of almost all non-natural fibers. There’s a bit of Marcia Derse fabric and silk kimono, but the rest is synthetic glitz.

It originated in a play session with slithery, shiny fabrics culled from the theater costume scrap bin and contributions from scrap hoarders (you know who you are.)

I made the woven piece during the play session and then added bits from my hoard to supplement scraps I had scrounged at the session. The woven piece became one bowl, while the Easy Pattern material was paint sprayed over a place mat stencil and cut in half to make two more bowls. I used the coppery tulle to cover one of the bowls, but some of the other materials didn’t fit. The background ombre fabric came from the costume shop.

Construction details – I used leftover curtain lining material to back the whole thing as fabric weights differed, and fused the background fabric on with WonderUnder. I made the bowls by sewing lightweight non-woven fusible interfacing onto the “good” bowl, then turning the whole thing inside out and fusing the interfacing to the bowl with my iron. I zigzagged the completely finished edges to the background. Other bits also were sewn onto the background, though the bowl rims were added after quilting.

As to the name, I had pondered using the Chinese pottery celadon green and cinnebar colors as inspiration, but I ended up succumbing to the glitter. I did pay homage to the orient with the woks.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Many Thanks

I was surprised and pleased to get so many responses to my plea for advice on “Deep Purple.” Your comments and opinions helped me clarify a way forward. I’m so appreciative of your input.

First, given the poor quality of my photos, you did heroic work figuring out what was going on. Second, I came away with new directions for the piece.

Here’s my post-post rearrangement. Note that I’ve spread around the dark purple to balance the composition. I cut off some of the dark purple bands and used the cut off material to swing the purple around the outside. You can see how it would look flipped in the next photo.

And here’s my rethinking of that. Melanie had suggested more diagonal lines in the interior. I spent some time playing with that idea, and decided on diagonal lines that connect the left and right sides across the purple. While I mocked up the arrangement with bias tape, I have thin chartreuse-y ribbon I could couch on after the piece is quilted. I’ve learned it’s a pain to quilt around such embellishments.

I still lean towards the first arrangement without the additional lines as I wonder if the additional design element is a bridge too far.

I suspect that now the backing material I cut is too small, so it’s back to the fabric closet for an alternative. I’m eager to get this one off the design wall so I can pin up the next victim, er, design.

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Begin Again

2019 will be my year of intent rather than goals.

Thanks, Julie

I want to:

  • push my designs (go bold or go home)
  • use the fabrics and materials I’ve been saving
  • steel myself to take the hard way (at times) rather than the easy solution
  • continue to try atypical materials
  • use the designs and inspirational photos I’ve been collecting

To do all that I believe I’ll need commitment.

Thanks, Nina Marie

I’m starting the year with work on “Deep Purple.” Here are the options I’ve developed. I’d love your opinions as to which is best, or whether there’s a better way that hasn’t occurred to me.

Left – green on left side and top. Right – addition of purple on bottom. Bottom – green on left and right sides and bottom, thin stripe of lighter green on right, purple on top.

Wishing all of you a great start to 2019. I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


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My Work In 2018

If the proof is in the pudding, then my quilt pudding reflects my love of color. In 2018 improv continued to be my default way to start a piece, though three pieces – Rococo, Sunset on Main, and Ohio-Erie Canal – were planned from sketches. While I bought fabric, I focused on my scraps and cloth I had changed in some way with dye, paint, print, etc.

When I begin my design with fabric, color usually dominates, and any “meaning” evolves with the piece. In past years I tried to create work with meaning. This year I just let whim take over, especially when I didn’t have set prompts to respond to.

I think all my work for the year is above, but I may have missed some. I didn’t include quilts I’ve reworked, nor ones that aren’t yet finished. If you click on one of the photos you’ll be able to see a slideshow of all of them.

Three, possibly four, of my 2018 quilts are based on patterns and/or templates developed by others. For “Church Windows” I actually read the directions. The rest I put together based on my best guess. Three were for an Ohio SAQA bullseye quilt challenge. One, “Siriusly,” was for a dog challenge. The Ohio-Erie Canal piece was for a map quilt challenge. That leaves about eleven pieces I dreamed up for no particular reason. Sometimes my fabric bits said, hey, let’s play.

It’s always interesting to see which of my pieces appeal to others, and which are my favorites. Often, they differ. The process of making a piece certainly influences my fondness for it. I enjoyed making “Sur La Table,” “All Decked Out,” and “Bullseye Bubbles.” I was frustrated while making “Ohio-Erie Canal” and “All Fly Away.” The former challenged me to integrate historical information with an aesthetically pleasing design. I learned a lot more history than is usual with a quilt. The latter showed me that decisions I thought were right in design terms weren’t. I’m holding onto it as a lesson in humble pie. In fact, I don’t think the photo shows the completed quilt, and I can’t find one anywhere. (Update: I found the piece and photographed it last night. I did improve it a bit but it still needs work and I don’t think it’s worth it.)

All Fly Away

Of course I made lots of custom fabric, especially on non-woven Easy Pattern material. I’ve developed a fondness for stencils and have more than doubled my stencil collection. Dyeing has taken a back seat to painting as it is physically more demanding and just plain messy. One fun way to avoid work play is to add more layers to previous surface design experiments.

Because of my aging joints I steered away from complex piecing and fancy (as if!) FMQ. It’s a bit painful to do fiddly work and I get frustrated when complex mechanics just don’t work with clumsy fingers. I tried to build complexity through my fabric choices. When I used small pieces they usually had been cut several years ago. Thanks, Bonnie Hunter.

Overall, in 2018 I consolidated my skills but made no breakthrough pieces. In part, that’s because I let go of any notion of cutting edge work and focused on making in ways I enjoyed.

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2018 – It Seems We Just Got Started

In five more days 2018 will be no more. It’s time for me to reckon with what I’ve done, and what I will move forward to 2019.

Rather than tally up the number of quilts I’ve made I want to review goals I had set myself, and talk about the directions my work has taken.

Here’s what I said I hoped to accomplish in 2018:

For 2018 I want to work more with photographs, and will be taking an online course in using Photoshop Elements.

I did indeed take the first two units of the Pixeladies’ Photoshop online course, and learned tons. Alas, I’ve forgotten much of it already, but have found it so worthwhile in editing photos of my work and prepping photos for printing on fabric. I hope to complete a quilt in 2019, made with photos I took.

I also took Kyric Kinard’s Abstract-a-licious online course and came away with a few possible quilt designs. I took no in-person classes this year, probably because nothing offered locally or regionally appealed.

In surface design, I want to play with gelli plate monoprinting and cyanotype printing.

The monoprinting never happened, though the cyanotype printing did, using inherited crocheted bits. I played around with spray paint to make prints of placemats on pattern eze, and experimented with making spray paint from Derwent Inktense blocks.

I plan to spend more time looking at art in general, rather than confine myself to quilted art. … My local art museum offered a year’s free membership, which I signed up for, so maybe trips there will spark ideas.

I ended up buying membership in my local museum and enjoyed two intense trips there with family and friends. I took in the Yayoi Kusama immersive exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

I need to find new homes for my work.

A cousin was happy to take many of my quilts off my hands. She’ll distribute them to interested family members. It turned out she likes modern quilting. Who knew?

I’d like to exhibit more in non-quilt show venues. … I have to decide if I want to take on the organization of an exhibit for area art quilters, or even if there’s interest in such exhibits.

I was thrilled to have my work accepted in an all media local art show, and even more thrilled to win first place. I had less success with other juried shows I entered, but did have pieces juried into the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza and the Pacific International Quilt Festival.

I learned that a local art organization is interested in putting on an art quilt exhibit, but it’s still just a twinkle in the director’s eye. I have my fingers crossed.

Rather make this post even longer, I’ll postpone discussion of what I made and the directions I took in my work to a future post a few days from now.

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