Category Archives: Art quilts

Evolution Of An Art Quilt

As I’ve told you before, despite my efforts to plan work in advance, often I begin with fabrics and work out a design from them. Recently I finished a top I call “Dark and Deep,” that grew from vintage linen stenciled with trees. That gave me my theme, trees, but nothing else was set.

Let me introduce you to the starting lineup of fabrics I pulled for this project. The vintage linen is in the middle with the brown paint. I lined the open work section with a strip of painted cloth. To the right of that piece are two of my tree photos, edited and printed on cloth. I printed or painted the pinkish pieces, and used the curtain lace on the lower right as a stencil.

At the stage above I’ve created more blue fabrics to work with the tones of the darker photo, and cut curves into some of the fabric chunks. The little pink squares, printed with a linoleum block, did not make the final, nor did the fabric printed with feathers.

I’m trying more blue fabrics above, and the whole enterprise has become chunky.

The piece has lost a tier and is beginning to be more horizontal though it’s still block like.

It took a walk on the towpath to give me the unifying factor, the thin tree trunks.

I made them with mostly raw edge bias strips cut with slightly curved edges. Some are packaged strips, a quilt show give away, which I painted with white and brown paint. Others are cut from Mackenna Ryan fabric. I joined the blocks with as many curves as I could. I also talked myself into breaking up the photos with applied raw edge bias strips. That so needed to happen.

Lessons learned (or re-learned): no piece of fabric is too precious not to cut/modify/cover up, a big theme helps when working improvisationally, edge stability is important when using wobbly fabric (that linen), and layers of texture add depth.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Some Pigs

I wanted to share some of the Year of the Pig creations made by members of my art group. Our individual styles shine through clearly.

Cindy’s work shows off her eclectic large fabric collection in her hole in the barn work. She added nails in the barn siding with silver paint. As always, she put a skull into the piece.

Charlotte took inspiration from central American designs for her hand embroidered pig. She’s getting back to hand work, and said she enjoyed making it.

Joan was inspired by the three little pigs and referenced the Chinese aspect of our challenge with chopsticks.

I call my finished piece “Some Pig” in honor of Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web. It’s attached to a black canvas with glue dots. I hope I don’t need to ever take it off.

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Oink!

Many possible art quilt subjects have occurred to me, but none ever involved pigs. That gap has been remedied by a prompt from my art quilt group. Since 2019 is the Year of the Pig (or Boar) by Chinese tradition, our challenge is to feature one in a piece.

According to this website:

“Pigs might not stand out in a crowd. But they are very realistic. Others may be all talk and no action. Pigs are the opposite.

Though not wasteful spenders, they will let themselves enjoy life. They love entertainment and will occasionally treat themselves. They are a bit materialistic, but this is motivation for them to work hard. Being able to hold solid objects in their hands gives them security.

They are energetic and are always enthusiastic, even for boring jobs. If given the chance, they will take positions of power and status. They believe that only those people have the right to speak, and that’s what they want.”

While I don’t find pigs attractive creatures, I love the notion of pigs with wings, as in the derisory phrase “when pigs fly.” Of course I did an internet image search on flying pigs (freely available for use) and rediscovered the flying pigs outdoor sculpture at Cincinnati’s Sawyer Point Park. The sculptures commemorate the city’s history as Porkopolis and as a port. The pigs perch atop riverboat smokestacks. My husband was born in Cincinnati, so the deal was sealed.

I chose a photo of one pig, enlarged it, and traced it onto Pellon 830, a nonwoven material.

Since a flying pig is fantasy, I elected to use acid trip colors as I filled in my outline. In an alternate universe skies may be magenta purple and pigs may be golden orange with purple wings.

I originally planned to do fused applique, but then I considered how tedious it would be to cut out little shapes and stick them where I wanted them on a piece this small, 8.5 by 11 inches. Instead, Inktense pencils and Fabrico markers were easier and more fun. I added the gold ball because I thought my pig looked like it was ready to play volleyball, with its front trotters in the air.

I have two weeks to do the quilting and finishing touches before the reveal.

Linking up to Off The Wall Friday.

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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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