Category Archives: Art quilts

My Entry To This Year’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival

Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side is returning to basics this year with her Blogger’s Quilt Festival – no voting, with prizes awarded by random number. I love the idea of sharing quilts that might not otherwise be seen, and the excitement of seeing quilts that are new to me.

I decided to enter “A Grand Day Out,” which features my girls. I know they’re eager to explore the world, so I’ll help them begin online.

I drew the girls from a photo of a crowd of young women, and decided to have them enjoy the waves, even though they’re not dressed for swimming. Of course the flotilla of hot air balloons capped their wonderful day out.

Technical details:

-the girls were constructed like paper dolls using fusible interfacing

-the waves are hand dyed and painted cheesecloth

-the balloons are made of fused cotton and silk fabric

-the background was constructed and quilted before I added the applique

-details were highlighted with Fabrico markers

-size is 24 by 36 inches.

My favorite part: the girls’ hats.

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This Year’s SAQA Auction

Recently I’ve received many emails and Instagram posts about the upcoming SAQA small quilts auction, scheduled for September 15 through October 8. Messages remind me of the number of lovely quilts and how helpful the funds raised are to SAQA. A fun aspect is the themed groups of quilts selected by SAQA members.

Benefit Auction starts Sept 15th!

The 2017 SAQA Benefit Auction will take place from September 15 through October 8. This is your chance to own beautiful and unique art quilts made by SAQA members around the world – 368 pieces are available for bidding! For details, visit saqa.com/auction.

Once again I didn’t make a quilt to contribute. As I’ve said before, I have a hard time producing anything meaningful at 12 by 12 inches. Some contributors manage to pack a lot into that space.

As I did last year, I categorized the themes used. This year landscapes were most common theme by a long shot, being featured in 37 quilts, followed by botanicals in 27 quilts. The ever popular birds came in with 20 (not so many crows this year,) followed closely by people in 18 quilts. Animals were featured in 14 quilts, and bugs were the main attraction in 5. The themes used in the rest of this year’s crop were either abstract or one-offs. Of course, others will most likely come up with different ways to sort the quilts.

You can peruse all this year’s entries here. My favorites based on one review of the contributions are:

I realize each of my choices tell a story in 12 by 12 inches, even the one by Linda Colsh. If you look closely at “Crossing Paths” you’ll see a figure laden with packages. If I figure out a way to pack a story into 144 square inches I’ll make an entry for a future auction.

 

 

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My Finishes Are Like Buses

From years of riding public transit I know that buses are happiest when traveling in packs. Often three on the same route arrive nose to tail after a long wait.  It seems my quilt finishes are the same way.

After months of not quite getting there, I have three finishes, plus one quilt that just needs a facing.

First,  A Grand Day Out (24 x 36 inches) got its hot air balloons sorted out, and minor repairs made.

The girls waited patiently for me to give them something to look at.

Winter Fields (26.5  x 47 inches), the third in a series of a Nova Scotia salt marsh, got painterly finishing touches with a paintstick and watercolor pencils. I still need to make the summer version, though so far all I have towards it is a lot of green fabrics.

The quilt for each season features a gate, which marks the entrance to the salt marsh from the Annapolis Royal gardens. If you’re ever up that way I heartily recommend them.

An array of  fabrics found their way into this one. The reddish/purple fabric is a silk scarf I painted, and the light area on the left is part of a damask tablecloth.

Lots of the hand dyed fabrics were made by Vicki Welsh.

I needed a break from landscapes, so Rick Rack (36 by 46 inches) got yanked from the back of the closet and wrestled into a quilting design inspired by Jacquie Gering’s walking foot quilting book. It began as practice for sewing half circles. Then, I joined the halves with ribbon, and added another round of fabric every so often. The colorful fabrics were done by Marcia Derse and Valori Wells.

I thought my to be quilted list would have dwindled, but I’m back at five as of last week. I don’t even want to think about the number of hanging sleeves I need to make.

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Closing In On Finished Work

This spring I seem to find it difficult to “close” some quilts. I’m trying to be disciplined and finish WIPs before I plunge into new endeavors, but it’s hard to return to pieces that have lost momentum.

My “Mean Streets” is almost completely free motion quilted, but I’m hemming and hawing about final touches.

My girls have received some stitching attention, and are now attached to the already quilted top, along with some waves. I need to settle on a hot air balloon arrangement and sew them down.

“Stripes 3” has tied me up in knots about how to treat the edges. I finally added some squares (after trying many arrangements) and called it done, more out of exhaustion than artistic clarity. I did incorporate suggestions made by my readers. It’s tucked away in a closet awaiting its turn to be quilted. The tag at the top is to remind me of the piece’s dimensions.

I actually completed one quilt this spring, “Repurposed/Resurfaced,” which uses many fabrics I printed and painted, plus one commercial aboriginal print.

I was pleased when a member of one of my art quilt groups said this quilt made her happy. Recently Elizabeth Barton wrote about why people buy the art they do. Her perspective is it’s a work’s content, rather than the technical skills it displays, that attracts a buyer. Technical skills aside, I know “Mean Streets’ will not be at the top of most people’s must have list – too dark.

I can see that my closet is filling up with work to be quilted, a sure sign I need to switch gears. Of course, I still need to decide if all the tops are worth quilting. Some were made to use up partial blocks and fabric experiments. What leads you to just let a top go and not quilt it?

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UFOs Seeking Forever Homes

Sometimes it’s easier to figure how to finish someone else’s abandoned project than your own. That is the theory behind a UFO swap going on in one of my quilt groups. Each participant was to bring a UFO she would never, ever finish to trade for another’s UFO. The projects were drawn blindly. We get to keep the UFO we finish.

This month we’ll reveal our transformations. I drew a bag of surface design experiments, including some stenciled urns, discharged and overdyed black fabric, and some of the same fabric stitched up with metallic thread.

At first I planned to use the discharged fabric for a space galaxy themed idea, but then I began to work with the urns. The faded edges of the stencils made me think of how we lose our memories over time, if we’re unlucky. I put together a trio of memory jars and laid them on a field that starts out crisp, bright and ordered, and gets progressively more chaotic and torn.

Almost all the background fabrics are repurposed gifts. The lavender tinted silver lame was a gift from someone who used to sew country-western costumes. The silk crepe was from a bolt my grandmother had (I ice dyed it.) The damask was from my MIL’s old tablecloth (again dyed by me,) and the velveteen came from a church janitor.

I did hand stitching with metallic thread and added a few hot fix crystals to stand for escaped memories. I also used fabric paint to give a glow to some areas. All the reflective surfaces make this piece very difficult to photograph. It looks different under different lighting.

I’m ambivalent about this piece. My feelings vary depending on the light in which I view it. It may be that I seldom make a “message” piece, and find it difficult to separate the message from the design.

 

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Late for Earth Day

When I saw photos of scientists carrying signs it occurred to me that I missed Earth Day, celebrated last week. In the interests of promoting recycling I’ll present a few of my quilts made of at least 50% re-purposed fabric. Despite the constant appearance of new fabric collections I like to use what I have, even if it isn’t quilting cotton. I’m no expert on the environmental impacts of growing, weaving, and dyeing cotton (see this article on the life of a garment from Apparel Business systems for a broad overview); but I want to re-use where possible.

First, two quilts, which I’ve shown before, that say and indeed make do.

The only new material in the quilt above is thread. I even used up an old skirt on the back, in addition to selvedges, shirts, batting scraps, and trimmings from cropped quilts. You can see I used a discarded block from the quilt below for the K.

Here I focused on men’s old shirts, and learned that shirt material is hard  to work with for binding.

Continuing with the shirts theme, I made a small quilt with my husband’s dress shirts as a way to celebrate his retirement. A few striped and yellow quilting cottons from my stash managed to sneak in.

Most recently,  in “Repurposed/Resurfaced” I used a drop cloth that began life as a tablecloth. I also included a damask table napkin and color test swatches from silk screen printing, in addition to fabric I screened and painted. There’s a smidge of commercial fabric and the bias tape is store bought (I lost good karma points there.) Lesson learned – woven polyester tablecloths take fabric paint well but smell horrible when ironed.

How did you celebrate Earth Day?

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Yet Another Scrap Quilt

Everywhere I look on social media quilting pundits are touting the glories of reuse and recycling. Just this week I found TrashN2Tees on Instagram. So, it would seem I’m accidentally in the vanguard with my scrap projects. Of course, quilters have always used scraps as a money saving practice, even before Earth Day.

My latest scrap project used leftovers from my faux torn paper quilt, “The Smokies.” Why bother storing them? “Lattices” developed from weaving the craggy edged remnants together and adding very large hand stitching to the exposed background cloth. It was sloppy but fun to make.

Here you can see the perle cotton stitching scattered over the surface. I did the blue stitching before quilting, and the orange after, working between the top and backing. I also fused non woven interfacing to the back of the top before doing any hand stitching so the stitches wouldn’t draw up.

 

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