Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Muse (One of Them)

     It wasn't difficult to think what to use for the theme of my next wheelchair cover since he is always with me in my studio. Rosie is always there, too. But she isn't quite as involved as Opus.
Can't keep him away
     Here's the finished wheelchair cover sitting on a chair in my studio. I wanted to model the other cat after Rosie, but she is a gray tabby and I felt that the art needed more color, but her personality is in the gold cat on this cover. She's a sweet, gentle soul.

It feels good to be using up my stash of commercial fabrics this way. There are so many bright, pretty ones in my bins that I forgot I had. If you want the pattern for the cover or directions you can visit this previous post on the covers.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please leave comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My First Quilt

     I realized that this my 104th post! I missed celebrating my 100th. So I'll take the time now to reminisce.      
     About 14 years ago, I was shopping for a comforter for our bed and couldn’t find one that I liked. A quilt shop, Quilt Shop of DeLand, had just opened up in our town and I was walking by and stopped in. I asked if it was difficult to make a quilt, and Judy, the owner, said she was offering a weekly class at night on how to make a sampler quilt that would be a perfect way to start. So I decided to take the class and make the sampler for our window seat in the bedroom and then later make a quilt for the bed to match. I had an old Singer Touch and Sew Machine from the 70’s and the class was a machine sewing class.
     I bought the book to go along with the class, Start Quilting with Alex Anderson and fabrics under the direction of Judy. I remember her telling me that such and such a color would make it “pop”. She was right about all the fabric choices. Now I know that I was choosing light, medium, and dark values. And I was choosing some complimentary colors, too. But at the time, I had no art training and had no idea about those terms or concepts. I just followed the directions of the book and her advice. Both were excellent. I still visit the shop whenever I need advice on color choices or just the right fabric.
     I found out then, that I was a rule breaker, though. We were supposed to put on one border and I put on three. Not much of a rebellious act, but a hint of my stepping out of the box tendencies to come. I think I did a very good job with the piecing and making the quilt top. But I did a terrible job quilting it. I should have just done stitch-in-the-ditch, but I tried to get fancy and do free-motion when I had never done that before. My stippling on that quilt is pretty ugly. But it sits on the window seat with pillows covering some of it, usually with some clothes on other parts of it, and two cats often sitting on it when we’re in the room so the quilting isn’t noticeable. Here’s a photo of it in its home with the pillow covers I made to match it.

Sampler quilt with pillows
     As for the bed quilt, I never did make it. I eventually found a comforter that played well with the sampler I made. And as for my sewing machine.... well, Judy had art quilts hanging in her shop, and a few years later I saw an issue of Quilting Arts Magazine with a quilt by Laura Cater-Woods on the cover and I said "I want to make those!" So I bought a Bernina, started taking taking workshops, read everything I could about art and art quilts, and started a new chapter in my life. 
     If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve been working on building a cohesive body of work. Here is a photo of the latest quilt in that series with rock cairns. It’s almost completely made with my monoprinted fabrics. 
And here's a detail photo of it.
Rising detail

      I’m amazed how much I’ve learned over the years and a lot of it is from the generous sharing of other bloggers. I hope, when I show you processes on my blog posts, I show you enough detail so that you can learn from me, too. I still do love traditional quilts and would like to make them, but there just isn’t enough time in a day to do it all. So for now, my main art love and focus is with making art quilts.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find more art quilt blogs. Please make comments so that the artists know that you stopped by.
     By the way, this post is part of a contest from Quilting Daily. If I win, I get to choose five prizes from the Interweave store. These are the five prizes I've chosen:
1. 12in x14in Gel Printing Plate  (as you know I make most of my own fabrics from gelatin monoprinting now and I'd love to try the commercial plate)
2. The book  Mark Making  ( I'm really getting into hand-stitching and would love to learn more)
3. The book Mixed Media Technique for Art Journaling ( I don't really do art journaling, but I could apply some techniques to fabric and it would be fun to go through the exercises in this book.)
4. The book Journal Fodder 365 (It has 365 prompts and exercises that seem fun to do that I could apply to my designs on fabric, I'm sure.)
5. The DVD Texture Transformation Stitch Alter Recycle (I love the art of Natalya Aikens and would love to learn some of her techniques.)
     The contest winner is announced in mid-April so we'll see then.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Another Use For a Wipe Rag

     At one of my art group meetings, ArtsEtc., we had a lesson on focal points. The plan at the meeting after the lesson was to compose a small art work. I chose a piece of a wipe rag for my focal point and brought fabric remnants that I had monoprinted at the same time I had produced that wipe rag so that the colors played well with each other. The little piece of the wipe rag reminded me of a horizon on an ocean that had a storm cloud hanging over it. So I set up the small swatches of fabrics around it to represent sky, clouds, surf, and sand. The fabric swatches had very irregular torn edges, but I liked that look for this piece about a storm on a rough beach. And I was in the mood to make a very freeform looking work so I didn't cut the edges or piece them together. I pinned them on top of batting and then started hand-stitching some embroidery to hold it together.
     I sewed on some lovely beads that I had purchased at the quilt festival in Houston in 2012 and some small seashells. I machine-quilted a background. I applied it all to an 8 x 8 gallery wrapped canvas following instructions from Lyric Kinard's Tutorial-Mounting Textile Art . I had never mounted any work before and found that tutorial very easy to follow.
     Here's a photo of a piece of the bed sheet from which the wipe rag was cut.
another wonderful wipe rag

Rainy Beach Day

Not a great work of art, but a very freeing one to make and a refreshing one to look at in person. It has a lot of little nuances that catch my attention and its wonkiness gives me the feel of how it is walking on an uneven beach in the wind. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can visit other art quilt blogs. Please make comments to let the artists know you stopped by.