Friday, October 31, 2014

Are You Afraid To Take Scissors To a Finished Piece Of Work?

     Haven't we all made pieces that are just OK, but need some work to be better? I have several. I have this photo that my husband took in a night market in Laos on one of our trips.
Night market scenery

I wanted to use it in my art some day. I decided to experiment with it and make a small piece first. I focused on one umbrella and imagined it in puddles and ripples of water. I wasn't at all crazy about the outcome so I put away for several years.
Umbrella with ripples
One way to fix up works that don't work is to cut them up into smaller pieces. So recently I took out my mat board view finders and checked out what it might look out if it was cut into two pieces.

view of one half
view of other half
I thought it had promise so I took measurements, got out the rotary cutter and ruler, and sliced away. After I had the two pieces, I realized some extra embroidery was needed. Here are the results.
One piece finished (not named yet)
Second piece finished
Here's the back of Ripples.
Reverse side of Ripples
I like the two pieces a lot better than the one I started with.
So what do you do with such small works? 
-use as bookmarks
-sew onto totebags
-sew onto bookcovers
-sew onto iPad or other tablet or laptop covers
-sew onto a Tshirt or tunic
-sew a poptop lid onto back and hang on the wall
-make into a nametag for meetings
-buy a nice desktop easel and display on a shelf
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Do You Sew Gifts?

     Do you sew Christmas or holiday gifts for friends or relatives? Most years I try to sew some gifts for some special friends and relatives. This past summer I attended a wedding of one of my nephews. One of the things I do at weddings of people that are special to me is I take home some of the wedding favors and sew a Christmas ornament from them. Then I send the ornament to them for their first Christmas as a married couple. This particular wedding didn't have any favors to take home so I took home two corsages that the groom's father (my brother) and the groom's brother (another nephew of mine) wore. The flowers were silk.
     I searched the Internet for images of ornaments to find one I liked that I thought I could sew and I found this tutorial in French here .Thank goodness for Google Translate. The directions were simple to follow. I changed the original circle size to 10 inches in diameter so that the corsages would fit on the final squares.
     I had some nice holiday fabric that had metallic accents to choose from that looked good with corsages.
corsage with possible fabric choices

1.) I followed the tutorial but added some extra steps.
2.) I painted a product called "No Flow" by Jacquard (it keeps ink from bleeding) onto ribbon and wrote the year of their wedding on it with a brush micron pen. I did this twice.
3.) I machine sewed the ribbon onto holiday black fabric.
4.) I stitched the ribbon/black fabric to each side of what would be the ornament.
5.) Then I went back to the tutorial steps of stuffing the ornament and stitching it closed, but when I was hand stitching it closed, I sewed a ribbon in so that the ornament could be hung.
6.) I hand stitched a corsage to each side of the ornament.
One side of the ornament

Other side of the ornament
For most of the wedding/Christmas ornaments I have something from the wedding with the couples' name, too.  This wedding had a 1940's theme and the guests were requested to dress as such. My husband and I did and about half of the other guests did, too. They got married in a theatre on the stage and had a playbill and the musical notes on the corsage were a running theme throughout. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fun Design Finished

     Isn't it nice when it comes together and you finish a piece and you are happy with it? It turns out my silly design exercise that you can see here really worked for me. I ended up combining the abstract design with the nature design.
     I decided to put a sun under where the tree was going to be and knew that once the tree was sewn on it would need a strong element on the bottom right. That's when I got inspired to add the abstract element. To add the sun and the abstract element, I used sheer fabrics and hand sewed them using a stitch with a single strand of embroidery thread. I grabbed just a few threads of the fabric on the front and took a large stitches on the back so it looks like a basting stitch on the back and you can barely see any stitches at all on the front.
sheers sewn on with chosen embroidery thread

    To sew on the tree, I printed the tree onto printer paper, and then traced it onto yellow quilting paper with pencil. Then I pinned the yellow paper onto the top of my art piece and free motion stitched along the pencil lines. The paper rips off very easily after stitching.
tree stitched with quilting paper

     Then I felt that it needed some balancing with something in the top left and I tried several different things there. I love circles by using them there they helped unify the piece since I had a circle-like thing in the bottom right. The circles are strands of embroidery thread. I hand couched them on. I felt that it didn't need a border so I finished it with a pillowcase backing. All it needed was a name. Because the fabrics had layers of designs and the sheers hid parts and the tree and the bird were just suggested, it seemed to me as though the elements could have been from the past or the future so I decided to call it Rings of Time.
Rings of Time
It's about 12 inches by 12 inches. Now back to a larger piece. I have a piece of batting up on the design wall about 30 inches by 30 inches and a sketch done and the gelli plate out. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hopping Around the World

     I've been invited to The Around the World Blog Hop by fellow blogger Judy Warner. I met Judy on the web through a SAQA project and then started following her blog. She has met much success in showing her beautiful art quilts. You can see her post in the blog hop here. For the blog hop there are several questions I'm supposed to address. These questions have turned out to be a good thing for me because they have caused me to think about who I am as an artist and why I do what I do.

What am I working on?
I am an art quilter. Most of the works I make are in the range of about 30 inches on a side. Lately, however, I've been making small works in the range of 8-12 inches on a side. I've just been in the mood to play with the pieces of fabrics that are the leftovers I've cut off and put in a basket. They are too nice to throw away and good enough to use as backgrounds for small pieces of art. I'm getting ready to start another larger work... I've been saying that for awhile... but I think I mean it today. Maybe if I cut the batting to size and put it on the design wall that will mean business.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I start with white cotton muslin or other plain fabric. For one piece, I started with a thinned out old bed sheet. Then I use acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium and monoprint the fabric on a gelatin plate. I add more texture to it by adding rubbings using Shiva paintstiks.

montage of monoprinted fabrics
I then cut or tear the fabrics into rectangles and sew them together and put them onto batting to create my background for the art quilt. Sometimes I use sheer fabrics, too. I let the stitching show. I use a utility stitch that I like the look of.
a background waiting for foreground to be added
this one is about 12x12 inches

After that, I add elements in fabrics and fibers to create my foreground. My color palette has become mostly blues, grays, whites, with touches of rusts. I mix up my own grays. I like the various grays I can get from ultramarine blue, cadmium red light, a touch of cadmium yellow, and white. I also add stitching in black. I like the look of black lines.
Beach Walk

You can see other finished works on my website: here
Also, on my blog, I show works in-progress; even when they aren't working out well. I want my readers to learn the processes and that its about the creative journey not success or failure of the final piece.

Why do I create what I do?
I am greatly influenced by my travels and my local surroundings of Florida. That always causes me to want to celebrate the natural world and my connections to it and record my feelings visually.

How does my writing/creating process work?
Often it starts with a photograph I've taken on a trip, in my yard, or from a sketch I've done on a bicycle ride (I always stop on my bike rides halfway to do a quick sketch.) and then it leap frogs from that. I do a rough sketch of the composition that I think I want. I choose a color palette for the background and start monoprinting fabrics.
     From that point, once the fabrics are pinned to the design wall, it begins to drift away from the sketch of the composition I had. A conversation seems to take place back and forth between the fabrics and me as the process takes place and the piece progresses. One addition informs the next and so on. But it's a slow process for me. It's not agonizing, it just takes me a long time to decide on the next step. But I always know when it's not quite right so I don't go ahead until I feel good about it.

Linking to the next blogger in the hop:
The next blogger in the hop is the fabulous Lisa Chin. She is very talented in surface design and published in Quilting Arts Holiday and Quilting Arts Gifts and several other publications. Here's a link to her blog here and her post will appear next week.

Some past bloggers in the hop:
Judy Warner:
Deborah Stanley:
Chris Staver:
Sheila Mahanke Barnes:
Institches by Bonnie:
Valerie Reynolds - Quilting Studio:
Marianne Jeffrey:
Judy - Quilt Paradigm:
Esther – I Patch and Quilt:
That's it. Thanks for visiting. And do visit Lisa Chin's post next week.