Monday, February 29, 2016

Will You Settle For a Design You Aren't Thrilled With?

     Since I wasn't thrilled with my first attempt at a wildflower quilt, and it was going to be displayed in City Hall, I knew I had to make another one pronto. Luckily, as I was packing some previously made quilts to take with me for show and tell, another inspiration struck. I was choosing to take this small quilt called Continuity with me that I liked a lot and I thought its design would do well for a wildflower quilt.
      So I got out my gelatin plate (a store bought Gelli plate) and I mixed up paints in similar colors to the ones on Continuity and I monoprinted some fabrics on cotton muslin. I wanted to use hexagon shapes in the background, so to create those, this is how I did it using two toilet paper rolls, duct tape, and some wire:
1.) I measured one-inch intervals on the wire strip and bent it at one-inch intervals until I had six sides. (I used a printed hexagon as a template to get the angle correct.)
2.) I cut up the side of one of the toilet paper rolls lengthwise.
3.) I cut up a one-inch length on the other toilet paper roll and taped it into the other roll to make it larger.
4.) I wrapped the six-sided wire strip around one end of the newly formed toilet paper roll and bent the end of the roll into a hexagon, wrapping duct tape securely around the wire so that it would hold its hexagon shape. And voila, I had a hexagon stamp.
my sturdy hexagon stamp
     Then, after I spread the paint on the Gelli plate with the brayer, I gently pressed the hexagon onto the plate here and there before I put the fabric on top. 
     And here are some of my fabrics after printing.
This collage was made with the App Pic Collage
     I cut the fabrics into various sized rectangles and sewed them together, put them onto batting, thread sketched one of my wildflower shadow silhouettes,  hand sewed on various sheers, stamped other design elements, did some embroidery, added a pillowcase backing, and then machine sewed onto the flower again. And here is Continuity II.
Continuity II
I'm very happy with this one. It measures 20 inches x 29.5  Here is the artist statement for it:

Wildflowers are a sight to see when they are in masses in fields and on the sides of the road. But they are in peril for several reasons. One of those is the disappearance of the honeybee. The flower and the bee depend upon each other. Will the flowers and the bees continue or will the cycle be broken and these shapes remain only in our imaginations?

As for my "failed" wildflower quilt. I think it needs more contrast in some areas and I'll work on it more some other time after I let it sit awhile. But I think it's important for me to post my not so good attempts here as well as the successes so that beginners can see that it's ok and normal for not all art to work out. It makes me feel less insecure when I see some expert artists post some of their "failed' attempts, too and when they discuss what went wrong.

     In my last post I told you that I had big news. I've been accepted into Jane Dunnewold's three year Art Cloth Mastery Class in San Antonio. It involves me going out there to her studio five times during the three years and working in between sessions at home. The first session begins Sunday, March 6. She sent pre-assignments and I've been busy working on them for weeks. I've read poetry. I read Molly Bang's Picture This which was amazing. I've read many books on design and composition, but this one was exceptional. Also on the reading list was a book about Notan in which I learned a lot from doing the exercises in the book. I read Drawn To Stitch, which I had to review for the class. I had to prepare texture studies, collect color samples, and collect imagery for symbols I might want to work on for the three years. Needless to say, I'm very excited about it. I'm at a point in my artistic endeavors where I need a push and advice from someone with a lot of experience and I've admired her words and work for a long time so I'm jumping in.
     I'm linking this late to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on there posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

How Can You Tell When A Design Isn't Quite Right?

     Have you ever finished a piece but then looked at it and thought something wasn't working? I finished my wildflower piece and was sort of happy with it. It came out as I intended it. I hung it on the design wall for a few days and showed it to my art group. I didn't ask for a critique so I didn't get any. But something was bothering me about it.
     So there are a few tricks I knew to do. One is to take a photo and look at the photo on a small scale. That way you just see the shapes, colors, and values. When I did that, I could still tell that something was off, but I couldn't pinpoint it. The next thing, was to look at it upside down. When I did that, I immediately saw what was annoying me. My ammonite fossil was both too small and it was facing in the wrong direction.
     Luckily, it was an easy and quick fix. I cut another fossil from prepainted fabric I had and free motion sewed it right on top of the old one. I ripped out the old seeds, which I didn't like anyway for two reasons. I didn't like the shapes I chose and I didn't like how they ended up on top of one of the rectangle shapes of fabric. Now with the fossil facing the other direction, they were in open space and I could redo the shapes better. Then I added another chain of embroidery to connect to the fossil and all was good.
old version
The Seed Bearer
     So now I declare it finished. I'm still not crazy about it. There are parts of it I like but still I'm bothered about something. Enough time spent here so I'm moving on to other projects now. Maybe someday, I'll see what I'm missing. I'm in the mood to go monoprint some fabrics. Poor cats will be locked out of the studio for a bit. I've got some big news next post. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.