Friday, November 17, 2017

How Do You Finish The Edges?

    So, you've just finished the front and back of one of your works... Now you have to decide what to do with the edges to give it a finished look. Do you sew on a binding, a facing, do a pillowcase finish, or leave the edges raw? The answer should depend on the theme of the piece and the style of it. In the beginning, I used to put traditional bindings on my art quilts because I thought it was required. As I look back on them, I think it was a good choice for most of them because of the way I quilted them. They needed the "frame" around them to complete them.
Water Cycles
Then, later on, I started monoprinting my fabrics with paint. That gave a different look to my work, and a framed edge wouldn't look good. They needed a clean edge. So I sewed on a pillowcase backing to these after most of the quilting was done. Then I did a little more quilting through to the backing to secure it.
Beach Walk
     Lately, I've been dyeing my fabrics and doing hand stitches for the quilting. These pieces are fused to ecofelt before I do the stitching. I was going to sew a facing to these, but decided to leave the edges raw instead. The felt backing causes them to hang very straight and the style lends itself to a raw edge. But to give it a finished look, I hand stitch a running stitch around the edge 1/4" to 1/2" from the edge. Since I had running stitches here and there on the front, and stitched it so the stitches were interrupted with spaces periodically, I did the same to the edge. I could have machine stitched the edge, but I wanted the stitches to be the same on the edges as they are throughout the front. Also, I changed thread color as I went around the edge to match the color of the fabric so that the edge stitching blends in rather than standing out. On other pieces in the future, perhaps I'll use a contrasting thread color depending on the look I want.
Taking Root
     To prevent the cloth on the edges from fraying in the future, I dipped a 1/4" flat brush in matte medium and ran it around the edges. 

close-up of one corner
     I've also made some small (5x7) collages and decided to mount these on 8x10 canvasses in order to make them look more like art than little craftsy things. To do that, I finished the edges first with stitching as I did on the larger pieces, put matte medium around the edge to prevent fraying, and fused them with Misty Fuse to canvases that I had wrapped in black linen. 

Little Transformation1
Little Transformation2
     On the back, I glued ecofelt with a label attached, hammered in upholstery tacks, applied hanging wire, and covered the ends of the wire with tape.

back of a collage
side view of a collage
It really does take a while for me to finish off the pieces, but it's worth it to give a more professional look to them.  And, I'm really loving several products for this... EcoFeltMisty Fuse, and Embroidery floss. 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.

Friday, November 3, 2017

What Do You Do To Keep Inspired?

     Do you ever feel like you need to search for inspiration? I have many things I do to keep inspired. I take notice of the things around me when I'm out and about, I read art books, I browse Pinterest images, I meet with artist friends, and I take the occasional class or workshop. If you have been reading my blog, then you know that I am presently enrolled in Jane Dunnewold's Art Cloth Mastery Program. As part of this, I've attended 4 weeks of classes in her studio in San Antonio studio and done lots of work at home. The latest session for me with her was last week. I've learned numerous new techniques there as well as doing color studies in paint and dye and honing composition skills.
at my work station applying soy wax paste to silk

     As part of the composition skills, I've gotten better at knowing how to layer images. She has been so generous in showing us her processes in creating beautiful pieces.
Jane showing us her process in creating part of her latest series
     The first day each session always involves each of us putting up our latest works for discussion. I do have a design wall at home, but not big enough to put up all of my latest at once. This was the first time I got to see all of mine from this class together.
What I've created so far in the class
     The theme for them has to do with changes and cycles. I'm hoping to have a total of 12 by the time I'm finished with this series. Not sure I can do it, but that's the plan.
detail of one showing stitching
detail of another one showing stitching
This session, one of the new techniques I learned and loved was lamination. She has a book that illustrates this process, but it was so useful to see it demonstrated in person and see numerous examples of it on finished works and on samples. I was so inspired by it that I can't wait to use it in my works and on clothes.

One of my lamination experiments
Another one of my lamination experiments
Spending every day for a week with students who are like-minded and also on the same journey is inspiration, too. Now that I'm home again, I have to settle down and get to work...lots of work. Our last session is in February and ends in an exhibit of our work. So, for now, my well is happily full. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.