Sunday, June 29, 2008
I did the straightforward part of my quilt with rental tools at the Arts and Crafts Center on post, but since I need a car to get there in a reasonable amount of time, and a babysitter to keep an eye on the kids while I'm there, it's not practical anymore (car and hubby are already en-route to Hawaii). For the rest of the piece, I borrowed a friend's machine, which is great for the sewing part, but I'm out a rotary cutter and mat for anything else.
I did a test and felt that with a few changes I was on the right track. Now, I'm pretty much done, but I'm not entirely happy. My sketch is much better than it's stitched version. It's partly because the drawing is just plain better, and partly because the quilting stitches are uneven and wobbly (see blurry photo above).
I have a few ideas for re-doing the quilt, but they require getting to a place with tools and other thread and essentially starting over. My plan is to set it aside for a while (particularly since my neighbor needs her machine back to make a theater costume) and re-address it next week with fresher eyes.
Worst case scenario, I'll try my other idea, but it's possible that that one is better in my head as well.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I played around with a bunch of metallic stuff yesterday. I also flipped through pages and pages of the St. John's Bible and even sketched several compositions. I am going through one of those periods where the idea is just barely bubbling to the surface but it has no real cohesiveness. I know I want to do some kind of illuminated page. But what form will it take? Must I actually use some kind of text? If so, what will it be? A biblical passage? How would I choose? A more contemporary source? What would it be?
I am reminded how much work art can be. The actual hours I spend "in the cloth" are minimal compared to the time it takes to come up with an idea that is worth pursuing. And let's not even talk about the time spent on failed ideas.
Here is all the metal stuff I dug out of various bins and boxes. I like using the foils and adhering them with Wonder Under.
I even swiped a bit of foil from an art kit that Claire received as a gift.
I also found this delightful little assemblage on Etsy.
At this point, I am just asking myself, "Now what?"
Friday, June 27, 2008
At the time, I concluded that the effect would be lost in a large-scale piece. However, there might be some potential for a 12x12 inch illumination...
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
My idea was to use a wonderful quote about light and do a piece in the style of an illuminated manuscript page. A two-fer, using the theme in two ways, as it were. Then it occurred to me that the quote is undoubtedly protected by copyright. It is a song lyric. I don't know why I didn't think of that sooner. It was only as I was thinking about potential possibilities that some or all of these pieces might someday be published that the lightbulb went on.
So drat. I am back in the dark again. (this illumination theme is useful.) I have nothing.
So since I won't be using it for my challenge piece, I guess I can, at the least, share this lovely thought.
Monday, June 23, 2008
That is all I can think of. I read all your posts on beautiful buddhist mediations, illuminated manuscripts and cross cultural celebrations and all I can think about is Blackpool.
Really I want to work with the idea of Eureka! and Achimedes in his bath.
But all I can think about is Blackpool illuminations
So I think I will just have to go with it. But be warned. I am actually beginnng to understand why manufacturers make neon thread. Plus, I am thinking emebllishments the tack of which you have never seen before.
You may wish to use the poll function on our yahoo group to nominate someone to make a reserve quilt for the mosaic!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Today, I carved a couple of printing blocks.
I've also been manipulating some of my new pictures on the computer. More about this on my blog.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Hongzhi Zhengjue (宏智正覺 Japanese: Wanshi Zenji, 1091–1157) was a Chinese Chan Buddhist monk who authored or compiled several influential Buddhist texts. Hongzhi’s conception of “silent illumination” is of particular importance to the Chinese Caodong and Japanese Soto zen schools; however, Hongzhi was also the author of an important collection of koans, although koans are now usually associated with the Linji or Japanese Rinzai schools).
By Hongzhi Zhengjue
Silent and serene, forgetting words, bright clarity appears before you.
Friday, June 13, 2008
I just love this theme. I'm traveling quite a bit between now and our August 1 reveal, so I hope I can find time to put together something meaningful. We'll see.
When I first read the theme, I immediately thought of the St. John's Bible. I read about it years ago when the project first began. In 1998, St. John's University in MN commissioned former calligraphy to the queen Donald Jackson to illuminate and hand write the bible. They have created a fully comprehensive and completely inspiring website which describes the whole process.
Donald Jackson and his assistants did tons of study and research. They used hand made inks and hand ground pigments. They invited school children to illuminate their own favorite passages.
They thought carefully about the mission, the history, the vision, the tradition and the translation.
They created spectacularly dramatic images and used beautiful gold leaf.
I'm not exactly sure what my quilt will look like, but it will incorporate letters and something metallic!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I also have photos of sun dappled trees which inspire me.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
As the medium is the message (a defining concept for me), I had to find a way to tie egg tempera and parchment to thread and fabric. It dawned on me this morning that embroidered monograms could have a possible connection, often being highly decorated letters themselves. In looking for historical monograms online, I ran across a Brintannica article on the "Sacred Monogram" referencing none other than The Book of Kells. The most famous sacred monogram, is of course, the Chi-Rho; the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, often with the alpha and omega of the apocalypse on either side. By the way, it's the Chi-Rho that's been simplified to the X we now use in Xmas. Anyways, the sacred monogram angle connected the stitched letter back to vestments and to bibles, which are the original illuminated manuscripts.
So, what I thought was a dead-end idea last night, might actually have some merit. I found some exquisite examples here, and letters here. I have another idea too, but I'm worried it might be too hokey.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
While many of us are using this challenge as an opportunity to experiment with different techniques, the distinctive style of each artist is quite apparent when you see their quilts grouped together.
Click on the mosaic to link through to the Artist Gallery.
Monday, June 2, 2008
My advice is to park at the North End in rather more decent Cleveleys and start with ginormous portions of fish and chips and traditional puddings at Cleveley's Cafe. Then, jump on one of the creaking trams ( illuminated naturally, in the shape of a spaceship perhaps) down to the Funfair. Watch other people making themselves sick on the rides then, grabbing a stick of candyfloss for sustenence, walk it all off by beating the crawling travel with an on-foot meander through the tack and neon. And who says Northerners have no class?
Sunday, June 1, 2008
After we've all had a turn at choosing the theme (you have a long wait Terry!), it would be interesting to compare our respective short lists. Certainly, I had no shortage of ideas but I was still feeling a little anxious about choosing the "right" one to run with that had not been used excessively before*. Then, in a flash of inspiration, I had a new word and our next theme:
Illumination:In keeping with this word, I hope you will shed some light on your creative process by blogging as much as you feel comfortable with (short of the final piece) as you explore this theme. The next due date is Friday 1 August (California/blog time).
- (a) The act of illuminating or (b) The state of being illuminated.
- A source of light.
- Decorative lighting.
- Spiritual or intellectual enlightenment.
- Clarification; elucidation.
- (a) The art or act of decorating a text, page, or initial letter with ornamental designs, miniatures, or lettering or (b) An example of this art.
- Physics The luminous flux per unit area at any point on a surface exposed to incident light. Also called illuminance .
* My anxiety was not entirely misplaced. "Stories" was high on my short list and I see that it is also the Take it Further Challenge for June.
I so enjoyed making this water piece!
My goal was to convey a sense of water that wasn't blue. I found myself thinking about reflections in water, and the wonderful ripply lines.
And then I found a stunning photograph by Flickr friend Russell Docksteader. You can see Russell's "Water Music" photograph here. (He has a lot of stunning water reflection pictures on his photostream, in case you want to cruise.) With Russell's permission, I translated the image into fabric for my piece.
I did this as a whole cloth piece, painting the colors with Tsukineko inks. Then I machine quilted it. I studied Robin Ferrier's facing/corner triangle method and used that on the back -- it was easy and worked great!
Karen, you picked a great topic. This had a great range of possibilities and I really enjoyed it.
I once lived in Wilmington, NC and it was interesting to note that the annual rainfall was about the same. However, in Wilmington it pours buckets of rain from huge thunderstorms and occasional hurricanes.
In Portland, we have gentle, misty rain with occasional sun breaks and rainbows. So this became my theme.
Here is a detail:
I found a copyright free rainbow photo and fiddled with it in Photoshop and printed it on cotton. I then printed it on organza, but really faded the photo so that it was barely visible.
I cut the organza in strips and fused them to the background photo. I over lapped the strips and did not line up exactly with the background photo so as to give the impression of looking through misty rain. I left two parts of the background without the organza overlay — these were to be the sun breaks. I quilted rain and sun streaks. I had to add a border and a binding. I didn't want that to be too boring so I added some rainbow fabric to the binding.
Because of my trip during the month of May, I had to select a format that I could easily do with the time I had before the trip and the short time when I returned. You can read more of the saga of creating this quilt on my blog.
I started with a piece of hand-dyed fabric that I discharged the reflective "sparkles" from, using powdered dishwashing detergent. I then painted in the green shades and other blues. It was fused to a dark blue background to create the lines. The rocks started as a particularly hideous commercial print that I overpainted. I considered putting a frog or dragonfly on the rocks. I thought about floating a few leaves in the water. In the end I decided it was all about the water and the pattern it made and let the design stand.
PS I don't use blue much. I don't care for blue particularly, but I have really loved working on this very blue piece of work!
My piece took several unexpected turns. The process was a bit disconnected and I think there are several ideas here which come together in a somewhat cohesive quilt, but it would be interesting to explore them on their own.
I began by gathering fabrics and I made some sketches. I've been intrigued by book arts lately and I thought I'd incorporate that in some way.
I created a simple accordion book with two layers of fused fabrics. I cut each page separately and stamped various words on the pages. I brainstormed things that you might do with water and I just kept stamping the words until I ran out of ideas. Then I zigzagged the pages together and pressed them into an accordion format.
I used sequin waste as a stencil and painted the circles onto the surface of the book (and the rest of the quilt).
Originally, I was thinking of creating an abstract landscape inspired by my parents home on Lake Ontario. I even asked my dad to collect some smooth stones from the shore and bring them when they visited last month. The book concept took me a little away from the landscape.
But as the piece was in progress on my design wall I began to see some of the landscape elements I had originally sketched. The lacy bit on the bottom is a bit like foamy waves on the shore.
The striped fabric really makes me think of a sunset with just those few lines of orangy red mixed among all those watery cool colors.. The embroidered x's and the tiny seed beads at the top could be sky and stars. The arch could be a firmament.
That made me think of the familiar words from the creation story in the Book of Genesis.
God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then I wished I would have done a piece all based on that bit of scripture. (Maybe I'll do that for the Quiltart Journal project. Participants are required to make a quilt based on one or more of the elements: earth, air, water, fire.)
I like the composition of the quilt. I've made several other quilts with that altar/shrine format. I also really like the variety of textures, fabrics and surface design. I think the book is cool, though I'm not completely sure it fits.
As I stated earlier in a blog post here, I've always loved images of mermaids and wanted to someday create one. Well you also saw in that post my initial drawings and I must say I really enjoyed creating this quilt and adding the embellishments.
I have been a fan of Nellie from the Nellie's Needles blog for a long time. She creates awesome water (lake series) quilts, and while I don't exactly know how she creates her quilts, I tried mimicking the look to create my water. I dyed white on white fabric for the skin using fabric paints. I drew her facial features on with a marker and then added further color with Tsukineko inks and fabric markers.
I embellished her lower body with sequins and beads and they really look great in the right lighting. I added teardrop-shaped beads to give the look of water spraying from her tail. I had the most trouble with her hair. I, at first, thought I'd create it with just yarns/fibers, but I wasn't happy with the control over the placement of them, so I sketched out some shapes for fabric and then added some fibers to enhance it once the fabric was stitched down.
I have created all of my 12x12 quilts on heavy interfacing, like Timtex, as I like the support it offers on these small quilts. I have also zigzagged around the edges of all my 12x12 quilts and on this particular quilt, I also added a fiber around the edge.
I could have gone for dramatic imagery, but instead, I chose to keep the imagery rather generic but rather to create this quilt (or more properly, assemblage) out of things that are affected by water. Of course, since we are an art quilt group, the things are all related to sewing.
The "top" is appliqued with circles of sheer fabrics, to include a stabilizer painted in a water ring pattern with water soluble paints. It is embellished with pearls glued on with basting glue that releases when wet. I colored the piece with water color pencils and a fabric marker that disappears when wet. The "batting" is water soluble stabilizer.
The quilting is done with water soluble thread on top and a variegated rayon thread in the bobbin.
(Because of the sheer fabrics, I think this looks especially nice backlit.)
The backing fabric is a silk scarf which I marbled -- a process that requires paint to be floated on water.
This is what the piece looks like now, representing the sustaining quality of water. But eventually, I'm pretty sure I'll need to douse it in water and document it's demise to show the destructive power. I'm thinking that I should wait until it has a chance to travel across two oceans and then I'll photograph it at the beach, or perhaps find a waterfall which can be part of the process of destroying the piece. Performance art. Who knew we'd go there.
What would you like to see?
Here's a detail of the quilt...
More pictures on my blog very soon...
I had fun experimenting again with shibori to create various "water" fabrics as shown on my blog. I even started quilting one of the pieces. I quite like it but the overall effect is very subtle and I decided that something stronger was required as part of a group mosaic. (Is anyone else is finding that their design decisions are being influenced by this factor? I don't think it is a bad thing and the mosaics so far have been greater than the sum of their parts.)
Out of deference to my husband (aka the Laundry King), when I am dyeing fabrics in low volumes, I rinse the fabrics by hand rather than in the washing machine. Thus I observed lots of turquoise water disappearing down the plughole. This reinforced my decision to concentrate on this quilt.
I used freehand rotary cutting for the piecing and hand quilted it with a variety of perle threads in different weights and colours. I finished it off with a mitred facing (see the tutorial on my blog).
As soon as our challenge was revealed to be "Water" I knew that I would use my photos. At first I thought they would just be references and I planned to make a quilt that was just an image of water made up of layers of applique. Then Terry had her article published in Quilting Arts and I bought the magazine and opened it to see... the exact thing I planned to make, already made by someone else! Poo.
The last month has been a very busy and stressful one for me and my husband (we have a new business) and, as the month passed, I found myself delaying work on the quilt and only giving it minutes of thought here and there. But those minutes added up and eventually I had a plan - to make a quilt about water using only photos of real water. I printed seven of my photos on to inkjet printable poplin (because at $8 a sheet that was as much printable fabric as I was prepared to buy!!). It was not easy to choose which of the photos to use and I realised as soon as I saw the first print that the colours were very subdued and I wasn't going to get any intensity. At that point I went all Zen and decided that whatever the printer gave me was what I would use. I didn't have the time or resources to play around!
My favourite of the photos (the brilliant turquoise) was taken on a trip to The Barrier Reef last year when my daughter had her first scuba dive. This quilt would be about that experience. She was so excited that day. I have rarely seen my reserved and cool daughter so openly bubbling and fizzing!
Although I have a passion for saturated and intense colour, the printed fabrics were so quiet that I figured I wouldn't be able to fight that and would have to work with it. So the intention became to have a quiet image of Ali emerging from the blue.
I made a line drawing of Ali and then used fusible web to make the image from my printed fabrics. I only used these fabrics (although I was very tempted to use others!) There is a small amount of stitching on the raw-edge applique to enhance some of the shapes, but mostly it is not stitched. The quilt is quilted in horizontal wavy lines using threads in soft blues, aquas and green. I also added some coloured pencil to adjust the colour of her face -it was too green- and shade her eyes a little. It's very hard for me to stop once I start drawing on things, so it took a lot of self-control not to completely rework the image.
I am probably the least satisfied with this quilt of any that I've made for 12x12 so far. I like the idea and the sewing went well. I am bothered by the darkest of the fabrics and wish I'd used something else. With such a limited choice of fabrics and no chance of making more (self-imposed) I guess I was up against it. Interestingly, this quilt looks best up close and really looks awful at a distance - most of mine are the other way around!!
I still like the idea of a water quilt made with water photos, but I think I could have done much better. I decided at the start of this group that I wouldn't beat myself up about these quilts; that I would use the format to experiment and have fun. It's working. I am!
There are a couple more detail shots on my blog.