Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Opening the Twelve by Twelve Book! from Brenda Gael Smith on Vimeo.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Like Helen, my Eggplant, Burgundy, and Emerald quilt isn't turning out quite like I imagined it in my head.
Upon hearing the theme, I immediately thought not of the colors, but of the foods. I was in Houston at Quilt Festival at the time and there were many beautiful Baltimore album quilts on view. So, it's no surprise that I made a connection between the bounty in a Baltimore album block (baskets and cornucopias especially) and the bounty in our Twelve by Twelve theme.
I've also been inspired by the ladies at Material Obsession and imagined my Baltimore album block to be contemporary looking and full of Kaffe Fasset type fabrics.
Much moving about and auditioning of fabrics later, it's just not working. Part of it is that I don't have nearly as many appropriate eggplanty colored fabrics as I had assumed I had. But, as I was sketching the composition, another idea tried to assert itself. I ignored it at first, but now I'm thinking it was the direction I should have followed all along...
Sunday, December 26, 2010
You too can snap up a Boxing Day bargain without venturing to the mall - certain book retailers are currently offering deep discounts on our forthcoming book Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge which can be pre-ordered for a guaranteed low price of US$12.56 from Barnes & Noble or US$13.23 from Amazon. And you don't have to be a proponent of Helen's "Girl Maths" to realise that it's worth ordering TWO (or more!) copies of the book to take advantage of the free shipping within the US for orders over $25. Happy Boxing Day!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
And so I went off in a strop to attend to another task, namely finding one specific book in a pile of fifteen packing boxes. At about box five I found the project design sketchbooks I did for my first C&G course. Given I have now just ditched the second C&G course I thought I might as well just chuck those out. But one fell open at a picture of a West African Hunting Jacket a little like this one ( but different) and suddenly I had a new idea.
And then there was the song on the road in the car as I drive home that day. Can you believe Band Aid was as long ago as1984? Or that it could inspire an Eggplant quilt?
So the special fabric is back in a drawer and some alternate fabric is on the desk and looking anxious to be made into a little quilt. Or two or three..... Weird how this inspiration thing works isn't it?
Oh. And I never did find that book.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Then I saw a picture like the one below in a magazine, and he seems to be right on.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
I love the women who work in the fashion fabric section of this store, and they were very curious about what I was doing with the fabric. I think I will have to take the finished piece back for them to see.
My brother-in-law in New York has only days left and I don't know when I might need to take off to go there. Thought I better get a plan going for this.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
In the meantime, remember the book is now AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER from suppliers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon and the Book Depository. Treat yourself or put it on your gift list!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Kristin and I had such a wonderful time at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this past weekend.
We did some actual 12x12 business in preparing for the upcoming book release and future exhibitions, but we also spent tons of time just chatting, looking at quilts, talking about creative development, challenges, balance, etc. -- all the big and little ideas that like-minded friends share. It was wonderful. It's been said before, but it's so true: all the friendships we have developed through the 12x12 project are pretty amazing.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I went googling for the colors Niki has given us. I needed a reference and thought I would share it here.
I took this photo yesterday at the Japanese Garden. It is pretty close to the colors.
I think this palette suits the season we are in, don't you?
Here's a sneak peak my next challenge piece. I'm finished!
Amazingly enough, just when Nikki has announced the eggplant/wine/emerald color palette for the next challenge, this is the quilt I am working on. I started it as a way to play with my very first screen prints from a printing session this summer, and it's far bigger than 12x12. Although now that I know the palette, maybe I'll work a bit more with these prints. Hmmmm. But anyway, as this is certainly not my usual color range, this seemed strangely synchronistic.
I asked Miss C what she thought of the piece in progress. She gazed at it thoughtfully. "Purple and green together make me feel nauseated," she said, "and those splotches in that fabric look a bit vomity so that doesn't help ... " She paused again, then added brightly, "But I like the shapes!"
It's always good to get an honest critique.
Undaunted, I am continuing with the machine quilting today.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I have found that the inspiration and design process is quite different when a colour or palette is your springboard rather than a theme word. As Diane mentioned in her rusty reveal post, a theme word was useful in narrowing down the options and providing focus. Fortunately we all revel in colour so this new series is keeping us engaged and challenged.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Delicious eggplant, rich wine and sparkling emeralds. Okay, maybe you need to use your imagination with my photo, but you get the idea. Our next palette includes deep purple, burgundy red and dark green -- all my favorite colors.
Monday, November 1, 2010
This one snuck up on me. I had ideas. I let them simmer. I pondered fabrics. I felt good about it all. I had time.
And then I didn't! The last few days have been a marathon of stitching and beading. But, here it is, pretty much as I had envisioned it two weeks ago.
In keeping with my self-imposed theme of traditional blocks, I based this on a sawtooth border. It looks more like a star, but just know that in my mind these are concentric sawtooth borders. In my mind it's also an abstract circular saw blade that's been hanging on a pegboard in an old shed for way too long and has clumps of rust all over it.
I enjoyed playing with all the bumpy circular elements of the fabric, the french knots, the covered rings, and the beads. I do enjoy piling on the threads and the beads, so even if this is not the most cohesive composition I've ever come up with, and although I would have preferred to have worked more leisurely, I thoroughly enjoyed the process.
* Trinny and Sussanah and their "Sex Bomb" episode - a glorious romp with mutton dressed as lamb
* My friend, Vicki, describing blue or green eyeshadow as "mouldy eyelids"
* My husband's great aunt - a wild and wonderful woman who never stopped dying her hair an extraordinary and rather alarming shade of orange. She remains an inspiration.
* my first ever viewing of "Mame" last Sunday.
Definitely NOT inspired by any of my red-headed friends, including our luscious ginger Twelves!
Terra Incognita, the unknown land. My wonderful husband helped me with the name of this quilt because I really didn't know what to say about it. As I look at it nothing comes to me. Therefore, I thought the name fit perfectly. It is a land I don't know. This color scheme proved to be a real challenge for me. I admit it, despite talk about orange growing on me, I really don't like rusty orange. If forced to pick, I'd rather be surrounded by pepto pink. I'm never going to be an earth tone girl. There it's out. I accept it.
To make the quilt, I once again quilted and painted fabric. I then sewed the strips together in a log cabin pattern with copper thread and arranged the blocks in a diamond pattern. The edges are finished with copper tape.
I had to do several dyeing sessions to get the colour shades I really wanted to have. I also collected many fallen leaves during my walks, to find the right shape for the three leaves.
I did all the stitching by machine except for the few detached chain stitches.
This was a pleasant challenge to work on, pretty stress-free, although I've only put the last stitches on this morning. Thank you Terri!
I've posted some close-up pictures on my blog.
This piece was fun and a lot of work. I started by rusting the turquoise silk and I discharged and added turquoise Dynaflow paint to the rust colored silk. I sandwiched each of the fabrics with a thin batting and backing and quilted them.
I played around with some scraps of fabric to figure out what size squares would fit into a twelve in square piece. I ended up cutting 1 and 3/4 inch squares. Stitching these is not as simple as it looks. You can read more about it on my blog.
Here is a detail shot. I found a 12 inch copper rod at the hardware store which I sanded with steel wool. I then soaked it overnight in Windex with ammonia to get the patina.
Heading into this piece, I was reminded why we call this a "challenge!" I'm discovering that I'm finding these color challenges harder than our first round of challenges, I think because I'm a word person. Having a color palette to start with, without any more direction than that, really does leave things so wide open for me that I have a hard time settling. Because I can be so literal with words, I LIKE that this pushes me away from that ... but so far, with each color challenge, I've had to fight the urge to think of something (a word) that can then translate into the colors. This is really stretching me, which is a GOOD thing. A really good thing. But along the way, I must confess to feeling some stress around that stretching!
This is the first time in all of our challenges that I have completed two pieces. This one, my favorite of the two, was the second one I started. (You can see the other on my blog.) I began with a gorgeous piece of fabric dyed by Judy Robertson of Just Imagination, and with a shiver of fear, I cut smack into the middle of it to get a piece with the striation layers I wanted. The overlaid circles, mostly cotton but some silk duppioni, are fused on.
I've struggled with this. I tried some hand stitching, then ripped it out. I tried adding some seed beads, then pulled them off. I can't shake the sense of it not being finished, but everything I've tried to add seems to take away from it. (I keep hearing Tim Gunn's voice: "Edit wisely!") So, I've decided,that means it's done. Maybe what I'm reacting to is that this doesn't have a high amount of contrast -- and yet that's what I like about this, too.
I really enjoyed the quilting process. And I was delighted that I was able to use the stitch regulator on my new machine for the first time, while I stitched those small circles. Up until this piece, I'd only done practice doodling with the stitch regulator function, finding it slow and awkward compared to my usual free motion quilting. This small quilting design was just the sort of application that makes the stitch regulator useful to me, I think. So that made me happy. Here's a detail of quilt:
I think that this might be a piece I'll really like after I've put it away for a month or so, and then pull it out again. Funny how some pieces are like that!
As you probably already know, I very much enjoy including cats in my art. I love cats and they are a great source of inspiration for me. And I also had a sudden awareness that I haven't created a quilt this round yet with a cat on it.
I've been having a lot of fun recently painting some fun kitty characters and had wanted to do one in fabric. This was the perfect time to do that.
This quilt was made with fused, raw-edge appliqué and free motion quilting. I also added touches of paint for shading and highlighting.
I love Autumn and with the season and all the inspiration around me it became the theme I decided to work with. I decided recently that I need to challenge myself to try some different techniques and this presented a good opportunity to paint fabric; add hand-stitching; include a found object; and let the process create the form the piece took, creating its irregular outline.
The leaf is a real leaf that I had picked up last fall and pressed in a book. I came across it the very day the color challenge was announced and I knew that I wanted to use it. The rich, rusty color seemed just right. The challenge was how to stabilize it well enough to attach it. In its pressed form it was very delicate and brittle. I started by fusing fabric to the back side, which strengthened it considerably, but I could still see that if it bent, even a little, the leaf would crack. I ended up gluing it to a piece of illustration board and carefully cutting it around the outline of the leaf, with a craft knife, after the glue was dry.
I really enjoyed painting the two fabrics, using a small sea sponge to do most of the mottling of acrylic fabric paints, including a bronze metallic paint. Since I can hardly bear to not have any patterned fabric in my work, I used one of my hand-carved stamps to add some very subtle pattern to the patina fabric. I liked the way the fabrics looked as I stacked them up and so I worked out a composition using that idea. I had found some hand-dyed floss in the patina colors, so I added a scattering of little stitches across the background, then glued my stabilized leaf in place.
This detail, taken at an angle, reveals that the "stacked" background fabrics are actually quite flat. The trompe l'oeil effect of shadow and raised surface was done with paint. The leaf, on the other hand, does actually protrude about 1/8th inch because of its illustration board backing.
This really is one of my very favorite 12 x 12 pieces at this point. It was an exercise in problem solving and the colors were a joy to use.
Both photos should be clickable for a closer view.