Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Abode Aglow

Behold the green and the purple! If you read my blog, you know I am enamored with the combination green and purple. When Nikki picked "eggplant" as our new color palette, I was eager to work with my beloved green and purple. I feel like it is a bit hard to distinguish between various shades of red and purple, or in Nikki's definition "eggplant and wine," but I still loved playing with them.

Abode Aglow
I love working with these house and leaf shapes. I am working on setting them in interesting compositions that are not necessarily realistic. I began by putting the very basic elements together: the wine section at the bottom, the emerald section in the middle and the off white section at the top. Then I "slapped" on the leafy stalks and the eggplant house and began to add details.

I knew the white section at the top was too empty, so I created a freezer paper stencil and sponge painted the zig zag halo over the house. The free motion quilting at the base suggested wavy grass. I fused a piece of organza above the house and used a burning tool to echo those wavy lines. I wasn't pleased with it, so I began to tear off the organza. Of course, I'd perforated it by burning those lines and it peeled off in pieces, leaving the wispy shape at the top of the house. An interesting development; I didn't intend it to look like flames, but it does.

I love to use sheer fabrics in my fabric collages, but I am always trying to consider what is lying beneath the sheer. The cool thing about sheer fabrics is that they change the look of what is underneath. So, if the sheer doesn't really compliment or contrast or change another element in an interesting way, I think it's a bit pointless. I am not so sure I used the organza as effectively as I would have liked on this piece. It sits on top of the painted green halo and creates a new layer there, but I should have explored further.

Then the embroidery! I tied some lavender bits on the stalks. They hang off the quilt about an inch. I like this three-dimensional element. I echoed the zig-zag halo with wine-colored thread and added French knots and a stream of drifting green x's from the house to the edge of the quilt.

I fused a backing onto the quilt, marked the 12x12" square, sewed a straight stitch just inside my marking, then trimmed on the line using a deckle edge rotary cutter. Then I mixed some eggplant acrylic paint and used a sponge to daub paint along the edge. This will keep the edge from fraying. (Not that fraying is always undesirable.) It also added just a tiny line of purple that frames the piece and it colors the bit of batting/white felt that you could see peeking through the layers.

I think this piece is an interesting combination of elements from my shrine-like pieces and my house and leaf/tree pieces. I'll be exploring this more.


Gerrie said...

Deborah!! This is so lovely and such a creative use of all the elements that you use so well in your work. Makes me happy just to look at it.

JB said...

The embroidered Xs resemble a flock of birds flying through. Lots of interesting experimental techniques.


Forgot to say how much I like this over on your blog. I love the way in which you combine the different elements of stitch etc.

Diane said...

Deborah! This is a lovely, lovely piece -- one of my favorites among many favorites of yours. I love that stitched halo around the house, and the wisp of green x's, and the way the green leaf stalk seem to guard the house... oh, it is a very pleasing arrangement of the symbols that you have really made your own.

Kristin L said...

OK, I'll be the dissenter here. I'm a little confused by the steamy look of the house (like it's in the middle of a heat wave) and the rich, full growth colors -- they seem to compete rather than compliment.

That said, you've written that the flames were unintentional. And I know and you know that trying things that might not work is part of the process -- sometimes the results are great, or happy accidents, sometimes not so much. What you have done though is balance the colors in our palette beautifully, made some wonderful embellishments, and furthered your exploration of houses, leaves and shrines. Keep on keepin' on!

Nikki said...

I, too, think of eggplant and wine as a continuum. While painting fabrics, I had many paints that I wasn't sure which color they fell under each. No color is a single shade, but instead is filled with the effects of light and, as Gerrie showed us, neighboring colors.

My eye tends to overlook the purple "flames." Instead I am drawn to the stalks in the foreground, house and wafting green embroidery. Perhaps if the shear purple followed more of the green halo instead of just the roofline. I do really like how the shear adds texture to the roof.

Beautiful quilt and I love the depth of field.

Karen said...

I think the purple and green sheer look like a kind of aura around the house and I love the way you finished the edges.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I think you used the eggplant colors very well Deborah and I like your design. I was wondering why the house appeared to be on fire and now that I've read your explanation I understand.

Terry said...

So many of your usual elements, but this piece has a different feel than most of your work. I think the jagged arch over the house adds an edgy energy to the piece that is unusual for your work. I love the composition--almost symmetrical, but with that wave of little x stitches that drift off to the right. This piece looks like an image that one could write a story about. So many questions. What is happening in that little house? Something a little out of the ordinary!

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Thanks for your comment on my Irises. Inspired by your example, I did audition some sheers to give my flowers more contrast. However, the layering that you make look so effortless is a challenge to achieve artfully.

Abode Aglow is definitely NOT a case of "slapping a few pieces of fabric together, handstitiching and adding a few beads". Your thoughtful execution comes shining through.