Monday evening arrived and we gathered around the classroom tables at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills. We were all there for an eagerly awaited kickoff to a series of workshops in Art Quilting. (The next workshops – a series of 3 – begins Wednesday April 25th 10 AM until 1 PM for 3 weeks)
My co-conspirator (Betsy Farwell) and I had all our props lined up and plenty of information to share with this budding group of quilt artists.
Several of the assembled had never been involved in art quilting at all. Our goal was to introduce them to some of the basic concepts and techniques of art quilting. Traditional quilting is filled with ‘rules’ and exact measurements. Art quilting is all about creativity and throwing away the rulebook.
Several participants were a little anxious because they didn’t consider themselves to be “artists”. We aimed to get across the idea that there are many ways to be an artist – that being able to draw well is a great skill to have but it is only one of many. The first prerequisite to being an art quilter is a willingness to experiment and to let your creative mode loose. It is not even necessary to have quilting experience. Many art quilters came to the field from general art backgrounds; some jumped immediately to art quilting after just a brief intro to quilting.
Our major task was to decide which of the many techniques of dozens and dozens to highlight and to demonstrate. We ended up with a smattering of surface design techniques such as fabric painting with Shiva paintstiks and Acrylic paint and use of rubbing plates, stencils and stamps. We also introduced the group to various methods of fabric discharge.
To add a little glitz and glamor we demonstrated use of foil and Angelina embellishment. We had available a potpourri of fun tidbits that they could use as they wished on their creations.
There was limited time for the group to play and try out all these techniques. But we turned them loose and play they did! To save time we provided some of our own teapot patterns. It was so much fun to see the group go off in their own directions to create their unique quilts. And here is some of their work in progress.
Please excuse if you see this more than once. I’ve cross posted it to the Quilt Art list and on my Facebook page as well.
I have a logistics/design issue that I’ve been working on and am not happy with my solutions so far.
I’m SURE there must be one or more of you out there who has happily solved this.
I have more than a dozen small quilts that vary in size with the largest about 12 x 12.
They do not have a cohesive theme of any kind.
I would like to put them all into book form for viewing – but want it to be fairly easy to remove them and of course not damage them in any way. I do not want to put them into ‘jackets’.
I have looked at several tutorials and patterns and everything I see is related to making a cover for an existing journal or sewing/quilting a journal. Some of these are extraordinarily beautiful but not what I need.
Well, this is primarily a visual arts blog so I’d better do a quick entry and bring you up to date with what’s on my wall. The nice thing about having so many pieces in progress is that I have a variety of styles to work on and will never ever get bored. The bad thing about having so many pieces unfinished is having so many pieces unfinished.
I started this awhile back and am in the midst of quilting it. Almost there! I based it on the Hollow Box block by Sara Nephew then designed the overall quilt. Not sure if this would qualify as an art quilt. I’d probably call it a contemporary quilt if pressed to pigeonhole it.
February has rolled around once more. This year our Haiku prompt word is ‘moon.’ When I get back to the Valley I’ll work on the challenge, writing my haiku based on the prompt and completing a piece of artwork to represent it. In the meantime I’m jotting down some ideas – a stream of consciousness series of associations for the word ‘moon’.
Last year the February prompt word was ‘love.’ With so many new people on board this year I decided to encore the February 2011 haiku and art work. The piece was and is one of my favorites. My goal for the artwork was to illustrate feelings resulting from the loss of love and the subsequent attempts to hide emotions from others.
Here you have a heart that has been fractured into many pieces along the faultlines thatwere there all along. And floating over the pieces of the heart are a tangle of ribbons attempting to hide the tears underneath.
letting go of love
hot salty tears flow freely
bruised battered heart cracks.
All the red “shards” combine to form one complete heart. The pieces have been attached to the background with a lot of heavy quilting. I used heavy cotton plus metallic. The ribbons are hand tacked. Under the ribbons are tear-shaped beads peeking out. I purposefully left the thread tails and frayed edges alone as they are part of the over all feeling that I wanted to generate.
The Haiku Art prompt word for January was Exhilaration.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “Exhilaration” as “The state of being stimulated, refreshed, or elated.”
Sometimes all it takes to experience these feelings is to step outside on a sunny day.
scent of new mown grass
sunbeam caresses my cheek
For the art work that I was preparing to go with this haiku – I didn’t want to be too structured. I wanted to indicate an almost childlike feeling of exhilaration with my composition and color choices.
At the same time, as a developing art quilter, I wanted to incorporate a couple of new techniques and see “what if”?
First off I used a “blah” pastel print in lieu of plain muslin as my base. I didn’t mind that it partly “showed through” – just felt it added some interest.
I felt that color was of first importance in this piece – so before doing anything else I painted my background using acrylic paint. In order to add some texture to the piece I used some Golden Light Molding Paste to parts of the grassy area.
I quilted the piece extensively with heavy thread.
I finally took a photo of this quilt – completed. It’s one of my earliest art quilts – 2007 – and it is from a pattern by Wendy Butler Berns. I started this quilt in Wendy’s workshop at the Glendale Quilt Show. She was teaching a technique for turning your favorite photos into art quilts. It was an excellent workshop.
This particular design reminds me, of course, of my granddaughters. The little girl in the picture could be either one of them.
I enjoyed making this – especially selecting the fabrics – and later doing the quilting. It’s a somewhat tedious process but well worth the effort. If you get a chance to take Wendy’s class I recommend it highly.
My Sweet Little Gardener
Thanks for visiting ! I’d love to hear your comments.
One of the keys to overcoming any bad habit is to have some understanding of why we do it in the first place. So why don’t we “just do it” a la a Nike commercial and put off some tasks for later? And I’m not just talking about doing the dishes. I’m talking about taking care of tasks that we enjoy as well – could be sewing or gardening or whatever.
For some it could be some underlying fear of failure or even, for some others – fear of success. Maybe we don’t think that we have the specific skill required or talent needed to complete the task and that we will face ridicule. Maybe we’re in conflict about the task at hand and aren’t even sure it’s something that we want to do. Maybe we’re overwhelmed by other demands in our lives and can’t give adequate attention to this newer demand. Maybe we don’t have a clear enough image of exactly what it is we want to accomplish. Maybe the task is boring compared to some other activity that could substitute. I’m far from qualified to give out any advice here but maybe there’s some food for thought in the above possibilities. I considered these ideas and wrote the following Haiku:
Demands, wants, needs, musts I want to……….I don’t want to Relentless tick – tock
I decided that I would set specific goals for the art work that would accompany this haiku: 1. to complete the work in a set amount of time – time that I alternatively would have spent that evening playing a game online . I thought that it was not unreasonable to have the main designing and rough assembly done in 45 minutes. I would do the quilting and finishing the following day. 2. I have a plastic storage box full of previously fused cotton scraps – some of which are remnants from previous projects. My challenge was to use ONLY fabrics from that particular box. Believe me there were plenty to choose from.
The completed piece is approximately 12 inches by 12 inches.
It demonstrates how focus, definition and time limits overcame procrastination in one dedicated to that art.
I love doing these journal quilts – what a wonderful way to try new techniques. For “I’ve Got Lips” above I first did a pieced background and quilted it. Then I drew and cut out appliques of various “lips” – with a variety of pink and red fabrics. (I had to add paint to get the right color a couple of times) I looked for as many “lip” quotes as I could find and printed them out in various fonts using ExtravOrganza in my inkjet printer. I then cut out the sayings, frayed the edges and painted each one using a fabric marker. I adhered them to the quilt with a clear fabric glue.
Just about the time we got the Haiku prompt word for September I was itching to do another fiber/ribbon collage quilt. The perfect opportunity arose when we were presented with the word “Rhapsody”.
I always think it’s kinda interesting to look at thought processes and how we end up where we end up so I hope you do too. I immediately discarded the obvious (to me at least that was Rhapsody in Blue) and considered “what have I been rhapsodizing about lately?” Peaches!! I had brought home some from Costco and every time I had one I was oohing and aahing about how delicious and perfect it was.
AND, just a few days before I had been in the local quilt shop looking at orange and PEACH fabric and carrying on about how gorgeous it was.