The Value of Value

Late last year I was VERY fortunate to notice that an online class was scheduled to begin in January that seemed perfect and timely for my resolution to improve my work in 2016.

One of my most admired art quilters is teaching it (Elizabeth Barton) and the Class Title:  A Master Class in Design for Art Quilters – speaks directly to my own need to ‘polish’ my design skills and to explore alternatives.  

We are delving into a different design concept each month and in January, Elizabeth had us take a fresh look at our use of value.   After presenting a couple of possible designs to work with I settled on the following sketch – a sketch that I based on a photograph that I took after a snowfall in Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis.

JAN GG Sketch 2

My next step was to gather fabric for possible use in this quilt.  The instruction was to use a range of at least 5  values of the same color – preferably a color that included an intense dark value such as black or brown or even navy blue.   I selected black, various grays and white.  I also wanted there to be added interest with texture.  Linen helped with that as did some thread work added later.

P1000078

Some of the fabrics that I made available for this quilt are shown above.  I used dark to light gray cotton threads for stitching plus one variegated thread to thread paint a tree trunk and add texture.  I included several of my hand dyed fabrics to the mix.

I ‘cleaned up’ my sketch, enlarged it to actual size, printed it out and created my templates.

In choosing my values for color placement I had to pay attention to how the color value would affect perception of depth and distance.  I also wanted to maintain the lonely, slightly haunted mood of the original photo.   AND to keep the overall image simple and uncomplicated.

JAN GG FIN

My teacher’s critique immediately pointed out my wobbly bench and I plan to correct that. I also plan to add more fine branches to the background and am going to include some hand stitched branches to the mix.

I think this has turned out to be a great example of how color both interprets and projects mood so vividly!   I am tempted to do this same scene, at some point, outfitted in its mid summer finery.

Adventures in Shibori Dyeing

I’ve had this on my “To Do” list for years: literally Finally, after some reading, some dyeing experience and creating some suitable space for the project, I accumulated a few supplies and got started.

  • 100% cotton fabric, prepared for dyeing
  • resist material such as rubber bands, twine, flat templates in simple shapes
  • dye bath using Procion MX Indigo color
  • additives – soda ash, salt –
  • Synthrapol 
  • mask to cover nose and mouth while handling undissolved dye powder
  • elbow length rubber gloves
  • plastic sheeting to protect working surface and floor as needed

The term Shibori refers to a technique used to dye fabric.   In Japan, the earliest evidence of its use dates all the way back to the 8th Century!
Shibori is a type of resist technique in which the fabric itself is manipulated by sewing or wrapping or folding. When the dye is applied it is unable to reach the areas that have been obstructed by the folds etc. Thus, some very appealing patterns can be generated.
I enjoyed this process so much and was able to try out a variety. I folded, fan-folded, flag-folded, bound with rubber bands or twine. I even applied plexiglass shapes to the ends of my folded cloth on several occasions and bound it all together. This variety of Shibori is called Itajime.

Some bundles of Itajime ready for the dye pot:

Itajimi Round SamplesF1Itajimi Rectangle Samples

It can get a little messy – took me until the next day to get all the blue off my fingers. And yes I did wear rubber gloves. Traditional Shibori uses an Indigo dye that is complicated to use. I achieved my results with a Procion MX dye – the color indigo.

All the little bundles sitting in the dye bath

All the Little Bundles of Fabric Sitting in the Dye Bath

What I loved most? After the fabric bundles had “cured” for many hours, rinsing them off and undoing them for the great reveal! A lot of Shibori is predictable according to the specific technique. But there’s always that serendipity that the individual introduces so that each piece is unique.

Some of my results showing the bundle after it has ‘cured’ in the dye bath; then the fabric that resulted following unfolding and rinsing with tap water.

C2FanFold Rolled Bound with Rubber Bands

Fan Folded, Rolled, Secured with Rubber Bands

IMG_4015

Fan Folded, Rolled, Secured with Rubber Bands

E2Flag Fold Small Circle Itajime
Itajime, Flag Folded with round templates tied on with twine
E3Flag Fold Circle
Itajime, Flag Folded with round templates tied on with twine
Random pieces of the fabric are tied off with twine
Random pieces of the fabric are tied off with twine
A3Random Sections Tied Off

Random pieces of the fabric are tied off with twine

F2Fan Fold Itajime RectangleMG_4018

Itajime, Fan Folded Fabric, Rectangular Templates attached With Twine

F3Rectangle Itajimi Fan Fold

Itajime, Fan Folded Fabric, Rectangular Templates attached With Twine

IMG_4046

The colors lightened slightly after washing, drying and pressing.  In some cases this added to the definition.

flag folded

tied off random

I also threw in a larger piece of fabric “as is”  and now have some mottled Indigo fabric in my stash.

whole cloth dyed

All in all, a VERY satisfying afternoon of work!

I welcome your comments and questions!

The Making of Autumn Barn –

Several years ago I spent the greater part of October in Pennsylvania, readying my late mother’s home for sale. As you can imagine, this was difficult work both physically and emotionally.

One morning I decided that I needed a day off. I got into Mom’s elderly Oldsmobile and headed out in the general direction of Lake Edinboro, being careful to stick to rural roads.

Looking Across Lake Edinboro

Looking Across Lake Edinboro

I was greeted with the most beautiful Autumn displays wherever I looked. As I drove I was also treated to glimpses of rural Pennsylvania that were inspiring and refreshing to the eyes of this California girl.

Pennsylvania Highway 99 Travelling South

Pennsylvania Highway 99 Travelling South

One shabby old barn in particular caught my attention. My camera got a workout.

The Original Barn Photo

I was certain that some of these images would one day find their way into my art

P1000532 copy P1000570 P1000521

 Determine which elements to keep in the photo and which to discard.    Convert image to grey scale. Convert photo into an image suitable for making templates for quilt

IMG_2931      3black and white barn

 Assemble fabrics for construction.   I decided to use my own hand dyes and was successful with the exception of 2 that I found in my stash of commercial fabric. My goal was to use a lot of saturated brilliant color to offset the aged  and washed out look of the barn.

IMG_2936

Construct a background – All I needed was some fabric suitable for sky and some greens.  Most would end up being covered up.

Make the templates and adhere them to the fabric

Barn Window Construction

Barn Window Construction

 Determine the order of sewing down all the elements

Thread Paint the details

Sandwich and quilt the quilt

Finish the Edges

Dealing with Setbacks

Of course I was running late finishing the quilt to meet the submission deadline. So I decided to finish it pillowcase style instead of a traditional binding. Well, I tried, but that didn’t work. The quilting was too dense up to the edges and there was no way this quilt was going to be flat with that kind of a backing and edge treatment.

So I had to remove the pillowcase back and come up with something else. I determined that because the barn itself was shabby and had loose boards (think ‘threads’) all over the place, that a casual zig zag finish would be appropriate.

Of course, in the process of “turning the quilt” I had already clipped the corners. But I decided that was just fine. That little imperfection just added to the theme of this dilapidated barn in the midst of the Autumn beauty.

Barn in Autumn

Barn in Autumn

This quilt is part of this year’s SAQA Art Quilt Auction beginning online September 18, 2015

The SAQA Art Quilt Auction Begins 9/18

Prayer Flags Flying High (and mini tutorial)

I thought for sure that I had posted about making prayer flags but not so!  Prayer flags have a long tradition and they can be seen in many different configurations.   There is no right or wrong way.  There is a blog devoted to Prayer Flags at :  ThePrayerFlagProject.blogspot.com      There you will find tutorials and many examples of how various artists have interpreted and created their own Prayer Flags.  (mine are posted in March this year 2015)

I had thought about making and hanging some flags for well over a year and was waiting to be inspired it seems 🙂   A few months ago I was walking down the aisle of a local craft shop and found a package of burlap banner shaped pieces in the clearance section.  The first thing that I thought of was that they would be perfect for Prayer Flags.  And if I messed up, then the investment was minimal.

There were four of these burlap shapes in front of me looking like this:

burlap for flagseach measured 5 1/2 ” by 7 1/2 “

The first thing that I did before anything else was to stay stitch inside all the edges of all the flags to minimize fraying.  Burlap frays. I didn’t mind that,  It enhanced the rustic look that I was trying to achieve.  But I did want to contain the amount.    I used black thread and a zig zag stitch and stitched each flag on every side about 1/4 inch in from the edge.IMG_3498

        I figured there was no hiding of the stay stitching so I incorporated it into the overall design

You are goiing to need to attach a narrow muslin muslin hanging sleeve attachedsleeve to the top.  Do that now by machine UNLESS you are going to use that top space for your hand stitching later.  In which case you will attach the sleeve as the last step with each flag.

inspire_dream

Gather your fabrics and threads and design your flags.  I used muslin for the inspirational words, and a variety of fabrics: cheesecloth, bits of organza, felt, burlap.  Use whatever your design calls for!

hope_loveI also added a few beads, some ribbon and buttons and hand stitched with embroidery cotton of various sizes.      

The final step was to string the four finished flags together by running a length of hemp through the sleeves.

Details of the Four Flags Belowdetail_hope

detail_loe

detail_inspire

detail_dream

Monoprinting with a Gelli Plate – Yes It’s Addictive!

So I’m trying to get back on track and catch you all up with what I’ve been up to for the past 5+ months.  Only a PART of that time has been non art related – boo-hoo, but it will be in the future 🙂

Rather than try to squish it all into one post I want to tell you about an exciting day I had about a month ago making mono prints.  How many of you broke down and bough a Gelli plate when they came out?  Or at least were tempted to?

Well, I did, and it has been very busy collecting dust – well except for once when my friend and I got together and messed around with some fabric; neither of us knowing what we were doing.

So a local Art Supply store sponsored a half day workshop – a ‘how to’ to create mono prints with a Gelli Plate and I was first in line.

I can’t go through ALL that I learned that day but it was extremely productive and in addition to some beautiful prints that I brought home with me – here are the main points that I picked up.

1.  It can get messy: Do your printing in an area that can withstand the mess of spattered paint – get dressed with that in mind as well.

2.  Use OPEN acrylics.  Yes they made a huge difference!  I suppose if you’re very sure of yourself and can work very quicky you could get away with the much shorter drying time of regular acrylics.  But for a novice like me – or if you want to work extemporaneously, do use the Open type.

3.  Have a variety of objects at the ready to make marks.  Make sure that none of them are too pointy.  You don’t want to damage your plate.

4.  Use every bit of paint left on your plate – have a journal at the ready for instance so you can use the leftover paint to start backgrounds.

5.  Become intimately familiar with the color wheel and which colors NOT to mix together if you want to avoid mud.

6.  Just let ‘er rip – Use your imagination.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You’ll have an ugly print which you can then gesso over and reuse.

I’m eager to show you some of what I brought home with me that day.  Most of these were done on printing paper; some on card stock, and a few on 140 wt watercolor paper.

Next up – as soon as I can work in a day – will be fabric prints!

Some cards using Monoprint techniques with a Gelli Plate:

2 color monoprinted cardbronze_copper_card

Using Stencils with Monoprints

Using stencils in various combos

Trees blue_monoprint

trees_duo_monoprint

Some are even suitable for framing themselves; others can be used in whole or in part in other pieces.

IMG_3280

bronze and more  monoprint

bronze spiral Monoprit3color_monoprint

And look at what you can do by cleaning off your brayer on a sheet of printing paper!!!   🙂

red_yellow_monoprint_edited-1blue_purple_monoprint

Tee, hee – Not bad for brayer cleaning, huh?  I won’t tell if you won’t tell!

Who wants to try mono printing next?

Beach Buddies – featured on the Superior Threads Blog

I was so excited to see that Superior Threads has featured my art quilt “Beach Buddies” on their blog.

http://www.superiorthreads.com/blog/2014/8/superior-spotlight-guila-g/

Years ago I took a photo of my husband and oldest granddaughter walking on the beach. I always loved that photo and knew that someday I would do something special with it.  After learning more about making pictorial quilts, including a workshop with Wendy Butler Berns, I made this quilt.

I enjoyed the process of making it immensely – and loved quilting it with silk thread.  I used Superior’s Kimono #100, a very fine thread.

detail 1 I did the quilting with #100 Kimono Silk

Detail 1

 

Beach_Buddies_detail

Detail 2

 

detail 3

detail 3

detail 2 The little girl is my oldest granddaughte

Detail 4

 

And this is the photo that I took when my granddaughter was only 2 years old.  She is now a senior in high school !

This is the photo of John and Marley that I based

Original Photo

 

 

Paint and Bead Your Own Decorative Pillow – Back by Popular Demand

Paint and Bead Your Own Decorative Pillow

originally Posted on November 1, 2013

 

Back By Popular Demand

Make your own decorative pillow.  You will paint your own fabric and embellish it with stitching and beads.  The class is on the schedule at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills for Tuesdays January 14 and January 21st 2014 
 6 pm until 9 pm 
(6 Hours total – 3 hours each day)

You can create your own design or fashion your pillow along the lines of this one that I made for this class.

P1040166

I started with a piece of white PFD Kona cotton and painted the background with an acrylic wash of color.  Next I painted the flowers and layered the piece with batting and lining.  Then the REAL fun began as I used thread painting to add depth and texture to the design.  Here’s where you can really let yourself experiment with color and various thread weights.  I particularly liked the look of some variegated 30 wt. thread. 

When I declared the thread painting “done” I got out my beads and went to town!  Because this will be used for “show and tell” in class I wanted to be sure to incorporate several basic beading stitches.  I used moss stitch, scatter stitch, seed stitch, bugle pathways, back stitch and stacked stitch.  

My goal was to achieve a vibrant mix of color, texture and bling.

Call Baron’s today to sign up – This is a FUN class.

818-224-2746

Open Studio & Art Bazaar

Hey – L.A. area friends – This coming Saturday I will be participating in an Open Studio and Art Bazaar in downtown Los Angeles. Come and see a wonderful display of art and start early on your Holiday gift search!

RSVP required – Please contact Amy –  amyshawley@gmail.com

ArtBazaarFlyertoPrintFinal

Paint and Bead Your Own Decorative Pillow ! Back By Demand Jan. 14, 2014

I’ve been busy preparing for what is shaping up to be an exciting Fall schedule of teaching.  One of the new workshops planned is to make your own decorative pillow.  You will paint your own fabric and embellish it with beads.  The class is on the schedule at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills for September 24th and October 8th, 2013.

Here is the one that I finished the other day.

P1040166

I started with a piece of white PFD Kona cotton and painted the background with an acrylic wash of color.  Next I painted the flowers and layered the piece with batting and lining.  Then the REAL fun began as I used thread painting to add depth and texture to the design.  Here’s where you can really let yourself experiment with color and various thread weights.  I particularly liked the look of some variegated 30 wt. thread. 

When I declared the thread painting “done” I got out my beads and went to town!  Because this will be used for “show and tell” in class I wanted to be sure to incorporate several basic beading stitches.  I used moss stitch, scatter stitch, seed stitch, bugle pathways, back stitch and stacked stitch.  

My goal was to achieve a vibrant mix of color, texture and bling.  Did I achieve it??

Tutorial for Sun Printing (Sun Painting)

I love Sun Printing – the serendipity aspects are marvelous, especially using organic masks – you’re never quite sure how it’s going to turn out.  And, if you don’t like the results just repaint your fabric and start over.

Materials you will need:

  • Fabric – 100% white cotton – prewashed in detergent and dried
  • Clothes you don’t mind getting paint on
  • a portable work surface: cover a piece of heavy cardboard with plastic and tape the plastic securely to the reverse side of the cardboard. The work surface should be a couple of inches larger than your fabric piece all around.
  • Straight pins
  • Paint:  sun sensitive fabric paint such as Dye-Na-Flow (from Lumiere) or light sensitive Setacolor fabric paint   Use from 1 to 3 different colors.
  • Foam brushes ½ inch to 1 ½ inch
  • Plastic bowls (one for each color that you will use –
  • Spritzer bottle with water
Prepared work surface and wet fabric

Prepared work surface and wet fabric

A variety of items to use as masks to create your design:

Use items that have enough weight to sit firmly on the fabric so that the sunlight doesn’t leak in under the edges in order to create a nice crisp print.  Lighter items will give you a more subtle look.  If there’s a light breeze you may want to place a weight such as a hardware washer on top of a mask that could blow away or shift position.  (such as a leaf)  A fine straight pin could be used to hold your item to the fabric as well.  Just make sure that it doesn’t cast a shadow -unless you want that effect.

The paint used in Sun Printing works by seeking out a light source.  So when you place a mask over a section of painted cloth, the paint will migrate into uncovered areas of fabric.

Here are some examples of masks you can readily find:

  • Found items such as old keys, coins of various sizes, buttons, safety pins, string of beads, botte caps
  • hardware items such as washers, screws, nuts and bolts
  • items you can pick up on a walk like leaves, petals, stones, fronds, stems
  • stencils (your pattern will be reversed)
  • shapes you cut out yourself from cardboard.
A variety of objects can be used to mask areas of your painted surface and produce your print

A variety of objects can be used to mask areas of your painted surface and produce your print

Method

  1. Secure your fabric to work board with pins or use masking tape to secure the edges.
  2. Wet down fabric thoroughly with water/spritzer bottle.  Keep the fabric wet until you’ve finished arranging your design.
  3. Choose between 1 and 3 paint colors for your first project.  Mix a small amount of each color with 2 parts water, placing one color solution in each bowl.   supplies
  4. Wet foam brush and start painting fabric.  Remember this is a background.  It doesn’t have to resemble anything; it is simply a colorful backdrop for your printing items.  While painting with color #1, leave white spaces for additional colors.
  5. As you add your additional colors, spritz more water to help the colors spread and mix at the edges.
  6. Have your masking items ready to arrange on your fabric immediately, especially if you are outside on a warm sunny day!

Fresh leaves from a rose bush are arranged on the wet painted surface of the fabric

7.  Quickly arrange masking items  on to wet painted surface of fabric.

8.  Take fabric – along with work surface to a sunny spot and allow to dry for 30 minutes to an hour – depending on temperature and humidity.

9.  Remove masks when completely dry. 

10.  Press fabric with a hot dry iron for about 4 minutes to set the paint.

The results

The results

More Rose Leafs - different color scheme

More Rose Leafs – different color scheme

sunprint