Map Play

Last week I took a Zoom Virtual Schoolhouse Map Play class from Valerie Goodwin. She is known for quilts that map real and imaginary places, and taught architecture for many years. The class I took was a speeded up, 6 hour version of a one to two day class of the same name.

I began the class with crinoline, MistyFuse, a bunch of fabric scraps, organza, and paint. I ended the class with two finished small maps and the start of two others. In between Valerie showed us her base construction techniques, reviewed design principles and elements, and guided us in constructing our own maps. She also critiqued our finished efforts with an eye to our possible next steps. That’s a lot in 6 hours.

All our maps were developed from a base of fabric scraps sewn to a 7 inch by 24 inch piece of crinoline (JoAnn’s sells it.) Then, we used paint (either fabric or acrylic) to blend the joins between the scraps and did a bit of hand stitching to hold down raw edges.

My scraps sewn to base. We were encouraged to not create a checkerboard, but to overlap scraps and have raw edges.

My base after painting. My paint was watery so I added white acrylic to it.

Then, we added organza shapes for more blending, and selected areas to cut into 5 by 7 inch pieces for our imaginary maps.

Before we began construction of our maps, Valerie reviewed elements and principles of design. I liked that she illustrated the principles with photos of architectural examples. It was fun to figure out which principles each used – certainly more thought provoking than the simplified graphics often used (i.e., a seesaw with different weights at each end.)

We ended up with about 45 minutes to finish a few of our maps. I got one done and began another, and then Valerie critiqued our work with an eye to further development.

Valerie suggested I extend the line of trees. I was trying to illustrate the design principles of asymmetrical balance and movement.

I hope to turn this into a representation of the southwest. Valerie liked the lines and colors, but there was little else to critique.

I did do one more last weekend.

I chose a focal point as my design principle. Let me know what you think it represents.

Overall, my class experience was positive. My only suggestions for improvement would be to have students prep their organza for fusing and to watch the base construction video before class. That took a bit of time that I certainly needed for map making. However, I’m sure teachers learn from experience that sometimes students don’t do the prep work and the class has to spend time on it anyway.

If this approach appeals to you, Valerie offers a virtual class through C & T’s Creative Spark that covers much of what I learned in her class. I think she’s also working up a class in using laser cutting machines to create intricate, lacy maps. I know she uses a cutter brand called Glow Forge, and has done extensive testing of cutting fabric with it. The results look enticing, but I know I won’t be investing in a laser cutter so will resist the temptation.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Catching Up

Since I am busy today with a Zoom workshop about map quilts from Valerie Goodwin I will give a few updates rather than present any new work. I hope to report on the workshop once it’s done and I’ve had time to process it.

First, all but one of my free quilts found new homes. I am so happy they have a chance of seeing someplace other than my closet. An unexpected but delightful side effect of that giveaway was the many tokens I received in return, ranging from cards to maple butter. Thank you all.

Second, the quilt below is now called “Fractured.” I was amazed at the quantity and creativity of your suggestions, often with well thought out reasons for the name. Once I narrowed my choices to four, I consulted my in-house expert, and he felt “Fractured” best conveyed the sense of the work.

“Fractured”

Third, my quilt “Calliope” won a blue ribbon in its category at the Lake Farmpark quilt show. I think I mentioned that before, but here we are together.

I think my outfit coordinates nicely with “Calliope”

Fourth, for those of you who live in/near Akron, I want to let you know of a massive audio visual materials sale on May 20, 10-6, and 21, 10-5, at the main library on South High Street in downtown Akron. Low, low prices, with CDs 10 for $1. The sale includes CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, sheet music, audio books, and even 16 mm films. Proceeds will go to the Friends of the Main Library. One hour free parking on Friday, and all day free parking on Saturday. I mention this because I volunteer as a donations sorter, and I really want to get more room in the sorting area.

Fifth, I’m rearranging my studio, and have bought a few rolling carts, which I’m in love with. More on all that later.

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Happy Accidents

Sometimes I decide to combine a collection of my painted/printed/altered fabric parts just to see if I can make them work together. Typically, I have no plan, not even a sketch. It’s a highly inefficient way to create, but I find it fun. Plus, it takes my mind off of any real world worries.

My latest mashup began with a naughty Roomba. I had unleashed it in my bedroom where it’s great for under the bed vacuuming. Unfortunately, I had stored a large sheet of lacy handmade paper between cardboard there, and the Roomba managed to mangle it thoroughly before I rescued it. Amazingly, the paper didn’t rip, but it was much softer. Figuring I couldn’t do any more damage, I colored it with Marabu fabric spray and decided I had to use it. It became a big part of “Happy Accidents.”

“Happy Accidents,” 29″ by 42″ (the color is off as we’ve had nothing but clouds since I finished) Except for the paper, which is hand stitched down, everything is either machine pieced or fused.

Among the bits I used were an old sheet that I used for painting (with thermofax printing,) monoprinted silk and linen, painted linen, painted PatternEase, bit of old curtain, muslin dress pattern, and ancient batik. There also Zen Chic and Grunge dot commercial fabrics.

Base layer with a few additions
One of many intermediate arrangements
Detail of fabric monoprinting, thermofax printing, PatternEase
Detail of batik I made in 1993, muslin dress pattern with thermofax printing
Detail of gel printed leaves on linen

I grant you the combination is a bit overwhelming even though I removed some of the circles in the editing process. But more is more, right? Now that’s out of my system and I can try to actually plan ahead for my next project.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Fabric Printing

A Lovely Parting Gift

It’s hard to say goodbye to a friend who is moving many hours away. I know, it could be much further away, with visits possible only by cross country or ocean trek. Still, the easy spontaneity of living a mere 20 minutes from each other will be gone.

Since we are both arty types of course we gave each other handmade farewell gifts. I created (with the help of Shutterfly) a book of my friend’s photos she had shared with me. In return she created a mixed media piece she called “Expecting to Fly.”

“Expecting to Fly”

And it was accompanied by a handmade card.

Thank heavens email and Instagram make it easily possible to continue to share our artistic journeys. Alas, they aren’t so good for seeing shows in person and talking over each piece. I’ll miss you P.

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From the French Word Coller, “to Glue”

Each year the National Collage Society holds a small format members’ exhibition. Since the the exhibit of eighty-six 4 by 6 inch works was held at Summit ArtSpace in Akron, I made a point of going to it. At first it seemed out of scale to walk into a large room with one horizontal line of very small works on three walls, but you forgot that once you drew closer to the pieces. I was amazed at the detail the artists packed into such small real estate.

While almost all the works merited close examination, here are the ones that really caught my eye.

Sheer Magic by Clare Murray Adams
Rhythm and Tempo by Deborah Eater
That’s Okay, I’ll Wait Here by Terrence Fine
These Winds by Jean Hess
English Breakfast by Rachel Tirosh
Facial Decorations by Joyce Linda Sichel
Postcard From A Road Trip by Dennis Mastrangelo
Pyramid Scheme by Janet Noden
Erosion by Carol A. More
Hey Good Lookin’, What You Got Cookin’? by Maggi Miller

Speaking for myself, it’s much easier to work at small scale with paper than with fabric, unless you’re only fusing. And that’s essentially collage with fabric. Now, that’s a thought – a paper-fabric collage using Mistyfuse. I’m sure many have already tried that, but it’s a new idea to me. I certainly have plenty of paper and fabric scraps to use.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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This Quilt Needs A Name

I have a name in mind early on for most of the fabric work I create. But not always. I am sewing down facing on the latest piece I quilted and still haven’t come up with a good name.

Unnamed quilt
Just waiting for the right name.

It is the love child of two earlier quilts, “Vertigo” and “Staircase.” The latter isn’t quilted yet, but is next in my queue.

“Vertigo”
“Staircase” (the upper left corner is still unresolved)

I’ve thought of Split pea leftovers, Which way, and Thataway; but none really grabs me. So, I ask for your suggestions in hopes that fresh eyes will discern better possibilities. I can’t promise to choose one of your ideas, but I can promise new ideas will lead to a fitting title.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

Transforming Old Clothes to Art

Today’s topic came to me as I wandered the aisles of my local Village Discount thrift store looking for bargains. Once I got over my surprise that used bras were on offer, I checked out the men’s extra large shirts. There’s lots of material in a $2 cotton dress shirt.

I didn’t go home with any shirts, but I did remember Sue Benner’s piece made with shirt cuffs which I saw at Quilt National 2017.

Another view of Sue’s Body Parts 3: Cuffed that shows how see-through it is. It cast intriguing shadows.

Sue shops in thrift stores, and even finds uses for garment parts like shoulder pads. If you were around in the 1980s you may recall that most women’s clothing had big foam pads sewn into the shoulders.

Sue Benner, Body Parts 2: Padded

It was a short step from that memory to a trawl for other fiber artists who work with cast off clothing. SAQA Journal helped me along with an article (2022, Vol. 32, No. 1) about Susan Avishai, who transforms shirt collars, cuffs, and other parts to often ethereal work.

Cuff’d, Susan Avishai
Detail from Susan Avishai’s One Place to Hide a Dark Heart

Denim is a favorite clothing material to recycle. I’ve written earlier about Ian Berry, and have always loved the Gee’s Bend quilts made from old jeans.

Lutisha Pettway, “Bars“ Quilt, c. 1950

A new to me artist, Jim Arendt, said that he simply asks people for their old jeans, and hasn’t bought materials in some time.

Jim Arendt
Arendt’s work area in his garage.

You can enjoy his talk on rules for creating art on YouTube.

While the artists above cut up clothing, their work doesn’t feature paint on surfaces. Los Angeles based Aiko Hachisuka prints and paints on second hand clothing she bundles together in large foam stuffed lumps which the art world calls soft sculptures. I’m not a big fan of her work, but I’m intrigued with her way to use discarded clothing.

Aiko Hachisuka, Untitled, 2017, Silkscreen on clothing, kapok, upholstery fabric, foam on wood support, 76 x 63 x 20 inches
Detail shows the printing and painting done on another piece. You can see part of her process at https://nyti.ms/3ip2C7c

I have done my small bit to repurpose clothing in work like Damask and Denim and Shirtsleeves.

Damask and Denim
Shirtsleeves

My husband tells me we have a coupon worth 50% off at Village Discount, so maybe a return visit is in the works once I figure out a project made with men’s shirts.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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A Finger In Every Pot

The past week I’ve dabbled in quite a mix of projects and techniques, probably revealing I’m a Jill of all work but mistress of none. (I don’t get the they/them thing, so I went the old fashioned route. Though I could say I contain multitudes and use they/them.) Since I often work on more than one project at a time, sometimes they all mature at once.

My Spoonflower printed trees and wall fabric has been sewn together and I’m now experimenting with different embroidery stitches and threads to enhance the tree area. The printed fabric is less intensely colored than the hand painted and dyed fabrics, so I want to bring it out more. Right now it’s called “Along Portage Path.”

I went with five panels, a left to right gradient, and no top or bottom strips. It’s spray basted on batting. I will embroider it at this stage and then add a backing before machine quilting it.

I pulled out an unquilted top and finished it through the hanging sleeve stage. Put on your sunglasses at it’s bright.

“Teetering” is 21.5″ wide by 27″ high. I combined straight stitch and zigzag in the acid green lines.

I returned to “The Memory Jar,” an old project I was never satisfied with and added paint and oil pastels. Now it better expresses my intention to show the breakdown of memories with age, but I’m still not wild about it.

Revised version
Original version

Not to ignore my paper projects, I sewed several small collages onto a large printed piece of sewing stabilizer, and tried to mesh them into a coherent whole. I ended up changing the look of most of the original collages. This was a great way to reinforce the lesson that nothing should be viewed as too precious to change.

Untitled, 16.5″ wide by 19.5″ high. Backed with felt.

Finally, I finished up a magazine image collage that emphasizes a subdued color palette. I will most likely make a few more changes in a week or so, as a distraction from any other project I’m stuck on.

Untitled. 12″ high by 14″ high

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, mixed media

Playing With A New To Me Supply

I’ve mentioned before that I’m enrolled in a mixed media class called Wanderlust. The idea is to learn to use several mixed media materials that are considered staples. We’ve run through gessos and image transfers. Now we’re doing modeling paste.

While I had seen modeling paste mentioned in more craft oriented mixed media publications, I had ignored it. I didn’t see it being applicable to fabric (in all senses.) Now that I’ve expanded my universe to paper I’m trying it out.

Of course there are several weights of the stuff – light, regular, heavy. No art supply is ever simple. Since the class focuses on art journals we need to use the lighter weight. Otherwise no one could close their journal. All the instructors compare it to cake icing in terms of texture and spreadability. In a nutshell, you spread it on paper with something like a palette knife and then stamp on it or score it with tools. You can also apply it through a stencil. The base color is white, but it can be tinted with about any kind of paint – acrylic, watercolor, gouache, or ink.

Here are my efforts so far.

Watercolor paper, cocktail napkin, tinted modeling paste, cheesecloth, acrylic paint.
Prestretched canvas, modeling paste applied through two stencils, collaged paper, Posca pens, acrylic paint
Gel plate image transfers, acrylic ink, collage papers, modeling paste stamped with foam stamp

I’m working now on tinting the paste, and stamping it with watercolor painted stamps. You get an impressionistic effect. Here’s a trial sample.

Maybe I’ll try it on fabric, though I think a heavier type like canvas would be best. You certainly couldn’t stitch over it as it dries hard, so perhaps it could be a final layer. More discoveries await me.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Tenth Anniversary Giveaway

Update: All of the quilts, except for”Z Is For Zoom,” have new homes.

Can you believe I’ve been writing this blog for ten years? It began as a way to record my quilting adventures – work in progress, my finished work, shows I saw, artists I admired, and a few editorial opinions. If others were interested that was great. I think I’ve remained true to my original purpose with a few digressions.

To celebrate my anniversary and National Quilting Day (tomorrow), I will be giving away several of my quilts for you to enjoy in your personal spaces. Most are small, some are older, some I’ve used but am now ready to find new homes for them. I need to downsize. Many but not all these quilts have hanging sleeves. They are listed below by title and size. You can ask for as many you want. It will be first come, first served.

ONE BIG CAVEAT: I will not be paying any shipping costs. Either you can pick up your quilts at my house or a mutually agreed on location in/near Akron, Ohio; or you can pay for shipping. If the latter, we can work out a payment method.

If you’re interested in any of these quilts, email me at snarkyquilter@gmail.com. Please do not simply comment on this post. Note title(s) you’d like and whether you’re local or would need shipping arrangements.

Autumn Whispers 16″ wide by 24″ high

Bloodshot Bullseyes 15.5″ wide by 27.5″ high

Broken Glass 31″ wide by 34″ high

Curved Star 12″ wide by 13″ high

Feathering My Nest 14″ wide by 17.5″ high

Grasses 14.5″ wide by 19.5″ high

Heading Home 22.5″ wide by 23.5″ high

Pointing To Lavender 20.5″ wide by 21.5″ high

In The Weeds 22″ wide by 29″ high

Lattices 14.5″ wide by 17.5″ high

Little Red 15″ wide by 17″ high

Neutrality 24″ wide by 24″ high

Purple Snowflakes 15″ wide by 40″ high

Reverse of Snowflake

Rays 19″ wide by 21″ high

Should Trees Have Standing 22.5″ wide by 18″ high

Note: Can’t be shipped due to fragile paper

Turning The Corner 23″ wide by 33″ high

Turning The Corner

Turquoise 15.5″ wide by 17″ high

Western Canyon 11″ wide by 15″ high

Xmas Runner 15″ wide by 55″ high

Z Is For Zoom 31″ wide by 19″ high

I’m linking to Off the Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects