Winter finally got around to northeast Ohio and has been busy dumping lots of snow and wildly gyrating temperatures on us Buckeyes. One day it’s 40 degrees; the next it’s 10 degrees. My nonessential activities shrink in such weather, so I devote myself to adding color to bits of fabric.
So far I’ve used Marabu fashion spray paints and Jacquard textile paints, but hope to take on Dye-na-flow paints and a gelli plate as well. My base fabrics, none larger than a fat quarter, were previous failures and some vintage linens. With the exception of one stamp, I used stencils to create my designs this go-round. Most of my stencils are from Stencil Girl, which offers a large selection of all sorts and sizes. (No paid promotion, just my opinion.)
As you can see, some of my experiments have splotches. Spray paint is hard to control and can drip. I’m not showing other attempts that either were good for nothing but the trash or need more layers. Now I need to figure out how to use my creations. Of course, I could always have them printed out and make yardage from them.
For a few months in 2018 I photographed shoes on people’s feet at rest and in motion. Why shoes? One of my volunteer jobs requires me to spend time in a theater lobby, and sometimes I have nothing immediate to do. I began to observe the groups in the lobby and became interested in what they did with their feet. I used my phone to take photos and a series was born.
I also took photos of people waiting in lines at an art exhibit and generally hanging around. Since I had so many shoe photos I stopped, and concentrated on digitally reworking some of the photos, using what skills I remembered from my PhotoShop Elements class.
After a deep dive into PhotoShop’s effects and filters and a frustrating time sizing the edited photos for printing, I had a bunch printed off by Spoonflower in an eight by eight inch format. I used a bulk test print format Spoonflower offers. The results were a bit mixed. I should have standardized my photos more. But I had enough to combine into a quilt.
The next step was to devise a layout with the 8 inch squares. I sure wasn’t going to cut them up. After several days and reworkings I settled on one. Then, in a moment of genius or severe derangement, I decided to do the squares as three separate panels held together with laced up grommet tape.
Through Etsy I found Lace and Trims, which provided a reasonably priced product and speedy shipping. While I waited I quilted my panels in a simple diagonal pattern. Then, I sewed strips of the grommet tape to the panel sides and bottoms. It was tricky to avoid the grommets, yet sew on the tape. Looking back, I should have paid more attention to the width of the tape and the spacing of the grommets.
After the tape was on, I sewed a hanging sleeve across the tops of the panels (the only point at which the panels are sewn to each other) and turned under that edge. I will hand sew the sleeve’s bottom edge, along with bits I couldn’t machine sew because of the grommets. One broken sewing machine needle was enough.
Now I’m lacing up the grommet tape with various cordings and need to decide whether to try a single color or a mix. Right now I lean toward red cord for the contrast.
I never realized there are so many ways to lace shoes. Check out some of the possibilities here.
I have continued to revisit old work that I wasn’t satisfied with, and revised two pieces, “Z Is For Zoom” and “7 Years of Bad Luck.”
Z was just too plain before, so I painted broad white stripes over the already quilted area and then covered the stripes with seed stitching.
7 Years needed focus, so first I over-dyed the completed piece and stamped it with white ink. Then I cut off the top edge, added swirls of bias tape, and appliqued jagged chunks of silver lame on to represent the bits of broken mirror. As I was sewing the tape on I realized I was channeling Judy Kirpich. A new facing on the top and reattachment of the hanging sleeve completed the makeover.
Do I think these pieces are now wonderful? No, but I think they are improved. My initial inspirations have been tempered with layers and more clarity in my intent, I believe. I’ve learned that a piece can take its own sweet time in revealing what it is meant to be.
I’m not doing artistic endeavors this year, but I can’t help passing along goodies that appeal to me. Case in point, magazine covers by Ryo Takemasa. Here are covers he did for NON Magazine that I thought could translate well into fabric.
Each of these illustrations would take just the right fabric – bought or painted/printed to bring the image to life. The trees above the waterfalls could be done by printing with a cut out sponge. I’m not advocating breaking copyright laws by using these images, but such simplified images could be an interesting way to create quilted landscapes.
Takemasa’s website shows yet more examples of his work. I hope his work inspires you to approach design in new ways.
The excuse of a fresh new year spurred me to leapfrog over waiting projects to begin something new and fun. Of course it was conceived in 2018, but it was officially born this week.
I’m talking about my “Disco Woks,” a small (20 by 27 inches) piece made up of almost all non-natural fibers. There’s a bit of Marcia Derse fabric and silk kimono, but the rest is synthetic glitz.
It originated in a play session with slithery, shiny fabrics culled from the theater costume scrap bin and contributions from scrap hoarders (you know who you are.)
I made the woven piece during the play session and then added bits from my hoard to supplement scraps I had scrounged at the session. The woven piece became one bowl, while the Easy Pattern material was paint sprayed over a place mat stencil and cut in half to make two more bowls. I used the coppery tulle to cover one of the bowls, but some of the other materials didn’t fit. The background ombre fabric came from the costume shop.
Construction details – I used leftover curtain lining material to back the whole thing as fabric weights differed, and fused the background fabric on with WonderUnder. I made the bowls by sewing lightweight non-woven fusible interfacing onto the “good” bowl, then turning the whole thing inside out and fusing the interfacing to the bowl with my iron. I zigzagged the completely finished edges to the background. Other bits also were sewn onto the background, though the bowl rims were added after quilting.
As to the name, I had pondered using the Chinese pottery celadon green and cinnebar colors as inspiration, but I ended up succumbing to the glitter. I did pay homage to the orient with the woks.
I was surprised and pleased to get so many responses to my plea for advice on “Deep Purple.” Your comments and opinions helped me clarify a way forward. I’m so appreciative of your input.
First, given the poor quality of my photos, you did heroic work figuring out what was going on. Second, I came away with new directions for the piece.
Here’s my post-post rearrangement. Note that I’ve spread around the dark purple to balance the composition. I cut off some of the dark purple bands and used the cut off material to swing the purple around the outside. You can see how it would look flipped in the next photo.
And here’s my rethinking of that. Melanie had suggested more diagonal lines in the interior. I spent some time playing with that idea, and decided on diagonal lines that connect the left and right sides across the purple. While I mocked up the arrangement with bias tape, I have thin chartreuse-y ribbon I could couch on after the piece is quilted. I’ve learned it’s a pain to quilt around such embellishments.
I still lean towards the first arrangement without the additional lines as I wonder if the additional design element is a bridge too far.
I suspect that now the backing material I cut is too small, so it’s back to the fabric closet for an alternative. I’m eager to get this one off the design wall so I can pin up the next victim, er, design.