Since I can quilt only 30 minutes a day right now because I’m trying to fix a pinched nerve in my neck (the massage is the best part of physical therapy) and my output is minimal, I’ll give you inspiration from Greece. More specifically, some of my brother’s photos taken on his recent sailing trip there. I’ve opted for scenes I think would inspire an art quilt, so historically important sites are mostly missing.
Desire lines are paths “created as a consequence of erosion caused by human or animal foot traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. … Desire paths emerge as shortcuts where constructed paths take a circuitous route, have gaps, or are non-existent.” (Wikipedia) If you have been on a campus or a street with no paved walks you have most likely seen informal desire lines worn down to dirt.
Such paths weren’t on my mind when I began my quilt “Desire Lines” but once I began the quilting the subject snapped into focus. Much of the fabric and quilting structure is rectangular, yet the white lines in the dark purple/blue fabric suggested parts of paths to me that needed to connect irrespective of a grid.
To emphasize the informal paths I hand stitched two curving paths in red, orange, and yellow.
I finished the edges with fused strips of dyed Pimatex using Frieda Anderson’s method and added a line of orange stitching to make sure the strips stay put.
It’s always interesting to see how a piece can find its way, no matter how nebulous its starting point.
I’ve been paper collaging like mad the past week or so to give my brain time to develop quilting plans for a few pieces. Ignoring something is often a surefire way to have solutions find me. And I wanted to work more with paper anyway.
Thanks to collage classes that have you create papers to use, I have a healthy supply of solid and patterned papers. In addition, I have a backlog of magazine pages from the Sunday NY Times, plus lots of monoprint rejects from my friend Penny. Then there are the wallpaper samples she gave me, and my rejects from monoprinting and painting classes.
So now I have a paper scrap glut in addition to a fabric one, but I’ve been organizing my papers while I work on collages.
I set out to assemble collage parts that could be used to quickly make a larger composition. I got the idea from Mary Beth Shaw of Stencil Girl, but many others have a similar approach. That went well with organizing my papers as I combined color families and similar styles and cut out images.
Then gradually the parts became whole compositions.
As per usual I crammed too much into each piece. However, I am learning to use realistic images and rely more on a glue stick rather than matte medium. (I also learned that not all glue sticks are created equal. I was satisfied with the Leeho brand I had on hand, but not with the Scotch brand.) It was making me crazy to find that each collage class I took (I relied mostly on free Creativebug classes available through my library) called for a different way to adhere paper. I found that medium is too heavy for thin magazine papers and can cause the ink to smear, especially if you use medium below and over the image. However, if you use a heavy paper like bristol or watercolor you need the medium for staying power.
I hope to continue the use of photographic images in my collages and allow for more white space. My quilting background makes me think every space has to contain some material. At some point I’ll learn that paper doesn’t fall apart if you leave part of it empty. Maybe by then I’ll have learned to keep the glue on the paper and off my fingers.
In my last post I stated that less of my future work would actually be sewn, and I am making good on that. The piece I’m now quilting is made of fabric fused to felt, with edges left raw. I composed the piece on my design wall, then transferred it to the felt (already covered with fusible) and ironed the fabric down.
It was certainly easier than sewing seams, though I had to stop myself from automatically leaving seam allowances as I cut the fabric pieces. At least half the fabric used was printed/painted/dyed by me.
Once the ironing was done, here’s what I had.
So far I’ve quilted zigzag white lines that connect the lines in the outer sections, and I plan to use variegated thread in a rectangular spiral (I hope you understand that) for the central area. The rest of the quilting is to be announced.