Monthly Archives: July 2022

Paper Work

While I’m resting up my arms and shoulders from a quilt wrestling project (why did I choose a circular quilting design?) I’ve been playing with paper. Some efforts I’ve framed, and some I’ve created as part of Willa Wanders‘ free Fodder Challenge lessons.

After living with so-so framed art for many years I decided new art in the frames would be nice. One is a collage, two are gel plate monoprints, and one is a weaving of collaged strips sewn onto paper. I had forgotten what a pain it is to frame stuff.

In between faulty measurements, I watched several Fodder Challenge lessons. Many were too cute for me. I cannot collage inspirational sayings with a straight face. However, I tackled three projects in my own way.

First I used Drew Steinbrecher‘s collage methods for gel plate printed papers, where you create one large collage and then cut it into several smaller collages, which you work on individually. The last work was done in a board book, and uses illegible words stenciled with modeling paste on tissue paper.

Next I tackled paper strip weaving with Rebecca Sower, an easy way to use collaged papers. Besides the framed weaving shown above, I wove another with strips leftover from that one, and yet one more that used a quilt calendar photo as the base. Some challenge participants wove cool diagonal versions.

My last challenge project involved Jane Chipp‘s button collage with printed tissue paper. The instructor used vintage photos printed on tissue with a home printer, and her results were charming. However, I found that my glue would smear the ink from my printer, so I used a sheet of deli paper I had brayered off on and then drawn and stenciled on. You need large, flat-back buttons, printed tissue, gesso, and matte medium (plus patience) to do this.

Finally, since I had all my collage supplies out, I made two more mixed media pieces from previous starts. My goal was to see how far I could go before the piece was overworked. I toned down some of the black on the left hand piece, which helped pull it back a bit from the overworked edge. The right hand piece began with gold blobs and ink lines on watercolor paper, got some paper glued on and cording sewed on, and ended with Posca pens and acrylic ink.

Now that I have gotten almost all the matte medium off my fingers, I hope to return to quilting in the round. Maybe next week I’ll have a finished quilt to show you.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

8 Comments

Filed under collage, In Process, mixed media, Project Ideas

Beyond Four Corners

My latest finish, “The Eyes Have It,” has two square corners out of ten. If that sounds like a lot of corners, it’s because I joined several already quilted pieces into a larger composition and rounded almost all the corners. Since the pieces are zigzagged together, it was easy to develop a nontraditional shape. In fact, it was a lot like collaging.

“The Eyes Have It” 24″ wide by 47″ high
Shown hanging in morning light. It looks different in the afternoon.

A little background – I save quilted bits I trim, plus I cut up finished quilts I decide I don’t like. I also create free motion quilting practice pieces, most recently inspired by Paula Kovarik’s “At Play in the Garden of Stitch.” Enough white/ecru/black pieces had accumulated I decided to combine them. I filled in gaps with newly quilted pieces, mostly from Maria Derse fabrics.

Here are the stages.

Draft 1, auditioning the pieces to be used.

Draft 2, beginning to be irregular.

Draft 3, before rounding corners and placing large circle.

Looking back, I can see I am drawn to irregularly shaped quilts, despite the headaches of finishing the edges, and dealing with quilt show criteria.

“Wayside Weeds”

“Torii Traces”

“Roundabout” detail

All of the above have “false backs,” a pejorative term used by quilt show judges when they disqualify a work from judging because they can’t see the back of the quilting. I once had a lively discussion about this issue with quilt judges, but the show’s special definition of an art quilt prevailed. Wouldn’t the term “faced back” be more accurate?

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

11 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

Small But Powerful

Now that a few quilts have sold I’m adding some new items to my for sale page, with a focus on smaller works that may be just what’s needed for limited wall space. I think the new pieces are more abstract than others in the shop.

“Fault Lines” 21 inches wide by 10.5 inches high

“Plane Geometry” 16 inches wide
by 12 inches high

Both of the above small pieces are fused and machine stitched applique, mounted on a solid background, using a Lisa Walton technique.

“Still Standing” 14 inches wide by 17.5 inches high

Of course, other smaller pieces are also available.

“Fraternal Twins” each 15.5 inches square

“Winter’s Closing In” 14 inches wide by 17 inches high

Check out the For Sale Page for more details. I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

6 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Everything Else

Back In Business

The Artist as Quiltmaker show, held every two years at Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA) in Oberlin, Ohio, was one of many casualties of the pandemic. It was supposed to take place in 2020, but was postponed until this year. I drove over to see it with a friend just before the show closed and was glad I didn’t miss seeing it in person. You can view the entries online, but as with any visual show, you can’t get a sense of scale unless you stand in front of the pieces. And size does make a difference as some of the pieces are large.

Many of this year’s entries don’t fit the “three layers held together with stitching” requirement typical of quilt shows. And some don’t have 90 degree corners. In fact, a few approach sculpture. I was glad to see a broadening of the concept of a quilt, but hope such pieces don’t languish in the quilt ghetto of the art world. They might have better luck being called something else.

Some of the pieces that intrigued me follow.

“Blue Ice” Joanna Alberda 35″ x 75″

While not groundbreaking in form (it even has a binding) “Blue Ice” captures the majestic quiet of ice bound parts of our world. The artist has kept the quilting simple, but uses a few changes in thread color from black to blue effectively.

“Rosy Retrospective” Emily Bellinger 48″ x 42″

Modern quilting influence is evident in the piecing and lighthearted fabric choices, but the curved edges and trio of hanging drops are more arty. And, look ma, no four inch hanging sleeve.

“Mended Wedding Ring Quilt” Jeanne Bieri 82″ x 52″ x 8″

Materials used include “reclaimed vintage quilt and army blankets, army suture cotton dated 1953, cotton, linen, wool, silk, satin, felt, buttons.” The curved red lines are hand chain stitched embroidery. I found it an intriguing meld of old with new to reimagine the original materials.

“Plunge” Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry 68″ x 53″

The online photo so doesn’t do this work justice. It’s by a quilter renowned for working with large scale templates and pieced curves. Recently she has switched to digitally edited photos printed on cloth. From what I could see, only the outer mitered border is pieced. I’ll quote the artist here: “In 2019 my husband photographed a 135’ dive by one of the cliff divers of Acapulco at four frames per second. He combined the twelve shots of the three-second dive into one time-lapse composite. Using my digital drawing program, I added traditional Storm at Sea blocks to the corners of the digital image and designed borders that extend the colors and patterns of the photo that fade to black. The center panel, borders, and binding fabric were digitally printed and pieced. I quilted the center very heavily with matching threads to enhance the textures of the rocks.” The quilting is exquisite.

“Porcelain Vine I” Lotta Helleberg 75″ x 55″

Only one layer of cotton canvas dyed with plants and a few organza appliqued pieces are used. The subtleties of the images left by the plants are best seen in person. There is hand quilting on the appliqued parts, but a traditional quilt judge would throw this piece out of the judging.

“Joy and Pain” Toni Kersey 51″ x 41″

Pieced and quilted, but the shape and uneven edges elevate it from a typical abstractly pieced quilt. It’s almost like dress pattern pieces were used to create it.

“Alone At The Beach” Sherry Kleinman 47″ x 26″

The artist applied a digital editing filter to a photo, had it printed on a cotton/linen blend, and then hand embroidered it. I don’t know if it has more than one layer. I was intrigued with the combination of digital manipulation and hand embroidery.

“Tenuous Ties” Viviana Lombrozo 51″ x 31.5″ x 2″

Here the blue/purple ribbons come free of the quilt’s surface and curl around themselves. The red glyphs give a pop of color. While the quilting isn’t up to the standards of other entries, I enjoy the 3D effect. I guess I have some quilt police DNA after all.

I hope I’ve given you a taste of the show’s diversity. Please take a few minutes to browse all the entries. The detail photos are great for closeups.

I’ll be linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

14 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Exhibits

Summer Is Here!

Hot weather means it’s time for me to switch to smaller, what-the-heck projects and leave the larger, more thoughtful ones for autumn. That way I don’t have to quilt large pieces when I don’t need any extra warmth. To inaugurate the fun times I’ve finished “Along Portage Path” plus “Straightback.” Now I’m ready for true frankensteining work.

“Along Portage Path” uses a photo printed on fabric with various hand dyed and painted fabrics (including an old shirt) to convey the idea of driving by a row of crabapple trees in full autumn color. The trees are embroidered with seed stitches in a variety of colors and thread weights to intensify the oranges, reds, and yellows.

“Along Portage Path” 40 inches wide by 19 inches high

“Straightback” shows what happens when I’m determined to use a small top that didn’t turn into the wonderful tour de force I had imagined. My plan had been to create a gradation of dark to light and light to dark in two fabrics with the darkest values of one next to the lightest values of the other. The failure sulked in a box for a bit until I refound a strip of fabric stenciled with chairs and a very strange bit of Spoonflower fabric. A few cuts with my rotary blade and inserts of fabric strips made a piece more to my liking. The edges are finished with fused strips.

“Straightback” 18 inches wide by 24 inches high

A search in my scrap bins for bits of fabric to go with another in progress project unearthed cut off sections of already quilted black and white pieces. The bins are truly the gift that keeps on giving. So far I have pieced unquilted bits together and layered them with batting and backing. The plan is to join them to the already quilted bits to create a new piece. Let the adventure begin.

Commercial fabrics, quilting leftovers and samples, photos printed on fabric, hand printed fabric. Not a final layout.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

13 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process