In 2014 I made the first of a series based on photos I took of a tidal marsh in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. I didn’t intend to make a series, but after autumn was done it seemed to need company. Spring followed in 2016 as a response to a master class prompt since I already had done the drawing and just needed to make it more abstract. I had a large drawing of my scene left thanks to my error at the print shop, and I didn’t want to waste it. So, winter was next in 2018 as I had many beautiful hand dyes suited to that season.
Of course, summer, being the last, seemed to take forever. I finished the facing last week, and am relieved to call the series done.
Again, I used hand painted and dyed fabrics with some commercial fabrics. Appliqueing the grasses in the foreground was great fun.
To refresh your memory, here are the seasons in order of completion.
All except Winter Fields are approximately 15 by 33 inches. Winter ended up at 46 by 27 inches, thanks to that copy shop error.
Despite a few forays into new work, I’ve kept my needle to the grindstone to complete two pieces from 2019. The first, “Sunset,” is a working quilt made of scraps and based on directions from Christina Camelli. I had it quilted with a pantograph pattern by a local longarm quilter just to get it out of my closet.
Here it is on the job, i.e. on my sofa ready for a lap. Usually my husband has it folded neatly and draped squarely in the middle of the sofa back, a look I hate.
The second one, “Aunt Harriet’s Handiwork,” I quilted in a spiral from the center. I used a narrow, single layer binding in blue. Since I prefer a skinny binding, I used a double fold one only on working quilts, like “Sunset.”
It features cyanotypes of my great aunt’s crocheted doilies and antimacassars. I think she would have enjoyed the bold colors, given her taste in wool yarn used in her afghans.
Sorry I lied to you. It turns out I wasn’t finished with finishes for 2019, though the final one is more of a collaboration than a solo effort.
Several years ago I bought an Amish made wall hanging at a tag sale. It was sun faded and made with bland colors, but it had nice quilting. After it spent a few years as a table cover, I decided to over dye it. Despite several hours of soaking in a dye bath all the colors remained unchanged except for the cotton quilting thread. Sadly, my wall hanging was made mostly of polyester fabric.
I put it in the to-be-donated box and forgot about it until two weeks ago when I put together a box to take to a local veterans thrift store. I realized I could use the hanging as the base for new layers, and did just that with many smaller silk pieces cut into squares. I had wanted to use more of my silk fabrics before I died, so I was glad for the opportunity.
I sewed the squares down on top of the old squares with a zigzag stitch. My sewing lines are uneven as I found the original workmanship left something to be desired, with crooked, uneven piecing. The whole piece also curled a bit, even after blocking.
I filled in between the silk squares with mother of pearl buttons I inherited from my granny. They are tied on with hot pink crochet thread. Because one button is slightly darker than the others (leave it to my husband to notice that) I call it “There’s Always An Oddball.”
I left the original binding and hanging sleeve as is because I saw no reason to assume new binding would made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I still like the cable quilting in the borders.
With only thirteen days left in 2019 it’s clear which of my unfinished pieces are going to be first in line for 2020. However, I do have four finished works to end this year.
First, because it’s so different from the others, is “Oops!” I did the splash outline with 12 weight cotton thread.
The remaining three finishes are winter appropriate as December 21, the winter solstice, is a few days away. I made “Winter Blues” from leftovers of previous work and old curtains, plus the last of some McKenna Ryan fabric. I thought it would be a doddle to make, but I was so wrong. The binding is a metallic infused cotton/linen.
The remaining two finishes are for a January 2020 art quilt group challenge. Both are small and use scraps from the theater costume shop floor mixed with bits from my stash.
“Winter’s Closing In” makes liberal use of painted cheesecloth and hand stitching. “Deep and Dark December” is all machine stitched, and is mounted to a prestretched canvas. Yet more hand dyed damask tablecloth found its way into the middle ground, and sparkly netting gives shading to the bottom.
I don’t promise that’s the end of my 2019 work, but I think it may be.
I’m happy to report that my quilt “If The Shoe Fits” is now at the Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona, as part of the Art Quilts XXIV show. Unfortunately, I’m not there as well, but if you’re in the Phoenix area before January 3, 2020, stop by the gallery to see the exhibit.
My other news is that a local free weekly paper called “The Devil Strip” has done an article about me, and “Hazy Shade of Winter” is on the cover. You can read it here. I was amused to read that I do “circus” design with fabric – the perils of relying on a recording in an interview. Otherwise, the article pretty much captures my voice. (Note: I think that oopsie has been fixed.) My work will be featured on the bottom of bird cages and litter boxes around Akron.
The upshot is Christmas came early for me this year.
That title comes from a novel about a wealthy New York money guy whose wife gives a decorator carte blanche to do up their apartment. Apparently the wife’s style is midcench, according to the pricey decorator. It’s a style often associated with the work of Rex Ray, who features prominently in my recent quilting activities. While Rex Ray was influenced by mid-century modern style, he wasn’t born until 1956. I gather he was happy to gather inspiration wherever he could find it, and he produced both fine art and commercial work .
My interest in a puzzle designed by Rex Ray merged with an art quilt group Rex Ray challenge. I had already made my interpretation of the puzzle when the challenge was issued. I could have coasted with that, but I decided to take on another Rex Ray inspired piece.
First, the original puzzle, which features mixed elongated and wide teardrop shapes.
Next, my interpretation, “Not All Black and White,” which features lots of black and white fabrics separated with bias tape applique. I learned the bias tape technique from an online class with Latifah Saafir. Because of the face in the center I decided on a horizontal orientation for now.
When I decided to make another piece for my art group challenge I wanted something different. And what could be more different than an all stitch piece. I looked at many examples of Ray’s work, and decided to pull elements from these.
I used the polyp-like forms on the left and the wood grain on the right to design my big stitch embroidered piece I call “Ready To Split.” It’s done on old curtain material, which may be all cotton or a blend. First, I fused the material to fleece so the stitches wouldn’t cause puckers. After stitching I stapled it to an already stretched 14 inch canvas.
All four of the embroidery techniques I know are on display – running stitch, seed stitch, chain stitch, and back stitch. I can also manage a fly stitch, but that’s about my limit.
Ever since I bookmarked Hilde Morin’s instructions I’ve had an itch to try making a fabric bowl. On Monday I decided to scratch my itch.
Using cotton duck canvas (bought at 60% off from Joann’s) I made my circles. Next, I sorted my fused fabrics. After I found I needed larger pieces than I already had, I searched my stash for batiks to use. Batiks are recommended because they don’t fray much when fused. It seems I either used up or purged most of my batiks, so my choices were limited to a few pieces I had held onto because I liked them too much to use. No time like the present, I decided.
At this point the fun part began. I was pleased that my pack rat habit of saving fused scraps paid off as I cut thin, slightly curved strips to lay around the bowl’s interior. I switched to my travel iron to make it easier to press around the curves.
After I fused down fabric around the edge (I recommend bias here) I quilted the bowl twice in two different colors of turquoise.
Hilde Moran does beautifully intricate quilting on her bowls, but for my inaugural bowl I decided to keep it basic. I found it easier to start the quilting on the outside and work my way in, but either way involves a bit of scrunching to fit the bowl through the machine’s harp.
This bowl was a refreshing break from my current slog through my quilting backlog. I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.