Tag Archives: scraps

Still Processing

This past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I participated in a Zoom workshop on Textural Style with Natalya Khorover. We had a two hour Zoom session each day and then homework to do for the next day’s class. The class focused on using scraps of any type to create small machine and hand sewn collages. Natalya stresses materials reuse, especially plastics, in her work and teaching, though this workshop used fabrics more than plastics.

By Friday afternoon my studio looked like a fabric scrap cannon had been fired off, I had started four pieces, and my brain was exhausted. So, there was no Friday blog post.

I will be unpacking the lessons I learned for some time, and then merging them with what I already know to arrive at what works for me. Natalya loves working with small scraps (including old cashmere sweaters) and favors hand stitching. She often uses heavy Pellon interfacing as backing and skips batting. She doesn’t use glue but relies on pins and tulle to hold bits in place until they are sewn down.

Here’s an example of her work, which began with a piece of muslin used on her painting table.

The background is all little scraps sewn down with a running stitch. The fire escape is sewn with velvet thread, something new to me. The Pellon interfacing is easy to sew through yet allows for really long stitches.

Our first assignment was to create two one color small works, one machine stitched and one hand stitched. I finished the machine stitched one, but have miles to go on my hand stitched work.

Scraps from a current WIP.
The start of a glittery, in your face, piece. I hope to use lots of seed stitching to tone things down.

Next, we picked a work by our favorite artist and created a piece that interpreted it. Natalya showed us many examples of her interpretations of work by Matisse, Sargent, and others. I chose “Temple Gardens” by Paul Klee and lived to regret my choice. My first downfall was Klee’s palette which I strove mightily to match from my scraps. My second struggle was trying to interpret the watercolor without copying it.

“Temple Gardens” Paul Klee, 1920
I am now cutting out most of the tulle cover to brighten the colors, and plan to overlay some areas with more scraps for a better composition. Then I will throw this in the bottom of a drawer.

Finally, we were to choose a failed block, ugly dyed fabric, or the like to transform. One of Natalya’s examples was her piece shown at the start of this post. We had a good laugh at the choices made. Lots of dyeing goes wrong, apparently. I chose some cotton with yellow and red dye splotches that I had screen printed over with yucky results. I then started laying ripped up loosely woven old linen scraps on top followed by silk organza scraps. We are to work on this piece on our own.

Some of my scraps need to be smaller, and this will definitely require hand stitching.

Class wrapped up with a review of different ways to finish textile art work. Natalya does no binding and little facing. She often glues her smaller work to canvas with matte medium and then finishes the canvas sides with paint. This type of presentation, along with mounting in deep frames, elevates work from sewn together scraps.

Right now I have mixed feelings about the class. I appreciate the different ways I learned to create with scraps and take advantage of scrap qualities such as their “hairiness” (i.e., raveled edges.) The videos shown of Natalya creating work were informative. On the minus side, I had a hard time creating quickly with no advance directions as to subject and materials needed. For example, the course description could have said, you will create samples in single colorways, interpret a work by your favorite artist, etc. I need time to gather my thoughts and materials, and typically we were told what the next assignment was in the last half of each session. We began work during the Zoom session, but I barely had time to gather my thoughts and start grabbing materials. I asked for more advance notice, but received little guidance. I guess part of the class was about improvisation. I think this class would be better in person so students could interact with Natalya and fellow students as they worked.

Natalya is folding this class into her Innovative Repurposing Community, so it is no longer available as a stand alone course.

The upshot is I now have more hand stitching projects to work on, and a different perspective on what constitutes a scrap to save.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under collage, Commentary, Techniques

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.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process

Yet Another Scrap Quilt

Everywhere I look on social media quilting pundits are touting the glories of reuse and recycling. Just this week I found TrashN2Tees on Instagram. So, it would seem I’m accidentally in the vanguard with my scrap projects. Of course, quilters have always used scraps as a money saving practice, even before Earth Day.

My latest scrap project used leftovers from my faux torn paper quilt, “The Smokies.” Why bother storing them? “Lattices” developed from weaving the craggy edged remnants together and adding very large hand stitching to the exposed background cloth. It was sloppy but fun to make.

Here you can see the perle cotton stitching scattered over the surface. I did the blue stitching before quilting, and the orange after, working between the top and backing. I also fused non woven interfacing to the back of the top before doing any hand stitching so the stitches wouldn’t draw up.



Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects