The past week I’ve dabbled in quite a mix of projects and techniques, probably revealing I’m a Jill of all work but mistress of none. (I don’t get the they/them thing, so I went the old fashioned route. Though I could say I contain multitudes and use they/them.) Since I often work on more than one project at a time, sometimes they all mature at once.
My Spoonflower printed trees and wall fabric has been sewn together and I’m now experimenting with different embroidery stitches and threads to enhance the tree area. The printed fabric is less intensely colored than the hand painted and dyed fabrics, so I want to bring it out more. Right now it’s called “Along Portage Path.”
I pulled out an unquilted top and finished it through the hanging sleeve stage. Put on your sunglasses at it’s bright.
I returned to “The Memory Jar,” an old project I was never satisfied with and added paint and oil pastels. Now it better expresses my intention to show the breakdown of memories with age, but I’m still not wild about it.
Not to ignore my paper projects, I sewed several small collages onto a large printed piece of sewing stabilizer, and tried to mesh them into a coherent whole. I ended up changing the look of most of the original collages. This was a great way to reinforce the lesson that nothing should be viewed as too precious to change.
Finally, I finished up a magazine image collage that emphasizes a subdued color palette. I will most likely make a few more changes in a week or so, as a distraction from any other project I’m stuck on.
Sometimes it’s easier to figure how to finish someone else’s abandoned project than your own. That is the theory behind a UFO swap going on in one of my quilt groups. Each participant was to bring a UFO she would never, ever finish to trade for another’s UFO. The projects were drawn blindly. We get to keep the UFO we finish.
This month we’ll reveal our transformations. I drew a bag of surface design experiments, including some stenciled urns, discharged and overdyed black fabric, and some of the same fabric stitched up with metallic thread.
At first I planned to use the discharged fabric for a space galaxy themed idea, but then I began to work with the urns. The faded edges of the stencils made me think of how we lose our memories over time, if we’re unlucky. I put together a trio of memory jars and laid them on a field that starts out crisp, bright and ordered, and gets progressively more chaotic and torn.
Almost all the background fabrics are repurposed gifts. The lavender tinted silver lame was a gift from someone who used to sew country-western costumes. The silk crepe was from a bolt my grandmother had (I ice dyed it.) The damask was from my MIL’s old tablecloth (again dyed by me,) and the velveteen came from a church janitor.
I did hand stitching with metallic thread and added a few hot fix crystals to stand for escaped memories. I also used fabric paint to give a glow to some areas. All the reflective surfaces make this piece very difficult to photograph. It looks different under different lighting.
I’m ambivalent about this piece. My feelings vary depending on the light in which I view it. It may be that I seldom make a “message” piece, and find it difficult to separate the message from the design.