Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Most Recent Completion

Now that Christmas is over I can show the project I've been working on over the last six months. This is a wedding gift for the oldest son and his new wife.

I started on it last summer, but got sidetracked with deadlines on other projects so decided to finish it off for a holiday gift for the two of them. It is 54" square and made from the numerous Asian fabrics I had in my stash. Most of these fabrics are old. Purchased in the 90s when I had just started sewing and was wanting to do an Asian quilt (which I never did). The edges really are straight, these photos are taken on a clothesline outside on a breezy day.

I really enjoyed working on this one, despite the issues I had while quilting the inner border which is made out of gold dupioni silk. I'm looking forward to seeing it displayed in their house, but I think this is the best view of it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

21° Freezing Fog

I've had my head down working hard on several projects, but this morning I woke up to my landscape sketched in graphite...

with a hint of watercolor...

distilling shapes and forms...

except for these busy patches of yellow...

making the most of this neutral background.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'River' is Traveling...

Looks like my quilt 'Late August on the River' will be going to Road to California quilt show in Glendale, California next month as part of the 'Along the Rogue' exhibit. Check out the details of the show here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Round...

On Monday I sent off my first contribution to the Complex Cloth round robin I joined in September. I'm part of a group of 5 who will be circulating 5 pieces of fabric, each piece receiving a contribution of some kind of surface design from each person. My first piece came from an amazing dyer, Jacque Davis. You can see her work here. She sent me this beautiful piece of tray dyed fabric for me to add my mark to.

I really felt that this piece DIDN'T need anything, so I scratched my head for a while while it hung on my studio wall. 30 days is a long time to stare at a piece of fabric and I kept waiting for it to speak to me. But it remained remarkably quiet. The ideas I had I felt were too literal and would steer the piece in a way that I didn't want to go. Eventually I decided the best course was to do an abstract paint roller discharge on the fabric to bring some light areas into it. My first attempt was a bust. I guess the Soft Scrub I was using was weak as nothing happened. After trotting off to the store for a fresh bottle, the next day I tried again, using a stamp with a meandering pattern. Well, another less than effectual result. I was able to get the darker colors to discharge, but the golden yellow was staying put. I really wanted to accentuate the flow of the dying so I decided that I would change tack and go for another kind of contrast and use some black Jacquard Neopaque with a credit card and put in some sketchy marks across the fabric. I was pleased with the outcome, but on the last row a blob appeared and when I tried to scrape it off...ACK!... a big streak. At this point I was beginning to feel like I was three strikes down. That little nagging voice inside me said that I had really messed up this beautiful piece of fabric, that I should just give up on surface design, that I was a lousy artist, that I should quit the group. But that little streak turned out to be serendipity. I stood back to see just how bad it was, and well, I kind of liked it. I quickly put more streaks in, and was pleasantly surprised that it was just what my weak little sketchy marks needed to pump them up a bit. So once again I learn the lesson of persistence...

I now have my second piece of fabric in hand, again dyed by Jacque, and am thinking on this one as well. I am looking forward to the lessons this particular piece of cloth might teach me. :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Little Catch Up

Wow, life has been busy for me the last few weeks. Along with all the usual stuff I've attended a two day monoprinting workshop, a paste paper play day, and finished my first piece in the Complex Cloth Round Robin. So I'm a little tired to say the least... Anyway as promised here are the close-ups of the fabric from the last dyeing of summer and the last piece in my 'stitched to dye' group.

This was the final piece in my 'stitched to dye' experiments in September. I finally sat down and pieced these strips together today and eventho this did not work out as planned, I learned a lot. I had pre-cut these strips and then dyed each one separately, but I didn't pay attention to the seam allowances and painted over them so I lost almost all of the lovely rough edges once they were sewn together. Also I washed these pieces in my washer and amazingly one disappeared. I now know where it went because in the second load a larger piece from another project went missing! After a week I had pretty much forgotten about it when I was doing the regular laundry and the washing machine refused to pump out the dirty water. After my DH and I siphoned all the dirty water out and laid the washer on its side, he removed the pump and TA DA! there were my missing fabrics! Thankfully he was able to do the job and save a costly repair bill. Lesson learned--put small pieces into a mesh bag so they stay put. One of the pieces that was sucked in was 6" x 7" so beware!

This piece and the following ones were created on my last dyeing day of the year. This one is made with a wooden trivet I picked up at a yard sale. Wouldn't this make a neat Christmas fabric with red and green?

I've been very interested in the meditative process of creating these Zen circles, a single brushstroke to create the circle. These are done on plexiglass and then monoprinted on the fabric. Another lesson learned -- weak lemon yellow dye and too much print paste make for a washed out yellow. I may go back into this one and print some yellows.

This one is monoprinting as well. I had the print paste too thin and most of the detail in the drawings is too washed out. I'll revisit this idea again next summer. This one also suffers from the 'washed out lemon yellow', see lower left corner.

All in all it's been a good summer dye painting and printing. Can't wait to get back to it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

1.7 Inches of Rain in Two Days

We had a big storm come in on Friday night. 1.7" of rain in two days, which for a place that only got about 7" of rain all year last winter, it's a lot. I guess we are really transitioning from fall into winter now. 34° this morning...brrrrrr...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another batch of dye painting

I've been busy washing out fabric this morning, drying on the line. Later I'll iron and take some proper photos, but I thought they looked great with the valley view.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eco Dyes

Last spring I played around a bit with eco dying after seeing some examples on the internet. I gathered together some cotton fabric, leaves, flowers, rusty metal, stones and crochet thread. I carefully placed the natural material on the cloth then folded it, wrapped it around a stone, bound it with crochet thread, and put the bundle into a jelly jar. I then filled the jars with soda ash solution and put them out in the sun on the front walk for about a month. When I finally opened them and unwrapped them I was amazed. I had a lot of nice patterning, which is what I was after, but lost most of it when I washed the fabrics out. I really like the subtle colors that I got from the maple leaves, black iris blooms, lupine, rose and cherry plum. I am really happy about the matching threads. I can't wait to try some stitching with these. Soon after the 'dying experiment' I purchased India Flint's excellent book EcoColour. What a wealth of info there. I need to go back and try this again, now that I know more....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More time passing...

Here's another little hand piece. The background is woven strips of cotton cloth which were secured with running stitches. I started pulling scraps from my batik bag just roughly sewing them in place with running stitch, whatever color of embroidery cotton I happened to lay my hands on. Another work in progress...slowly where? I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Passing time...

I usually have a couple of little hand sewing projects in process for when I know I'm going to waiting some place or riding in the car. I keep a small makeup bag with all the necessary sewing things and if I can fit it in, the project itself. I started this piece last winter when I was thinking about a new way of working.

I wanted to do a piece that would be a kind of diary or tell a story about what was going on in my life. Taking inspiration from Jude Hill, I started it on the blue moon last winter and have added to it a little at a time over the last year. I find that whenever I'm stressed or just feeling out of sorts, it feels good to make a cup of tea and sit in my big chair next to the window and put a few pieces of cloth and thread into this.

I plan to keep working on it, adding to it. I feel like it needs something from October so maybe leaves or pumpkins. Who knows? I didn't plant a garden this year and am really missing my pumpkins right about now. Maybe I can grow my own in this little world?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dye Experiments

Last month I got together with a couple friends for a fabric dying play day. I wanted to work on an idea that had been floating in my head for a while--how it would work to dye different already constructed fabric pieces vs. just flat yardage. Here's the results...

This piece is 100% cotton print cloth that I pieced then layered with a cotton batting and then ditch quilted. I soaked the finished piece in soda ash and then hung on the line to dry. A quick press with the iron and then I dye painted it. I'm quite happy with the look of the brush marks on this one.

This piece is of the same fabric but just not layered and quilted. I also like the look of this one.

This one I was less happy with, but it does have some potential. It's just a piece of the same flat yardage that I marked out a grid on with pencil.

I also painted on various small strips of fabric thinking that I would piece them afterwards, but there was a lot of fraying in the washout and I'm not sure the original idea would work. I've still yet to sew the pieces together so will show those when I do.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these. My thought was to stretch them on canvas stretcher bars and hang as a group of four. They all have 4" plain borders all the way around. Or maybe make pillows out of them or ??? Still playing around with ideas at this point.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally...the River Quilt

--Click to enlarge any photo--

I've been so busy with travel and other projects that I really haven't been keeping things as current here as I'd like. So over the next few days I'm going to try to fill in the gaps and show pictures of all the projects that have been keeping me busy, the biggest of which was 'The River Quilt'.

This project began a year ago when at the October 2009 meeting of the Rogue Art Quilters we signed up to be part of this project to create a 39 foot long quilt divided into 19 sections. We were each given an entrance and exit dimension on the left and right for the 'river' and then overall dimensions for the size of the piece which were variable by 6" either larger or smaller. A particular fabric was designated as the water portion in order for there to be some continuity between the pieces...i.e. to make them 'flow'. Other than that we were left to our own devices to create a river-themed work due on July 28, 2010.

I spent about 6 months just thinking about how I might want to construct the quilt and what kind of imagery I would want to use. Lucky for me, in August 2009 I spent several days in Sunriver, Oregon photographing the Deschutes River. At the time I had no idea what I was going to use the photos for, but I loved the colors, the light, and the feel of the area, and I immediately thought of that photo archive when this project came up. After studying the photos, I had a general idea of the colors and types of fabrics and threads I wanted to use, so I spent the remaining time casually shopping for fabrics and threads until I had pretty much everything I needed. I spent a week or so compositing several photos on the computer in Photoshop, playing with placements, colors, etc. and finally printed out a full-size road map for the quilt construction.

The actual construction started on May 1 and I finished on July 21. I tried to be vigilant about keeping the hours of work involved but there were a lot more than my worksheet total of 93! I decided to use raw edge applique since I thought it would be much more realistic looking and frankly, I was tired of piecing and working out paper piecing patterns. I wanted to be able to cut and utilize the parts of the fabric that would work best for my aim so I tried a new technique using a product called Liquid Thread vs. a sheet fusible web. Most of the fabrics are hand dyes or batiks. I basically started at the top and worked down, creating whole sections of trees, grass, sky, etc. then putting them together once all the pieces were created. This allowed me to make changes and to be able to redo any sections that I wasn't happy with. I did a lot of auditioning on the wall with various fabrics to get just the right colors and light. Since I was using photos from different times of day, shadows were very important to get correct once the construction began. Reflections in the water were also a concern. One of the most difficult portions was the near bank of dry weeds. There were several editions of this before the final one appeared after a stroke of insight involving cotton parcel twine, cheesecloth, acrylic paint, and thread. The entire piece was then pin basted and free-motion quilted using my own freehand designs and over 30 different colors of thread, including metallics. It was an intense 3 months but I really enjoyed this project and look forward to making more of these realistic pieces.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back from San Francisco

I'm just back from a wedding in San Francisco at the beautiful City Hall. I'd never been inside the building in all the trips I've been there, but for me, the best sight was outside...a huge copper statue "Three Heads, Six Arms" by Chinese artist, Zhang Huan, from Shanghai. I wish I'd had more time to photograph it, as it was amazing. Will definitely have to make a trip back to do just that...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

You're Invited....

Click to ENLARGE...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Also on the way...

This one is a gift for a friend's birthday. It measures 11.5" x 15". She loves cats and the color purple, so Lavender Garden Cat with Green Kneepads was born. This was fun to make using just free-edge applique with the machine and then applied embroidery and buttons. Background fabric is hand-dyed shibori by me. Inspired by Jude Hill's amazing beasts....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gentner's Fritillary

Been busy working on the latest project which I'll be able to show in a couple of weeks time. In the meantime, I've just packed this one off to its new owner in Portland, Oregon. This piece measuring 6"x24" was done for the Rogue Art Quilters show in Jacksonville, Oregon. The show coincided with the Fritillary Festival, a celebration of the endangered wildflower, the Gentner Fritillary.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Changing Light

With all the unusual weather we've been having lately the light has been spectacular. Most days I find myself running for the camera to catch it before it fades, which only takes seconds. Now I think it's best if I keep the camera with me when I'm out. These photos are not doctored...this is the way it really looks. My husband calls it a 'Maxfield Parrish Sky', I think watercolors...

Today is a strange Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. We have yet to have a day in the 90°s, which is unheard of. Plants and trees seem confused, not knowing what to do with this cool weather. Peonies and iris are still blooming a month later than usual. Warm weather plants are languishing, waiting for things to heat up.

I've been busy in my studio working on another challenge piece. I'll show it when it's finished. Needless to say it is pushing me, not only by working on it, but by keeping up with all the ideas that seem to be generated when my mind is otherwise occupied. Looks like it could be an interesting summer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fabric Pieces in Detail...

I am getting really hooked on painting and printing on fabric. These were made with silkscreening and then overprinting with cardboard templates. Click for an enlargement.

This one (below) was stamped using half an orange, the detail was amazing.

More photos here.