Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beginning Construction

I started with a full size freezer paper template, with an 18" circle drawn on it. I decided on the soft curves and spaced the layers, to flow across the sphere. This allowed me to see the size of the trees I would be working with, and how much of the sea/sky/polar areas.The earth/soil strip runs roughly at the equator, creating an equal amount of earth/sea. I colored the freezer paper with crayons, made dark lines for each section, and penciled in a lot of detail with quick sketches. Deciding to add animals or not was important. I didn't want them to look too cartoonish, but they are part of the eco-system, and I definitely wanted a few, birds or penguins, or fish/whales. So when I decided to thread paint them on top of the pre-printed cutouts, that made a big difference. Now as I work with my drawing, I think maybe the scale will be all wrong, and they would have to be too small. As I choose fabric for the Northern sky and a shimmering white for the polar snow, I needed to consider construction. I didn't want the dark blue seam to show, if I layered the fabric with raw edges. I decided to machine sew the curve seam, so the dark could be ironed to the back side. The snow and glittery netting needed to be crumpled up and stitched in place, so I needed to sew them to a muslin foundation. I also wanted to add beads to tack the folds in place, but the quilting needs to be done first. So I decided to add a thin white batting to the layer and quilt as I go. This way I can add the beads right away and not have to add all the detail at the last minute. Also my stitches to add parts won't show on the back, so I won't have to worry about it. Also the finished piece will be mounted on fabric covered stretcher bars, so no one will even see the reverse. I will finish it off on the back, but it won't show all my detailed quilting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 Fyber Cafe Challenge

The theme for the new Fyber Cafe challenge is "What's My Line" We decided to do textile art work for an exhibit, we will prepare and then try to get into different galleries, venues and shows. We will mount them all on 24" stretcher bars with a silver/gray fabric background. The pieces will be no bigger than 18" and three dimensional and larger pieces will be mounted on an 18" cube. We were all given a sketch book to journal in, that will be part of the show. Sketching and writing in the journal is mandatory, to keep everyone on track with the deadlines, and to show your progress. I started sketching in my purse sketchbook and have had to transfer everything over to the larger journal, but as I did that I expanded and elaborated on my original design and theme, so it added something extra to the process. I was also able to sketch in color with pencils and crayons which I can't do in my purse book. My thought process went...."from a long line of fisherman, line of creative people, to gardener, nurturer of the land, mother nature holding a globe" My original sketch of mother nature with a globe, had crazy patch continents, arms and neckline with lace collar and sleeves, a calico dress, and hands supporting the globe. As I continued to sketch I wanted to be more abstract, so I changed patchwork countries to geographical features, lakes, mountains, grasslands, jungle, etc... I removed mother nature and just went with the globe, I abstracted it to swirled layers of trees, shore, underwater, sky and Northern and Southern polar areas. I might still keep hands cradling the globe, but that will be a later decision. I sketched a full size template on freezer paper and colored it with crayons. See photo above. Now I have somewhere to begin.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Drunken Flowers"

I finished my quilt of the flower photographs, it turned out beautifully. The title comes from the pattern name "Drunkard's Path" Lots of stitching, even in the background printed areas. I used 3 shades of thread in each area, in a random zigzag. The color came out quiet good, I think using the colored pencils helped, I had also started with the delphinium in the top corner, which is the lightest anyway. The flowers are - delphinium, columbine, bee balm, anemone, mallow, peony, lily of the valley, Stoke's aster and grape hyacinth.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stitching a Photograph

Wow, machine quilting on the flower photos I took is amazing. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than it is certainly worth a 1000 yards of thread too. 8" blocks of "Drunkard's Path" pattern, so I am only sewing on half the 8" square, the amount of detail is overwhelming. I am stitching the outline, adding a little highlights, and some of the deeper shadows, but leaving the photo color to be the majority of the picture. Still I am using 5 colors of thread at least for each flower and 3-4 shades of green on the leaves and backgrounds. Each picture is a work of art all by it's self. On the columbine picture, in the lower corner, you can see the background texture of the corner pieces, I still need to quilt those areas. I love to use rayon threads, 'cause they have a beautiful sheen to them, this adds highlights and sparkle to an other wise dull print on fabric. The colored pencils also help jump up the color. I am debating about weather I need to get a different printer with more vibrant color capacity. Or if it is something I can do in photoshop to get better color. I have upped the hue and saturation and added contrast, like one book suggests, but the print didn't have half the color that it has on the screen. On the monitor the pictures just glow and the color is intense! Well back to the stitching.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Playing with photos

I've been busy playing with my photos on Photoshop Elements ver6, it is very intricate, simple to do simple things, but it does so much more! I decided to work through the lessons in the book, "Piecing with Pixels" by Hart & Campbell. My first project was making different colored textural backgrounds. I had a photo of some lacy seed pods, almost like babies breath flowers, it was very layered with fine lines. I played with the color, contrast, hue and saturation, I made a negative to get different color options, I was having trouble getting orange and yellow, cause it wasn't in my original picture. I chose matching colored flowers to go with the texture, red/yellow columbine, blue delphinium, red anemone, grape hyacinth, peach peony, lily of the valley, red bee balm, lavender mallow and a purple aster. I made a "Drunkards Path" quarter circle with the flowers, and the rest of the block with the texture. Instead of having to sew the curved piecing, it was all done on the computer. So I printed the 9 blocks onto fabric, that I had treated with bubble jet set, my printer ink lasted, yeah! They were a little dull, they look so brilliant on the computer monitor. So I added colored pencils to the flower pics. I used a lot of white, yellow and light flesh color, to add highlights to the light areas, and added dark blue, dark green, red and dark purple to the darker, shady areas, to define the contrast. This really perked up the pictures, I think the stitching when I quilt might cover up a lot of what I did though, so I will see if the extra work of coloring was worth it. I tried different arrangements of the Drunkards Path patterns, but with only 9 blocks there wasn't much choice, with 12 blocks I could have done a different setting. I pieced the blocks together in 3 x 3 rows, very simple, and decided not to do a border. I've layer batting and backing and have started to do the quilting. I am outlining and accenting with rayon threads, so we'll see when it is done. Stay tuned for more exciting quilting info.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jump starting the creativity

I have been very blasse about quilting the last month, I've done nothing, except take photographs and sort them on the computer, I did play with photoshop and got some really cool textures and color variations. I'll try to post a few. I did print several photos onto fabric of a "Hen and chick" succulent, close up, with color and value changes. Now to figure out what to do with them quilting wise. I'm trying to use the photos to jump start my creativity, I would like to use them in my quilts, or as patterns for quilts. I also have a collage of photos I am working on, with an old barn, trees, fences, rusty farm equipment and lambs in the foreground. I finally got some good sky/cloud photos, but they didn't print out very blue, I might have to enhance with paints or colored pencils, which would be fine with me too. A little extra red on the barn wouldn't hurt either. "Fyber Cafe'" group is doing a new project for a group exhibit. "What's My Line?" is the theme. I have been sketching in my notebook, which I carry in my purse, but I have to have an official "journal" for presentation, so I had to copy my sketches over to it. The journal is too big to carry in my purse. I had started on some ideas from a theme of "Color and Line" which I didn't like, but had finally gotten some ideas going. So switching up themes was difficult in mid stream. I finally got some ideas going and have expanded on them, so I think I have some viable ideas to work with. My purse notebook is usually done with ball point pen, rather challenging, to shade and color, so at home with a journal I got out the colored pencils and added color to some of the sketches. This adds a lot of options, tho I never have the color pencil I want either. When I choose the design I will finally do, then I will use paints, crayons, fabric swatches etc... So now I am back at the sewing machine, doing simple piecing for a baby quilt, but it has got me going again. And the sketching has got my creativity bubbling inside of me. So I see great thing ahead of me!!!