Thursday, December 26, 2013

Waiting for Parade, Ready to Quilt

The little girls waiting for the parade, is ready to quilt. I have spent the last three days on it, working on the background and finishing the details. It was a lot more work then I thought it would be. Working in shades of gray for the sidewalk, asphalt and bridge railing, was a challenge. One good point was I did have the many shades of gray that it took, and also a variety of textures. The benefits of having a large stash of fabric. Choosing the sky fabric was difficult, I spent several hours trying to decide. I had two different hand dyed blues, one lighter and brighter, one more blue and darker. After taking digital photos, comparing them side by side in Photoshop, then converting the pic to black and white to check the value, I finally decided on the darker one. My main reasoning was that it was supposed to be raining, not too bright, I wanted the sky to recede, not jump out at you. I don't usually have such trouble picking a fabric, but they were both very nice choices. My husband couldn't even decide for me, ha ha. In the end I covered most of the blue anyway with foliage. The polka dots on the umbrella are kind of over whelming, but that was what drew me to take the photo of the girls in the first place. I used some extra colored pencil after the photo was taken to darken the underside of the umbrella with more orange, hoping it would tone down some of the dots. I think it did help.
Compare the original sketch with the finished quilt top. I'll post the original photo again when I get it all quilted, tho you can find it in older posts. Next step, lots of thread painting! It will add a lot of texture to the sidewalk, asphalt, foliage, and architectural detail to the bridge. The thread really makes it all come alive, and blends the different elements together. Since I am off work for the next week too, (I drive school bus - Christmas Break) I am hoping to get it all done, before I go back to work.

I am going to link this with Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see some other wonderful quilt artists.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

One of my favorite ornaments, a small white porcelain dove with gold edging, it is so simple and elegant. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!! Be creative, have fun, Play!

I Make Beauty

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" My quilts need to be beautiful, if they are not pleasing to the eye, then I am not happy with them. This need can reflect color, balance, texture, subject matter, contrast etc...I don't work as hard as I do to end up with an ugly quilt!

As I look through books and magazines, I occasionally see an ugly quilt, one that evokes the "Oh yuck" response from me. Some artists would be happy to know they have stirred up that response and poked my emotions. But to me that is a quilt I will never like. Lots of people like to play in puddles and create mud pies, but to me a muddy quilt is an absence of color, contrast, motion and life. Don't get me wrong, brown can be a beautiful color, rich, deep and warm, satisfying, connecting you to the earth, holding up a tree, adding shadows and meaning behind a door, the complex textures of wood grain. A whole quilt of brown without colors for contrast is not going to appeal to my eye.

My quilts sing with color! I love deep rich purples, perky pinks, turquoise and teal, vibrant reds, and mouth watering oranges. I use a lot of chartreuse, accents of chartreuse bring dark green leaves to life. In a magazine an Australian quilt shop owner said "Lime green is the new neutral." I was drooling over the photo of shelf after shelf of light, bright almost fluorescent limes greens.

I am not afraid of yellow!! Say it loud and proud! Yellow daisies, sunshine and lemons, sometimes you just have to have yellow for a flower center or a butterfly. Just remember a little bit goes a long way, don't over do it, unless you are making a quilt celebrating yellow.

Finding a pleasing ascetic is my goal in quilt making. Add a little pink to brighten and balance the red, so it's not over whelming, replace the medium blue with a light blue for more value contrast. This add and subtract is mostly intuitive, your own values of what is beautiful or what is not. However I have taken classes and read books on color and principles of design, drawing and perspective. So now I have the knowledge to check the balance of values, contrast, shapes, adjust the curves, and keep the correct perspective, but each decision is my own personal belief of what is beautiful.

Trust your choices, does the quilt work, does it need something? Maybe a little dash of color for more pizazz, a larger object in the corner for balance, adjust the curves on a shape to add more action and motion, change fabric to add texture and depth. The decision making process is endless, myriad tiny details to consider, but each one adding to the beauty of the art, in the eye of the beholder.

Then you need to know when to stop, sometimes it is an "Ah ha! Moment" it's perfect! Sometimes it is more subtle, just nothing more to change, or add or subtract. The quilt finally fits your ideal of beauty. You have done it! Created Beauty!

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Singing the Bathroom Blues"

The first photo shows the fabric with discharge paste, before ironing. I used Jacquard's Decolourant Plus White. After ironing the paste activates and bleaches the fabric. Then you rinse off the paste residue.
"Singing the Bathroom Blues" my newest piece of discharged botanicals. I really like blue, I got about four yards of this heavy weight linen/cotton(?) at my friend's garage sale. I've already used a lot of it. My bathroom has cobalt blue tiles, on half the walls and the built in "Roman style" tub, and the counters. This is going in the bathroom window to keep out the cold from an aluminum frame window. The quilted piece that is there for 20(?) years is deteriorated badly from sun and moisture. My kitchen and dining room is blue and white too, because my China pattern is "Blue Onion, Blue Danube" so I have a hard time at Christmas, not to use red. Then I end up with red, white and blue, so I look for stuff with snowflakes, or snowmen on a blue sky background. My kitchen has morphed into blue, white and yellow, kind of a French Provincial look.
I used a light blue rayon thread to outline and detail the foliage, and a dark blue rayon with a small stipple in the background. It does not have any of the fancy stuff on it like the others, such as the shimmery spider webs or the crystals. I kept it rather simple and plain.
And finally, Poppy seams to have a sixth sense about when I finish a quilt and leave it unguarded on my table for even a few minutes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Teal Dragonfly

I haven't officially named this one yet. It's just the one I used teal paint on, some thing clever will show up in my brain when I least expect it. The same as the other botanical Gelli plate prints, masked with my hand cut stencils, then over stenciled with more acrylic paint, sequin waste and other texture tools. Free motion quilted in rayon threads, to outline and vein the leaves, a small stipple in the background. This one has some extra muslin along the sides when I printed it, so I added the stencils around it. It made it different then the 8 x 10's I have been printing with the Gelli plate. The top edge was ragged so I went with the arch to include a little of the muslin at the top also.
I am linking this with Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday," click on the badge on the right hand column to see some other wonderful fiber artists.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


"KISS" Keep it Simple Sweetie" this is a quiet easy piece for my husband for Christmas. It has none of the fancy stuff, glittery spiderwebs, dragonflies or crystals. It is made to fit the table top, on his side table in the living room. It is a 3 legged table with the cut corners, in the shape of the quilt top. He uses it for the remote, his book and to eat a lot of his meals on. He has an old place mat on it, that has seen better days. Maybe he can keep some of the food crumbs off of it, but I'm not holding my breath. It is a heavy blue linen/cotton? I used the Jacquard Decolourant Plus White and my hand cut stencils.
I used a bright blue rayon thread to outline and add veins to the leaves. Then I used a white chalk pencil to draw in the same type of leaves and flowers to the rest of the background. I quilted the background and got a nice flat surface for setting items on the table. I trimmed the edges and batting, and turned the backing fabric to the front, for an easy flat binding, that I then machine stitched.
It will be a surprise, as he doesn't play on the computer at all. I keep looking at the ratty old place mat and keep thinking about giving it to him NOW.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pink Jacket Girl

I got the fabric selections and pieces done for the pink jacket girl. I am mostly happy with her. I mistakenly made the bag yellow and not the skirt, so I had to come up with another color for the skirt, or remake the bag. I choose this shade of green, to be closer in value to the dark jeans, the yellow would have been pretty bright. The softer yellow of the bag, adds continuity and balance, with the yellow umbrella, with out fighting for attention. The green is also the complimentary color to the pink, on "The Wheel."
In these two pictures, you can see how the surrounding colors influence the fabric on the face. The teal on the umbrella girl makes her beige face look gray. While the fuchsia on the jacket makes the other girls shadow side of the face look purple. I hope this is only obvious because of the camera/monitor, and not in real life. Now to do the background, lots of shades of gray for the sidewalk and concrete bridge in the background. Fall leaves and some blue sky will spark that up a bit. I'm linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the link in the right hand column and see other amazing Quilt artists.

"Moonlit Moths" finished

"Moonlit Moths" finished. See previous posts for clearer photos. The binding is done, the Swarovski crystals are on and it just glitters and glows in the moonlight. I had problems with the crystals, apparently I had bought a very large packet of NOT hot fix crystals. Argh, the glue backing not being there, meant they would not melt and a fix to the quilt. What to do?? I had a tube of Gel Super Glue, a little dab with a toothpick, and they stayed right on. Don't try this with non gel glue, it would just soak in and not adhere. Some little bit of smearage with the glue was ok. So far they are staying on real well. Now I remember that I have a bottle of "Aylene's Jewel It" that would have worked as well. I have a friend that invested $$ in buying all sorts of glues and using them for rhinestones, then washing them to test them. She recommended the Aylenes Jewel It, as the best of the glues, for that purpose.
I also discharged a piece of the black fabric for the label, I did not want to use just a piece of muslin to write on. Without the colored thread it looks very gray, but it served its purpose.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Foto Friday 6 - Light Writing

Playing with my digital camera last Christmas I created these photos of Christmas Lights. I think they would be great inspiration for an art quilt. They are colorful, dramatic, movement, with line and contrast. Try some yourself this year.
Set your camera for the longest exposure time that you can, 1 to 2 seconds. If you just have basic settings try to find one for Fireworks, Night or better yet, mine has Night-Tripod, any setting that will have a longer exposure. Click the shutter and MOVE fast in the time allowed, move up down sideways, zigzag. Keep trying exposures, moving faster or slower, or smoother, what ever works for your camera.
Try to find a strand of multi color lights, the larger bulbs give off more light and color, than the smaller lights. I haven't tried it with the new LED lights. Distance also makes a difference. If you are closer you get more color bleed, stand further back and you get crisper, finer lines. Hold the camera still or move slower and you get more color bleed as well. That might be the look you like so just try different effects, until you get what you like. It is so nice to be able to see instant results, so you can tell if it worked or not. You would never waste a roll of film on this kind of trial and error.
Go outside tonight and play!! Let me know what you come up with.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Moonlit Moths"

I chose several shades of Sulky Rayon thread, for the free motion quilting on my Botanical Discharge piece. I debated on trying to use just one creamy color, but thought it would be too monochromatic and blah. The colors were soft and subtle, but I still wanted them to show, so I did not pick the palest colors. I was concerned that they would not show.
Two pics were needed to show the whole width. I added several spiderwebs with Sulky Hologram thread which is a clear reflective color. It is very shimmery and I've had no problems putting it thru the needle or twisting on me. Unlike the metallic threads that fray and kink up if you don't have the right needle. My husband suggested the dark blue thread, I'm not so sure of it, but it disappears in some light, and gives a midnight glow to the background, and another layer to the leaves.
I'm not quiet done with it, I want to add some Hot Fix Saworski crystals to the top area, like stars. The top is quilted with Black Rayon in horizontal wavy ribbons. Still need to add the sleeve and binding too.
In this last photo, I hope you can see where the different color threads made a difference. The purple is darker and recedes, the blue and green is cool and leafy, the pink, yellow and cream is brighter, and add highlights, and the peachy thread shows the most, and influences the discharge color. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see other wonderful fiber artists.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Umbrella Girl

The Umbrella Girl is taking shape, the denim jeans were the easiest part, I had the perfect fabric. Finding the teal was difficult, as the teals kept going bluer or greener, I did not want something too bright to fight with the umbrella, and I thought it was also in the shade of the umbrella.
The face fabric was from a packet of hand dyed flesh tones that I picked up at a quilt show. It still does not give me the range of color I want for shadows, in this small a format. It is either too pink, or too grayed beige. Maybe I'll have to try to dye my own at the next dye workshop. I went more red with the hair, so it would contrast with the yellow umbrella. Too yellow a blonde would not have stood out. I ended up fusing the pieces, because they are still small, rather than raw edge applique. I wanted to have clear details and not have frayed edges around the face and hands. It is ok if a tree or rabbit gets a little frayed in a landscape, but not a person.
An "a ha moment" when looking at the photo, gave me a lighter yellow at the top of the umbrella, where the sun bounces off of it. I used an orange colored pencil to shade the underside of the umbrella for more contrast. When the ribs are highlighted it will give more shape and definition to the umbrella, and adding the pink and fuchsia dots will add a lot of pizazz. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, click on the badge on the right hand column to see some other wonderful quilt artists.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Foto Friday - Negative Space

These photos could be about line and pattern, but to me they are about negative space. Do you pay attention to negative space when you are designing? The cast iron tractor grill, could have been symmetrical, but as the perspective changes, the negative space changes, even though the pattern is the same. The cracks in the wall, are just as important as finding the right fabric for the stone texture.
Negative space can also be defined as silhouette, as this telephone line connector and the scroll ironwork show. Where the background is more important then the lines, then you are thinking of the negative spaces.
I would use a beautifully hand dyed or painted sunset sky fabric for behind the scroll work. Or multi colored flowers for a garden scene. The tree branches would show up in stark contrast to a turquoise sky.
The cast iron chair back has lots of detail, the Greek Key pattern depends on black and white, the fan is defined by the negative space wedges.
Circles and the interior they define are classic shapes, overlapping circles have words for their negative space, apple core & football and these shapes can tessellate.
The metal sculpture is at a lake in Washington, it has circles overlapping, but the negative space is very different from the razor wire. I think this photo would make a nice mosaic pattern with Japanese fabrics in the white spaces on a navy solid. Pay attention to the all the space you design with, not just the lines and patterns you are making, but the background, silhouette, and cracks. Try to make a negative in Photoshop to show you more options, to make the negative shapes the positives shapes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yokohama Award

Yea!! Our International Painters Challenge Quilts, won FIRST PLACE for Group Quilts at QUILT WEEK YOKOHAMA!!!! My Leonardo Da Vinci art quilt, was one of the 30 USA quilts entered in the exhibit. Three other artists in our Fyber Cafe group also participated. In addition there were 30 quilts from Japan and 30 from France. The US quilts were curated by Linda Stellar of Eugene, Oregon. Wow!! I am just blown away by this, I did not know they were in competition, I thought they were just for display. I am so proud to be part of this. Click here for the link to view the 30 US quilts.
You can't really see anything, but this is how they were displayed in Japan.