Monday, June 24, 2013

Bandon Textile Art Retreat

We had a wonderful three days at the textile retreat in Bandon, Oregon. The quilt shop, Forget Me Knots has built a great facility above their shop, with huge floor to ceiling windows in the sewing area, a full length design wall, and well lit tables. It has a large kitchen and bedrooms to sleep 8. Eight of us went over Monday morning, and played with our individual projects. I started doing gelatin mono printing with acrylic paints, on my Gelli Plate. I made quiet a few pieces of 8 X 10 fabric, using stencils, and other tools. I finally decided to use a set of blue, green and rust prints I was working with, so I made several more, with similar motifs and colors. My mind was in over drive, with ideas to use the fabric bouncing around in my head. I went down stairs to the quilt shop and got 5 fat quarters of coordinating Bali Batiks, to use as a background. I pinned everything to the design wall, and stared at it! I eventually ended up cutting 6" and 4" circles out of my painted fabric, piecing the batiks into a background in large sections, and randomly placing the circles on the background in clusters and alone.
As I rearranged the circles, for contrast and balance, I decided they looked a little bit like flat discs. So I needed to add paint to shade them into spheres. I added a darker edge in blue or rust to the bottom edges, and high lighted the top edge in chartreuse and light blue, I also used metallic copper, and light green. I used my camera to take pictures, as I made design decisions, to get a different perspective. It helped me see the contrast, problem parts and solve problems. I added lighter colors to the center, left a blank spot for the eyes to rest, and changed a few pieces for more contrast with the background. It had gotten dark, so we lost some of the window light and decided to call it a day. The next morning, we had a refreshing walk on the beach, with early morning golden light and a double rainbow over the ocean as a storm rolled in. I got some black cotton batting from the shop, and started machine free motion quilting with matching rayon thread. I followed the paint patterns to create flowing quilting patterns, and used darker threads in the background in a small stipple, to get it to recede. By evening I had quilted the entire wall hanging, with my intricate dense quilting style. I will bind and sleeve, it once I am at home. It was fun to do something from start to finish, no pattern, no preconceived ideas, just jump in and go. I think it worked out just fine, and was a successful effort in creativity.
For more info on the art retreat, visit the Fyber Cafe blog, the link is listed at the right side of my blog.

"Foraging by Moonlight"

My Fyber Cafe challenge 2013, "A River Runs Through It" is finished. It was a labor of love, 3 months or more of details, and design decisions.
The sky and Moon are my hand dyed fabrics, the grove of birch trees are a pre-printed fabric, fussy cut into tree trunks. The moon and 3 largest trees are trapunto with an extra layer of batting, added after the thread painting. The background layers are Bali batiks in dark teal. Ferns, leaves, foliage and rocks were fussy cut, and placed to add depth, and a base to the trees and an edge to the river. The river was an assortment of turquoise, selected by the planner, as a color guide, layers of hand dyed cheese cloth, and white cheese cloth were layered, to make white water accents to the river. The river was stitched with turquoise rayon threads, and over stitched with a clear holographic thread to add shimmer. The salmon were fussy cut prints. I did not want to use fussy cut deer, I wanted them to look more painterly, so I added acrylic paints over the print, to get more of a handmade look. The foreground was cut from a print of rocks, flowers and logs, with a few small snails and butterfly. It was quiet dark so I added more foliage, and added silk ribbon embroidery to add texture and color. I added an extra section of the foreground as a 3-D layer, off the bottom edge of the wall hanging, to give an extra layer of depth. At the top I used pipe cleaners, inserted into the 2 largest birch trees to extend them over the top edge. They were anchored for extra strength by pieces of painted, melted Tyvek, cut into ragged leaf clusters. The edge is a turned under facing, and the same fabric as the batik backing fabric, and sleeve. The bobbin thread is matching color to the machine stitched rayon quilting. All of the 14 sections will be displayed together, with the river running through all the pieces. See the Fyber Cafe blog, the link is on the side panel. You can see some of them on display at the Elkton Butterfly Gardens, June 29th in Elkton, Oregon, at an event to benefit, the Elkton Charter School Music Program. The Pyrenees Winery will display all the pieces in August, at the winery in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hexagon Bowl

I had quiet a lot of fabric left over from my spiral, it only used half of the fat quarter. I decided to make a bowl from the leftovers, it was already quilted. Again I cut a manila folder pattern from a 5" hexagon, the 1/2 hexagons I used to fill in the borders of a hexagon quilt, would have made a flat piece. I trimmed about 3/4 of an inch from the angle, to make the sides flare up. It was easy to satin stitch the outside edges, then each side to the center, and finally to connect each side piece to its neighbor. It only took about half an hour of stitching, because the fabric was already quilted and ready to go. I still have a chunk of fabric left, what to make now?

3-D Spiral with Hand Dyed Fabric

I got a wonderful book, "Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art" by C. June Barnes, all the work is 3 dimensional, shapes, vessels, wall hangings, free standing shapes and odd forms. It is very intriguing to think out side the box, and not make something flat. Several of our artists in Fyber Cafe have made 3-D pieces for some of our challenges, but this book takes it to a whole different level. My first thought is they are made with fabric that is layered with stiff interfacing and batting, then heavily machine quilted, to give a firm fabric sandwich to work with. I cut out my pattern, a variation on something in the book, from manila folder, then taped the pieces together to see how the shape would work. I found with a spiral, the smaller the center hole, the less stretch there is. I cut my hole over 1" diameter, and got a much better proportion of stretch. So I am glad I made a manila sample first.
I began with a fat quarter of hand dye painted fabric in fuchsia, turquoise and purple. I layered the top, backing, cotton batting and two layers of stiff interfacing. I free motion machine quilted in matching rayon, following some of the pattern, small stipple, and "pebbles" circles. The quilting was close together and dense to give the fabric a firm texture. I traced my pattern pieces and cut out the fabric, I thought it had plenty of firmness. I began stitching in the center of each piece with fuchsia rayon thread in a satin stitch along the edge. Then stitched all the pieces together, to make the big spiral. I satin stitched along the entire edge, over a small gauge covered wire, with the same rayon thread. The circumference was long I'm glad I had a long piece of wire! A good lesson in the effects of Pi. I added a Japanese Braided cord as a hanging line, that I already had finished, and the colors matched! I wanted to add something dangling from the bottom, to add weight and help the stretch, I used the circles I had cut from the centers, satin stitched them and strung them with glass beads.

"River" Details

Here are some closeup photos of my "River Runs Through It" challenge piece for the Fyber Cafe group. Our deadline was Tuesday, and we got 10 out of 15 finished, so that's pretty good. I'll post the finished pieces soon. I was trying at the last minute to get on my binding, label and silk ribbon embroidery. The embroidery is at the bottom, in the flowers, lots of french knots, leaves and stem stitch. The top of the birch trees have two pieces extending above the edge of the piece, they have pipe cleaners in them. I added the painted/melted Tyvek as leaves to help anchor the birch tree extensions. It added a lot of texture. The 3 biggest birch trees are done with trapunto, extra batting behind them, to help them stand out, into the foreground. The hand dyed fabric for the moon, was quilted in a "pebbles" pattern of circles to give texture. The river has hand dyed cheesecloth in green, and plain white, and is quilted in turquoise rayon thread, and clear shiny holographic thread.