Sunday, September 29, 2013

When it All Comes Together

Over the years of my quilting adventure, I have been very technique oriented, always learning new things, trying new techniques and materials, buying books and magazines with technique themes. Trying the projects in the book or class, with their patterns but tweaking them a little, needing to be original. But it still felt like copying, even if it was just copying a style. I learned silk ribbon embroidery, embellishing with beads and charms, Kumiko Sudo's 3-D folded flowers, and other embellishing techniques. As my free motion machine quilting improved, I quilted everything with feathers, then became enamored with rayon thread. I started making landscape quilts with Susan Carlson's collage techniques, and hand painting sky and sea fabric. Joining Fyber Cafe, our textile art group, when it first started, gave me even more options. One of the books I read, asked, "What is your quilting style?" WOW, did I have one? This got me thinking a long time, I had jumped from one new thing to another, always starting a new project with each technique I learned. But this gave a very disjointed body of work. Did I have a style? It hit me one day that I did, all my quilts whatever the design had intense machine quilting with rayon threads. You could tell it was my quilt by the quilting, not the design or color or technique. The quilting was the unifying element. With Fyber Cafe, I learned fabric dyeing, printing, more surface design painting techniques, photo transfer, design and color concepts, fibers and needle felting, thread painting, on and on, always looking for the next NEW thing. But I was developing a style, original work was coming from me with a variety of techniques. It was all coming together! All the techniques I had learned were becoming useful as I participated in Fyber Cafe challenges. Our "Whats My Line?" challenge used needle felting, heavily hand beaded with buttons, beads and charms. The "Beatles Song" challenge held design principles and color theory. The next challenge "A River Runs Through It" brought me back to collaged landscape quilting, but it felt too much like the regular old me, except I had used hand dyed fabric for the background. So I pushed it a little, and used melted & painted Tyvek for the birch tree leaves, created a 3-D piece to add off the bottom edge, added silk ribbon embroidery and beading, all the techniques I had learned where coming together. It made the challenge art piece even better, than if I had left it as just another of my landscapes. I feel great about what I made for the "International Painters" challenge, being assigned Leonardo Da Vinci was intimidating! WOW, how do you compete with the Last Supper, the Mona Lisa and the statue of David. Researching him online I found lots of pictures of his sketchbooks, he drew everything from mechanical inventions, to human anatomy, painting studies of balance, figures, hand gestures, color trials, a vast variety of things. Today's art advocates are pushing art journals & sketchbooks, exploring your designs, techniques and talents. This made a strong connection to me, to see all his sketchbook drawings, quick doodles to see how the figures of the Last Supper interacted, facial expressions of the Madonna, and David's pose. We now know the Mona Lisa has many layers of paintings, as he tried again and again to get it right. Even Leo made mistakes, but he took the time to work them out with a sketchbook. So learn everything you can about your art, play, sketch, paint, draw, and let it all percolate in your brain. Our art group has trouble meeting deadlines, I think this is because we think about it so much, the ideas bounce around and mix in our brains until the ideas gel and we CREATE! When it all comes together in the perfect out pouring of our creativity, it is the best feeling in the world! So go out there and be original, let it all come together. P.S. I could have filled this post with photo examples of the quilts and techniques I was talking about, but I think it will be an adventure for you to search my blog and learn all the new techniques I talk about.

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