Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alaska Garden

I'm not a gardener. I live in a condo and the flowers are tended by the pros, not me with a purple thumb! So I was on a hunt for a good photo of a garden. Among the 2000 images that I took on a journey to Alaska, I found this shot of ornamental cabbage and petunias that bordered a building at one of the resorts we visited.

The long sumner days in our 49th state help vegetation to grow to enormous proportions. These ornamental cabbages are larger than my head! And of course, the resorts pride themselves in beautiful landscaping.

To try to abstract this image, I wanted to concentrate on the shapes of the cabbages and petunias, as well as the lines in the wood and the sense of perspective.

The background is foundation pieced, the cabbages and petunias are fused and stitched. I'm not crazy about it but its done! Critiques are welcome! I need a class on perspective and shape... any suggestions? Thanks!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Midnight Dreams of Summer Flowers

It's the last day of winter here and i am desperate for some colour. My real garden is just a pile of twigs poking out of the ground. So i imagined this piece and i hope that it fulfills the criteria of this challenge.

Background fabric dyed in attempt to represent the garden in the starlight.

Flowers appliqued with metallic thread and made up of scraps of dyed silk.

Flower in the upper left (representing night) consists of machine embroidered stars and free motion embroidery.

Anny comments welcome.


Barrel Cactus (#24)

9 1/2" x 12 1/2"
Commercial fabrics

This project began as a photograph of a barrel cactus in my garden. I printed the photo on both cotton and organza fabrics. I liked the effect when I overlaid the organza on the cotton photo and then offset the two photos. The two photos were secured together with some thread painting then it was sliced into four parts.

The original intention was to use all four parts. After adding the green fabric (extending out at least 3" from the cut edges) and playing around with various arrangements, I decided to use only two of the photo quarters.

The piece needed more than a plain border. There was a slight hint of maroon in the batik separating the dark green sections. I added a small (1/8") eyelash border.

Comments always welcome!

-- Joanna Strohn in Tucson, Arizona
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This was a challenge I had a good time with---not a fast piece to do, but learned a lot and like what I've done. The quAdd Videoilt is not completely finished---some of the "background" still needs quilting.

I am posting the original photo, original cropped, and Photoshopped photo. The full shot and a close-up of the quilt are also posted. The photo is of a large pot of red and white chard with small flowers and ivy. It was taken at the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC. I'd never seen chard planted with flowers before and it was a wonderful sight!

The quilt was done by layering pieces of fabric onto the batt with backing underneath. The fabrics are batiks and other cottons. I placed a layer of pale blue tulle over it all and did a lot of pinning. The quilting is not only the decoration but the "glue" for the quilt.

Comments welcome.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Leaning toward Abstract

The idea of making anything abstract scares the dickens out of me (what is a "dickens" anyway?) As I went back through my photos of vegetation, I decided to take a liberal interpretation of the garden concept and opted to work with a photo I took a few months ago of three cottonwood trees sculpted by beavers.

I worked in Photo Shop to posterize, intensify, saturate and otherwise manipulate the image that I then printed out on cotton. The tree photo has batting under it and that is then quilted onto an upholstery fabric sample as background. The extra "leaves" to the sides of the photo are scraps of green fabric under tulle. The extended tree trunks are crumpled black fabric that has been dry brushed with blue Lumiere paint. The photo has an inner frame of couched yarns. The binding is an earth tone dupioni silk. I expected the end result to be less identifiable than it is. I am not sure I have really abstracted the image or if I have just manipulated it to a different form.

Summer's End 14"x16"

As you can see by the photo of my garden, my sunflowers don't resemble the real thing, but it still doesn't seem like an abstract to me. It is difficult to abstract a real scene, isn't it?

I was trying to get the feel of the end of summer, with the browning leaves of my tomatoes (yep, mine are also fungus-ridden), and the still sunny disposition of the sunflowers.

The green background is a piece of silk that I dyed with a sewn shibori method, but which didn't end up working for what I had in mind originally. The sunflowers are hand-dyed silks (some vintage kimono fabrics); they are fused and then the whole thing is under a layer of black tulle, except for the brown cotton centers of the sunflowers, which I may still add beading to, and I do realize now from seeing the photo that they are not very neat (ack). May have to redo those altogether. I was originally thinking just beads, but was in a hurry to finish, as this one also meets my local group's challenge theme, and I just dropped it off for a show today.

Anyway, I welcome any comments and suggestions, as I'm not sure this one really works very well.

Thanks, Lisa. This was a great challenge idea.

Brenda Jennings

Hummingbird Breakfast

OK - so I'm finally done with the challenge - and it was a challenge - I don't usually work in abstract to it was kind of a push for me. I took a photograph of some crocosmia from my garden - this plant the hummingbirds love to munch on - they are nice and bright and very red and green - so I tried to make it not look like Christmas. I used red spirals for the flowers. I used a spectrum of greens so it wouldn't look too much like Christmas. The background is a hand dyed blue green. I then put on borders because without it just seemed to hang there. I quilted the piece in diamonds to represent the chain link fence.

So the name is Hummingbird Breakfast finished size 23x29.

Thanks for letting me host the challenge - it has been fun to see how far people can take abstract.

In Rainy Seattle

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cold Hands by Penny Irwin

pieced using freezer paper and glue stick.

One January there was a wet snow during the night and no wind to drift it.
By morning mounds of snow had covered every surface it had touched.

This is a very old gate post. My yard and home are beyond.

ren's non-challenge #24

Well....this is as far as I got: choosing the photo. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to it next week. But it's not going to happen before the end of tomorrow. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neighbor's Garden

This is taken in our neighbor's garden. I am not sure even what kind of flowers they are. I liked the color and the shadows. I don't know how well I captured all that,this was a very new experience for me. I am rather pleased with it. I did not use as much dark as the photo shows because it looked too blotchy.
I am eager, in fact, anxious to know what you think...... did I get it? The concept of what we were to do?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Breaking Free

by laura west kong
approx. 18" x 14"

I wanted to work from a life drawing rather than a photo for this challenge, and chose a single element that might be found in a garden, one not so scorchingly hot as my own ... a pine cone. First I made a rough sketch of the pine cone, focusing only on the triangular tips of the scales that seemed to jump out from the shadows, then stylized my drawing slightly.

While fusing the scales to the piney background fabric, I accidentally laid one upside down and fused it to my iron. Instead of fusing it back into its original spot, I set it free above the pine cone and found a new direction for my piece: setting myself free from the quilt police and any of my own inhibitions about quilting.
Here are some of the things I freed myself from on this piece:
<1.> Laser sharp precision. I tore fabric (makes a great soft raw edge), cut freehand with the rotary cutter, left the appliqué edges very raw and left threads hanging. (btw, its actually more work than I expected to jag up those edges, they don't just happen on their own!).

<2.> Quilt sandwich conventions. I laid the quilt top on a larger piece of wool felt, added a few straight pins and quilted away. I started near the edges and machine quilted towards the middle. I decided to try a large stipple and do it fearlessly. (Usually machine quilting stresses me out. I really enjoyed it this time and didn't cross over my lines once even though I wasn't being very careful.)

<3.> Over-planning syndrome. (Sometimes when I plan out a piece too completely before I begin I can't bring myself to actually complete it because in my head its already finished.) Making this quilt was like doing a puzzle because I didn't know ahead of time what it would end up to be. I loved the surprises at every turn working on this piece.
I always enjoy a bit of hand work mixed in so I hand embroidered the path of the free pine cone scale, tying the knot on the front and leaving the tail free flowing.
Finally, I snapped a picture of the pine cone. Its not the same angle I was sketching and I have no idea which side I sketched from, but if you look at the top half of the pine cone you can still see the way the triangular tips of the scales stand out from the dark inside.

You can read some more musings about this quilt on my blog.

Garden Abstract

I started with a picture I took in Denver's Larimer Square last summer. With help from a QA member, I enlarged the picture and printed it on plain paper in 4 sections so it measured 16" x 20." Then I used it for templates. Using hand-dyed fabrics, I tried to recreate the general feeling of the wavy shapes in the photo. My goal was to make the quilt totally abstract, but it wanted to be a landscape. At least I managed to keep the actual flowers out of the quilt . The hanging threads represent the weeds in my own garden.

Well, I took it to "unabstract" by adding the original photo. I also added a computer-manipulated phot of magenta petunias. I'm also considering cutting the quilt off just below the original photo and only using the bottom 2/3rds. Am I making it better, or worse? Comments are always welcome - I learn so much here!

Monday, August 25, 2008

'My Garden'

This year my deck seems to be awash with colors ranging from pink to burgundy, and a hint of yellow here and there. I didn't use a picture for this composition, rather I took it from my head. This was a real challenge for me, as abstract is not my forte' however, I enjoyed the challenge and the process.
I dug out my old Quilt Art magazines and re-read the articles on Abstraction by Liz Berg. Very good information.
I used split complimentary colors of red-violet and yellow green. In using large and small shapes spaced close and then further apart I hope I have achieved a rhythm and sense of movement in the compostion. I also placed the elements from smallest to largest or reversed to create a sense of movement. I'm not sure if I've achieved balance?
I pieced the background using hand dyed fabric, the colors seemed to fit.
I look forward to your critique.
This was a fabulous challenge, thank you Lisa.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

challenge 24 by Priscilla

Challenge 24 is a quilt made with a personal photo of a rose of sharon and manipulated in Photoshop Elements. It has not been quilted yet.
Priscilla Stultz

Challenge 24 - Poppies by Cynthia Ann Morgan

Here's my abstracted garden-inspired piece....inspired by a photo of the Oriental Poppies that bloom in my yard every June. I went for a paint dab, impressionistic feel using the colors, shapes and placement I saw in the photo. I was tempted to fill in the blanks with some real paint dabs, but my experimentation with a trimmed off section told me not to mess with it. I like it, but there's my usual comment about not having a dramatic focal point. I guess this one would fit in the no-focus format from our last challenge.
Thanks for a great challenge, Lisa

Abstract Beet

This is a semi-abstract version of a beet, fresh from the garden. I've deconstructed it, sliced it apart and reassembled the whole thing. What I am most pleased with is the color pallete. I used hand-dyes for the beet and the edge is fused.

Alien Garden

Since I have frequently made garden scenes, my idea for this garden was to go wild and avoid using any fabric image as a literal object, no actual flowers as flowers. Check out in particular the images I used in the tree and the tree trunk -- extra points if you figure out the trunk in particular! The background is all one piece of fabric; I quilted a few of the lines there.

For the odd striped plants in the lower part of the picture, I tried doing some free motion quilting, but aside from the zig-zag central veins, it was simply too much, and I ended up taking most of it out.

Sept. 23 -- I've just re-posted this, showing the border.

Maui Butterfly

I took this photo several years ago on the island of Maui. I had a wonderful image in my mind of the "abstract" quilt I was going to make from it. I prepared all my silks with fusibles, laid them all out, and started randomly cutting shapes with my rotary blade. I began placing them, and lo and behold...what happened to my abstraction? Once again, I am hopelessly representational! LOL At least it was done from a garden picture...sigh. Will it do for this challenge? I will try again, but no promises. I guess I just don't "do" abstract.

Comments very welcome...Cherie

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Garden Path by Joni Feddersen

From the window in my studio I often gaze out at my garden path. When Quilting Arts put out the calendar challenge of Celebrating Home, I chose my garden path as the subject of my 12x12 entry. Needless to say, I did not make the finals of the contest, but I do feel that this little quilt deserves to be seen and it really meets the criteria for this challenge. Here is the photo I used for inspiration, and the resulting quilt.

I tea dyed the background and then used set-a-color pens to draw the wispy lines and add some shading. I played with different patterns for my quilting, and added some flowers which are sadly lacking in my actual garden, (its more of a woods). I made my first attempt at thread painting, and added some beads to accent the flowers. It would be most helpful if I could get some critique as to how this quilt could have been improved to be more competitive.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

This was a challenge for me. That is a good thing because I'm too hung up on realism. My picture was from a calendar. I'm not sure I met the challenge but here it is anyway.

The size is 11-1/2" x 7-1/2"

The Path Through My Garden

The revised version, really like the *path* in this one better!

detail shot

The first photo is what I used for inspiration. To make my piece which is 19 x 11" I sewed twisted strips of several different green fabrics,ribbon and yarns on a mottled green/yellow background, using a straight stitch down the middle of the fabrics and a zigzag down the yarns (6 strand emb floss) I just randomly placed these, trying to cover as much as possible of the background, just letting some peek through here and there, to resemble grass,leaves and stems. Then I stitched down the gray path/stair shapes. The flowers are simply snips of fabric layered and tacked down with a floral design in the middle.The flowers are loose except where tacked so they will curl up a bit, the twisted fabrics/yarns/ribbons also stand up off the background. As you can see in the 3rd detail shot. I bound it with a fabric that resembles, ground, rocks and grassy areas. I am probably going to do another one. My winter garden, which will tie in nicely with my seasonal series I am doing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Challenge 24 - Garden inspiration for abstract art

Challenge #24 - Friday, August 22, 2008

Guest Hostess –Lisa Albanese

Theme or Technique - How Does Your Garden Grow

Design Source use a photograph of your garden, or a garden out of a magazine or a catalog. Study the photograph look for color and shape. Create an abstract version of the garden setting.

Design Concept – Abstraction

A quilt that has no reference to any figurative reality. Depicts real forms in a simplified or rather reduced way - keeping only an allusion of the original natural subject

Due - Saturday, Noon EST August 30, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

challenge 22 and 23 by Priscilla

Challenge 23 is a split rail fence block that was created with velvet, velour and batiks; cut without a ruler and randomly sewn together ---altered quilt block
Challenge 22 is a texture created from hand dyes and batiks. The focal point is a piece of hand dyed fabric pleated and fringed then swen to the quilt.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Challenge 23 Less is More 12.5'x42.5"

I've been thinking a lot lately about creating "simpler" pieces (thus the idea for the challenge). I really like the idea of a large background, but have not seen many quilting examples other than wholecloth quilts. I found that creating this piece was actually quite difficult, as I ended up agonizing over every detail (and redoing several things). Now you know why I am 9 or 10 days late finishing it!

The background fabrics are arashi shibori dyed silks (something I've been playing with a bit this year). I had already done the purple one, and ended up making the charcoal one last week to go with this. The little rectangle is a piece of dupioni silk. It is quilted with rayon threads.

I like the final result, but I have had some technical difficulties working with the silks. Under the charcoal piece I used a non-woven stabilizer, and it is showing some creasing. Hopefully I can fix that somehow. There are also a couple of areas where the fusible got on the surface, so any ideas how to get it off would also be greatly appreciated.

I would appreciate any comments, and thank you all for coming up with such great results!

Brenda Jennings

Sunday, August 10, 2008


So after completing the Printer Blues I decided to do a less is less - actually 3 - Cyan Magenta and Yellow each measures the same as the Printer Blues 8 1/2 x 8 1/2.

In Rainy then Sunny Seattle

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Completed Sea Glass Quilts

Sea Glass I & II
9 x 12½
I decided on white thread for the Sea Glass quilts, and then couldn’t do any quilting when I realized I was out of white thread. After I finally got out shopping and came home with white thread, I changed my mind and outlined each piece loosely with variegated light blue which I already had.

The background is densely quilted in white. I added a heavy interfacing behind the batting to prevent puckers in the “glass” area. The interfacing seems to have done it’s job, and was not difficult to machine quilt through.