Thursday, October 31, 2013


I have been wanting to try a portrait quilt, so took this opportunity.  The cubist part is in the coloring and blocks of fabric.  This was fun, thanks Sylvia.

Hot One Minute And Cold The Next

The painted self portrait shows the profile view when I am having a hot flash and another view when I am freezing not long after.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Square Thinking

Tobi, you're a darling... This was proving soooo frustrating to post..
Any how, now I'm here.. This is Press. 4 by 6 inches (postcard size).  Fused, Oakshott fabrics, free-motion quilted on a treadle Bernina, inspired by the iron that started it off...

I've been recovering from a major tree-attacked-my-car moment, am really glad to be back.. Hello again
And thanks..

Self Portrait

This really took me out of my comfort zone but it was fun to do. I'm not sure of the cubism but I am sure of the colors.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cubed Bass

This was an interesting challenge.  Even though I’m familiar with Picasso, Braque, Cubism, and the general visual style, I had a hard time bending my mind around the concepts and how those might be implemented.  I wanted to do something “painterly,” but that was even more challenging given the nature of pre-printed fabrics.

Some time back I had snapped this picture at a local street festival when a musician laid down his double bass for an intermission.  The image had good visual detail and creative potential, so I attempted to apply Cubist concepts in the form of distorted perspective, abstracted shapes, deconstructed imagery, and alternate colors.  Since I really enjoy play with color, that part came easily, but I struggled with the planer aspects of Cubism and being looser with the composition.  This is what I came up with.

In the end this challenge helped me appreciate Cubism as the profoundly groundbreaking moment it was and the instrumental role it played (and continues to play) in modern art.

Feedback is welcomed.

Robert Hartley

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Braque-inspired Still life

Still Life by Braque

Although I was in the middle of several other projects, I could not resist this challenge!

The opportunity to study two of my favorite artists, Braque and Picasso,  along with the chance to play with color, was right up my alley.

I looked at many still lifes by both artists, and chose the one above by Braque as my inspiration. My quilt group is also doing color studies now, so I picked the split complementary of red, and did this piece in red, yellow-greens, and blue-greens. What's not to like?

I couldn't quite make a triangular peach, or a mango with straight lines, but I did simplify my shapes. 

I really had fun with this, and it went together easily.
It is about 15" x 17", all in cottons, fused and quilted.

I would appreciate feedback on ways to improve this.

Factoid: Braque coined the word "collage", from the French word for glue. (I know this is true, because I read it on the Internet.) 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Challenge 86: Square Thinking in Odd Colors

Title:  Square Thinking in Odd Colors
Hostess: Sylvia Weir
Theme: Interpret a common object in the style of cubism
Technique: Represent an object in non-realistic colors; i.e. a banana might be purple or a person might be green or gray. Think about using the complement of the normal color if you get stuck on what color to use.
Due date: November 2

Most of us are familiar with Picasso's rendering of the human figure into  several aspects all seen at once. Georges Braque worked with Pablo Picasso with the two of them painting into the wee hours of the morning interspersed with whiskey consumption, cigar smoking, and a great deal of laughter. Comparing their pieces, I am not convinced that they did not switch easels when they returned to work thinking it a grand joke to sign their names to the other's painting which they may or may not have worked.

However, other painters explored cubism, notably some of the Latin American painters. One of Emilio Pettorutti's work is currently on display at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston in addition to other  Latino American artists working in synthetic cubism.

The challenge for today: Take a common object in your sewing room or kitchen and convert it to a cubist piece using non-realistic colors. For example, if you choose the familiar tomato pincushion, it needs to have sharp angular edges, seen from on top and on bottom and a different color -- perhaps blue or purple. If you want a real challenge you could do your self portrait or that of your dog or cat. Think of pleasing colors that are not realistic. This is an impression of the piece,  of what you know about the object and what you see and what you see over time as you circle about the object. In some ways this is suggestive of drafting a machine part in 3-D.

A  brief history of Cubism in Wickipedia; interestingly enough it contains references to architecture -- Le Corbusier, literature, Faulkner; and sculpture.

A collection at MOMA in New York of Braque's work:

 I was fortunate to see Duchamp's Nude descending the Staircase in person at the Philadelphia Art Museum. This was a significant piece as it represented the beginning of modern art versus classical art.

Cubism: Picasso, Braques and others

Emilio Pettoruti Paintings

Take a look at how the portraits were simplified into squares and rectangles and triangles using the face as a basis and the multiple aspects of the object seen and remembered.  Note the odd colors.

Of course any good design text book will also have information. This is just one of several hundred websites I found. Libraries also have a lot of resources.

I am not aware of any fiber artists with this sort of work so this should be interesting.

And one more thing: have fun with this! :)  Don't think too hard about it -- just have FUN!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

La Danse

First, here's the photo that inspired me. I'm not sure it's the best example of negative space, but I was inspired. The source is: or . I left a request for permission, but didn't hear anything either way . . . thanks to them for not quashing my creativity. I found too late that I needed to lighten up the picture very much to get the detail I wanted. But I'm still happy with the result.
And here's my interpretation of the photo. I think I will change his foot, again; then I have to decide how to quilt it. There won't be a border, and her skirt will go off the edge. And looking at the picture, I expect I'll cut the other three sides close. It's hand appliqued, though not super-fine. The hat is wool with ink, sleeves are black Radiance, his leg is discharged (unsuccessfully) cotton sateen, her arms are hand-dyed and inked, and her skirt is velvet/een. Oh, her hair is a cotton quilt fabric that I was thrilled to find in my stash. Size is presently 24" x 25".
Thanks for looking, and comments are most welcome! - Lisa of DippyDyes

Monday, October 07, 2013

Whirling Star and Tree

20" diameter

Many years ago, I created the mandala shown here, with three whirls in black on a white background, and a solid five pointed star which wasn't really there, but implied in the missing parts of the three whirls.  So for this challenge, I decided instead to have a background picture, with a similar whirl pattern.

Making it was harder than I expected.  I first laid out the tree, a rather simple one, on a piece of white fabric, then taped together enough paper to make the whirl pattern, cut it out and laid it on top, and it was too big!  I ended up cutting three spirals, and laid a star on top, then cut out the star, and decided to make it with lines instead of solid.  I pinned the paper on my tree and carefully cut the fabric. Once I satin-stitched the pieces down, I felt I had lost too much of the tree, and added lines of stitching across the white.  The star is edge-stitched with gold metallic thread, in part because it didn't seem to come out as well as I expected.

And then, with all that done, I saw that the left arm of the star is over-sized!  It is not completely finished, still needs to be tacked down on the foam core circle, so the circle will be better defined when that is done.  I'd call this a partial success.  Karol, thanks for an interesting challenge.  I welcome any comments.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

My Own Brain

This is my first challenge in about a year.  I decided I had to get back into it.  I've missed doing the challenges.

When I read about negative space I felt like I would have to make my own brain.
I guess I was meant to do it because a friend posted a picture on Flickr of a tree and it's reflection with the limbs  of the tree itself and the reflection coming together in a point making perfect arrow heads.  He gave me permission to use it as my inspiration.

I machine embroidered the tree and satin stitched the branches.

I made it into  a notebook cover.


Friday, October 04, 2013

Still Life with Apples

Still Life with Apples 14" x 24"

This piece came to life in a round about way.  Though I try to draw something in my sketchbook every day (try is the operative word here) I had forgotten about the negative space exercises we did in drawing class so the challenge really peaked my interest.  First I tried the chair exercise we did in class a couple of times and though I was getting better at defining the negative space I decided I really didn't want to do a chair.  Next up were some paper-whites that were in a little vase.  I liked the drawing:

so I created a background to be the negative space but none of the fabrics I auditioned for the paper-white shape looked right.
Later in the week when I was out for a walk I noticed how many apples there are this year even on the old roadside trees.  The red of the apples is so nice with the green leave but then of course many of the apples are red and green in various combinations.  Bingo!  I would do apples and let the background work as the green contrast with the  apples.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

First Freeze

I am back again after the summer hiatus.  We spend those months with our children and grandchildren, so all my time is taken up with making memories to last me through the winter.  That being said, this challenge called to me and I developed several ideas, finally settling on this piece of fiber art.
The base fabric was made with one of my new favorite tools, the Gelli Plate.  I used several different techniques to build up the surface texture including brush strokes, stamps, and tree stencils.  I was very taken with the ghosting which occurred on the right side of the piece.  I also really like the ethereal feel of this piece.  Can you see the bird up in the bare limbs of the tree?  I decided to finish this differently than I usually do by mounting it on a black canvas and adding some old jewelry findings, metallic skeleton leaves, and some decorative trim.  I am really happy with the end results and I am sure that I will be playing with these techniques again.
Thanks for a fun and interesting challenge!