Saturday, March 29, 2014

Perpetual Motion

I had originally thought I would piece this project, but it turned out to be way more complicated than I could I fused it.  I used lots of different fabrics...velvet, metallics, satins.  I couched black cording between all the pieces.  I really love working in grayscale
Thanks for a fun challenge...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Challenge 91: Art in the Gray Scale

Challenge Hostess: Karen Markley

Theme:  Non-representational

Due:  April 5, 2014

Technique:  Piecing - Take the challenge and see if you can piece completely your little quilt. Quilters like Ruth McCormick and Judy Dales have proven that even the most complex design can be pieced.  I know it is easy just to fuse things, but it will give you a nice feeling of accomplishment if you can see each piece together.  However, this is a design challenge and some of us just don't have the time.

Have you ever made a quilt, and when it was finished, you wished you had put some of the colors in different places, that they were brighter or more subdued?  If you had been able to audition your fabrics, or make a mockup first, you might have been able to avoid these disappointments.

The gray scale is the foundation of all color choices. Photographers use it as well as artists.  And not just with black and white photography. If you understand value, you can translate any level of the grey scale to colored fabric.  We’ve all studied black and white photographs and wonder at the pictures that capture our attention:  it’s the contrast between black and white that gives the picture sparkle.  The same is true for the old movies and early television – if they wanted to portray a dull, depressing mood, they chose very narrow parameters.  “Value or tonal contrast creates visual interest or excitement. … A low key painting is one in which the tonal range is narrower.”

If you choose a range of fabrics for a quilt and arrange them on the copy machine, you get a range of grays that tell you if there is going to be enough contrast. 

References and Samples:
Grace Errea teaches a great class on value.   if you go to her website, and click on workshops, she has a nifty chart with the grey scale on the left and all of the colors that correspond with every level - purples, greens, etc.   She also sells a little value tool that is invaluable in choosing your fabrics.  If you look at her quilts, you will see that value is a key element in their success.

Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter, was the creator of non-representational art.  Except for his cubist period, he always used color in his paintings, but started with a white canvas and added bold lines.  A few of his paintings show at least 3 gradations from black to white.
Mondrian's book on Neo-Plasticism became one of the key documents of abstract art.  In it, he detailed his vision of artistic expression in which "plastic" simply referred to the action of forms and colors on the surface of the canvas as a new method for representing modern reality.

Gray Scale and Value Finder - BLICK art materials –

What Gray Scale Means in Painting -- Art Glossary Definition:

Grayscale Art for Sale - Fine Art America:

Grayscale quilts: or 

Even though a lot of the artists of that period used black and white, coupled with primary colors, we can attempt to recreate the abstract while still using a variety of values instead of just bold colors.

And one more thing: have fun with this!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Trillium Grandiflorum

It is almost Spring in Michigan and that can mean only one thing – it's trillium time! Trillium grandiflorum, also known as the great white trillium, are low growing woodland flowers that are one of my favorite signs that Spring has finally decided to grace us with Her presence.

I love traipsing through the woods in search of these rare and delicate little flowers. In creating this piece, I used a photo that I took in 2012 in Columbus, Michigan (St. Clair County) on the eastern side of the state. Set against a mottled, impressionistic background of woodland decay, this delicate little flower offers the promise of more Spring beauty yet to come.

I hope that you enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed finding the trillium inspiration for it. We still have lots of snow here - several feet in many places, but the grass is trying really hard to poke its way through in many others. . .that can only mean that the trillium can't be too far behind. 

14.5" x 17“
Raw-edge fused applique
Hand dyed and commercial cottons, tulle, pencils and paint

Sign me. . .

Anxiously awaiting Spring.

Cheryl Casker

Your comments and critiques are welcome.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring is in the Air

We are experiencing the early signs of Spring with the buds on the trees thickening a little more each day.  Today is overcast with light snow, so Spring isn't quite ready to arrive.  This 12" x 12" piece was made by dyeing white fabric with bleeding tissue paper in blues, greens and purple.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Snow and Crocuses

13½" x 17"

A picture of early spring, I think I have it -- Impressionist style, probably not!  However, I always love the sight of the first crocuses to pop up among the leaf litter from the previous fall.

With this piece, I began the sacrifice of a mattress pad for my backing, and found that the top layer of that pad could be pulled off and made a nice impression of snow on the ground.  All the other pieces are cut from various cotton fabrics, and then I over-painted with some glitter fabric paint.

I would love any comments on this.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


This was a really fun piece to do.  I simply freehand cut all the fabrics, pinned them onto the background layered onto batting and started stitching.  The snow is a sparkle organdy in two colors layered over a blue hand dyed fabric.  All the fabrics are hand dyed except for the organdy.   The larger tree trunks are strips of fabric, but all the rest of the trees, branches and the grasses are all thread painted.  The crocus and leaves were each cut from a single piece of fabric, then enhanced with stitching and Inktense pencils.  

I think this represents the theme and the light and shadow aspect of this challenge.
Here is a close up of the thread much fun to do!
It's been quite awhile since I have participated and this challenge gave me the 'bump start' I needed to get back in the groove...Thank you Cheryl!

As always, your input is appreciated...Cherie