Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tina's Cropped Still Life

This is my cropped still life. I used all commercial fabrics, but to get the shadowing I used neocolor II watercolor crayons. I think it worked great! I also used a zig zag stitch around the edge to catch a brown and green yarn for some interest instead of a traditional binding. Would love comments. tmrey@echoes.net


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Justa Cuppa

The shading and color shifts of the coffee cup were done by fussy cutting a single piece of commercial hand-dyed/tie-dyed looking stuff. The background is a second piece of fabric. I used a fabric collage technique with a layer of purple tulle over it. There are approximately 25+ individual pieces of fabric for the collage and it is quilted along the lines of the cup and saucer. The quilt itself is 5.5x8 and the green backing (not a part of the quilt) and frame are 8.5x11.

Threads and Stuff

I don't know what to say except this was fun. I love these challenges. They make me do things I would never think about or get around to doing otherwise. I took a picture and went from there.

This was fused and machine appliqued and quilted with invisibile thread. The size is 22-3/4" x 12-3/4".

Challenge #5 ~ Cropped Still Life

Challenge # 5 – Friday, 26 January 2007

Challenge # 5 Hostess – Linda Cline

Theme – Cropped Still Life

Design Element – Form (adding the illusion of dimension to flat shapes)

--- Design and complete a small work based on a still life. Subject matter is your choice. You may work very straightforwardly and realistically, or you may interpret your still life in a more abstract manner. Don’t forget to pay attention to form if you choose to work more abstractly.

--- Crop your composition so at least three sides of your still life extend to the border or edge of your quilt. You may count cropping a shadow as one of the sides that have been cropped (shadows are part of your composition).

--- Give attention to light and shadow, so you can make the objects in your still life look dimensional. Shade objects and create cast shadows using whatever method you would like.

Discussion - The following is included for informational purposes only:

You may create a typical still life of fruit or flowers. Or you may create something with less traditional objects. Gather up anything you have lying about. Or “find” a still life (a pile of books, the dishes in your cupboard, abandoned flower pots. . .). Objects depicted in quilts are often very flat looking. This challenge will help us put the illusion of dimension into our quilts. I'm sure we will come up with a wonderful variety of ways to accomplish this. You could construct each object from multiple shades of a similar color fabric. Or you could cut each object from one fabric, and use paint or other surface design technique to shade your objects. Don’t forget cast shadows. They will “ground” your objects so they don’t appear to float. Make your shadows as interesting as the rest of your composition.

Cropping our still lifes will force us to think about the best placement of objects in our quilt. I like what Pamela Allen expressed about cropping in her November 1st email to this group: “. . . exactly what I urge students to do instead of trying to confine the image inside the rectangle. There's life OUTSIDE too and the viewer's eyes go there! . . .” Preliminary sketches or digital photos will let you experiment with various compositions before beginning.

Some suggestions for setting up a still life: http://drawsketch.about.com/cs/howtoindex/ht/still_life.htm

A discussion of cast shadows and form shadows: http://painting.about.com/cs/paintingknowhow/a/shadows.htm

An article about finding form:

More than a few examples of quilt artists who create still lifes, but each artist approaches the subject her own unique way. Take whatever inspiration you want from any of these examples:

Lisabeth Gutierrez:
Lisabeth outlines objects in her quilts with dark fabric. I’m sure I have read somewhere that outlining things will make them appear flat. But Lisabeth seems to have outlines and dimension at the same time.

Terry Grant:
http://andsewitgoes.blogspot.com/ (blog)
http://the-portfolio.blogspot.com/ (portfolio)
Terry is another artist who uses outlines with success. She has a tutorial on her blog that shows how she uses colored pencil to add dimension to her shapes. http://andsewitgoes.blogspot.com/2006/04/my-fusing-method.html

Ellen Lindner:
Ellen has still lifes in her “Pictorial” gallery. Be sure to look at how she made her apple quilt on this page http://www.adventurequilts.com/making_of_apple_still_life.htm.

Velda Newman:
Now these quilts are really “HUGE” but the same look could translate well small also. She has shown detail shots in her thumbnails that are wonderful compositions in themselves, and are good examples of cropping. But her designs go all the way to the edge even on the large quilts.

Alice Beasley
These look good enough to eat.

Barbara Barrick McKie
Silk painting and disperse dyed polyester.

Dominie Nash
Much looser style than the other examples, but just as wonderful. Some are very abstract.

Due - Saturday, Noon EST, 3 February 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Party Field at Bag End

This was taken from photos that I took when we went to the filming site for the Hobbitton scenes in the Fellowship of the Ring in Matamata, New Zealand last March. The large tree, seen from a helicopter, was the reason for Peter Jackson to select this area for the site. When filming was over, the crew began to dismantle the hobbit holes and the rest of the set, but a deluge of rain prevented that, and the owner realized what a wonderful tourist site this would be! This tree is different from the tree that is actually there, which is also different from Tolkien's description in the book, but it feels right to me!

The fabric for the grass, sky and pond are color variants of the same pattern, although that is not obvious in this picture. The fabric for the foliage in the front was actually made and purchased in New Zealand. I bleached the black cloth for the window leading to a dark mottled brown.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

No Possibility

Size: 10 1/4" x 7 3/4"

Inspiration: "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day." The first line to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Artist's Statement: I originally posted this without my statement, but I do think one is needed. I chose the line because due to undiagnosed health issues, there are days I can not walk. (The doctors are running all kinds of tests to figure out why though) My quilt represents many things to me...

Spirals- dizzy spells
Cloud like shapes- confusion
The orbs- floaters in my vision
The stick- a cane which I may have to use one day
The blue orb- the light I see before I have seizures
The railing is what I must hold on to to walk a lot of days

So this quilt is abstract, but is symbolic of my health struggles.

Thank you for all the comments on my quilt thus far! It is wonderful to get feedback from other fiber artist so that I may grow as an artist as well.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Green Sea

This is a reference book titled "Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman's Path" by David Freidel, Linda Schele, & Joy Parker. The 1st line reads, "The plains of Yaxuna in northern Yukatan are usually covered with a green sea of waving maize plants and waist-high grasses in the month of July."
It measures 9 x11-1/2, & is constructed with commercial cottons. The background & 2 of the borders were machine pieced diamonds from a bolt end with many different degrees of pattern & color & lack thereof. All of the greens are fused & zig-zagged. I added 2 different dark borders, one to contrast, & the other to ground the piece. The Shaman figure was also fused & raw edge appliqued. I found the placement looked best in the lower left & appears to be looking out at the vast expanse of the plains. It was first machine quilted in a diamond grid with clear nylon, & then over quilted in gentle waves in variegated green to create the motion of the sea of green crops. I did enjoy this challenge, & was grateful to use a book that I had not read before, so it would not influence the outcome of the piece itself. Now to read it, & see what I could have done differently. I still think it's missing a little something.


The first line in James Reese horror book the book of shadows is: I vividly remember my mothers blood. I was hooked after reading that line and read all 468 pages in one weekend. would love critique. No, it is not embellished. Didnt need it, or at least it didnt ask for any.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The desert was cruel and hard and dry

My quilt is titled "The desert was cruel and hard and dry...."
the sentence continues "...and these were the people of the desert."
It's from Jews: The Story of the People by Howard Fast, a marvelous chronicle of Jews, their impact on our world and the start of Christianity. It's not a religious book, but a fascinating story.
Of course, my quilt is an abstract interpretation. The background is strip pieced and the shadows of the dunes are made with Shiva paintsticks. I used a photo of the Nevada desert taken by my husband for the idea. The vertical strips are the people, black to show them as in our past. The quilting includes stars of David. The red circles are up to your interpretation.
Now I have to admit that this isn't necessarily my favorite book (I read about 5 a week so it is too hard to have a favorite) but this book did have an impact on me. My husband and I listened to an audio version while traveling many years ago and we still recall it from time to time. While not being Jewish, we found the book a great read and feel richer for having read it.


Northern Lights

After much searching for a line to use, I chose the last line from Julian May's "Conqueror's Moon". "Bright shimmering curtains, thrusting lances, and slow explosions of red and green and golden radiance stretched from horizon to horizon, whispering about what they might do next."

This was made using just three commercial fabrics and four threads for quilting. I used Wonder Under to attach the pieces and then quilted them securely down. The picture was satin stitched to the border. The backing was turned to the front and secured with a programmed stitch from my machine. It took a lot longer than I had envisioned because of all the starting and stopping and ending of threads.

But--all was worth it. I really like the piece!! By the way---it is 20" x 20".


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Everybody Has Blue Days

The Blue Day Book
by Bradley Trevor Greive
"Everybody has blue days."

This is a small book that was given to me by my daughter-in-law after my mother died. It has a lot of good thoughts in it! I pulled blue fabrics while wondering how I could express the value/contrast theme and blue days in a quilt.

Then life interrupted. I had to pick up Miz Paws, my kitten who is usually in the middle of my quilting. Instead she was getting "the big snip" to celebrate her coming of age. As I read the post-operative instructions one line sparked the quilt:

"Your cat may hallucinate..."

Everything came together then. I found a perfect cat silhouette in my PrintMaster 16 clip art. My blue stash yielded a great batik that could represent hallucinations. Although they don't show well in the photo, the words "blue" and "days" are quilted throughout the sky. "Everybody has blue days" is quilted on the bottom. Size is 14" x 22".

I'm considering adding some puff paint, beads, glitter, and other embellishments to the hallucinations ... what do you think? Comments are most welcome!

-- Joanna Strohn in Tucson

Friday, January 05, 2007

Stephen King's "IT"

"Paper Boat" 8 1/2" x 11"

The first book that came to my mind when I read the challenge was Stephen King's "IT". I am not sure why since as an avid reader I had many to choose from. Perhaps it was because I am currently reading his latest book.

IT was the very first Stephen King book I read many years ago. I have since read all of his books. My friend Janet introduced me to them when she learned I liked James Herbert books. She said if I liked James Herbert I would love Stephen King - she was right!

The first line of the book reads: "The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight-years - if it ever did end - began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain."

I took a photograph of a sketchbook cover I made earlier usin couched threads and xpandaprint into Paint Shop Pro to use as a background. I changed the colour to blue (it was dusky pink) and added a wave filter to give the water effect. I then added a photograph of the paper boat on a second layer, copied, pasted and flipped it onto a further layer. I added the twirl filter to the flipped image of the paper boat to give the impression of a reflection in the water. Once I was happy with the final image I printed it on to EQ Printables fabric using an Epson R1800. The colour quality of this printer is excellent. It used dyes rather than inks.

I layered the quilt using 505 temporary adhesive. I only use this on small quilts as I find the layers move if I use it on larger quilts. Free machine quilted using Robinson & Anton rayon thread.

The Boxcar Children

This is my first post to the blog and I have been looking around this morning at others entries as well. It's amazing to see the quality difference between the photos on the yahoo site and this one. The quality of the photos here is much better I think. Anyway, this is my submission for the 4th challenge and although I think there is a good deal to be desired in the "value" area, I think the "contrast" aspect is captured with the silhouettes.
The book I chose is an all time favorite from my childhood called The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I purposely used silhouettes in my piece because the illustrator in the book also used silhouettes throughout the book although none showed them in front of a bakery......this is my own design. The first line of the book is, "One warm night four children stood in front of a bakery." (L-R: Violet, Jessie, Benny and Henry).
The bakery window is constructed of pictures of pastries and baked goods taken from the web, printed on fabric and then cut up and fused into a vague suggestion of what might appear in a bakery window. This is then covered in tulle and that is covered with a piece of clear vinyl so as to get a reflection much like you would get in a window.
I sort of missed the "value" aspect of the challenge while concentrating on the contrast aspect. I need to work on value and this challenge shows me just how true that is. I absolutely love these challenges as I learn more each time I do one, not only from my own work, but from the work of all of us together. Thanks in advance for any comments you wish to make on this piece.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake - not a very big one.

The first picture is the first quilt I tried to make totally (or mostly) abstract. Obviously, it didn't work!

The polka dot picture is from the back of the second try, which I'm much happier with. Using real pig shapes and diamonds for the snake, it does what I wanted it to. Contrast is both from color and in the relative sizes of the pigs, the snake, and the cowboy boots. Not much reality, so it must be somewhat abstract.

I've never posted to a blog before, so I'd really like any comments you might have.
Katie Wilson

Marseilles burning in the sun

16 X 20
Painted with Jacquard fabric paints
Free motion thread painting and quilting
Glued to mat board

"Thirty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun one day." From Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.

I found a picture of the Bay of Marseilles painted by Cezanne and used it very loosely as a model to paint this quilt top. I am a beginning fabric painter - took a class on QuiltUniversity.com a couple of months ago. I tried to use a variety of values to bring this scene to life but the photo doesn't pick up the variations very well. I added some thread painting and quilting and then used a glue stick to lightly tack it to a piece of mat board. The edges of the quilt are not finished and I would appreciate any ideas on how to finish the raw edges.

Thanks for any comments.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Eye of a Lady

Book: What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw by Agatha Christie, last line: "And she twinkled at him!" Size of image: 81/2x11, with blue background - 16x20. The quilted eye is attached to the blue background. I haven't decided if I want to quilt the blue background or put this in a frame as is. The eye and rays were cut out and fused to plain muslin then zig-zagged down. The "twinkle" in the eye was added. Then, I quilted this down to the blue background fabric - quilting around the eye, the brow, and then between each ray over the zigzag. I added a little extra batting to the eye so it puffs out a bit - not much. Last, I added the eyelashes which I re-did three times before getting them in the right direction (needed help from my artist husband to figure out which direction they should go!). Value is a hard one for me so I really worked at getting different values of the two colors used. In my preliminary drawing, the change was not as drastic between values and so I wasn't sure how to portray that in fabric. I have not used fusing either in a piece or done much in the way of zig-zag stitching. Also, I haven't used beading before so I just wasn't sure how this piece would end up BUT, I am really pleased with it. I did learn that I shouldn't use black sharpies to mark things when using wonder under! And, that zig-zagging can cover up a lot of "sins". Also, that when you work with a fused piece alot it comes "unfused" easily - maybe that's due to my fusing job? Anyway - critique away!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Morning Prelude

9 x 13, raw edge fused appliqué.

“It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.”
– Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

What happened? This looks nothing like the quilt I had in my mind, except maybe the colors. I had planned on abstracted buildings with a cupola near the top, looking down on the trees and other houses below. I didn’t like how my abstracted rectangle houses looked on the background, and decided to go more abstract. I replaced the cupola with a circle cut from a batik fabric, and used fused scraps and intuition to create the rest.

I read the first chapter again after I created the quilt to help decide on a title. Perhaps this quote from the first chapter (Chapter one is here: http://www.raybradbury.com/books/dandelionwine-hc.html) is more what the quilt is about:

“Douglas, conducting an orchestra, pointed to the eastern sky.
The sun began to rise.”

I usually love dense quilting on the backgrounds of my quilts, but I didn't want to interrupt the smoothness of the background on this quilt.

I used this circle batik to cut a circle for the focal point. It has a completely different effect on the quilt, than it did as part of the fabric. More Southwestern or Native American on the quilt.

The city was still there

The city was still there
18 x 20"

This quilt is based on the last line of Blindness by Jose Saramago (the book won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 and is about the best and worst of people in a situation of horror).

It is constructed using hand dyed & commercial fabrics, cotton & metallic thread. The background is pieced and the "scene" is fused, then heavily quilted. There may be something missing but I don't know what it is...do you? Would appreciate comments!


The Old Man Gazed Into the Heavens

I chose the first line from the book "The Orphan Boy" by Tololwa M. Mollel. It's an African tale but the man depicted is not African. The first line reads: "As he had done every night of his life, the old man gazed deep into the heavens."
I used a photo that was altered in Photoshop. I was fortunate enough to find a black fat quarter in my stash that was covered with faint dark gray stars and used that for the background fabric. I placed a new moon in the sky and added highlights around the old man, moon and tree sillhouette below with Shiva paint sticks. Angelina fibers in the sky added sort of a wispy effect to the sky and moon somewhat resembling the Milky Way. I found tiny gold star-shaped sequins in my bead stash and placed some of them around in the sky, too.Little quilting was done other than over the Angelina fibers and around some of the old man's features.

I felt that this piece needed something yet andalthough no one had mentioned it in their commentsand suggestions I placed a walking stick in the lower left hand corner. I used permanent marker to darken the stick so that it, too, would appear to pick
up the moon's light.