Archive for the ‘Drawing’ Category

Taiga, taiga, burning bright…

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

During the spring snowstorms here on the Palmer Divide, I read about life in Siberia.    I found a drawing by Ivan Zelenin from 1679 of a monastery built as a group of small log cabins.  This drawing has tremendous power, even after all these years.   I am making a series of quilts using the drawing.  Log cabins are an American patchwork quilting design, using elements of light and dark colors.

These quilts will venture off the grid into the fabulous perspective of the Zelenin drawing.  The photo captures a small part of the Russian Log Cabin quilt, with my oldest cupola-shaped pincushion in the foreground.

Inside the white lines

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Fish Cube quilt

Silk painting uses a resist line to prevent the spread of the paint.  When the resist is removed, a white line remains around each area of color.  The white lines are a record of the way the painting was done.   Block printing can also produce a white line.  American printmaker Blanche Lazell used white lines for both abstract and pictorial prints (From Paris to Provincetown–Blanche Lazell and the Color Woodcut by Barbara Stern Shapiro, 2002, MFA Publications.)
The white line is something reserved by the process.  It is related to the preservation of white areas in watercolor.  In the Lazell seascape and landscape woodcuts, it adds a light and airy element to the work.  For quilting on silk, it creates a similar watercolor feeling.  Silk is a very luminous fabric, so the white lines organize perceived light in the work.  This method is visible in photo of the Fish Cube quilt.
For a free-motion quilter, the lines become a drawing that invites a clear or white thread to give texture to the work.  As in woodcuts, the quilt is a harmony of shapes. The lines are more fluid than seams, providing the quilter with the ability to create shapes that would be difficult with patchwork.
I have recently discovered a way to convert the lines and textures of pyrography into a white line on wood.  After the design is burned and color is applied, I rub a white liming wax into the texture.  The opaque wax fills the incised lines and eliminates the heavy burn marks of the pyrography.  The photo shows a detail of a platter made of ash.

detail from turtle platter

Back to the Ice Age

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Rhinos Now 8"x8" silk painting

The intense heat this summer has inspired me to go inside and work on cave paintings.   I kept the original drawings that I made for a cave painting quilt,   ‘13,000 B.C.’     That quilt was included in the 2005 Quilts and Fine Woodworking Show at the Colorado Springs Pioneers’ Museum that year.   I will have a series of small silk paintings and quilts with some of those reworked drawings for the Studio Tour in September.

Similar images are also finding their way onto bowls made of maple burl.   They are not as frosty as the silk paintings, but the prehistoric images are very strong in any medium.

Go to the Studio Tour tab (above)  for a link to the Tour artists, dates, and maps to the studios.

The Power Line

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Flying above the earth, I see a rumpled quilt of colors, shape, and lines.  Throwing a stone in a pond, I create concentric lines around a center point.  I take out my hiking map, and find contour lines create a 2D record of shapes.   These experiences become useful again when it is time to add lines of quilt stitching.

Traditional Hawaiian quilting uses outline stitching around flower and animal motifs.  It adds a kind of vibration to the surface.

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Looking at Google Earth is something like viewing a huge quilt covering the earth.  From about 25,000 feet, the Midwest shows that it was divided before it was settled.  Sometimes the contour lines cross over the survey lines that divide one field from another.  This small quilt is a study of crop circles in Western Kansas.

Some of this quilting is on cotton T-shirt fabric, which has a very sculptural quality.  The closely-set quilt lines have become a texture, instead of a drawing.

Trees-Wood-Fiber

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Liggett-Vascularities-detail This detail from a quilt I made in 2008 began as a sketch of five tall cylinders turned by Richard Raffan.  The cylinders were turned from green wood, so they moved and twisted as they dried.  I have enjoyed arranging them as an ensemble, and then drawing the results.  One of my favorite drawings became the silk painting at the core of this quilt.

Silk paints can be contained within a wax line which outlines the vesssels in this painting.  They also flow and mix freely, which I have used in the background of this painting to represent the color and light of the forest.  When it was time to quilt the background area, I chose outlines of tree trunks with cut-off limbs.

The red interior of the vessels is the color that Richard Raffan used inside the cylinders.  It seems to be a necessary color, both in the cylinders themselves, and in the painting.  Without the red accents, the purples, greens, and blues would be less emphatic.

drawing upon children’s drawings

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

We have a lot of theories about how folk art happens.  Working with children’s drawings is one way to investigate the actual way that human beings shape our vision with the work of our hands.  In the day that I spent with the girls at Sewing Camp (earlier post), I discovered that Josephine was already able to formulate stuffed animals that were simple, fat, and easy to make.  She already had a sense of stuffed-animal-ness and how to re-create it.

Holly is younger, and has not quite formulated the key features of a stuffed animal.  Her drawings included the dancing cow, which was quite challenging to transform into a 3D figure, and the charming bat pictured here.  The overlay is tracing paper that I used to flesh out the bat to a shape that was easier to sew.  I also had to recognize that all of the points of the feathers would be tricky to turn, so I chose to top-stitch the front to the back.  As the flannel unravels, it adds to the feathery appearance of the points.  

The key challenge is to keep the child’s vision by matching it to construction techniques that allow asymmetrical shapes, unexpected features, and the opportunity for the child to change or add elements as the project evolves. 

the overlay keeps the style of the drawing

the overlay keeps the style of the drawing

  Holly drew the features only after we had assembled the bat, adding elements that did not appear in the original drawing:

 Holly drew the features after we sewed the bat

Spring Break Sewing Camp

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Three girls between 10 and 12–a full day and two sleep-overs–an ironing board, sewing machine, and boxes of scraps = sewing camp here at Ridgeway Studios.   We started out with drawings of animals.  I always enjoy quilting on my drawings, so it seemed logical to start the girls with their own designs.   For the first round of projects, I traced the drawings onto fabric of their choice, sewed it to a backing, pillow-case style.  The girls turned them right-side out, and stuffed the forms.  They chose button eyes and used fabric paints for beaks, hooves, and other features.  They used simple embroidery with black pearl cotton for the horse’s main, and for highlighting the little square patches they put on several of the animals. As we developed more animals with a lot of points, I began to stitch the front and back together on the right sides.  Before long, I found all three of them sewing on the machine with this construction style.    On their own initiative, they also began to try some of the fancy stitches available on the Bernina.  After we completed nine different animals, they began to make sleeping bags and pillows for them, as well as clothes for two horses and a small elephant.

Photo:  The Dancing Cow  10″ talldancing-cow1

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Ridgeway Studios

Monday, February 25th, 2008

In 1971, I spent the summer in the USSR, improving my Russian language skills.  Since that time, the Cold War has ended, but the cupolas of the Russian churches are still standing, and folks still like to grind pepper at the table.  I made this 7″ tall pepper mill after watching Nick Cook turn one at the Desert Woodturning Roundup in February 2009.  The architectural drawing is derived from the way Russian icon painters depicted space without perspective.   My drawing teachers told me that I lack good depth perception, so this is my kind of ornament.  

Pepper Mill

Pepper Mill