Archive for the ‘Fiber’ Category

A Quilter’s method of sketching

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

I use these small quilts as a kind of sketching, before I consider using a technique or pattern on a bigger piece.  Sometimes these little quilts are perfect for customers who have small spaces, or no experience of quilts as art.

This one is a texture study using a fabric-printing block for the tulips, stencils with a gold dye crayon, the ‘7 beauties’ quilt pattern of interlocking circles (for the frame), and a plaid binding.  Quite a lot, really, for a 13″ square.

I also fit the small quilts with corners on the back to hold a piece of illustration board for hanging.  They require just one picture hook, screw, or nail, so there is no wrassling with a gallery-type sleeve, monofilament, or special hanging rod.

New tools for the New Year

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

…a new commercial stencil (lower left) used on silk with Montana spray paint, Chroma-craft brushed on a blue background, and pentel dye sticks over a rosy dyed silk charmeuse.

I’m looking for overall patterns to use with more quilts in the Interstellar series.

Fragments and sparkles

Monday, April 18th, 2016

I spent quite a long time developing this quilt from my photos in Yellowstone last October.

It comes from a close-up of water in the Grand Prismatic Pool.  I worked with Photoshop  filters to discover more design in the patterns.  One of the iterations created a kind of plaid effect, and all of the photoshop filters found a tremendous range of color in what appeared on the surface as golden sparkles on a brown background.

Those exercises led me to consider making shiny fabrics–the hand-painted silks in the ‘windows’ of the cathedral windows quilt blocks.  I kept the notion of the plaids, as well, because a softer weave works really well for all of the hand-stitched parts of building a cathedral windows quilt.   The silk squares were top-stitched by machine to give extra loft.  There were 49 original plaid squares, and it took 91 buttons to fasten the quilt to a backing fabric so that the loose weave will hang well.   28″ square

A rose by any other name is just a quilt

Monday, April 18th, 2016

I thought the hand-painted silks in the center would combine best with gray, but the green and red worked out much better.

This traditional quilt block is striking enough to stand alone as a boudoir pillow. 14″ square.

A little Inca obsession

Monday, April 18th, 2016

I just read Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s history of the Inca, as well as some material on Inca textiles.  This civilization is perhaps the most alien of any ruling class in human history.  They were so weird that I also wrote a story about their quipu (knotted strings) as a binary version of an alphabet.

This Inca thing has possessed me for several years.  The quilt ‘El Dorado’ is made from two oil paintings from 2004, cut up and re-combined here with a more textile context, including the very necessary Inca fringe.  Paintings, after all, are just surface decoration on canvas.    I also made a much bigger quilt of Inca blocks in the 04/05 years, and I have used the outline of the blocks for a medley of Zentangle® designs.    There will probably be more iterations yet…

Starting with a drawing…

Friday, April 8th, 2016

This series of 3 quilts started with a drawing of four peppermills on the table.  The shapes were similar, but varied in proportions, and I liked the way that the overlapping shapes created perspective without the pesky business of making a realistic 3D rendering.   I chose a color scheme that I rarely use, leaning toward adjacent colors (red and violet) with limited value range.

The background is heavily quilted because there is a lot of it, and the handpainted fabric is quilted with only a few hand embroidery stitches.  This lavender/red fabric was made in a ‘scroll’ that I learned from Linda Colsh in 2015.

When I had arranged all of the shapes, I cut away the background fabric in as big a piece as I could manage.  This scrap became a ‘gift’ for the composition of the next quilt.  I was careful to save lots of scraps with this project in order to incorporate them into the next quilt.  It felt like a very traditional way of working, to value all the leftovers.  The challenging part was to find a way to also value the shapes of the scraps.

First Gift/second in a series

Friday, April 8th, 2016

After piecing together the 4 Classic Shapes quilt, I had two large scraps cut from the background–the flowery shapes on the right and the left, as well as some left-over handpainted pink/purple fabric.

The scraps were long, but thinner than the original quilt, so this design is taller and skinnier, almost like minarets on the horizon.  The hand-painted fabric is in the foreground, with no quilting.  It is quite a bit stiffer than the other fabrics, and the patterns are very subtle, so quilting would obscure the complexity of the fabric.  The brighter fabric is a new addition, which follows on to the next quilt as a kind of gift of its own.

Another quilter at the Alegre Retreat (’04 or ’05) told me about the way that scraps could be used as Gifts to built a series of quilts.  I believe that she was in a class with Michael James.

Second Gift/Third in Series

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Casbah Dream is a tribute to the drawings and paintings that Matisse did of Moroccan subjects.

The Gifts that generated this quilt are the two black domes (cut from the background of Minarets) , and the many small scraps for the clamshell parts.  I added green and some blue to this color scheme.  The Casbah gate in Tangier has been drawn and painted by many artists.

The clamshells have a nice evocative shape that could be architectural, or possibly even botanical.

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New silk-painting process

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Many of my silk quilts started with a drawing in a resist, so that the shapes within the painting could be flooded with silk paints.  This winter, I was looking for a more abstract way to paint silks.   The Gelli plate and some water-soluble crayons provided a faster way to generate colorful silks with the potential for Zentangle® designs and other patterns.  Once the fabrics were ‘built,’ I cut them up to make a very traditional quilt block.

I seem to like the contrast between the busy hand-painted or marbled fabrics and more typical quilting cotton prints. 

More Colors like Rio Mio

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

I’ve been working with marbled acrylic paints for almost a year.   It is quite a challenge to mix the ‘jello’ thick enough to hold vivid acrylic colors.  Traditionally, the paints are thinned out so they float better, which gives the more pastel colors more typically seen in traditional marbled patterns.

I’m learning to draw scrolls, so working with the many loops in marbled paint feels like a very free adaptation of scroll design.   These blocks provide many paths for free-motion machine quilting.  Once again, they show to best advantage when placed among traditional quilting fabrics in small patterns (calicoes) and solid colors.

In addition to fabric hexagons, I used the marbled acrylics on our 2015 Christmas ornaments.  The 3D marbling is even more unpredictable!