Category Archives: design

Political Art, Abstract Art

Sometimes a blog post is a way to place a marker for articles I want to refer back to later. This is one of those.

People who have read this blog for a while know of my interest in abstract design. A short look back for new followers: This was my first attempt (ignoring the fact that most traditional quilts are abstract).

finished quilt

24 x 30

It started with a photograph of my street.  (Its history, reverse order, starts here.)

Then there was “Hole in the Safety Net,” which started as mere shapes and evolved into concept.

feb cla draft 2

And was helped by title to make a statement beyond what mere shapes could say. Its history is here along with a link to the finished product.

Enough background. On to the articles.

The first responds to an exhibit of abstract works of 12 black female artists and tells of their struggle to be recognized in a white male art world, a world where even black art critics considered abstract art to be white art. “Women of Color Find Their Rightful Place in the History of American Abstraction.

The second does two things. It places black artists firmly in both abstract and political (racial in this context) camps and makes a profound statement about race: “How to Embed a Shout: A New Generation of Black Artists Contends with Racism.”

And the statement: “Adrienne Edwards, curator at Performa, the Walker Art Center, and a scholar who has written a good deal about Pendleton’s work, professes: ‘Blackness is the original abstraction; people are living abstractions, meaning [they are] made up, conjured.’ Yes. I have to agree. For others, this sign of dark skin might symbolize anything and its opposite: strength, weakness, triumph, and debacle, membership or exile. The racial imaginary conditions all of us raised under its auspices to project onto black people one’s fears or desires, so that it becomes difficult to be seen as a human being rather than a space for projection. Lowery Stokes Sims, a curator and former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, adds the historical fact: ‘If you take the track that abstraction came out of African art, then we are just claiming our birthright.’

“Blackness is the original abstraction”: think on that . . .

And yes, I remember that I promised to do the whiteness syllabus (here); it is still on the back burner where my subconscious can work on it while I finish up a few other projects.

 

 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under design, social issues

Thread Color on Welcome “Blanket”

Six blocks are quilted using an Angela Walters approach (so it is taking longer than an all-over design would.) I’d considered all-over paisley, then thought this was a great time to try custom quilting a slightly different design on each block.

As I usually do, I started in the center.

40 center q

Most quilting designs here are Angela Walters inspired. The center is from her first Shape by Shape book. (I don’t remember how she named the nesting squares.) Yep, I know the center isn’t square–I stitched the square then did the design.  I’d decided that the nesting square would be in each block as a unifying feature. The pear print prompted paisley after outlining them. This block was done with thread that matched the brown background.

The edge blocks are quilted with light beige thread, Aurofil 50 weight. Another of Angela’s ideas is that a single color of 50-weight thread will sink in and not show contrast much.  It speeds things up by eliminating thread changes. So I tried it.

My first thought, while quilting, was that it doesn’t hide well enough.

40 red close q

The center here begins to show how bold the thread looks up close (though in real life it is much more of a contrast). I began to think Angela had misled me, or maybe I had more contrast than she had intended. Then I saw it from a distance.

40 quilted stars

And the thread was much less visible. I think when the quilt is washed the thread will be even less visible.

For unity, I decided not to use too many different motifs. So I limited myself to spiral, pebble, and paisley at first. Those didn’t quite fit the background of the star to the right, so I did a  modified feather with pebbles at the one edge.  And I added ribbon candy to some of the wider log cabin like strips that don’t show here.

I tried to do as few stops and starts as possible so combined outlining he points with moving into the background, something I couldn’t have done had I been changing colors of thread.

Here’s a look at the two blocks with similar brown fabric.

40 two browns close q

The lighter thread does a pretty good job of disappearing.

Three blocks and binding yet to do and a welcome letter to write. Luckily the due date has been extended to November 7.

First post about this quilt with information about the Welcome Blanket project here.

You can view the project’s progress at the Twitter site and (if you live near Chicago) find days to go and knit or sew at the Smart Museum installation of welcome blankets. https://twitter.com/WelcomeBlanket

9 Comments

Filed under design, quilting

Many Peoples’ Scraps and a New Leader-Ender Project

I brought home one kit that I put together from the pieces remaining at the end of the recent Sunshine Retreat.  And I’ve been itching to see what it will produce. So I laid the pieces out and did my usual rearranging thing and ended up with this:

Omaha arrangement

These squares and rectangles came from the offerings of many Sunshine members who started cutting their scraps as soon as the block pattern was announced. While selecting, I’d decided on a floral theme. First I pulled all the BIG floral squares. There were not 24–it was near the end and the piles had been picked over many times.  So I added medium size and then small. Finally I added the monochrome green and I had my 24. After selecting the big squares, it was just a case of finding colors that would work for the other parts.

I debated between making blocks and then arranging or arranging from parts since I could. I chose the latter, the better to switch colors of the big square around without ending up with with smaller pieces where I didn’t want them.

Having decided on this arrangement, I’ve now gathered the squares by row and labeled them so that when I am ready to sew, I can just start sewing. No more planning and re-plannng. No forgetting what I had in mind should significant time pass.

On another note, Leader-Ender projects.  I’ve had only short ones lately, relatively without a project goal. Just assembling parts that await future inspiration. But Deanna of Wedding-Dress Blue has come to the rescue with Irish Stars. Maybe you’ll want to play too.

I’ll try to remember to link with other scrap projects, one (Oh Scrap!) is in the sidebar. The other, Scrap Happy deserves that you check it monthly on the 15th.

6 Comments

Filed under design, quilting

Bias Project–Green Added

I left off here, wanting to shop for yellows and to add green.

I bought seven tints of yellow. Even if I don’t do the checkerboard on this piece, I have another yellow start that needs pieced borders. A project for the future. So I added dark green and laid the blocks out on the new fabric.

bias-plain centr

It helped that I trimmed the tails of bias. I’m not going to consider the checkerboard anymore as I am liking this. But one more try.

bias print centr

How about a cornerstone of the yellow print fabric? I think I like it.

One more thing. In the interest of variation, I’d moved the wider red from bottom to middle to top, but I don’t like it in the top position in the upper right block. Easy enough to fix; I had a piece of left over dark green, just the right size.

bias more green added

It was a tight fit, but it did two things. Even though I wanted variety, having the top of each quarter circle green adds a nice symmetry. And nods to difference by being a different shade of green. It also adds some curve where the wide red had ended up too straight.

You can barely tell that the width of the two greens is 1/8 inch different. In the future I don’t think I’ll work with such small differences.  The 1/4-inch bias is easy to sew, but I had a bit of problem pressing. One side wanted to flatten instead of fold. I noticed that there was wiggle room, the bias maker being wider than double the finished width. Luckily I’d not cut but one piece. I cut the next one 3/8 inch instead of  1/2 inch. And it worked like a charm.

Now I’ll set this project aside till I’ve prewashed the new yellow fabrics and get back to the Welcome Blanket project (the one time I am willing to call a “quilt” a “blanket”).

3 Comments

Filed under design, quilting

Four Blocks in the Bias Project

I thought I’d be finished with the blocks at this point.

four bias 1

But now I am thinking the dark green is rather stranded. And some of the spaced between the center lines seem too wide. So maybe some dark green stripes?

i think I’ll try 1/4 inch bias. (Most in the design are 3/8; the wide strip is 3/4.) I’ll try a very small piece so that there isn’t much to rip out if it is too hard to work with.

The 3/8 surprised me by handling much easier than the 3/4-inch. I also bought a 2-inch bias maker, but don’t know what I’ll use it for. When I figure it out, I’ll be ready.

Also, I am rethinking the yellow checkerboard sashing. It sounded good in the abstract, but looking at this, I now think it would be distracting.

Has it ended up “modern” or “primitive”?

Early posts, in case you missed them, are here and here.

Tomorrow I’ll link with Move it Forward Monday (button in sidebar).

3 Comments

Filed under design, quilting, Uncategorized

Bias Control, a Sketch, and a Block

The second block is almost completed.

bias block 2

18 x 18

It needs one more row of green, but I still have to make the green bias.

I had planned to finish two blocks, but making the long strips of bias took longer than I expected. (Something always seems to take longer than expected.) But now it is under control.

bias made

While cutting, I thought it seemed like plenty, but I may run out of the narrow and have to cut the wider down. We’ll see. Now my excuse for working on a new project is gone–I no longer have to prevent tangles. Oh well, I’m working on it anyway.

I made a sketch for the next three blocks. The first block was made in class, detail here.

bias sketch

I wanted swirls and loops on each edge and stripes in each center corner. However, I didn’t want any exact duplication. It seemed I should sketch with the whole in mind rather than make four separate blocks and hope they looked good together.

One thing I like about Latifah’s bias quilts is that she didn’t fill every swirl. I think my first instinct would have been to fill them all.  I tried to get that effect by having lines intersect, but also wanted some loops that are empty. They will appear in blocks 3 and 4.

ETA: Ironically, Latifah’s gallery that I linked shows quilts where all loops are filled; however, in class she showed several that were not. Maybe someday they will get to her gallery.

Here are blocks 1 and 2 almost in position.

bias 2 blocks

They will have 3-6 inches between them in the finish. I couldn’t step back any farther to get them both in the photo so moved them closer just for the shot.

Maybe the blocks will be finished by the end of the week. I’ll need to dig in my stash and probably shop (oh darn!) for some yellows for the sashing.

Linking with Moving it Forward Monday.

5 Comments

Filed under design, quilting, Uncategorized

40 X 40 Welcome Blanket Project

The people who brought us the Pussyhat Project have now brought us the Welcome Blanket Project . They ask, What if we welcome instead of exclude? What if instead of a concrete wall 2000 miles long we offer a yarn line 2000 miles long, a line of welcome blankets?

Blankets can be knitted, crocheted, woven or–drum roll–quilted.

I decided to get out my F2F (FootSquare Freestyle) blocks since 9 of the 12 1/2-inch blocks with a small border would make the required 40 x 40 size. This being the first quilt I’ll have made from the total (well, minus one really as I have one of my own 3 yet to make) I have a full range to choose from.

Arranging sampler blocks, various patterned blocks, requires a balancing act. Will I balance blocks by color? by saturation? by shapes? by value?

I started out with my eye on color. I create balance mostly diagonally in a square construction, but I pay some attention to horizontal and vertical.

40-1

Although it doesn’t show in the photo, the middle-column blocks each have green in them, the brights make a cross, and the browns finish the corners.

Not quite working. The upper right is too light. So I started to work with value, keeping the color arrangement.

40-2

Better. Now one diagonal is brown and the other brown with a touch of bright. Nice. But the white background of the lower-right block draws attention as out of place. And the upper right square piece didn’t complement the lower left checkerboard. So I switched the top and bottom of the right column.

40-3

Somewhat improved, but there was still that white background problem, now in the upper right.

And then it dawns on me. The color arrangement isn’t cut in stone. It too is a variable. And there are lots of star blocks.

40-4

This time, paying more attention to shape created the final arrangement. I’ll sew the top tomorrow, then quilt it as soon as I can.

The final due date for quilted/knitted/crocheted/woven blankets is September 5, 2017.  However, the Installation at the Smart Museum of Art of the University of Chicago will open in July with an empty room and change as they receive blankets. So the sooner the better.  When the Installation closes, the quilts will be distributed to various refugee resettlement groups.

Are you interested in making one?

Essential information (more detail on the  website– https://www.welcomeblanket.org/ )

The blanket itself: 40 inches by 40 inches. (If they find more sizes can be used, this will be updated on the FAQ on the website.) Preferably washable fibers

Include a note of welcome and introduction. There are suggestions on the FAQ. Without the suggestions, I’d not have thought of including my own immigration background.

Mail them to Smart Museum of Art, WELCOME BLANKET, 5550 S Greenwood Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60637, USA

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under design, quilting