Tag Archives: art quilts

A New Year and a New Quilt

With a due date the beginning of February, I guess it is time to get beyond mental quilting. The Stretching Art theme this year is “Under Scrutiny.” (The Stretching Art challenge is to make an art quilt 18 x 36 on the assigned theme and to try some new technique. The quilts are hung in three or four Mancuso shows in the East, so I’ll probably never see them hanging.) This theme was daunting for quite a while. Last year’s, Dream Big, was much easier for me (Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water here ).

What hindered me was that the theme, asking us to look deeply and drill down, seemed to invite representational art (even though the challenge mentioned abstract ideas) and I prefer abstract design. I didn’t get an idea till Fall came, and gorgeous leaves filled the sidewalks.

So I took a walk, camera in hand. From the photos, I selected this one and cropped and cropped and cropped. Idea one was to replicate the last one, more or less. But before I started sketching, I remembered an ancient start of a tree themed quilt. I’d made four test blocks, one for each season, and gazillions of  one-inch HSTs. The plan had been to make the first four the center of a queen sized medallion quilt, either as four blocks on point or as a square..

I got stumped on the decision of whether to keep the season represented by the center tree for that whole quarter of the quilt or to intermingle the HSTs randomly or to keep seasonal coloration by rows. I set them aside with the fabric the HSTs had been cut from while I thought on the dilemma. And you know all about “out of sight, out of mind.”

Having remembered them, I thought, Why start my scrutiny from the tree when I could start with ecosystem, forest, tree.  Finally I was ready to sketch. Although I did the outline to scale, I’d made the 6-inch tree blocks too small, but the idea seemed a good place to start..

leaf sketch

I’d gotten this far before Thanksgiving, but set it aside again for the holidays.

Today I dug the old tree blocks out from the bottom tub in a four-tub stack and began auditioning fabric.

leaf fabric audition

The leaf “veins” will be much narrower, of course.  And I’m still debating whether to vary the shades of gold in the background or use just one. I’m leaning to the one. I also have to decide whether to make the “veins” straight or slightly curvy as in the sketch. I’m leaning to straight. Curves can come in the quilting. And I’m pondering whether to make templates or do improv piecing. I’ll sleep on it.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

 

 

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Threads of Resistance Links

The Threads of Resistance list of traveling quilts has been posted. (No, Deregulation is not in it.) Here is the link for those who want to “see” the traveling show online.

And a reminder, here is the link for those who want to see all 500+ entries.

And for those lucky enough to live where the show will be and want to see it live, here is a link to the show schedule.

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Quilt Shows, Virtual and Local

One quilt, mine, is in both.

NW2 dereg--NW show

I did decide on “Deregulation” as its name. Since it didn’t seem to limit what others saw in it, it seemed safe to be directive in naming.  I still don’t know if it will travel with Threads of Resistance, but they have posted all 550 entries online (here). The page is subdivided into categories, so viewing is manageable; artists’ statements are on a separate page in each category for those who like to read them.

The guild show divided art quilts into abstract and pictorial, which I think is a good idea. “Jo’s Last Quilt,” from the previous post, was also in this category as was Anton Haas’ Six Times Five.

NW2 Six Times Five Anton Haas

Tony’s statement said he was exploring five-point symmetry. I love the way the long swirls maintain the color pattern in the small swirls.

I got only one photo in the pictorial category:

NW3 Vintage Falls Helene Knott

Vintage Falls, Helene Knott

Those who have been to the Columbia Gorge will recognize Multnomah Falls.

I have a few more photos, but they can wait. I want you to have time to view the Threads of Resistance quilts if you are so inclined.

There will be radio silence while I travel outside of WiFi areas this coming week, so don’t feel neglected if your comments don’t get prompt answers.

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The Threads of Resistance Piece Finished and Entered

I finished this one first –you know the old ploy, do an easy finish first to get your energy going.  And small meant it would finish quickly. It took a while to get a photograph, and in the process I learned how to change the number of pixels. I also learned I could find the number of pixels via iPhoto, and when I did, I barely had enough. So no change was necessary.

Threads-whole-2

21 x 22

You might notice a change from the previous “finished” top. It measured less than the required minimum of 20 inches in each direction. So the partial border on the right side. In some ways it completes the look, so it is an error that helped the design.  Perhaps it also helps the theme by stopping the flight of the last piece of the prohibition sign.

After reading Elizabeth Barton’s post about artist statements, I ponder how much I should say about what I was trying: in her thinking, if it has to be said, I didn’t accomplish it. I’m not sure how I feel about this.  As a viewer, I know I’ve had my interest in a piece expanded by an artist’s statement (both in quilt art and paint art). Maybe that just means I am an unsophisticated viewer.

Caution aside. The Threads of Resistance call was for pieces expressing anger at an action of #45 or sadness about a loss caused by his actions. I chose to express anger at deregulation and all the harm it would do to the environment. (I’m curious–to what extent do you see anger or not?) In addition, when looking at it, I kept seeing hints of the traditional block, Moon over the Mountain. And I thought that too fits if you think of the loss caused by mountain top removal for cheaper, easier mining of coal–a precursor to today’s more intense deregulation. All we have left of some of those mountains is a trace, if that. I did not put the idea there; I saw it there.

Then there are ideas I neither put there nor saw there. As one comment on the finished top suggested: it actually shows freedom. In that case the mood would not be anger but exuberance. (Once again, what feeling does it make you feel, if any?) And I am reminded of grad school discussions of Paradise Lost: Is Satan the hero regardless of Milton’s intent?

And there is the problem of titles. In an abstract piece, do I want to direct/limit  interpretations by the suggestiveness of my titles?  As a viewer, I resent titles like “Untitled” or “Red dots on green squares.” Yet doesn’t anything more specific start to direct the viewer to see in a certain way (or to realize what is missing if the artist failed)? Is an appropriate title “Deregulation” or “In the Eye of the Beholder” or “Red on Blue”? to what extent is a title a limitation? An expansion?

These are not rhetorical questions: I invite discussion.
The quilting:

threads-detail-2

This detail photo captures most of the quilting variation: micro stippling in the inner circle reminiscent of the old atomic bomb shelter symbol’s triangles, miniature prohibition signs tossed around, and then more generic wavy lines and straight lines.  The mottled aqua, not shown here, is quilted with a moderate sized meander.

I recently read that there were 500 entries, and they don’t yet know how many their venues can hold since the list of venues is not complete. So my chances of getting into the show are barely better than to get a quilt into QuiltCon. But as the director of Quilt National said, “Every quilt in the show was entered.”

I’ve seen one other quilt entered, my friend Mary’s at Zippy Quilts. Do have a look at her quite different approach to the theme. I am hoping for a photo gallery on the Artists’ Circle’s Threads of Resistance blog.

I plan to link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar).

Quilt History

“Finished” top

Preliminary sketches made

The call for entries (now concluded)

5/14/17 ETA link to see all the entries

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Threads of Resistance Top

As with most items, the top took about twice as long as I planned for it. But here it is.

Threads of Resistance

~20 x 24

Not much is changed from the sketch.  However, it always amazes me how different a colored design looks than the black and white sketch. I pondered long over using two shades of red for the broken sign, and I’m not sure I made the right decision. There would have been more continuity with all one shade, but I didn’t want bright in the “dirty” bottom. And I wanted bright at the top. So let’s hope the fact of red, if not the shade, is enough continuity.

First I enlarged the design to the size of the quilt, played with the arrangement of the red pieces, then drew lines completing the curves. Next I traced the design onto freezer paper for templates. Before cutting the templates, I carefully labeled each piece with a number and its color, plus I made registration marks so that pieces would end up oriented correctly. (There were a lot of small squarish pieces that would have been easy to mess up.) When doing a design with fewer pieces I don’t make two copies, but this time I knew I’d get confused.

What took the most time was figuring out the order of assembling pieces so I would avoid Y-seams. That done–and written down, I started assembly.  Although I am rather comfortable with curves, I worried that the small pieces that made up some of the curves would distort more than large pieces do. So I didn’t cut the large blue pieces till I saw how the narrow curves fit on the master drawing. Besides ironing the shelf paper onto the fabric, I also pinned because I was worried that much handling would dislodge the templates and i needed the labels until units were recognizable and the registration marks till I got them transferred onto the fabric. Keeping the paper on the pieces worked for the slight curves, but the large ones required stay stitching just outside the seamline, stitching that also was a guide for seaming.

Now to ponder quilting design and thread. Red threads? All or part? Match color of thread and fabric? Hand or machine? Big stitch for accent?  While that is germinating, I’ll turn to the Riley Blake challenge top. And keep thinking titles: Currently thinking Over 350 or Deregulation.

I’ll be linking with Finished or Not Friday and Off the Wall Friday–buttons in the sidebar.

 

 

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Stretching Art and Tradition

Back in January I finished Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water and got it mailed off. Today all the Stretching Art and Tradition quilts are online here and next year’s challenge is here.

Enjoy viewing and consider playing.

Meanwhile, I’ve prewashed my Riley Blake challenge fabric, and I’m plodding away at my Threads of Resistance piece. Templates made, pieces cut, and a few stitched.  But it isn’t photogenic yet. Soon.

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Idea Forming for Threads of Resistance

The Threads of Resistance challenge has been in the back of my mind for a while. I’ve been thinking and sketching and thinking and sketching some more. Actually mostly thinking. I probably should sketch sooner as nothing shows an unformed idea so quickly as trying to put it on paper. Until I actually sketch, I can delude myself that an idea is good.

Because of my interest in the Standing Rock Water Protectors, oil accidents contaminating water sources have been my first consideration.

threads-sketch-1

One of the first tries, oil pouring out of the slash-zero ‘Forbidden’ sign. Meh. Too in-your-face. I tried again, making stripes of blue and black for a background an forgetting the oil falls.

threads-sketch-2

Not much better. Then I got the idea of fragmenting the sign.

threads-sketch-3

Now I feel like I have something to work with. My next design move is to cut the sign full size, cut it in parts, and then move the parts around on a full sized piece of paper. (Minimum size is 20 x 20–not sure what size I am aiming for yet.)

Penciled in dark = black, medium = red, uncolored =blue. The background will most likely be shades and tints of blue; I’m debating on what shade of red (or varied) for the fragmenting ‘Forbidden’ sign; and the dark will be the black for oil.

Then there is the matter of title and the question of how much to depend on it. Ideas so far include “Waters of the United States,” “Deregulation,” and “Foxes Guarding the Hen Houses.”

Come Friday I’ll link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall–button in the sidebar.

 

 

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