Thursday, June 22, 2017

Painted & Stitched Fabric Collage

In Libby's class we also made a fabric collage.  Like the journal cover, this was built on a canvas background with fabrics and vintage textiles added for texture, and stitched with black thread.  This is Libby's sample (apologies for the poor picture).
The flowers and leaves are thread sketched with black thread on white-on-white fabric, then painted, and appliqued to the background.
Libby demonstrated her technique for painting the fabric after thread sketching.
Sue stitched out her flowers and leaves/stems, then painted them and cut them out.

Here's her background before adding the flowers; all the pieces were stitched down during class.
The flowers and stems were pinned down, with a place holder for the vase to get an idea of the final look.
After fiddling some more at home, here's how it evolved. The pot is made from some hand dyed/thermofax printed fabrics.  The screens used were circles and crackle which can be found in the Etsy shop.
Is it finished?  Maybe, maybe not.  Adding some background stitching is a possibility.

This was a great class, I really felt like an artist while creating these projects!  Thanks Libby!
And because I forgot to include it in yesterday's post, here's a shot of Sue, Paula and Denise with some of our class work.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Collage Journal Cover

We started out Libby's Paint & Stitch class by painting papers, as shown in yesterday's post.  Then Libby demonstrated how she uses the painted papers to create a collage on the front of a journal cover.  (The one below is a sample collage, not an actual journal cover.  Wish I had taken more pictures of her journals!)
The papers are applied with matte medium and allowed to dry.  Then free motion stitching is added with black thread to give definition and add detail.
 A layer of felt underneath the canvas fabric adds stability and depth.
Libby adds thread sketching on the back as well as inside cover and signature on the inside back.  The top and bottom edges are "scribble" stitched to hold the layers together.
Above is Sue's collage before stitching.
And after stitching.  A standard composition book fits inside.  I wish I had taken more pictures of the process, but I was having so much fun creating, I didn't think about it!  I was also surprised how quickly this project came together.  Totally freeing, embracing imperfection!  Thanks, Libby!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Paint & Stitch Magic

Over the past weekend, Sue had great fun in a 2-day class at Artistic Artifacts with Libby Williamson of Blue Denim Design.  Libby is from California and has a unique approach to art quilting, which combines painted paper collage, free motion thread sketching, machine applique and painting on cloth.  We created 2 different projects using related but different techniques.
We started with getting messy by painting some papers to use in the collage work.  Libby uses deli paper as a mainstay of her painted papers, but also recommends maps, book pages, sheet music, etc. She even gave us some Monopoly money to paint! 
Paint can be applied with a brush or fingers (or both) and stamps and other objects can be used to add additional color and pattern.
Here is Sue's friend Paula getting messy!  We also worked with gelatin plates to create papers and fabric prints.
Here are some of Sue's painted papers, some of which you may spot later in her collage.
This is one of Libby's collage samples.  The background is a heavy canvas that is fringed on the edges.  The colored pieces are all painted papers that are applied with matte medium.  Details are added with free motion stitching in black thread.
Here's the piece Libby did in class to demo the collage process.  Notice the 3 segments that make up the house are the Monopoly money.

We did so much in the 2 days, that I decided to break the post up into 3 parts, so be sure to check back for more.  Libby is a fun, relaxed, and generous teacher and I highly recommend her classes.  Here is a link to her blog.  Libby will be teaching at Craft Napa in January 2018, so if you are contemplating attending this 4 day retreat, check out Libby's classes.  (Sue and Paula attended Craft Napa this year.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wedding Signature Quilt

Another UFO got finished in May - this one is a wedding signature/memory quilt made for Sue's niece, so it has been in the works for a year, and became a 1st anniversary gift.  Meghan and Tim decided not to have a guest book at their wedding, so the quilt, in essence, became their guest book.  Sue made the blocks in advance so that guests could write their messages on them at the reception.  More than just signatures, guests included their well wishes for the couple's future. 
The project started by choosing the fabrics for a rail fence pattern, which required light, medium and dark fabrics.  Because Meghan wanted neutrals, and not the darker values Sue originally selected, the values are more light, medium and darker medium.  The plan was for a scrappy quilt, and most of the fabrics are batiks.
Combinations of the light-medium-dark strips were sewn together, cut into 6.5 inch blocks, and backed with freezer paper to provide some support for writing on them. 
The blocks were assembled in groups of 4 with the darkest strips coming together at the center of each block.
Getting the top done was the easy part, the challenge was determining how to quilt it.  Sue finally settled on creating a heart design for each of the 12" blocks and drew a template on Golden Threads tissue paper.  After drawing the design once, she used the unthreaded sewing machine to transfer the design to the other sheets of paper.  That part was harder than the actual quilting, because electronic machines don't like to sew without thread and keep stopping!
Here's a view of the quilting design from the back where it's easier to see. 
The border design was found in a book and also traced onto the tissue for stitching.
Here's a close-up that shows the block and border quilting.
And here's the happy couple with their finished quilt!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tackling the UFO Pile

Sue has spent the last  couple of months finishing some UFOs - of course having some deadlines helped.  One of those UFOs she calls Primary Improv - it is a modern improvisational quilt that she finished to submit for the "Heritage Redefined" exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum.  This exhibit of modern quilts in Virginia is being curated by Susan Emory.  Results of the jurying are expected to be announced next week.  The exhibit will be on display from September 5 to December 16.

Sue's quilt got it's start last year in a class on improvisational piecing with Rayna Gilman, author of Create Your Own Free Form Quilts.
We started out making building block units, taking strips and sewing them together randomly, inserting strips into more solid blocks, and just "playing".  No measuring required, uneven shapes and sizes are better, as well as curved or "wonky" piecing.  Repetition of colors and fabrics is important to unify the blocks. 
This is the piece Sue ended up with at the end of the day.  When she decided to finish this to submit to the exhibit, her first thought was adding to the outside to make it bigger.  But after attending a lecture by Cindy Grisdela, another improv quilter, she decided it needed some solid or almost solid insertions to provide more places for the eye to rest - there's a lot going on here!
This is how it looked after opening the center seam, inserting a new section, and adding some borders.  The next challenge was quilting.
With so much piecing in the main body of the quilt, it seemed best to keep the quilting here simple (diagonal lines) and save the fancier stuff for the more solid areas.  Using a variegated thread (King Tut by Superior) shows off the free-motion quilting.
Above is the finished quilt.  You can click on it for a larger view and a better look at the quilting.  We'll post an update next week with the results of the jurying.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Moon River

Oops, I lied - or perhaps misspoke is a better choice of words.  On Facebook, I termed our Saturday post of Elizabeth's favorite FMTTM quilts as the final installment.  However, I forgot that I hadn't mentioned my Moon River quilt.  I did post about it and the process early in 2016 after the exhibit was juried, but I don't think it hurts to share it again, especially for any viewers new to our blog since then. 

The process of making Moon River was challenging.  There were a few trial and error elements to this quilt that evolved over time.  Starting with the moon, I had a shibori resist piece done with large circles, so I used one of those circles, which were light blue surrounded by indigo, and printed with silver paint on half a head of cabbage to give it texture.
In the first incarnation, I kept the indigo surrounding the moon as part of the sky, but wasn't happy with the sky so ended up cutting the moon out and making it a fusible applique on top of the reworked sky.

The river was the other important part of this piece and I had purchased several batiks that I thought would work, but as I auditioned them and went through my stash, this piece of pole wrapped shibori jumped out as being the right one.  Both the shibori pieces were created at "quilt camp" in New Hampshire in the summer of 2015. 
Back to the moon.  It needed more shine than just the paint, so I fused some Angelina fibers together, then fused them on top of the moon to give it a glow.  The sky was redone with wavy piecing and embellished with fibers.  (The first go round used raw edge strips that were straight; it needed the wavy edges instead.)
The trees were cut from a batik, fused on to the dark green background, and then stitched.  Those in the path of the moonlight were stitched with "shimmer" thread for extra sparkle.
In the bottom left corner of the quilt is a rock made from a hand dyed fabric and thermofax printed with a crackle screen.  Next to the rock is the silhouette of a boy, contemplating the river and where it might be going.  The song lyrics by Johnny Mercer are reminiscent of his youth in the southern US and his longing to expand his horizons, so that is my tribute to the lyricist.
Also in the corner is a QR code which, when scanned with a QR reader on a smart phone, links to a YouTube video of the Andy Williams version of Moon River.

I'm pleased with the end result, though it was a bit of a struggle to get there!
Here's the link to Susanne's gallery page that includes the artist statement.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Elizbeth's FMTTM Fvorites

Since Sue shared her favorite Moon quilts, it's only fair to highlight Elizabeth's as well.  Interesting that there wasn't a lot of overlap in our choices.
Snow Moon is by Ginnie Hebert of Puyallup, Washington.  Snow Moon refers to the February full moon, and is inspired by Native American lore.
Parkes Telescope - Australia is by Susan Auden Wood of Croydon South, Victoria, Australia.  The Parkes site was used to broadcast the pictures of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Connected By the Moon by Susanne M. Jones of Potomac Falls, VA.  This quilt depicts Susanne's grandparents who were separated during WWI, he in France, she is Alabama.  They had agree to both look at the moon at a particular time each night, thus their connection by the moon.
Moon Dancer by Catherine Etter of Powhatan, VA.  Her quilt is based on the quote of VA Alison – "She blows kisses to the one who danced through her dreams and leaves a trail of moondust on her heart."  Catherine depicts a couple dancing from the moon to the stars, leaving a trail of moondust.
Stuart Roosa: Space Seeds is another quilt by Susanne Jones of Potomac Falls, VA.  Roosa took 500 seeds of various trees along with him into space; they traveled around the moon 34 times.  Most of the seeds germinated.  Called Moon Trees, they were observed for several years before being given away in 1975-76. 
Forward Motion is by Kate Colleran of Centennial, Colorado.  Kate's quilt is a tribute to astronaut Jack Swigert, a fellow Coloradoan.  He faced obstacles and disappointments throughout his life but kept moving forward.
Bad Moon Rising is by Scarlett Rose of Anderson, CA.  This quilt is a tribute to the popular Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

We hope you've enjoyed this virtual quilt show and encourage you to take a closer look at all the quilts on Susanne's website.  If you are near any of the venues where the quilts will be exhibited, it is well worth your time to see them in person.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Portrait Quilts in Fly Me to the Moon

One of Susanne's requirements in quilt topic selection for this project was to have quilts related to all the Apollo missions and astronauts.  Elizabeth was amazed by the number of quilts depicting people and impressed to see all the human faces and figures created in fiber. 
Alan Shepard, by Margaret Williams of Tucker, GA.  Shepard was the first American in space.
Dr. Mitchell and Friends by Phyllis Cullen of Ninole, HI.  Edgar Mitchell served on the Apollo 14 mission.  He drew attention years after his space experience by stating  that "aliens prevented nuclear war on earth", hence the "friends" in the background.
Godspeed! July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 Liftoff is by Denise Currier of Mesa, AZ and includes President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mrs. Johnson in the crowd.
Roger Chaffee OBM (Of Blessed Memory) is also by Phyllis Cullen of Ninole, HI.  His Apollo 1 mission failed when a fire destroyed the module and took the lives of the 3 astronauts.
Ed White is by Margaret Williams of Tucker, GA.  He was the first American to walk in space in 1965.  Enlarge this to look more closely at the fabrics used in the space suit.
Captain James Arthur "Jim" Lovell, Jr.  was created by Ellen Icochea of Alexandria, VA, and Jayne Gaskins of Reston, VA.  Ellen began the project by creating Jim Lovell's face.  When she became ill, Jayne Gaskins stepped in to complete the quilt.  Great team work!
Tom and Alexei Share a Tube of Vodka by Luana Rubin of Boulder, CO, celebrates the friendship of Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov.  They were commanders of the Apollo-Soyuz Test project.  Here Luana imagines a moment where a tube of space food is covered with a label from a vodka bottle.
1968 Honored Men is by Etta Stewart of Randallstown, MD.  Apollo 8 astronauts Lovell, Borman and Anders were honored by Time Magazine as "men of the year" for making it to the moon and back.

Do click on these photos to see a larger view, and/or go to Susanne's website gallery for a closer look at these remarkable portrait quilts.