Sunday, February 23, 2014

CHALLENGE: Crayola Challenge

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
                                                           ~Claude Monet

Last week I talked about the results of Art Quilt Group and the our Crayon Challenge for February (challenge colors were dandelion, raw sienna, and tumbleweed). You can read more about our Crayon Challenge here.

My personal art goal for 2014 is to experiment with as many techniques as possible; whether is it something new or just delving in deeper. So let's talk about what I created for the February challenge.  Here is my final piece:

There were two techniques that I was focusing on:

  1. The rolled fabric
  2. Incorporating sand into my art
First, the rolled fabric.  I bought the most beautiful and inspiring book called "Stitch and Structure: Design and Technique in Two- and Three-Dimensional Textiles" by Jean Draper.  Here is the cover:
So I thought this would be a great challenge to try to use the 'rolls'.  The problem is that I looked at the pictures, but really didn't read the directions.  I made my rolls from rolling fabric; once rolled, they were fairly stiff and somewhat tough to manipulate.  If I were to do this again, I would use something much softer and more pliable when rolled (ie: felted wool, pre-felts, etc).  Or a better idea, read the book!

The second experimentation was all about sand...yes, sand. I experimented by silk-screening heavy gel medium onto fabric and sprinkling sand on it.  Once it was set, I sprayed it with a clear spray.  Here are some experiments... 

The first one has a dot pattern made with the sand.
 This one has three loose triangles.
This last one is a mini quilt that I made to experiment; a grid pattern was used with yellow sand.

On my finished piece, I made the brown sand circles separately and adhered them at the end.  To use this sand method, it truly is the last thing that you will do to the art-piece. Obviously, you do not want to have sand anywhere near your sewing machine.  I do not think this will become one of my favorite techniques, but it is good to keep in my box of possibilities.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

ART QUILT GROUP: Life is Like a Box of Crayons....Part II

Color is an intense experience on its own.
                                                                        ~Jim Hodges

Last month I talked about my Art Quilt Group and the our Crayon Challenge for 2014. You can read more about our Crayon Challenge here.

Our February challenge colors were dandelion, raw sienna, and tumbleweed as shown below:  

When we met this past week to show what we made using these three colors, I believe the entire group would agree with the quote at the beginning of this blog was a very intense experience!  I do not believe these colors would have been a color palette anyone in the group would have used voluntarily; thus making this a true challenge!  When we began to share, there were many comments about deserts and dead plants, but each of us had a piece that we are proud of.  

Below are the challenge pieces from the group. 

Here is my piece:

I will talk more about this piece next week, but it is a combination of rolled fabric, machine quilting, hand embroidery, Heishi beads, washers, and sand.  Yes, sand.  I will tell you more about the sand next week.

June's work is below. This is a lovely piece with some wonderful beading in the middle.

Ann's piece is a pyramid with bubbles rising to the top.  Ann is working on a quilt series using circles.

Jackie interpreted the colors as rocks with marsh marigolds.

Diane O. purchased this squiggly template at our guild show in the fall.  It was supposed to be an easy template to work with, but ending being a headache.  In the end, she placed the squiggly cut fabric down and did a raw-edge applique.

Diane S. has decided that her pieces will have a bird theme (last month her piece was called "Crime Scene").  This month she has a roadrunner.  The tree was made using Texture Magic.  If you are unfamiliar with Texture Magic, you can find out more here.

Jenny did circle appliques trimmed with hand embroidery.

Mary was inspired by the Southwest. She felt that the piece needed the black to balance the colors.

Carolyn did two. First, she did a snowy scene in the woods with beech leaves, oak leaves, and crocus.  We are allowed to used black and white with our crayon challenges.  Though she loved this piece, she felt she may have taken the black and white a bit too far so she did a second challenge (I actually thought she was genius with her strategy).

Then Carolyn's second.  She discharges the fabrics by hand.

Jackie revisited the January Challenge and crested these two pieces:

 and the second...

We ended the night by picking March's colors.
Red Orange

Sunday, February 2, 2014

CHALLENGE: Threads.Infusion Challlenge

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.  
                                                                                                                    ~Thomas Merton

I love e-magazines!  I can read them on my iPad, make notes on articles, delete articles that I am done reading and star those I want to revisit.  I feel so much more efficient!

One of my favorite e-magazines is threads.In-fusion from the Threads Studio in Perth, Australia. The owner of Threads Studio, Dale Rollerson (with her husband, Ian), has taught me so many things.  She really has stretched the way I create art (in addition to some of the most wonderful art quilting supplies anywhere!).  Her relatively new magazine is packed full of new techniques to try (my favorite pastime!). In her latest issue, she posed a challenge for readers: Hand Stitchy Challenge - Stitching With Attitude - Stitching Strategies.  If you wanted to take part in the challenge she would randomly draw an embroidery stitch and style out of two bowls.  Here are my words that she drew:
       Your two words (actually three...) are
          a stitch  lock stitch
          a style  square
          a how  irregular

She also offered to put together a packet of fabric and threads for threads.  I decided to purchase one of these packets, but in between ordering and its arrival, we had a blizzard! Some schools were closed the entire week and we went two days without mail (so much for the "rain, snow, shine, we will deliver") Here is a view of our decks with all of the snow:

Being buried inside, I decided to complete the challenge before my goody bag arrived.  I was not sure what a lock stitch was and finally found it in the Internet.  Here is a pic of it:
 I found it easier to draw on the fabric where is wanted the stitches and then basted it on a piece of muslin in order to hoop it.
I started with my piece with two of my hand-dyed fabric and stamped them using Lois Ericson's stamps.  This stamp was used on the background:
And I use Lois' 'Grass' stamp on the accent pieces.  The stamped fabric is below:

I quilted the background, then made big silk ribbon 'X's' on the background (thanks to my friend, Karen, who gave me this wonderful stash of embroidery ribbon. I layered my squares of lock stitches on the piece, a bit of an embroidered border and POOF, I was done. Again, here is my piece: 

 Close-up of the accent pieces:
 Close-up of the beaded border:
That leaves me two things:
  1. If you remember from the beginning of this post, it said that my squares should be 'irregular'...hmmmm....obviously, I am not good at the 'irregular'. I'll make this a future goal!
  2. Finally, the snow cleared, and our dear mail-person, Shirley, delivered three days of mail in one day.  Actually if you asked Shirley, it was more than one day; I saw her in our neighborhood around 5:30 pm and she usually delivers to us a 1:00 pm. I hope she made it home that night!  That day in the mail was my goody bag from Australia.  When I opened the bag, it put a whole new perspective on what I could have done. Here is the contents of what Dale selected for me:

See what I mean!  Now I have supplies for something fabulous in the future!