Sunday, August 31, 2014

ART QUILT GROUP: Surface Design

art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks. ~Mark Rothko

In volume 8 of Quilting Arts' e-mag, 'In Stitches', there is a fun article, 'A Collaborative Collaboration'.
Essentially six different artists conducted a surface design round robin.  My Art Quilt Group talked about it and four members decided to partake.  
Here are the rules from the original group:
  • Each of us started with a plain white fat quarter.  
  • Each artist added a layer of surface design to each fat quarter, using a variety of techniques.  
  • We limited our techniques to surface design methods, so embellishing, cutting, sewing, and collaging were not permitted. 
  • Surface design covers such a wide array of techniques that there seemed little danger in running out of new things to try. 
  • Dyeing, painting, stamping, printing, discharging- and other techniques- were used by the participating artists.
So for our group, we each needed 4 fat quarters and performed the smae suface treatment on all four pieces.  The next month, these four pieces were given to the next person for them to add another type of surface design.  After four rounds, we each ended up with four different fat quarters.

As the round robin progressed, it became stressful to add an additional surface treatment. We asked ourselves,  "What if after three rounds, I ruin the piece?"  We all agreed that the experimentation was worth the risk.

Here are our results:
Techniques for above piece:
1. Fabric Painting: Setacolor transparent- Ultramarine Blue
2. Resist Dyeing: Flag folded with popsicle stick resist- Dharma's #15Magenta Dye
3.  Fabric Painting: Applied with texture roller- Jacquard Textile Color, #110 violet and #123 white
4. Stamping: Applied with circular daubers- Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow, 822 Sulfur green, Jacquard Textile paint, 123 White, and 568 Pearl

Techniques for above piece:
1. Hand-dyed with Dye Magnet: Dharma #61 Ice Blue
2. Over-dyed with flour paste resist: Procion Mx #086 Forest Green
3.  Printed:Printed with cut leaf shapes from plastic plates
4. Sponge print: Olive green acrylic

Techniques for above piece:
1. Hand-dyed: Navy Procion, double strength
2.  Paint: Yellow acrylic paint
3.  Foil: red foil with steam-a-sem
4. Discharge: Bleach pen on back side 

Techniques for above piece:
1. Hand-dyed: Procion, 072 Medium Blue and 192 Lilac
2.  Printed with Bubble-wrap: Mix of Luminiere Pearl White and Dye-Na-Flow Violet.  Applied with a brayer
3.  Stencil: Freezer paper stencils (used 16 times!)
4. Rubbings: Paintstiks rubbed over a rubber-stamp

We enjoyed this round robin so much we are talking about starting another one next month!  Until then, the challenge is to see who uses one of their fat quarters first!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

DESIGN: What a Summer! & Kantha Vest

Art is the only way to run away
without leaving home ~Twyla Tharp
My poor blog!  It has become so neglected this summer, but it has been an unexpectedly busy summer revolving around my dear family.

First, my niece that lives in Phoenix acquired Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome which is a serious disorder that occurs when the body's defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms. My niece is paralyzed from the chest down with very limited use of her arms.  My sister (my niece's mom) and I have traveled to Phoenix four times this summer. We leave again tomorrow to move my niece and her two children to Michigan.  Here is a photo of my great niece and great nephew- they have stolen my heart this summer!
The second thing that took some time was helping my other sister with her wedding business; she decorates wedding and reception venues.  Obviously, this has been a busy time of the year, so I have been lending a helping hand.  Here are some photos of what they do:

Here is their Etsy store that has lots of their printed paper products and here is their Facebook page with LOTS more photos.

I have always been very close to my two sisters, this summer has made us even closer!

Now back to my quote at the beginning, Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.  This week I am running away to India; I love Kantha! Kantha is a type of embroidery popular in eastern South Asia, especially Bangladesh and the Indian. Kantha stitching is also used to make simple quilts  Kantha comprises of the simplest stitch in the language of embroidery - the running stitch.  

Here is my Kantha board on Pinterest. For a long, long time, I have wanted to make a piece of clothing with Kantha stitching. With all the hours on airplanes this summer, it was the perfect time to embroider.

I pieced the vest sections together using a combination of Kaffe Fassett fabric and some of my own hand-dyes. For the quilting layers, I did not use batting, I wanted a thinner sandwich, so I used flannel instead.
My dilemma was how to make sure that my stitching lines were straight and evenly apart.  I considered marking tools, but felt this would be tough because most marking tools wear off as you work the piece AND I really could not mark the sections on a plane.  I finally decided that I would baste the lines in place; it worked like a charm!  I could easily remove the basting thread as I began stitching a row, in fact, there were needle holes left from the basting making it easy to space the stitches.

Here my vest! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

CHALLENGE: Abstraction

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” -Oscar Wilde

My 12x12 group had the challenge theme- 'Abstraction'.  I really struggle with creating abstract art and this piece was a struggle throughout. I never quite got into it or as the quote says above- it never became 'dangerous'.  I completed the exercise, but still am not happy with the finished piece, even considered disposing of it.
 An interesting struggle was when I  begun hand embroidering circles haphazardly on the top but it looked AWFUL!  I had marked the circles on the fabric with a Pilot Frixion pen (draw with the pen, iron it and it disappears); I love these pens but when you iron it, it takes a little color with it.  To make lemonade out of my lemons, I made circles ALL OVER the piece, ironed it and made it a design element!

I am hoping my next one is more inspiring!