Friday, June 27, 2014

Performing Surgery on "Following the Sun"

If you follow my blog, you know by now that I am not a planner. I know what I want to accomplish with a piece of art work but, I don't always know how to get there before I start. I am learning. After completing, two very large thread paintings, I now know that I must thread paint the image before I attach it to the background.

I worked on both pieces simultaneously so I didn't learn from one before working on the other. The Water Boy, had only one small area that bulged. However, I found early on that I needed to work on the boy's image separately from the background. I added him to the background after both were finished.

   Area before repair
Area after repair                                                                                                                                                                                       
I found this to be a very successful repair and was quite happy with the results. It does not, however, take place of doing it right in the first place. I can attest to the fact that it is heart stopping to cut into a piece you have spent months working on.
The Water Boy
Following the Sun
32" X 38"
Following the Sun is a project for my fiber art group. HiFiber, issued a challenge to it's members to do a piece using monochromatic colors. Since one of my passions is flowers, I decided to follow my muse and make yet, one more sunflower. Because I wanted to step out of my box a little, I decided that after I finished the applique I would heavily thread paint/quilt the piece.
I didn't intend to quilt quite so heavily, but I got carried away. Once you do that, you have to carry the density of quilting through the whole piece.
After I finished quilting the flower, the background was very warped, as was the flower, itself. I knew that quilting the background would help but I knew it won't take care of the majority of warping. At this point I placed it on my design wall and left it for months. 
 We now have a venue, The Art's Center in Clemson, SC, for an exhibit in August. I needed to get this fixed. I finished the background quilting and the center of the flower. I then decided that the only possible way to salvage this was to cut into the petals and cut away some of the bulk.
I chose areas that I felt would make a good place for a repair. In this section the edge of one petal looked like a good place to start. I cut the area with a very sharp E-Acto knife. I then overlay the edges to see how much needs to be cut out. I mark it with chalk and begin to cut away. I did this in steps as I do not want to cut away too much.  I then butt the edges together. On the back of the piece I fuse a piece of fabric that will cover the cut edge. I then come back to the top and thread paint to cover the mended piece.
finished repair.
I have learned a lot from working on these two pieces. I could have made two large floral wall hangings in the time it has taken me to create this one. However, I do find that I learn better by making mistakes and repairing them, than I do by planning ahead. Don't flame me for not planning ahead, I have learned such a good lesson from this project. I do know what to do next time I want to heavily thread painted/quilted a piece.
I hope this information might help the beginner thread painter. Stopping the heart to often can be bad for your health. 
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Story Behind, "It's a Beautiful Day"

It began with this photograph of one hydrangea bloom in my garden. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite shrubs. We have over forty varieties in our garden. Yes, I have a husband who also loves to garden.

I've always enjoyed isolating a blossom and photographing it until I get an image that makes me happy.

I decided to crop the left side of  the photo for my final composition.

I enlarged the photo to the size I wanted my finished image to be and then traced the outline onto a piece of light weight interfacing. I auditioned my fabric and attached Misty Fuse to the back. I then traced the pattern, beginning at the back of the flower and began cutting out the pieces. I work one piece at a time. Some people like to create all their pattern pieces and cut out all their fabric before they begin putting the design together. I like the instant gratification of seeing the design develop. It also gives me an idea that I'm headed in the right direction with color, etc.       
The bloom is beginning develop well. I seem to remember that there were a few places, that I wanted to watch, and decide later if I wanted to change a piece of fabric here or there. 
I've finished the bloom and added a few leaves. I see in this photo the problem I mentioned the paragraph above.  Note the bright turquoise in the above photo just to the left of the bright blue petal. It's missing in this version. It was just a bit to bright. The next stage is to fuse this down but, only after I give it a once over to make sure everything is in the right place. With that done I begin to add paint in areas to give depth of the design.
I use many different types of pigments to create the depth in my flowers. I like watercolor pencils, inks, acrylic paints, anything that works for the effect I want.
I knew when I began this piece that I wanted to use a confetti background. I had used that technique in the two pieces I had just finished and I really liked the effect. I had discovered that I didn't like to add the confetti pieces to the batting. Many quilters who use the confetti technique crate directly on the batting. I wanted to have some fabric showing between the little pieces of fabric. I decided that I would find a piece of fabric similar in color to my background. I then added Misty Fuse to the front of the fabric. he Misty Fuse also helps keep the pieces in place. I placed the fabric on top of the batting and backing. I then began to add the little pieces of fabric. I made a blend of greens, etc. until I had the design I was looking for. I had traced out the design of the bloom so that I didn't place the pieces in that area. Once I am happy with the design I lay a piece of tulle over the confetti and pin the layers together.
"A Beautiful Day"
My friend and fellow art quilter, Gail Sexton and I collaborated on this piece. she crated the beautiful quilting.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

It's Been a Month

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Time is flying. I wish I had a way to slow it down a bit. This past month has been a very busy one. We are remodeling our kitchen which is taking time that I would rather be using in the studio. However, I know I will be happy I spent that time when the kitchen is finished.

I had a bug that kept me down for a while. Don't know what it was but I had NO energy for about three weeks. Fortunately, it disappeared before I left for Wilmington, NC to teach at the NCQS.

Now on to creating. The time I had in May was spent creating class material. No real creating of art but ways to teach. I enjoy teaching, meeting new people, seeing the light bulb go off, and the smile on their face when they have creating something of their own. These photos are from  my Mini Fabricating Nature class.

May is doing a wonderful job on this colorful bird.

This is one of my patterns that I make available for those who just want to learn the process.

A great job is being done on this iris.

If you missed the symposium and are interested in this class, I am teaching Mini Fabricating Nature on July 11, and Fabricating Faces, July 12, 2014 at the Blue Ridge Quilt Festival, Blacksburg, VA. classes are almost full but if you're interested you can sign up at
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