I’ve Been Away – 3

December 3rd, 2022

In between reconnecting with our family members and the wonderful ‘memory making moments’ we had together, there was time for a bit of sight seeing, re-visiting favourite places and some in-person fabric and thrift shop shopping. During the last 3 years here I’ve been working without the addition of any new fabrics to my stash, a good thing, really, because it encouraged me to use what was around me. In that scary early Covid pandemic time, given our ages it really was safer to not go shopping unless absolutely essential, and fabric shopping is rarely a matter of life and death.

Certainly the shutting down of distracting social activity outside the home gave extra time to experiment, and much encouragement to to do so from (see TextileArtist.org) that I joined when it began in 2020… I have always been open to experiment, trying something out to just see what results. In that time, too, how I use fabric has changed a fair bit. for example, I have done almost no freehand piecing. I’ve found myself using different kinds of fabrics I need to achieve my vision, some of which clearly resulted from some impulsive whim purchases the intention for which I had long forgotten, but in the last few years I’ve come to regard glittery fabric as an essential part of my stash. In experimenting with hand stitched raw edged appliqued fabrics since late 2019, I found the exciting potential of using sheers (silk and polyester organzas) and also loved the several small portions of pearlescent sheers I had….

Strips of glitter and sheer fabrics sewn down with metallic threads
The glitter of gold, silver, pearlescent and iridescent fabrics is something that photography rarely captures well.

As the allure of these fabrics is hard for an amateur like myself to capture on film, it naturally required several in-person shop visits to come up with this infusion of new glitter pieces into my stash. In addition to least 20m of mostly plain black, cream and another dark browny-grey neutral, and 6 or 7 fat 1/4s batiks, I found and bought one-yard pieces of several silk organzas that will fit in with what I already have.

New threads included some neon and some additional gold plus heavy duty neutrals.

Of course I always scoop up some new needles and threads, plus in this visit a few interesting notions that will come up later. One ‘notion’ or new piece of equipment, I invested in which will make hand stitching much easier, is a sit-upon embroidery hoop holder. I have one inaccessible in storage in Australia, but am tired of not having one here! In effect, it enables both hands to stitch and therefore use a bigger hoop or frame as one hand isn’t involved holding the frame or hoop; it will enable me to speed up a bit ­čÖé and I’ll write a post on notions sometime soon.

I’ve Been Away – 2

December 2nd, 2022

At last, after all the unpacking and washing that always has to be done at the end of a trip, and several urgent banking and other life-managing things to be done that couldn’t wait, it was a bit tantalising to unpack things like the large quantity of scraps and snippets I was gifted by a fellow textile artist :

Some of the gifted wonderful scraps of hand dyed and screen printed fabrics.
I love hand stitched raw edge applique…
Method testing of scrap strips – machine piecing, bonding web and hand stitch.

In 2019, I used this technique of over sewing of raw edges strips for a small work “Bush Colours” http://www.alisonschwabe.com/weblog/?p=5818 . It’s always bothered me a little that those strips didn’t stay entirely flat but sort of rose up in the middle, and I’ve since realised that although I love the raw edges and don’t want to ditch them, by using a little Misty Fuse or similar bonding web along just the middle on the back of the strip, the fabric will stay flat when it’s been stitched over. I use a hoop of frame to avoid the fabric being pulled sight, as I have a tendency to pull the stitching a little tight.

L- fabric backed with fusible web before cutting and ironing into place R – fabric without fusible backing produced very pronounced frayed edge

I’ve Been Away – 1

November 29th, 2022

No, not behind bars ­čÖé but travelling in the US for the last month on a long awaited reunion with our offsprings there in New Jersey, Maryland and Missouri. In that time had very little access to a computer, and found that using just my phone, my Instagram account @schwabealison was perfect for frequent posts recording what I was seeing and enjoying between and as part of wonderful family visit moments.

In Forked River and wherever we went in that coastal part of NJ, the Fall colours were glorious, and many of the restaurants we visited for seafood were close to or overlooking the water. We enjoyed a couple of good traditional diners, too.

Two scientists field tripping…

Everywhere we went, the Halloween decorations were impressive –

I also did a little solo jaunt down to Atlanta GA to spend a couple of nights with Stitch Club friend, beader and stitcher, Barbara Rucket. She and her husband Alan were very hospitable, and on the full day I was there Barbara took me me to a design museum, and to a wonderful fabric shop, like an Aladdin’s cave. We also each managed to buy a pair of shoes from the shop right next door to where we had lunch! Barbara has a lovely studio workroom and we had a lovely show and tell session, naturally. There are signs of her creativity all around the home, and I photographed several things that really took my attention:

Beaded dragonfly ornament, by Barbara Rucket, approx 6″
An original needlepoint by Barbara Rucket, approx 16in framed.
Framed needlepoint stitched by Barbara Rucket, approx. 16″.
Mixed media, Lucinda Carlstrom, approx. 30″ framed

These two divine artworks behind glass (hence the reflections) grabbed my attention, and no wonder -they’re composed of primal shapes, plus glitter and wandering threads. The prominent Atlanta artist Lucinda Carlstrom who I looked up online, has a clear connection to traditional patchwork and quilting. I think the patchwork effect of the main cream area is machine pieced fine high silk fibre paper which she began discovering in Japan nearly 40 years ago. Her website is worth a read – we apparently met at Quilt National 2009, and I do remember her beautiful quilt. The basic square shapes, a square within a square, the red and metallic shininess…

Mixed media, Lucinda Carlstrom, approx. 30″ framed

Quilt National 23 Acceptance !

October 10th, 2022

Good news last week – one of my pieces, “Abstract Landscape Textures” has been chosen for next year’s Quilt National. That biennial always opens in The Dairy Barn, Athens OH, on the last weekend in May, which is USA’s Memorial Day holiday weekend. I don’t know yet if I will be there myself, but the quilt is almost on its way up there, because in a few weeks’ time Mike and I are going up to visit the families, and I’ll ship it across to OH from Kansas City.

Abstract Landscape Textures, 2021, 95cm h 190cm w, 36″ x 75″ Quilt National 2023
Abstract Landscape Textures, 2021, detail. Hand stitched raw edge qpplique, hand quilted.

The applied fabric shapes are of a slightly metallic gold looking nylon organza, hand stitched with a soft gold polyester metallic thread.

I didn’t write a whole post on this, but mentioned it once or twice as I worked on it – http://www.alisonschwabe.com/weblog/?p=6260 I began work on it in late 2020, but work was suspended for a while late in early 2021 because I just couldn’t settle on what to put in the top 2/3 section; and perhaps I needed a bit of a break, as it was very stitch intensive. I kept putting it aside during that time while I made several smaller works, including “Sunburnt Country”, and my SAQA auction quilt for that year, so by the time I picked this piece up again, I had decided what to do, but it was already more than half way through 2021. But even then, it moved along slowly because I was by then absorbed in the 100 day project, and finally finished it off right at the end of last year, 2021. I don’t recall ever taking so long to sign off on a work!

The Annual SAQA Benefit Auction Starts Soon!

August 31st, 2022

I always make a 12″ square work to donate to this annual online auction which raises funds to help fund the education and exhibition programs for SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates, www.saqa.com

Everyone is welcome to bid in the auction – you do NOT have to be a SAQA member.

This year the auction opens with Diamond Day when any/every quilt is available for $1,000; the first bidder wins. The rest of this reverse-price auction is divided into three sections with a new section open each Monday.

My work, Green Mosaic, is in the first group of 144 quilts, and as several people have declared they really want this one, I in turn really hope it it’s already been sold before Monday, 12th!

Green Mosaic, 12″ square, 2022.

To see all 432 of this year’s works on offer, and how to bid, and FAQs, go to https://events.handbid.com/auctions/2022-saqa-benefit-auction/items

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