Archive for the ‘leather’ Category

Meandering With Leather and Stitch …

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Using the barge cement I brought back from the USA with me I have found the hold of the leather onto the fabric is just so much better – I still may do a few holding stitches in some places but the hold is good – thanks Katy K for that tip. Checking one of the other glues I already have here I discovered I had not been applying it properly – like rubber cement you need to apply it to each surface, wait a little, and press the surfaces together. Katy then recommended laying into it with a rubber mallet, and so that’s what I have been doing – it works. Barge cement at least is supposed to strengthen with a little more time, and I am assured it will remain supple, so rolling it or further working it should not be difficult because of the glue hardening.
OK – so now, here are the beginnings of a new piece I am now working on, and the first of several more things I have in mind to be inspired by some work I did about 20 years ago – see “Sleepless in Perth WA” blogged in april this year, see archive for that month. I am still in love with this metallic gold leather, of which the leather man had a bit more on his stall last sunday. The background fabric looks black – I really tried with the fill lighting but what worked on the one seemed to effect to other at the same time – the pics were taken at different times of the day, different lighting etc, so this is the best I could do – but its a really nice medium grey with just a touch of greenish hue, rather like hail-laden clouds about to burst. As for a name for this 1.5m x 075m wall quilt, I have no idea, but something will come to mind while I am making it. The blocks, seen more clearly as outlined with gold machine quilting, are about 10cm sq.

On the quiltart list a week or so back someone asked how to deal with older work – she was clearing up her cupboards and work area, finding lots of much older work some of which she’d forgotten about, and taking inventory, all that. I think she has now been persuaded that her current collectors would be a bit upset if she sold stuff off cheaply just because it is old. Cutting up and recycling bits into new works, rather like an artist sometimes paints over an old canvas, never seems to be an option to m, but I do know some who have done it. I also think it is a good idea to go back and revisit your work occasionally – and pieces look quite different in the flesh than on slides. I certainly have a slide record of my first solo exhibition in 1987. All the pieces were carefully photographed against a blonde brick wall!!! which I now know to be a total no-no, but I had little idea then other than I needed to keep a record of what I had done. However, the sharp details and excellent colour are superb – the photographer’s day job out in that isoloated Western Australian country/mining town was staff photographer for the largest mining company out there – no doubt his work was excellent for company records, reports and promotional material – he’d just never done any textile/needlework pics before. I still have several of the stitched works exhibited at that time, and they occasionally they see the light of day. For various reasons, it often rather surprises me to see what I did back then.

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My quilt at Quilt National 07

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Greetings from Greeley, CO, where this is the first chance after a rather hectic few days in Athens and subsequent travelling and family visiting that I have some computer time on an unfamiliar computer – takes 3x as long to do anything!
Here I am in front of “Timetracks 1”, my third QN appearance, to add to those in 1993, 1995; it’s been a while although I have entered every time. The opening was very crowded of course, and this was taken the following morning at the special viewing opportunity for exhibitors and SAQA participants, many of which overlapped. The quilt itself is on black cotton fabric, and the segments in the blocks are of applied leather, held on by stitches sewn from behind, partly because bonding and a leather adhesive I had did not hold for long. At QN07 I met someone who helpfully suggested a suitable adhesive would be barge cement, and I will be taking some back down south with me to try. I will post results of those experiments.

It was great to see many people I knew, and meet some very interesting new ones there at at the SAQA conference over the several days, and it was particularly great to have present two of my closest textile friends from Perth Western Australia, Cherry Johnston , and Wendy Lugg, who took this pic.

Over all there were some very interesting pieces in the show, the usual few that I felt should not have been included – but we’ve all felt that way over large juried exhibitions, haven’t we. The quilt you can just see in the background was a work among several shown to us on slide night by Kathy Weaver from her Robo Sapiens series, a very clever and witty comment on the modern world. I really enjoyed her work. There were so many others to marvel at – but right now I am heading off for the day with DDaughter here in CO, and still mentally sorting and sifting my impressions from a crowded few days, and that will be compounded by what the SDA conference in Kansas City holds, to which I head out tomorrow evening. There will be even more food for thought and will write some more later.

On Second Thoughts …

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Sometimes some of the best ideas, tackled with confidence, get to a stage where that confidence sags, uncertainty about what to do next creeps in…. and so it did, before last christmas, with this one.

I was all gung-ho up to and including several lines of quilting in the grid arrangement that so appeals to me. For some reason I assumed this composition, (a downward push or an upward surge if turned up the other way) would look just fine superimposed on and sort of interrupting the grid – but it didn’t look as good to my real eyes as it was going to in my mind’s eye.

Whether the grid wasn’t the right scale for the action trendlines, I am not sure, but anyway I rolled it up and put it away, and started another piece. In December we had visitors, and long summer holidays; but my recent return to serious work prompted me to pull it out again. Another thing was that my gallery guy, Yamandu, said he’d like to see some more horizontal pieces …. Seeing as how I had gone off this one, I did think of chopping it down… that worked marvels with another smaller piece, so why not this?

So a week ago, out it came, and I realised I was loathe to trim it down, after all. Then I pull ed out the first few lines of quilting I’d done in the grid, sprayed the fabric with a fine mist of water and pinned it up on my design board to dry – this was to restore the pristine appearance of the fabric.

Over the next few days I walked past it many times, and at last I was reminded of what it was about the composition I’d wanted to convey and had lost sight of. Suddenly yesterday it came to me, and in just an hour last evening I sat down and began some free motion machine quilting. Now I feel it is going well , and know that soon I will reach a point where any more will be overdoing it. After that, any quilting still necessary for technical/constructional purposes that seems to be outside the thrust zone, so to speak, could well be done in black, and therefore be less visible.

So, while I decide just how much more to do, and where, this piece is currently back on the wall, and I am thinking of it as “Timetracks 4” Today on one of the discussion lists I read, there is an item about someone’s crisis of confidence mid- creation, so I am posting this as an example of how I deal with something that is bothering me – I put it away for a while. Someone else said she runs a warm fragrant bath and looks at it while soaking, but that sounds a bit too intense for me, as I’d have some expectation of needing to work it out before the water gets too cold….

I have another ‘currently bundled away’ and I feel pretty certain I will throw it out soon – of course, I will salvage the basting safety pins, the batting and backing pieces before chucking the rest. Leaving a true UFO sitting around can be very inhibiting, I have found, and once in a blue moon I just have to admit one is going nowhere, and ditch it. Just as in any room in the house I dither aimlessly if the rubbish bin or waste paper basket is overflowing

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New Work, and talking of leather

Monday, February 19th, 2007

New work is proceeding well, and I am finding that I can actually work on three (related) things at once.

The background is a commercial print containing touches of turquoise green and very dark purple/brown along with a whole range of tan shades deep and light.

I’m machine quilting this one, although I know hand stitch looks great with leather, I am interested in trying some other effects, and so doing so on this small piece, 1.25 m x 0.3m At first I though I would do an allover group of circles like pebbles (I first used this way back in 1994 in “Hannan’s Reward” and really haven’t much since) It is luscious especially in metallic, of which I had some suitable thread here, but somehow it seemed to overwhelm the natural quality of this particular leather, so going with this natural quality then, I felt that some plain minimal quilting would be right. Of course, once it is finished and has been exhibited somewhere I will put the picture of the whole quilt up, probably on the website. It may go into my July exhibition here in Montevideo.

Leather – yesterday wandering through the markets I visited The Leather Man as I call him, I don’t know his name but will ask some time, and will certainly take him an invite to my exhibition. He has no idea what I do with the leather I buy from time to time. I have told him, but I think he has no concept really – and there is no spanish equivalent for ‘quilt’. Anyway, he had some terrific stuff yesterday, several gold/bronze/coppery and pewter pieces, including some parts with wonderful imperfections I am sure I can enhance. I could have bought a whole hide of some beautiful brown with deeper brown splatters on it, he says it is natural but I think/feel has been paint splattered, not that I really know a lot about processing hides…. I settled for about 1.5m x 60cm, it only cost 600 pesos which is about US$22; it’s soft and very shiny, and I’m thinking about it.

Progress with quilting

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

In this section of approx 4″ x 6″, some of the quilting progress can be seen. I am very happy with this fine polyester thread which looks like rayon but is stronger, and a joy to sew with.
I do not normally mark out quilting lines in advance – then of course I can’t go ‘wrong’ , but it also gives me freedom to wander with my needle, which is how I like to quilt.

I start with a general directional line that I decide is an overlay to the whole. As I go run the blunt end of a needle along the fabric to either lay a foundation line or connect one part of a quilting section to another, and here an example is the line that comes down from the upper left side to join the edge of the applied waxed silver leather piece. It will follow the edge of that shape until it heads out into plain open free fabric again, where its shape will again be influenced bythe next shape. Upper right segment is how the infill quilting looks, and in time all the infill will re-state the shapes and lines of the whole design.

The two straight grey machine stitched lines intersecting over near the right hand side are guidelines only, for the placement of shapes and some of the quilting development, and will eventually be pulled out. The thread I use for this is Gutermann’s Skala, a multi polyester filament( many in the free machine quilting world refer to this and several similar threads as bobbinfill or bobbinfiller ) which I find wonderfully useful BECAUSE it is so easily removed, and because when piecing it gives a very fine, strong line of stitching. Posted by Picasa

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