The SAQA Oceania Group Bloghop – My Turn !

Welcome to my regular readers, of course, and a special welcome if this is your first visit to my blog.  Underway since August 15th, this blog hop features posts about 12″x 12″ art quilts made by members Oceania group of  Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc, for the 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction, which begins here September 16th.

Mosaic 1 blog

‘Mosaic Pathway’ 2016,  12″ x 12″. SAQA Benefit Auction starts September 16.

I’ve always loved mosaic pathways, and they’ve often made me feel I need to ‘do something’ mosaic-ish inspired by them and yes, you might say ‘patchwork’ in general is really mosaic-ish.  One day in May I was looking back over old patterns and designs, and digging into old photo files, searching ‘for something’ and realised the picture of this grey pathway (below, right) had been up on my inspirations board for a very long time, and was now telling me ‘It’s time to do something about this’.

mosaic paths blog

Some of the mosaic pathways I’ve photographed down the past 10+ years.

For some years I’ve collected bits of metallic finished leather, often without any actual plan at the time; but I have used leather shapes  on quite a few quilts and also I love sewing with metallic threads – it seems I just can’t resist glitter.  Another glittery impulse buy was 5 or 6 metres of silver mylar backed nylon for about $2/m in a fabric disposals market zone while travelling in Santiago Chile one time.  I couldn’t resist it and would have bought gold, too, if they’d had it.  That sat in my cupboard unused for years until this particular day.  I had just returned from travels during which I saw an actual El Anatsui wall hanging in real life – utterly stupendous – and so perhaps all that and some other things all came together at once – and so I pulled out the mylar/nylon, scrap fabrics and some leather bits.  I’ve found if an idea strikes while I’m doing something else, I need to quickly stop to capture its essence for another time, and so I whizzed up these little sample snippets, longest 14cm widest about 8cm.

Mosaic samples blog

Quick samples –  mylar backed nylon (L) metallic finished leather (R) machined with gold thread.

Sometimes doing a little snippet leads on to something new/big/good/a series, but other times, having analysed it, I’ll put it aside for ‘later’.  I almost never throw out a sample, as you just never know what it might trigger months or even years later.  You should see some of the bits I’ve got in that box on the bottom shelf!  Anyway, having done the sample, its potential was immediately obvious, and I knew I had to think it all through before starting.

A sample is one thing, but to make an actual ‘art quilt’ I had to stay within the accepted paramaters of two full layers of fabric sewn or fastened together by stitches or something that serves the same purpose.  (Irregardless of surface design, in this case leather segments)  Although I didn’t need to use any form of batting, (which involves a basting step) I knew I’d need to somehow keep the layers together well enough so there’d be no slippage and wrinkling of fabric as I applied the leather bits.  I came up with the quick answer of just fusing a denim weight front to a muslin/unbleached calico back, forming a nice non-floppy base on which to stitch the leather with gold machine stitching.  This one-step applique/quilting process did not, however, mean any time saving 😉   At the torn edges of the fabric, the leather pieces simply stop, overhanging the edges slightly.  It felt right to just leave it that way without covering those interesting edges with some kind of binding.  Plus, in my mind this non-edging also related to erosion of surfaces over time, of geomorphology, symbols, mark making, archaeology and man made marks on surfaces… all of which have been on my mind a long time and are coming to my attention again.


The previous post in this series was from Sally Westcott, August 27th,

The next post will be by Lee Vause,  August 31st,

If you missed earlier posts, go to August 10th, for full date/artist/address listings.

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2 Responses to “The SAQA Oceania Group Bloghop – My Turn !”

  1. Linda Stokes says:

    Really like your mosaic quilt Alison – the linear quality, variation in colour & the materials & design of it.
    Before reading about your source photos, it reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of cut logs floating down a river into a harbour.

  2. Alison Schwabe says:

    An interesting comment, Linda – and a prime example of how people react to our art anyway, before coming under the influence of a statement or even a title. Although I never have trouble writing statements about my work, in general I’d rather not, as I prefer to give as little information as possible so that the viewer draws on personal experiences and memories to interact with it. Of course, the whole point of this post was to participate in the blog hop and give some insight to my process in the leadup to the auction..

    Using an entirely different symbolic geometric design I have just entered a 90cm x 120cm work using this technique into QN17 – fingers X – and as works that size go, it’s now fairly heavy 🙂

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