Posts Tagged ‘3D forms’

3D Inspirations 2

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

TextileArtist.org is producing a series of subscribers-only online workshops they call The Stitch Club, for stitchers and embroiderers, and as soon as they were announced, I signed up for what I term my ‘Pandemic Treat’, since we’re not able to travel to visit the kids and grandkids up in USA. It’s great value, costing about AU$40 or US$29 per month from my credit card, and that will last as long as I’m a member, or until such time as I decide I’ve had enough – which is not yet! The focus is on using what any stitcher might have around home, anyway, rather than needing to buy specialised supplies. Most teachers are also encouraging us to re-purpose fabrics from old clothes or household textiles. Being a practising mixed media/fibre artist, so far I haven’t had to buy anything apart from a roll of wire which really didn’t suit the purpose well, and I found another way to deal with holes in fabric… but that wire has already started to rust, so will be handy for this workshop where rusted fabric is suggested. I must find it in the garage …

I had no expectation of being especially interested in every single one – and indeed, I didn’t complete or even start a couple of projects, watching only the videos and reading the printed materials. There’s no test or grading on this, of course, but some people apparently felt a bit overwhelmed by three 1-week workshops with a 4th week in which to ‘catch up’, and worried they didn’t have enough time to complete every thing. Feedback to the organisers resulted in a change to two 2-week workshops per month, enabling more in-depth enrichment before changing teacher and topic. Questions are now answered daily instead of at the end of the week, either in writing or brief 1-3 minute videos. In two days’ time the second week will begin with a follow-up tutorial/lesson.

The current 2-week period is with American textile artist Clarissa Callesen. Her excellent introductory and demonstration video of the 3D forms she uses to create her art was very inspiring, first recapping the small 3D puffy forms I had occasionally used in my creative embroidery of the 70-80s. However, from what she went on to show us, I now know I barely scratched the surface then, and am freshly enthused.

Initially I thought I’d like to use some of the fine leather pieces I have gathered up and used in the past in wall quilts, but though it was relatively easy to do a running stitch around a shape and pull it together, actually sewing it shut was way too hard on my arthritic hands, even using a leather needle. Those thin pieces were thin, but not as thin and fine as the 6 frog skins once given me by a Uruguayan friend, Graciela Aznarez. I had no idea frogskin could even be tanned, and it’s beautiful. For several years I’ve periodically taken them out and run my hands and fingers over them, while never knowing what I could do with this amazing, generous gift. I’ll be studying them again this afternoon to see if they are thin enough to ‘do something’ with in this workshop – they’re a nice natural warm light brown sandy colour…. but I digress.

Back to my next point for this exercise: being an art quilt maker, I do have heaps of scraps of hand dyed and plain colours of fabric, so made a variety of stuffed shapes in earthy coloured cottons and pinned them together, shown here with some very fine grey ribbon and a couple of tassel thingies that I might add in for interest once the pieces are sewn together.

Next, I thought I’d try some sheer fabrics and the results are great. The silver form in the the middle, above, is a metallic semi-sheer party fabric, and is better shown in the next photo:

The silver fabric has very fine metallic threads going one way, and though smooth when I cut and began working with it, by the time I finished that process it had developed wavy stripes and the surface had become quite lumpy, making it look rather like a caterpillar or grub. Interesting.
Left – A round form of gold sheer fabric in progress, with filling in place, ready to pull together and sew shut. Right – you can now see the gold threads I put between the fabric and filling – an exciting result full of potential when working with sheer fabric.

Since back in the mid-70s, every few years I’ve enrolled myself in a 4-5 day or one week residential workshop or vacation school. A residential workshop’s a terrific way to recharge the batteries while learning new skills and techniques and enjoying interaction with fellow fibre art creatives. As both teacher and student, I’ve always found a one-day workshop frustratingly short, even though I go prepared and waste no time starting on the practical side of a class. I need at least one night to process ideas and info from the first day of a workshop to make more progress building on those experiences.

3D Inspiration

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Every few years I sign up for a workshop with a good teacher, knowing that it will bring something fresh to my art, and provide new inspiration. Last January I was thinking this would be one of those years, had found several potentially interesting workshop announcements, preparing to sign up once we started making travel plans to visit the offsprings in USA or, later in the year, go to Australia for a while to find a place to settle ourselves back there. The last workshop I took as a student was more than 7 years ago, so I was feeling overdue for such a treat. But of course the pandemic shot all that to pieces.

By way of compensation, I signed up for an online stitch course, The Stitch Club, organised by TextileArtist.org and am so glad I did. Great teachers roll out new online week-long and now 2-week workshops, supported by online video tutorials, inspirational links, Q&A sessions during and after the w/s, and members-only FB page for discussion. If you can’t actually be in a residential summer school or symposium workshop, this must be the next best thing. Obviously the teachers were briefed to prepare projects needing only simple tools and common materials that stitchers are likely to have at home or can easily get hold of in this pandemic. Many teachers are focusing on including recycled and salvaged textiles. This week’s course by Clarissa Callesen is very much based on those principles. this is one of the best so far, and is reminding me of some 3D forms I made decades ago, of which this one is perhaps the best of all:

The famed, fabulous, Golden Eagle Nugget, found near Kalgoorlie in 1931, epitomises the wealth of the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia, where gold has been continually mined since it was discovered there in 1893. A perfect inclusion on the quilted banner community project representing the region in the Australian Bicentenary Touring Exhibition of 1988.

Much of what is now termed mixed media technically fits into the concept of an ‘art quilt’ as defined by SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates: “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.” and indeed, a number of artists are now showing 3D work, though the logistics of touring exhibitions mostly precludes those 3D works. After years of quiltmaking, soft sculpture has retreated to the back of my mind, but Clarissa’s video reminded me of a very satisfying 3D moment in 1987: for a community project I produced a soft sculpture model of the famous Golden Eagle Nugget , which was found in 1931 near the mining town of Kalgoorlie in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

The Patchwork Pollies and the Goldfingers Embroiderers were invited to participate in a nationwide project to produce double sided quilts to form a large portiere exhibition at the entrance to the touring Australian Bicentennial Exhibition 88. As construction proceeded, our letter ‘H’ was formed by blocks of crazy patchwork, the embroidering of which enabled many people in the community to do a few stitches on work days held for that. For the reverse side we decided on a traditional quilt format of a medallion in the centre sourrounded by strips/rays of goldfields colours. Sewing those strips of fabric together in work days was another avenue for communityh involvement. It was suggested the medallion should feature something very central to the region. I don’t remember who suggested a nugget, but I certainly offered to make one somehow and agreed to free machine embroider some local motifs on the orange-brown goldfields soil of the nugget’s background. That nugget was to be added only after the quilt construction and quilting was all finished, and, typical me, despite having several months to produce that nugget, I really only tackled it about a week before it was due! By that time, we were preparing to leave town and relocate to the other side of the world, meaning our household goods including my fabrics and sewing machine would soon be all packed up 😮  Of course I’d been thinking about it, but with all the other things going on in my life, I’d serially procrastinated until, finally, with just a few days left before the deadline, I focused, sat down and made it. These photos were taken at the official handover the very day before we flew out of town.

So this morning I’m heading upstairs to select some materials and follow her suggestions of forms to start her assignment. I’ve already put the washing through and have absolutely nothing else scheduled for the rest of today!

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