Posts Tagged ‘lines’

Making Dots – Samples

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

During the last 2 years some of my works have had the added surface design element of painted dots. These were applied by hand, using a cut-off paintbrush, but it could easily have been a cut off green twig as used by various peoples who use dots as a signature element of their painted designs, including Aboriginal Australians.  However applied, no one has a lock hold on the use of dots, so I don’t feel there is a problem with my using them in this way around my own original design shapes.

Last time I was in the USA I was thrilled to find some plastic bottles with applicator tops that I really thought would revolutionise, ie streamline, my application of dots of paint on the designs in which I wanted to use them, and happily paid a few dollars for a set of 6.  As always when trying something new or different, I did a sample.  In the next photo, paint and cut-off brush are placed near the applicators containing thick and thin versions of gold paint, and the sample piece on which I used both paints.  The result on the 6″ square of black featuring pieced-in colours, and easily show that  (1) either I need a lot more practice using the applicator bottles, both thick and thin paints, or (2) I need to go back to using the sawn-off brush to apply paint such dots in future 🙂

In the past couple of weeks I have viewed s0me TextileArtist.org videos, with the following take-away points that I totally agree with.  To develop one’s vocabulary of textile art techniques, a would-be artist needs to focus on experimenting to discover possible variations, no matter how limited the range of  techniques or stitches that person knows.  Making samples to ‘see what happens’ is vitally important – this is one of my soapbox topics! 

The key person in  TextileArtist.org is Sue Stone, who studied with the legendary Constance Howard for several years, and that influence shows.  I feel it myself, as I count myself fortunate to have been in a 4-day workshop taught by this now deceased, legendary, British embroiderer, in the Outback Australian mining town of Mout Isa, where I lived at the time.  It was either 1979 or 1978, a long time ago.  How we came to get her to stop over for a few days on her round-Australia teaching tour, owes a lot to Ailsa Bray, the intrepid secretary of the local embroiderers’ group in that town at the time.  Having snagged the booking, Ailsa asked the tour organisers “When the flight arrives, how will we know which passenger she is?”  The answer, delivered with a slight chuckle was “She’ll be the only passenger with green hair.”…and so it proved to be!  Amazing for the times; but once we had been in her presence a few hours, we all forgot about the colour of her hair and found ourselves totally focused on all that his amazing woman could teach us.  Her influence stays with me still, absolutely.

Insights Into A Gridaholic’s Creative Process

Friday, June 9th, 2017

I think most of us have the impression a grid is made up of squares, but other general words come to mind including network, lattice, matrix, reticulation. It all depends on how you’re using the concept, but I suspect the most common one has been used to make maps and charts which for centuries have been drawn out on some grid scheme, though not always rectangular. Long a student of geography, I understand the different ways a mapmaker can present known locations of geographical information in a system that relates everything on some system of reference. These different systems are called projections, chosen for the usefulness of their final result to the task in hand.  You can check them out right here – and some will amaze.

I confess it, I am a gridaholic who usually thinks in rows of squares, but occasionally breaks out into triangles 🙂

I like the order contained in rows of repeated patterns, although within each of my repeat units there are always variations that make each unit unique compared with all the others around it.  This is of course, anathema to makers of  traditional quilts.  Take these nine patch block patterns for example. Though creatively used with other elements and sometimes in a minor way, each Nine Patch unit is made with precision and accuracy to result in exact repetition of every block.   It was this lovely strict order which drew me initially but briefly to traditional quiltmaking.  I love traditional designs overall, but have left them to others since the Flying Geese wall hanging I made in c.1989.  I am one of many art quilters whose work has evolved from influences of traditional quilt making.

Especially when I’m thinking of new work that I want to include some kind of patterning within repeat units, I take a printout sheet like this one, get my pencil and start  doodling.  I have this grid on file and can print off a few whenever I want.  A bit OCD I guess, instead of just freehand drawing the lines as I do in my sketchbook pages; but somehow it helps me focus my attention onto ‘fillings’.  They are just patterns, and could be hand marks, stitch marks, seams, whatever, but things do grow out of my putting them down.  It is about a year since I put pencil to this paper, and now certain things stand out, giving me more to think about.

These and some other mark patterns from another sheet, made it onto mylar backed nylon applied to leather in the small sample piece I made and donated to the SAQA anniversary trunk show collection   and, pleased with that, I made a 120cm x 90cm size wall quilt.

7″ x 10″ Sample piece submitted to Anniversary Trunk collection, SAQA, 2016.

 

Deconstructed Circles For SAQA’s 2017 Online Auction

Friday, April 7th, 2017

The annual online auction to benefit SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates, comes up again, opening on September 15th and continuing through October 8th.  I’ll be reminding you closer to the time, of course.  For further information and updates including some of the works already received, go to SAQA’s website  Right now several hundred SAQA members including yours truly are preparing their 12″ x 12″ donations, and over the last few days I have almost finished mine – shown here with quilting in progress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excess fabric and batting will be trimmed off once the quilting is completed – and yes, I do darn in the ends as I go!  I may do a fine black binding, but will audition other coloured fabrics anyway, just in case one of them adds a bit more zing.  This is the third in a deconstructed circles theme that has emerged in the last few weeks, and I’m pondering a more meaningful title for what is clearly becoming a series – as ‘Deconstructed Circle #3’ is a bit unexciting.  I’ve started a list, with entries such as ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Tornado’ under consideration.

 

 

‘Maelstrom’ 2009  was my first deconstructed circle design, to which I have turned again, and maybe it is now the first of a series of that name; meaning the one I’m nearly finished would be #4, but maybe I’ll come up with something else.

 

Scraps and Deconstructed Circles

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

I’m still here and still working with the glorious coloured scrap collection I featured in my two previous posts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contrary to my usual experience I am noticing that the volume of them on the table is actually decreasing. I and fellow users of small pieces of saved fabric have always believed that scraps have a secret reproductive life, as the pile or bag never seems to get smaller.  This time it is, because I am sticking to the chosen palette, and not augmenting it by further random scrap bag diving as I go.

I’m now using a black background for a 12″sample-sized piece which will probably be for SAQA’s annual online auction later in the year. If I can finish the remaining two blocks, assemble and quilt the piece without further procrastination, I might even be ready later today to paint the dots around some edges as I plan. For many months, since before last year’s illness, I’ve had some some new plastic bottles with nozzle tips to use painting dots as I did on some of the works in the recent Kimberley series, for which I used a sawn-off paint brush –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I need to press on!

 

 

 

Deconstructed Circles

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Someone commenting on my latest work said last week wrote “deconstructed circles are popular now”, and she’s right, they are appearing in more art quilts, though I’ve been using them on and off for some time.  For someone who loves grids and works freehand the way I do, the deconstructed circle has great appeal as a design unit, as these two works in progress show: early stages in the construction of Maelstrom (2006)  left, and Anna’s Quilt (2008) right respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What new work? you might be wondering.  True, it’s been a long time since I blogged, chiefly because I wasn’t creating (not even sewing hexagons) during a long illness late last year and the subsequent recovery period.  But recently I’ve found mental+physical energy coinciding, and have begun exploring ideas that have been on my mind a while.  I’ve keenly followed the the rise of  the Modern Quilt Movement with light clear colours plus greys and white that are so appealing to many that they are even beginning to populate traditional designs.  MQM’s website calls this overlap ‘modern traditionalism’, I just noticed.  A favourite Uruguayan artist, Mario Giacoya uses wonderful greens and yellows with small amounts of other light bright colours in his many rural landscapes.  A primary influence in my work is still landscape shapes, and earthy Australian colours, but I’m finding I’m wanting more ‘light’ and ‘bright’ in my work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’ve used the unit before, and am always happy with lines that don’t connect, I drew a diagram this time to emphasise that I’m thinking of some units having many lines of fabric in them, others few, one or possibly none, and I’m still mulling over that and will continue as the work proceeds.  This sample has more in common with Maelstrom above as the arcs are segments of colour.  My sample shows a complex set of them.  These were a bit tedious to make, but I’ve been thinking about this too and will rationalise and synthesise what I learned in this sample making stage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When sample making I normally just go as far as I need to learn something.  But this one I finished and bound because I plan to hand it on as a gift, hence this documentation.  I still have to think about

  • hand v machine quilting ?
  • any role for glitter here ?
  • what about dots?
  • And what a shame I only bought about 20cm of this wonderful striped fabric …
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