Posts Tagged ‘lines’

Try Improvisational or Freehand Piecing!

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

I’ve written before about freehand pieced work, including this article working from the scrap bag    This morning, looking around in my photos for something else, I was diverted by a sequence of photos I took last year while making this small piece for my friend Suzie.  I formed this collage to take some of mystery out of this kind of piecing known as ‘improvisational piecing’.  It’s a construction technique widely used by makers of ‘art quilts’ and Modern Quilts, too.

Suzie’s Quilt 30cm x 30cm.
Top left, centre and lower right – cut and remove an approx 1-2cm swathe.  Lower left – finished quilt; upper right shows pencil diagram and a strip insert pinned into place.  The tighter the curve, the more pins I use – just my way – there’s no ‘correct’ way.

Do a very basic pencil diagram if necessary (upper right),  audition some fabrics, start cutting and begin sewing.  No templates, no exacting measurements, and the result is a very organic look.  Improvisational piecing begins with simple steps, and the basics can be found here   If you want to try it at home sometime, thoroughly read through my 2 page notes first, then follow the easy instructions.  If you need any help or advice, don’t hesitate to contact me at alison@alisonschwabe.com

Working without pattern pieces is very liberating; it’s a worry-free way to construct quilt tops.  In my Memories and Ebb&Flow  galleries you’ll find many examples of works pieced this way; and I often use freehand piecing with grids constructed using rulers and different size quilters’ squares and triangles.  Honestly, anything goes, as it’s up to you how you use this technique.  By all means, pay good money and go to a workshop run by someone teaching this technique, which is fun, but if geographical isolation or financial challenges get in your way, you really can learn it by yourself at home.  You’ll find it in books and magazines, as well as online, but I don’t advise starting out by watching online demos. There are so many out there with different emphases, often by people more focused on selling you their book, that you may well become confused in a very short time.   I just looked at some, and found them all rather fussy, very precise and careful.  This is not what it’s about – it’s carefree, organic looking and meant to be very non-traditional in every way.  Using my basic illustrated notes, try working through the suggested few samples, while remembering that

  1. there is no correct way to do this kind of patchwork
  2. the only correct result is a flat one
  3. start out bigger than you want to end up
  4. resist the urges to trim as you go – save it till all piecing is done.

Feel free to use pins, marker pen or pencil reference points right on the cut edges which will be enclosed in the seam anyway  – use whatever you find that works for you.  When you’ve worked out how to do it and can repeat good results with practice, then if you will, spend a bit of time browsing some demos, but I think you’ll find you don’t need them.  Improvisational piecing has become a contemporary tradition, something to be shared in the time honoured way that traditions are passed along from one generation to the next.  So, what are you waiting for?

Rediscovered, 2011

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

The illustrated catalogue I have just done of my works showed up a couple of gaps in my documenting, as although I thought I’d finished it, I just came across a photo of this piece, which I finished in 2011 just as a dear friend was leaving the country for South Africa and wanted to buy it.  So though it is in the Ebb&Flow series, and I didn’t remember to list it at the time, I have done so now.

Untitled, 2011, 60cm x 25cm  approx

At that time I was including burned synthetic fabric ‘lace’ in many of my works, and this one features plain black against black nylon organza, then the glittery layer lies behind five segments of pieced fabric – from memory each of these was quilted, but I’m sure Bradley will let me know some time. I really like how the lines in these five sections flow, and this piece is on my mind today.

Ebb & Flow #26

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

It’s uncharacteristically over the top early for me, but today I finished my donation to the 2018 SAQA Benefit Auction in September – and the call for entries doesn’t even open until February!   I’ll mention it again closer to the time.  This also means that my catalogue of quilts ius up to date.

Ebb & Flow 26    2018,  12″x 12″.  2018 SAQA Benefit Auction

The annual auction of these 12″ squares raises funds to assist in the promotion of quilted textile art known as art quilts.  I’ve been collected but I myself have never collected them, yet I’ve seen some lovely groups of them recently in a couple of homes.  I always make mine with a hanging sleeve attached that can easily be removed if the piece is to be framed or mounted on a canvas covered stretcher frame, as many collectors display them.

 

 

Do Art Quilts Belong in Quilt Shows?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

People love quilt shows, and flock to them whether in a regional agricultural show or a major city or state gallery.   No matter the source of inspiration or the pattern used, producing any quilt requires a certain amount of creativity and perspiration.  Despite the similarity of tools, many of the processes, and many of the raw materials used to produce all the different kinds of layered textiles, it’s a mistake to assess them as equals in every way.  Carrots and radishes, quilts and art quilts, yes they are alike, but different.

It’s over two decades since quilt show organisers began including art quilt sections in their events.  Years ago when I still belonged to a traditional quilt guild, as a known art quilt maker I felt it was important to participate by entering the guild’s annual show when for the first time it offered an art quilt section in the annual members’ quilt show.  A contemporary quiltmaking subgroup of the guild had formed a couple of years earlier, and there was enthusiastic interest in experimenting with techniques, materials and ideas beyond the range of traditional quiltmaking.  The entry form asked for the inspiration source for the quilt design – so I submitted a photo I’d taken of a ceiling in some caves nearby, and handed over my quilt, La Cueva (spanish for The Cave)  In quilt shows, the quilters expect and usually get some kind of technical comment back from judges, though this is not the case in art quilt exhibitions.  My quilt came back after the exhibition with a judge’s comment along the lines of  –   ‘The wavy lines are most distracting’.

La Cueva (The Cave)   1998         150cm x 130cm

Hmmm … the photo I took of the cave ceiling with roots and stalactites hanging down was the inspiration for the repeat units I combined to make the quilt.  That dismissive comment highlighted to me that the person chosen to judge the art quilts was not seeing these works as ‘originally designed art’ and really did not understand the difference between an art quilt and a functional bed or wall quilt from a traditional design or commercial pattern.

So the answer to my question is, no, I don’t think art quilts have a place in quilt shows.  Many textile artists differ with that view (for valid reasons to do with their own practice and marketing) but eventually it’s a personal choice about where to have your work seen, and sometimes a difficult decision.

The SAQA Online Auction Begins Tomorrow!

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

“Whirlwind”,  2017.    12″ x 12″ ,  30.5cm x 30.5cm

Tomorrow, September 15th, is the first day of the annual SAQA Online Benefit Auction.  This year, for the first time, this first day is Diamond Day, on which every quilt offered for auction this is for sale at $1000 per piece – a wonderful opportunity for one of my collectors to secure this piece, “Whirlwind”!  Diamond Day opens at 2.00pm Eastern Time USA, tomorrow, September 15th – which is 22 hours from now as I write.

If it’s unsold on Diamond Day, my quilt will be offered 18-24 September in Section 1  (scroll to row 3) There are some wonderful pieces in this section, so as it’s a reverse auction, don’t linger indecisively too long! Anyone, anywhere, can participate.  For more information on how to purchase a quilt in the auction go to Bidding guidelines and FAQs

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