Posts Tagged ‘lines’

Similarities Inevitable At Times, UPDATED

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

A member of the QuiltArt list this morning referred to ‘Scott Murkin’s technique’,  and I thought  “Hmmm, I wonder what that is….”  (As I don’t get the popular quilt magazines and books these days, its easy to be out of touch with the very latest)  Anyway, it turned out to be freehand or improvisational piecing, anyway!     And when I went online to find out about Scott’s work I found this site,  http://www.scottmurkin.com , and there is a quilt

scott murkin

that looked to me very like an adaptation and re-arrangement of blocks from one of my own bushfire quilts .  They have a great deal in common, I’m sure you’ll agree, but I’m not suggesting that this is in anyway ‘copying’ something I did ages ago:

Bushfire 4 adjusted blog copy

Bushfire 4      1999

 I think it is inevitable that  quilt makers using the same techniques in similar colours, will sometimes produce similar looking works.  We can usually tell looking at someone’s work who they studied with, since, for a while after that workshop their new work reflects what they have learned, but in time their work reflects more of the artist and increasingly less of the teacher.  It’s why I myself no longer attend technique-driven workshops, but they are the bread and butter of the quilt making industry, of course.

“Scott Murkin’s” technique is what I and many others learned nearly 25 years ago from Nancy Crow – not that I ever called it ‘Nancy Crow’s technique’ because for her, technique has only ever been the means to her end – in the classroom it was to speed the process of exploring colour and design, and working through her long list of class exercises was only really possible via cutting and piecing freehand/improvisationally.
But actually, it wasn’t her technique, either.  It was developed by a Canadian quiltmaker, Marilyn Stothers who Nancy used to take into the classes she was teaching at Houston in the late 80’s and early 90’s and have Marilyn show her students how to do it.   Nancy then began teaching it herself as a method useful in her classes on colour and design.  As we all know, today there are many contemporary quilt makers working this way all over the world, and it has become a contemporary quilt making tradition, if you can say such a thing…. and yes, I think we can.

Since learning the basics, I’ve always worked this way, and taught many students how to cut and piece freehand.  I’ve no doubt someone uses “Alison Schwabe’s technique” to describe their own improvisational piecing, but I claim no ownership.  If you’d like to have a go at it, email me for the basic instructions (2 pages incl, diagrams and links)  and I’ll email it by return.  There’s enormous interest in piecing like this.

Last month I taught my “Hot Quilts From Cold Scraps” workshop in Dongara Western Australia, and Hobart Tamsnaia Aus.  I always promote the class as being about planning and making successful scrap quilts, and one in which people who work via traditional geometric piecing will be alongside those who are piecing improvisationally.  In other words, how you piece is up to you, and you just need to come to class knowing how to piece one way or the  other, it’s not a beginners’ class.  I always say I don’t actually teach  freehand piecing in class, as there isn’t usually time even in the 2-day version, and so if you want to work that way you need to learn the basics at home before the workshop.  That usually works well, and one or two people always ask me for those instructions in advance.  In Dongara there were about 20 enthusiasts in the class – fabulous facilities accommodated them easily – and about 1/3 went to work piecing traditionally, the rest improvisationally.  They produced some wonderful work, and everyone achieved plenty of it.    The class in Hobart blew me away though.   I had been a bit concerned at the low number registered, and anticipated the group dynamics might be a bit unexciting among only 7 of them. But not in this case – all had very strong individual approaches and a couple did interesting things no one has previously produced, including myself! Some already knew improvisational piecing, and the 2 or 3 who didn’t clearly did want to work that way.  So once everyone was into their  exercises before branching off in their individual directions, in such a small group it was easy to teach them the basic methods by demonstrations using the samples I had with me.  They were all dead keen and very quick on the uptake. 

Thanks to Pat and Susan who both supplied Marilyn’s correct surname which I’d used wrongly in the first version of this post!  I have corrected and edited the post to include the gracious corrections I received from Marylin herself, whose website http://www.marilynstewartstothers.ca/ presents her and her exciting work in some detail – and I can only say after looking at it that we don’t hear enough of her.

A Journey Through Landscape

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

An article has just been published about my work on the Quilt National Artists website here: http://quiltnationalartists.com/journey-landscape-alison-schwabe/.  To compose it I looked back through the 4 works I’ve had selected into Quilt National down the years, and while putting them into their context, the title emerged.  Each has to do with landscape as the surface on which change is recorded, and marks are left.  It took me years to see a link between a landscape and a life.  You can read about it and see the pics of the 4 quilts in chronological order down the page, starting with “Ora Banda”, just a little special because it was my first successful entry.

Ora Banda copy blog

“Ora Banda”  1992      127cm h x 150cm w

I pieced it before leaving Denver to accompany my husband to South America on a business trip, and did all the hand quilting while in Montevideo and Mendoza, Argentina.   I never look at it without remembering the beautiful plaza in front of our hotel there, and how I sat out in the early autumn sun for a couple of hours every afternoon to quilt during the hours of siesta.  Autumn leaves were falling.  Occasionally people would stop and ask what I was doing and comment – goodness knows what they made of whatever I said, as I knew very little Spanish then!

 

Holes As Lace Samples

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

DSCN3463 copy

My last post included a little square within a square, with holes.  I found when using the ‘what if?’ principle that the leather punch would go through fabric, a pleasing little thing, and so I did another little square-within-a-square – I bonded it to paper – another pleasing little thing.  It’s io nthe top row – don’t take any notice of the brown next to it, that’s just the benchtop.

DSCN3462 copy

OK this is just a sample, but I am pleased with the landscape texture quality of it.  Bonding and free machine embroidery, cotton, bronze leather and shot nylon organza, and I forgot this when working with it, so the upper blobs are oriented differently to the piece with the cutouts,  and whichever way you look at it the colour is different but related – interesting. Maybe useful some time.

 

Texture On The Beach

Friday, February 14th, 2014

20131215_080645 copy

This morning as I was hunting for something totally different, I came across this pattern in the ‘Sand Patterns’ file I hadn’t looked at for a while, and wondered how on earth I could have forgotten about this stunning pic?  It’s not the Namib Desert from the air or something like that – it’s in the wet sand not far above the low tide line.  I normally take care to avoid including shoe prints in my pics of sand patterns, but they do provide a perspective, and in this case there is a faint shoeprint just above the LLH corner of the pic.   When I took it a couple of months back, I didn’t check to see which little creatures made those little lumps at the ends of those lines -and I’m just presuming either tiny molluscs or bivalves, but they may be little crabs, though I rarely see any crabs at all on the beach I usually go to.

inspirations

And these photos show what was behind the Tidelines group of quilts in the Golden Textures exhibition last year – in the upper RH panel of the collage is ‘Tidelines 10’

Sandlace – Free Form Lace Continued

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

sandlace sample 1

 

Some sample making continues for some ‘Sandlace’ works,  inspired by pics such as this one above.

  • Something I’ll do more is place one of the ‘lacey’ sections over some of my own freeform piecing/patchwork.
  • Another possibility is ditto over some much more muted fabrics,  closer to each other in colour and intensity.
  • Also to be explored are some texture printed backgrounds ….

 

sand lace 3 web

sandlace3 detail

  •  I very much like raw edges, so this  is being explored, too.

 

 

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