Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

Bungle Bungles, 3

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

 

This afternoon I have been piecing – that is, cutting out different shaped pieces of fabric and sewing them together, which I know puzzles many bystanders around those of us who make ‘patchwork’ things including quilts.   Fabric is just a raw material to some textile artists, and thus no different from a skein of wool, a tube of oil paint,  a block of wood or stone, all to be worked by people with appropriate skills.  I’ve always loved sewing, and love piecing as a technique for surface design, which produces contemporary patchwork that despite appearances does in fact have connection with the traditional geometric patterned designs that most people think of as ‘patchwork’.  Patchwork, traditional and contemporary, is often backed with a layer or two of fabric and quilted by hand or machine to hold it all together in a completed object, usually bedding or clothing for warmth.

piecing #2

 

This pictured segment continues some piecing I began a couple of weeks ago, before undergoing surgery for a shoulder prosthesis.  My doc did say use the hand as much as possible, and this activity is well within the restrictions – of holding nothing heavier than a cup of tea, and not to try to raise the arm above shoulder level – well just now I can’t get it anywhere near the shoulder so there’s no danger there.  All the newly constructed left arm has to do is some gentle holding of small pieces of fabric as the machine slowly sews, and my other (good) arm whips out the pins, flying back and forth from the pin cushion as the machine gradually sews around the curved edge.  It’s all rather like setting in a sleeve.  Even as I was doing this today, a brainwave came for another piece in this theme, inspired by what I read recently about the structure of the sandstone karst formations in the The Bungle Bungles.   So as soon as I finish putting all these pieces together, I’ll start another to incorporate my new idea.  However, right now its time for a change of activity to include arm swinging and shoulder shrugging followed by a cup of tea.

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.

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.

 

Craftsmanship in Gold

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

La Lechuga copy

We saw this amazing religious art piece “La Lechuga” at the Museo do Oro (gold museum) in Bogota Colombia last month.  It’s  stunningly beautiful – and nicknamed ‘the lettuce’ because of the intensity of the 1485 emeralds on it – plus 13 rubies, 28 diamonds, 169 amethysts, 62 baroque pearls and 1 sapphire.  Constructed of 4.9kg+ gold (the gold colour’s a bit washed out, I haven’t been able to correct it)  It took the Spanish silversmith Jose de Galaz 7 years to make 1700-07.  After I took this photo I was told by the guard that photos were not allowed in that part of the museum, and so what was to have been the close-up of the whole thing remains the only pic we have, but you can see it in its awesome splendor and correct gold and other colours at http://www.banrepcultural.org/blaavirtual/coleccionarte/artplas/custcol.htm   Do a virtual visit of the Museo del Oro at  http://www.banrepcultural.org/museo-del-oro   and     http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/collection/museo-del-oro-bogota?projectId=art-project    There’s a similar piece, though not as grand imho, called ‘La Preciosa’ and you can see that also on wikpedia, I think – or perhaps the first link above.

We love museums, fine craftsmanship, and gold of course – so of course obviously we made a beeline for the Museo del Oro in Bogota , and there are regional smaller collections in major cities so we went in Medellin and Cartagena, too!  What we especially liked in Bogota was that seniors go in free of charge! and one day a week everyone can go in free – that would be a crush – it was pretty crowded both times we went …

gold mountain cat Bogota blog

The text along side this  told us that this  regalia (a nose plate and earings) was found in a tomb from the Yotoco period.  It related the wearer the mystical powers of felines, and the circular markings liken it to the jaguar, as do the prolongations to its limbs. Note the emerald eyes!!  The craftsmanship was breathaking – and it is so interesting that the cat quality could be so captured in that head on perspective.  This gold was pretty thin, though I imagine the nose accessory, measuring about 8cm x 10cm overall would have required some practice to wear successfully with due dignity, if it was ever actually worn in real life, and that would have been magnificent to see.  But it might have been a kind of death mask thing.

gold mends bogota blog

It is always interesting to remember that people everywhere repair important objects – which are precious for some reason, including practicality.  I will never forget an exhibition we saw years ago at the Musee Quai Branley in Paris, about which I blogged in Totally Memorable Exhibition.  I wandered off to google about mending things in general, and found lots of articles, many of which mention kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending ceramics with a ‘golden seam’  – just google that word and check the images.  I even found http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/mending.htm which some might find helpful….

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’

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