Archive for the ‘motif’ Category

The Shimmer Effect

Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

SAQA juror Pat Forster selected one of my works,“The Shimmer Effect”, for an online exhibition, Geometric Expressions, which opens on the SAQA website on January 3rd next. I’ll post that link here when it’s available.

I never show a completed work on my blog or website until it’s been exhibited, ie published somewhere, so for now here’s a close detail shot of the surface texture, along with my statement about it: “A square symbolises balance, solidity and stability.  Hand stitching over concentric squares in gentle neutral colours calmed my unease at current disorder and chaos in the world.  Metallic threads in my work signify value or importance, here referencing tradition and hope.

Close detail, “The Shimmer Effect, 2022. Each square is ~6cm.

I posted about it while making this quilt as it was such a long project. It’s about 1m square, with each concentric square unit being 6cm, with a total of 121 squares of fused nylon organza strips oversewn by hand in metallic thread. The fabric itself has a subtle glittery texture.

My Favourite Stitched Square Motif, 2

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

If you have time, it’s always good to let your ideas and explorations settle a bit, while you focus on something else. Remember how in previous post I said I’d take a walk to consider all this? My time away from my studio was rather longer than I expected, though.

All at once, the next morning, with the cleaning lady busily and noisily vacuuming upstairs, the drains maintenance serviceman turned up and at the same time an architect came round to consult on something we’re considering doing to the house. Yesterday’s diversions included a service techie from the cable company to restore the signal to our upstairs tv, which it took him some time to discover apparently resulted from some problem in the line coming to the house. Relief that the inability to get the tv working properly was not due to either of us losing our marbles! We have tv again, but completely fixing the weak signal problem requires another tech team to come, at a time yet to be arranged.

So, I’ve had plenty of time to consider my love affair with this square+stitching.

Detail “Fused 9Patch”, 3/4″ silk squares stitched with tapestry-weight neon polyester thread.

Recapping, these are my earliest interpretations, stitch doodlings of an idea inspired by the works of pioneer generative artist, Vera Molnar, one example of which is –

SANS TITRE, 1989, by Vera Molnar

I’ve used it a lot, but looking back at what I’ve been doing this past couple of weeks, I now realise as I focused on the actual squares (applique? hologram fabric? other fabric? stamped shapes?…) the stitching itself got neater and neater, in the process losing some of the lively, wild quality my earliest doodles had.

Here’s something I did a couple of weeks back, fiddling with an idea of ‘square nests’ – part of a larger concept I won’t go into here. It’s a pretty regular grid of stamped squares and every block is stitched with the same pattern – a rather boring result, but I may add many more lines to it, or to some of the squares at least, but I certainly won’t abandon it:

And this is the back – showing that (a) I use serious knots to start and finish! and (b) I don’t always use the steps in the same orderand am now wondering if I should consider working something from the back, so to speak.

My Favourite Stitched Square Motif

Sunday, November 5th, 2023

I am keen on grid layouts featuring repeated units, the essence of traditional geometric patchwork, with which I had a brief involvement 1989-90 before venturing to designing my own original quilted fibre art. Some time in 2020 I focused on an image of squares and lines by Vera Molnar, widely recognised as a foremost pioneer of computer algorithm aided art known as generative art On seeing this image, I realised a square of paint or applique plus stitch could be a wonderful repeat unit for my textile art, and did the following two samples –

These turned out to be the beginning of an obsession really, and more or less in the order of their development, the following samples show how I’ve explored that idea in stitch+different materials. As I’ve written elsewhere, technique and materials can come together in unexpected and inspiring ways as a result of good teaching to students prepared to experiment to explore potential of what was learned. I myself am a keen experimenter, a maker of samples to see what happens when I follow an idea.

2020 SAQA Spotlight auction, 6″ x 8″, 3/4″ squares, polyester.
Detail “Fused 9Patch”, 3/4″ silk squares stitched with tapestry-weight neon polyester thread.
Auditioning of different square-on-squares designs on ~1″ squares hologram fabric.
Stencilled ~1.5″ squares with fabric stacks.
3/4″ inch holograpm fabric squares, different stitch auditions.
Further auditions, and the simple ones, on the ~1″red stamped squares work best.

Who knows wherethis is leading…. I feel almost ready t just jump in and start a major work incorpoprating some of this – stacks, holographic fabric, perhaps some stencilling…. and think I’ll go for a walk to think about all this.

Quilting Motifs -Inspiration Is Everywhere

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Top photo: one of many ceilings we saw in ancient temples and tombs in Upper Egypt, decorated with a pattern of long-armed, five-pointed stars. The stars appear on on ceilings to ensure they will be present in the Afterlife of the pharoah for whom the tomb or temple was built.
Lower photo: a free machine quilted motif of that star pattern on a recent quilt made of sheer fabrics, which I hope to have selected into SAQA Icons and Imagery Transformations ’08.
For several years I have occasionally taught a quilting class, “Quilting With Attitude” , for hand and machine quilters, the core point of the class being that inspiration for the quilting on a quilt can come from many sources. Quilting of course is the functional constructional element that holds the layers together in a quilt designed principally to warm a body on the bed. Traditionally the quilting pattern is dominated by the shapes on the top which it tends to echo or follow, and large open shapes are then filled with decorative motifs, feathers, flowers and other linear shapes. The rise of free machine quilting in the 1980’s was popularised by several teachers and writers including Harriet Hargreaves, perhaps best known of these. Using the machine in with a traditional quilt design, the aim is often to try to replicate the traditional quilting patterns. Despite the claim by some that this saves a lot of time, it has never appeared to me that the equation is equal – if the time is saved technical excellence has always appeared to have been compromised. If the impeccable technical standards that characterise most traditional quilts is achieved, it really does take about the same amount of time to include in the process properly fastened off and hidden quilting threads, anchored so that they will not unravel or pop as the quilt is used. This does not apply to decorative wall quilts of course. This need to rush quilting (‘saving time’ by machine quilting, or make a quilt in a is a day classes) is sadly a product of the fast-paced lives many Westerners lead today.
There’s a lot more to think about too, as many ‘art quilt makers’ or quilted textile artists, (myself included) produce smaller sized works for wall decoration. Despite using modern materials, dyes, printing inks and digital printing processes, and this smaller decorative format, they aren’t necessarily ‘Art’.
IMHO, a well chosen quilting motif or pattern adds another design element to a quilt and can enhance the value of the overall design; and just as easily a meaningless pattern with no connection to the quilt or one that looks merely routine, easy, a no brainer, can reduce the impact of the whole piece. One of the most popular no brainer quilting patterns around these days is the meandering or stippling, where the quilted line wanders like a little maze, or like electronic circuitry over the surface of the quilt. Now, this could also be totally appropriate to the underlying design, but as generally used, isn’t. Dijanne Cevaal recently published a book of all-over machine quilting patterns she has come up with, “Seventy Two Ways Not to Meander or Stipple – Ideas for Free Machine Quilting”, now available in english and french, in book form and cd: for ordering information follow the link on this page to her blog (Musings of a Textile Itinerant) posted October 6, 2006. A great starting point for opening the mind to the potential for machine quilting. Well, you could also do some of them by hand, too…. let’s be open minded about all this.
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