Archive for the ‘applique’ Category

Sample Making Satisfaction

Friday, November 13th, 2020

I have in mind something about 2m wide by about 95cm high, which is largish for me, and with the hand stitching that’s on my mind just now, I’ve been thinking of how to apply large areas of colour – well there’s paint of course …

I’m always inclined to set personal challenges to somehow use stuff already in the house, much of which I bought years ago on some whim or faded intention.  A few years ago I bought several metres of slightly dusty white cheesecloth in an old downtown store – I’ve asked myself a few times since what on earth I was thinking.  The other day from somewhere came the idea that I could paint or spray it, and thought it would go well with what I have in mind (see previous post)  I just happened to have a new can of gold spray paint, it was a nice day, so I cut off 3m x ~50cm, took it outside, and emptied the whole can on it.  Outside, with the fabric folded over so spray passing through the holes would get picked up as it moved through, with re-folding periodically, I regard that as a successful move… though I forgot about an aprin so njow have a new painting shirt, and managed to get some drips on my foot amazingly missing my sandle, and a few drops on the ceramic patio tiles, which didn’t cause any angst anywhere.

Gold gauze and a sandy coloured waxed string machine appliqued with invisible nylon thread to secure the edge, which was then hand stitched with one of my many gold threads.

I suppose I fiddled around for at least an hour, ironing the gauze, and trying several ways to stitch it down, none of which I was happy with until this combo,  so it ticks all the boxes –

  • I can invisible machine applique large sections of this gold gauze, and the edge will not fray and become unstable as I stitch and handle the rest of the piece
  • The effect of this gold gauze is earthy, not brassy – very pleasing.
  • In addition to the horizontal strips I at first tagged it for, I now know I can use it for other shapes that would fray even more on handling if not fo my technical breakthrough.
  • I have a lot of this colour gold thread, but as it’s just the edge being oversewn, it will be much more economical with the feature thread than the oversewn strips on Pandemic Pattern (which did fray, and that was a chosen option, so AOK)



Egypt – Tentmaker Works Installed

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

At last, the two magnificent large tentmaker pieces we bought in Egypt are in place, and here are the pics to show these wonderful textiles in their new home. The one on the bed is in our guest room. This elegant colour combination would grace any interior anywhere in the world, and compatible to a whole range of decor styles. I would describe our home here as basically Uruguay conservative modern, with many eclectic touches by owner. So it fits in perfectly, right? The carpet is the same neutral plain light milk-coffee colour you can see in the photo of the other room, our own bedroom. These are hand applique works, the pieces sewn piece by piece directly on to the canvas base which is a bit heavier than artist canvas, possibly a light sail weight, just to give you some idea. Of course, this means they are pretty heavy, and the cover will need to be rolled back when the bed is in use. There is no further backing, so quite a bit of the stitching is visible here and there. Ref: Tentmakers blog entry for sept 9th 2007
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Why Human Hair on a Quilt?

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

A few days ago on the quiltart list someone asked for technical information and tips regarding attaching human hair to a quilt. I am sure it is technically possible, and hair like mine, dead straight and fine would be infinitely harder to deal with than thick wavy , curly or frizzy hair; and damaged (colour processed, permed, bleached) far less difficult than slippery natural hair. But apart from struggling with unwilling or slippery human hair, alternatives include some very realistic doll making hair ; the quilter could hand drawn hair using a very fine permanent pen … or why not take a photo, transfer it to fabric, and apply that to the quilt …. some very practical options, which I suggested. Someone else suggested containing the hair under a layer of tulle -quilted or sitched down, and that could be OK, too.

The real question for me is, WHY focus on just this one bit of realism ?

Now I don’t do pictorial designs in my work but have admired some very fine art from people who do. And, I have noticed that these embroiderers, collage artists and quilters, especially those designing their own (perhaps personal story) quilts, will go to quite a bit of trouble to find fabrics with appropriate textures and colours for particular parts of their design; and some of the effects created with print fabric by both traditional and non-traditional quilt, collage and stitch artists can be quite incredible, giving the illusion of Reality and Life. They reflect the artist’s vision through some exquisite fabric selections, and often attest to a very wide circle of quilter and dressmaker acquaintances or a very comprehensive stash of fabrics and scraps…. these are the ‘paint’ of such artists. (google the work of Edrica Huws of UK, or Margaret Cusack of USA with her cut fabric illustrations especially) and there are countless good examples in the major quilt and embroidery magazines.

My point is how far does any textile artist really need to go to present a semblance of realism? We expect to see it in certain other media – think photography, good quality portrait landcape and still life paintings, sculpture, television and movies, to name a few. Or think of it another way – no one would go so far as looking for ways to attach a real human face or other body parts to a quilt, would they? (Hmm, I wonder if Jeffrey Dahmer or his mates ever considered contemporary quilt making as an avenue of artistic expression.. yeah, a sick thought, I know…. I’m a murder mystery fan (books and tv) and enjoy the forensic trails the goodies follow.

These may sound pretty facetious remarks, but my point is, in a textile like a quilt, how far is it necessary to go to present a semblance of realism? The motivation might be to display something innovative that contributes to a general “Gee Whizz Factor” , and we hear it all the time at quilt shows or art quilt exhibitions : ” How did they DO that?…Is that really HUMAN hair on that quilt?” People love something innovative and novel, and using real human hair on a quilt would do it. Sadly in the art quilt world today technical diversity, alacrity and the accompanying GWFR*are often mistaken for “Art”.
The technical answers will be interesting because, with motivation other than presentation of Realism, there might come a time when I myself want to put hair on a quilt; the hair itself being a symbol of something on my mind at the time. But for realism, and considering the difficulties of obtaining and attaching real human hair to a quilt, I’d almost certainly fall back on a low tech straight stitch by hand (straight or stem) or machine, in a glossy thread.

* Gee Whizz Factor Rating, a new term coined today, abbr. GWFR – it’s one of my pet peeve key concepts !

P.S. monday 19th february: just a bit of interesting serendipity !
I was reading my book “The Optimists” by Andrew Miller, over my first cup of tea, procrastinating about actually getting out of bed this morning; the first hints of Autumn crispness were in the air. Makes a pleasant change from suffocating humid heat. Anyway, reading along at the point where Clem, the main character was reading an essay his sister Clare had written, I came across the following passage:
“on Theodore Gericault…… a Romantic obsessed with giving to his work a shocking new realism. For the painting of a disaster at sea, a notorious shipwreck off the West African coast, he had sketched in hospitals, visited morgues, even smuggled body parts into his studio in the hope that this butcher’s haul would infuse his painting with that quality of the authentic the first photographers, setting up their tripods in the Crimea and Gettysburg, would soon claim for their own.” (my own emphasis)

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