Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I spent a good part of today reading and searching for numbers to illustrate the concept of my quilt. I was pleased to see that at least I had appropriate fabrics in my stash (this is why I won't get rid of ANY fabric -- I've had these for 15 years!).
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I went straight to traditional quilting on this one and found 4-patch, 16-patch and 36-patch designs that looked like larger or smaller versions of each other and kinda melded them together to make one 12 x 12 composition. It's mathematical in it's division and near-fractalness. It looks pretty much how I expected it to, but even if (or maybe especially if) I used "mathematical" colors like tints and shades and transparencies of each other, it would look like something made by cutting edge quilters from the seventies when Michael James and Nancy Crow were making perfectly gradated, precisely pieced strips and optical illusions. It just looks like a traditional quilt to me.
I'm going to have to keep working on this theme -- going further back to basics: ones, tens, hundreds, counting, accounting, pattern, predictability, and keeping track of things. Counting something in those groups of five comes to mind, as does an abacus. A loaded phrase like "You do the math," leads me to statistics -- perhaps a comparison of something considered woman's work with something not...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
It is Lindi but we are grateful for all your comments. Ironically she lives in Australia and I only have the cards to deliver becuase Brenda brought them to the UK from Australia for me to deal with while she was busy in the US....
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
At the same time as the poll closes, we will be closing the celebration draw for some special Twelve by Twelve notecards. It's not to late for you to leave a comment so that your name can go into the draw.>
Monday, October 6, 2008
I'm guessing that cuisenaire rods are not around in schools any more and certainly not the smooth wooden ones like I used to have.
Friday, October 3, 2008
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Now all of our shelter-themed quilts have been unveiled, I have compiled the collaborative art quilt mosaic:
Community mosaic, you will recall how Kristin and Gerrie's quilt both featured a similar cross motif. Then in the Illumination mosaic, Gerrie's pears were echoed by Terri's lightbulb. This time, the shape of Diane's cave doorway and Karen's Lost City could almost be the positive/negative of one another (how spooky is that!) while Gerrie and Nikki are channelling orange. What do you see?
PS: Don't miss out on seeing what others have to say. Here is the link for the comments feed on this blog.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.
Over the last year I have spent a lot of time thinking about this theme. Ideas have come and gone, but this is the one that has continually stuck. I almost abandoned it thinking it lacked definite visuals or it was too broad. But this is suppose to be a challenge! I have no idea what I am going to do, so I have no advantage over everyone else. So now it's time to explore the other side of our brains.
As I considered "Shelter" the idea that returned over and over was of the safe and loved childhood I enjoyed. My childhood was spent on a large block of land where both my parents and my maternal grandparents had houses and I was adored and spoiled by all of them. There was a huge vege garden and an orchard and Dad built us an enormous sandpit. The more I thought about it all, the more I realised that an attempt at a realistic image would never express all of it, so my quilt became more and more abstract.
Until, it was this. More or less a schematic (I hope I am using this word correctly!) of the land and houses. It isn't to scale but it does contain both houses, the sandpit, important trees (including this one) and even my Grandfather's truck which was always parked in the same place.
The name for my quilt is "Everlasting". The benefit of a loving childhood has an everlasting benefit on ones life. It is also a reference to the first lines of a hymn which ran through my head as I considered the impact of my blessed start in life:
Everlasting arms of Love
are around, beneath, above...
I toyed with a wide range of ideas and kept circling around the shelter of a mother's care and a sheltered life (not unexpected ideas from a geographically single mother trying to balance how much to expose her kids to or not). The concepts in my head didn't match what my hands were willing to do though. Finally, about a week ago, I was looking out the window at some very dramatic clouds moving over the mountains towards us, and decided to just keep it simple.
Log cabin construction reinforces the house/shelter and a contrast of warm colors for the house with cool, stormy colors for the outside hopefully tells the story. I had a lot of fun finding meaningful "stormy" fabrics like the swirling leaves, puddled water, driving rain, and of course, storm clouds. If the Japanese ones at the top look familiar it's because they were a gift from Jude of Spirit Cloth, who has also used them to great effect in her own dramatic work.
The "reveal" of our shelter quilts marks the midpoint in our challenge timetable. To help us celebrate this milestone, we invite our readers to leave a comment by no later than 15 October (blog time) to go into a draw for a special set of notecards featuring some of our collaborative theme mosaics:
While you are at it, you can vote in the poll in the sidebar. Let us know what is your favourite collaborative theme mosaic so far!
For this art quilt, I wanted to continue to explore some of the techniques and styles I've been working on lately. The "shelter" theme gave me a wonderful focus and when I finally let go of the need to make a piece of art that was obviously about shelter, I was very inspired by colors, shapes and lines from various shelter images.
My main inspiration was this photo of an adirondack shelter.
This piece also is very similar to my Construction: Concrete and Stone quilt. You can see it here.
I was really excited to work in the color palette of brown, green and gray. I simplified the shapes in the photo so I could focus on the fabrics and the surface design in the different areas of the composition.
I really enjoyed adding the embroidery -- in both short and long stitches -- but I'm not sure it shows up well enough for it to be effective. It's hard to make design decisions in a 12x12 area. I didn't want anything to stand out too much.
I added a layer of black tulle to reference the shadows created by a roof line. I did a pillowcase finish which worked really well for this piece. I like that clean edge.
This art quilt has so many elements -- literally and symbolically. I've got paint, commercial fabrics, hand dyed fabrics, thread, floss, tulle, free motion quilting, embroidery, stamping and stenciling and more. Symbolically, there are planks of wood and stacks of stone. I'm thinking about fireplaces, walls, shadows, forests, tall trees and tiny vines. It's about mixing order with irregularity. I'm not sure all that says "shelter." But that was my starting point.
Welcome to my blinged version of Boulder Shelter, a backpacking shelter in the Olympic National Park. I've never actually made it all the way to the shelter, but I have hiked part way on the trail in years past. My husband, on the other hand, did the hike with his dad in the winter. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hiking and even an occasional backpacking trip, but I require more "shelter" during most of our northwest weather than that of a hut in the woods or tent. I'm one for a comfortable, dry bed at the end of the day. When I think of hiking in comfort, I always think of some hikers my husband and father-in-law encountered one trip. While they were hiking along the trail, a woman approached wearing all white with a tennis sweater around her shoulders. She looked like she had just stepped out of the country club. She was enjoying the outdoors the best she could. A ways down the trail she was followed by a man with a hundred pound pack, stacked up above his head. He could barely move with all the stuff he was carrying. We figure the only way he was going to get his wife out backpacking with him was if he carried everything and spared no luxury. So, at least I'm not that back. I can carry my own.
Inspired by that story, I decided to turn a backpacking shelter into something it isn't. Forget the soft weathered grays and browns of exposed wood, bring on the color and sparkle. I used three different fabrics in each of the colors. One was white muslin quilted and then painted with watered down acrylics. Another was painted fabric quilted with metallic thread. The final was fabric paper created by gluing decorative papers and tissue to muslin and painting it with acrylic paint. I sewed these together with gold thread to create panels for the different parts of the shelter. I then sewed on glass "jewels" and shiny wire to add to the fantasy element of this shelter. The binding was a challenge. Nothing I tried seemed to work, so I decided to simply color the edges with a gold leafing pen. I like the look, but I think it would be best mounted on mat board as apposed to hanging in a quilt show.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this piece. At first I was trying so hard to create "Art," something meaningful and important. Nothing was working. Serious just isn't me. Creating, at this point in my life, is my way of getting away from all the pressure and worry of life. I don't want to turn it into another stress with unrealistic expectation. So, I decided to experiment with something different, but also with my own signature touches. Now I'm finally feeling like I am getting over the slump I've been in all summer and I look forward to playing with the next challenge (more to come about that soon).
Right off the bat I have to say that this is my favorite piece so far with Twelve by Twelve. It is the lost city of Machu Picchu which my husband Ted and I visited a few years ago. When I started thinking about this theme, I went from abstract to realistic and everywhere in between. I drew pictures of people pushing shopping carts and sleeping on park benches, I thought about collaging, and finally, when I was reviewing my photos for ideas, this one clicked. I started with a piece of hand dyed in some very muted cream, peach, and pale blues. I added some painted interfacing in the colors of the photo, building it up slowly, and when I liked this background, I made a (actually 2) thermofax screen of the picture and screened the photo on. I loved it but felt I needed to do a little stitching to highlight areas, so I just added some machine stitches where the mountains and fields needed it.
Machu Piccchu was built around 1460 by the Incas and abandoned 100 years later when the Spanish invaded Peru. It was rediscovered in 1911 by an archeologist named Hiram Bingham and is now preserved, although it has started crumbling under the number of visitors it receives.
The reason I decided to use this image is the idea I have that shelter is transient, and ultimately, all it is is shelter, a place to be. This may be important to us as we look back to study civilizations, but what is really important is the people who live in the various shelters of our lives, those that came before us, those that follow us, and those that we will never know, living their lives in places we will never visit,but living their lives just the same.
An umbrella was one of my first shelter ideas. Then, it was mentioned in all the banter about shelter, and so I decided to go in another direction. You can see the other shelter piece on my blog.
I remembered seeing a photo taken from above, of a red umbrella on a rainy sidewalk, with just a pair of boots showing beneath the umbrella. That was my idea. I kept making umbrellas from different silk fabrics, trying to get just the right one.
As I was playing with the pieces, I had an epiphany that a trio of umbrellas would make a more interesting composition. I bought rain drop shaped beads and different paints as I was going to try to make the whole thing look rainier, but in the end, I could not muck it up. I decided that the hand-dyed sidewalk fabrics would be enough to give the feeling of rain and the addition of beads just seemed trite.
I am pleased with the idea but ashamed of the quality of the work. Really this should be the model and I should have done another one to show but time has run out and this is it.
The little shell and the big tree both offer shelter to this fragile creature.
And I thought the little guy was looking very lonely all by himself. That's why there are two snails on my quilt...
I hand dyed and screenprinted the fabrics. As usual, I used machine and hand stitching.
More pictures on my blog...
The roof graphic that accompanied Terri's announcement of the shelter theme reminded me of a tent. For me, camping has mostly happy associations with the great outdoors but I was mindful that for many people, tents are a necessity as they flee their homes due to war, famine and natural disasters. When I searched online for images of refugee camps for inspiration, I also found photos of shantytowns and suddenly I was back in sixth form geography class studying South America...
Source: Wikimedia Commons
My home, my shelter, overlooks the beach of Copacabana. By contrast, the hills above the "other" Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro are densely crowded with irregular, improvisational shantytown structures known as "favela" providing shelter to a more than a quarter of Rio's citizens.
Favelas have their origins in the 19th century. When soldiers returned to Rio after quelling an insurrection, the government had yet to build housing it had promised in exchange for their services. In protest, the soldiers camped out on Rio's hills and nicknamed it “ favela ” after the favela plants that they encountered on their military campaign. Other favelas were formed by fugitive and freed slaves left with no place to live. With successive waves of rural people seeking work in the city and urban poor displaced from flood-prone areas, favelas have blossomed into self-made, strong and vibrant communities. Notes from the Hillside: The Funk and Favelas in Rio de Janeiro by Greg Scruggs offers fascinating insights into these communities as does this Washington Post article by Sean Green.
I had an advantage, I felt, on this theme as I was the one to choose it. As soon as I figured out that the theme would be shelter, I knew what I wanted to do.
I enjoy birdwatching. In order to do that, I feed the birds throughout the year as well as provide nesting houses for them. I always get excited each year when certain birds return to the yard. This year, I think most of my nesting houses remained empty and I know it's because my cats scared the birds away. I can't blame the birds. I even sat the cats down and had a long talk with them about those nesting houses, but evidently it didn't sink in.
I love trying new techniques, and for my quilt I remembered an article by Liz Berg on abstract design that she wrote for Quilting Arts magazine. My background and the grasses and flowers are based on that technique. For the birdhouses, I just had to add some bright color to spice up the quilt.