Friday, July 22, 2011

Unusual Embellishments

I love to embellish my art quilts with all kinds of things. I most often use beads but I use more than the usual seed beads and bugle beads. I love to combine stone, glass, and metal beads with the fiber because they compliment it so well and add great texture.

Here is a piece that I made recently which is currently hanging in my solo exhibition at Art City Gallery in Hamilton, Montana. The piece is called "Indian Summer" and the dangling leaves at the bottom are made with shrink plastic. I colored the plastic with Sharpie markers, punched a hole in the top of each leaf, cut them out, and shrunk them on a baking sheet covered with foil in the oven. They are strung from the quilt on beaded strands and when they happen to knock together they make a very nice sound. The color is vivid and permanent (a little difficult to see on the detail picture because they are shiny and reflective). A very fun and easy embellishment. Shrink plastic (yes, the same as those Shrinky Dinks you used to make when you were a kid!), is available at Joann's and probably lots of other places. The hanging cord is a strip of suede and the rod is a stick I found early this spring when I was out hunting for morels along a stream.

Another piece I made recently (also in my Art City show), uses little butterflies purchased from a local drugstore that has a craft section. They are made from feathers that are painted to look like butterfly wings. I glued them onto the quilt using E6000 adhesive. They are somewhat fragile, but isn't it amazing how well they match the fabric they are perched on? It was purely by accident that I had picked them up just a few days before making this quilt. I did not buy them for anything in particular, just liked the colors. I made the quilt and only then remembered the butterflies and wondered if they would go with it. Serendipity!

You never know where an embellishment or an idea for an embellishment might come from. The quilt I am currently working on is a pheasant and I went outside to pick some tall grasses so I could lay them out on the quilt, position them attractively, mark the placement with chalk, and quilt them into the quilt. Worked great! And I had them there next to me so I could quilt the tops of the grasses fairly realistically.

I am finishing two pieces up for my family show that will open on Friday, August 5 at River's Mist Gallery in Stevensville, Montana. I gave the gallery several collaged images for the postcard and I think the one below is the one they used. You can see there will be a nice variety of art in our show, although my sister wasn't able to get me images of her wearable art for the postcard. Anyone in the area is invited to attend the opening reception Friday evening from 6-9pm, or visit the gallery anytime in the month of August.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Detail Images of New Pieces


I just finished a very small piece inspired by some round copper beads that I just recently purchased. They are dangling at the bottom of the piece. I used copper thread for some of the quilting and an interesting long skinny copper bead as well to carry through the copper inspiration. Not my best work but an interesting little piece.

I recently experimented with Artist Transfer Paper and the following quilt utilized an image that I colored onto the transfer paper with regular Sharpie markers. I would not usually use these on fabric since they tend to spread and you cannot do this small detail that I was able to do on the transfer paper. I also used some pastel crayons for some of the color and they also worked well. You can paint, draw, stamp, print, almost anything onto this paper and then transfer it to fabric or almost anything else. It is really fun stuff to experiment with.

Here are some detail images of the current piece I am working on. It has a section of nearly black fabric that I am quilting on with white rayon threadwork. I will likely do some beading here as well.


As you can see, I am still busy getting ready for my next shows opening in August and September!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finishing a UFO

At the end of last week I picked up a piece that I had worked on more than a year ago and never was able to get it to come together.  I wasn't sure if I could even salvage it or at the very least would have to do a major re-work, and I just wasn't at a point where I was ready to do that.  So, now when I picked it up again and looked at what I had done I thought it had great potential.  Gorgeous color, bold and textural fabrics, interesting lines.  It was actually ready for quilting so I tackled it and spent three days quilting my head off (father and son were off hiking the hills and left me home with my passion!).  I had made some dimensional attachments for the piece and I reworked some and created more and pinned them on.

Then I hung the piece on my design wall.  I left the room and came back----voila! It works.  I really like it and every time I turn around and see it hanging there I like it more.  I just love it when a plan comes together!  Now I have a great piece for my August show at River's Mist Gallery and if I can figure out how to attach the dimensional pieces and finish off the edges of the quilt it will be ready to hang. I think it will be a show-stopper! 

Lesson learned:  Sometimes a piece that isn't working just needs to be put away for a while until you are ready to see where it is supposed to go and what it is to become.  What I thought wasn't working about this piece turns out to be the best feature of it.   Areas of hot clear color and of soft romantic pastel become the hotspots and the eye relief for the piece.  The juxtaposition of the different styles/colorways turns out to be interesting and intriguing to the eye.  I guess I should have trusted my instincts in putting these together.  We'll see if others agree with my feelings about this piece when they see it in August.

Now that the piece is almost done I wish I had documented the progress with some images, but alas I did not.  I will share some images of the piece in the near future but I want to keep it a bit under wraps until my show.  

I'm kind of hoping this piece does not sell right away as it has some potential for getting into some shows (but my gallery owner doesn't want to hear that!).  I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Support Your Local Artists---Buy Art!

  I have many artist friends who are busy this time of year setting up their booth displays at various craft and art shows.  Holiday sal...