Creating art out of fiber and stitch is my passion. In no other pursuit have I ever found the rewards and joy that I find in using textiles, thread, paint, beads, yarns, and whatever else inspires me to make an object of beauty to share with others.

My work is based in the quilting tradition of three layers stitched together, but the artistry of it goes far beyond the basic piecing of geometric shapes to create a bedcovering. You will see reflections of nature in my work as I live in a valley in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana surrounded by mountains, rivers, streams and my own garden. Color and texture inspire my work and they are my palette.

I write about what I am doing with my art and where I hope to go. I create, I write, I teach, I share and I think about my art and tell you about it all on the pages of my blog.

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.

1 comment:

Robbie said...

WOW! Your pieces are amazing!!!