Monday, April 23, 2012

Seasons Challenge in Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine

The current issue (May-June) of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine reveals their Seasons Challenge and I am one of the lucky invitees who participated in it.  There are 12 quilt artists and each was assigned a different season (so three for each season).  I was given Spring and since I had to create the piece in the Fall and Winter this was definitely a challenge!

The pieces had to be 18"h x 24"w and that also was a challenge for me as I don't often use a landscape orientation.  It was a little bit difficult to be inspired for a piece where the theme and size were inspired by someone else's idea of what the piece should be.  I work very intuitively and things just come together as I go along.  I am inspired by a fabric, a color scheme, or a technique and then I just create from there.  For this piece I made a list of everything I could think of that was Spring and looked at my fabric stash for inspiration.  Eventually I was able to sketch out an idea I thought would work using a piece of fabric I had painted with a watercolor-y landscape.   I then started cutting up fabric and putting it up on my design wall. Then the piece flowed together and I finished well before the deadline.

IN PROGRESS:  This shows my fabrics up on the design wall before being stitched down.  I use a glue stick to adhere the pieces.
Here are some more images of my piece which is entitled:  "The Story of Spring:  From Thaw to Bloom".  It chronicles the process that we experience every Spring here in Montana where the ground begins to thaw, rain feeds the earth, and things begin to grow.  The beading down the curvy center strip was done to try to portray that transition from the thawing snow and ice---melting, dripping---to the watery, muddy ground that soon is dotted with new shoots of growth and eventually bloom.  I am very happy with the color in my piece as I think it reflects the transition from the spareness of winter into the softness of spring and then hinting at the intensity of summer to come.  I hope it portrays what I was thinking about spring as a transitional season, and yet certainly beautiful in its own right.

This is the finished piece.  I used a double flat piping border inside the binding.  

Detail image of the stitching and beading in the blooming spring landscape.

The beading at the top is more reflective of melting snow and ice.  As it moves towards the bottom of the piece the beads are more earthy and "muddy".

Detail of the stitching and beading in the spring sky.

On the left side of the piece are the earthy early blooming tulips and foliage that signify we have left winter behind.  On the right side is the landscape that is transforming from muddy earth and yellow grasses to a greening, blooming, landscape---coloring up and coming alive.   Water falling and accumulating in pools and blue skies with clouds blowing through on summer breezes are part of the process that we call Spring.

I have done a number of challenges and always do find them challenging because of the way I usually work. Whether the challenge begins with a certain fabric you have to use or a theme, the challenge for me is to make something that is reflective of my own style and blends the rules of the challenge with my own inspiration to create a successful piece.  That is not to say that I don't enjoy doing them and sometimes I do end up with successful pieces--and sometimes not so much!  I was, however, happy with how this piece turned out and I'm proud to have it included in this impressive line-up of art from some well-respected artists.  It was great fun to create the piece and not it is great fun seeing it in the magazine and knowing it is going to travel to quilt shows across the country in this impressive grouping.  Here are the other artists who are in the challenge:  Spring:  Sue Reno, Patty Hawkins  Summer:  Patricia Anderson Turner, Eileen Doughty, Roxane Lessa  Fall:  Judy Momenzadeh, Carol Ann Sinnreich, Lea McComas  Winter:  Patt Blair, Kate Themel, Kathie Briggs.

MQU magazine is one of my favorite magazines and well worth the cost of a subscription.   If you do your own quilting and particularly if you find that an important part of your art/quilts, then this is the magazine for you.  It covers domestic, mid-arm and long-arm quilting.  It is not available on all newstands, but you can find it at Barnes & Noble and Joann's (although I have not seen it yet at my local Joann's store.)  You can subscribe here:

P.S. -  This is my 100th Blog Post!!  Yea......clap, clap, clap!!!


Marie Costa said...

Wow, lovely texture and colours!! I adore the finished piece. I'll have to pick up this issue, it sounds really good! There are a few specialty magazine shops in Toronto that carry it.

I really enjoy reading how an artist's idea for a piece evolves, thanks for sharing :)

Heidi Z. said...

Thanks, Marie! I hope you enjoy the magazine. It is one of my favorites.
I appreciate the comment!

Wolfie said...

Lovely quilt. I really wish I could create anything half as gorgeous as that. And adding the beadwork is stunning:) You really inspire me (and probably a lot of other people) to improve and experiment:)

Martha said...

Beautiful work, Heidi. Congratulations on being part of the seasons challenge in MQU.
Martha Ginn

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