Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Embellishment: beads!

Sometimes a piece just doesn't look finished when I'm done sewing--it cries out for something more. Angelina fiber, beads, buttons, found objects, chinese fortune cookie fortunes--you name it! Here are some of the shiny, glittery pieces that really wanted some sparkly seed beads.

This is one of a 3 piece set titled: "Studies in Orange and Blue". Lots of shiny stuff here. I used seed beads to highlight a curve here and there.

Here's a detail at a higher magnification.

This piece is a long horizontal panel that depicts the different stages of the sun throughout its daily life. I called it "Celestial Vedas." Each sun and its rays are all accented with matching seed beads. Man--this one took me FOREVER to bead and finish but it was worth it.

A detail from one of the last panels.

Another close-up shot.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Collages and textile art

When people ask me what kind of artist I am I usually answer "textile artist". While its true that my pieces can be technically be defined as quilts I have come to find that labeling them as quilts and me as a quilter is limiting and somewhat misleading. People always think blankets when you say "quilt" and then to : "my grandma makes quilts...". Then I have to explain that my pieces are not functional--they are meant to hang on the wall...yadda, yadda, yadda. So its really much simpler to say textile artist and be done with it. Sometimes I elaborate and say that I make fabric collages. Collage pretty much describes most of what I do these days (but I do slip in some traditional quilt making assembly techniques when appropriate.)

Whenever I trim a top or nearly finished piece and the trimmings feature pretty fabrics and embroidery I keep the bits and later use them as the raw materials for an abstract collage. When I do this, I love to let the batting and raw edges show--its kind of a quilt deconstruction and reconstruction to more of a fine arts format.

Here's one of my favorite little abstract collages.

This guy is only about 5"x 6". I love the bright colors and loose placement of the strips. It feels very spontaneous and alive! I took this picture right after I completed it--now I actually have it framed in a shadow box format with a lime green brushed aluminum frame.

Here's a close up so you can see the stitches and batting and all the cool stuff. I love small works--how they draw you in and encourage you to peer closely at their details. I have this one mounted in my home at my eye level in a hallway that I pass through multiple times a day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Unusual materials

Most often I use commercially produced cotton fabric for my pieces. I generally do not wash the material first. I like the sizing in the fabric--it produces a crisp finish when ironed (although it does build up on my iron which is annoying.) Sometimes, though, I use other fabrics for different effects. Here is one of my favorite excursions from the cotton fold:

Here is an entirely non-cotton piece. The black background is a heavy black linen--quite substantial. All of the colored fabric is felt. Some of it is wool felt which I happened to run into at JoAnn's one day. The rest is polyacrylic. So much fun to work with!

In this close-up you can see that I embroidered the felt prior to sewing it down. I wanted a real indigenous look to the piece so I used various embroidery stitches for the applique. I also used some off-white felt cut with pinking shears as a border around some of the pieces.
That's all for today. Hopefully I'll have something new to post about soon--