Monday, September 12, 2011

Dealing with a large scale print

So all of you quilters out there know the siren allure of a striking large scale print fabric in the quilt fabric shop and then the inevitable crushing confusion of "now what the hell do I do with this??" when you get home and start to plan/sew. Hah! I have succumbed to this too many times to say. I'm particularly fond of the designs of Jane Sassaman and Kaffe Fasset. Love those large, unusual florals! And the bright vibrant colors! Man, its just addictive. I can't help myself--just gotta have'em.
I have a couple of strategies that seem to work pretty well.  What I do is make a large border with it or focus in on the individual motifs and use them in the center of your blocks. I've used both of these strategies in this traditional quilt. A huge Gerbera daisy head is in the center of some of the blocks, just left whole and unpieced. The border is a lovely chard leaf print and is also left whole and unpieced. I call this one Tropical Floral Sunset Major and it currently lives in the somewhere in the Tampa area.

Here's another quilt with large scale prints. One in the center of the round insets in the of the blocks, and a couple more in between the blocks and then another surrounding the blocks. This one is called Solar Mandala and is quite large (like, about 7 feet across or so). In fact, it grew so large that its the only quilt that I've had to send out and have quilted for me. It was just too big to manage for my regular sewing machine (needed a long-arm).

So, currently I'm working on something a trifle smaller and easier to deal with--8 small wall hangings with a large Gerbera daisy in the center of the single blocks. No, not the same Gerbera print as above. But, yes, obviously I love Gerbera daisies. They are so sunlike and happy. The cool (and challenging) thing about this print was that these flowers were on a black background. And you know how I feel about brights and black, right? right? Its AWESOME! What's not to love?? So here it is in all of its glory. Great. Lovely. what the hell do I do with it?
Keeping this one simple and relatively small--I've trimmed out individual daisies and framed them with strips of bright matching or contrasting funky fabrics. Then a frame of black and then strips above and below in a random sequence.

Unfortunately, the colors didn't reproduce well. Sorry! But you can see the progress. I'm chugging away at these. And since I'm just sewing on straight strips on top and below, its pretty easy to sit down and do some pinning or sewing for short quick periods of time. I'll post again when I'm finished with the tops. I'm thinking they will look striking in a groups. And with 8 to choose from, there will be a lot of ways to combine them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A post-modern composition of household ephemera

I've been reveling in the whole recycling thing lately, as you may have noticed, what with the opening of my new etsy shop and all. So a couple of weeks ago I thought I'd challenge myself with a project constructed out of completely recycled and rather nontraditional materials.

Here you can see what sparked my interest: some vinyl plastic from a mattress zippered bag, some dryer sheets and....bread twist ties! In all different colors, aren't they beautiful?? No? Well, I think they are interesting to look at and the colors are bright and compelling. Let's just see what I can start with all of this trash, hmm?

First, I cut the vinyl apart, saving the zipper for another project. I was glad to get it--finding really long zippers is really difficult at my local sources.

Then I straightened out the twist ties as much as possible and started laying them out vertically on top of the vinyl and a used dryer sheet, tryingto spread out all of the colors. I really love how these materials play off of each other in texture and origin.

So I just kept on going until I had all of my twist ties laid down and composed. Some vintage sheeting fabric was added as a backing layer for a little more depth.

Very nice! Now I had to fix the twist ties down without losing their spontaneous feel. The sewing machine was definitely out the the question, so I carefully hand sewed the twist ties down using large stitches.

I finished it with some white foam core (which then got smudged, dammit, so I have to get some more). I think this will look really inviting in a shadow box frame.

I think I'll call it: "A post-modern composition of household ephemera."

Oh. That was the title of my post. Well. How about that?


Friday, September 02, 2011

Shameless self-promotion

Hi all, 
Well, the title says it all--sigh. But I figure if you're reading this, you're interested in my doings. Been pretty busy with my day job lately--boring stuff like putting food on the table and endlessly shuttling kids around. I have started on a set of eight simple wall hangings with a botanical theme. I'll take some pictures and post soon, I promise. Seems like I am just able to squeeze in a scant 20 minutes here or 45 minutes there to actually sew a little. Luckily, although there are 8 of them, they are all of a really, (and I mean REALLY) simple format so the sewing is pretty mindless. The biggest part of the project was cutting all the strips. They should be pretty cool, though--similar in format to my Tribal Kat series. Lots of black in these too.

Anyway--news about my art on another front. I was contacted earlier this year by Anne Futterman Collier who was writing a book entitled Using Textile Arts and Handcrafts in Therapy with Women. She wanted to interview me and include a couple of my pieces in her work. She wished to feature 2 of my favorite pieces: Our Lady of Creativity and Nocturnal Sojourn (which you see here above right and to the left). I happily agreed and we corresponded via the magic of email. The book should be out in December and I look forward to getting a copy. If you want one for yourself, click on the link above and pre-order from Amazon. I think it sounds very interesting. 

Well, I thought that was the end of it, but no! Last month I was contacted by the publisher and was asked if thye could use one of the images on the cover of their upcoming book catalog. Well! How cool! Below you can see the image they will be using--nice, huh? (black always makes colors pop--I'm just a sucker for black and bright colors). Unfortunately, I made not a dime for either use, but it is good exposure and they do credit me. Maybe it will pay off in the long run somehow or other. I am a big believer in Karma, after all.

More soon!