Friday, October 2, 2015

Creating line in fabric art.

 Line is an artistic element that can be used to describe the edges and contours of an object. Line can also define a direction for the eye to travel. Line of various thickness and weight can also generate a mood; calm for lyrical curved lines, tense for jagged irregular ones. In art quilts, lines can be created by adding narrow strips of fabric or cutting a thin channel through which the underlying fabric reveals itself (as in reverse appliqué) or by stitching. Let’s make a sample to explore some of these techniques. We will start with a small piece of fabric with a large linear pattern.

Your one rule is that you cannot cover or cut this original piece. It’ll be a challenge to make a unified composition from this almost arbitrary start, but it can be done! This fragment is from a rayon sarong measuring about 7 inches. You can see the lines are in a yellow color, so I am placing it on a yellow background in anticipation I might be cutting some other fabrics to reveal the underlying colour. The object of this exercise is to create a fully realized linear composition by extending the already existing lines in the starter fabric. The first thing we must do is to fill the rest of the space with fabrics that relate to those already there.

These do NOT have to match in color, but rather need to be sympathetic to the tone and color family you are starting with. Notice the entire surface is now covered. I have added more blue and black shapes to begin to connect the composition to the edges of the rectangle. Notice that some connecting lines are also appearing by cutting through the top layer and aligning the underlying line with the original fabric pattern. In the lower right, where the black fabric completes a shape, I have cut a space that reveals a red line instead of the yellow. I LIKE it for its variety! The top part of the composition seemed neglected so I begin to introduce lines to connect the bottom to the top of the rectangle.

Remember that ALL of the composition is important, so be mindful of the rectangle as you develop the image. I felt I needed another black shape on the left edge to draw the eye across from the others. Again I was able to cut out a red line around it.

The composition is becoming more unified and balanced. The final addition of line by means of long running stitch with embroidery floss, adds a decorative stitched line. The finished piece offers the viewer a unified integration of the original fragment that concentrates on line as an element of art.

A WORD ABOUT UNITY One of the joys of creating comes from the “dialogue” that begins to occur between you and your art. Without some initial shapes, colors and arrangement, however temporary such a dialogue cannot take place. We need something visual and complete upon which to bounce our next idea. Strive to maintain integrity in your work at all stages. By that I mean you should be able to appreciate a unified image at all stages of development. The process of creating a successful composition involves a kind of stream of consciousness thinking that is stimulated by what is already present in the work in progress. You can analyze the fragment for instance, and notice the direction of the lines. This will give you a clue to where they will go and how they will engage the rectangle. “ What if I make this diagonal into a more lyrical wavy line? What if I change the colour of the line where it meets the first one?”. And so on. Then of course, you must actually try your idea and see if it will work! So LISTEN to your work and act on what it is telling you.

Friday, September 4, 2015

New Klimty work

Talk about shameless self promotion. I haven't posted on my blog in ages, but now that I want to "show off" my SLEEPING BEAUTY finished art, I come here to blow my horn.  I say that because I REALLY like how this one developed!  I have been gleaning my rather pitiful stash in the last months. If it seems ugly to me, I have over dyed it  . That in itself is a small excitement because you never know how it will turn out.  Now I am a BIT more selective knowing that if I over dye something in its complimentary color , it may very well become exotic and mysterious as a result. Admittedly a few have become "mud" but even then, I have over dyed the over dye with some success.   It is reassuring to be the kind of person I am....sort of cavalier about the ultimate results.  I am NEVER disappointed that way! HaHa.

However in ALL my work, I have big problems with the finishing touches. I know HOW to block, square and bind my work. I'm just not very good at it!  Especially squaring up. And I even have a cross hair laser level to be as accurate as I can.  So this latest one has a slight wonk in the top....but better than usual. Maybe 3 out of 5 on the binding!

 I AM a bit worried/guilty about using Klimt's charming female face so blatantly. It is slightly altered in shape but more or less a direct transfer via the computer of the sleeping face. And me so vocal about others who "copy" other artists' compositions and colors.  I would welcome any comments and opinions about this as a matter of fact.

Here is they are....somewhat elderly couple smooching on the couch.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Neutral means more than beige

Well I know now that the length my thinking when I decided to try more neutral palette was about one inch . I was thinking NEUTRAL EQUALS BEIGE.  Now others are showing their attempts at neutrals and I am slapping myself when I see such beautiful COLOURS that are muted and almost neutralized. Lisa Call
 for instance just blew me away in their beauty.

Nevertheless I will show you in the spirit of what NOT to do.  When I was in art school, a prof once told me "Your first idea is your worst idea"  I was irritated at the time but his adage has proved very true. I just forget every now and then and get lazy about developing an idea.  These two are only okay.  A sort of what's not to like image but not very exciting.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicken clucking

Just so people understand that I am a chicken lover from way back despite what I said on quiltart this morning.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Novel about an art quilter

By Joshilyn Jackson  the novel THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING features a main character who is an art quilter. Her artistry was based on MY work that Joshilyn admired.  She commissioned an art quilt which was described in detail in the book. Of a bride, who uses recycled materials with bizarre embellishments like her child's baby teeth hidden in Victorian shoes! I got model teeth from my dentist to fulfill that particular request!  The author sent me the description before the book was even finished.  The headress had to be detachable because Joshilyn was taking it on tour for book launchings! I bought a wedding dress at the Salvation Army which is reborn as the subject's dress. I also did a dozen framed post cards for her which I believe she gave as gifts to certain people.  Here is the quilt. Also a couple of the post cards.

Joshilyn gave me a nice write up in the acknowledgements section of the book. It was a real honor to be remarked upon in this way. I felt sort of immortalized! haha.

Sunday, February 10, 2013



SAILPAST,2011, by Pamela Allen

Soon Virginia's big fundraiser will start with a bang. You might want to know a little about the work I have donated to the cause.  It's ironic that I have done a number works on the subject of sailing. It's true I live on Lake Ontario. It's true the wind is so good that they held the 1976 Olympic sailing event here,. It's true I once took sailing lessons. BUT....I was hopeless at actually sailing a boat. Not only could I never tell which way the wind was blowing but my one adventure on the water I forgot to put the center board down and was drifting all over the inner harbor much to the amusement of everyone on shore!

Still there is something elegant and romantic about sailing. This particular one was a test piece for a class I was teaching. I was going to ask the students to make a small narrative art quilt, then ( heavens!!!!) cut a fragment from it. They were then to enlarge the fragment into an entirely new  composition but without slavishly trying to match all the fabrics. Of course it is only fair that I try a couple myself to make sure it was doable.

So , the smaller piece is the fragment I started with...a detail of another quilt. You can vaguely see it in the finished piece on the right. Different but the same. Makes for an interesting slightly cubist rendering.  I hope someone likes it enough to pay the BIG bucks for it.  But not to be greedy, the lesser  donation is welcome.

AND...You might win the humongous grand giveaway prize too.

Thank you to Virginia, and all of you who intend to participate.