Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mark making

Terry Grant has introduced some good ideas about mark making on the quiltart list.  Marks that are not necessarily surface design types like screening, or painting, or airbrushing. I love how she categorizes the history of mark making, from cave painting to the universal methods children use.

 Petroglyphs from the desert southwest.
 Child's drawing...wow what a lot of different marks!
 Van Gogh, I've always admired how he directs the eye simply with the direction and weight of his line.

Cy Twombly can make a cacophony with the various thicknesses and agitation in his line.

All good stuff. But how to translate it to fabric. Yes I could quilt in these types of lines ...even vary the thickness.But it occurs to me looking at these, that there are a multitude of fabrics with similar linear patterns. I'm going to try an image by combining linear patterns and see what happens.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Texas Quilt Museum

Jamie Fingal has shown us her funky donations to Karey's new project, the Texas Quilt Museum. I also wanted to be part of this so have sent these two for  the Museum.  It's sure a better place than under a pile of other quilts that have been retired from the show circuit and relegated to "maybe -they- will- sell sometime- when- the- economy- gets- better" !  I was reminded of an artist whose solution to older work was to walk around town and just leave them in a park or bus shelter with a little sign saying "take me home".  Here they are:

                                                        CHILD`S PLAY REDUX

                                                            THREE VASES ALIGNED LIKE SOLDIERS

Making LINES in art quilts

Sandy Snowden on quiltart list has asked for any suggestions about making marks that are not stitched or quilted. Since nobody wants to publish my book, I can share the exercises I wrote whenever the occasion arises.  Here is my linear exercise which can create a line type mark in various configurations....either jagged or organic- thick or thin. I could see the kind of spooky swirky lines in Eduard Munch's THE SCREAM being done this way.

Linear exercise

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.

This shows the final addition of line by means of long running stitch with embroidery floss. The finished piece below it offers the viewer a unified integration of the original fragment that concentrates on line as an element of art.

You may have noticed my advice in these first two exercises, to quickly establish a background for the whole work.  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.

Saturday, September 3, 2011



The Standard of Ur circa 2400 B.C.

Yay! My quilt FISHING DERBY MESOPOTAMIA 2000 B.C. will be on it's way to the Visions Art Museum in San Diego for their INTERPRETATIONS 2011 show. I'm so glad I became a member of Visions years ago, as it is such a good opportunity to get your work over to the left coast once in a while. Here's my quilt. It's one of several "historical" quilts based on a particular style in History. In this case the Standard of Ur with it's quirky little people. I figure people at all times in history must do essentially what we do now. Thus the fishing derby fun.