Monday, August 26, 2013

Playing with Paper

What with more upheaval and change in our home, I haven't spent a lot of time in the studio.  I have almost finished one piece that I am rather happy with- but I can't post a picture , since it is also my Tangled Textiles piece for September.  It will have to wait for a couple of weeks.

I am obsessing over what to do with this 18 X 29 hand dye that I've loved from the minute I pulled it from the bottom of a parfait.

So I have been drawing on graph paper, trying to come up with a design that will use every inch of this gorgeous fabric.  So far, this is what I have.

The last one looks too much like Christmas trees, so it's been eliminated.  The one above it has piecing issues, which I mostly resolved with the third drawing.  But I figured out that I don't have enough fabric to do the size quilt I was hoping for, and the irregular pieces don't use every inch of fabric.  The two top designs were attempts to utilize all the fabric.  I'll probably do a few more designs before I make a decision.  My plan (at this point, anyway) is to combine the patterned hand dye with solids- colors yet to be determined.

I am not accustomed to working this way, drawing and planning it all out.  I'm trying to identify what it is I like about the modern quilt design ethic and apply it to these, without losing 'me.'  It's turning into an interesting journey!

Only two weeks to go til the Dyeing to Discharge workshop with Carol Soderlund.  I've looked over the supply list, and it is a long one- but I have most everything.  I am so looking forward to a week with my work phone off!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Loosening the Knot

I had some nice comments on my last post- Libby's opened some doors that I have been exploring ever since.  I learned about the Hard Edge painters, I found some videos that explored modern art, and I've taken some small steps towards applying what I've learned to my own work.

I got a small top pieced last weekend, and I'm hoping to get it quilted in the next couple of weeks- if other life events don't take over.  Both of my adult kids are having life crises at the moment, so that is having an impact.  2013 is shaping up to be a year that I would mostly prefer to forget.

Since the quilt I made will be my next Tangled Textiles piece, I can't show you the whole thing- but here's a detail shot.

I am continuing in my quest to incorporate my hand dyes into clean, minimalist modern designs.  I'm also trying to figure out how to best use my fat quarter favorite green hand dye to best advantage.  This piece answered some of those questions.  I'm now musing on the kind of quilting designs I want to use.

Which brings up another lesson I've learned over the past few months.  I think the way modern quilts use quilting to enhance the piecing, not overpower it, appeals to me also.  I'm finding that I stress a lot less about my quilting- mostly because the kinds of quilting that enhances these designs feels doable.

If you are interested in learning more about art of any era, I found this website that has loads of videos.  I'm trying to get through a six part series entitles "This is Modern Art."  I also found a sequel to "The Shock of the New" here, which was also fascinating.

So there you have it, what is new and exciting in my neck of the woods.  I hope your week is turning out to be a creative one also!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Tying Myself Up in Knots

That about describes how I've been feeling- and I'm fully aware that I'm doing it to myself.  

On a positive note, I finished the tee quilt for Shannon.  She is very happy with it, despite the technical flaws that jump out at me.  (You won't see them in the picture, most of them are on the back!)

Art, quilting and design have been on my mind a lot lately.  I am more and more intrigued and enamoured of the modern quilt.  I have spent time trying to figure out exactly those aspects that appeal to me, and musing on how I can include those in my own work, without losing my unique voice.  (At least I hope it is unique!)  I signed up for a modern quilt design class on Craftsy, and bought a book.  The class was well worth it, and the book has some wonderful eye candy and design information.

I think I've narrowed down the elements that appeal to me.  I love the large expanses of negative space.  I like the simple, clean lines.  I really like how the quilting enhances the piecing, rather than taking over the entire quilt.  I find the use of color interesting- proof that limiting the palette can be more interesting than throwing the entire rainbow on it.

I'm really struggling with how to use my hand dyes to best effect with this design esthetic.  I really don't want to go back to using commercial fabrics.  Designing with solids is no problem- I can create my own no problem.  It's what to do with those hand dyes that have as much texture as a commercial print.  Like this one that was part of a parfait--

No lack of texture or color there.  I don't want to cut it into small pieces, but I don't want to just use it as is either.  I only have a fat quarter (from a 55" wide piece of Pimatex), so I don't have any to waste.  Right now I'm leaning towards a square in a square design, or a log cabin derivative, on a large expanse of solid.  I want this to pop, so I'll audition some medium gray fabric- but I can see white in the design too.  I still have lots of playing to do on paper before I actually cut the fabric- any other ideas welcomed!

I'm also playing with designs for the next Tangled Textiles piece, due the end of the month.  It will fit right in with my forest series.  And then there's the winter forest quilt that has been rolling around in the back of my mind, using the arashi shibori fabric I dyed earlier this summer.

Too many ideas, not enough time, a bit of an artist crisis.  Sounds like a prescription for therapy sewing to me.