Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Little Gardner : Wendy Butler Berns Workshop

Detail of shirt

I took a vacation day to attend this 6-hour workshop on Photo Album Quilts with Wendy Butler Berns on March 18. I figured I needed a kick-start to get back into art quilts. Our local guild invited WBB in for this program. She's an extrememly positive and inspiring teacher--as well as a talented quilt artist.

This is my progress so far ... I have the little gardner stitched down--mostly. I need to finish the flowers today. Then starts the thread-painting, layering and quilting. Then finishing. She really explains value and color well. hHere's my understanding of her thoughts on color and value : (as for the hair) if you use different values of browns or blacks or reds or yellows and keep within that same color family, you can't go wrong. Those colors are all related--they'll add interest by being different values, but the viewer will still see them as related.

Detail of my little brunette with 5 different values of black for her hair.

WBB uses uses a glue-baste applique technique that was new to me. I'm used to raw-edge fusible applique. WBB's original pattern is a great vehicle for learning the new technique without worrying too much about an original pattern. Still--there's always room for creativity ....

How do you like my flowers? I changed the pattern a bit to accommodate my penchant for pinwheels. Here's a detail of one of the flowers :

You can see the edges are finished.

For comparison, here's the backside of the same flower. The edges are clipped and folded over and literally glued (as in a glue-stick found in office-supply stores) to the backside to provide the finished edge.

When I do get it finished, I'll be sure to post it.

Not Your Grandmother's Quilt Show - Meet the Artist

On March 21, 2009, the Oshkosh Public Museum sponsored a Meet-the-Artist event. I was there with many other artists.

Visiting "Oliver" at the museum. I told him I'd bring him something to eat while he was staying at the museum. [The real Oliver (now 8 yo) was not amused at that idea.]

Here's my Day at the Lake 2 quilt.

Look! The curator hung my Day at the Lake 2 next to Wendy Butler Berns photo quilt of her mother! Too cool! These two really do flow together well. It's like the grandmother in Wendy Butler Berns quilt is watching the kids on the beach. Beyond that, it's a nice comparison of applique techniques : raw-edge fusible (mine) and glue-baste (Wendy's). I just took a class with WBB in her technique--stay tuned for the results.

It really felt more like "Meet Your Fellow Quilt Artists" which is just fine. Who else has a better idea of what we're all doing there and what we had to do to create these pieces. And who better to appreciate it than other art quilters who have an idea just what is involved in terms of materials, time, effort, problem-solving, frustrations, skills, etc. The museum was a nice little bee-hive of activity that afternoon! There were even a few quilters who brought their machines and were whirring away to demonstrate free-motion quilting and threadpainting.

At the museum, the art quilts are all professionally hung and lighted. The red walls make the pieces POP! They look so much nicer at the Museum than at home or even in a temporary quilt show. Here's there is space to really stand back and see them. They are hung straight and well-lit.

I feel like I've arrived!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Books for Inspiration & Ideas

This book is tasty enough to eat!

Amazon said that this book was out-of-print when I bought it in January.
"What?" It just came out in October 2007!
At the time, no US Libraries listed ownership in WorldCat. I wound up ordering it directly from D4Daisy in Great Britain. It only took 1 week to arrive at my door.

This is a BEAUTIFUL mixed media book, with lots of bling. Even better, Maggie Grey, the author, includes extra online lessons, free with the purchase of the book.

Another one by Maggie Grey and Jane Wild. It's full of bling--another feast for the eyes.
Who would have thought you could sew through metal? There's just something about the way Maggie Gray puts together colors and textures ... everything comes out rich and interesting. I wonder what some of her not-so-great pieces look like? Everything she touches seems to turn to gold.

It also includes a good description on how to make your own cast paper (Though I think this might work with some of the paper clays available these days ...)

Mixed Media Nature Journals by LK Ludwig
Apart from it being about books and book-making (another one of my interests), this book contains all kinds of interesting and new (to me) techniques that I want to try ... like :
1) Mono-printing with gelatin
2) Dye and Salt nature printing
3) Nature printing onto metal mesh
4) Printing natural texture onto metal foil
5) Image transfer
6) Mica ( I remember seeing bits of mica on the ground in Nigeria when I was there in 1993)

Shibori for Textile Artists is another beautiful how-to book for Shibori.
It's even got me inspired to fire up my Indigo dye pot this summer.

My interest in indigo-dyed cloth stems from West Africa's Adire cloth. Most people think of Japan with this tradition of dyeing. This book does give a nod to the African tradition, as well.

Parfait Dyes - March

Here is the canister into which I stuffed fat 1/2s and poured the dye in layers.

Here's the red and black one that was on the bottom. These dyes seem to be past their prime. Time to dump them and order new ...

Nutmeg and blue and wine. Not sure if I'm happy about this color combination ... I like the lower 1/2.

Snow Dyes - Last of the Season?

This go-round, I used the screen-over-a-catch basin method (as opposed to letting it sit in the melted brine until I could get back to it).

Last weekend, we had a nice snow-storm. New fluffy snow (I loved it!), which I packed down to a denser format. Sometimes the dye seems to go right through the light fluffy snow, defeating the purpose of the snow as a resist ... so I packed it down well.

Here's a detail from the cloth I put underneath the screen to catch the drippings. No snow on top. Just the snow-melt and dye water.

Detail from the middle cloth with yellow ...


The Red and Black one was really disappointing. I think these dyes have just gotten too old. Time to order a new batch of basics. That fab will be thrown onto the re-dye pile. The black turned green and the red turned into a faded orange. Disappointing, but a lesson learned.

5-Part Gradations

Lapis Lazuli
A brilliant blue mixed from color recipes here.
I mixed Turquoise with Turkey Red. Some really interesting recipes. Time to get a gram scale!

ProChem's Nutmeg - Nice!

ProChem's Hot Cocoa Internet Special

The Right Stuff : Sodium Carbonate

Soda Ash from the local pool supplier. I knew I had the right stuff when the owner said he supplies the very same product to the local high schools for their annual tie-dye projects.

I just can't bring myself to pay more for postage on this item than the stuff is worth. Better to buy it locally and support the local economy in this case.

Karen at Bunk's Blog suggested that my problem with faded fabs might have been due to the fact I was using Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (which is do-able, but needs greater quantities to be effective). This is explained in detail at Paula Burch's site.

Thanks, Bunk! This made all the difference!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Faces on Fabric

My Favorite so far ... This is the one I want to work up into the class project.

I started a new online class this week called Faces on Fabric with Terri Stegmiller. I'm always looking for other options for faces in portrait quilts.

For starters, Terri suggests drawing a face every day. Good advice--and it really doesn't take that long to do a face this way. Here's where I started :

Face #1

Face #2

Face #3

Face #4

Face #5 (A little practice goes a long way!)

Today, I was on a roll ... I started drawing friends. I pulled out one of our wedding albums. We had a great photographer in Mary Gordon who took many candid portraits of our wedding guests--some no longer with us.

Erma K.

Self-Portrait #1

Self-Portrait #2

A Boy

Wei Ching

Molly Singing

Molly #2



Terra G.

Kerri S.

Pat Kaye

Caroline & Mike

My Glamorous Mom