Monday, February 13, 2017

Try Something New!

I downloaded a video by Esterita Austin called "Dynamic Fabric Art Portraits." I've linked to a short video preview. The technique was intriguing and I wanted to give it a try . . . sometime. Lucky for me, Art Quilts Maine members Jane and Pam issued a challenge in October to create a 12" x 14" portrait. Finished pieces were to be revealed in February. What a perfect opportunity to experiment with Esterita Austin's technique! Her portraits begin with a piece of hand dyed fabric.
Fabric used for Face
By means of judicious cutting, the entire face is constructed from that single piece of fabric. I was amazed at the way the features came together! Part two of her technique involves using tiny amounts of light and dark paint to add a few highlights and shadows. A thin line defines the eyes, a little white paint highlights the bridge of the nose, but there is minimal manipulation other than choosing how and where to cut the fabric. Speaking of which, my fabric looked rather ratty after I cut it all apart--you must be willing to sacrifice your piece of fabric to the portrait! Having created the face from one piece of fabric, I decided to use only one other piece to finish. I found this great, colorful elephant print in my stash and began cutting it apart into separate elements.

Fabric used for Frame
Jane gave us each a piece of red fabric to incorporate in our portraits, which I did though I defy you to find it! There are 6 or 8 pieces of the dark red fabric tucked in with the elephants and plants surrounding the face. This was really fun to do and I learned several tricks to use in future portraits, my current obsession! Here's my finished piece--still working on a name--any ideas?

Portrait 2017

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Loose Threads

Time to do a little catching up. I have been busy in the studio, finishing up a few projects and clearing the decks to begin something new, while debating whether to schedule a new class. 

I put the final touches on the mermaid batik print, "Enchanted Oro Bay". This was such a fun piece to work on--threadwork, beading, quilting, glitter! At the very end I made the decision to quilt her skin, and what a difference that made.  I am so happy with the result that I plan to do the same for the three Fates depicted on "Working the Thread of Life" when they return from their Maine tour. That quilt, along with others from  Art Quilts Maine is held over at Kimball St Studios through November! I'll be collecting them after Thanksgiving, as the challenge pieces move on to the Portland Public Library for December and January. I do hope you have an opportunity to see the show at Kimball St--it is more extensive than the Challenge Tour. 

The piece below was begun in Dianne Hire's workshop this summer. We spent a day making curved pieced blocks, with free-hand cutting and easy stitching. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with her do so--Dianne puts on a really fun workshop. I put the finished blocks together while at Friendship and decided to depart from Diane's style of bold colors set off by black and white. I happened to have a large floral print on hand, which became a bold border for the muted blocks. Here is a shot of the top before quilting.


What's on my design wall now? In a further exploration of human figures, I decided to take on a portrait quilt. I am building "Layla" right on the enlarged photograph. Learning as I go, this piece is all about value and shape. I can't tell where it will end, or what decisions I may make along the way. For now, it is coming along an hour or two at a time. 

Time in the studio is great. Absorbing, challenging, sometimes surprising. Whatever your passion, I hope you find time to pursue it--whether an hour or two at a time or all day every day!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kimball St Update

Lewiston's Friday Art Walk is tomorrow, September 30! Art Quilts Maine has a great exhibit featuring the "Power of 3" challenge tour and several other items at Kimball St Studios, 191 Lisbon St in Lewiston. Plan to stop in Friday between 5:00 and 8:00 for the reception. If you can't make it Friday, the show continues through October. Call Kimball St Studios for details:333-3342. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kimball St Studios

I dropped off a number of art quilts and other items at Kimball St Studios in Lewiston today in preparation for the Art Quilts Maine exhibit. The exhibit opens with September's Last Friday Art Walk in Lewiston, Friday, September 30 from 5:00 to 8:00. If you can't get to the opening, the show remains on display at Kimball St Studios through the month of October.

Featuring this year's Art Quilts Maine challenge tour, "The Power of 3", the show also includes a number of embellished masks members made last winter, and several other member items. Bonnie met me at the gallery with an armload of beautiful quilts, masks, even a bag! Most of the pieces on exhibit are available for purchase. 

"The Power of 3" refers to the many ways the number "3" appears in culture and mythology. Challenge participants responded with quilts that delight and inspire. This group of 10 quilts debuted at Maine Quilts in July and will continue for a two-month stay at the Portland Public Library following Kimball St. Note that the gallery is located at 191 Lisbon St in Lewiston.


While in Friendship this summer I refilled my box of pins featuring a botanical theme inspired by morning walks to see the fairy houses in Martin Point Wildlife Preserve. The box is at Kimball St through October.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lady of Oro Bay

Sketching
I'm liking Oro Bay as the location. Oro means gold in Spanish and finding this batik was like finding treasure. (See my earlier post here) Many sketches later, I finally committed to quilting the moon this weekend.

Clouds scuttle across the sky in white rayon thread, while the moon is filled in with bubbles and straight lines done in a pale green silk. This has been a fun piece to work on! Soon as I figure out how to quilt the sky, the quiltingt will be done and I can move on to embellishments--and I do plan to embellish! I realized that I have no plan for how to finish the piece--some sections of the print go right up to the edge of the fabric and may pose a problem. I'll tackle that later. For now, I'm really happy with the weekend's work. Here's a shot:

Stitching

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Working the Thread of Life

Watercolor sketch
Art Quilts Maine issues an annual challenge to the members. The challenge is chosen from a list of themes, prompts and ideas members contribute. This year's challenge was titled, "The Power of Three." Discussion centered on the many references to the number 3, culturally, mathematically, mystically.

I knew I wanted to work with the human form. My mind wandered to the three fates and I started researching that thought. The three fates, from Greek mythology, are Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, three sisters who spin, measure and cut the thread of life.

An image from my research stuck with me: "The Three Fates," one of 54 drawings completed in 1884 by the American artist, Elihu Vedder as an accompaniment to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Persian poet. It seemed like Kismet.

Detail, Clotho
Using Vedder's figures, I painted a watercolor sketch of each woman, scanned the watercolor then printed it on muslin. I enhanced the printed images with thread paint and colored pencil. Once satisfied, I cut each figure out and fused it to my starry background fabric. A scrap of brown and gold marbled fabric proved just large enough, with some judicious cutting and arranging, to give the Fates a promontory on which to stand. Swirls of sparkly purple organza provided a sense of the Fates gathering the very fabric of the universe. In a nod to Omar Khayyam, I printed out the verse, "The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all they tears wash out a word of it." 

We revealed our work at the Art Quilts Maine meeting in June, and exhibited the art quilts publicly at Maine Quilts in July. Mine is one of 10 pieces that will go on tour in Maine for the year. Among the venues are Kimball St. Studios in Lewiston from the September 30 Art Walk through the end of October, and the Children's Room at Portland Public Library during December and January. There are some great pieces in the show--hope you get a to see it!

Working the Thread of Life, 21" x 33" 


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer Projects

My students have been busy this summer, completing projects begun in class. I love hearing about your progress and seeing your work!

Lisa came to 'Picture This!' in April. Although it is a two-day class, we are always working up to the last minute and I don't get to see the finished product. Lisa has been working at it diligently though, and sent me the great shot below. Her favorite part of this piece is the tree and leaves. Mine too!

Pat was in 'Baker's Dozen' improvisational piecing in May. That class was fun and free-form, slicing and sewing with abandon. She kept going after class, making more and more blocks until she had enough for a huge quilt, over 100" in each direction! I told you these improv blocks were addicting! Isn't it a sunny, happy, summer quilt?

Keep the pictures coming! I am looking at schedules and hope to have a few fall classes to announce soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the summer and hope you all find time to sew!