Saturday, May 31, 2008

Catching up on Posting

Here are my journal quilts from last week and this week; I'm a bit behind on posting. Last week I was inspired by a photograph of an antique strip quilt. Reproduction fabric and plastic bag handles created the "quilt" strips. I stamped some images onto the plastic to give it the appearance of printed fabric. (I've since discovered that no matter how long you let it dry, ink still rubs off plastic.) I added a skeleton leaf because the original quilt had applique leaves in between the strips. Chicken scratch stitches with pink metallic thread, oil pastels, and paintsticks were all used to add color. Finally, I added a fairy charm -- I'm not sure why, except to say that at that moment, the piece looked a bit like an English garden and I thought a fairy might live there. After looking at this again today, however, I'm thinking that the fairy is seriously considering a move to another neighborhood.

This week's piece is a simple paint and paintsticks piece. I used a bit of the fabric I had left over from one of my February journals as the background. I'm experimenting with spools as a stencil in another piece, so I thought I'd get a bit of practice here. I had added some metallic thread stitching, but I took it all out; I felt it looked better without it.

What a difference between these two pieces! Through some of my recent journals, I think I've discovered that I'm subconsciously drawn to brown and taupe, but I haven't yet figured out how to successfully work with them in more monochromatic pieces. I also need to figure out a better camera setting to photograph plastic; there's a lot of shine in my pictures that's really not there. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Going Green

I decided to take a cue from Natalya Aikens and make a journal quilt entirely from recycled materials. The front and back of my "Sushi" journal are from a plastic bag. The fish, green pine tree, and Japanese text were all cut from a chopsticks envelope. The pink striped squares were part of a clothing tag, as was the little pink ribbon. Finally, the sheer (a bit hard to see unless you zoom in) was part of the pouch containing a new pair of earrings.

This was fun to do, although I confess to using a bit of glue to hold things in place at the start; plastic sure does slip and slide! I think part of the key to successful recycling (and collage, I've come to realize) is that you have to first be a good collector. The items used here certainly came from disparate sources! I've already put aside an old shoe box so that I have a place to store my goodies; it's clear I need to start collecting.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I've had a great day. I hope mothers everywhere have been as pampered as I. I'd love to stick to the topic of moms, especially since I'm in a state of art confusion about this past week's journal....

I began this week's piece with a scrap of upholstery fabric into which I had burned a leaf image using the same metal batik pattern I used last week. I grabbed some fabric and tried to create a backdrop for the leaf. All I can say is that it was very unimpressive. I rubbed over the backdrop using the batik pattern and paintsticks next; it was an improvement, but nothing great. In the end I added more upholstery fabric scraps, more paintstick color, some gold sheer fabric, metallic and flat paint splotches, metallic thread and chenille yarn.

I've ended up with something that's completely different than I imagined. Sometimes I really like it; the colors and the messiness have some appeal. Sometimes I look at it and scratch my head, wondering what I was thinking. I didn't end up with as much contrast as I think I should have (I had added paintstick color to the middle, hoping to spice it up, but I don't think that worked). I like the splotches, but I wonder if it doesn't get too confusing on the eye in the dark sections. Today I added the couched yarn for some brightness and crispness that I thought the piece still needed. I still couldn't decide if it was done or not; I quickly stitched down the original burnt upholstery piece. I had painted it so the design would show more. Do you prefer version one or version two? What can I do (if anything) to salvage this? Is it better with or without the leaves? Please give me your critique since I'm unahppy with this piece.

Version 1:

Version 2:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


It's tough to toot your own horn, but I'm just so excited I had to share. As you may recall from an earlier post, I participated in the Stretching Art and Tradition - 10 special exhibit at Quilter's Heritage this past March. Well, I was asked by the exhibit organizers, Susan Heydt and Amy C. Nelson, if I would be willing to have a photo of my quilt posted on the yahoo group home page; they both liked my piece. Of course I said "Yes!". I'm so thrilled and flattered; it sure is great personal validation and a very exciting first for me.

Susan and Amy have been invited to have another exhibit in next year's Quilter's Heritage show and they've announced that the theme is "Never-ending". Hmmmm, what to do with that? I haven't quite figured it out yet. If you're interested in participating, please go to Yahoo groups and request to join Stretching Art and Tradition. Susan and Amy are organized and easy to work with, they took good care of the quilts, and it's a great venue at which to have your art seen. Give it some thought....

Here's the quilt in question: Ten Blessings - Twofold (a celebration of the ten fingers and ten toes on each of our three children):

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Directions Are There for a Reason

This week, I used another remnant of Mary Fisher painted fabric for the base of my journal quilt. I started by stamping all over the fabric using a metal batik resist leaf pattern. It was very subtle, so I rubbed over the metal pattern with a bronze paintstick. Then, inspired by the collages in Virginia Spiegel's Collage Mania II fundraiser, I decided to try my hand at adding words to my piece. I stenciled the word "leaves" around the fabric using a brown painstick.

I didn't want to wait the two to three days suggested in the directions for the paintsticks to dry; I wanted to finish NOW. So, a few hours later, I quilted in some leaves and a free motion background. The end result: all the great leaf rubbings are smudged beyond recognition, the words are barely legible, and my machine quilting gloves now have brownish bronze fingertips. Bummer. Although it still has some depth (and I admit to still liking it), the base of this piece looked so much better before I rushed. Lesson learned.

Here's Random Foliage 2: