I made a fast and fun 12.5″ x 12.5″ quilt…only three days from the idea to the finish. The sketch was made of large simplified shapes. I chose a face, because I have a presentation next week on making art quilts with faces as the subject.
I traced my line drawing onto a piece of fabric in permanent fine line marker.
I gathered bold bright fabrics, digging through boxes of plaids and polka dots.
I worked flat, with my base fabric pinned to a piece of foamcore, glueing my cut fabric shapes to this base with tiny smears of glue in the center of each piece. I pinned together these layers: white tulle with glitter, the fabric collage, a thin batting, and a backing fabric.
I used only two colors of thread to quilt, peach and teal blue. Details were added as I sewed: eyebrows, creases in the hand, including a long life line, spirals in the cheeks (the symbol of life journey in some cultures). As I got to the nearly- finished stage of sewing on the binding, I composed a poem to explain the quilt’s story. Every quilt has a story.
Here’s the result:
I am preparing for a 5-day retreat. The teacher requested that participants have two possible designs for work in class. The designs are drawn with fine line Sharpie markers on unbleached muslin, which will be the base over which bits of fabric will be overlaid for a colorful fabric collage. I’ve spent a couple of weeks deciding what I might like to work on.
The first sketch was pretty straightforward, an analysis of the dark/light patterns in a photograph of a Toggenburg goat. I drew it in a 8.5″ x 11″ format, then made it four times larger than the original. Yikes…it gets creepy when you make an image so much larger than life! A three times enlargement was better.
The second possibility took me longer, about four re-drawings using multiple reference sources. I’m illustrating a delightful poem: A codfish lays 10,000 eggs, a barnyard hen lays one. The Codfish never cackles to tell you what she’s done. So we scorn the codfish and the boastful hen we prize, which only goes to show you IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE.
I’ve settled on the central image, but still have two possible options for including the text of the poem with the drawing. Here are my two drawings:
It Pays to Advertise
Another Wednesday painting result: I made a drawing on watercolor paper of the same view from my window that I did last week. This time I simplified and abstracted the scene. I spent my Wednesday painting time applying color with my Derwent Inktense pencils. Working with one small segment at a time, I applied washes using color pulled from the pencil tip with a wet paintbrush. With the wash still damp, I added textured using either the brush or the tip of the pencil. I am really enjoying the easy portability of this medium and the versatility. Here is Neighbors, Abstracted and the photo of the source scene.
I received a lovely gift on Sunday. A member of my art quilt group, who loves making 4” x 6” fabric postcards, gave two postcards to each person at the meeting. How generous. The signed one, I will send to a friend. An unsigned one I chose from the box had a nice teal and white print of a bird on a branch.
I could not stop myself when I got home. I took the print postcard apart and pieced it with fabrics that were meaningful to me and which coordinated in color: a hand-dye I had made, the waistband of a skirt and collar of a shirt that I had salvaged from my mother’s closet, some charm squares given to me as a gift. The bird image on the print was indistinct, so I searched my bird identification books for a species of appropriate body shape. A Northern Parula, the smallest warbler whose terrain includes Ohio, fit perfectly in both color and body shape.
I ironed fusible to the back of pale blue fabric, drew the perky little warbler with inktense pencils and a fine line Sharpie, and ironed him in place. My finished quiltlet, is 10 1/2” x 12 1/4”. Because it has a lot of hand-quilting, it was a four-day diversion from my backlog of unfinished projects. But making it was fun.
I tried a new technique at our SAQA OH meeting yesterday. Jacqueline Sullivan, a Golden Products instructor, showed samples of her mixed media art made on fabric by using black gesso, diluted white gesso, light modeling paste with stencils, and gel medium. We did a hands-on session transferring ink jet prints from paper to fabric with acrylic medium. She warned us that we could not paint on these.
So now that my three samples are home, I’m experimenting with coloring them and painting them. The photo is the black and white prints, drawn on with a fine line black Sharpie marker and colored with Derwent Inktense colored pencils. I’ll try painting over these by using an isolation layer. This painting technique is the application of a thin layer of matte gel medium over an image you don’t wish to disturb. Once that layer is dry, you can put additional paint on top.
gel medium transfers
I’ve been thinking about commitment to keeping a sketchbook. I always advised my students to keep one when I was teaching, but have not consistently done so myself. I have always drawn on individual sheets of paper or torn drawings out a my sketchbooks. I file them by topic or project, or just as likely, let them lie around my various workspaces until I bury them under other stuff and lose them. Hmmm. That is the problem. My to-do list has two “Find sketch for…” items on it right now.
sketches from folders
I like filing sketches by topic or project.
A sketchbook is chronological in organization. Can I combine organization by time and by topic with multiple topic-designated sketchbooks, or is this too complex to be practical?
I am searching for purse-sized sketchbook(s) that I will actually carry most all the time. I already own these two 8.5″ x 6″ sized possibilities. More importantly, I must designate places to keep drawings and sketchbooks so I can find them when desired or review them when I need a fresh idea for a new project. Since I thought about this idea about a month ago, I have been carrying the DaVinci sketchbook almost all the time, and have filled about four pages. I’ll update after more time and travel.
Today was delightful. I have been thinking about a challenge given in a quilt group I recently joined… to use cheesecloth as a material in an art quilt. Pondering possible topics, I thought of photos I had taken year earlier and the wonderful wrinkled skin of an elephant.
Here are the two reference photos I chose and my drawing made with Caran’d’Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons on unbleached muslin. The drawing is 18″ x 12″. You can see I “repaired” my model’s ear and made her lovely brown eye more open than in the primary reference photo. I remember the red- brown dirt these elephants apply to themselves as insect protection, so added a hint of that color.
I like the drawing too much to apply the cheesecloth over it, so I’ll finish this as a raw edge applique on a pale green and free motion quilt on it.
I really enjoyed spending an entire day drawing, but I have not solved the dilemma of what to make for the cheesecloth challenge.