Friday, August 24, 2012

Off the Wall Friday

On Fridays, I'll be posting WIPs (works in progress), tutorials, finished pieces, inspiration, design, etc. My intention is to post every week. I'm doing this in conjunction with other quilt artists, who are also posting links to their blogs, on Nina-Marie's blog Creations...Quilts, Art...Whatever. If you are interested in seeing designing and the processes followed to get to a finished piece of art or if you are just curious about what is on everyone's design wall, check out the blog every Friday.

This week, I'm sharing two projects I'm currently working on. I'm trying to get two or three pieces finished in time for entry into a SAQA exhibit--"The View from Here: Quilts of the Ohio River Valley. SAQA members from Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio." The theme is "What the artists think of and see when they view their home and surroundings." Pieces must be "quilts" and may be representational or abstract. The work should relate to our local environment or what we see from where we live, our home, backyard, city, or town.

I have given this a lot of thought and have come to the conclusion that one of my favorite things to do when I'm home (besides working on my artwork) is looking at the view out my window into my backyard to watch the birds at my bird feeder. I particularly like to watch the birds in the wintertime when there is a nice sheet of snow on the ground. I like the stark contrast between the whiteness of the snow and the color of the birds. One particular winter day, ALL the birds on the ground were "those ugly" blackbirds EXCEPT for one beautiful red cardinal. I was really aggravated that the "ugly" blackbirds were dominating the bird feeders, eating up all my seed, and weren't even pretty to look at. After I had ranted and raved, I got to feeling bad about maligning the blackbirds. I realized that they need to eat too, and they can't help the fact that they aren't "pretty."

That revelation led me to think about this on a larger scale. People who aren't considered "pretty" by society often have needs that aren't met--simply because of their appearance. We all can't be pretty. All this narrative has led me to the subject of this blog post--my new pieces designed for the exhibit. (I hope I get in!) The first is almost finished; I plan to add some beads to the snow to hoping that will make it glisten.
 This is a closeup of the quilting for the snow (top), the window sill (I tried to make it look like wood grain.), and brick.
The second piece is still in the beginning "work-in-progress" stage. I have it drawn up and am currently working on the quilting. Generally, I do my appliqueing first and quilting last; this time, I decided to "mix it up" and quilt first. We'll see how that goes. For the quilting, I'm using a thread called Yenmet Pearlescent Thread from Japan. It is new to me, but I'm really liking the way it looks. It is a pearly white and is gorgeous. 
I'll be adding blackbirds and cardinal appliques along with bias strips. (I am working on a series of quilts made using a bias strip technique.) This is the first I've done with the background being quilted before I add the appliques and bias strips. We'll see how it works. 

Again, check back next Friday to see what progress I've made (if any) and check out what everyone else has accomplished on Nina-Marie's blog.


Nina-Marie said...

ohhh Beth - this is coming great! The exhibit sounds really interesting - let us know when it is since I live on the Ohio border I especially love your wood grain quilting line!

Lisa Chin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Chin said...

Great analogy. Here's to the ugly birds! ;)

And I love the piecing on this quilt. Can't wait to see the bead work.

Silvia Dell'Aere said...

Hi Beth! I like your black birds quilt both for how it looks like and for its meaning.

Kit Lang said...

Love that winter piece!

Marit said...

I like your analysis of your projects for SAQA. The finished piece is beautiful. Looking forward to a view of the next one further into the process.

Sandy said...

Not sure what your blackbirds sound like in America, but I love the ones here. They have a very wonderful song - especially in January - that rather gives you hope that spring may come.
Sandy in the UK

Anonymous said...

Beth, Have you used any of your own dyed fabric in these? maz

Janice PD said...

I like how you simplified this landscape into abstract forms. Nice job, I'm envious.