Thursday, May 15, 2014

Extreme Embroidery (Metamorphosis) Series

I finally finished the stitching on the first piece in my series of "extreme embroidery" pieces. This piece took a really long time, but it was great from the standpoint of being VERY portable. Since my husband has retired (and we have a 9 month old granddaughter ten hours away from us), we have done a lot of traveling. I NEED a portable art project.

The pieces in this series were originally little pencil drawings by a Taiwanese exchange student of mine. Chun-San (Sandie) Yi was in my high school classes MANY years ago. I thought the drawings were charming and asked her if I could have her permission to do something fiber art related with them at some later date. She graciously gave me permission.

Sandie (as I knew her) is a VERY special person and a wonderful artist. Sandie says: “I grew up with being labeled as ‘disabled,’ and would often hide my hands when I was younger. Now I don't see my body is disabled/impaired at all. My hands and feet are my assets, my special traits. Art is a way for me to understand the beauty of the challenges in my life, and also as a way to adorn myself. I wish to be identified as ‘born with two fingers and two toes on each limb." When I first knew Sandie, she was a VERY shy teenager who always hid her hands and feet. She didn't want anyone to see (what she had been told was) her disability. After two years, she had started to "come out of her shell" but really transformed when she was in art school in Chicago. She went from hiding her "disability" to using it in/as her art. As her former teacher, I am SO proud of her. You can read about her and her remarkable metamorphosis here. From reading Sandie's story, I'm hoping you will understand the pieces (and just how much they mean to me) a bit better.

I enlarged the little drawings and added to/took away from them to make them better suited for my stitching. This first piece measures approximately 17 inches tall by 13 inches at it widest point. It isn't named yet as I'm TERRIBLE at naming my pieces. After reading Sandie's story (and, hopefully, looking at her art), I'd be happy for any naming suggestions you might have.

Some close up pics (before the black outline stitching)...

Close up pic (after black outline stitching)...


I still have some decisions to make about the piece. I have to figure out a way to hang it--should it be hung as is or should it be mounted to fabric covered stretcher bars/painted canvas. I also will need to finish the edges in some way--should the white outline fabric (I'm afraid to cut it any closer to the stitching.) be colored black (or some other color) or left as is. I used Misty Fuse to attach Eco felt to the back of the stitchery. Will I need to do some kind of stitching around the outside edge? The piece is pretty thick, so trying to do that worries me a bit. Should I attach it to a quilted background of some sort? Maybe I should make a convertible attaching device (maybe use Velco), so I can display it multiple ways. Hmmmm, lots to consider.

I already have my second piece in this series started. I expect there will be a lot more traveling to come--have portable art piece; will travel!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What a Find!!!

My son and his family are renovating an old house in Arkansas and discovered some great "treasure." They found these two finished quilts. Both are hand pieced and hand quilted, and both are made primarily from feed sack material. They are in GREAT shape.

I know this quilt is a hexagon quilt, but does anyone know the pattern name? I love that it isn't a "usual" Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, and I love the diagonal setting.

This Double Wedding Ring quilt is made of TINY pieces.

They found these quilt tops in the house too. These are also hand pieced (except for one). This is my favorite; I think it is a Seven Sisters quilt. I'd love to hand quilt this one, but I'm not sure I can EVER get it flat enough to quilt.

This is my son and daugher-in-law's favorite. Is it a Drunkard's Path variation or a Fan variation or something else entirely?

The next one contains a star block--maybe an Ohio Star?

The last two are utilitarian in nature, but they will look very nice when quilted. I think they look more "modern" than any of the others.

Since Ryan and Tara have four girls, I think SOMEONE will love this simple pink quilt.

I brought these home to see if I could get some of the age spots out of them (although there aren't many spots, and I think the spots give them some character). I bought some Retro Clean at the Paducah quilt show. It professes to "safely bring age-stained textiles back to life!" We'll see how that will works (and I'll let you know). The instructions say, after prewashing, to add 3-4 tablespoons of the granules in each gallon of warm water and to make enough solution to adequately immerse the item. It says to "soak in the sunshine if possible (it helps to keep the water warm), to speed up the process." I have to wait till we have a warm, sunny day with no rain to give it a try--not sure when that will be.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Penguin BOM and New Quilt

Yesterday, I had a bit of time to work in my studio. I hate having things "hanging over my head," so I worked on my "Penguin Cheer" Block of the Month block. (You can find the pattern here--Penguin Cheer) A group of friends and I agreed to do these blocks each month. We agreed they had to be done for our monthly "Stitch & Bitch" meeting. We all seem to need some sort of a deadline to get things finished!

These blocks are cute and a HUGE variation from the fiber art on which I've been working. With seven grandchildren, I'm sure I can find one that will like it. Anyway, here is the new block.

I still have to stitch around each of the appliqué pieces, but THAT doesn't HAVE to be done before the meeting. Now, I need to work on my Country Threads Block of the Month block.

I also got some pieces cut out for the quilt I'll be making for my newest grandchild.

June Beth will be 10 months old this month. She received a quilt when she was born, but I machine quilted it. I would like to make a "toddler" quilt for her that is hand quilted. I looked through all my books and perused the patterns on line, but nothing struck my fancy. I've decided to use circles to represent hugs and Xs to represent kisses on this quilt. (At least that is what I'm thinking right now.) I bought some Kaffe Fassett fabric while I was at Paducah this year for this project. Now, I just have to figure out a design.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More from Paducah 2014--My "Art Quilt" Favorites

I think my very favorite quilt in the show (definitely the one that "moved" me the most) was this one. It isn't a "pretty" quilt, but it is a piece of art that makes one think. "Sand and Sea: The Children of the Canneries" by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred actually moved me to tears. It did win 2nd Place in the Large Wall Quilts--Pictoral category. She says, "This piece is a part of a series on child labor in the early 1900s based on the touching photos of Lewis W. Hine."


Next, is another quilt I liked; it is called "Dotting Inside the Box." It was made by Sandi Snow. The quilt is actually a bit more yellow-green than yellow (as it looks in the picture). The quilting is really nice, as you can see. It won first place in the Large Wall Quilts--Modern.

The flow and the colors of this quilt ("Hurricane") are spectacular. Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga says, "Every year, all over the world, people are afraid of the destroyer, the Hurricane."


Remember, you can zoom in to take a better look.

I like the "wonkiness" and colors of this quilt. I love the little touch of yellow added into the blocks. The quilt, by Cynthia Felts, is called Abstract 16. I was going to say it reminds me of Gwen Marston's wonky log cabins when I read (and was not surprised to learn) that Cynthia began these improvisational log cabin blocks in a class with Gwen last year at Paducah.

I am SO drawn to color. I really like the vibrant colors in this quilt called The Ray, the Roses, and the Portal. The quilt is made by Sheila Frampton-Cooper. The Paducah Show Books says, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis was Sheila's favorite book as a child. The title of the quilt was inspired by the book."

This next quilt is just SO unusual. It has actual felted and embellished purses attached to the quilt. I found it really interesting to look at. Saturday Market Bags is made by Tina McCann. According to the Show Book, the quilt "was inspired by Tina's first time dying wool fiber and silk. The piles of colors reminded her of the stack of fruits and vegetables at the Saturday Market."


I have a few more quilts I want to share. Check back.