The handover date for the latest LINQS challenge, to produce an art quilt inspired by any aspect of the life or works of Sir Isaac Newton, is fast approaching and I’ve still got a lot to do! When I began my research I was surprised to learn that Newton had been an Alchemist (obvious really given the age he lived in) and spent a lot of his time and effort in pursuit of the Philosophers Stone. I used this fact as my starting point and designed my quilt along the lines of an Alchemy illustration using a limited colour palette. Materials used so far include oil pastels and transfer foils on cotton fabrics and pelmet vilene. As I said, still a lot to do so back to the sewing machine!
I’ve just finished my latest art quilt “Lincolnshire Wolds“. This one has an entirely painted background, using Inktense on vilene. I don’t normally use Bondaweb in my art quilts, I usually lay the fabric down and sew it straight onto the background but this time I made an exception. After giving it some thought it seemed the easiest way to create the foliage on the foreground tree and a good way to make the shadow from that same tree on the field.
The stitching is a combination of straight stitch and free machine embroidery with a little hand stitching along the base of the hedgerow.
The one drawback to using pelmet vilene for textile art is that it is easily creased so it really needs mounting on a canvas or a board when I get around to it.
Between Christmas and New Year I began work on a new art quilt which I have called A Tribute to Three Worlds. This 44″ x 27″ quilt is my textile interpretation of a lithograph by one of my favourite artists, Maurits Cornelis Escher (1892-1972)
I have been an admirer of Escher’s work since my art school days. During a recent visit to Barter Books in Alnwick I bought “The Life and Works of Escher” by Miranda Fellows and felt inspired by this particular design to create my on take on it.
I wanted to recreate the three different perspectives i.e. the trees above the water seen as a reflection, the Autumn leaves floating on the water and the fish swimming below the water, all of which make up Escher’s “three worlds”. It took a lot longer to complete than I had imagined it would but I’m very happy with the result.
The latest quilt challenge for members of the Cranwell group is A Walk in the Forest and this is my interpretation.
With each challenge we are also given a particular technique to use somewhere within our work, for this particular piece we were asked to include painted Bondaweb. This could be used over a large area or just included as a tiny piece, it was entirely at our discretion. Those of you with a keen eye might be wondering where my Bondaweb is…….it’s so insignificant it’s not even worth me pointing it out!
When the subject was given out I immediately had this image in my mind of the trees and forest floor cut out of several pieces of Lutradur and stitched to create the illusion of depth. I also knew that I wanted a shimmering backdrop to represent the daylight glistening at the edge of the woods. After auditioning several fabrics, and not being happy with any of them, I decided to go with wallpaper for my background. I had a sample of paper that was just large enough and created exactly the effect I was seeing in my mind.
The Lutradur trees were coloured from dark to light to suggest that the viewer is walking from inside the forest towards the light at the edge of the woods. I figured the Bondaweb would be used fairly discretely to create shadow on the forest floor. Unfortunately, as I had coloured the Lutradur with wax crayons, there was no way that the Bondaweb was going to bond! Having said that, a tiny piece is clinging on, allowing me to say I have included Bondaweb in my work……..just not a lot of it!
This morning I visited “Faraway Places”, an exhibition celebrating the work of the Waltham Textile Group, led by Jacky Hopkin. The venue, adjacent to Waltham Windmill, makes it an ideal spot for families to visit with cafes, picnic area, miniature railway, etc.
There was a very varied and interesting selection of work on display featuring a whole range of techniques including hand stitching, free machine stitching, crazy patchwork, applique, burning, fabric painting and machine embellishing to name just a few! The work really was inspiring as you will see from the following selection of quilts…….
Overall I was happy with it but, 18 months on and feeling more confident, I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit the design and make a larger version…….. Riverside Trees II. This quilt is 68 x 108 cm and I’ve aimed to give the scene more depth by placing forests in the background and a near side bank with dried grasses in the foreground.
The colour of the sky was too dominant first time round so I’ve made it subtle and gone for texture rather than colour this time. The trees are pretty much the same as previously but I felt the original version was too fussy so I’ve reduced their number from 7 to five and left off the smaller branches. I think this has created a stronger overall image.
With this one finished I’m going to concentrate on my sketch book over the next couple of weeks and work on some new designs. The latest quilt challenge to be drawn out of the hat at Cranwell is to produce a piece with the theme “a walk in the Black Forest” so that will be right up my street!
I’ve just completed a commissioned quilt, entitled Horncastle – Gateway to the Wolds, for the local branch of the WAW (Walkers are Welcome). The two characters in my design are based on the twins from the old Start-Rite children’s shoe advert, but in this case they are carrying backpacks and are walking in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
After taking several photographs of the local landscape I chose the view which was taken just outside of Horncastle, with my back to the A158, looking across towards the Wolds and towards the village of West Ashby.
The 30 x 30 cm quilt combines several techniques including the use of Inktense pencils to draw and colour the background scenery. The twins are applique with 3D backpacks. The trees have vilene trunks and needle felted foliage created using the embellisher machine. The hedgerows were made from a lightweight scarf which was distressed using a heat gun while the stitching is a combination of hand and machine embroidery.
I’m not a fan of borders so, as the brief was to include a border, I’ve painted it to make it an extension of the main image.
Theres nothing on TV so I’m busy making items for the Cranwell Group sales table which will be happening at our exhibition in July. I found the pattern for these little teapot pincushions in a book entitled “Omiyage” by Kumiko Sudo. They are quick and easy to create using fabric scraps and polystyrene balls and they make a fun gift for anyone who is keen on sewing.
I mentioned the other week that Lincsinstitches has registered with the Morsbags website to make recycled fabric shopping bags. Our local Age UK charity shop kindly donated a huge stack of fabric for us to use and Molly and I took this along to the February meeting at Sitting Ducks in Branston Booths. Several of the ladies joined in making bags while others chose to take fabric home and will be handing their bags in at the March meeting. So far we have 18 bags made and lots of fabric left over to make more. If anyone is interested in ditching the plastic carrier bag and making their own Morsbag the labels and a very simple pattern are available on their website at www.morsbags.com
I’ve been on the lookout for months for a decent weight fabric, in a bold design, which I could use to make a bed throw with matching curtains and a headboard for our spare room. Nothing leapt out at me so the project got put on the back burner. Then, just before Christmas, we got a call from family in France saying they were coming over. That was wonderful news and just the kick up the backside I needed to get the room sorted. On my next trip to Dunelme Mill I spotted their lined Romolo ready made curtains and knew I had my fabric! I worked out that a 90″ x 90″ pair would make a double size bedspread, pillow shams and a pair of curtains.
I still couldn’t find the right fabric to make a headboard so ended up buying a heavy weight cream cotton with lots of texture and dyed it in the washing machine with Dylon “pewter grey”. Mark cut the board out of 10mm wood. I padded it with three layers of thick wadding before the grey fabric was stretched over, stapled in place and buttoned. I’m really pleased with the result and it looks far more substantial than the headboards on sale in the shop where we bought the bed!
The next job is to rub down and paint the second hand furniture bought to replace the old cane bedside units…….maybe a job for next weekend.