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.
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!
Tomorrow Molly and I are going down to the Springfield Quilt Show at Spalding for the day to see the LINQS (Lincolnshire Quilters) display of Hockney inspired quilts. It seems like forever since we signed up to do the LINQS challenge, neither of us having made a quilt previously, so it will be great to see them hanging on show. I was flattered to see that My Three Tall Trees was chosen to feature on the flyer advertising this weekends event.
We also got a mention in this months edition of Lincolnshire Life magazine after their reporter visited our Hockney Handover event.
We had a show and tell session in Horncastle and everyone agreed the standard of work was terrific! The following photos show just a tiny number of the LINQS quilts which will be embarking on a national tour with Grosvenor Shows starting tomorrow.
Our latest challenge at the Cranwell contemporary textile group has been to produce a piece of work based on a poem. We could use any poem, any style and any techniques, but the finished piece had to be 20″ x 15″, quilted, and it had to include lettering in some form or other.
With such a “loose” brief the first thing I decided on was that, whatever poem I chose, I would use wet felting and my finished piece would be very textural. I sat down with my sketch book and thought through some of the odd lines I knew from well known poems. Nothing lept out to inspire me until the words “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive” came into my head. I didn’t know who the poet was or which poem it came from but a quick search on Google told me it was from an epic written in 1808 by Sir Walter Scott entitled Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field.
I know very little about poetry but this surely has to be one of the longest poems ever written! It took me longer to read the poem than it did to make the quilt! You can read a potted version of the plot on Wiki, but basically it’s a story in which good triumphs over evil. One of the characters is a “fallen” nun called Constance who is condemned to death for her misdeeds and walled up alive on Lindisfarne. It was the fate of Constance which inspired my design.
Using Merino wool, the background colours were laid out and wet felted to prefelt stage, then cut into smaller pieces, relaid and felted thoroughly. This technique is one I particularly like and the one I used in memories of a Greek holiday.
Constance’s head and torso were made from air dry clay and later painted with Inktense. The lettering was cut from Lutradur using a soldering iron and coloured with a permanent marker pen. The first attempt at making a web was done with free machine embroidery on a soluable fabric and resulted in something that looked more like a fishermans net! The second attempt was more successful using free machine stitching on Lutradur and burning it away with my heat gun.
The background has been free machine stitched and hand embroidered with Colonial Knots.