Tuesday 30 September 2008

Meadow Grasses and Mixing Greens

On our excursion to Box Hill last weekend I made several sketches and colour studies of the grasses in this species-rich chalk grassland meadow- I particularly liked the golden seadheads against the dark green of distant trees.
I've had this vibrant lime green African damask for a while (bought from ebay rather than Magie Relph ) and had plans to use it as the 'canvas' for a piece based on landscapes inspired by Malham but the colours and the shapes within the tie-dye seemed to shout 'grasses'. I used narrow double-needle machine quilting and stitched by hand with cotton perle and long tacks with variagated machine thread
I painted over with acrylics - mixing the different greens was quite a challenge, a different colour palette after my more recent sea and coastal pieces. I scored into it with a palette knife to indicate the grasses (detail above) as the 2mm double needle does not give so defined a ridge as my more usual 4mm.
Despite this scoring and some extra stitching, it still lacked focus and defination so I printed out a manipulated photo of grasses onto silk organza and applied this to parts of the surface with large tacking stitches. October 12 x 12 inch Journal Quilt completed !If I ever do a large piece on this theme it would have to be called ' Urge for Going' as in the Joni Mitchell song " ...... when the meadow grass is turning brown...."
The combination of painting and layering with organza is something that warrants further investigation I think.
I tend to finish the edges of my acrylic pieces with 'no-binding binding'. 1 1/2 inch strips are sown to the front of the quilt, right side together , seam allowance pressed towards the binding strip and staystiched 1/8 inch along the binding strip. The strips are turned under the quilt so they are not visible from the front hand stitched in place ( usually turn under a pressed 1/4 inch allowance ). This facing method gives a neat finish and is useful for controlling the slightly wavy edges that can result from dense quilting.


Anne Wigfull said...

The end result is terrific, even though all the texture probably doesn't show to best advantage. When you start a piece like this do you have an idea of how the final work will look? Having tipped my toe in the waters of paint on textiles and not liking it one little bit, I am fascinated by your ability to swim around these same waters with such ease.

t said...

Hello magsramsay. I came here via Hebart and I love what you have created with the grasses at Box Hill.

Your art and textile work is beautiful, I love the attachment that you have to nature and the environment, using allof those earthy tones and natural colours.

Nature is so interesting isnt it. I was hoping to be inspired by some native orchids this year, but we have had the dryest September on record and they did not flower for the third year in a row. I will just have to make do with what flowers here this Spring. Always next year.

margaret said...

Adding organza was an inspired thing to do - it gives the needed focus. And it's fascinating that the back shows the "naked" state of the fabric.

Mai-Britt Axelsen said...

I would like to make a comment, but what I want to say has already been said. So all I can say is "hear, hear".

Hope that is good enough for you.

Wholly Jeanne said...

lovely piece - both the end stitched result and the narrative recounting of its creation. i have grown to love the contribution organza makes.

Patt Blair said...

I love a no binding binding... but yours is an upgrade to what I've been doing. THANKS I'll try it.

Linda B. said...

You said " The combination of painting and layering with organza is something that warrants further investigation I think." and I agree, even without being able to see the texture the added value is amazing!

Heather said...

I think your grasses inspired quilt piece is absolutely beautiful and love the photo that inspired it. It is strange how sometimes the simplest of themes can be so difficult to portray, by I think you have done so to perfection. I am most envious that you have received the latest Quilting Arts magazine and I am still waiting for mine. I shall burst with frustration if it doesn't come this week!