Sunday 30 November 2008

Recycled Fire - November TIF

This months 'Take It further Challenge' was to use typography as inspiration for a piece. I'm not a huge fan of lettering but I'd used print blocks in making my 'Sea, Sky, Fire, Stone' piece for the 'elemental' theme at Festival of Quilts, finishing off a quilt I'd started in an Angie Hughes workshop as part of Contemporary Quilt Summer School. As is often the way, I got carried away with my print blocks, producing far more than I needed. So for the TIF challenge, I used up some of the strips of fabric and organza I'd printed with 'Fire' layered and applied to a background of 70's furnishing fabric unearthed in the sort of the boxes in the cellar . The wadding and backing were salvaged from failed projects so everything in this piece has been recycled.
It's fairly crudely and quickly done ( well it is the last day of the month!) but sometimes that's no bad thing.

I've enjoyed the 'Take it Further Challenge' not only for trying out ideas and colour schemes I might not have gone for but also to see the varied results that others produced using the same themes. I won't be joining in next years challenge as it is stitch rather than design based. I'll just have to set challenges for myself ( I'll probably still be doing 2 Journal Quilts per month ) but I'll miss the shared endeavour.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Even More Honesty Experiments

This piece was again based on honesty , trialing iridescent acrylic medium and inks, with the work of Ian Mckeever very much in my mind

I harvested honesty seeds from our garden - besides having some in a jam jar in my studio area in the conservatory , I also placed some in a wedding present vase in the dining room. It's amazing how varied they look - in different vessels and lighting condition. I wanted to convey both transparency and multiple layers and scales.

The background was assembled from a variety of materials: silks; fabric with an honesty seed print; pieced patchwork in a range of greys. This was overlaid with photos of honesty printed onto organza, machine quilted with metallic thread in ovals.

This was then painted with four ovals of liquitex iridescent medium mixed with Golden acrylic paint (white and yellow ochre) with top layer of pearlescent acrylic ink, with shapes outlined in burnt umber acrylic ink. Trimmed and finished to 12 x 12 inch size for December CQ Journal Quilt
This has a lot of potential for larger scale work. I liked building up the complexity from the background to the foreground, from distance to close-up views. Although a lot of the detail got lost or was covered over , it adds richness to the final piece eg the variety of fabrics soaked up the paint to differing degrees. This piece is very much about the progression of process - one of the most satisfying and exciting in a long time.

More Honesty Experiments

I've been carrying out a series of experiments using Liquitex iridescent medium and paints using honesty seeds as the inspiration. This piece started out life as a machine quilting sampler, then first trials of acrylic paint application and currently layers and layers of pearlescent paint and acrylic inks.

Intermediate stage

Final stage - closeup
The final layer was neat pearlescent ink- it looks rather harsh in some lights but like oversalting soup to find the right seasoning levels, sometimes you have to push the limits to know how to do it better next time.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Honesty Resolved

Thank you so much for all your comments, it really helped me to work out where I was going with this piece. I took on board the thoughts on simplicity but as I consider it a sampler of techniques, decided to attach the organza layer to see what would happen. To get round the problems of integration, I sewed round the shapes with the metallic thread and then cut back the excess organza with a pair of fine applique scissors I'd forgotten I had. The tension of my machine stitching needs some attention but I actually quite like the bubbly effect of the bobbin thread showing through ( not sure the quilt police would be convinced! )
I rather like the overall effect, I think it conveys the luminosity and transparency of honesty seeds. I've got another couple of samples on the go , testing out ideas and paint techniques . And yes Hilary, I do intend to do a far larger piece.What inspired me in the first place were the Vigil and Temple Paintings of Ian McKeever . These paintings have been my favourites from last couple of RA Summer Exhibitions.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Honesty: with or without?

A few weeks ago I went to the Quilters Guild Region 1 Area Day to hear Alysn Midgelow Marsden. Her work with metals is intriguing and some of her sculptural ,metallic gauze ,pieces cast wonderful shadows with the projector light cast through them. I related to her descriptions of her creative approach, particularly as she too was a scientist - something about the thought processes? The trader was Art Van Go and although I managed to resist the metals brought along to tie in with Alysn's talk, I succumbed to a bottle of Liquitex Iridescent Medium and have been putting it through its paces!
I've been using old quilting samples that already have layers of acrylic paint built up on them - the medium is translucent and works best with transparent or translucent paints (I used Golden Fluid Acrylics) so the underlying colours are important.I was particularly taken with a narrow strip of old durham quilt that I'd painted to an inch of its life with ovals and circles then saw the jar of Honesty (Lunaria spp.) on the shelf above me with just that quality of iridescence. I stitched into it with Madeira FS metallic no 20 thread ( what a find that was - a well behaved subtle metallic) and then made it up into a 12 inch journal quilt with a photo printed on fabric and some rather appropriate oval dot batik.
I love the layered transparent effect that you get with Honesty and had printed some photos on organza. One fell accidently on the 'finished' journal quilt and now I'm not sure that it doesn't improve it ! Something to do with the differing scale of image, quality of fabric and linking of the 2 sides? So what's your honest opinion? ( sorry - I've been trying to resist the pun but it got the better of me) With or without organza layer?

Saturday 1 November 2008

Savaged or Salvaged?

One of items I came across in my recent sorting sessions was this very tatty Durham Quilt. The pink and yellow 'strippy' side is very worn and patched, with the wadding showing through, although the plain back is in reasonable condition , if a rather unattractive dirty white. For many years in my previous property it served , doubled up, as a door curtain ( and very effective it was at excluding draughts). We have no use for it in our current house so after a wash ( and a lot of umming and aahing) I decided to experiment with it as a painting surface, cutting off a couple of 'strips' and priming it with gesso.

My first trial was a sketch of Gordale Scar - the quilting lines enhancing the cracks in the rocks.

Not my finest effort but an interesting start - the real challenge will be finding appropriate subject material to make the most of the inherent textures and to add stitching of my own.
Why did I initially find it so difficult to cut into and paint an old quilt when I don't think twice about spending the equivalent of weeks stitching a piece and then covering it in acrylic paint? It felt a bit like vandalism - I have several Durham Quilts in much better condition (which take their turn on our bed) that I wouldn't dream of altering. I like to think I'm giving a third life to something that's seen better days but goodness knows what the quilt police will say!!!