Monday 27 August 2012

Sand Ripples IV

Finally completed the last of my CQ 'Shades of Yellow' Journal Quilt based on sand ripples. This one took as much stitching as the other 3 put together  but I love the effect. I altered a photo of ripples in photoshop, printed it on organza, cut it into sections and overlaid it on some yellow fabric and then hand stitched with 2 colours of 'House of Embroidery' cotton perle. 

It wasn't conscious but I like the progression across the four, both the connection through the curves and the change from  machine to hand stitch.
I'm returning to my beloved doors for the next four months JQ's  'Shades of Blue' and for my next larger project.

Friday 24 August 2012

Judges Comments

I collected my FoQ quilts from Islington yesterday  but unfortunately wasn't strong willed enough to throw the judges comments straight in the bin!
I knew from 2009 that the 'Guild Challenge' is indeed a challenge for those of us that make art quilts as it is  an open category based on theme and  so can include anything along the traditional to art quilt spectrum . While judges of art quilts usually have an appreciation of the techniques involved in traditional quilts, the reverse isn't always the case. If  the judging I received of  of my piece this year is typical,  then I fear the winner may sometimes be a compromise.
I was thrilled to receive 'excellent ' across the board from one judge, and a mixture of excellent and good from another. However the 3rd judged  my piece satisfactory with some very condescending remarks  saying I shouldn't  use  dark thread on light fabric ( above). Talk about the quilt police!!Well excuse me but I've observed , drawn and painted a lot of waves and dark lines on light are common as is light on dark. It was a conscious design choice not a mistake. Don't suppose she liked my huge stitches and the way it intentionally puckered the fabric either! Once again I'm wondering whether I will enter the Quild Challenge in the future.

Red Flotsam in the Art Quilt  category had lovely comments from 1 judge (with a mixture of excellent and good). I would  liked to see what the other judge said  but received the comment slip for somebody elses quilt  ( the one below mine which if you saw it was very different!)

I know the judges have a thankless task, doing their best in a very tight timeframe  and I certainly  wouldn't want to be in their shoes. Gillian Cooper has written  about her views on 'Best in Show' which I fully concur with. Perhaps with new management there will be a shake up.

Monday 20 August 2012

FoQ 2012 - Focus on Quiltmarks

 Back From 2 days at Festival of Quilts - my 10th  annual visit! No prizes for my quilts 'Red Flotsam' or 'Rules The Waves' but lots of nice comments, particularly from all those people from TVCT and retreats who've seen its progess and offered advice
 I didn't take too many photos among the competion quilts but I've noticed those that drew my eye  had distinctive use of stitch as marks. My favourite was 'Gridlock' by Marian Hall - it's a shame I missed her other piece in Pictorial Quilts, that too looked interesting.
I  mainly concentrated on the galleries - I loved the landscapes of Kate Dowty and  quilts by Australians  Margery Goodall and Pamela Fitzsimmons in the SAQA Masters Exhibition along with a gem by Dorothy Caldwell.
My favourites , which I visited several times, were those of Anne Woringer ( above) and Pauline Burbidge (below). I've only ever seen Anne's work in books and on websites so seeing it in the flesh was a revelation. The colour, texture of cloth, marks and stitch combined  were so rich and complex. 

I went to a talk by Pauline before I saw her work, so interesting to hear about the process. She's  perfected many techniques during her career from precision piecing to the more organic multilayered responses of her recent work and calls on that suite of knowledge and expertise  to find what's most appropriate for a particular piece.
I spent an long time with my notebook in front of her atmospheric Lindesfarne pieces trying to analyse the layers, the directions, repetitions and marks, the stitches that combine to make such a complex yet subtle sense of place and experience.

Shopping wasn't neglected: 4m of cotton organdie from Doughty's ;basket and fabrics from Magie and Bob at African Fabric shop,Cameroon indigo strips from John Gillow;   hand stitching threads from Out of Africa, Wonderfil and Stef Francis; SAQA Portolio 18 ;CQ@10 catalogue - great exhibition, I don't mind so much I was in good compnay among the  'Salon des Refuses' ( and I do have 5 other pieces shown among the JQ's and a photo on the front cover!)

I also succumbed to this bargain large piece of fabric at C2C , dyed only the day before by Jo Lovelock- perfect for a large wave piece based on my painting. I prefer to 'buy not dye'  although Sue is convinced she'll get me along  to C2C one day!

Perhaps most of all I enjoyed catching up with so many friends; some going back years, more recent  connections through CQ   and from blogland  to meet up  in person with people like  Uta Lenk  for the first time.

Friday 17 August 2012

5 Years Ago

Tomorrow I  go on my annual pilgrammage to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC , having been every year since it began, even straight from my honeymoon - this is the 10th anniversary.
5 years ago next Friday  we moved house having postponed the moving day so I could go to the Festival of Quilts the weekend before. That year I had 'Strindberg Shore' in  the 'In the Spotlight Exhibition  which will be returned to me  on Saturday having been at the National Quilt Museum , Paducah. I've come a long way in that time.
It's also just over 5 years since I started this blog. Kathy Loomis has been answering some questions about why she blogs, I'll be doing the same

Monday 13 August 2012

Paintings IV: Diversions

Having achieved my best work right at the start and struggling with 2 pieces - laying them aside and coming back to them , ans an interlude I used sketches based on photos to produce  2 more paintings.
The top one was based on dramatic photos in Weymouth. While the colours really were like that, for the sake of unity in the painting, I need  to bring some of the colour of the sea into the sky.
The bottom painting was based on photos of the wonderful coastal plants at Slapton that the centre staff kindly printed out. I was attracted to the complimentary colours and the curves of the shingle but it's ended up rtaher too 'trad' for me , although many others in the group liked it (probably for that reason). I ended up with yellow paint all over my glasses and face while attempting to flick paint on with a palete knife - thank goodness for wet wipes!  

Paintings III: Scaling up

Maintaining the sponteneity and marks of sketches as you scale up is something I struggle with both in quilts and paintings. I loved this drawing at Prawle Point which was done with Japanese ink brush pen, watercolour with white gel pen on top. I can see the influence of my current stitching patterns in the marks I could see in the sea foam!
Scaling up from A5 to A3 using acrylic inks and paints gave scope for developing further patterns and colour studies  but moving up to A2 canvas board was a step too far, particularly in terms of composition.
The 'sea monster' at the top has already had some modification but a lot more work is needed while maintaining some of the fresh brushwork   

Paintings II: Abstraction

I'm pleased I perservered with this painting based on  very brief sketches between showers at Blackpool Sands. I was intrigued by the curves cut into the shingle where a stream joined the sea. With so little material to base it on, once I'd made a start with painting (bottom picture) and identified the areas that were working, it was a matter of feeling my way, balancing elements. Sometimes the bits you love best have to go!

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Painting Day 1

 A  successful first day painting dramatic seascapes at Slapton with one finished (above) and another requiring major revision!
 Snapping out of the window of the train along the coast from Dawlish set the mood on Monday for some quick sketches on arrival  of the dramatic skies and fields while there was still some sun.
 At Blackpool Sands yesterday where rain stopped play - time for some photos (netbook proving very handy ) but as soon as I  whipped my sketchbook the rains returned. Trying to interpret these curves from memory without those compositional thumbnails on the spot is proving difficult (hence major revisions)
 Today we're off to Prawle Point, my favourite location last year, and tomorrow closer to home around Slapton Ley where I hope to do the fantastic coastal plants justice.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Making Waves

 I'm thrilled to say that my quilt 'Weymouth Waves' -detail above, has been selected for SAQA Wide Horizons III which will premiere at Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork in St Marie Aux Mines in Alsace. Sadly I won't be able to get to the show, although I hope to one day.
Although constructed from indigo fabrics and stitch, this piece was very much influenced by the observation and experimentation  last year on  my painting course at Slapton, Devon  (results below).I'm  returning there  this week with high expectations, not least the delicious food!