Friday 29 August 2014

Indigo Gloat - quilt sections old and new

 Dipping sections of old quilt into the indigo vat was hard work - heavy once soaked and difficult to manoeuvre and to ensure no air got in (I left them until last). So worth it though! This very tatty quilt with remnants of red baskets was my favourite.
 Closely followed by this section of a log cabin coverlet with a lace-like holey backing

 It wasn't all old quilts though - I also included a strip I'd cut off a quilt I made myself several years ago, one of my first experiments in machine quilting. It has quite a lot of different  cream and red fabrics, some silk, some cotton and I was interested to see how differently these took the dye.

 I wrestled with a rather boring thin Durham quilt ( not the best stitching), wrapping it around a pole. I love the difference in the marks on the front and back and some quilted circles have become more prominent - an interesting piece to work with I think.
 And lastly the 'snake' wrapped around a vacuum  hose - lovely variety of marks both front and back.
Now  time for them to marinade on my design wall and work out how to make the most of their charms , making them my own.

Indigo Gloat- Overdyeing

 Over-dying some fabrics for my 'mudflat' series  was also one of my indigo aims: both special fabrics such as the kola dyed stripe from Magie Relph( above) and cheap and cheerful purchases from Sandown , below ( they were rather gaudy before their indigo dip )

 Also  the opportunity to try some larger unwieldy pieces such as this linen canvas .

Indigo Gloat - colour catchers and organzas

 I was chuffed to bits with the colour catchers I put in the indigo vat - I just scrunched them in a fruit net but there's some lovely marks and I love the intensity of the dye. I think they'll work very well with the large piece of stitched indigo I bought from Magie Relph at FoQ
 At the other extreme, I did a few more arashi sheers : silk chiffon , silk organza and cotton organza. I was keen to produce quite large pieces like the one I used for 'Dislocation' Challenge

I apologize for the white marks on my photos - the sun was streaming in the conservatory and I was in a rush to record my indigo stash before I went to work! 

Monday 25 August 2014

Bank Holiday Blues - Playing With Indigo

 Ignore the jungle  behind ( the plants are meeting together in the middle )  and admire the outcome of my first indigo vat at home! Rather than tackling the garden , I made the most of the good weather forecast for Sunday  (it's currently pouring with rain) Ever since doing CQ Winter school with Janice Gunner and a day last year at Art Van Go  I've been plotting  doing some  dyeing with indigo in our garden . Earlier in the year  I acquired a surplus  chemical drum from work; bought some large trugs for rinsing ( already have a convenient outside tap next to a drain); the relevant chemicals from Kemtex;  a  balcony airer. All set to go just waiting for when time and weather co-incided!
  I had a good system  going  with fabrics at different stages : soaking in warm water; in the vat; oxidising on a tray ; unpacked/unpicked and oxidising on the balcony airer. Ian was fascinated by the process having only seen the results before so  happy to take lots of photos of the alchemy when fabric turns from yellow to green to blue in front of your eyes.

 I was keen to experiment with  dyeing large  sections of the antique cutter quilts I've accumulated - they've produced some lovely 'boro' effects.
The most interesting marks were produced on a piece of  off white quilt wrapped around a piece of vacuum hose (thanks Sue!)  and tied with string . Quite an unwieldy  snake to wrap because of the weight of fabric but that's where quilt husbands come in handy!
All rinsed and washed  just waiting for everything to dry now. Then I'll be sharing some of my favourites! Learnt a lot in the process - it's a very different experience from doing it  in a class. While the  chemical drum worked well,  I would probably just use a bucket another time unless I was sharing with friends. I would definitely dip more than once - the paler blue resulting from just one dip suits the old quilts but was a bit disappointing on some of the other fabrics.  Used colour catchers were amazing , definitely more of that and perhaps some experiments on paper. More preparation in advance (including stitching ) - although I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do (organzas, old quilts and 'mudflat' fabrics,) I was a bit rushed on Saturday afternoon and too involved in the dyeing process on Sunday  to make changes. Doing it earlier in the season and keeping the vat going are definitely on the agenda for next year!  

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Cure for Post-FoQ Blues

 It's always a bit difficult getting started again after being so overwhelmed with beautiful  work at Festival of Quilts. But the  deadline looming for submission of JQ's for CQ challenge by end of August focuses the mind! At least I've been posting mine monthly this time rather than having to submit 4 in one go ( which rather defeats the object of a journal quilt  in my mind). Augusts offering 'Door scraps I' is made from the offcuts of the sample below which I mounted on a canvas for Cwilt Cmyru 'meet the artist'.  
 It was made with photos of doors and acrylic paint applied over masking tape stencils rather then the paper lamination of 'Peeling Portals' below ( which I've just posted off for Harrogate quilt show , cross fingers!) . This technique does have potential, far simpler than paper lamination but it doesn't yield such complex results

 While my offcut basket was out ( just some of the trimmings from finished quilts...) I had fun composing some more 'door' pieces - so September is sorted out !

This   door JQ (scraps of African indigo fabrics) has been on the go since February, a nice size to hand stitch on  train journeys, it might get finished for October. I initially thought the 8inch size would be too small for my liking but this years challenge has proved a delight, permission  to play and see what happens.
Another little quick project was making a present for  intern Ebrailon  who has been such a help in the lab, particularly chopping up slices of orchid roots we've collected to see if they have any fungi in.  He goes back to Brazil next week  and we'll miss him.  I printed some photos of root samples on Jacquard cotton sheets and ironed them onto  a cotton bag with bondaweb

Saturday 16 August 2014

Turner Contemporary at Margate

Wednesday 13th was our 9th wedding anniversary  and we took the day off to travel down to Margate by 'Javelin' train to visit Turner Contemporary for the Mondrian exhibition.  A picture of 'Dune Landscape' has been in my sea inspiration  folder  for many years so it was wonderful to see it  in the flesh, it's much larger than I imagined. Also to see  how the grid  paintings he's known for developed. The Spencer Finch exhibition was also interesting.
There was colour everywhere - I couldn't resist this fading, peeling, beach hut! I also took lots of photos of the art installation by Krijn de Koning  , with and without Ian and his pink shirt which looked different against different colour backgrounds

The building itself worked well with  colours of the sky and sea ( as did the site specific installation by Edmund de Waal)

Apart from viewing the exhibitions , we had a lovely lunch at the café  there  followed  by a walk along the harbour and a few sketches in watercolour ( the   clouds were spectacular but luckily the rain  held off ), returning to the café again for coffee and cake.
We returned to the  station at the same time as lots of families who'd spent the day on the beach ( lots of sandcastles and stripy windbreaks in evidence!) A lovely day with a space out of time quality, back to work on Thursday.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Spent my usual 2 days ( Saturday and Sunday) at the Festival of Quilts , it just gets  bigger and better, the galleries were particularly good this year. I was blown away by the recent work of Ann Johnston 'The contact- quilts of the Sierra Nevada'( above) both the inspiration behind it and the wonderful marks on fabric used to interpret her theme. It's rare to see a body of work that rewards both from a distance and close-up. The book had sold out -  I ordered it online (print on demand) as soon as I got home!
I did  buy a copy of the  catalogue for European Art Quilts VIII as there were some outstanding pieces in that gallery- Roberta Le Poidevin's 'A Thousand Acres' especially . Robbie won 1st prize with her miniature ' a hundred acres' based on this ( above)  but the larger scale piece was stunning.
Another gallery with amazing pieces on show was 'Art Textiles made in Britain: identity' - I was side-tracked meeting up with people I hadn't seen since last year so didn't take many photos apart from  a side view of a piece by Louise Baldwin - the  use of what looks like a section of drainpipe was inspired!
In other galleries, there were a few pieces that grabbed my attention, especially those using red old textiles ( I wonder why...!), including this piece using old red shibori by Gabi Mett  and some work in the French Patchwork Association (  unfortunately I was in a rush and forgot to  note the maker)

After writing about Pojagi in my last post , it amused me to see that a pojagi piece had won First Prize in the Art Quilt Section! I think it was rather a controversial decision but it  had a lovely luminous quality.  

Marion Hall's piece in the 'Fine Art Quilt Masters' also had a luminous quality
I loved the quirky 'drawings' by  Susan Chapman with  loads of stitching adding texture
On an Australian theme, 'Bushfire' by Louise Peers  was evocative, reminding me of the gardens on that theme at Hampton Court Flower show last year and I was pleased that my friend Sue Sheriff had entered her 'Journeys across Australia', such a good use of photos in a very personal piece.
Also reminding me of holidays   was 'Triassic Trio ' by Exe Valley CQ group ( and they won 3rd in Group Quilts)

I'm surprised I managed to see anything with so much catching up with various people, including fellow Cwilt Cymru  members; 'International Threads' participants  Gillian Travis and Uta Lenk (below) ;  some interesting conversations  about landscape and archaeology with Gillian Cooper ( 'Loops in Time' above)   and lots of other CQ and SAQA members

I was thrilled to have not 1 but 2 'Judges Choice' - from Barbara Weeks for 'Nautical Dawn' (above) in Art Quilts  section and from Sandra Meech for 'Weymouth Waves' in Pictorial Section. A delightful surprise and they mean a lot especially from  quilters who I admire. I also had a quilt in Linda Seward's gallery(  which looked amazing) , my 'Tideline'  was hung between quilts by Linda and Laura Kemshall!!
So after some retail therapy (including  blowing my budget on  yet another basket and some fabric from  Magie and Bob ), we headed back to London avoiding the tail end of Hurricane Bertha  but seeing some amazing  dynamic skies.
Today ( Wednesday 13th) was our 9th Wedding anniversary and we went to Turner Contemporary at Margate  but that will be another post....