Posts Tagged ‘art quilt’


August 31, 2012

I have been working on a series I call “thru the fire” for almost two years now.   I haven’t done any art quilting in a long time and I actually started this piece at the same time as this one (which will explain why “thru the fire” if you missed it), but then let it sit because I wasn’t terribly thrilled with it.  I pulled it out of the discard pile yesterday and worked on it more.  The face is a bit ghostly.  The idea is not for these pieces to have an eery feel but to capture the surviving image and to remember the family who didn’t survive.  Maybe the eeriness helps…

Here is the photo…

I don’t really believe in ghosts.  Lots of people do, but I believe our spirits go directly to our afterlife.  (hmmm… wonder why my computer chooses now to do all kinds of weird stuff…????)  I believe that because that is the way I read it in the Bible, besides, how could it be a peaceful existence if we are caught up between this world and that?   But since I watched The Ghost and Mr. Chicken from  the back seat of our station wagon, with my hands over my face, at the drive in theater when I was 7 (yes, I was a scaredy cat), I am still spooked by non-existant ghosts; especially the ones I catch glimpses of from the corners of my eyes.

Etymology of Chicken – Adjective sense of “cowardly” is at least as old as 14c. (cf. hen-herte “a chicken-hearted person,” mid-15c.); the verb meaning “to back down or fail through cowardice” is from 1943, U.S. slang; as a game of danger to test courage, it is first recorded 1953.

using up odds and ends

January 26, 2012

When I started this blog, it was with the intention it would be a blog of my work (and I have pretty closely adhered by that).  Well, could I ever set myself up a more difficult task?  I have trouble keeping up with the blog because I have trouble producing enough work to share!

I debated on showing the piece below to you but I do it for a couple of reasons.  First, to ask you, have you all seen a renewed interest in embroidery?  I am seeing evidence of it all around me and wonder if I am just taking note and it has been there all along or is embroidery on the upswing again.  And secondly, I want to share a couple of links to work that I find beautiful.  This one  is to recent embroidery, the work of Rosemary Milner (who I know nothing about other than I find her work so endearing).  The other is to an exhibit of very old (18th century) bits and pieces of textiles (including embroidery) left with abandoned babies at a foundling hospital.  The former inspired me to do the piece below, the latter feeds my nostalgic wonderment.

This insect was stitched on my sewing machine using free motion embroidering (no guidelines were used, hence the slight skewing!) on top of a piece of vintage (antique?) lace given to me years ago by my mother’s friend, Sybil, on top of a sample piece of matelasse given to me by an interior designer.  (lucky me to have such generous friends!)  I hand stitched onto the bee (I can stitch better but I wanted that amateur feel!!)  It measures about 3.25″ x 6.25″.

Making Merry Miscellany

December 19, 2011

I do declare, this may be the longest I have neglected my little blog here.  It is December and same excuse as in previous years.  I have two offspring whose birthdays are in December and that along with duties and prep for that birthday we celebrate in less than a week now, have kept me out of the studio creating…  If truth be told, I have done lots of little, relatively creative stuff like getting my husband to cut, drill and sand segments of yardsticks (I painted them all red because I didn’t have 27 vintage yardsticks) to make these yardstick stars  (based on these vintage stars) with my kids at church.

I’ve been painting super heros for a young boy’s room.  (no picture to show of that…)

I stitched up one Christmas card to send to a college friend of my husband’s (she sends the most wonderful hand cut cards each year with the stipulation she gets a handmade card back.  I don’t want to be crossed off her list!)  I love getting Christmas cards but when you don’t send them out, you don’t get many in return.  Anyone else notice that?  Cards have been low on my priority list for the last few Christmases, maybe if I start in August next year (and sell a painting to pay for postage!) I can send out the 60 to 70 cards to people who should be getting them.

And… I was so excited to find these little celebrating snowmen based on a picture in a Martha Stewart Living magazine from several years ago.  These guys have been hiding out in my attic despite all my best efforts to find them (or urging my husband to find them…) for the last 3 or 4 years!  They were made from covering styrofoam balls with paper clay and painting them iridescent white.  I put them on a painted wooden block and if the wind doesn’t blow much, they stand upright looking like Macy’s Parade Floats!  Love them!

Sorry for the blurry photos, but they are my specialty.  I hope your merry making thus far has actually been merry!


September 20, 2011

Random stuff from the at-the-moment-so-completely-disarranged-studio.

Spent way too much time making elephant cards (of sort, can’t really open them up and write on them, so I wrote on the back side of the ears!) and decorating envelopes for the kids in my Sunday School class.  Just decided to have fun and enjoy the making.

I was very pleased last weekend to learn that I had received Third Place in Original Design at the 2011 Georgia Celebrates Quilt show.  This was the second time I had entered this show (you may remember my blog post).  I love the fact that I won a ribbon, wouldn’t trade it for the world, except that there were some very labor intensive, beautiful, traditional quilts there that perhaps deserved a ribbon more than mine.  My take on this is that there should be a totally separate category for art quilts vs. traditional quilting.  Original Design is maybe not definitive enough.  But the judges still thought my binding “needs improvement!”  Heck, they were lucky I bound it at all!  That was the same comment I received about my first entry 8 or 9 years ago!  I wonder if anyone has ever done a perfect binding!

See what I mean about beautiful quilts??!!!

And mine proudly holding its ribbon…

You know how you feel when you have something good happen to you and you want to share it with everyone?  Having a blog is wonderfully satisfying way to share.  Thanks for listening!

The Four Miss Willises

August 12, 2011

There is a short story by Charles Dickens entitled The Four Sisters.  He writes of them “They seem to have no separate existence, but to have made up their minds just to winter through life together.”  I think that describes this art quilt to a tee.

The faces are those blind contour/colored pencil drawings of  some of the Agnes Scott girls done several months ago.  You can see them here.  I was playing with pebble quilting in different colors to see how it reads.  I debated whether to keep layering circle of color upon circle of color but since I had already removed about as many stitches as I put in,  I decided to stop before making any more poor choices.   The fabrics are commercial batiks (I love them!) and the size is about a 15″ square, although I am too lazy to go measure it exactly!

I have been trying to come up with a unique way of finishing the edges of art quilts.  I don’t like my options and am just not creative enough to “invent” something new!  Here I left them raw.  The applique is raw edged so why not.   I actually like the batting showing but I know it doesn’t look finished.  Anyone have a brilliant idea?

You can google and find out how The Four Sisters winter if you like.  I thought about providing a link but there are pop-ups and all…I would hate to be responsible for giving someone a virus.

admitting defeat

June 11, 2011

The little wrens are not going to make it to the quilt show.  I’ve tried and tried and kept on working long past the point that I think I should give up (you know, that point where you think it will never work out and your life would be better off if you just threw it all in the trash).  I finished it up to the point of putting on binding, but…no matter what I do to it, I just don’t like it.  Shame, because I really like the little color pencil drawing.

I am showing it to you anyway.

I think it may look nice cut up and made into pillows…

I looked at the info for the quilt show again and see that my deadline wasn’t the 10th but the 15th!   I sat at the sewing machine last night determined I would have something to enter even if it just remotely resembled a quilt.  (Guidelines state that a quilt has 3 layers and is held together with some form of stitching.)  I pulled out those cabinet cards that had gone thru the fire (see here for explanation ) for inspiration.  I found this gentleman, he looks so handsome and distinguished, doesn’t he?  Sadly, I have no idea who he is so I may just make up a story for him.  I stitched his image on a small “quilt.”  Still needs binding but I think I will enter this.  What do you think?

I can see in comparison of the two on the screen that I may tweak it a bit, after all, I have 4 more days!  Here is the original cabinet card.


Thanks for compliments on the bird quilt.  I feel I need to expound my comment about just not liking it.  I think there are some good parts to the quilt but mostly, I didn’t succeed in getting the feel that the little sketch had.  There is not enough depth in the quilt that I had in the sketch.  I didn’t capture what I really wanted to capture, hence, it is not a success to my eyes.

Regarding you persuasive comments to enter the quilt anyway, I have heard you should not show work if you don’t consider it your best work.  Although I did my best in the quilt, I think with practice and trial and error, I can make it better or closer to what I want anyway. I do really like the quilting pattern and you will see that in the future!  Something gained from the effort!


June 3, 2011

Update on the art quilt.  After my last post and the great encouragement I received from you, I feel I should say that I knew I could do the quilt because it is rather small, 18″ x 36″ and I know I work best with a deadline.   I thought I would show you my progress thus far.  It doesn’t have quite the ethereal feel I want and I don’t know that I am able to get it but I intend to  try.  Perhaps the back ground needs to be less varied in value but too late for that.  Oh well.  Suzannah said it looks great so I am happy even if it doesn’t match the image in my head or my sketch from the previous post!

The birds have stitching done to blend the fabrics.  I decided to stitch first and quilt later.  That way the images will project rather than receed.  At least I hope that is how it turns out.

I worked at Singer retail store in the early 80’s while I was in college.  I remember making a bird, some sort of crane I think.  I used raw edge applique (like the birds above) and then I created a trupunto effect by stuffing the feathers.  The store hung this piece for a while and I took it home when I quit.  I wish I knew where that piece was;  I bet it is very similar to what I am doing here (although I am still debating on the trupunto).

Can I do it?

May 30, 2011

I am challenging myself.  June 10 is the deadline for submissions to a local, fairly large quilt show sponsored by the East Cobb Quilting Guild and I want to have a quilt in it.  My problem is that I don’t have one to enter!  So here is my challenge.  To create and quilt an art quilt by June 10.

Step one – decide what my image will be.  I can check that off.  Here is my colored pencil sketch.

I’ll keep you posted.  If you don’t see any progress on this, you will know I have totally failed at this particular challenge!

Where there is smoke…

November 16, 2010

Every so often, an idea, thought or image will come into my head that no matter how much I shake it, it will not leave.  I believe they call this obsessive behavior.

The idea stewing in there at the moment is what to do with a bunch of old cabinet cards that were fire and smoke damaged.  These cards belong to my mother and are in my possession for permanent safekeeping (permanent meaning until she decides to come and take them).  Their original safekeeper was my mother’s beloved aunt Josephine.  We have heard so much about Aunt Josephine over the years, her name conjures up a presence even though I never met her.  Sadly, she died before my birth.  She and her husband and young baby son were all killed in a fire when their oil furnace exploded back sometime around 1950.  The only survivor was her then 3 year old daughter now a full grown adult cousin.

The cabinet cards survived, too.  With so much smoke damage it looks like you could puzzle them back together in their original placement that terrible night.  Some cards are beyond recognition with blackened parts or faded areas.  Flakes of paper are falling off, corners have disintegrated (I choose that over the image of rodents gnawing on them) and this particular one has been lovingly decorated with an orange crayon.

My idea is to use these as inspiration for art quilts.  Here is my first.

The background was done to simulate the cabinet card itself with a thread painting  attached as the photograph was.  I was trying to capture the geometric shape created by the smoke damage and, also,  the orange crayon.

I did another one after this but am not satisfied with it.  There is, perhaps, more to do on this one.   I feel the idea merits further exploration and hope some other obsessive thought doesn’t replace it before I have the opportunity to.


Forget Liberia, Hello San Marino!

October 10, 2010

An obligation complete.  One 12″ quilt square I volunteered to make way back in August and then missed my deadline by more than a week.  Well, not completely my fault, but still….

This is going into a quilt that has something to do with participating Olympic countries.  My country was San Marino which I knew nothing about until I picked it from the few remaining.  I still know nothing about it except what I have gleaned from Wikipedia.  It is the “oldest surviving sovereign state”  having been established in 301 AD and this is a tower called Guaita built on a summit in the 11th century.  My first choice of countries was assigned to two people and I relinquished it to the other person.  This gave me a very short deadline and ideas weren’t coming easily on how to represent the country.  The tower caught my attention.

I hope it holds its own with the remaining squares.

While in England, my family walked the halls of the Leeds Castle.  It is a little younger than this building dating  from the 12th century.  I was so awed by its history and presence, I just wanted to wander and wonder by myself.  The tour guide was more interested in telling us all about the 20th century American heiress that modernized and decorated it than to do more than rush over its earlier times.  I believe he was as awed of the Lady Baillie as I was of the building itself.

Wish there were buildings like that around here.