Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Challenge- Extreme

Throughout the history of art, artists have pushed themselves to step outside of the accepted forms. We see this in textiles, paint and sculptures, every area where there is creativity. The natural progression is to learn the "rules", the techniques and skills, use them until they are comfortable and old and then step out of that comfort zone.
Ask what if?
How much can I change things?
What is the most extreme form I can create and still have something I want to make and will be happy to have made?

Hibiscus with Plumeria Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe pushed the limits of size.
Amongst other artists who stepped out into new areas are Kazimir Malevich, Paul Klee, Joan MiroRichard DiebenkornJackson Pollock, and perhaps my least favourite artist Willem deKooning. All challenge us in one way or another and make us restless with the work we make.

Paul Klee Ad Parnassum

Quilters and textile workers also love to push boundaries and work on concepts. Who are your sources of inspiration? Huguette Caland challenges me with her lines and dots- repetition
Gloria Loughman with her colours and the intricate details of her landscapes.

What will you choose:
work with only one design element, line, colour, value etc
an extreme range of colour or work in white
very large images or very small                                
complex  or simple
The choice is yours.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

City flowerbeds and oriental tiles

May be you have noticed that I like circles and wavy lines. 

So I‘ve decided to use these shapes for Art Deco theme.

After the design forms were chosen it was time to find the main idea of my “city” quilt.

I live in a very green city with a lot of flowerbeds and at the same time we have many building with oriental tiles and I decided to combine these two beauties in one quilt.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rosehip Seeds

I wanted to produce something in the American Art Deco style for this challenge. My original idea was to design a seed packet which fits in with my theme of fruits and seeds quite nicely. As I progressed though, it seems to have metamorphosed into a poster.

I created the final design in PaintShop Photo Pro X3 using vector graphics and then used this as a template for the piecing.

The rosehip was made separately using a reverse appliqué method and then attached to the background as a whole.

All the fabric except the black is hand dyed by me as per Helen Deighan’s method for graduated effects from her book Dyeing in Plastic Bags.  

The lettering was achieved by printing onto Artist Transfer Paper (ATP) and ironing this on.

I decided not to do lots of free machine embroidery on this piece as I wanted to keep it clean and simple.

This closeup shows how the yellow fabric has been left around the seeds during the process of  reverse appliqué

Leaves á la Art Deco

The theme I have chosen for this year´s 4 quilts, is leaves. The challenge this time was Art Deco. After some research about Art Deco I have tried to interpret this challenge by using strong colors and stained-glass, which resulted in these 3 geometric, colorful, abstract, eucalyptus leaves and its seeds on a background with rectangular forms surrounded with black strips.

The black parts  in the leaves are kunin felt - under the circles, as well as under the red square shapes -   and black cotton fabrics.
The black lines in the background are bias strips. The background is pieced and the leaves are appliquéd as well as raw edge appliquéd. The piece is machine quilted and some hand quilting is made on the light grey background pieces to obtain some texture.

Size: 15 x 20 inches

Crossing the line

I really like Art Deco - one of my assessment quilts for the City and Guilds was based on 1930s stained glass windows. To accommodate my theme of the year, fences, I checked out a lot of Art Deco inspired railings, bannisters and fences, but most of them relied heavily on symmetry. Somehow, they weren't going to express anything I felt in tune with. So I turned to travel posters, which have that graphic quality I am frequently drawn to explore.

This worked much better. I found an art deco style font, called Kaikoura. This was especially apt, as the town of Kaikoura is only about 2 hours drive from me. Kai means food, and koura means crayfish. The ocean is particularly deep, with the Hikurangi Trench just off shore. This brings a lot of seafood to the area, crayfish (a kind of lobster), paua (abalone) and other fish, which attract seals, dolphins, whales and orca. Kaikoura is a whale-watching town, with boats and planes going out any time the weather is good enough. It is also unusual in having mountains coming right down almost to the sea.

But Kaikoura also has a race course, which I think only has one race a year. I took a liberty here, as the racing in Kaikoura is harness racing,  not gallops.  But I like the simpler outlines of the horses and jockeys. Here I could incorporate my fences in an art deco setting. I was happy!

Yellow Tulips

Tulips are such elegant flowers, simple in shapes and in so many wonderful colours. And since Art Deco is very simplified, it was a perfect match for my personal challenge, tulips. Looking through images from my garden, I settled on the one I used in an earlier challenge, LOVE, and used it as a template for raw edge applique, with hand dyed cotton.
As a background, I used something that reminded me of radioes from the 1930s, freehand cut and pieced commersial fabrics, on top of pale green linen.
 The quilting in the background is simply straight lines, the tulips are free hand machinequilted, with French knots.

100 King Street

It was interesting to compare the Art Deco movement in the UK with that in America where buildings sweep into the sky with great power and confidence in the future. Buildings in the UK seem to  sprawl, there is a gentler feeling they settle into the landscape and don't challenge or dominate the history and environment around them.

Posters from this time follow the trend, images soar upwards using perspective to enhance that feeling and express confidence and the promise of the future, colours tend to be limited and lines are clean in their design, and that was what I wanted to capture in my piece.

100 King Street was designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1928 for Midland Bank and was constructed in 1933-35. It is classified as either Art Deco or Modernist Classical depending on the reference site. At four stories high this building reaches up from the four roads that surround it. The lovely angles gave me the opportunity to once again play with perspective, this time using 3 point, and exaggerate that height. This time looking looking inwards through the windows I filled the building with silver and gold a nod to the wealth and lights burning brightly as people go about their business.

Materials used: Commercial fabric customised with Inktense pencils, blocks and fabric paints, metallic voile, netting, screen print, machine appliqué and quilting

screen print through freezer paper stencil

Monday, April 6, 2015

Working in a Series, some thoughts

Some of our members have done classes with respected teachers on working in a series. It is generally accepted that this way of working will help any artist to uncover elements that have personal meaning, which will in turn produce a body of work that has artistic integrity.

I came across an artist recently whose paintings could easily have been expressed in fabric and stitch.

Valeriane Leblond is of French/Quebec origin and now lives in Wales. Her paintings are often oil on various wooden substrates. She has been exploring her adopted homeland since 2007. Her landscapes have a fresh charm, and encapsulate the essential features of Welsh rural and coastal life.

The way she works illustrates how we can explore a subject by using different scales, colour palettes, horizon lines and all the design elements, such as rhythm, repetition, harmony, that we read about in our Art and Design manuals and course notes.

I will give the works their English titles, as the original titles are in Welsh. When I look at these paintings I can so easily imagine the quilting lines, hand stitching and textures.

Would that it was still summer
There is no catch

ebb and flow
autumn equinox

gold moon

Notice that there are traditional quilts featured in some of her paintings - a bonus!