Saturday, November 30, 2013

If Not Here, Then Where?

The theme of escape can bring many different things to mind, some pleasurable, some fanciful and some more dire. I think that it would be a rare individual who never wished for an escape from one thing or another.
In my quilt I wanted to ask the question “ Escape to where?” Simply put, if I were having a perfect day, where would I be? What would I be doing? Who would I be with?
The answers to these questions would probably vary depending on the situation that I wanted to escape. If it were the cold of winter, I might want to be on a tropical island. If it were from the tedium of everyday life, I might want some place exciting or stimulating. If it were from the noise and chaos of a big city, I might want to be in a tranquil and serene place. The possibilities, like the reasons, are infinite and personal.

In this quilt I have created a map of an imaginary place to represent all of the imaginary places that I might wish to be. My presence is represented by an abstract copper coloured symbol which symbolizes a compass for direction but with a central square which represents me. I am, therefore, the heart of this desire and the chooser of the destination.

The outlined compasses represent some of the possibilities of where I might want to be.

Tempus Effugere


Escaping time is one of the joys of creating your own fabric and working with it. It is time consuming but brings pleasure as the imagery and texture develop and the final touches are added.

The quilt was an escape from the tumult of daily life as the various processes and hand quilting required focussed attention. It was also an exploration of several new processes, and a way of working with art cloth to transform it into a quilt.



Tray Dye with Procion dyes; screen print using textile inks and thickened Procion dyes;  discharge with Jaquard Discharge Paste; Stamping; screen print through freezer paper stencil; gold leaf; hand and machine quilting

Sunset at Jimbaran Beach, Bali

So many differnt interpretations came to my mind when I learned about our new theme. Quilting in itself is an escape for me, as it is probably for the other members of this group. But also reading, listening to music, dreaming can be ways to escape the demands of everyday life. And of course traveling.
My husband and I enjoyed traveling before we had children. My favorite place of all we have been to is the indonesian island of Bali, and not only because of the wonderful batik fabrics produced there. The people are so friendly, you really get the feeling it still comes from the heart and not because as a tourist they hope you will buy something or leave a good tip. As we were staying in a hotel in Jimbaran we often went to some fishermen's restaurant directly on the beach in Jimbaran. There we would sit at the table, barefoots in the sand and enjoy a wonderful meal while watching the sun sut in front of us.
I hope to return to this wonderful island one day when our children are older. For the present time I can only escape there in toughts. The memories of our vacation are still very present.

The background is made of commercial hand dyed fabrics by Heide Stoll-Weber. The black horizont line, the clouds, the sun and its reflection in the water are wool felt and machine felted to the background. The sun reflection is quilted with metallic thread to add more glitter.
cotton fabric
wool felt
polyester batting
metallic and polyester threads.


'Escape Plan' by Linden Lancaster

After reading about collage process used by Valerie S. Goodwin, I decided to make an ‘Art quilt map’ to fit in with this theme of ‘Escape’. The building plan I have used is fictional and has no particular significance. It is up to the viewer to decide if it is a prison, castle or a house. 

My primary intention of this piece was not so much in interpreting the theme, but to present a visual buffet of shape, line, texture and colour.
The collage process was quite an enjoyable one:
1.      Light coloured fabric were cut (or torn) and sewn onto a substrate.
2.      Chunky hand sewing was then added in a random way to give this background some extra texture.
3.      Fabric paint was added sparingly with a brush to unify patchwork pieces together. I also added a stencils throughout the process.
4.      A few sheer fabrics were then applied with misty fuse.
5.      The linear and rectangular elements of the plan were then fused into place and thread painted/quilted.
6.      More hand sewing was then added to give the piece more interest.
I think I would like to make another piece of a place that I identify with– something with paddocks, rivers and dirt roads. I also like the idea of adding your own poetry, like a Haiku.

'Escape Plan' by Linden Lancaster 2013
'Escape Plan' detail 1

'Escape Plan' detail 2


At first glance, this was an interesting theme. But when I started working with it, I had problems how to solve it as a quilt. I decided to go abstract, focusing on this:
Escape = an act of breaking free from confinement or control.
We live in a world where, in certain environments, being "out of the box" is not always a good thing.  You have to fit in. So, I've tried to show this by breaking it all down to squares - in rows - with military precision, except for the one escaping and blooming. Because these people are sometimes regarded like    a weed, like a dandelion. They are strong, beautiful, full of colour, they have freed themselves from the rules of the garden and pop up wherever they want!


I had about 25 things on my suggestions list for the theme of Escape. I chose to go with the theme of cages. Aside from the literal idea of keeping wild birds in cages or setting them free, it seemed like we are all in cages. Sometimes we make our own bars, by creating a home, an environment, where we are cocooned from the wildness of nature. Sometimes other people put cages around us to protect us, and sometimes we are truly imprisoned by others' desires for power and control.

When we have the chance to escape to freedom, not everyone chooses that path.

Birds are naturally free in the elements, but they then have the 'prison' of finding food, shelter and avoiding predators.

Life is never entirely black or white, and that's why I chose Dichotomy as my title.

This quilt can be hung either in the black or white orientation.

The technicalities were that I drew the basic outlines of the cages and birds on soluble stabiliser and stitched it from the white side. I then washed the quilt to remove the soluble before more stitching and applique. The advantage of the outline stitching was that I had the exact placement for both sides of the quilt. The main stitching was done with 30 weight thread, while the quilting was done with very fine thread. Even though there are little 'ticks' of fine black thread on the white side where I changed direction, I find they add a certain pattern to the stitch.


When this theme was announced there was only one thing that appeared in my mind. It was our plot with olive trees and the view from our house in Greece. This really is the place to which I can escape and use my time to all the things that make me happy and creative and with very little "musts".
I chose to make a piece showing the wonderful  view I can enjoy and look at every day when I am there with the olive trees in the foreground and the Messenia Gulf  and the peninsula, on the other side of the Gulf with the high mountain top, the Prophet Elias, 2400 meters over above sea level.

The background is  whole cloth, painted with Dye-na-Flow paint and four patches are sun printed with Dye-na -flow paint, screen printing ink and fabric paint with letter masks made from freezer paper  with the letters esc , as the word esc on the PC keyboard.
On top of this I have printed some olive trees on ExtravOrganza and fused them using white Misty fuse.

Finally the piece is quilted with running stitches and seed stitches with cotton and metallic threads. In order to emphasize the trees I put some paint with Shiva paint sticks on top of the embroidery stitches on top of the trees.


This was a rather fun piece for me. It is a self portrait at 10 years of age. References include a menagerie of much loved characters such as Stormy Misty's Foal, Kavik the Wolf Dog and cast members of Peterson's field guides to birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
Perched on my shoulder is what was my ever constant companion, a hand-raised starling named Chicken Hawk.
Today I live with yet another orphaned starling named Birdy and I still love to escape into books. Not much has changed really!

Hand drawing (portrait)
as well as photo transfer for the starling, frog, butterflies and wolf.
Hand and machine stitching.
Prisma color pencil and textile medium throughout.

With special thanks to Laura Kemshall who taught me that sketching is not just for paper.

By Heidi Wulfraat

Escape Route

November 2013 Challenge "Escape"

My challenge is called "Escape Route".  I find that one should always know a way out of something.  Be it a back door, a friend you can call at the last minute to help or having a time-out.  Everyone needs to know where to go and the route.  

I have used crazy blocks as my foundation as it conveys that life is busy and in each square I have filled them with seed and bugle beads, pearle cotton threads and silk ribbon for the embellishments.  Only one pink ribbon has a clear path to the flower, oh an "Escape Route”.
Escape Route - Katie Pidgeon

Escape \Route - detail

Friday, November 29, 2013

Escape challenge quilt

The ESCAPE theme for a challenge.  And right after I had faced my own challenge being alone, snowed in without electricity and no possibility for escape for several days.  

My list of materials to use for this piece started with a stencil of tree branches that I really wanted to use.  How could I fit that into an image of escape? I toyed with painting several colored leaves on the branches with one slowly falling to the ground.  That could symbolize changing seasons and the coming winter.  But the stencil was a negative shape of the tree with the color to be applied on the outside of the shape rather than a stencil of the tree branches.  Harder to deal with but I really wanted to use that stencil.  And I did--with acrylic paint over a fabric that was perfect for portraying tree bark. I then had a great stencil on a very stiff piece of fabric (from the acrylic paint) that would need to be quilted someway.  With acrylic painting on fabric every needle punch leaves a hole and if something had to be taken out there might be a lot of holes.  I left that problem for later and found a good image of geese flying south in their V-formation and stenciled that on with markers.  Stencilled the letters for escape with a marker and all was solved except the quilting method.

Snowflakes would be good--French knots or beading.  I settled on some clear crystal beads.  I was aiming for a random sprinkling of beads to tack the layers together and to appear as light snow.  

There was more thinking time about how to create the small quilt and reacting to each step than time spent stenciling and beading which isn't the way I usually  proceed but it worked.

Materials:  cotton fabric, stencils, acrylic paint, markers and glass beads.