Monday, December 22, 2014

Masterclass for quiltmakers, an online class with Elizabeth Barton

I have admired Elizabeth Barton and her quilts for many years. I have attended two of her classes at the former Quilt University and when her books "Inspired to design. Seven Steps to Successful Art Quilts" and "Visual Guide to WORKING IN A SERIES"  were published, I was not late to buy them.
When she announced that she was going to start an online Master class for Art Quilters, I immediately signed up.
The class started in January this year and now in December it is going to finish. 
Every month there was a new exercise to work with.
For example one exercise was about "Lost and Found edges". This was about to create the illusion of a place or a person, an object etc. in a limited two dimensional space. One of the most magical illusions is that of lost edges. It is magical really!
 The planning for the work was the same for every month.
1 to the 10th of the month we were asked to make a lot of sketches and then choose the 3 best.
11th  to the 20th of the month.
When Elizabeth had received all the designs she put them together into a blog with a critique for each design. She numbered them and did not use our names, so we were just Student 1, Student 2 etc. So we could feel free to be wild.
We had then ten days to block out the design we had chosen i.e. cut out the pieces in fabric and pin them together so that she clearly could see how the piece looked, but that alterations were possible.
When she had received the images she put them on a blog with critique for each one. No names.
21st to the last day of the month.
The finished quilts were published on the blog with a short evaluation, basically her overall impression and some things for everyone of us to ponder for the next piece, which was published on the first of the next month, on her blog, where she described the next exercise.
Elizabeth writes "Don´t worry if you can´t manage to do this (or any other exercise) - as long as most of you do it, we´ll have plenty of designs to look at and critique.
Reading her critiques for all the students sketches, block outs and the finished quilts have been very instructive and useful. There were lots of valuable things to learn about how to think when you make a design.
Below are two of my sketches inspired by the Swedish painter Philip von Schantz (I just made two sketches this month)

After some critique from Elizabeth I made a lot of changes and below you can se my blocked out design after Elizabeth´s valuable and honest critique.

                                         The blocked out design where you can see how the piece looked and  
                                         alterations were possible.


                                         The finished piece.

                                          Close up

The background fabric is sunprinted with different paper shapes of bottles, which acts as masks, then outlined with machine stitching with a variegated thread. On top of the background fabric a piece of white organza  is placed. 
The foreground shapes of bottles are made of organza, schrims and Lutradur  backed with fusible web and fused on top of of the two layers (background sunprinted fabric and the layer of organza). Some of the bottle shapes are then mashine quilted round their perimeter. 
Measurement 16 x 10,5 inch
This was a fabulous class and I´ve come away from it feeling much more capable and confident in my work
The Master Class blog is private but Elizabeth has a public blog and a website if you wish to check her out further.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New format for Latitude in 2015

After we had complete our second year of 15 inch squares, it seemed like time to try a different format and size.

For 2015 we will all make 4 quilts instead of 6. They will be revealed at the end of February, May, August and November.

The size will be maximum of 24 by 17 and minimum of 20 by 15 inches, but each member can choose the exact size, and orientation.

Each challenge will be a design principle or style, not a thing or an idea.

Participants will have an overall theme for the year. This could be anything that has meaning for you - and it can be as narrow or wide as you like. This theme will unify each member's body of work, but each challenge will be interpreted as we have done before.

I was interested to see a challenge using a similar overall theme idea by Mix group - see, the dates from April 27th 2014 and the previous posts.

The first challenge was set by Lyuda and is the colour Green.

I am excited to see our group evolve their work this way, which will add a level of cohesiveness to each person's work that we didn't all embrace in the previous 2 years, though some members came close.


In a few days is Christmas and though we think it should be white, here in Bavaria it is warm, the sun is shining and the first spring plants are coming. Yesterday I went for a long walk with my camera. The main colour I saw was green, in many different variations.
If there is some red in the picture, the green will sparkle.

Here is old colour from graffitis mixed with moss, it looks fantastic.
In the end I arranged all my green fotos in one big picture. Now I can look for all my green fabric scraps and a little bit red and arrange them in the same way.

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new Year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Feel the Difference

This was the most difficult theme for me.
Letters are not my passion and I've never payed attention to it. But after announcing this theme I’ve looked around and noticed the multiplicity of letters’ types. Letters were everywhere! But no any idea for quilt...
What word to use? What letters? Ideas where are you?

I’m teaching basic patchwork and new student started course one week ago. Before cutting the fabrics we cut away the edges. Wow! How beautiful was lettering there! Yes, I will use fabric edges in my quilt!
But letters can be so different. I remember that I have a piece of fabric from the Soviet period. It was labels, which were used at money factory to sew on cash bags. How great was the Difference between these letters: so fancy on fabric edges and so official on labels.

Materials: commercial fabric edges.

Technique: quilt as you go.

T is for Tulip

For me with this theme the challenge was not how to interpret it but which technic to use.

As I had made several journal quilts with the tulip theme in the past year including the quilt for our love theme I decided to use this flower again for the last quilt of the year and of this cycle.
I decided to use my big tulip thermofax screen and add the word tulip on the quilt. While trying to decide which technic I should use for the letters I decided that as a greeting to all the current members of our group I would write the word tulip in each of our languages (french, german, english, swedish, norwegian and russian). Since the russian language uses another alphabet than ours stamping was excluded. I decided against stitching and choose writing with a fabric pen. As I had screenprinted a golden tulip on a dark purple background and already decided to use a yellow background for the quilt I used a purple pen on the same yellow fabric than the background.

To add some more sparkle I also fused a golden metallic foil T on another purple piece of fabric.

I used a tulip stamp and gold paint on the background. The tulips were free motion quilted, then I stippled the background in between of the stamped tulips.

The yellow fabric with the words was layered on more purple fabric for contrast and I appliquéed all the pieces with a zig-zag stitch. Initially I had planed to use hand stitching for the appliqué but I finally tought that it didn't look good with the free motion quilted background.

Commercial hand dyed cotton fabric
Polyester batting
Polyester thread
Screen printing, fused metallic foil, hand writing with fabric pen
Free motion quilting
Machine raw edge appliqué 


For Galskapen heng i det grøne, og Eplet er raudt utan synd

When the challenge came, I thought this was just my thing. I love letters and writing, and often try to incorporate it in my work. So I looked through my sketchbooks for inspiration, and at once found my quote. It is from a poem by the Norwegian author Jon Fosse and in Norwegian it goes: "For galskapen heng i det grøne, og eplet er raudt utan synd". Translated to English it says something like: "For the madness is hanging in the green, and the apple is red without sinn". I had already a rough idea of how to interpret it, and for a long time, I had wanted to try to embroider lettering in the style of Lorina Bulwer. I had found somewhere on the internet a tutorial of how tom make letters like hers easy, and decided to use it this time.
What colours to use were easy to pick, I needle-turn appliqued  the apple, machine quilted the piece simple with free straight lines before I embroidered the lettering and finished it all with some simple hand-stitches. And framed it all with the colour of the apple.
Because the quote is Norwegian, as my native language is, I decided to keep both the text in the quilt and the title in Norwegian.

and a close up:

Der Hexenstieg

The Witches Trail

Gabriele Bach - Der Hexenstieg
In this quilt I wanted to try many different possibilities to use lettering. In the end I used only three, the size and my design decisions limited the number.
Der Hexenstieg - detail
Mainly I wanted to use handwriting, and that reminds me on diaries. Years ago I walked the Witches Trail  in the Harz mountains, 100 km in four days. This adventure I wanted to record in the quilt.
The handwriting gives information about the Harz mountains. Since ever Harz and witches belong together, in Walpurgisnight the witches fly to the Brocken, the highest mountain in Harz, and dance there.
The little witch I used in the quilt, leads the trail. In the big block of my quilt I appliqued the form of the Harz and embroidered the Witches Trail. The trees are typical for the Harz.

Der Hexenstieg - detail
At the light fabric on the left side I wrote the names of the main points from the trail, it is similar to the trail markers.

The main colours of the Harz are blue and green and the orange witch is just the right complement to it.

Der Hexenstieg - detail

By Hand

For this quilt I wanted to express the way we use letters to build words, then thoughts and ideas.
When we create there are always imperfections due to the very nature of making something by hand, but there is also beauty and individuality caught in those  imperfections. Using the stamps and stencils symbolises the joy of spreading those ideas to others in the form of the written word  and show the hand of the maker, or letter writer. The hand stitching and embroidery represents for me the art of the letter writer making marks to convey their thoughts, dreams and desires to others and the colours and beads capture the richness of illuminated manuscripts especially the Book of Kells which I had the pleasure of seeing several years ago.

The printed word brings news, stories, learning to our lives and has done for many years from those very first printing presses to todays computer aided machines. To capture some of that history and create my own letters I used hand cut stencils, old printing press letters and textile ink. There materials used hand dyed fabric, embroidery thread and seed beads.

'Look to the Hills'

'Look to the Hills' Linden Lancaster 2014

The title of this piece refers to the Psalm 121 (v1-8) and is about protection:

I lift my eyes to the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep……
The Lord will watch your coming and your going
Both now and forevermore.

It was my intention to use the actual text in the piece, but this did not eventuate.
This is a paper quilt with two layers. The paper fabric was made following Beryl Taylor’s method which involves laying papers onto a thin fabric substrate with watered down PVA glue in a similar way to collage. While the piece was wet I added various paints and crayons. When it was completely dry I added a piece of backing fabric and quilted it with a very sharp jeans needle using four different colour cotton threads.
I used a variety of materials including tissue, rice, pre-painted and ordinary photo copy paper with various size and type of text. To give the appearance of perspective, I put the larger text in the forgeground, meduim in the middle ground and smallest in the background.
This was a very quick and easy way to make a piece of art!

Look to the Hills crop1

Look to the Hills crop2

Look to the Hills crop3

Scandinavian Runes & Greek Letters

During my 2 years as a member of this group, this theme "Lettering" was the most challenging for me, even if I earlier had made 2 quilts containing letters, Every Day and Marks.

The idea of letting the Scandinavian runes and the Greek letters come together in a quilt come to me
as I often pass a couple of  rune stones when out walking in Sweden (Mariefred) and in Greece (Messinia) where I often pass a small "Monument" with Greek text reminding of the war.

For the Greek theme I chose to use different shapes of urns and fig leaves together with Greek lettering.
For the Scandinavian runes I just embroidered letters by hand saying, Latitude Quilts November Two Thousand Fourteen and after that 3 extra letters (X,Y and M) just in order to fill up the piece.

The Greek background fabric is a Procion dyed linen whole cloth stamped and stenciled with gold and white textile colors, discharged paste and oil paint sticks. The urns and fig leaves are machine embroidered with Metallic and Rayon threads.

The runes are hand embroidered on a piece of sturdy cotton fabric painted with a gold acrylic paint.

The main colors of blue, white and gold was chosen with the colors of the Swedish and Greek flags in mind, even if they do not exactly correspond to the true blue and yellow colors of the Swedish flag and the blue color of the Greek flag.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Letters and Records

I love text, I collect images of text, they are scattered all around on the phone, computer, external hard drive, Pinterest and in boxes. By now you have probably guessed that they can't be found when they are needed for inspiration.

This Challenge brought home the need for a Sketchbook collection or an electronic file clearly labelled Print/typeface/signs. The thing is how do you store a double spread broad sheet page together with a drink can and all the in betweens safely and without loosing the integrity of the original item.

Letterbox and Bar  window found down a back alley in Winchester

Alongside all the images of text sit the stencils both commercial and home made and the small selection of news print stamps found on Portobello road in a little antique reclamation shop. They were used for the first time in this challenge.
Fancy a sneak peak, here it is complete with spelling errors and placement mistakes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Trip to Saint-Petersburg

I really love this city and try to use any possibility to travel there. This time the reasons were to visit my son and participate in International Quilt Forum.

Most days the weather was really bad but the beauty of the city and many amazing quilts made my trip wonderful.

There are some photos of the city.
The most beautiful Cathedral of the city:

The show window of the oldest gourmet:
all figures are dancing

And now some quilts from the show.

Quilts by Irina Voronina:

Series quilts by quilt club of Lyudmila Galumova "Olympic Colors":

Series quilts by quilt club from Murmansk "Temptation":

Series quilts by quilt club of Lyudmila Galumova "Flowers" (1x1m):