Larye and I have been attending a monthly meeting of local art quilters for the past 18 plus months. The group members have been meeting in Olympia for a number of years and include an incredible number of talented fabric surface design and collage artists.
Since we have been attending, the bulk of the meetings have been informal and include a sharing of new literature, websites and current personal projects (often in progress and, in many different artistic media).
At the beginning of this year, the attendees decided that there would be a more formal monthly challenge for those members who wished to participate. The challenge would revolve around a chosen subject, and the participants would choose the medium for their individual art pieces.
My proficiency (and, therefore, my comfort zone) has always been conventional three layer quilting…with the addition of beads and fabric surface alteration in the last decade. The topic decided upon for January was Still Life. I have a huge fondness for New Mexico’s life style…architecture, textiles, pottery and, of course, food. Thus, the beaded Ristra on a quilted background. The string of peppers was beaded on a felt base which has velcro on the back so the piece can be removed from the quilted “frame” and swaped with new beadwork each month….my original intent. I liked the Ristra well enough to make it a permanent wall hanging (until further notice!) and progressed on to February….
February’s subject matter was voted a landscape. I approached this month’s challenge as a “whole cloth” quilt and did the underlying picture using thread play only. I then carved a tree stamp in two different sizes and used it to over stamp the thread play…and, just for good measure, I added a few Angelina trees made using the same stamp. The fish stamp was one I had carved a few years ago for another project…I added one Angelina fish to the mix.
I’m not entirely happy with this piece so I consider it unfinished. I may have to add some beads or foiling to the edges of the fire to get the point across. The piece is hanging on my design wall until and if I decide to add more dimension.
As a discussion of art techniques, Notan (Japanese design involving the play and placement of light and dark) was introduced to the group. In February, a number of group members chose to create paper Notan pieces. The 6 inch square of gold card stock in the piece below was cut and placed on a 12×12 inch piece of purple card stock…the cut pieces flipped in mirror image opposite the original cut on the 6 inch square using the traditional Japanese technique.
The response to Notan as an art form was very positive, so the group elected to use this technique on fabric for the March challenge. Because my paper Notan was too intricate to repeat in fabric, I chose another design.
I used two pieces of the same fabric for the tree…right sides together with “Steam A Seam” bond on the wrong side of both squares. I drew the tree design on the paper backing of the adhesive attached to one of the squares and cut out both trees simultaneously. The positive image of the tree was flipped from one fabric opposite the negative image from the other fabric and fused to the background fabric. Using this method, I ended up with two identical wall hangings…each a mirror image of the other.
April’s challenge subject is circles….hmmmm