Thursday, December 29, 2011

Keepsake Quilts Made With Kids Clothing

"Baby Boy Blue", 31" x 25" 

I've made several T-shirt quilts and was thinking about making some quilts using baby and kids clothing. Since I don't have kids I asked my sister if she had some clothes that her kids have outgrown. I don't think I told her what I was going to do with them. 

 

So I made some samples quilts. I made one using 6 pieces of clothing her son wore. Just like his Daddy he wore lots of polo shirts and seemed to favor a blue and yellow color combination. I quilted over the shirts but I made sure that all of the pockets were left accessible.

"Sweet Pea", 27" x 32"

The pink one had 6 pieces of clothes her daughter had worn. The four shirts, the light purple row under "Big Sister" was from a pant leg and the wide strip in the middle with the flowers and cherries was the bottom of a dress that my sister loved.


Most of the embroidered parts were already on the clothing. I did cut out a few fun pieces that were on the sleeves and made them into patches that were appliqued in other places. 

 
"I've Been Very, Very Good", 25" x 25"

And there were even a few pieces of clothing that both kids wore for Christmas, so I thought it would be fun to make a Christmas-themed quilt.


With some of the tops that had snaps I left them so the snaps could be opened and left a secret message inside.

So guess what I gave my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas this year? Three quilts made with the clothes their kids had worn.

Like the T-shirt quilts, all the clothing was stabilized before it was cut and pieced together. The borders and bindings were made with cotton fabrics and pieced by machine. The quilts were machine quilted and all have hanging sleeves.

For information about purchasing a custom memory keepsake quilt using your kid's clothing, visit my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ForQuiltsSake?section_id=7615956

Friday, December 23, 2011

Found Art / Found Objects

I've always been a little confused by the term "found art" or "found object" as part of the description of materials used in a quilt. I love to embellish my quilts and have often used items that others might describe as "found objects." Do they still count as a 'found object' if I got the item from my "possible art supplies stash" or bought the item at a store?

According to the traditional definition, found objects used in art are "objects which has not been designed for an artistic purpose, but which exists for another purpose."

So the drain cover in "After the Rain" is a found object, as is the barbed wire I made to use in the "Blue Bird" quilt in the Feather series, and also the key I used in "not even the rain: a love poem."

And the photo of the little Santa? Found it in a book that was checked out from the library. I have no idea who drew it but it would be the literal definition of "found art."

Hope your holidays are filled with surprises and maybe even found art.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Fiber and Clay Holiday Sale and Open House

This weekend I'm participating in a Holiday Sale with my friend Lisa Goldberg at her studio. We'll be open Sat., Dec. 3 from 1-4 pm and Lisa's studio is located at 4619 Meredith Road in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Lisa makes beautiful hand-built functional ceramics that can be used in daily life and also creates mixed media masks that are often embellished with found objects. She fires her ceramics in a soda-kiln located on her property. To see more of her work, visit her website.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Glen Helen Nature Arts & Crafts Show this weekend

"Covered Bridge" the last available quilt
from the Glen Helen Series of six art quilts 

The Glen Helen Association's Annual Nature Arts & Crafts Show is this coming Saturday, November 19 from 9 am-5 pm and Sunday, November 20 from 11 am-5 pm. It's at the Glen Helen Building, 405 Corry St., in Yellow Springs.

The show is a fund-raising event for Glen Helen, a 1,000 acre nature preserve located in Yellow Springs, Ohio and owned by Antioch College. This is the 30th year for the event which features nature-related art and fine crafts made by local and regional artisans including photography, watercolor and oil paintings, jewelry, stained glass, fiber arts, pottery, sculpture, and many other wonderful items.

The $4 admission fee goes to Glen programs. There is a coupon for $2 off the admission on the website and you can see a list of all of this year's artists including photos of their work on the Glen Helen's website.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dalmatian Specialty Wine Glass Coasters


Recently I was contacted by someone who works at a pet obedience school and they were hosting a Dalmatian Specialty event and wanted something to give to the participants (the people, not the dogs). 

They decided they wanted some wine glass coasters in black and white and dog related. I found the bone and paw print fabrics on-line and paired them with some black spots on white and white spots on black. Pretty cute!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Glorious Leaves of Autumn: a challenge quilt


"Glorious Leaves of Autumn", 20.5" x 26.5"

The theme for the Miami Valley Quilters Guild 2011 Challenge was “Glorious.” Each participant received a fat quarter of a yellow-gold cotton and a fat eighth of gold lamé. The rules were:

1. Must use at least half each of the fabrics given
2. Must be a wall-sized quilt, minimum 12” x 12”
3. Can add up to 10 additional fabrics
4. One quarter of the quilt must be pieced
5. Must include at least one 3-dimentional embellishment

Normally I like challenges. Sometimes when you are limited in what you can use or how you have to use it you might be prompted to think "outside of the box" more.

This one really 'challenged' me. I think it was the “one quarter of the quilt must be pieced” which is odd because most of my quilts are more than one quarter pieced. But almost every idea I came up with was mostly appliqué.

Of course I procrastinated on this project until a few days before it was due. Since the weather was changing and the temperatures were getting cooler, I was looking forward to changing colors of the leaves. I found a piece of fabric in my stash that had beautiful autumn leaves and even had some metallic gold printed on it that I thought would go well with the gold lamé fabric. 


I used this fabric with the yellow gold cotton to make some pieced blocks then used a dark brown as a border around the blocks.

I did see in a blog that another member mentioned that it’s easier to work with the lamé if you add stabilizer to it, so I did that and didn’t have any problems. The gold lamé was used as sashing between the blocks and as a thin inner border around the blocks. I couched some brown yarn on top of the lamé.

The yellow gold cotton was used as an additional inner border with corner blocks of dark brown. I used the autumn leaf fabric as the outer border. I added two beads on top of the yarn where the gold lame intersected itself.

There were 49 quilters who took the fabric intending to participate in the challenge but only 12 of us turned in our projects. I guess others found this challenge challenging. I didn’t get photos of all of the other quilts, but here are some of them.

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The quilt on the left is by Maria Elkins and you can read about how she made it on her blog. (The posts start with the newest so scroll to the bottom and read the posts in reverse order.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

“Three Trees” Quilt Dares to be Square


“Three Trees” is made with three trees on a background made up of six strips of green and blue batik fabrics.  The bottom of the tree trunks and the top of the tree branches end where the fabric strips meet and a blue and green yarn has been couched where the tree trunks meet the ground. The foliage of the trees has green beads hand sewn on them. The quilt is quilted with several vertical lines that go through the leaves but not the tree trunks.

The quilt is mounted on at 12”x12” wooden frame similar to how canvas is wrapped over a wooden frame. It was made for the “Dare 2B Square” art show at Village Artisans which runs through the end of October.  All pieces in the show are 12”x12” and priced at $100.

Village Artisans is located at 100 Corry St. in Yellow Springs and is open Mon.-Thurs. 11 am- 6 pm, Fri.-Sat., 11 am-7 pm and Sun. noon-6 pm. There will be an artist reception on Fri., Oct. 21 from 6-9 pm.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour: meet my three guest artists

Photo by Susan Gardner, 2010.
The Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour is this coming weekend, Sat., Oct. 15 and Sun. Oct. 16, from 10 am-6 pm both days. This is my fourth year participating as a host, and this year I have 3 guest artists. We have 27 artists at 8 locations! 13 of the guests are new to the tour and we also have one host who is new to the tour.

Kate and Dave Chesar are guests at my studio. They make pottery that is a collaborative effort in their home studio in Dayton. Each piece is created by trading and combining their inspirations throughout the throwing, decorating, and glazing process. Carved textures and scenes, slip brushwork, and sculptural elements serve to accentuate the graceful forms of their functional artwork.

J Austin Jennings is also a guest at my studio. She creates a unique treatment of collage application which takes ‘mixed media’ to a new level. Her works stem from earthly themes, and present a playful interaction, both between the metaphoric inferences and within the mixing of mediums, creating a correspondence between the ‘real’ and the ‘imagined.’ Critically acclaimed, her original collage-over-acrylic pieces have won numerous awards, including a featured spot in The Artist’s Magazine’s Year’s Best Art, 2009. 


My third guest is Theresa Mayer. Theresa is captivated by melting rods of glass and turning them into beads. She has discovered that she can express feelings and emotions in the beads she creates. She enjoys seeing that different people see an assortment of things in them.

The tour is a driving tour. Visit the Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour website for information about the other host and guest artists and to download a map. Maps can also be picked up at the Winds Cafe, Young's Dairy, the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce and at the artist's studios the days of the tour.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Symphonic Sextet"

"Symphonic Sextet", 19" x 16.5"

Sometimes I’m contacted about donating a piece of art for a fund-raising event. Sometimes I say yes and sometimes I say no. This year the Springfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra contacted me about a silent auction fund-raising art event they are having to celebrate conductor and musical director Peter Stafford Wilson’s 10th year with the orchestra.

They wanted art that reflects on Peter's tenure with the orchestra. Since I’d just finished my “All That Jazz” quilt series, I said yes. I already had the reference materials and I still had some of the fabric I used. I simplified the layout and included all 6 of the instruments in one quilt.

Detail of the strings on the guitar.

The art will be on display at the first three concerts (Oct. 8, Nov. 12, and Dec. 10) with the silent auction ending at the December concert (which will feature the music of Billy Joel). I had the chance to see some of the other pieces of art that are being donated and there are many wonderful pieces.

In between the art will be displayed at Frame Haven. People can place bids on the silent auction items at the three concerts or also at Frame Haven, located 1300 Goodwin Avenue in Springfield, Ohio.

Detail of the mother-of-pearl chips below the piano.

There will be a small artist reception held in the lobby before the first concert, this Sat., Oct. 8 starting at 7:15 pm. All concerts take place in the Kuss Auditorium at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave. in Springfield, Ohio.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Where the Land Meets the Sky" fabric mosaic


I made this fabric mosaic, "Where the Land Meets the Sky," for the 7th Annual Tecumseh Land Trust Harvest Auction. Since the purpose of  the Tecumseh Land Trust is to preserve agricultural land, natural areas, water resources, and historic sites in Clark and Greene Counties in Ohio, I thought this piece would be appropriate.

The fabric mosaic is 6.5" x 4.5" and it is in a white 14" x 11" frame.

It's true that we don't live near the mountains or the seas, but there is a certain beauty to the farm fields in the mid-west and I'd miss it if we lived somewhere else.

The Harvest Auction is this Friday, September 30 from 6-10 pm at the newly open Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center at 275 S Limestone St. in Springfield, Ohio. Pre-sale tickets are $35 per person.  

Along with heavy appetizers and drinks, there will be a live auction and also a silent auction. Check out the Tecumseh Land Trust website to see some of the other items in both the live and silent auction.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Studio Organization: Taming an Unruly Stash

I haven't posted lately because I've been busy with several custom orders (and I'll post photos once the "gifts" have been given.) I also took some time to organize my studio, especially my unruly stash (for non-quilters, a "stash" is a collection of fabrics and can also include sewing notions or other supplies, I'm not referring to an unkempt mustache).

FABRICS
I am generally an organized person so having fabrics and supplies located in several different spots will start to drive me crazy. There are no "before" photos, these are all "afters." Above is part of my fabric collection. I organized the smaller pieces of fabrics by color and put them into plastic boxes with drawers. When I want to find a small piece of fabric that is blue, I just to take out the whole drawer and look through it.

Some of the other boxes contain:
- fabrics I've set aside to make journal/sketchbook covers
- hand-dyed fabrics
- neckties
- African-themed fabrics
- plaid and homespun fabrics
- Christmas fabrics
- multi-colored and floral fabrics.

Not shown are plastic boxes with:
- solid colored fabrics
- batik fabrics
- fabrics that I've set aside to make quilted postcards

Now fabric doesn't stay together on it's own, so it's time to turn our attention to:

THREADS

I have a dresser in my studio that was my husband's dresser when he was growing up. I used to have three drawers filled with the many, many cones of thread that I have (cones are large spools of thread). I probably have about 100 and half of them are pink (what can I say it was a good deal).

When it came time to reorganize, I wondered why I had so many cones of thread in an easy to reach place when I can only use 1 cone at a time. So I boxed up all the extra colors and put them in the back of the closet.

Now I have half a drawer with cones of thread and the other half with smaller spools, bobbins and other sewing machine related items. I decided to keep out 2 spools of each color because if I need to refill a bobbin while I'm sewing it's easier to use a different cone of thread than to remove the top thread. That leaves me with two empty dresser drawers so we'll move on to:

BEADS
 

I love beads almost as much as I love fabric and I love to embellish my quilts with beads. As you can see many of my beads are organized into plastic compartmentalized boxes. I used to have these boxes in a plastic box in the back of the closet. So when I wanted a bead of a certain color, I had to get the box out from the back of the closet and take out all the smaller compartmentalized boxes until I got to the box I wanted.

After doing this a few hundred times I realized I needed to have the beads spread out and not stacked on top of each other. And since there was an empty drawer...

Now when I need a bead I open the drawer and can look down at all the boxes and take out the one that I want. And since embellishing doesn't always mean beads, it can also mean:

YARN AND RIBBONS


My yarns and ribbons were stored like my beads were, stacked on top of each other in a plastic box at the back of the closet. And what's good for the beads is good for the yarns and ribbons, so they are now in the final dresser drawer which I can open and look right in to.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art on the Commons in Kettering this weekend

Booth for art shows, practice picture

Art on the Commons is this Sun., Aug. 14 from 11 am–5 pm. It's located in Lincoln Park Civic Commons which is outside the Fraze Pavillion on Lincoln Park Blvd. in Kettering, Ohio. I'm in booth #61 which looks like it might be in a partly shaded area next to a grove of trees. I've been watching the weather all week and every day the predicted high temperature keeps getting lower, right now it's supposed to be 74 degrees! Perfect!

This week I finally finished making the last of the three mesh panels, which will allow us to enjoy the breeze at the art shows. I had to set up the canopy in order to get the right size for the mesh walls and panels, so I decided to see how it will look with the artwork and I think we're good to go!

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Note Card Sets

Last year after I made the "Glen Helen" art quilt series, I had a set of note cards professionally printed. I was so happy with the way they came out I decided to have a set printed using the "All That Jazz" art quilt series.

And while I was working on that, I remembered that two years ago I made the "Feathers" art quilt series, so I now have note card of that series.
There was also the "Seasons" fabric mosaic series I made last fall and I thought those would also make a nice set of note cards.
And finally, I decided to have a set of note cards made using images from fabric mosaics I've made.

All these notecard sets, plus some fabric quilt square note cards are available in my Etsy store.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hugs and Kisses Upcycled Necktie Mini-Purse

It's the end of the month so today's the deadline for the Project Quilting Off Season Challenge #4, the "Non-Quilt Quilt.

Quick recap:
1. The entry must be made of fabric and three dimensional, so not flat like a quilt but be anything from a bag, to a sculpture, to a wearable, to an accessory.
2. The entry must also incorporate at least two items or textures that are not fabric.

This was a challenge for me as I haven’t made anything three dimensional before because it intimidates me. I knew right away what I wanted to do for this challenge, something I’ve been wanting to try for over a year now, it just hasn’t made it to the top of the “to do” list, so this was the push that I needed to get it done.

Last summer I made "The Ties that Bind" a wall hanging using men’s ties and shortly after that I came upon several really fun, colorful ties made with beautiful silk fabrics and the idea of making a single tie into a purse intrigued me. It already had innerfacing in it so I wouldn’t have to figure out how to do that, and the underside of the widest part already had a lining, so I wouldn’t need to add that either. It’s not a big purse but I’m not the sort that carries a purse so this would be nice for when I just need to take along a cell phone or keys and lip balm.

It took some trial and error (yes, there were some ugly ties harmed in the making of this purse) but persistence paid off and I came up with a pattern that I liked.

The two non-fabric items/textures are a Velcro closer and a round, red button for decoration.

This was part of the “Save the Children” collection and this fabric, called “Tic Tac Tie” was designed by Alec who was 8 years old at the time.

The outside dimensions are 6”h x 3”w; inside dimensions are 5”h x 2”w x 1”d; the strap is 38" long total (shoulder to purse 19" drop)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quilt blocks from a garage sale

For clarification, yes, fabric arranged into a unit are often called quilt blocks. What I mean is real wooden blocks. What do you see when you look in this box?
Do you see quares, half-square triangles (or right-angled triangle for you non-quilters) and 45-degree diamonds (or rhombus for my mathematically-inclined relatives)?

What did I see when I looked in the box? (Hint: what can you make with squares, half-square triangles and 45-degree diamonds?)

A quilt!

And my niece and nephew can play with them when they come to visit. It seems only fair since I played with their blocks the last time I visited them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Art Quilt Exhibits: Quilt National and the Zanesville Museum of Art

The Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio

Quilt National is a biennial art quilt exhibition that held on odd-numbered years at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio. This year's show includes 88 quilts from 20 states and 6 countries.

Since Athens in only 2.5 hours away from Yellow Springs, I've been fortunate to go to this show the last 3 times. This year I went with Lori and Kim who are both art quilters. We spent 6 hours in the car and 4.5 hours looking at quilts (3 hours here and 1.5 hours at the Zanesville Art Museum, below). And we had a blast. (In 2009, Lori and I went with Macy, which you can read about here.)

If you're wondering why there's a photo of the outside of the Dairy Barn, that's because you aren't allowed to take photos of the quilts in the show.

My favorite quilt this year was "Meadow Pine 2" by Nelda Warkentin, who has had several quilts in the show in past years and was one of the jurors for this year. Her quilt appears to be mostly painted tulle that has been layered. I found the colors very calming and awed by the way the colors shifted depending on what was layered over the other colors. I just couldn't stop staring at it. She had a similar quilt in the show two years ago.

Two other quilts that I really liked were Bette Uscott-Woolsey's "52 Pickup" (no photo at this time) and Paula Kovarik's "Global Warming, The Great Unraveling." Paula's entry in the 2009 show was my favorite from that year. Her "Global Warming" quilt can be seen on her website: (www.paulakovarik.com/journal/tag/global-warming). It is beautiful but subtle quilt with a lot of intricate yet whimsical quilting that almost seems to be doodling. I strive to do more with my quilting which might be why I'm entranced by her work. And after a little poking around her website, I learned that she is also a graphic designer.

Quilt National is at the Dairy Barn Arts Center, 8000 Dairy Barn Lane in Athens, Ohio through Sept. 5 and costs $7. The Dairy Barn Arts Center is open Tues.-Fri. from 11 am- 5 pm, Sat.-Sun. from noon-5 pm, and they are also open until 8 pm on Thursdays. After Sept. 5 the show will be grouped into different parts and travel to Moorhead, MN, St. Charles, MO, San Jose, CA and Sainte Marie aux Mines, France.

= = =

Kim and Lori outside the Zanesville Museum of Art.

Lori, Kim and I also went to the Zanesville Museum of Art. While Zanesville isn't exactly on the way from Yellow Springs to Athens, it only added an extra hour to the drive. We went to see exhibit "Superlatives:" quilts and fiberarts by seven acclaimed Ohioans: Deborah Melton Anderson, Sue Cavanaugh, Sandra Palmer Ciolino, Rebecca Cross, Nancy Crow, Linda French and June O'Neil. Deborah and Rebecca have had quilts in Quilt National before, Sue had a quilt in the last time and also this year, and Nancy was one of the founding members of Quilt National and has had several quilts in the show. (And again, I wasn't allowed to take photos of the quilts.)

I was really taken by Sandra's quilts where she used hand dyed fabrics and created a unique shape or block that she repeated over and over but changed the size of the block which made it very interesting visually, and she does a lot of quilting on her quilts. She had quilts from her Martello Series and also her Sgabello Series. (Sandra also has a quilt in the Aullwood show "Water, Water Everywhere" that Lori and I are also in.)

Linda French has more of a traditional feel but her technique is amazing and her color choices are sublime. Her quilt "Circles of Life" is very impressive, the curved machine piecing, the intricate machine quilting and the complex hand appliques (all those little circles, and some with trapunto, I think) and not anything I plan on attempting. (The first photo is out of proportion, the other photos are correct).

Unfortunately this show is already over, we went on the second-to-the-last day it was open. The museum does have several quilts in their permanent collection but they aren't always on display.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Little Sister's Kite Tails" at DVAC annual art show


Last year's theme for the Dayton Visual Arts Center's Annual Open Members' Show was "Darkness" and I entered my "Fireflies" quilt (which is currently touring with the "Best of 2011 show).  This year is "Light" so I entered "Little Sister's Kite Tails".  I thought this fit the theme because the background is white and the colors are lighter shades of blues and greens, because the triangle fabrics are only sewn down in the middle so it appears as if the fabrics are so light they are lifting away from the quilt, and also because a kite tail has to be light enough to fly.

The show runs from July 15-August 20 with an opening reception this Fri., July 15 from 5-8 pm.  DVAC is located at 118 N. Jefferson St., Datyon, Ohio and is open from Tues.-Sat. 11 am-6 pm.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Annual Art Quilt Exhibit at Aullwood: Water, Water Everywhere

From left, quilts #1, #3 and #5 are by Lori Gravley, #2 is my quilt "After the Rain" and #4 is by Mindy Marik.

These are some photos from the 19th Annual Art Quilt Exhibit. This show has 42 amazing art quilts submitted by art quilters from across the country. The local art quilt group, the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network has quilts by 5 of our members: Deb Bently, Lori Gravley, Fran LaSalle, Mindy Marik and myself.

Several of the quilts were arranged by colors and three of us from the MVAQN group worked independently in similar color families and ended up being displayed together (top photo).

This year's theme was "Water, Water Everywhere" so there were several quilts that had aqua colors and they were also arranged together. The little one in the bottom right is my "Floating Feather" quilt.

"Isle Royale Sunset" by Deb Bentley

The show runs through August 21 at the Marie S. Aull Education Center, 1000 Aullwood Rd. in Dayton. The center is open Mon.-Sat. from 9 am-5 pm and Sun. from 1-5 pm. There is a $4 admission.  The building also houses an educational center and there are hiking trails.

Dayton, Ohio sits on a large aquifer and Aullwood is located near Englewood Dam, and Yellow Springs is named after a spring, so while there is a lot of water here, there are several parts of the country (and the world) that don't have an abundance of water.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Water, Water Everywhere" art quilt exhibit at Aullwood

Detail of "Floating Feather"

I have two quilts in the "Water, Water Everywhere" annual Art Quilt Exhibit at Aullwood Audubon Center, "Floating Feather" and "After the Rain." The show features nature-themed art quilts from 28 art quilters from across the country including Lori Gravley, Debra Bently, Fran LaSalle and Mindy Marik who are members of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network.

The show runs from June 25 through August 21 at the Marie S. Aull Education Center, 1000 Aullwood Rd. in Dayton. The center is open Mon.-Sat. from 9 am-5 pm and Sun. from 1-5 pm. There is a $4 admission.

The opening reception is this Sun., June 26 from 2:30-4 pm and I have copies of a letter that allow for free admission on June 26, contact me if you'd like a copy of the letter.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tortured Tyvek in the Miniature Show at "would you, could you In A Frame" this weekend

"Luminous 1" and "Luminous 2"

We survived the Yellow Springs Street Fair last weekend and are looking forward to the Yellow Springs Art Stroll (also known as the 3rd Weekend Fling in the Springs) this Fri., June 17. There are several happenings that night including the biennial "Miniature Show" at Would You, Could You In a Frame. All of the art in the Miniature Show is 2" x 3" or smaller.

Above are the two pieces I entered in the show. The pieces are unframed because the shop frames all the pieces, so I haven't seen them in their frames yet.

You might have noticed that they don't look like they are made with fabric. They are made with Tyvek, the same product that the post office uses to make their priority and express mail envelopes and what is used to wrap houses during construction as a water barrier. Tyvek can be drawn and painted on but it doesn't like heat.

On the pieces above, I painted them with green, blue and purple paints and I just love how intense the colors are. Then I put an iron on them and because Tyvek doesn't like heat, they curled up and ripped apart at some places, leaving a wonderful landscape. Then I added beads to them.

I learned about "Torturing Tyvek" at a Miami Valley Art Quilt Network meeting because someone had seen a tutorial on Joggles.com.

The Miniature Show runs from June 17-July 5. The gallery is located at 113 Corry St. in Yellow Springs and is open Tues.-Sat. from 10 am-6 pm. The opening reception is this Fri., June 17 from 6-10 pm. Several other galleries and restaurants will also be open late. To find out more about what's open, visit the Yellow Springs Chamber website.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All That Jazz series art quilts


When I first came up with the idea of doing a series of musical instruments, I knew I wanted to include a piano (because I play the piano), a trumpet (which my husband played), a guitar (which my husband also plays and frankly guitars are just cool) and a saxophone (which is also cool). I wasn’t entirely settled on a sixth instrument and decided I could figure it out as I went.

My first step was to get some reference materials, take some photos and play around with cropping and different angles. Then I used InDesign (a layout program that also has vector drawing capability) to break the instruments down to their simplest shapes. Some art quilters do this with a pencil and tracing paper but I’ve learned that I tend to fudge too much and things get misshapen. By using the computer, I can zoom in to the photo and figure out what that shape is.

Once I’m happy with the drawings I flip them then print them out and trace them on the back of some fusible webbing (since the webbing is on the back of the shapes they need to be reversed so they come out facing the right direction).

Then I fuse the shapes to the fabric, cut them out and lay them back in their correct order. I did the instruments first.

(The text describes the process but the photos are of the finished pieces.)

I started with the piano and since I was envisioning a grand piano, I made the body of the piano in blacks and grays.

Next was the bass. When I started I knew I had the perfect fabric for the body, a mottled brown and tan piece. I love the shapes of the body and the ‘F’ holes. I made the guitar third and that went pretty well.


Next came the trumpet, although I wasn’t happy with the way it came out so I went back and picked a different angle, made it larger and cropped it more.

Because the other instruments were more solid, I wasn’t thinking about background fabrics but I realized I’d need to with the trumpet since it wasn’t as solid. I had a navy blue batik with lines of multi-colored dots that looked musical.
Since it worked so well with the trumpet, I added it to the bass and I really liked it there, also. I wanted to use it with the guitar but the fabric I used on the neck and the side was too dark so I changed it to the brown fabric I used on the bass.

Looking at the piano I realized it would be the only instrument in black so I changed the wood on that to the same as the bass and guitar.
Happy with those four, I started on the saxophone which is a complicated instrument with lots of keys and rods, although fortunately it has a fairly recognizable shape.

At first I tried to include the keys but it looked too cartoonish. Similar to the trumpet I tried another angle and that worked better but it still wasn’t what I wanted. I set it aside and thought that this might end up a series of 4 instead of a series of 6.
I looked for ideas for the sixth instrument. French horns and clarinets are complicated, but the trombone was wonderfully simple. While I working on the trombone I realized why I didn’t like the sax, I was using orange fabrics. Once I changed the orange fabric to the mottled brown from the bass, things started to fall into place. So the only two instruments that didn’t get totally reworked were the bass and the trombone.
Once I got the instruments themselves complete it was time to work on the collage backgrounds.

I used some brown and cream batiks and tried to incorporate the same fabric in several of the pieces.

Since the piano, guitar and bass had black in their instruments I also black to the sax and trombone backgrounds which really made the other colors pop.


Then I quilted and bound (using my favorite facing technique) and then it was time for the fun part: embellishing!


I couched some brown fun fur around the bass, a gorgeous brown yarn on the guitar and sax, a different brown yarn on the piano and some black cord on the trombone and the guitar.


I used some small bamboo-type beads (taken from a funky necklace I got at a garage sale) on the trombone and trumpet, some brown ceramic beads on the sax, and some white mother-of-pearl beads on the piano. I also added some glass beads.


I used a nylon-coated stainless steel bead stringing wire to make the strings on the guitar and the bass. I’d decided from the beginning that I wanted to have some type of wire for the strings although I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. It was a little time consuming but I think it was worth it in the end.

All of the quilts are 8” x 11” and like the other series I’ve done, any quilt can hang from any other.  For more information on these quilts, visit www.forquiltssake.com/ATJ_sets.htm
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