Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beauty in the Beholder's Eye

One of my former students Barbara Tylka was kind enough to share a photo of this piece created following her class at  Houston International 2012. Per Barbara :"It is based on
a picture I took of some overblown tulips: though "past their prime" I
found them beautiful.  Given that these tulips were growing in the
courtyard of the nursing home where my grandmother was living the last
year of her life with advanced dementia made their beauty especially
poignant to me.  

Lovely Barbara... Thank You!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Putting The Pieces Together

All the freezer paper puzzle pieces ironed to the paper side of the fusible web which was already attached to the chosen fabric back.
Cutting these pieces out has some good ground rules to insure a good results.. See below.
On outside of the total image ( i.e the outer edge of the birdie contour, cut right on the line...

On edges that will be ultimately placed adjacent to other fabric pieces... cut about 1/16" outside the drawn edge.  Doing so will allow you to overlap small pieces and easily fuse them together. 
 Now it's time to place your original drawing face up on the ironing board and place a teflon sheet atop it. You can see the original drawing through the teflon sheet so it will be easy to now 'put the pieces together.'
For each piece to be fused, remove both the freezer paper template and the fusible web paper backing.  Only the glued backed fabric is overlapped and lightly fused one piece to another.
( LIGHTLY MEANS A 'TAP' of the iron)A 'tap fuse' is a quick tap of the iron as a temporary hold til you are ready to do a final fuse off the teflon sheet and on the background fabric. (Added benefit: a tap fuse will allow you to carefully pull pieces apart and reposition if necessary)

The temporary tap fuse atop teflon complete.
The bird gets added to background as are the fabric stamps.  This time ,the background fabric is a soft linen which has been stabilized on the back with an iron on woven interfacing.
A slight cool shadow added at the lower edge of the birds body. 

Quilting and finishing will take place later... frankly when back home...  This project was tackled 'On The Road.'

Monday, February 25, 2013

One of a Kind Project Fabric

This piece called for some text print fabric and some  postage stamps so I made my own on fabric . It's a simple and fun thing to do.. EVERYTHING seems available on the web if it isn't in your home already.  First I created a whole sheet of text related to music ( I had an old review in my piano bench seat on a broadway musical) and lots of music books in the same bench seat. I went on line and pulled down lyrics from 2 of my favorite songs about the subject at hand .. one about birdies ( "Skylark" written by Hogey Carmichael) and  the other "Song Sung Blue" (Neil Diamond)  So all  were printed on paper, cut up in pieces then glued on a back sheet in a collage... Finally the sheet was printed on ink jet pretreated for printing fabric sheets.  'Cool beans' as some say.

Left.. the original sheet .. on the right side.. what is currently left of the printed on fabric sheet.

Then knowing I wanted some stamps here and there ... all about birdies.  One could use current real stamps if you have some.. but for this it seemed a better choice to also print stamps on fabric. Google anything you want these days and they will appear.  I found references to several OLD stamps.. so I pulled copies down, assembled them on one page ( I used a power point slide page as it is easy to add/resize and move things around,  and printed them on fabric in the same way as previously addressed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Painting With Pieces

Well maybe fabric collaging is more accurate but  this is way fun and feels mighty creative.  I just finished   an art quilt top using this method.  I was working on a very short deadline for a gallery exhibition so I didn't follow my norm plan of documenting as I go.  So I'll show the process now as I create a small sample of the process.
First.. where are we going? Isn't this bird on a wire fun?  This exhibit challenged out of one's normal box thinking, so I'm returning to a fusing process with minimal surface tension.  This will make sense as we move forward.

(c) copyright
First a simple line drawing the size you wish our piece to be.  A simple contour drawing is fine. One could easily use a coloring book like outline for this or clip art.
(c) copyright
Since I intend this to be a fusing process where light fusible web goes on the backside of fabric,  we need a reversal drawing of this  presently left facing birdie. This happens on a light box or window with the original drawing turned upside down. ( I know one  could also scan their drawing into photoshop or the like and mirror the drawing)  Do whatever works for you. We are woking here on a light box... the drawing turned over, and still with perfect visibility of the drawing on the front.

Now a layer of freezer paper (shiny side down) atop the drawing.  It's not quite as bright as the previous drawing but will be easy to exactly trace with a ultra fine permanent marker.
Traced birdie.

When I worked on the original, I made some last minute changes to the drawing .. shown here with a slightly different marking so I would remember what I'd done later.
Cut it out leaving those intricate little feet as a separate unit.

I decided I might also mark each area with the fabric colors I intended.
Time to cut out the pieces... again cut right on the line.. still leaving those intricate feet as a unit... don't cut them each out.
You end up with these birdie puzzle pieces.  Now to iron to the back side of already paper backed fusible web  fabric pieces of the planned colors.  This means you will have freezer paper  puzzle pieces ( say that fast 3 times..;-)  atop fusible web.  I'll show that tomorrow, so you might hold off as there is a trick in how these get cut out so to work well.    You might also be wondering about the black and white text/music fabric.  I'll explain that next post as well.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Santa Is Leaving The Building...

That to say he is done and going in the mail.  It occurred to me I hadn't posted a closeup of the quilted face so here tis.... All quilting is with 40 wt poly thread.
Time to wrap him up and and him on his way.
In response to a question asking for tips on quilting faces... here are my comments...

you might check out the link at bottom left of blog page on quilting people.
and hope this info helps...
My basic ground rules I use for quilting body parts/faces
1) a) You can quilt very little or alot... seldom does anything in between work lest you are looking for wrinkles to appear in faces, etc.
    b) Once 1)a decision made.. lest you are working on a small piece... be aware of need  to evenly distribute quilting across entire  quilt.   
In other words...  in order to avoid surface distortion.... a lot of face quilting  would usually dictate more dense quilting elsewhere as well.
2) Consider using quilt lines that flow with contours of skin surface... like up and around puffy checks, up over nose bridge and then down on opposite side likened to the starting point on the opposite side.

3) Use graceful beginnings and endings at either side of the face, arm, leg...   i.e. curve the ending to line alongside (e.g..) the vertical  side edge of the leg.. or face....   this way.. one doesn't really see a start and stop point.

4) I  generally want no more than a 40 wt. thread on skin.  It works for me... and I like something with a slight poly

5) work quilting from quilt center  (near middle of quilt.. outward/upward/downward so as NOT to surround any area /island of  unquilted space.      An island of unquilted surface will likely pucker and not quilt flat.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Let The Fabric Do The Work!!!

The gold holly leaf and berry printing just says Show me off.
Since the  border fabric is nothing short of spectacular.... if the fabric has a great design.... I will often just go with it. Simple outlining with gold thread does a nice trick!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quilting Santa

Every previous piece similar to this, I have minimized the quilting  so as not to scare people off from painting him... But I am taking a new approach this time because quilter courage to try new things is skyrocketing.  I WILL begin however with how I begin on the face.  This represents a monofilament outline of  portions of major elements. I have NOT completely outlined eyes or mouth... the center bottom of each are left un quilted if one is going for  a minimalist quilting plan.  I will add more than what is seen here, but you can leave it this simple and have an interesting piece.
On the flesh I am doing, my quilt lines are no more than 1/8 inch apart...  Further apart than that and things look pretty 'wrinkled.'
 The beard area is mostly a simple and fun spiral fill.
The background is begging for something other than curly curvy stuff... so a vertical drape of simple icicle/snowflakes seems to work. Premark vertical lines before quilting.  Much easier to get the uniform stability I thought called for.

I like it. A positive bonus using this quilt pattern lets the painted mottling show nicely. 

 Border work to follow.  ;-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Christmas Stuff Already?

One never really know what tomorrow brings...   A guild booked for one of my painting workshops has requested an addition to the class for which all my large samples aren't available... soooo... stop the presses and get to it.  First the painting... a process I've previously documented.   Drawing down, fabric placed over and the face is first thing done.  I usually start with what one might think is the most challenging part, but when I'm fresh, I do better so here goes in an abbreviated photo series.
He looks happy so I am too. The simple drawing marks you see are not on the fabric but the paper drawing underneath the high thread count/sheer cotton fabric ( Hoffmans PFD patt. 1377). Next to add some pale yellow warmth in his hat and beard plus  cool gray and blue ink too.

This time I'm using emerald green in a arched cross hatch application where I'm NOT going for solid cover.. It will be much more interesting with some mottled texture.

After all is dry and done, I've used a white opaque ink to pump up a few highlights.

After a final heat setting, I've added a sashing and border on this piece and am ready to begin the quilting process next up.  I wish I could have found more of this border fabric as  I love it!  .. I bought it as a remnant and have never seen any more like it. It is metallic print atop a silky nylon textile.  It will quilt beautifully, really!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Great Class at 35th ave Fabric World, Phoenix AZ

What a week and a great one at that.  Last weekend took me to Phoenix to teach a 2 day Painted Quilt Art Class at the spectacular 35th ave. fabric world vac and sew in North Phoenix. 22 really fun students. We had a great time.  I managed to capture a handful of pics in the last 5 mins of the second day.  More than half the images painted were students own drawings but several painted my tiger too.  We had great fun deciding which of the following were male vs. female. You'll decide for yourself but the general consensus was 2 females, 1 male of these first 3.

Then one chose to create a blue eyed white tiger.
Such a fun group of ladies.... 2 dragon flies painted...captured one at least.. almost done.
then several drawings / work in progress by a number of students...


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Traveling Principle

Hi all.  I've been traveling this week and brought a traditional UFO with me to UN UFO it. I want it finished.  I've decided when traveling with sewing gear /plans, one needs a white topped king size bed as a design wall. I've spent the last several days taking finished blocks and hand embroidery to a finished quilt top.
 Before adding the border blocks (eg. shown above) I had over a years worth of hand embroidery blocks to piece together and finish seams.

Yes I know I'm an art quilter... but this pattern looked like fun and I wanted to do this piece called Winter Wonderland by Crabapple Hill. The border blocks get layed out in place long with coping strips and each border put together separately before adding all to the center piece.
The top is done... Yeah!!! 
Update: I was asked what threads I used, so here tis:

 I used 2 threads 

 A fresh blue embroidery thread for all characters,trees, snowflakes...  A 6ply silk skein by planet earth color Atlantic 1073 ( 617 524-1246)     

I also used a variegated medium to dark blue 12 wt sulky spool long staple cotton thread for ground lines and i believe I also used in the holly leaf block.

Good luck.. I liked the silk embroidery thread big time and as I recall, it wasn't too expensive.