Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wild Life: Maple

Wild Life: Maple ©2015

Thanks, Diane, for a great challenge and lots to think about!  I wrestled with my ideas for actual 3-D creations for a good deal of the 8 weeks we had - and ultimately came back to an earlier idea "referencing" dimension.  The weather has changed so dramatically since the beginning of this challenge, it is hard to believe I was inspired by seasonal cycles and the autumn color - brilliant leaves and warm, blue skies!

my inspiration

Gazing up through the layers of Japanese maple leaves, I wondered if I could create that sense of light and depth using a layered pojagi inspired method.  I collected a bag full of leaves in every color of red and yellow and orange to get the project started.

The first thing I did was paint some silk organza in the same colors with Dye-Na-Flow.  The individual leaves were inked with Speedball fabric ink and printed one at a time.  Once the ink was dry, I starched the organza and cut it into the small pieces that are sewn together. 

Wild Life: Maple, detail
Maple is all machine sewn.  I am looking for a nice branch to drape it over for display.  I love the colorful translucence of the backlit layers.

Check my blog for a more detailed description of the process later this week.
Wild Life: Maple, backlit

Wonderland Waterfall

I approached this challenge with the best intentions to learn and execute a 3-D piece.  In keeping with my theme of water, I decided I’d create dimensional rocks and cliffs over which the water would fall. I’d heard Peltex was a very firm stabilizer and would allow me to project out from the vertical surface so my water could cascade over the edge. I set about creating the perfect cliff: geometric, stable, stitchable. I made a paper prototype and then the real thing.

What a pain! After all my well-intentioned analysis, I’d created something boxy and symmetrical. Ugh, not only do I dislike symmetry, but whoever saw a box-shaped cliff? The next two rock protrusions were totally improvisational. I like them the best. I continue to be amazed that, as a very analytical person, my art life proceeds intuitively. This challenge, as all the others, provides such a great opportunity to expand my skills, my methods and my understanding of my personal evolution.

I named this piece “Wonderland Waterfall” because my husband said it looked like something out of The Hobbit. I was excited to use the hand-dyed silk velvet I acquired this year in Houston, along with my personally rusted cheese cloth, cotton fabrics, yarn, Angelina, Peltex, and cotton, metallic and polyester threads. The cliffs are Peltex, the dimensional rocks are trapunto. This is the first time I’ve used many of these materials and it was great fun to experiment. 

Despite the deadlines, I am always grateful to this amazing group and the opportunity to learn and be challenged.

Wonderland Waterfall is 20” wide by 40” high by 3.5" deep.

Tag, you're it!

It all started with this gorgeous hand-dyed fabric, which I’ve had in my studio for over a year.  It was made by Carol R. Eaton Designs, using some kind of magical dying technique involving snowballs, I think.  For some time I’ve wanted to use this fabric, but I really didn’t want to cut it up or cover it with objects or images.  So this month I decided to make the fabric an essential part of the composition.  The splashes of color remind me of airbrush or aerosol spray paint, which led me to thinking about graffiti and street art.

To answer the 3D challenge, I made a realistic-looking “spray can” (also the reflective element for my overall theme).  The shadow provides an illusion of perspective in a 3 dimensional space, as if the can is sitting on the ground near a spray-painted wall. The can was also stuffed and sewn so that it curves slightly out from the surface.

Technical details: Finished size 35”w x 40”h
Hand dyed and batik fabrics, hand-guided machine quilting, raw edge applique
Spray can was made with a remnant of a previous V9 quilt

Lattice Protocol

Although I have gone full-on sculptural in the past couple of years, I chose to work on an illusory 3D piece.
I stepped away from my ever present circles in the last challenge, and am also working with a more linear concept for this one- another type of crystal.
I've seen pictures of carbon buckyballs, but this doesn't have the right amount of facets for that, so the best I could come up with is Lattice.  and Protocol, because that sounds science-y :)

so, I start building the piece on a slab of batik I have lying around, I love the subtle light colored ones because they add a lot of interest to whatever you're working on.

freezer paper stencils, paintstick.

a light center and darker outer ring-

now I cut out the lattice part, fuse it on top of the stenciled batik and then comes some balls- this time out of Evolon-

Lattice Protocol, 40x40"


Far Away From Home

by Lin Hsin-Chen
 A large number of refugees swept through Europe, triggering severe humanitarian crisis. Not only the Syrian refugees, but also climate change refugees are forced to escape from home for new living places in search of hope and human dignity.

Empathy and humane justice are often mentioned in 2015, and even extended to in-depth discussion of the Earth's environmental and ecological changes. Whether it is disaster or war, people being described as “escape” from home are vulnerable and poor. We all know the reason. I’m impressed by the refugees’ great courage and determination in seeking a way out of despair. However, it’s difficult for lucky people like us to understand the real situation that helpless refugees are facing.

I’m thinking that we can neither choose the place where we are born, nor control our fate. Nobody wants to put himself into crisis and fear. However, all men are created equal. We are embraced by the warmth of the Earth and sun. So don’t make the sun in our hearts become unattainable hopes.

An ambivalent feeling has been bothering me since autumn. I’ve been thinking how the refugees beat the harsh weather. Honestly, I feel sad for them, and therefore every stitch I sewed became so heavy. I would like to contribute the sun of my heart to the refugees, and let the positive sunflowers praying for them. May the refugees a new lease of life and find their way home.

Thank you, Diane, for the challenge.

Materials: recycled fabric scraps, commercial cotton, hand-dyed cotton, hand-dyed lace, metallic thread, Romanian thread
Techniques: hand stitched, hand appliqué, hand pieced, hand quilted
Size: 40”x 40”

From Galileo to Interstellar

To follow my theme of Magic and Science, I decided to use equations, although I know little about maths.  But they looked attractive to me as a design element. I searched for those equations with a particular meaning for my purpose, which was to chart the important landmarks that have eventually led to the exploration of space - although we haven’t yet progressed as far as Interstellar.

The equations are, starting from bottom up:

Galileo’s equation of motion

Kepler’s law of interplanetary motion

Newton’s law of gravity

Einstein’s curved space-time

The equations were machine stitched with white thread on black fabric, to look a bit like chalk on a blackboard. These ‘blackboards’ are only about ¼” thick, but they do stick out, therefore fulfilling the 3-D brief.

The background is a piece of  fabric hand-dyed in multicolour style by Heide Stoll-Weber, which I quilted with circles inside circles, to give the feel of outer space and of interplanetary travel. It also includes the names of the scientists who wrote the equations. The ‘blackboards’ were then hand-appliquéed with hidden stitches, which kept the edges in relief.  It's 40" high by 27" wide.

Previously I had played with the idea of attaching my witch doll to the background - whom I found in the attic - but decided against it. Although it stuck out just the 4” maximum allowed, it proved incredibly difficult to attach, and likely to present great complications to travel.  But you may enjoy seeing my experiments – she is precariously held by pins to the wall behind the quilt.


This quilt is also a celebration of British astronaut’s Tim Peake’s flight to, and time at, the International Space Station, which has been front page news in the UK for the last month or so.

Where'd All The Fish Go?

I'm really pretty good a procrastinating, if I do say so myself.  I am the challenger of this current rotation: 3D or referencing 3D.  Per usual, I was waiting until the last moment whilst pondering my challenge, when Martha Wolfe said she wanted it early.  Aye, Aye, Capt'n.

One would think as I was the originator of the challenge, and knew it extra early, that I would have already imagined my answer...or...procrastinating again, had at least an inkling of what I was doing.

It was some time before I had a notion and, unusual for me, it took me weeks to make it happen.  Ironic.  My idea and I had no clue of what I was doing.  It is with some ambivalence that I offer "Where'd All The Fish Go?".

Where'd All the Fish Go?  40"x20"

Detail  QRCode awaits author's approval to upload her scientific talk

My over-arching theme is 'exotic' and within that framework I am focusing on nature.  In this case, I imagine a bit of the ocean, long after the world scoffed at the idea of climate change, along with it's by-product of global warming, and stood idle, watching, actually incredulously, as sea life was depleted.

This piece includes commercial and vintage cottons, hand-dyed cheesecloth, Angelina fibers, paint, found aluminum cans, fishing line and a QRCode.  The whole is machine stitched.

It's snowing in Ulaanbaatar

It's snowing in Ulaanbaatar
22"W x 40"L [55.5cm x 102cm]
During the last two months my neighbourhood changed from suburban Sunnybank, Australia to down town Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The seasons also changed from Summer to Winter!
Our view is from the sixth floor of an apartment block and the skyline of tall buildings changes with the time of day or fog, smog, snow or wind conditions. The dimensional challenge gave me the chance to gather, fold and manipulate synthetic fabrics I have had in the stash for some time.
Materials: cotton, silk, synthetics, threads, batting, textile ink
Techniques: mono printing, machine applique, gathering, manipulation, machine quilting, hand stitching and couching

In the box…..

by Misik Kim

It was hard work.
When I saw the Diane’s challenge, I thought of fabric manipulation.
I tried to use these techniques, but I couldn’t work with them.
Made some……
Yoyo, Smocking,
I like the texture from the layers.
Although efforts, my work is still……….
But  each challenge gave me the space where I think the difference.
Thank you so much,  Martha and all of members…
Techniques :  yo yo ,  hand appliqué,  machine pieced,  machine quilted
Size: 18” (W) x 40”(H)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Stepping Out

Recently in conversations with curators for galleries and museums there have been inquiries about three dimensional work.  The museum I'm most familiar with, The Slater Museum in Norwich CT, is a case in point.  The director always appreciates when we can supply 3D pieces.  She appreciates fiber art and understands that most of our family of art quilters rely on having their artwork displayed on walls, however, the venue is best served with a variety of art work.  Art work for pedestals and cases in addition to that that hangs on the walls or from the ceilings.
African Bowl: Three Weeks in Ghana

Understanding that V9 also has the expectation of displaying our work on walls, I challenge each of us to find a technique that explores or references three dimensions.  Knowing that our work needs to be size "sensitive' for shipping, I propose that all our work be no deeper than four inches.

Challenge3-5:  Exploring Dimensions
Work should be 40" in height, 18"-54" in width and 4" or less in depth.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dimensional Challenge

The dimensions that have challenged me these past 7 weeks have not been height, width and depth but rather time and space.

I don’t have scientific proof of this, but I’m pretty sure time becomes shorter between November 1 and January 1. At the same time, the space around me becomes smaller – crowded with holiday decorations, packages arriving or waiting to be shipped, furniture moved around and of course a giant tree occupying my living room.

The 3D challenge is a fantastic idea and I’ve had a clear vision of my composition in mind.  The bigger challenge will be to STOP the whirlwind going on around the house, retreat to my studio, and get finished on time!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

3-D and dollmaking

Before I became a quilter I worked in 3-D in fabric – I was a cloth dollmaker and soft toy maker and designer.  For 15 years I worked in this field, doing a lot of teaching, making dolls mostly for collectors, and writing several books on dolls and teddy bears which were published world-wide.  The books are out of print now but they can still be traced in the web, and purchased in Amazon Market Place.  Just enter my name and a page will pop out.

Book cover

It was a combination of a trip to USA (my first ever) to attend a Doll Convention in Provo, Utah, in 1993, and seeing an exhibition of American Contemporary Quilts in London, that made me decide to change fields and become an art quilter (I was never a traditional quilter). It was a conscious decision to move from 3D to 2D, but to remain within the textile field.

Book opening pages: on the left hand page, my 'signature' dolls - made with a technique of making a latex face mask in a mould, then covering it in stockinette, building the back of the head, and painting the features. The arms and legs are articulated with teddy bear joints.

Probably the most relevant book I wrote, and the one that led more directly to quiltmaking, is The Book of Dollmaking, which was published in 1998.  I very much enjoyed writing it, and it was a very popular one. Two other dollmaker friends collaborated in a few of the projects.

The Angel in the middle, above, was made by my friend Hilary.

Pierrot also has a moulded face.

So what can I do for the 3-D challenge? I’ve toyed with the idea of attaching my witch doll to a background quilt – if I can find her among the boxes in the attic. That will just about fit with my theme of Magic and Science. Or maybe I should do something different, work out a dimensional surface design.  I don’t know – I’m still pondering.

Hepzibah the Witch has articulated limbs made with buttons.