Sunday, May 5, 2019

April means the first reveal of the year and it is always a treat. The challenges this month were Force of Nature, One Color and Black, and Another Point of View. As always, the creativity, artistry, talent and skill of our membership is reflected in the beauty and intrigue of the quilts they have created.

Force of Nature

"Saving Paradise"
43" x 36"
by Jan Reed
Jan writes, "Last year's Paradise Camp fire so affected me that I wanted to create a piece that paid tribute to the efforts of all the firefighters involved in putting it out, twenty of whom lost their own homes as well. . . I was riveted to the news coverage, hoping for the best, worrying, not only for the firefighters but for all the wild animals that could not outrun the wind driven flames.  This was Mother Nature showing us the dark side of one of her 'forces.'"
Jan began with a photograph of a fireman emerging from a smoky forest.  Using Photoshop Elements, she edited the photo, changing the firefighter, eliminating branches, and adding the leaf silhouette.  To keep the black area from being so stark, she extended trees and branches and added animal shapes.  To separate the dark sections and bring the leaf more into focus, she added the flaming tips.  She then began with a color-washed background onto which the trees, shrubbery and firefighter were appliquéd.  The animals, tree and branch highlights, and the firefighter's face were first suggested with white Prismacolor pencil, but when those marks began to disappear, she had to go over everything with white Tsukineko ink.  She also ended up over-dying some of the pieces with black ink to darken the color.  Jan used a color-washed background, commercial batiks, monofilament and Bottom Line threads, Prismacolor pencils and Tsukineko inks.

"The Butterfly Nebula"
34" x 39"
by Robin Hart
This is the 6th in Robin's deep space series of art quilts inspired by Hubble images.  She chose the Butterfly Nebula because of its beauty and dynamic energy.  This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly, but it is far from serene.  What resembles dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  A dying star is at the center of this fury.  It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow.  The thread pattern in the black space area mimics the effects of gravity on matter and the bending of light.  The quilt was painted in Photoshop with the stars designed in Illustrator and merged with the painting.  It is a whole cloth design printed on cotton at Real Graphic and then heavily thread-painted and free motion quilted for texture and design, accentuating the patterns in the nebula.

35.5" x 35.5"
by Norma Keeley
Norma continues her Extreme Simplicity series with this interpretation of a waterfall.  She began with a photograph, cropped and simplified it, then played around with paint chips to create the design.  She had originally intended to make the background white, but when some of her scraps ended up on top of black fabric, she realized the black would make for a more dramatic presentation.  The pale yellow section at the bottom represents the man that was standing by the waterfall in the original photo.  Norma used hand-dyed cottons from the class with Ginny Lee, commercial black cotton, and Thermore batting.  

"Breaking Waves"
25" x 36"
by Jan Petre
Jan saw this challenge as three-fold - to use fabrics from her stash, to convey the feeling of a 3D wave, and, wherever possible, to use only overlapping convex and concave shapes to form the points, a technique she learned in a class with David Taylor.  Her design, a freehand drawing, captures the natural surging force of the sea.  She used primarily batik fabrics, 80/20 cotton/poly batting quilt, 40 wt rayon and metallic threads, and embellished the quilt with organza-type slivers to catch the light.  The wave itself was created using cheesecloth and gauze.  Jan took a piece of cheesecloth, dipped it in a glue and water solution (approximately 1:1), laid it out in the shape she wanted and let it dry.  She found that getting the solution right was a bit of a challenge -- too much glue and the cheesecloth was stiff; too much water and it was limp.  

17" x 17"
by Ginny Petersen
Ginny used a real-life experience with a force of nature as the basis for this quilt.  It was October 4, 2018, a dark and stormy night when KABOOM, lightning struck the tree behind her house, which in turn set her kitchen on fire, destroying that part of her house.  Ginny memorialized this event using packing paper and fabric from her 'special fabric' collection.

One Color and Black

"Finally Home"
36" x 20"
by Robi Holmen
had been living in Roseville when a friend showed her a flyer for Grass Valley.  She ended up buying the first house she looked at, and feels more at home here than anywhere else she has lived in nine moves and over forty years of marriage.  She decided to use ombre fabric to represent her home, using a 60 degree ruler to cut the fabric, positioning the lightest color in the center.  The intersecting lines represent finding her forever home and community.  The aqua ombre squares were stitched onto a black background.  Bias tape was sew on with a twin needle and metallic threads.  Swarovski crystals highlight the center.

"Two Butterflies with One Net"
12" x 12"
by Marylee Drake
Marylee wanted to enter a piece in the SAQA members' auction which required it be 12" x 12," so she decided to catch 'two butterflies with one net' and make it with one color and black, meeting the challenge criterion.  Her little piece is an original design using just black and red fabrics, threads and embellishments.

"Rising to the Sun"
16" x 22"
by Karle deProsse
Karle was inspired by her love for leaves and the desire to play with light striking them.  She wanted to get the feeling of a light source and leaves with shadowed edges.  She shifted the gradations of the green fabric to get the movement of light.  This was the first time she had quilted the full background before applying the appliqués.  She found it easier to do the machine quilting this way, but more difficult in that she had to visualize how she wanted the quilting look before adding the leaves.  Her original design called for only five leaves but she felt it needed something to move the eye, so she added the leaf at the top.  Karle chose hand appliqué over machine as she wanted the slight dimension that provides.  She used cotton ombre fabric, hand-appliqué, a pieced background, machine quilting and beads.  

"Forest Mist"
29" x 39"
by Lynn Tubbe
The inspiration for this quilt was Lynn's many memories of fog-shrouded forests.  She challenged herself to get to better know her Bernina 570 QE, and to learn curved piecing.  In creating this quilt, Lynn used the backside of some of the fabrics, and all cotton materials, including fabrics, threads and batting.  When choosing the title for this piece, she realized she had made a bit of a pun on the reality of her 'forest missed.'

"Arrangement in Green and Black"
37.5" x 35.3"
by Carole Rossi
Carole began with a small piece of fabric which reminded her of flowing green fields and, somehow, Art Deco clothing.   She challenged herself to work larger than she ever has before using the improvisational technique.  She found it challenging to develop flow and a focal point, so she used her iPhone, taking frequent pictures, to help with the design process.  For Carole, it's all about creating a 'million' shades of green and black; to this end, she incorporated commercial and hand-dyed cottons, some shiny raw silk, a variety of variegated green cotton and polysheen threads, and Dream Cotton batting.  The title honors James McNeil Whistler's "Arrangement in Grey and White" (also known as "Whistler's Mother).

"Veggie Toss"
by Ann Sanderson
The flash of graphic black and white veggies printed on this cloth struck Ann and inspired her to create this quilt.  She began by laying all of her black and white fabrics on a table and considering how she could create a 'basket' to hold the veggie print. She felt the quilt called for humor, so she chose crazy fabrics with motifs of light bulbs, barb wire, and star fish.  
Ann used a collage of cotton fabrics, bamboo batting and random machine quilting to create this design. The raw edge appliqués were added last, overlapping the edges of the borders and lending more irregularity.  An unconventional edge and the angled hang of the quilt added to the playfulness.

"Round and Round"
28.5" x 38.5"
by Sig Simonds
Sig continues her work with circles in this quilt.  It's a simple shape and she enjoys working with it in new ways.  Working with transparency also intrigues her -- and this quilt does both.  All the materials used in this quilt are either black or white but sometimes appear gray due to the layering.  This quilt was entirely done by hand with layers of silk and poly organza, netting, interfacing and cotton fabrics.  Sig also used embroidery floss and MistyFuse.  

Another Point of View

"The Dreamer"
by Mary Scharosch
The dreamlike gaze of this girl contemplating her future inspired Mary to create this quilt, beginning with an original painting on fabric.  She added the hat and floral design using cotton fabric.  The black circles on the background are felt pads made for furniture but used in an innovative way.  Mary also used PhotoShop, acrylic paint, Prismacolor pencils, embroidery floss, thread and bamboo batting.  

Show and Tell

But challenge quilts were not the entire show this month, we also had Show and Tell with members bringing in items of interest.  Here, Ann Sanderson shares a quilt she made for a SAQA display of 12x12" quilts.  This quilt began with a piece of Ghanaian fabric purchased from Ananse Village.  Ann stitched the quilt with hand-dyed embroidery threads and added the circles to create motion in the finished piece.

Lynda Lasich bought a 'failed canvas' at an antique fair and turned it into this unique bag.

Julie Berry brought in several pieces of cloth she had hand-dyed using indigo.  In this piece, she experimented to see if indigo dying would work with Procion dyes and found that it did.

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