Sunday, August 11, 2019

Oh glorious day! It was our mid-summer reveal, and it did not disappoint. Our challenges this month were: "Out of My Comfort Zone," "Look Up or Look Down," and "All About The Thread." Please join us in a visual exploration of those themes.

Out Of My Comfort Zone

"Homage to Piet (Mondrian)"
40.5" x 42.5"
by Jackie Manley

Jackie was inspired by Emiko Toda Loeb, who often uses log cabin blocks as a foundation for her dramatic designs.  As Jackie was never a traditional quilter, she challenged herself to incorporate her design in a traditional setting using stripes and Piet Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie," with all of its movement, as her inspiration.  She found that the precision of traditional piecing was a challenge, especially as she varied the strips from one to one and a half inches and set them on a diagonal.  


"Outside My Box 1"
14.5" x 21.25"
by Shelli Fried

This project was started in a class with Katie Fowler at Asilomar.  Ever since Shelli was very young, she wanted to be an "artist."  She yearned to be able to draw and paint, to start with a blank piece of paper and create something wonderful -- and in this class, her dream came true.  Katie had the students paint on fabric, whatever they wanted -- mostly abstract -- and experiment with various materials and techniques.  This was not only out of Shelli's comfort zone, it wasn't even in the same universe!  Once the paintings were complete, Katie had her students cut them up, rearrange the pieces, and put them back together.  Shelli mounted hers on a black background, using minimal quilting in order to let the squares stand out.  Shelli says that this quilt represents a real breakthrough for her -- the freedom to experiment and not worry about the outcome.  As it turned out, whether the quilters liked their pieces or not, once they were cut up, something fabulous would appear.  Shelli tells us that this class was the most fun she's had as an adult in a very loooooong time.  She used PFD cotton with a variety of paints, sprays, gels, pencils, pens and markers.  She used commercial felt and commercial fabric for the backing, Superior Threads Fantastico 5007 for quilting.  



"Shadow Dancers"
31 1/4" x 34 1/4"
by Kathryn Madison

Joan Wolfram's book, Adventures in Design, challenged Kathryn to create a quilt that is the opposite of what she usually does.  So instead of a representational quilt, she created her first abstract, this one based on a doodle.  
Doodling was a new concept for Kathryn, who prefers to have a clear idea of her quilts before she even starts.  Just letting the pencil flow over the paper was uncomfortable at first, but now she enjoys it and always has a sketch pad with her.  This particular doodle was inspired by the theme, "We shine brightest when we dance together." She decided to use analogous colors for the background and black with white shapes and shadows in the foreground.  She used fabric painting, strip piecing, raw edge appliqué, machine couching and machine quilting to create her design.  Materials used were PFD cotton, silk organza, Mistyfuse, batting, commercial cotton, Inktense watercolor blocks, Tsukineko inks, fabric medium, monofilament and metallic threads, and Swarovski crystals.  


"Spirare"
(spy-ra-ray)
62" x 22"
by Karla J Rogers


Karla says it is out of her comfort zone to try new techniques, and it was even more difficult this time around as she was cutting up the gorgeous fabrics she hand-dyed in Ginny Lee's class last summer.  This original design was inspired by a week-long pulmonary exam at National Jewish Health in Denver.  The idea for this quilt began with the quote, "Inspiration might be described as a 'breath of fresh air,' and so it is appropriate that 'inspire' derives in part from the Latin word meaning 'to breathe:' Spirare."  Karla is inspired by color as well and used the bright hand-dyes combined with a shadowing technique.   The machine quilting was based on the spirometer readings.  In addition to the hand-dyed fabrics, Karla used Moda Grunge fabric discharged using bleach, sequins, beads, DMC floss, wool yarn, 80/20 batting and Omni thread.  


Look Up or Look Down

"Information Highway"
24 1/4" x 30 1/4"
by Kate Grant


Kate happened to look down while on a walk one snowy morning and discovered that there were raccoon prints outside her garage.  The more she looked, the more she saw -- tire treads that reminded her of a mosaic, people prints (including her own), a bird, and possibly even a deer. To create a focal point and create a bit of drama, she added a garden gnome hat.  It seems a garden gnome (wearing shoes that made bird tracks) was spotted by the raccoon, and the chase was on!
 This is the fourth in Kate's mosaic quilt series.  She used batiks, tulle, cotton batting and threads, and a Frixion pen with disappearing ink to draw the design -- but be careful not to erase lines you still need!  Her lessons learned (or relearned): 
1) Background color should be different as it forms the 'grout' color; white on white is extremely difficult to see.
 2) Batiks are preferable as they don't fray as easily.  In a pinch, Terial Magic will reduce fraying.
3) To use a golf analogy, a 2" putt counts the same as a 200 yd drive.

 
"Pattern Play"
18" x 19"
by Norma Keeley
Norma had the newly chosen challenge themes in mind when she looked down at the drain in the shower and found herself intrigued by its graphic design.  A fan of Andy Warhol and his color palette, Norma created this design using the element of repetition.  She began by making a freezer paper stencil of the drain image and inked it onto fabric circles.  She then machine appliquéd the circles onto a two-layer quilted background.  The middle piece was sewn separately to create more interest.


"Look Up or Look Down"
41" x 25"
by Julie Broughan (with the help of Trevor Brzyscz)


This quilt began with a photograph of Julie's grandchildren looking up at the sky (all but the one who is looking down).  Julie then used the photograph to create silhouettes of the children and their pets.  Her biggest challenge came when the gradient dyed fabric she had ordered for the background was not what she had expected.  With the help of Trevor, she over-dyed the top quarter of the fabric in an indigo dye bath.  Trevor continued to help her with some of the sewing and with the glitter glue used to paint the fireworks in the sky.  Julie shared a tip that she learned while constructing this quilt -- the mechanical pencil she bought at a Dollar Tree created lines that easily wiped off once she no longer needed them.

"Do You See What I See?"
26" x 21 1/2"
by Maria Brower
There are almost hidden elements in this quilt that you have to look up or look down to find -- a small man sitting on rocks, a two-headed creature, and a castle in the clouds.  Maria was inspired by this blue fabric with blotches in various sizes and shapes to explore those shapes and make them elements of her final landscape.  Her biggest challenge was removing most of the glitter that covered the original fabric.  The designs were enhanced with Arc and Metro embroidery threads, colored pencils, and diluted white paint.  


"Placer County Courthouse"
8" x 10"
Jane Haworth
When Jane first saw this image, she was struck by the contrast between the building and the sky, and as the angle of the original photograph fit the 'looking up' criterion, she decided to go with it.  Jane printed the photo on a Jacquard fabric sheet then used Mistyfuse to add a second piece of fabric before sandwiching with cotton batting and backing.  Using thread painting techniques she learned in a Sandra Mollon class, Jane spent 6 1/2 hours over-stitching the image with a variety of threads.  Permission to use this photo was granted by @J.BurkePhotos on the @Exploreauburnca Instagram page.  


"Connecting"
28 1/2" x 40"
by Sig Simonds

The challenge, "Look Up or Look Down," reminded Sig of children's books she had read -- books by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, so she decided to stay with that playful feeling to create this improvisational piece.  Sig interprets improv to be akin to make believe, a day dream or a fantasy.  She first laid all her pieces out on her design board and then had to find a way to keep her lay-out as she hand-appliqued the quilt top.  She says she had no plan for this quilt, she just relaxed and played.  


All About the Thread

For some years, Maria Billings has been working on representational quilts, often in a large format.  This time around, she decided to challenge herself to create 50 small (less than 24") abstract pieces in 2019.   She brought 15 of her pieces to today's reveal, all of them featuring thread, yarn and splashes of color.  She began by painting on cotton and silk fabrics using acrylic paints, then added hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns and threads to create texture and interest, drawing the viewer to look more closely.    These were improvisational pieces reflecting a playful approach to art quilting.