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Archive for the ‘drawing’ Category

So I am continuing to work my way through my 2008 list of art goals that I set for myself . One of those goals was to do weekly art quilt explorations which I continue to enjoy. I admit that I have to constantly fight the desire to make each piece a perfect little piece. So keeping in mind that the operative word in this process is *exploration* here is another example of the exercise. You may remember this piece from January. I felt that I could make it a little more interesting so I cut it up. I also used oil sticks and paint to embellish the quilted surface. I got this technique from the book The Painted Quilt. Currently I am working with 4 different books: The Painted Quilt, Breakdown Printing, Finding Your Own Visual Language and Water-based Screenprinting Today. I am really excited about how my return to printmaking techniques is influencing my work. As I mention below, I have been taking an 8 week monoprinting course at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio. I have already signed up for another 8 weeks of fun and experimentation. It’s all about getting out there and trying new things. Yeah!

MoonGlo Self portrait dgbquilts.wordpress.com

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I mentioned before that I was going to make a point of getting out of my studio and out of my own little world more. My first step was taking the plunge to participate in an 8 week workshop on monoprinting at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio. I am sad to report that I have found a new addiction. Karoda mentioned that like quilters, printmakers have their own language, tools and groups. I already knew this from my days as an undergrad. Still, I let myself go into this space knowing that I would be drawn in. Shame on me (not!). Monoprinting is a favorite among many because of its painterly style. Since I love painting this workshop seemed like a match for me. This year I want to explore as many ways to get images on fabric as possible. This process especially includes the unusual and extraordinary. I am experimenting on paper and fabric during this workshop. Right now I am using soy based inks. Next week I will be experimenting with water-based inks and procion dye. I have a batch of sodium alginate setting up right now. Here are some samples of my work on paper. Used the soy based ink and Utrecht’s American Masters printmaking paper. The images are drawings I did for my next several exploration quilts based on LOVE. I obviously need to keep working but I am proud of my first efforts. I see the potential of new and exciting things to come. I have plans to go back in to two of these images and do a little watercolor to bring out the images more. What I like about this method of trace monotype is the interesting line that you can get.

With this image I tried drawing in the ink with odorless mineral spirits. Kind of creepy but I kind of like it.

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BlueCOloredGiRL by www.dgbquilts.wordpress.com
Alright, so part of why I decided to take the plunge and do these weekly exploration quilts is to work with my materials and see what happens. Can you tell I am not totally wowed by this week’s effort? I used rubber stamps, commercial fabric and my color laser printer for this one. I printed the image (yes, that’s a picture of me) on raw canvas. Then I added the commercial fabric (I have no idea why). I thought I saw pink highlights in the image after I printed so I layered the piece and then began to do a little fme with pink thread. I think I want to explore this quilt a bit more so I am going to continue working on it. I hope that’s not considered cheating. I also have a few more ideas I want to throw at this quilt before I am done. I stuck with the 8.5 x 11 format for this week’s exploration. The quilt I am working on for week 3 is 14 x 14 provided I don’t end up cutting it up. . . . although that might not be a bad idea. . . .
I have already learned a few new things in my first two exploration quilts:
  1. I sometimes find it stressful to fly by the seat of my pants when designing/working. Nevertheless, I find the fear and stress exhilarating.
  2. Playing with the exploration quilts has made me pull out my printmaking supplies. I want to revisit silkscreen and monoprinting as techniques for getting images on the page.
  3. I really enjoy the feedback you all are giving me on what I have done so far. Keep it coming 8 ).

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As I mentioned below one of my art goals for 2008 is to create a small weekly quilt. This is not an original thought obviously since so many others have been taking part in this process for years. Still, I think I will learn a lot by working this way. In the midst of working on larger projects I find sometimes that it is nice to stop and do something small. Working small is also a way to clear my head.

SCREAM by Deborah Grayson Bailey

Here is my first exploration quilt, “Scream.” Unlike my usual process I did not do a thumbnail before I began. I simply sketched right on the canvas. I used primed 7oz canvas as my surface, painted the face and then stitched. I did something weird here that gave me an interesting result. When I painted the face it was too yellow (I was going for a glow). Using Golden matte glaze I covered the entire face in purple to tone it down and then I went back in and rubbed off the paint in areas where I wanted highlights. You can still see some areas where the paint dried on me and I couldn’t get it off. At first I panicked because I had a big purple mess. Still, I kept rubbing. I then free motioned stitched the hair to make her face pop more. I wasn’t using the right needle for stitching through the canvas but I kept going. Despite the look on *her* face *I* am pretty happy with the result. The piece is neither beautiful nor horrible it just is.

In the coming week I hope to experiment with either monoprinting or silk screen. Right now I am finishing another 8×10 piece using my printer and neon pink thread. Exploration is GOOD.

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First Ebony Phoenix Sketchebonyphoenixsketch2.jpg

As many of you know 2007 has been all about completion for me. I have whittled down the stack of incomplete quilts in my studio to about a hand full. The hardest part about this process has been in deciding which pieces I would actually finish. Sometimes I get fired up about a project only to find that it should have stayed an experiment — that the idea was really never supposed to be a full blown pie ce. The idea for the quilt Ebony Phoenix came to me after rereading Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place for the 100th time. What I love about her work is that I find something new every time I read her book. Naylor’s words appear in color to me. Her characters have “Nutmeg arms” that lean over windowsills. Their “gnarled ebony legs carry groceries up double flights of stairs and saffron hands string out wet laundry . . . .” Naylor ends her description of the women who lived in Brewster Place as “ebony phoenixe[s], each in her own time and with her own season had a story.”

To say that I am a visual person would be an understatement. Words always seem to transform themselves into images in my head. Naylor’s description of the women of Brewster place appeared this way in my sketchbook in a couple of different versions before I decided on the design of the quilt.

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Here is the nearly finished quilt. Rollover or click on the image to see it in more detail. I have been hand quilting it with procion dyed perle cotton. I have one last section to quilt and then I will bind it. I am currently working my way through the Painted Quilt so I haven’t ruled out adding more color to the piece once the quilting is done.

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Egyptians named the phoenix “Bento” which means “to rise in brilliance.” The phoenix is said to represent the inner ability in all of us to emerge transformed out of our self-imposed limitations and life’s greatest sufferings. Makes me think of something we used to play as children –rise sister, rise. wipe your weeping eyes.

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