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Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

The Quilts for Obama show continues to get a great deal of buzz.  I recently found out that there is a possibility that the show could be extended.  Nothing has been confirmed yet but I will let you know.  In the meantime, Sonji Hunt has been collecting links of the 44 artists in the show.  After you have finished visiting here please take a look at Sonji’s blog to see the fabulous work of the show participants.

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I have been working on a new piece for a show about Africa

n Merwomen and Merwomen.  My quilt is called Olokun kept Us. Olokun is said to be the keeper of the deepest part of the sea.  She is often depicted as a mermaid. Sometimes she is described as being/connected to Yemaya.  The quilt I  constructed evolved from a dream I had.  I had been reading Nature’s Studio by quilt artist Joan Colvin.  I admirolokuntransfer1e her work and found some of her collage techniques interesting.  In rendering Olokun I wanted to show her deep in the water but I also wanted her to be a part of the water.  Reading Colvin’s book got me to thinking about ways to make my figure blend into the background fabric.  I did not want to applique the image or have her sit on top of the fabric.  I began this quilt three times before I got the effect I wanted. Here is the first “block” I created.  I came up with the idea of  painting Olokun on to iron on adhesive and then transfering the image onto fabric.  I thought that this was one way I could get the sheer look I wanted — where the figure would look like it was emerging from and was one with the background.  So, I held my breath and used a light gray colored pencil to sketch in the figure. I then painted the figure on to Heat n Bond lite with liquid acrylic paints.  I let my painting dry, cut it out and got my iron out and this is what I got in my first attempt

olokuncutout1

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What I discovered in this process is that Heat n Bond Lite is not the correct adhesive to use for this process.  I found it too plasticky.  Also, the ransfer became hard and peeled in someareas.  Still I felt I was on to something so I decided to try it again.  In the next version I made a more detailed drawing and really focused on painting the face. This time I decided to paint on Wonder Under.  Here is a picture of the painting in progress.  My next post will show the steps I went through to complete the transfer and build the rest of the quilt.

olokunpainting21

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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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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.

ebonyphoenixsketch3.jpgebonyphoenixsketch4.jpg

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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If you are anything like me you probably like to take a peek into the spaces where artists create. I like to look at bookshelves too. No, I am not particularly nosey (not particularly) but I do think that looking at how artists work, how they arrange their spaces, what they have in their spaces, what they read, will tell something about them and their creative process. I am not sure what my space will tell you about me other than I am not especially tidy. Still, I have to say that my studio office and studio are my favorite rooms in the house. These rooms are where I go whenever I have a free moment. The photo above captures a corner of my studio office. This is a little room above my actual workspace where I have most of what I call my design supplies. I have all (ok, MOST) of my fabric stored here. I audition fabrics for dolls and quilts on my table. I also like to draw here. The bulletin board holds calls for entries for shows as well as postcards for places where I would like to exhibit. Time sensitive material goes here too. The white boards (a great organization tool) are where I keep my checklist of projects with upcoming deadlines.

I wanted a pale color for the walls. I chose a sea foam green for this room. I guess it is the Pisces in me that made this choice.

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