Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fun: back to painting

click to enlarge if you dare
   Yesterday I got my eyelid stitches out (too much sun as a child);  and today I decided to make a journal quilt with myself as pirate. I had to paint myself on fabric, but I haven't depicted myself in a long time, I am so easily distracted and excited by contemporary happenings in the quilt world.

    With a fresh eye, I realized if you paint yourself, looking in a mirror, your fabric should be at the same angle as the mirror, on an easel or equivalent. My canvas was on the table so I looked as if I had mumps. Using Lumiere acrylic jpaints, I grabbed the opague white to mix in with the other colors to narrow my face but I still look like a chipmunk. Also, I hopelessly bouffant my hair. I started out w a Sharpie Rub a Dub pen and sketched on the fabric a couple of noses and lips and chins. They may show through in the future. I have made so many self portraits in the past, I was not humble enough to make preliminary sketches and it shows.  In the end, I was so glad to be rid of the patch, I left it off! And I had a lot of fun painting, regardless the results!
     Now off to make the quilt, maybe with a patch that lifts up.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SAIGAI: a journal quilt

    It is always difficult to create a journal quilt about a catastrophe such as Katrina or 9/11 and the one in Japan.I looked for a fabric that expressed maelstrom or upheaval, and I found the word for disaster is saigai. On-line I Googled "how to say disaster in Japanese" and found some characters and pictures at  Japanese Symbols. I printed a couple of the many possibilities and then put the paper and fabric on a light box to mark with Sharpies.
     My fabric was too dark to see the markers so I got out the black Lumiere fabric paint and a tiny brush to enhance the characters. I will only be satisfied when I sharpen the edges with black crochet thread. I made a sandwich of batting and background fabric, stiched a border at 8" x 8" and cut the excess off with pinking shears. I went back to make a few quilted lines,
Saigai, Japanese disaster
   You can view 9/11, my first journal quilt at my website, as well as Katrina, here at the blog, posted July 1, 2010. Relax a moment while the particular image loads.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Unfinished Painting on Fabric: a quilt workshop

    The Quilters Connection has exciting workshops and guests. Jennifer Beaven led "Paint, Stitch and Embellish." We started with quick exercises listing animals, smells, foods, places, plants, and music we love...wishes and stories about these. Beaven encouraged us to make a work about ourselves, the simplest of drawings. We drew images with Sharpie's Rub a Dub markers on thin cotton and painted with Lumiere fabric paints. These acrylic paints in both sampler groups or little bottles are good in that they leave the fabric soft and malleable. I took plain and irridescent. We ironed to set and then backed the pieces with batting and another piece of cotton the same size and started stitching with Pearl embroidery thread and others. We added beads and other embellishments. Mine was so tame, but I came home to do it with the 5 and 6 years old grands. None of us have finished!

(Phoenix awaiting beads)

(click to enlarge all photos)

       Hannah and Erika were still in a Valentine mood and chose some interesting fabrics for the backs of theirs, but have not had time to start their stitching. Erika showed me several places in my house that hers would look good hanging.

      First, put the fabric on newsprint and paper towels atop protective plastic.Draw your design with marker. Have water for your paints and plastic lids to mix them on. After finishing, iron to set the ink and paints; then sandwich to thin batting and a backing fabric. Safety pin together.  With embroidery needles and threads, start in the middle to tack things down. Use running stitches, back stitches, French knots, chicken scratches. Embellishment is the icing on the cake...buttons, beads, necklaces and on to create a dynamic surface. The repetition of marks and stitches will hopefully lead to visually compelling and personally meaningful piece.  We have a way to go.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bill's Batman: a birthday present

     Monday is Bill's birthday. He is a collector and has not forgotten that I (he thinks) gave away his Star Wars what-evers when we moved to London or he left the nest for college or to get married. As a child, Bill had numerous super hero action dolls whose costumes he cut, taped and painted to make authentic. I have a box of his improved, over-loved figures and would never part with his handiwork.
     Christmas came and went, but I had bought the book Scandinavian Stitches that featured a quilted container to hold collections. I also had some neat Batman (one of Bill's favorites) fabrics. Today, finally, I made what I could: a stuffed (not very successful but grandson might like) Batman, a little quilt (just trying to improve on the figure...maybe granddaughters will use w dolls), and HOORAY, the container. Joe and I may go buy a proper pretty box for Bill's collections, but I often enjoy making gifts, whether wanted or not.

click to enlarge photos
     The base and sides of the container are quilted (by machine and hand). I made bias tape for the top and bottom edges with a little tool from JoAnne's. Note I embroidered the flight of the bat signal which had been fused on and stitched.
      If you want to see a clever and artful Easter solution, check the container as a nest filled with birds (could be eggs) after you scroll way down on the Scandinavian Stitches book site at Amazon after you "Look Inside."

P.S. Synergy is amazing. The Yale Alumni Magazine arrived today with this cover:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Seductive Subversion: a journal quilt

    Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists just has to be one of my journal quilts since the show, book and dvd were so moving to me. I believe that  over 40 years ago in Manhattan, at a Pop Art show,  a door was opened to me and I began to paint. Seeing the show recently I felt the same again. The grafitti on the bat wall spells out the show title, "Beyond the Surface," Sid Sach's curatorial essay in the book.

Click on photo to see grafitti.
The door is pulled back.
    Sid Sachs is a hero for bringing attention to the women Pop Artists who participated in the Pop Art movement but were overlooked in the history books. Some ladies are still alive and their participation in the video is moving.

    The materials women used beyond the cool surface of the men's opened the world to the infinite materials used in art today. Maybe that is why I work in every medium except glass blowing. Certainly I appreciate all the artists in the movement for their wit/intellect and freedom to use any subject matter.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pop Art Shows: Inspiration

     About a week ago, I drove to Tufts University to see the award winning art show Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968.  I haven't been so inspired to get back to painting in quite awhile. If you go, make sure you find time to sit to view the fabulous DVD which includes women artists of the 60's and the same people now. The show has just won "Best Thematic Show Nationally" from the United States section of the International Art Critics Association. I had to get the rich catalog:

     It was Pop Art that first got me interested in painting. Joe and I had driven from New Haven to New York City and happened on the soft sculpture pies and goodies of people like Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine or was it Wayne Thiebaud. This was at a satellite museum in the Wall Street district, more than 40 years ago. Anyway, although I had always made posters and sometimes won contests, I had no interest in being an artist.  But now I realized art could have an intellectual and witty edge. I went back to New Haven and started painting pictures for our first apartment and asked for a show at the local library. When we moved to Dallas, I painted Dallas: All-American City, about 2 feet x 4 feet.
(click to enlarge)