Quite some time ago I participated in a class taught by Pam Beal at Woodland Ridge Retreat. The class Minimal Design, Maximum Impact focused on creating fiber art pieces that use a limited pallet of colors and/or design features. Today’s reveal has a limited color pallet but definitely not a limited number of stitches.
Testing 1, 2, 3 was assembled from test samples of four different construction methods: fabric strip manipulation, triangles, fractured circles and wedge piecing. All four were merged together to form this art quilt. The new creation was then surrounded by a border of black cotton fabric. Added for embellishment were four wool circles and a myriad of hand quilting stitches. Perle cotton was the primary thread used. To complete the fiber quilt an envelope of black cotton fabric was added to the back along with a hanging sleeve and a label with identifying features. Measuring 20 1/4” x 12 1/4” Testing 1, 2, 3 may be minimal in size but nowhere near minimal in impact.
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What do you think of when you hear the words relaxed fit? For me it conjures up a comfy pair of denim blue jeans. Now what do those two words have to do with the art piece I am about to reveal? Read on and you will see.
June, 2019 I had the opportunity to attend QSDS (Quilt, Surface and Design Symposium) at the college of arts in Columbus, Ohio. It was the second time I attended their summer program. One of the instructors I chose to study under was Lisa Binkley. Lisa is a fiber artist from Wisconsin. She is well known for her eco-dyed fabrics, elaborate beading and hand stitching. Even though I know Lisa personally and can visit her locally I decided to attend her two-day class.
During Lisa’s class she discussed the characteristics of a Boro item, shared examples of its application and gave demonstrations of the stitching. During the remainder of the class we applied our knowledge by creating our own brand new art piece.
Along with items from our own inventory we were encouraged to include specimens from Lisa’s array of fabrics. One of the items I decided to include was from a pair of my old blue jeans. The jeans, well-worn and tattered from hours of use, had the label containing the trade brand of Relaxed Fit. Lisa often uses labels from discarded clothing to embellish her projects. Following in my teacher’s footsteps, I too decided to do the same. The label caught my eye because it reminded me of the relaxed nature (raw-edged appearance) of the scraps that would potentially be added to my piece. From that moment on I just knew it would receive a predominant place on my art quilt.
Relaxed Fit was assembled using pieces of denim from my old blue jeans (you can still see the stains from hours of gardening on my knees), sections of eco-dyed fabrics I made while attending one of Lisa’s other classes, scraps of silk organza leftover from previous projects, segments of lace harvested from larger items, fragments of old neck ties, hints of the old quilt secured on the back, and kantha cloth I purchased from the internet (kantha cloth is fragments of old saris layered on top of one another then hand-stitched together). Sandwiched beneath my fabric design is a section of an old quilt I rescued from oblivion years ago.
The many layers that comprise my fiber art piece were hand-stitched together using complimentary colors of Perle cotton thread. No attempt was made to hide knots either on top, inside or on the bottom of my art quilt. In some places threads were deliberately unraveled and left to dangle freely. As you peruse the surface of the quilt you will also discover lengths of Perle cotton that extend beyond anchoring knots. They too add elements of design not seen in a typical quilt. Surrounding all four sides is a binding of black cotton fabric.
A glance at the back of this amazingly unique art piece reveals the erratic twists and turns taken by my stitching. Without the distraction of multi-colored fabrics, the individual stitches are allowed to exude their own art element. Also included on the back is a fabric sleeve for hanging as well as a label with identifying features. This unique one-of-a-kind fiber art piece is incredibly soft. The nature of the used fabrics combined with the backing of the old quilt meld together to create the pleasing softness.
All of the distinguishing features of Relaxed Fit, Art Piece # 112 have made this an art piece that outshines any other.
This fiber art piece has made a wonderful addition to my portfolio. I am so grateful that you were here to join in my reveal.
Many times, after learning a new skill, I find myself making multiple fiber art pieces using the same techniques. Today’s reveal is an example of that tendency. Black, White, and Gray, Art Piece # 111 was assembled using the Boro stitching lessons I learned through Maday Delgado. I had the wonderful privilege of taking one of her classes in March, 2019 at Blue Bar Quilts. The First item to result from her teachings was A Boro Collage, Art Piece # 110.
This second specimen focused on the color pallet of white, black and gray. Having never made a fiber piece with just those three colors, I decided to use the concept on this item. Black, White andGray, just as with A Boro Collage, was created from raw edged fabric scraps. Except for a few synthetic fiber fabrics most of the scraps contained within this art quilt are 100% cotton. The scraps vary in size and pattern. The Boro stitching was applied with similarly colored Perle cotton thread using somewhat parallel lines. Almost all of the knots used to secure beginning and ending points in the stitching are displayed on the front of the piece. Occasionally a tale of extra thread was left to dangle freely; adding an unexpected element of interest. The outer edges of my art piece were surrounded by a white on black cotton binding. On the back is a fabric sleeve for hanging as well as a label with identifying features. The varied colors, stitching and fabric designs give this fiber art piece a one-of-a-kind appearance.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about and seeing this lovely addition to my portfolio. Inspired to share your thoughts? You can express your feelings by adding a comment.
I have had so many wonderful opportunities to learn from the experts in the world of fiber arts. Just over one year ago I attended a Boro stitching class taught by Maday Delgado. Boro, according to Wikipedia is:
Boro is a class of Japanese textiles that have been mended or patched together. The term is derived from Japanese boroboro, meaning something tattered or repaired. As hemp was more widely available in Japan than cotton, they were often woven together for warmth. Hemp usage was necessitated by the fact that cotton, a tropical plant, could not be cultivated in cold areas such as the Tohoku region, especially the northernmost region of Aomori Prefecture. Furthermore, during the Edo period, fabrics made from silk and cotton were reserved for only a select portion of the upper class. Boro thus came to predominately signify clothing worn by the peasant farming classes, who mended their garments with spare fabric scraps out of economic necessity. In many cases, the usage of such a boro garment would be handed down over generations, eventually resembling a patchwork after decades of mending.
The class was held at Blue Bar Quilts (one of my favorite fiber art vendors). Maday’s warm and approachable personality make her an inviting person to learn from. Our class was filled with individuals, of all skill levels, eager to learn her approach. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in Maday’s class. The techniques I learned were combined with my previous knowledge to create the art piece I am sharing with you today.
Known as A Boro Collage, Art Piece # 110, this item incorporates scraps of fabric collected from the class as well as my own inventory. The scraps, radiating from warm colors on the left to cool on the right, were layered over a white cotton batting. All of the stitching was done on just those two layers. Maday believes that the back of a hand stitched art collage is just as beautiful as the front and as a result should not be hidden behind opaque fabric. Therefore my silk organza backing was not added until my piece was complete.
For most of the stitching I used a Sashiko thread. This thread is made from a multi-strand, tightly twisted, very soft, heavy-weight cotton. The strands cannot be separated as with regular embroidery floss. The thread, when subjected to moisture will expand slightly making it less likely to pull out. You can purchase Sashiko thread in a variety of colors.
As you examine my art piece, notice that the rows of stitching do not all extend from one edge to the other. Some of them form angular shapes while others create a curved motion. Also of interest is the exposed knots, the dangling lengths of thread and a most unusual stitch design known as Fish Tale. The dangling stray threads and exposed knots are design elements that Maday believes can add interest to your art piece. A Fish Tale is created using individual lengths of thread applied in rows of stitching that arch up to form a curve and then return back down. Extra thread is left dangling at both the beginning and ending points of the pattern. I’ve included a photo of one of the added Fish Tales below.
To give my art piece a more rustic appearance I used an unusual binding. Once my stitching was complete raw-edged scraps of fabric were placed right side down on top of my art piece. A row of machine stitching was used to secured them. The scraps were then folded to the back and stitched in place with Sashiko thread.
I’m so happy you were able to share in this reveal. I hope that you enjoyed reading about and discovering the uniqueness of my fiber art piece and that you will feel inspired to leave a comment.
Creating art from polyester stretch velvet is very different; especially when 100% cotton is your fiber of choice. Over the last thirteen posts I’ve been sharing snippets of my love/hate relationship with this plastic material. This is my fourteenth and final post about the subject. Let’s take a look.
May, 2019 seems so long ago but that’s actually when this adventure began. Woodland Ridge Retreat was the location for the mind-bending class taught by Susan Lenz. While my anticipation was very high I never could have imagined the experience I was about to have.
It’s So Different, Art Piece 109 measuring 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” was assembled from polyester stretch velvet, felt and cotton thread. Details about the construction process can be found in my previous posts.
By the time I started this piece I was very familiar with Susan’s technique. My grasp of the concept made it easier to focus more on the desired outcome and as a result achieve a far more interesting product.
Some of the traits that make this item different from the other members in the family are:
Rather than similarity sized components this small art piece includes a variety of sizes and shapes and
Most of the felt was melted away which makes the cotton thread appear more predominant.
I am very pleased with with how this item turned out. To emphasize my appreciation, although it is not shown here, I have protected it inside a shadow box frame.
Reaching the end of a series is both exhilarating and sad; sad because it meant the Susan Lenz class had come to an end and goodbyes are always hard; exhilarating because I can finally move on and share newer accomplishments.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing this unusual grouping of art as much as I have. If you feel inspired to share your thoughts, simply add a comment to my post.
After today there is only one more polyester stretch velvet art specimen to be revealed. This sequence has been sharing my most unusual art pieces thus far. Today’s focus will be on Art Piece # 108 Purple Coneflower. Links to the other members can be found here.
Started while attending the May, 2019 Susan Lenz class at the Woodland Ridge Retreat this is my thirteenth addition to the series . While most of the items I have shared thus far were self-directed, Purple Coneflower was a class assignment. The challenge was to draw a design on paper then convert it into a polyester stretch velvet project. I have a strong fondness for flowers, especially purple coneflowers, and as a result I decided to use that as the subject for my experiment.
Under the guidance of the instructor I put pencil to paper and converted my concept to reality. Once the image was ready I transferred the design to my preselected polyester stretch velvet. From there the process of turning my arranged fabric pieces into a finished item was exactly the same as the previously revealed items. You can read about the technique in the post I wrote about Neon Orange, Art Piece # 107.
I will admit that you might have to stretch your imagination a wee bit to visualize a purple coneflower, in the photo above, but I think you are totally capable. Achieving a realistic representation was never my intention; this was, after all, an exercise in abstract art. Once you are able to grasp my concept I believe you will see the resemblance. Purple Coneflower, Art Piece # 108 measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. It was created using polyester stretch velvet, felt and cotton thread.
This brings to a close the story about the latest member added to my polyester stretch velvet collection. I now have only one more to reveal. Subscribers to my blog will automatically receive notice of the last posting in this series. If you are not a follower you may become one today by clicking on the provided button on my blog and then you too will always be up-to-date on my activities.
Here we go again with yet another fiber art quilt debut! This 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” work of art took shape during a May, 2019 Susan Lenz class I participated in at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. The class focused on the manipulation of polyester stretch velvet through the application of heat. The heat source came from heat guns and/or wood burning tools.
The above specimen was my second attempt at experimenting with the technique. Named Neon Orange because of the bright orange rectangles predominantly displayed, this item is certainly an unusual exhibit of what can result when testing out new methods.
As was the case with It’s Melting this small fiber art quilt began with stacked pieces of polyester stretch velvet. The stacks were arranged on a piece of felt then connected together with cotton thread via free-motion stitching. It was important to use only cotton thread because cotton will not melt when subjected to a heat gun. If I had used polyester I would have lost the connections between the individual components. Rather than have one art piece I would have ended up with twelve small fragments. Having twelve sections would have been disappointing but not the end of the world. Each of the fragments could have been turned into pins, necklaces, etc.
Using tongs in my left hand to suspend my sandwiched fabrics and a heat gun in my right I circulated the heat across the entire surface until the desired amount of felt had been melted away. If you refer to the photo above you will see that some of the black felt still remains. To remove the remaining pieces I could have applied the heat for a longer period. I also could have used a sharp scissors to carefully trim away the leftovers. However, I chose to stop because I was pleased with the outcome.
I am very proud to have this specimen of melted polyester stretch velvet as a member of my portfolio. I now have only two more items remaining in this series to share. Don’t miss out on their debut. Subscribe to my blog to receive updates. If you would like to read about the other specimens click here.
I’ve been focusing all my attention on finished art projects yet overlooked two very exciting accomplishments. The first occurred shortly before I left for my sewing retreat. Aside from the information I share on my blog I also post tidbits on Facebook and Instagram.
As I mentioned earlier, something very special happened before my marathon sewing extravaganza. After posting a photo on IG I received a private message from a friend. This amazing lady bakes and decorates cookies. By decorate I don’t mean she slathers a thick layer of canned frosting on top then sprinkles it with those itty bitty candies you shake from a bottle. No way! Her cookies are masterpieces. She painstakingly covers each cookie with unbelievably gorgeous images. Her cookies are a work of art. In fact they are almost too pretty to eat…but I wouldn’t go that far.
My friend’s inquiry asked about purchasing the item I had just posted. I’m sure you can imagine how ecstatic I was. After trading several messages the deal was sealed. With no time to spare, before I left for my northern extravaganza, plans were made to handle the sale after I returned home.
This is the item she purchased.
My friend is now the proud owner of this sweet little fiber art piece.
The other very unexpected surprise happened while I was at the sewing retreat with friends. In a previous post I talked of the many items I worked on. One of the projects was this one.
Part of the fun of being at a sewing retreat is being able to see the amazing projects of your fellow quilters. Cow On A Pedestal was one of the items I started while attending A Sue Benner class at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. I’m not going to give a whole lot of detail about it now because I have a future post dedicated to this specimen. What I will share is that one of my roommates approached me about buying the art quilt. She fell in love with it’s appearance and just had to have it for her collection. I was so honored. Shortly after we agreed on a price, money exchanged hands and so did Cow On A Pedestal.
Now how awesome is that! Right before and during my sewing retreat I made two sales! Who would have thought!
It seems only natural to mention at this point that many things on this website can be purchased. Items that are available for sale will have a section at the bottom of the post listing the purchase price, etc. along with links to available methods of payment. This is a new feature that I am slowly adding. My newer fiber art pieces will have the option to purchase added as soon as the post is published. Items that were shared in the past will be updated as time allows.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! ~smile~
Art Piece 106 is the eleventh polyester stretch velvet project to have it’s debut on my blog. Links to the other members of the series can be found here. In May, 2019 I was a student in the Susan Lenz class at Woodland Ridge Retreat. I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of classes at the facility and this one was by far the most unusual.
Melting polyester stretch velvet was never on my bucket list of experiences to encounter. However, the teaser images used to gain my attention intrigued my curiosity. Most often when I complete one of Woodland Ridge Retreat’s classes I find myself returning home with multiple art pieces. For Susan Lenz’s class I carried with me fourteen different specimens. The item I am sharing today has been named It’s Melting, Art Piece 106.
Art Piece 106, just like the other ten, was created using a process of fusing and melting polyester stretch velvet. Stacks of polyester stretch velvet were adhered to a surface of black felt. Rows of free-motion stitching, with cotton thread, were added both for design and to connect the individual components together. The entire piece was then subjected to high heat using a heat gun as well as a wood burning tool.
The heat caused two things to happen: most of the felt melted away and the stacks of polyester stretch velvet fused together. As you will notice the black cotton thread remained intact. Cotton thread was used because it does not melt like polyester. If it had I would have ended up with twelve small sections rather than one finished piece. It’s Melting, Art Piece # 106 is similar in size to its other family members.
Perhaps someday you too will experiment with polyester stretch velvet and its melting properties. If you do I hope your adventures will produce amazing results.
Thank you for sharing in my passion for fiber art.