In April I began retrofitting many of my smaller art pieces to make them suitable for attaching to a stretched canvas frames. I call this adventure Operation Renovation. The topic of today’s journal entry is an item that I first revealed in July, 2018. This specimen was called Court House Friends 7 of 14. Court house friends is a reference to a grouping of court house blocks I received in a block swap. The blocks had colors that I was not particularly fond of. Rather than leaving them as is I opted to turn them into improv art pieces; sixteen different art projects resulted from that experiment. The pieced center, with its surrounding white border, looked like this in July, 2018.
In The Beginning:
To modify Court House Friends 7 of 14 I began by removing the facings and other components that had been attached to the back. After carefully trimming and pressing my small art piece I went in search of a fabric that would compliment the colors already present in the small quilt. I found a lovely purple and teal batik with accents of rust and burgundy. I chose this one because not only did it match with the colors in the existing art piece but it also added an interesting element that didn’t provide a distraction.
Wrapping It Up:
Court House Friends 7 of 14 originally measured 5 7/8” x 10 7/8”. The target frame size was 11” x 14”. After making a few calculations I cut properly sized strips of fabric to add as borders. With the borders attached I created a quilt sandwich by stacking the renovated art quilt with a layer of batting and backing. The last step, in this renovation process, was quilting. The new borders were the only items that needed quilting; to those I added a zig zag pattern with a multi-colored variegated thread.
Since the visual identity of my fiber art piece had been changed I decided its name should be as well. While viewing the composition I studied the arrangement of the fabrics in the pieced center. The single vertical line with the horizontal protrusions reminded me of the rungs on a ladder. Identifying that image gave me the inspiration to name my art quilt Up The Ladder, Art Piece # 52.
When my new and improved project was finished, this is how it appeared.
Even though the changes were relatively minor I think she looks much prettier now. How about you?
Thank you for being here and for reading until the very end!
On my agenda today is the continuation of Operation renovation. I began a series earlier this year to adapt several of my fiber art pieces for mounting on stretched canvas frames. The candidates chosen were items that had been completed months or even years ago. In my opinion, all of them had a mediocre existence.
To prepare my subjects for a make-over I first stripped away their bindings and other finishing touches. Once that was complete the renovation process could begin. Some of the changes were subtle while others were quite dramatic; watching each one morph from its original status to a freshly refurbished fiber art piece was amazing.
After struggling to fit it into the design I made the decision to keep it as a solo specimen.
The center of the block was a leftover scrap from one of my earlier art pieces. Thankfully I saved the remnant because it made a great building block for this one. The pieced center is surrounded by two borders; the first is a shade of magenta and the second a faded denim. In it’s original version, the fiber art piece was quilted with a straight-line motif using a variegated thread.
During my quest to repurpose/reinvent a number of my specimens I chose this one as a candidate. Not too much had to be done to adapt it for mounting on a stretched canvas frame. The original facings were stripped away. The resulting raw edges were then trimmed to freshen them up. A new border was added to adapt it for mounting on canvas. To blend the original faded denim border with the new addition I chose to use the same color fabric. Once the size was adequate for mounting I added a layer of batting and backing, then attached the sandwich to the frame.
Typically once the fiber art quilt is attached no further stitching is required; however, lately I have been adding a variety of hand stitches to some of my smaller pieces. The hand stitches add an element of design that would not be possible with a sewing machine. When the items are small they are easy to work with because the wooden frame acts as an embroidery hoop, giving the fabric stability.
For this item hand stitching was essential. While the colors of the specimen were interesting they lacked the luster I desired. To initiate my embellishment process I selected an overly large button with numerous holes. Rather than stitching it to the frame with the button perpendicular to its edges I chose to place it on the diagonal. Next I secured the button in place by running a few simple stitches through the holes; which by the way are difficult to see now.
Sue Spargo has a book called Creative Stitching, Second Edition. I enjoy reading through and experimenting with some of the stitches in her book. One of my favorites is the drizzle stitch. The three dimensional stitch creates twisted protrusions that extend above the fabric surface. The holes of my added button seemed like the perfect place to insert them.
Look closely and you will see that I used a variety of thread colors and lengths of drizzle stitch to fill in the holes of the button. The combination of the on-point button and the drizzle stitches reminded me of a flower’s center. To capitalize on that idea I added four groupings of hand-applied stitching along the sides of the button. Each of the lines is capped-off with a matching colored French knot. The added lines represent the petals of a flower.
With the addition of the button, and hand stitching this composition went from ho hum to WOW; which makes this operation renovation project an obvious success. I’m so glad I decided to give this small fiber art piece a second chance.
Originally titled Bubbles because of the circles seen throughout many of the fabrics, I decided the title no longer applied. While pondering the many available options, I very easily could have selected something with a floral theme; instead I chose to identify the structure of the original block as the basis for the new name. This block has the essence of a log cabin design. Going with that as my significant feature I have named this item Abstract Log Cabin, Art Piece # 38.
This is how my newly renovated project looked when she left the studio.
In it final form Abstract Log Cabin measures 12” x 12” x 1 1/2”. Added to the back of the frame is a paper barrier to protect the art piece from dust and bugs. Two d-rings and wire were attached to make it easy to be hung on a wall. Also added are silicone bumpers to help with stability and encourage ventilation.
So, what do you think? Was this a worthwhile project? Does the composition look better now than she did before?