May, 2019 I participated in a class taught by Susan Lenz at Woodland Ridge. The subject of the class was the manipulation of polyester stretch velvet using heat. The impact of the heat created unusual transformations.
One of the items I created during the class is a piece I call Around and Around.
Trying new techniques can bring about surprising outcomes; often times with less than desirable results. This particular project initially fell into that crevice. With the added bead embellishments and hand stitching I was able to evolve my first project into something much more interesting.
To complete my first polyester stretch velvet experiment I surrounded it with a border of black cotton fabric as well as a geometric themed stitch pattern. Rather than adding the typical binding used on most quilts I chose to secure the raw edges with facings. Around and Around, Art Piece # 96 measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”.
This special addition to my portfolio is among thirteen other specimens. The other members of the grouping will be introduced to you soon.
I’m honored to have shared this time with you! With warm wishes for a pleasant and fruitful day I say farewell for now.
A friend of mine asked me to choose a project for both of us to work on simultaneously. She lives about two and one half hours away; the traveling distance meant we would work on our projects independently. The deadline for the completion of the item was February, 2019. I was assigned the task of choosing the general guidelines. I selected red, teal and black for the must use colors. I also encouraged my partner to utilize the techniques outlined in Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv.
Before the month was over I had this lovely specimen completed. Measuring 24” x 22” Exploring Shapes, Art Piece 95 easily met all of the requirements.
If you have really great eye sight you might be able to read the placard displayed above my art quilt. On the card is the details of my project. This art piece was part of my September, 2019 solo exhibit at Blue Bar Quilts in Middleton, Wisconsin. Exploring Shapes is currently on display in my home.
Best wishes for a pleasant and productive day!
Exploring Shapes, Art Piece 95
Exploring Shapes is a one of a kind art piece. Measuring 24” x 22”, it was constructed from cotton fabrics.
Have you ever named an art project and then realized that you have already assigned the name to something else? Well, I have! Twice! The art piece I am showing you today, Cobblestones is the name I gave to Cobblestones, AP # 80.
Both pieces were designed with the same photo in mind.
While they both had the same inspiration their outcomes are totally different.
I am a spreadsheet person. By that I mean that I like to use spreadsheets to organize my life because they are much more reliable than scraps of paper. Of course their reliability hinges upon actually using the app.
After experiencing hurdles in maintaining a reliable list of my art pieces I decided to design a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet would be readily available because I could access it on all of my electronic devices—I almost always have one at my side. I was so proud of myself once the data was entered. While very few things are perfect I had high expectations that this would eliminate duplicate names.
In order for the spreadsheet to reach foolproof status one has to utilize it. Sometimes I’m lazy and resort back to pen and paper. In this instance that is exactly what happened. I was not aware of my dilemma until I sat down to bring my spreadsheet up to date. When I did, I had to make a decision—should I allow them both to maintain the same name or should I change one of them. In the end I chose to change one of the names ever so slightly. Today’s piece was given the modified name, Cobblestones II.
With the explanation for this project’s name revealed let’s take a look at the construction and design. I created my art piece while attending Pam Beal’s class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. Cobblestones II, as mentioned earlier, was inspired by a photo I took while attending QSDS.
Unlike it’s very colorful predasessor this art quilt was constructed using only three colors—a soft shade of blue, navy blue and bordeaux. Looking at the photo you will see that the cobblestones were fashioned from navy blue. The process of cutting and stitching the fabric back together created a woven texture or three dimensional appearance. I rather like that look. A border of soft blue was added to surround the cobblestones. Wrapping around all four sides is the bordeaux. The bordeaux creates a large negative space. This negative space creates a generous place for your eye to rest.
To finish my piece I added hand stitching using color coordinated threads. In the upper most bordeaux section I added three simple X’s. In the bottom area I echoed or replicated the cobblestones by stitching a grid pattern.
Cobblestones II has a very striking yet minimalist appearance. I think Pam Beal would be very pleased. Cobblestones II measures 14 1/2 x 8”.
I have truly been blessed to attend numerous classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. If it were not for the continued employment of my husband the opportunities would never have occurred. Today’s story is about another one of my excursions.
Last summer I participated in the Judy Coates Perez, Paint and Print Palooza. I had a wonderful time learning how to dye, print and silk screen fabric.
Watching the applications go from start to finish was entertaining.
I even designed and cut out my own foam stamp.
I created a minimum of 12 new blocks of fabric. These are two of my favorites.
Rather than point out all of the quilt’s wonderful features I’m going to share them with you through photos. Enjoy!
Eight of my favorite blocks. Click on any photo to watch a slide show of the gallery.
Last but not least, here is the finished art quilt.
I am so pleased with the final version of my art piece. My finished art quilt measures 64 x 47”. Hidden inside this family of blocks are oodles of special features. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the many details.
Slowly, ever so slowly I’ve been revealing art pieces resulting from my exposure to Pam Beal and her class, Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. After today’s reveal there will be only four left to share. Let’s take a look.
Tuxedo, AP # 84 measures 10 3/4 x 6 3/4″. Like Ragged Edges, this special art piece has exposed edges. Look closely and you will find four.T
To give my Tuxedo a unique and masculine appearance I added a few embellishments.
All of the quilting was done by hand.
Except for the bold application of purple quilting, the remaining stitches were all done with color coordinated threads.
Centered in the tiny black fabric strips are small, purple, buttons made from French knots.
Last but not least, in the very bottom right corner, is what I have designated as the Tuxedo‘s boutonnière. There you will find three vertical purple French knots.
Thanks to Pam Beal and her Minimalist Design, Maximum Impactclass my explorations in minimalistic art quilting continue.
Being shared today is my latest project measuring only 8 3/4 x 5 3/4″. Known as Ragged Edges, it was created using small stacks of raw edged fabrics. The stacks themselves are barely over 1″ square. Each small grouping has been anchored to a white fabric background with a grid of black machine stitching, a row of teal hand-applied stitches and a single teal French knot. Each stack was then surrounded with rows of hand quilting using white thread. Say hello to Ragged Edges, AP # 83.
One of the joys of finishing an art piece is sharing it with you. My most recent finish is a piece titled Wise Old Owl, AP # 76. Read on to discover it’s details.
I participated in Pam Beal’s class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact back in the spring of 2018. The specimen being shown today was started during that class.
This quilt, as with many others, started from leftover scraps. If you refer to the photo below you will see them in the center of the art piece. They are the dangling strips of random fabrics. This odd grouping adds an unexpected point of interest. Further interest was added through these special features:
Three Stitches: In the quilt’s uppermost area you will notice three stitches. Pam often adds elements of surprise to her masterpieces. These three stitches are my surprise touch.
One Bead: Adding further excitement is the addition of an unusual single teal bead. The bead was purchased from Etsy long before I began this project. Since then I had been waiting for just the right opportunity to use it. This project seemed like the perfect place.
Three Small Beads: The goal of a balanced quilt is evenly distributed color. To spread the presence of teal in yet another location, three small teal beads were stitched to the black horizontal fabric strip.
Zigzag Stitch: The grouping of fabric strips with uneven lengths and varied colors have raw edges. Normally raw edges would be secured inside a seam. Since these were not I added a row of zigzag stitching to prevent unraveling.
Black Strip: Although it may be hard to tell the horizontal black strip extends beyond the mini quilt’s edges on both sides. Each end of the strip was stitched together to protect the unfinished edges.
Here’s why I’ve named my piece Wise Old Owl:
The teal triangle reminds me of eyebrows.
The two small grey triangles, on either side of the eyebrows, look like eyes,
The short black vertical strip of fabric beneath the eyes forms a beak.
The horizontal black strips extending beyond the sides of the quilt look like outstretched wings.
Ms. Wise Old Owl has a black binding to protect her delicate edges. Her backside is covered with a matching black fabric. Inside she is kept warm by a layer of Warm & Natural batting. She measures 13 x 8″.
Before heading to Woodland Ridge for Pam Beal’s class, I stopped in Menomonie at the cutest little fabric shop called Thread Lab. The art piece I will share today incorporates three of the fabrics purchased during my shopping spree.
Those that read and write the English language are familiar with the letter “L”. The “L” begins with a downward swipe of the pen, then continues on toward the right. These two lines form a ninety degree angle.
The English language is read from top to bottom and left to right. This top to bottom, left to right flow is replicated in the letter “L”. When viewing art our eye travels along the same path.
If you recall, I mentioned earlier one of the traits Pam said was important for a successful art piece. The term I am referring to is “L” Shape Balance. If my quilt were to achieve “L” Shape Balance then my eye would begin in the top left corner and proceed across and down the surface.
I believe my mini art piece achieves that balance. The blue fabric, situated to the left of the center, echoes the downward movement of a pen creating the first part of an “L”. The grey fabric directly below can be identified with the left to right swipe.
Did I loose you?
In other words, my eye first travels from top to bottom down the surface of the blue fabric. Next it makes a right angle and follows along the grey strip to the outer right edge.
Is that better?
X’s and O’s
X’s and O’s are often used to signify a hug and a kiss when writing sentiments in, say for instance—a card. I’ve titled today’s art piece X’s and O’s not because I’m sending you a kiss or a hug. Instead I’ve chosen this reference because of the fabrics I used to create it.
If you look closely in the body of my piece you will see skinny strips of fabric accentuated by the letter “X”. You will also notice a blue fabric decorated with black dots. The “X’s” and dots, or “O’s” were the inspiration for my quilt’s name.
Let’s look at the remaining features of my art piece. This small art quilt was made using three different colors—black, grey and blue. The
blue fabric with the black dots;
the grey and black fabric with the x’s; and
the darker grey and black near the bottom
were purchased during my fabric shopping trip. The balance of the other fabrics were harvested from my stash.
Years and years ago I tried mastering the art of hand quilting. After several attempts I threw in the towel and turned to machine quilting. Hand quilting is Pam’s preferred method. After seeing Pam’s masterpieces and how lovely they looked with her stitching I decided to give it another try.
I chose three thread colors for my stitching.
The grey fabrics were accented with grey thread.
Black thread was my obvious choice for the two black border pieces.
In the remaining sections I used a soft blue.
After achieving a workable rhythm I actually grew to appreciate hand quilting. The somewhat uneven appearance of my stitches gives my small project a more rustic texture.
Strategically placed stray stitches along with random beading are Pam’s go-to-method for adding elements of surprise. Using this for my inspiration I added a few stray stitches along with four French knots in the quilt’s right, grey panel. These two elements add a little sparkle.
The Little Things
Now that we have examined the obvious details let’s take one last look at the unmentioned features.
X’s and O’s measures 14” L x 8 5/8“ w.
Surrounding my quilt is a binding made from black fabric.
In between the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting.
The back is protected by a layer of black fabric.
A hanging sleeve and label have been attached as well.
That’s A Wrap
With so much to share, this has been a very long post. I think you would agree though that it was well worth the read.
Thank you so much for sticking with me. Let’s do this again!
The older I get the stronger my desire to explore and experience the many forms of art. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend numerous classes—each one exposing me to techniques or philosophies I have not tried.
One of the classes I attended was Pam Beal’s Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. If you click on the link attached to the class name you will be taken to the blog post she shared once our class was complete. Within that post is numerous photos of her own work as well as the work of her students. Photos # 7, 8 and 10 show a few of my projects. Photo # 8 is the subject of today’s story.
1973 was the year I graduated from high school. My graduating class contained 400+ students—way too many to remember them all by name.
Our official school colors were cardinal and grey. Often times they were referred to as red and grey by our cheerleaders. I can still recall one of the chants—
Red and grey,
red and grey,
The Name Is…
Recently I put finishing touches on a small art quilt started while attending Pam Beal’s class.
After adding the last detail I always give my art quilts a name. Sometimes the process turns very slowly—in this instance it was quick and painless.
My husband is very familiar with my class colors and the year of my graduation. When I proudly shared my finished piece he instantly named the quilt
in honor of my high school graduation and my class colors.
Pam Beal’s quilts primarily contain straight line piecing. On occasion she adds an element of surprise through circles or curved pieces.
Following in Pam’s footsteps, 1973 was assembled with geometric, straight-line shapes. Added for pizazz were two gently curved strips—one each in the upper and lower quadrants.
These wavy lines add interest and movement by drawing your eye from one side to the other. Pam emphasized that a well-balanced piece will
keep your eye moving.
One way of providing movement is to
bring your elements (i.e. colors, piecing, quilting) off the page,
or in this case, off the mini quilt.
I think 1973 has achieved that feature through the addition of those strips.
Since the theme of the class was minimalism I kept my color pallet simple. Chosen were grey, both light and dark; fuchsia; white and black. The grey tones are not part of my normal color family. In fact, grey is one of my least favorite colors. Given that this class was supposed to help me reach outside my comfort zone I made the decision to challenge my norms by adding colors unusual to me.
Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact taught me the qualities of a well-balanced art piece. Learning these traits opened my eyes to new opportunities to analyze my own work. These revelations, in essence, swung open another door.
Just as with Blue Doorthis mini art piece also reflects the imagery of a doorway.
The doorway was assembled using strategically placed rectangles of color.
Standing outside looking in you will notice a window made from fuchsia cotton fabric.
Radiating from the window is additional rectangular shapes fashioned from a soft grey, more fuchsia and white. These added fuchsia and white fabrics give the door interest.
Emphasizing the image of a door knob is the oversized silver snap.
Strips of fuchsia colored cotton lead your eye to the outer right edge of my piece. By leading your eye in that direction I am enticing you to reach for and turn the door knob.
To add even more interest and encouragement of motion I added hand quilting. The stitched lines in and around the door bring your focus to the opportunity for discovery. An open door can lead to new and exciting experiences.
The grey stitches reaching from the left edge outward to the right give my piece even more movement. A movement that should also tease you to open wide the door.
The Final Details
Measures: 11 7/8” L x 9 3/8” W
It Contains: Cotton fabrics
Is bound and backed with: Black fabric
Is sandwiched with: Warm & Natural Batting
This was the second of many art quilts to develop during the Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class. I will continue to reveal the other ones in future posts.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing my latest art piece. Perhaps the tips shared will help you when analyzing your own works of art.
If there were aspects of my quilt or techniques that you found interesting, please share those thoughts. I learn so much from your comments.
Thank you for visiting! I look forward to our next opportunity.