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!
This year has been very busy with my renovation project, my solo art exhibit, finishing oodles of 8”x10” small art pieces and starting my own online store. Sandwiched in-between were numerous trips to my little cabin in the woods as well as fun activities with my peeps; all while practicing social distancing. The online store has taken up most of the time I would normally have spent on my blog. With the majority of those tasks accomplished, I can once again share my triumphs with Operation Renovation.
A Return To Operation Renovation:
Operation Renovation is a project I started back in January. During the early days of this pandemic I searched for something to focus my attention on. At the time, I had a number of art pieces that were finished but not quite to my liking. With my pandemic anxiety level reaching an all-time high I decided to redirect my attention to those less-than-appealing projects. A number of successful outcomes have already been shared but I still have quite a few to go; time to get back to sharing my progress.
This art quilt began during the summer of 2017 (see photo above). In its original form it was a grouping of nine improvisational building blocks. Each of the blocks was surrounded by four white borders. The nine, with their stark white edges, were stitched together and surrounded by a white binding. They were quilted with a simple, but attractive straight-line quilting motif. The finished quilt remained in that state until recently; that’s when I decided the composition was just too blah. To remedy my dilemma I grabbed a seam ripper and removed the binding, then gave it a good pressing
At the same time I decided to tackle the renovation of Art Piece # 17 I had also decided to work on two other items. Those compositions contained four blocks each. They are Four Friends # 1 and Four Friends # 2. All three quilts could very easily have been left intact and mounted on a stretched canvas frame. Since I was making changes I decided to go wild and cut them all apart; I ended up with seventeen 5 1/2”x5 1/2″ units. To change things even further I reallocated them into eight separate art compositions: a six piece, a four piece, a two piece and five individual specimens.
The six piece composition was the first one to be finished. To give this item a punch of color I chose to add a two-tone blue border around each block. All six blocks were then stitched together to form a new quilt top. The newly created fiber art piece was sandwiched together with a layer of batting and a new fabric backing. To secure the layers together I traveled around each block stitching straight-lines with a variegated blue thread.
A New Name:
Once the quilting was finished I decided to give this renovated item a new name. As I allowed my eyes to travel over its surface I made a discovery; one of the units incorporated into the project was quilted differently than the others. This revelation gave me the inspiration to title this fiber art piece The Odd One. See if you can locate it!
In its finished form The Odd One measures 16″x20″. Protecting the back from dust and bugs is a paper backing. For ease of display two d-rings and wire were added to facilitate hanging on a wall. Silicone bumpers were also added to help minimize sideways movement stability and to promote air circulation.
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the once blah specimen turn into something much more spectacular. Sharing these stories with you is one of the best parts of the entire process. Thank you for being here!
I’ve been known to assign some very odd names to my art pieces; case in point this one. Who calls an art quilt MOO? Obviously me! A gal has to have a little fun doesn’t she!
Want to know what inspired me to use this name? If you look really closely at the right side of the pieced center you will notice a strip of dark blue fabric. Repeatedly printed on the material is the word moo. The presence of that simple three letter word gave me the idea for my art quilt’s name.
the project continues
Out of a desire to overcome my frustrations with the “stay at home covid 19” directive I decided to occupy my time with Operation Renovation. So what is Operation Renovation? I love making changes; whether it be to my home decor, my hair or my wardrobe it all helps to keep things fresh and exciting. The same concept can be applied to my art. Even though I have an inventory of fiber art quilts that are already finished that doesn’t mean they will stay that way. Almost anything can be changed. With that mindset I decided to select a grouping of small finished fabric art pieces to retrofit for mounting on a stretched canvas. The journey to accomplish that task is called Operation Renovation.
the next subject
One would think that after successfully renovating eleven of my art quilts that I would have exhausted the possible candidates. Oh but quite the contrary! Including today’s subject I have at least eight more.
The item I’m sharing in this journal entry is a fraternal twin to my last project On The Diagonal I. So far we know the reason why Moo, Art Piece # 9 was given its name and that it has a partner but what else can we learn; let’s figure that out.
the nitty gritty
Moo was one of nine projects created way back in 2016. The base, or pieced center, was harvested from a much larger building block. The first section of that block was used to create On The Diagonal I and the remaining portion was utilized for Moo.
To adapt Moo for mounting on a stretched canvas frame I first had to strip away the facings, hanging sleeve and label. After exposing the four raw edges I began making plans for the next steps.
In its original form, Moo measured 10 1/4” x 14 1/2”. The targeted size I wanted to achieve was 16” x 20”. To accomplish those dimensions additional fabric had to be added to both the top/bottom edges as well as both sides. I was able to succeed with that mission by incorporating two new borders.
The First border
The first border was created from a lime green fabric with aqua polka dots. Regular readers of my journal have become very familiar with my craving for dotted fabrics. Finding the aqua polka dotted material was a win, win situation. Not only did it add one of my favorite elements but it also incorporated two of my favorite colors.
the second border
The second border was fashioned from a multi-toned, delightfully ripe, purple batik. The colors in both this fabric as well as that of the first border are replicated in numerous areas of the pieced center. This techniques is important because it provides a path for the eye to travel around the art piece rather than remaining stagnate in one area. The replication also brings unity to the design and overall visual impact.
Before stapling the newly outfitted quilt to the stretched canvas frame I stitched rows of quilting on the two new borders. On the polka dotted border I stitched a simple straight line motif and on the outer border I added flowing lines of quilting. All of the stitching was done using color coordinated threads.
the final piece
After completing the renovation process I decided to give Moo a new identity. Since it originated from the same building block as On The Diagonal I I wanted to acknowledge that by giving Moo a similar name. From here on out Moo will be known as On The Diagonal II, Art Piece # 9. The phrase “On The Diagonal” is a reference to the numerous diagonally placed strips of fabric found in the body of the art quilt.
After revealing most of the newly added design features I think it is time to share a before and after photo. Take a look!
Before closing let me thank you for showing an interest in my activities. I am grateful for your participation and look forward to your comments.
Best wishes for a wonderful day!
The world of art has always brought me joy. From my childhood explorations with chalk and paint to my creations using fabric and thread, I have utilized art as my vehicle to stretch my wings and explore the world around me.
My favorite art form has been given many names; I know it as “free-form” quilting. This direction has taken me on a journey resulting in the formation of more than 200 art pieces. Most of them center strictly around the manipulation of fabric. Some of the later pieces have added elements of hand stitchery. All of them have brought me an immense sense of joy.