This Way I and This Way II, A Renovation

why

As I begin to record another journal entry, I can’t help but feel so blessed and energized by the opportunity to share with you my love of art. This blog was started in 2012. Since its inception I’ve added over 900 posts. The entry I am recording today is the fourteenth in a series I call Operation Renovation. I initiated the discussion to distract my attention from the ongoing Covid 19 “stay at home order” and to retrofit a number of my art pieces for mounting on canvas. With thirteen projects already tackled let’s move on to # 14 and 15.

A little history

Back in May, 2016, I attended a multi-day class taught by Rayna Gilman, an improv fiber artist, at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. Using the knowledge I gained I created a number of fabric building blocks; many of them were combined to form Crossroads, Art Piece # 10.

Crossroads, Art Piece # 10
Crossroads, Art Piece # 10

One of the remaining blocks became the inspiration for This Way I, Art Piece # 7, and This Way II, Art Piece # 8. Let’s take a look at both projects.

If we lay them side by side you will notice that they have obvious similarities. While they are not mirror images, you can see where the original block was sliced vertically. The left section became This Way I while the other This Way II. Both were surrounded by a soft blue border, finished with facings, hanging sleeve and label. They remained in that condition until now.

retrofitting

This Way I and This Way II were similar in size. This Way I measured 10 3/4” x 14 1/4” while This Way II was 9 1/2” x 15 1/2”. The process of retrofitting both involved stripping away their facings, hanging sleeve, etc. Next I whacked away at their blue borders until they were nearly identical in size. To spruce up their appearance I chose three different colored fabrics. First to be added was a burnt orange. Giving the smoky orange competition is a jazzy gold. Last to be added was a fruity purple with printed flowers. Each color was chosen to bring attention to those already incorporated in the pieced center. The purple, although primarily visible on the perpendicular edges gives each fiber art quilt a joyful pop of color.

The final measurements for the two partners is 16” x 20”. Both were embellished with straight line quilting in the burnt orange border and a grouping of wavy lines in the jazzy gold.

assigning an identity

The names given to identify the fiber art quilts resulted because of the colorful angled strips used in the assembling of their centers. Those strips reminded me of the directional arrows one might observe on a road sign. The sign provides guidance on how to proceed just as I felt the angled strips were advising me. Since there are two siblings I decided to make their names unique by adding a I and a II at the end.

thank you!

I can’t sign off without expressing my sincere appreciation for your interest in my journal and the many projects I share. Your participation is absolutely necessary to the continued success of this platform. With much certainty, I am confident that you have questions or comments you would like to contribute. Thank you in advance for sharing them.

About Cindy

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.

I use this blog to share glimpses of my art and the environment in which it is created. Most of my art pieces are available for purchase. You may see a sampling of them at Raven’s Wish Gallery in Janesville, Wisconsin.

My art is periodically on display in a variety of venues. To learn about my current exhibits you may send an email to cindy [at] inastitchquilting [dot] com

Now go and create your own masterpiece. With warm hugs…

Cindy Anderson

Testing 1, 2, 3 Art Piece 114

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.

Testing 1, 2, 3, Art Piece # 114

Thank you for showing your support by visiting my blog. I look forward to our continued relationship and your future comments.

With warm wishes for a wonderful day!

It’s So Different, Art Piece 109

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.

It’s So Different, Art Piece # 109

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.

Warm wishes for an a wonderful day!

Warm wishes for a wonderful day!

Purple Coneflower, Art Piece 108

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.

Purple Coneflower, Art Piece # 108

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.

Thank you for visiting today!

Take care!

Neon Orange, Art Piece 107

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.

Neon Orange, Art Piece # 107

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.

Warm wishes for a wonderful day!

How Could I Forget

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.

New Life for a Discard, Art Piece # 184

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.

Cow On A Pedestal, Art Piece # 126

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~

Warm regards for a wonderful day!

It’s Melting, Art Piece 106

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.

It’s Melting, Art Piece # 106

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.

Warm wishes for a wonderful day!

Hide the Yellow, AP 105

I’m back to share another polyester stretch velvet art piece. So far I’ve displayed Around and Around, Mint Shake, Retro Vibes, Follow the Lines, Autumn Jazz, Around the Square, Soft and Fuzzy, Disco and Hide the Flowers. All of these art pieces were created in May, 2019, while participating in the Susan Lenz class at Woodland Ridge Retreat. Each one of them has it’s own unique qualities and this one is no exception.

Known as Hide the Yellow, Art Piece 105, it measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. The base of this item is a blue floral cotton fabric. Cotton is used because it doesn’t melt when the polyester is exposed to extreme heat. Several layers of polyester shapes were fused on top of the cotton. They were then treated to a warm zap by a wood burning tool. Even if you look closely I don’t think you can tell where the melting occurred since I tried very hard to camouflaged it.

The process of creating art with polyester stretch velvet was a huge experiment. While I was truly impressed with the items my instructor, Susan Lenz, had achieved, my outcomes were not quite so stellar. In this instance I had used a very bright yellow polyester for one of my layers. I am fond of bright and bold colors but for this project it turned out to be a bad idea; the obnoxious yellow took the attention away from the other elements.

To tone down the blazing yellow I fused a layer of webbing over the entire surface. Strategically placed teal and gold polyester shapes were adhered to the webbing. To distract the eye even further I embellished this specimen with hand and machine quilting as well as black and gold colored beads. All of this trickery inspired me to title this project Hide the Yellow.

Hide the Yellow, Art Piece # 105

Each time I begin a new project the outcome is a mystery. Sometimes I have happy endings and other times not so much. Thankfully my odds seem to fall on the positive side. While Hide the Yellow is a bit odd I have added this one to the successful column.

Thank you for sharing your time!

Warm wishes to you and your special someones!

Hide the Flowers, Art Piece 104

Time once again to add another finished item to my portfolio! This fiber art piece is the ninth in my series of 14 polyester stretch velvet creations. Links to the other members can be found here. Measuring 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” it was assembled from both polyester and cotton fabrics. To add interest rows of hand stitching was incorporated.

The layer of fabric directly beneath the teal velvet was the inspiration for Art Piece 104’s name. Although it would be nearly impossible to tell, the reverse side of the material was printed with a rather ugly floral image. To camouflage the disturbing design I decided to flip the fabric over and use the underside instead. This change in orientation inspired me to name my piece Hide the Flowers. Hide the Flowers is currently for sale at Raven’s Wish in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Warm regards for a cozy and productive day!