Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Bubble Reboot

Things aren't improving much on the original bubble front. After a bit of contemplation and study, I could see that the bubbles needed some kind of outlining to help define them, make them stand out. The green/purple metallic thread had the feel of iridescent bubbles but wasn't dark enough to do more than accent. Maybe quilting the background would make them "pop"; I settled on a blue rayon thread and horizontal lines stopping just short of the bubbles. That did less than the metallic thread. So I added a second round of navy stitching around each circle - you can see in the picture how the bubbles on the left and center barely show, the one in the foreground and toward the back surrounded by the navy now stand out better.

But not better enough. I'm realizing that those shiny sheers read differently flat on the table than on the wall, in natural daylight than under daylight bulbs. We still have a fading away problem that may not be fixable. In answer to Amanda's comment on the last post, yes, I am thinking a bit of paint judiciously applied may finally make my bubbles show, but at this point, I think I need to take the lessons learned and move on.

Here's a view of the back, bobbin threads not clipped where I moved from one area to the other to avoid having to pull up the bobbin thread at each new start. I'm wondering if vertical stitching would be better - one of the Zentangle patterns I've practiced has wavy vertical lines behind circles.

Part of my contemplation and study led me back to some pictures that inspired this idea, where I was reminded that bubbles are for the most part clear except where they are reflecting light. What defines them is very much dependent upon what they happen to be floating in front of and mirroring back. This particular shot also caught my attention because of the arms flung up which popped an idea into my head. I knew my bubble idea was lacking, needed some fleshing out. The idea of outstretched arms sending the bubbles on their way will help tell the story.

But not realistic arms and hands. What I see in my mind's eye is more cartoonish and for some reason I see them as reddish brown. Here's my first try at making a pattern of such arms and hands. 

My mind still sees something with skinnier longer arms and stubbier fingers, but this gives an idea of what I have in mind. Then it was time to start pulling fabric and laying scraps of my sheers sans fusible over them. This batik is less busy than the original bubble fabric, but I sensed it still would be problematic. And viewing this flat on the table with the overhead light shining down took me back to the problem of false readings once the fabric would go vertical.

So this morning I worked in the dark, sort of. I remembered an old value-checking trick of viewing your design with the lights off and shades pulled. Enough light to see what I was doing, draping the potential backgrounds over a small upright design board and double checking by looking through a Ruby Beholder. Because in the end, I realized this came back to value, which I chose to ignore in the first go round. With my original next to them for comparison, it was easy to see that these two candidates are not only less busy, but read a darker value, allowing the sheers to show.

This is what the Ruby Beholder does, reduces what you are looking at to an image of values only. Yup, I've got all the tools, and even the experience and know-how, if I just choose to remember to use them.

And, in my quest to break the habit of skipping important steps, the final test was to fuse the sheers to the actual fabric I hope to use. Looks like this will work, especially if I size the bubbles up a bit. That's another factor in how well a fabric may read against another. Let's not skimp on these bubbles.

When I stopped today, I felt much better about where this is going and the time I've spent on it so far. When things go wrong, I sometimes catch an impatience surfacing and my mind jumps to other things I could be working on. I think I try to convince myself that maybe success lies elsewhere, but that only leads to a scatteredness, a jumping from one thing to the next in hopes of that magic quilt. bj parody asked if my joy in making art comes from process or product. I've always said it is the process I enjoy the most, but if that process doesn't result in a product I'm happy with at some point, i.e. success, pure experimentation and process won't carry the day. I'm still ruled a lot by the waste not want not mentality of my upbringing. It still bothers me to give up on a piece after investing time and fabric; I do not fail gracefully. But if I can gain something from a less than successful experiment, I can feel joy in that. It's the by-product of working in a series, keeping at an idea until it is refined into something really good. I'm just fighting the mind games right now while I get back into the habit of working regularly in the studio. Stop with the shortcuts, do the work, learn from the inevitable miss-steps, and grow. Success is on the horizon...   


Terry Grant said...

I'm not getting what the problem is. I LOVE your fused bubbles. They have such a light and airy feel. Put them away for a week or two and then look at them again.

The Idaho Beauty said...

You do understand that the background fabric has circles printed on it, which are competing for attention with the fused ones? And unless you're right on top of the piece, or the light hits it just right to reflect the sheers, you really can't see the fused bubbles. I don't know if adding a border could help bring them out more or not. Might make a good journal cover but not effective as a piece of wall art. At least that's my sense as I look at it in person which doesn't always translate the same onto the screen. But I do plan on setting it aside and revisiting it later. You may be right and I'll see it's not the problem it seems now.

Amanda said...

Yes, looking at it I think the lines being vertical would be good. But would it still be good in landscape? Perhaps, if you are putting it aside, you could slice it into three small, slim verticals as a triptych instead!! lol

Only you know your gut instinct and I'm only just learning to listen to mine!!

Cate Rose said...

I'm liking it, a lot. Like Terry, I can't see what the problem is. So the sheer bubbles are subdued, so what?
Re: stitching, why not just end stitching somewhere and start somewhere else, and cut the top and bottom threads off AFTER you've finished? That's what I do...at least until I've done it enough that the threads start to tangle!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Connie, I couldn't untie my tongue as I was trying to describe what was going on with the threads on the back, but you have managed to describe what I was doing perfectly. That's exactly my process.

Amanda, thanks for reminding me to view how the quilting lines look as verticals - I have to do that from the back to really see the effect. I'm using this as a reference so why didn't I think of that? I have done some considering of a landscape orientation (not so hot) and also cutting it up for two postcards but the configuration of bubbles are good for one, not for the other. Triptych? Maybe!