Saturday, March 23, 2013

Third Monday Art Group

My little art group met this week, this time braving a bit of a snow storm to come to my house. I really enjoyed having them in to see my studio set up, and of course, it's so much easier to "show & tell" when you don't have to pack it up and tote it somewhere else. I could share some older art as examples of my exploration of presentation and edge finishes, fabrics up on the design wall that are inspiration for a future series and a couple of non-art projects like my half-square triangle quilt which is ready for machine quilting. Had I been going off to someone else's house, I probably would have taken just the bubble quilt. Minimal progress has been made, but progress all the same. I am just plain timid about quilting borders, which I remembered is why I developed some of my mounting techniques such as this one which allow a fabric border that doesn't need to be quilted.

Anyway, after seeking opinions, staring endlessly and considering what would happen when I added the arms if the border was not quilted, I knew I just had to do it. Trial runs are always important, and I like to leave enough extra batting around the quilt so that I can test threads and motifs right next to the actual quilt. If you look closely (click on photo for a larger view), you can see I tried a green thread on the right, but I was afraid any color thread would become a distraction and change the overall color of the border batik. Haven't used it for years, but invisible thread seemed the best option and also allayed my fears of my less than perfect quilting "ruining" the quilt. 

Once I started quilting that border (starting from the center of the border near the seam and working my way out to the sides), I instantly saw that, although subtle, the quilting added, not detracted (in above photo top border has been quilted, side has not). I then confidently quilted circles throughout the borders. (Technical note: if you quilt with invisible thread, you want the smallest hole possible in the fabric; I use a #60 microtex needle and a 50 wt Aurifil thread in the bobbin.)

Enough about me. While we are still missing Robin (who is basking in the Arizona sun and attending lectures by the likes of Pat Sloan and Larkin Van Horn), Meg and Donna were in attendance. Meg has been working on this "cartwheel boy" which is indeed a quilt but of a sort presenting its own challenges. Even with a stiff Pellon interfacing, hanging it by one leg allows the other to succumb to gravity, so there was much discussion about how to stabilize it. As for edge finish, she tried wrapping the fabric to the back but found that too fussy. She ended up loosely stitching along the edge of the fabric and then painting the exposed batting and interfacing in colors to match the fabric. It looked good but I could sense the painting was one more step than she wished she had to take.

More experimentation is on the way because she wants to add more kids to the mix. For instance, here's "cartwheel boy's" friend. 

Meg transformed the drawing before our eyes as she "dressed" it much like one would a paper doll.

Donna is still working on a large piece at home that is not ready to be transported, so she brought some older work so we could get a feel for the creative journey she's been on. This is one of two fabric portraits of relatives she brought along, done with a technique learned in a workshop. She also brought a couple of baby quilts made for grandkids, stopping by to pick them up on her way to our meeting. I wondered why we could not hear the howling of said grandkids at their quilts being absconded. ;-)

One of the things I love about groups like this is the opportunity to share resources, and the sharing started right from the first meeting with my passing along a magazine with several articles pertinent to Donna's current work, and CDs of older art quilt exhibits. This time it was Donna doing the sharing, graciously lending us her copies of Masters volumes I and II. I've been wanting to get a look at these, although I don't think I want to add them to my collection, so it is wonderful that Donna is willing to share these with us. 


Lucia Sasaki said...

Thanks for sharing this post.
I guess you and your friends had much fun in this meeting! Beautiful picture of your window, specially the snowy view. Here in Guarulhos we have only rain.
The projects are very interesting, I never saw a project with a so big applique (I imagine that the boy is an applique).
Thanks again!!


The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, Lucia. Glad you enjoyed the peek into our meeting. The boy, by the way, is not an applique but the finished quilt. Meg admits she may have to come up with a term to describe this as it isn't what most people would term a quilt, even an art quilt. But the layers and quilting are there - it's just the shape that confuses. She envisions a whole group of these stand alone characters hung on a long wall.

Mary Stori said...

Isn't it just great to gather with a group of like-minded friends......ideas and inspiration flow so easily......

Michele Matucheski said...

You are so lucky! I used to have a local art group in my area. It lasted about 8 years before it fell apart. It was such a great place to get new ideas for all kinds of techniques. If I was ever stuck on some artistic problem, 3 people in the group had ideas for solving it. And the book suggestions! Please continue to post about your group!

Our group was called Conversations in Cloth. I set up a blog for it, if you're interested in what we did over the years. :-) Great fun! Great inspiration!