Thursday, March 06, 2014


When there's been a lapse of creativity in the studio, regardless of the reason, sometimes you just need to get in there and do something...anything...and you can get going again. I'm ready to move on my next art quilt, already in progress, but it's a bit of a mess in there. As I looked around the room, I could see a little straightening up was in order, to free up the work table, design wall, even the ironing board. Time to take down the dyeing results from August and clear the table of the the snow dyeing of last week. But look what happened instead. The design wall is now totally covered with new pairings, new ideas.

I hate it when this happens! I'm trying to stay focused on a couple of specific design ideas, but my brain won't stop seeing new possibilities. When I first put these purple beauties up, wondering what I would do with them, I remembered an African batik that might work with them. There was a collection of them that I'd wrapped around one of those cardboard things that fabric comes on - if you catch a fabric store on a good day, they often have some ready for the garbage and they are more than willing to let you take them off their hands. They are great for longer lengths of fabric or anything you'd like to store without creasing. After washing and ironing these fat quarters, I didn't want to fold them up, so stacked and wrapped them onto the cardboard holder. (What are they called????) When I pulled them out to see if the purple really did work with my new fabric, I just leaned it against the wall, didn't actually peel the fabric off and put it up. Now I know I'm not going to do anything with this for awhile, so I was going to put it back in the closet. Well, maybe I shouldn't put it out of mind like that, so I unwrapped the neat little package with the intention of leaving that top batik and the purple fabric on the design wall for now. It was like opening Pandora's box.

I definitely have so much wonderful fabric collected over the years, and often I've forgotten some of them. I'd definitely forgotten the majority of these. Why were they suddenly the possible answer to what to do with these newly created hand dyes of mine? Remember the stitched shibori overdye experiment that disappointed, so little of the original green showing and now reading a different color? Hard to see in this photo, but now that bit of green showing through is the same as what I'm seeing in the batiks.

And then there was the pole wrapped overdyed shibori from the follow-up dye session that came out so well, a part of one of them peaking out on the right in the picture above. It looks like golden water to me and I intend to quilt it that way. I suppose that might be enough but I've been hoping to come up with something to make it more interesting or help finish it off. Another set of these African batiks have all the right colors and differing values, offering glimpses of a more exciting piece if I can figure out how to incorporate one or more of them.

The other pole wrapped piece was oriented the other way and it too will be quilted along the shibori lines as if they were ripples in a lake. Again, I've been thinking it would need more, and had run across some sheer willow leaves I'd made and had not yet found a home for. I think they'd be perfect scatter across this piece, but again, I felt just a knife-edge finish and nothing more might be a cop out, that I could find a way to add to its basic beauty. This African batik has just a bit of the golden yellow along one edge and then gradates a beautiful deep blue/purple. As I was holding up that yellow edge to my shibori piece, the light reflected off the surface revealing these leaves. All these batiks have been done over jacquards of various patterns, some more obvious than others. This one would echo my idea of adding the three-dimensional leaves.

Also a puzzle what to do with is this piece from the same dye session, created in a tall narrow jar. I often can't bear the thought of cutting these specialty pieces up. I've auditioned different things against it, tried to think of something interesting to applique on it, have come up empty. I never would have thought to try something so dull next to it, but I think this may be what will make an interesting combination. Exactly how I don't know, but I like the possibility. It glows anyway, but something about that dull dark orange and red batik sets it off even more.

Finally, here is one of the snow dyed pieces I was lukewarm about, partly because I was expecting something else and partly because I thought it was too much like ones I already had. I guess I'm tiring of the ubiquitous fuchsia/blue combination. What a surprise to find this batik in the group, so very different from the others, and my snow-dye a perfect complement. What I would make from these two fat quarters, I have no idea, but I love that they want to do a dance together.

Well, that was an interesting and fun exercise, although having nothing to do with March's line-up. I'm sure it did me more good, though, than had I dived right into what I was trying to clear space to work on. And although the design wall remained totally covered in non-related ideas, I did spend a little time with my next project, Upward Tick. I'm going to work on two versions simultaneously as I can't decide between two different border mounts (photos printed on fabric), and whether to use regular cotton or sheers for the circles I'll be adding. The background fabric had already been cut, has been waiting for me to cut the thin black line and fuse it on. One piece got a blue/black batik line which looked much harsher than anticipated. So the second got a dark grey one. Next comes quilting, at least on one of them, before any circles are added. But I couldn't help pulling some sheers and playing with some fabric scraps to get my mind moving.


Connie Rose said...

Great fabrics, wonderful combos!

Lucia Sasaki said...

Beautiful colors!
It cheers me up here.
Thanks for sharing!

The Inside Stori said...

I too would have a heck of a time deciding what to do next with all the lovely and inspiring fabrics you have!!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, everyone! I continue mulling as they are still up on the wall. A few synapses are starting to fire, even though I am trying to ignore them and focus on Upward Tick. Well, that's what you're supposed to do, I think. Not concentrate so hard and let the subconscious work out the details. ;-)