Between finishing my last white horse quilt and making a lot of flower bowls I have been thinking about beginning my new series of work. For quite a long time I have wanted to create a series that was based on 'advice'. It seems to me that no mater how old you are or who you speak to,there is always someone who is only too happy to offer up their two penn'orth!
Some people enjoy people watching, but I like people listening (I think you could also technically call it eavesdropping, but I don't listen to personal stuff, and anyway, the stuff I like to listen to is meant to be heard) so over the past 6 months or so I have been recording some of the more pithy and witty things I have overhear in my day-to-day life. Here are a couple so you get the idea.
I was too busy to do much 'making' in the summer, what with moving house, assisting with the organisation of the Contemporary Quilt Group's 'elements' challenge and a busy teaching schedule that somehow I just couldn't get started. Just before Christmas I did manage to make one new quilt - which unfortunately I can't yet show - so I decided I would wait until the New Year before I would begin. I did, however, start a sketchbook to begin to develop some ideas.
It isn't a pretty sketchbook this time - it is mostly full of text - the quotes I overhear and my thoughts and ideas that spring from them. The few sketches that I have done are all still pretty rough - sometimes just lines and scribbles in response to words. I need to work on these to refine my thought and ideas and get some concrete images or shapes to work with.
The one thing I have decided, however, is that I want to include lots of hand stitching to embellish the surface of the quilts. I want them to be really interesting to look at, so by adding both surface design techniques and stitch I am hoping they will encourage people to come close and take a really good look.
I bought a lovely old book on my last day in South Africa, (a kind of souvenir? )in a second hand book shop that promised that it has every embroidery stitch I will ever need. I'll let you know if it is true!
I have decided to call the series 'Words of Wisdom', and the first quilt I am tackling concerns some advice I heard one teenage girl offer to her friend. I was quite shocked at the bluntness of it at the time - but upon reflection I think it hit the nail on the head. This is what she said;
"Go easy on the makeup; you aren't as ugly as you think."
Using a photograph of my sister to work from, I made a sketch to base the quilt on....
I decided the best way to recreate the face on fabric was with Derwent Inktennse Pencils. I enlarged the sketch and then placed it behind a piece of white cotton and effectively 'traced' the face onto the fabric.
So far, so good! I am very pleased with the way the pencils were able to make such fine and detailed lines on the fabric. I used aloe vera gel to fix the pencil lines, which worked perfectly. I must admit, when I put it into a sink full of water once it was finished I did hold my breath - but not a single part of the black ink ran. Huge relief!
I will post the progress of this quilt in a few weeks time.
Thanks for reading.