In between a few other projects I have been tidying up my website and exploring how to interpret another traditional quilt block design in 3D. My inspiration came from the exterior decoration on the main Library in Birmingham. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Birmingham
You will probably recognise it as a traditional orange peel design.
There are many ways to create this patchwork block, some easier than others. Gillian Travis offers a class on an easy technique for those who do not like curved seams.
My exploration began by creating some fabric using organza and the pages from an old book that had fallen apart, a nod to the library. The image below is actually the negative left after I cut out some orange peel shapes.
Using some left over pieces of fabric from another piece I explored folding and pleating curves to create the centre shape to fill in the gaps in the tessellation made by the peels. It was interesting to see how the fabric can be distorted and how new shapes can be formed by this method.
In what turned out to be a fiddly process, I was able to create an orange peel style block with 3 dimensions.
From here it was just a question of repeating the process to join more sections together.
I am looking forward to developing this idea further.
My website has had a facelift, making it easier to view (I hope), particularly on smaller devices. Apparently more people now use the internet on a handheld device than on a traditional desktop computer - so scrolling is the way to go! You can see the new format by clicking the button below
I have also rewritten 2 of my classes so they can be delivered live online or as shorter 'demo-talks'. I have already successfully delivered them to a few groups and have had some very nice feedback. You can see my teaching information by clicking on the button below.
If you have any feedback, good or bad, I'd love to hear it.
In the meantime, thanks for reading and try and keep well.
It is about time I made something new. Now I have finished lots of things I finally had time to get back to creating something fresh. Inspired by a call for entry to a new exhibition I have spent the past month working on a new quilt. The exhibition will be called 'Light The World'.
My initial thoughts were to create fabric that would appear to glow and then work with that. It was good to get out all my old dyeing equipment. I haven't dyed very much in my new temporary studio as I am petrified of spilling something on the carpet. What you can't see in this picture is the huge amount of plastic on the floor!
Here I am applying wax lines to the fabric before painting on thickened dyes - that's what is in the row of pots. I use soy wax as it is easy to wash out and I melt it in a mini fryer I bought for £5 in the British Heart Foundation shop. It is brilliant as the thermostat keeps it at just the right temperature and it did't cost a small fortune.
After lots of very careful rinsing to make sure the colours didn't bleed into each other I had lots of strips similar to the one below.
The rules for this exhibition stipulated that the quilt must be able to be rolled from top to bottom for transport and any protrusions must also be able to be rolled. No 3D work would be considered.
If you are making a piece for a specific call for entry it is really important to make sure you check all these details before you start work. Already the ideas I had in mind seemed to be falling apart as I had wanted to add some dimension to this piece. Rather that spend time making something that would get discounted immediately I got in touch with the exhibition organiser and explained what I had in mind. Fortunately she agreed that so long as the piece was wall hung and could be rolled what I had in mind would be acceptable. Fingers crossed the juror thinks so too.
My plan was to have the long strips of fabric draping in a swag in such a way as to leave a negative space in the centre forming the shape of a flame; I was thinking candles.
I made thin cords by cutting very long (around 6 metre lengths) of thick thread and manually twisted them until they curled back on themselves. It took 2 days to make enough cords and the trickiest part was getting them to finish at the correct length.
When all the cords were made I layered strips of fabric and inserted a cord down the centre, similar to the wick of a candle. I used a simple embroidery stitched down the length of the fabric, trapping the cord using some of my favourite Aurifil 12 threads and some beautiful hand dyed threads I bought from Hazel and Terry at 'In Stitches' from their new online pop-up shop.
It isn't a very exciting photo at this stage, but you'll see why I did it below.
I also sewed a few thousand seed stitches on one of the strips to create the words 'In loving memory' as a void. It was important that the words were created by what was not there, to signify the loss this quilt is about.
Back to the cords.............. by gently pulling, each of the strips gathers up, creating a very soft rippled effect. When hung on the wall it contributes to the candle flame I was aiming for.
"The simple act of lighting a candle speaks beyond words and within the gentle flame one finds warmth, light and comfort. For some the softness of candlelight delivers peace and tranquillity, offering a glimmer of hope in the darkness. For others the flame consoles grief and forms a visible connection with those who are no longer here.
Twisted cords unite us, whether as brothers and sisters, couples, families or communities. In grief we can feel we are alone, but when we look up we see others who are there for us; it is true that many strands are stronger than one.
My solitary flame sends a message of love and hope to those who are grieving or feel alone, especially during these challenging times. Remember, we are united by the flame and the cord."
Claire Passmore 2020.
Thanks for reading.
I have been doing lots of finishing off over the past month or so and have found it very satisfying to not have so many unfinished bits and pieces hanging about my studio. Bringing projects to a close has meant I have had time to think about how to make my classes work online and the first two zoom classes I taught last month went well. The lovely people who joined me as I dipped my toes into teaching via zoom were very kind and supportive and the sunflower bowls they made were as beautiful as ever. I am pleased to say that several of them encouraged me to run another class, so I have been making plans and converting my Star Sign Mosaics class into an online format. This is what the small finished quilts look like
The fabric mosaics are fun to make - and are certainly very bright and cheerful, something I think we all appreciate now the days are getting shorter and as we spend more and more time in our homes. The technique shares some similarities with collage and there is plenty of scope for creativity and you can make whichever of the star signs you wish. Personally I find making them very relaxing as I sit and snip, making patterns with the brightly coloured little pieces.
I have set up 4 separate dates which will run in the next few weeks. I am again limiting the numbers in each class to 8 to make sure everyone has the chance to enjoy a relaxed class which is more like an in-person experience where everyone can ask whatever they like, whenever they like (no hands up or waiting forever for your 'turn') Although technically we could have up to 100 (!) people per class, that would just be horrible as it would be impossible for everyone to ask questions, make observations, converse and interact with myself and each other. During the previous classes we were able to chat freely as if we were in the same room together, and it worked really well.
The dates of the classes are:
Wednesday 28th October Sunday 1st November
Wednesday 4th November Sunday 8th November
The classes start at 10am and run until around noon, during which time I demonstrate live the techniques I use to create the mosaics. This interactive session will be recorded and will be available for 4 weeks after the class. (I have also made additional videos which show the process should they be needed).
We then break until 4pm (time for you to start your mosaic if you wish!) when I run a second session for more questions sharing of ideas and work in progress.
As preciously, booking the class via the Misomer Quilting website, link below:
Kits are also available from Midsomer Quilting but are not a reuirement so you can use your own fabrics if you have them. (link below)
If this sounds interesting to you there is more information on my website, or feel free to get in touch.
Thanks for reading!
For the past few weeks I have been working on a small piece for an online group I belong to called 12 by the Dozen. Every three months we challenge each other to make a small stitched piece from a nominated theme; currently we are thinking about architecture, and more specifically a man named Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He was commonly referred to as Mies, and along with Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture and is remembered as the last director of the Bauhaus.
Find out more abut him and his work: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Mies_van_der_Rohe
Finding out more about Mies, his life and work has been very interesting and led me to try something new. The buildings he designed were quite extrordinary at the time and had a huge influence on the architecture we see today. Some of his most famous buildings are: Barcelona Pavilion, Crown Hall, Farnsworth House, Highfield House, 860–880 Lake Shore Drive, One Charles Center, Seagram Building, New National Gallery, Toronto-Dominion Centre, Tugendhat House, Westmount Square. (Clicking on the names will take you to images of the buildings)
The members of the group 12 by the Dozen. interpreted his work in so many different ways, which is also fascinating. The 12 by the Dozen blog (https://12bythedozen.blogspot.com) you will see all the different quilts made. For my piece I decided to try the beautiful Korean art form of patchwork known as Pojagi, also called Bojagi or Jogakbo.
My choice was influenced by Mies's use of light and open space in the design of his buildings, which I also see in the beautiful pojagi wrapping cloths. Instead of using the traditional silk or ramie I decided to try sing the cotton organdie fabric that is my current favourite. It worked really nicely, but wasn't the easiest to stitch!
For my piece I chose to add a little colour. Taking the colour palette from the beautiful marble walls in the Barcelona Pavilion I screen printed some white cotton organdie with a breakdown screen. It yielded the beautiful fabric above. In keeping with traditional pojagi I improvised the cutting and stitching and used a flat felled seam. It proved too difficult to stitch neatly by hand, so I stitched by machine. I don't think it is as attractive as a hand stitched seam, but it does, at least, add another linear element to the overall design.
The rest of the piecing was more planed as I wanted to reference the order and symmetry that was part of Mies van der Rohe's design philosophy, which is easy to see in the building below
As traditional pojagi is a single layer of fabric I decided to add a second layer to hang behind. I stitched Mies van der Rohe, sitting on one of his iconic chairs (also designed by him).
This is the finished quilt- it looks best when back lit. I quite like the garden in the background too!
Thanks for reading
Whilst Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on our lives in so many ways, one of the unexpected consequences of having us all confined has been the huge increase in the use of the internet to allow us to communicate and share our work. Previously classes, meetings, lectures were seldom available unless you physically attended. Now, if I want to listen to a lecture hosted by someone in say, Pennsylvania (as I did the other day) all I had to do was figure out the time difference. The lecture in question was given by the superb fibre artist Sue Hotchkis (https://www.suehotchkis.com/) to the Fibre Arts Guild of Pittsburgh and was excellent. Hearing Sue talk and seeing her exquisite work was just fantastic.
This week I am going to be part of an event called 'Conversations with the artists' about an exhibition that is currently waiting to go on show in Australia (it should already have started, but for obvious reasons that is now delayed). The exhibition in called 'Opposites Attract' and has been organised by Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).
View a video of all the art quilts selected for this exhibition on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/405918936.
4 artists have been invited to talk about their work in this exhibition:
Maria Shell, Maggie Vanderweit, and Libby Williamson and myself
We will be talking about our artwork, inspiration, and process. We will be sharing our recent artwork, sharing a peek into our studios and will also be answering any questions asked during the talk.
This talk is part of the 'Textile Talks' series, this one presented by SAQA. As with all the other Textile Talks, it is free to everyone, all you need to do is register to receive the link to join. Here is the link
My piece in the exhibition is called 'Round Hole +Square Peg = Space to Grow' and is from my 'Fold:Unfold' series. See more on my website https://www.clairepassmore.com/fold--unfold.html
If you are free on September 2nd at 7pm Uk time please do join us for another great Textile Talk. Recording will be available after the event on the SAQA you tube channel:
Textile Talks features weekly presentations and panel discussions from the International Quilt Museum, the Modern Quilt Guild, Quilt Alliance, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, Studio Art Quilt Associates, and Surface Design Association. The programs are held online at 2 pm Eastern (11 am Pacific, 7pm UK and Portugal, 8pm Europe) each Wednesday and last approximately one hour. Preregistration is required and recordings are available.
Thanks for reading
As is seems pop-up lock-downs and self isolation are going to be with us for a while yet I thought it was about time I did something positive, rather than just sitting back and waiting for the 'new normal' to arrive. So, after a lot of thinking and trialling different things I am about to start online classes.
To begin with I am going to start with my tried and tested Sunflower Bowl class.
This class is one of my favourites and will definitely be suitable for online teaching. I have tried a few online classes myself lately and unfortunately not all of them have been terribly satisfactory, ok maybe, but not the best. So I wanted to make sure that the classes I teach online are ones which will work and give everyone who participates an enjoyable time and leave them feeling it was worthwhile.
After the success of the 12 Days of Christmas Block-a-Month class I taught last year I am once again teaming up with the lovely people at Midsomer Quilting to offer this class to individuals. It will be a live one-day class with demos by me along with friendly chat, lots of questions and answers and a few laughs along the way. There are two dates on offer next month - Wednesday 9th September and Sunday 13th September - so not too long to wait either! I'm limiting it to 10 participants per class to make sure that everyone has a chance to talk and ask questions and we can keep it as friendly as possible.
The classes will work like this:
It is important to note that this is not a sew-along class. I will be demonstrating the step-by-step process of creating the sunflower bowl from fabric and stiff interfacing. You will then make the bowl in your own time, either the same day or at some time in the future.
The class will be taught using the Zoom platform and will be recorded. All participants will receive a copy of the recordings as soon as possible after the demos, (hopefully there will only be a 20 minute or so delay to allow for uploading) which you can watch as many times as you wish. (But please note, after two weeks the recordings will expire on the server.)
The class will be broken into 3 sessions, all on the same day, so nobody gets square eyes. There will be 2 sessions in the morning (with a built in tea break) and 1 at the end of the day, to give everyone a chance to review what they have done. It will also be an opportunity to share (if you wish) and to ask any more questions, swap ideas and maybe even set up a closed Facebook /Whatsapp group.
On the date you choose you will join the Zoom class (starting at 10am) and watch me demonstrating live. You will be able to interact with me and other participants, asking questions as I work. It will be a fun and relaxed class, not quite like being in the same room as everyone else, but the next best virus-free thing!
The only thing I ask of you is that you know how to join the Zoom class (you click on a link in an email I send you) and to be able to mute and un-mute yourself. Its pretty straightforward.
More details of how the day will run can be found in a booklet I have drawn up which you can view by clicking on the black button below.
If this sounds like something that you would like to try then please visit the Midsomer Quilting website and book you place. (Link to booking page below). De from Midsomer has also very kindly put together a kit for us that has the fabric, freezer paper and interfacing that you need to make the set of sunflower bowls which can be bought online for £12 (inc p&p) from their website. De will post it out to you in time for your class. However, the kit is not a requirement, so if you already have what you need you can use that instead (Requirements list is in the booklet).
A link to the class booking page on the Midsomer Quilting website is below. You can also order your kit here too if you decide to purchase one:
If this is a success, and I don't see why it wont be, then I will look at converting some of my other classes into online events, so watch this space!
If your Guild or group would be interested in this as a full day class then please do get in touch and we can plan together how to get back to enjoying ourselves again.
Thanks for reading.
Where does the time go? Even though I've been sitting at home like everyone else for months, I still can't believe it is August and the summer is almost over. I've been busy with all sorts of things, mostly not related to fabric and thread, but this past week I have finally got going again.
I 've been thinking more about working with 3D shapes - specifically the little pyramid shapes called tetrahedra. I find them very pleasing to make and when stitched together they transform themselves into such interesting forms. Below is one of the early pieces made from 18 joined tetrahedra called 'Connectivity II'. By changing the way the tetrahedra are posed the whole piece changes shape quite dramatically.
Below is Connectivity III, also made from 18 tetrahedrons. I started it during a demonstration at The West Country Quilt Show last year, so it is about time I finished it!
The fabric was printed with carved lino print blocks and later embellished with embroidery stitches. By joining the tips of the second layer of tetrahedra another new pattern has formed. It looks really nice when suspended from a thread.
The next piece is Connectivity V, this time from 15 tetrahedra. They are stitched together in a similar way to the piece above, but having 1 fewer pyramid in the centre has changed the angles, which has changed the forms it becomes when posed in different ways.
And this is Connectivity IV, an 18 piece work in progress!
Now these tetrahedra have been dyed and printed I am going to enjoy adding some hand stitch before I begin to join them together. I'll post an update as they progress.
Thanks for reading.
I haven't been able to share much of what I have been making lately as it has been for several calls for entry that require the work not to have been shown beforehand. So I thought I would share some more of the wonderful work made by the members of the' Six Dames' online group to which I belong.
One of the great things about having a virtual group is that, despite the Covid-19 outbreak, it is 'business as usual' for us. Every 3 months we work on a new piece based on a stimulus one of the group chooses. The work I am sharing below is that which we all made in response to the intriguing photo Ana chose for us at the end of last year. It shows one of the many large-scale sculptures created by Portugese artist, Joana Vasconcelos and is entitled 'Marilyn'.
More information and images of this scultpure in different venues can be seen by clicking on the link http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/video_en.aspx?oid=933. There is also a video where you can hear Joana discussing the piece in French.
You can also visit her website: http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/index.aspx
A closer look reveals what it is made from and the meaning of the piece becomes clearer.
Further information: http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/info_en.aspx?oid=623
Using this photo as our starting point we each drew our own conclusions and made a small textile piece. As you can see, even with the same starting point we each had our own very different interpretations.
Click on each of the images below and a new window will open showing the blog post each of us wrote about our piece, explaining our thoughts and our process.
The intention was that these and other pieces based on our earlier work would be exhibited at the Biennale Internationale d'Art Textile (also known as BIAT and Quilt Expo en Beaujolais) just after Easter 2020. Of course that sadly did not happen, but the exhibition is now scheduled to be held 28th - 30th October 2020. As yet nobody knows if this will be possible, but time will tell. It will be fantastic if the expo can be safely held and I am keeping my fingers crossed as I am really looking forward to the possibility of the 'Six Dames' being able to physically meet together for the first time.
The BIAT website has the most up to date information about the exhibition: https://biat-quiltexpo.com/
Thanks for reading.
I have made several traditional New York Beauty quilts in my time, but none quite like this! As my work has evolved away from traditional quilting I acknowledge that there are still elements that influence what I enjoy making now. Over the past few months I have had several different projects on the go and several of them have recently been finished. I haven't been able to share them for various reasons, but I am very happy that the time has come that I can at least share this one.
I have called it 'A New Dawn'. It is a double sided piece created from many layers of heavyweight interfacing and thread. It measures 16" by 20" overall and can either be suspended from a cord or positioned on a stand as in the photos above and below.
It has come to life as the latest piece made for the group '12 by the Dozen'. This challenge was based on the theme of New York Art Deco Architecture which was a fabulous stimulus to work from. There are so many beautiful shapes to use that it was rather like being a child in a sweetshop.
Eventually I settled on one of the most iconic buildings of them all, the Chrysler Building.
It was built for Walter Chrysler, the the head of the Chrysler Corporation, and served as the corporation's headquarters from 1930 until the mid 1950s. Built between 1928 and 1930, an era characterised by profound social and technological changes. Times were good and the economic boom of the 1920s led to a surge in the building of new skyscraper projects in New York City and for 11 brief months it was the tallest building in the world. Interestingly, although the Chrysler Building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for its construction and never owned it; rather, Walter Chrysler paid for it himself so that his children could inherit it. Read more about it on Wikipedia:
When the Chrysler Building opened in 1930 there were mixed reviews of the building's design, ranging from comments that it was inane and unoriginal to the idea that it was modernist and iconic. Personally, I love it.
Unsurprisingly I chose the triangular window forms to base my designs on. During my research I discovered that the entire top section (floors 65 to 77) of the building was fabricated from steel, brick and cement in situ. It must have been quite hairaising as it is over 760 feet up in the air.
The website https://chryslerbuilding.com/ has a fun slider that allows you to whiz up and down the tower (take a closer look at the gargoyles on floors 29 - 32 and 58 - 61 . They are incredible).
Using my own interpretive drawings of the tower section of the building I carved two lino blocks and printed onto a variety of substrates.
I scanned a few of the images and played about with different artistic effects using GIMP software (similar to Photoshop but free shareware). This is such fun and can easily consume hours of your time! I can imagine that having the manipulated images printed onto fabric could yield an endless supply of beautiful fabric but personally I prefer to print my own using more traditional methods, but for a fast way to explore possibilities it is superb.
Here are just two examples of the many I created.
If I ever get stuck for an idea again this surely is a go-to project as it has thrown up more ideas I have than time for.
After much exploration I eventually made 3 different print collections on fabric and added colour with paint, ink, dye and Derwent products. (unfortunately I only have photos of 2.)
Adding the dense stitch stitch to all these printed elements has taken a long time, especially as it is double sided so all the pieces needed to be carefully matched up. As a result only the piece on the left has so far been completed, the others are in the 'pending' department! I used Aurifil 12 cotton threads for the embroidery and the heavier weight thread has been perfect, giving a very interesting visual texture and enhancing the vibrant colour in the sections between the triangles.
The photo below also shows the striking classic New York Beauty design many quilters know and love. (Visit the Wnokyworld blog here http://willywonkyquilts.blogspot.com/2013/02/new-york-beauty-why-that-name.html if you would like to know more about the origins of the traditional New York Beauty quilt pattern.)
Once all ten sections were stitched they were then positioned into a sunburst arrangement and stitched together.
I am very pleased that this piece has been selected for the SAQA 'On The Edge' exhibition by Juror Petra Fallaux
Thanks for reading.
Sometimes a change is as good as a rest (apparently).
As I have finished all my outstanding quilt projects I thought it was time to use some fabric I bought several months ago on my last trip 'out' before being locked in at home. I was teaching at Midsomer Quilting and during the lunch break I spent my time browsing the shop with Birgitta. In the very back corner of the shop 4 rolls of beige fabric were propped which, had Birgitta not pointed them out, I would have walked straight past. They were not the usual quilting fabrics that De stocks, but instead some rather nice medium-weight linen. Birgitta explained that they were a 'one-off' purchase by De and lots of people were buying it for cushions. But I didn't see cushions - I saw a dress!
Three of the rolls were prints - one with beautiful bumble bees, one with goldfish and the third with very pale gulls. The fourth roll was plain - a perfect compliment for the prints. Not being able to choose my favourite I did the obvious thing and had 1.5 metres of each!
I bought a pattern and made a toile using some old fabric that I had bought for another project that never got made. I'm glad I did because it was a disaster! Despite checking and rechecking the sizes indicated on the pattern it ended up large enough to fit both me and my sister (admittedly she is slim) in together. It is a problem I have had before- I just don't 'get' how to make commercial patterns fit no matter what I try. Apparently it is partly due to this thing called 'ease' - but why I can't get it right I don't know.
So instead of battling with the pattern I dumped it (Would anyone like it ? It is uncut as I traced the pieces I needed) and went to my wardrobe instead and got out an old dress that still fits. It was made of a fabric with 1 way stretch so I wasn't sure if it would work, but I was fed up by now and so I just went for it.
I laid out the dress, traced off the pieces to make my own paper pattern. It was as easy as that. I decided on the bumble bee fabric for the first attempt, crossed my fingers and started.
To try to accommodate the lack of stretch in my linen fabric decided to cut all the pieces on the bias. It was a bit more of a fuss, but I eventually managed to juggle it so I had enough fabric for all but 4 of the panels. I had to a bit of patchwork on 3 of the side panels to get it all out of the 1.5 metres - but what's the point of being a quilter if you can't use your patchwork skills in a pinch? For the remaining 4 panels I used the plain linen, which I hoped would make a nice contrast. This is all I had left - which makes me feel very pleased, as I it is shocking how wasteful making clothing is.
With all the pieces cut I quickly sewed them up with the scary overlocker - it's a brilliant machine which thunders through fabric (and any stray finger or other stuff that accidentally gets sucked into its teeth) and gives the most neat and beautiful results. With the help of my new dress making form (the best birthday present ever) I made the dress from start to finish in just under 2 days.
I am very pleased to say that at the first try on most of the dress fitted perfectly which I thought was a great result. A small tweak to reduce the amount of fabric in the zip panels by 2cm was all it took. I did wonder about adding sleeves - but as I didn't have enough fabric I decided to just make some bias strips and line the arm holes with that. It worked beautifully. The dress is now on the dummy hanging for a week so the hem will be nice and even when I stitch it.
I think cutting on the bias ended up making the dress drape so nicely - so I will definitely go that way again on the next one. I have ordered 5 more metres of plain fabric from De (the end of the roll :-( ) and will have a go at sleeves for the next one!
Thanks for reading.