sketchbook ideas for the new challenge 'elements'
One of my favourite things to do is make a quilt in response to a challenge. I love having something completely new and fresh to think about which gets me out of the routine of whichever quilt series I am working on at the time.
As my current 'challenge' sketchbook has become quite full I decided to start a new one - another treat! I love starting a new sketchbook - all those empty pages waiting to be filled!
The theme 'elements' can be interpreted in so many ways - but I have chosen to explore the chemical elements, in particular those that were known to the alchemists many hundreds of years ago. I have always been interested in science and as soon as I saw the theme my thoughts immediately turned in this direction.
In my last blog post about this challenge I mentioned I would share some of my sketchbook pages - well, here are some of the nicer ones. I have used the paper and fabric I blogged about in that post.
As you can see, I have used lots of symbols and marks used in the 'language' of alchemy. It was a highly secretive science, loved and loathed by the rich and influential. They loved what the alchemists could potentially give them; a universal cure for all ills - effectively promising eternal life, and the ability to turn base metals into gold - effectively promising great wealth to those who knew the secret. But they loathed the alchemists because they feared they would not be able to control them - what would happen if the gold they created fell into the hands of others? The work of the alchemists was therefore a direct threat to the rich, as they risked losing their wealth and power. As a result, many alchemists were tortured for their knowledge and killed to stop others discovering it. As an alchemist it therefore paid to be cautious and clandestine. Hence the symbols, convoluted texts and overall mystery.
I am still working in the sketchbook, messing about with lines, colours, textures and materials. I have already decided on the colours, (dark and mysterious) and technique (monoprinting) I would like to use. Now I just need to pull some more ideas together for the symbols I want to include and how to create them on the quilt surface. More on that in a week or two!
Thanks for reading. I hope I may have inspired you to join the fun and make a quilt for the challenge too. How would you interpret the theme?
The size of the quilt for this year's challenge is quite small - so it will be easy to handle. It is to measure 80cm x 45cm (portrait only). If you are going to make a quilt for the challenge make sure you make your quilt slightly larger to account for a little shrinkage when you quilt. You can then trim the quilt down and be sure you have the exact dimensions.
For the fabric I have decided to explore mono printing a little further. It is such a simple technique but I haven't really done much in the way of experimenting with it. So over the weekend I raided my hand dyed fabric box and chosen some large pieces of blue/grey and yellow and then set to work.
Next I gently laid a piece of blue fabric onto the painted glass, taking care not to press down or put any pressure on any part of the fabric. With a chopstick I then began to 'draw' all over the fabric. As you draw the pressure picks up paint from the glass and transfers it to the fabric. Just take care not to let your hand touch the fabric , otherwise you will end up with more paint on the fabric than you bargained for.
This is such a quick and easy technique - within an hour I had altered all of the fabric I had chosen and had a stack of sketchbook pages ready to use. Here is a sample of the fabrics - they turned out even better than I had hoped and have given me lots of food for thought for the quilt.
Next I need to join some of these fabrics and explore my ideas further. My ideas are currently based on the idea of interpreting the theme from the point of view of the early Alchemists - I will post some of my sketchbook pages over the next few weeks so you can see how my ideas are developing.
Thanks for reading. I hope I may have inspired you to join the fun and make a quilt for the challenge too.