Selected works from the SAQA exhibition 'Textile Posters' : currently featuring in Quilting Arts Magazine
I had a lovely surprise yesterday morning. As I ate my breakfast and browsed through my news feed I saw a post from fellow SAQA member Heather Pregger, http://www.heatherquiltz.com/ in which she mentioned that her quilt 'VOLCANO' features in the August/September edition of Quilting Arts magazine. Her fabulous quilt, along with 23 others is part of the SAQA exhibition Textile Posters and I am very proud to say that my quilt '3 Wise Words' is one of those quilts selected by the juror, Joseph Lupo, and also features in the magazine. Thanks for passing on the good news Heather!.
I am even more pleased that the message contained in the quilt is being spread just a little bit further.
The cover of the August/September edition of Quilting Arts features Cat Larrea's fabulous quilt named 'Shiprock' and you can see images of all 24 of the posters im the exhibit on the SAQA website by clicking here.
I wrote a blog post about the '3 Wise Words' quilt back in February 2017 when I found out it had been selected for the exhibition and you can read that post by clicking here.
The quilt features a BIG water tap and the words: 'refill, not landfill'. Back in early 2017 the whole issue of plastic waste, and in particular single use water bottles was beginning to be widely discussed and more recently we frequently see the most terrible photographs of mountains of plastic bottles washed up on beaches, floating around in the oceans and inside the stomach's of dead sea animals. It really is intolerable.
Here are a few more images from the sketchbook that I used in the planning of the quilt that I thought might be interesting to share. My sketchbooks are my way of making sense of ideas, seeing what might work and keeping things organised; I hope you enjoy the glimpse.
The sketchbook also serves as a nice place to store the left over bits and pieces from the quilt - stencils, lino print blocks, unused fabrics etc. Earlier this year I had a request to make another quilt for someone (on a different theme) and I was able to go back to that particular sketchbook and 'raid' it for leftovers - and was able to create and ship a brand new quilt within a week. I was amazed (and so was she!)
A very high quality catalogue to accompany the exhibition is still available on the SAQA website by clicking here.
Thanks for reading.
It seems like my quilting life has been dominated by one thing only for the last few months......exhibitions.
For the past 6 months or so I have been very occupied with planning and preparing for exhibitions of one kind or another. I think most of all I love making quilts, but I also need a purpose for the quilts I make. I don't actually hang many (if any) of my own quilts at home, so having them hang in various exhibitions means they at least have an audience.
Today and tomorrow I have a quilt from my 'Stitched Alchemy' series named 'Dragon's Blood' on display at la Biennale Internationale D'Art Textile (aka Beaujolais) . It is based on the metal we know as 'mercury' and is a very vivid red quilt. It is part of the SAQA Europe and ME exhibition 'Made in Europe'. This exhibition has been touring for the past year and will be returned to me very soon. I look forward to seeing it again.
Next week I will have 2 of my quilts hanging at the Chicago International Quilt Festival (April 12th to 14th). The first celebrates the great achievement made by a woman named Kate Sheppard will be hanging in the 'HERstory' gallery. It is a particularly special quilt for me as it is the last quilt I made whilst living in New Zealand, and Kate Shepard was the leader of the Women's Suffrage group who, back in 1893, were the first in the world to win the vote for women. It was a remarkable achievement.
The quilt also features in a beautiful book, named 'HERstory Quilts, A celebration of Strong Women' which was created by Susanne Miller Jones. Susanne had curated an amazing collection of art quilts by makers all over the world.
I am also thrilled that this exhibition will be travelling to New Zealand and hope my sister will be able to go and visit the exhibition on my behalf.
I really enjoyed making this quilt as it had special meaning to me on lots of levels. It has a fascinating historical story to tell,as well as being of the 'place' I was at the time. I used lots of special fabrics from my collection and many of my favourite techniques: fabric dyeing, trapunto, free motion writing, applique and portraiture.
To find out more about the remarkable achievement of Kate Sheppard and her fellow suffragists, follow this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Sheppard
Susanne Miller Jones, the curator of this exhibition has also produced a fabulous book, entitled 'HERstory Quilts, a History of Strong Women' which contains all of the other amazing quilts from this collection and is available from Amazon by clicking here.
The second quilt which will hang in Chicago is the quilt I made for the SAQA 'Textile Posters' exhibition. This exhibition premiered in Huston last year, but is now on tour.
For my poster I decided to create a piece which concerns something about which I (and many others) feel strongly - plastic bottles. I hope the poster speaks for itself.
A week later I have another quilt which is making its debut at a very interesting and probably highly controversial exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, California. I have some lovely friends who live not too far away, so I hope they might get to the exhibiton on my behalf. It runs from April 22nd to July 15th and is another SAQA exhibition entitled 'Guns: Loaded Conversations'. I have seen a preview of all the work which will be hanging in this exhibition and it is exceptional. It is both highly thought provoking and disturbing, especially given the ongoing problems of gun crime, both in the USA and seemingly a growing issue here in the UK.
I am sure some will think the quilt I made for this exhibition pushes the limits of what is acceptable, but it was important for me to show the horror and reality of what happens when children find and use guns.
Which brings me to two further exhibitions which I am involved in and are thankfully much closer to home.
The first is at Harbour House, The Promenade, Kingsbridge, TQ7 1JD, Devon - April 27th - May 3rd
and the second at the Bristol Guild Gallery, 68 Park Street Bristol BS1 5JY - April 28th - 19th May
Harbour House Centre for Arts and Yoga is a beautiful gallery situated in the quiet yet beautiful coastal market town of Kingsbridge, Devon. If you are in the area or are looking for a very enjoyable day trip or long weekend I can highly recommend it as a destination. There is lots to see and do.
My work will hang as part of an exhibition named 'Unfolding Stories 3', with the group 'Contemporary Quilters West' (CQ West for short). It is a fabulous group and the collection of work which is currently sitting in my lounge (waiting to be hung!) is superb. If you are interested in what is currently going on in the world of contemporary art quilting in the UK this is a good exhibition to visit.
I have chosen the following 3 quilts from my from my 'Stitched Alchemy' series to hang here, all based on the metal we know as 'copper'. I intend to be at the gallery every day and warmly invite you to visit if you can.
'Copper Venus' Quilts by Claire Passmore ©2018
Bristol Guild Gallery
At the same time (like busses, they never come alone!) I will also be participating in an exhibition with the group 'XIII makers' at theBristol Guild Gallery, 68 Park Street Bristol BS1 5JY. I find it a fascinating and beautiful venue. This exhibition opens on 28th April and runs through to 19th May (closed on May Day, 7th May).
More work from my 'Stitched Alchemy' series will be hanging there, this time based on the metal we know as 'iron'. The quilts tell the story of the 3 sister ships built for luxury travel, but which ended up having very different lives. The quilts are collectively called '3 Sisters' but individually are called 'Olympic' , 'Titanic' and 'Britannic'. I have had a lot of fun making some special items to go alongside the quilts hanging in this exhibition which will all be on display and for sale.
A triptych named '3 Sisters', based on the 3 sister ships, Olympic, Titanic and Britannic'
Claire Passmore ©2017
As you can see, I have an eclectic collection of work in these various exhibitions, but each has an important message or a story to tell. Looking back over the past year I often feel I haven't created much, but now I see it all together I can see where my time has been spent.
If you are able to visit any of these exhibitions I would love to hear what you think of them. Unfortunately I wont be able to attend many in person, but I am looking forward to meeting as many people as possible in Kingsbridge and Bristol. Unfolding Stories 3 will also be at Festival of Quilts this year (Gallery TG1) and at the West of England Quilt and Textile Show - so there are lots of chances to see the work hanging there too.
Thanks for reading.
I am really pleased that the quilt I have been working on for quite some time now is finally finished. Yesterday I stitched on the hanging sleeves and put on the label. It is now ready to submit to the exhibition I have made it for (more on that later).
There was a slight false finish though, which delayed me just a little longer! As I was pinning the quilt to the design wall ready to photohraph, despite my very best efforts to get the whole quilt square, it quickly became obvious that the right hand side of the quilt was 1/2 inch shorter than the left hand side. How this happened I just don't know. I must have measured it over 20 times, then blocked it before the final trim and facing. I guess it just goes to show that fabric continually moves and stretches.
So, I unpicked the facing, gave it another trim, reattached the facing, had a gin and tonic, and then resumed with the photography.
Here are a few close-up shots to show you some of the detail....
Whilst making the quilt I also worked on a number of different samples as I tried out different ideas. Two of these samples were good enough to have been made into small quilts in their own right to accompany this one. I have decided to mount these onto stretcher bars and place in white floater frames, as you can see below. I will be interested to hear what people think about this finishing treatment as it is not something I normally do with my work.
As I mentioned, I made this work to hang in the upcoming exhibition 'Unfolding Stories 3' which will showcase work by members of the Group Contemporary Quilters West. The exhibition promises to be fabulous and I hope my work will be selected to hang.
The exhibition will premiere at Harbour House Centre for Arts and Yoga in Kingsbridge, Devon. TQ7 1JD from April 27th to May 3rd. I aim be at the exhibition every day and it would be wonderful to see you there if you are down that way. Click on the image below to go to the CQ West website.
Thanks for reading.
Wherever you live in the world, I don't think it is possible to have missed the fact that there is a new force at the top in the USA. Whether you like President Donald Trump or not, he is the elected leader of what I think is somewhat laughably called the 'Free West'. Personally, I do not like how he behaves, how he treats others or what he stands for, but that is my personal opinion and I do not push it upon anyone else.
Just after the U.S. election results were announced a huge wave of anxiety washed over a large proportion of the American population and many others in rest of the world. I am one of those people; not an American citizen, but an outsider who is seriously troubled by the things President Trump is saying and doing on behalf of the American people and the impact that will have on everyone in the world, not just those within the borders of the USA.
Back in February, just after the U.S. elections, a group of quilt artists called The Artist's Circle created a call for entry to an exhibition to protest their concerns about the words and actions of their new President. You can read more about them here.
As I learned more about the new President's proposed January order to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees and temporarily ban all other refugees and travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries I decided to enter my quilt 'We Walk Together...' into the exhibition (it is the same quilt I entered into Quilt en Beaujolais last year which won a 1st prize ribbon). I find it impossible to understand how anyone could react this way. I have listened and tried to understand the arguments put forward in support of such a ban and can only conclude that it is inhumane and diametrically opposed to the way humans ought to treat each other.
By the end of May, (when President Trump's travel ban still had not been put fully into action due to legal challenges) I was informed that my quilt had been selected to for the exhibition. It was a day of mixed emotions. I was pleased that the quilt would be part of the exhibition and yet filled with sadness and a feeling of helplessness that this quilt should even exist. A superb catalogue of all the quilts selected to travel is available for purchase via Amazon, designed by Judy Coates Perez and Indigo Perez. Click here or on the cover below if you are interested in finding out more or purchasing a copy.
Back in June an article in Hand/Eye magazine ran which gives some more background to the exhibition. You can read more about it here.
You can also view all of the selected quilts by visiting the Threads of Resistance blog below:
Each quilt is accompanied by the artist statement and a voice message which explains a little more about the quilt. It is a fabulous way to see and understand the raw emotions felt my each artist. Be aware, however, that it is possible you may disagree with messages on the quilts or be shocked by the images and language portrayed. Part of the stated aim of this exhibition is to "shock us out of our comfort zone and into action....these quilts (are also giving) voice emotions and ideas that for too long have been deemed unacceptable if spoken by women. Here, as women and men united, we speak together.....(because of our love for our country) silence is no longer an option.
If any of it offends you then you have the absolute right to pass comment in a civilized way and look away.
My reason for this perhaps unusual comment above is that an unintended consequence of this and other protest exhibitions has arisen. The issue has been widely discussed in quilting circles on social media, but if you are not aware of all this then here is a quick summary.
A group of quilters in the USA who have been described as 'Socially Conservative' chose to form a secret social media group so they could air their feelings privately, possibly in ways that would probably alienate some of their other acquaintances if their unguarded sentiments were made public. I wish to stress there is nothing wrong with people expressing their opinions, and people are entitled to their personal views and preferences. Indeed, I have learned there are many such groups in existence from all political sides. Unfortunately this group of quilters, among other things, also chose to take physical action against other quilters just because they disagreed with their viewpoint. This is where I feel they crossed the line. Members of the secret group talked themselves into a downward spiral, and did some pretty despicable things. They sent complaints to an exhibition which had put out a call for quilts protesting against the Trump presidency (this one); they contacted the sponsors of a well known 'liberal' quilter to suggest that she should be dropped because of her opposition to Trump; they sent homophobic messages to gay artists; they contacted quilting trade shows, asking organisers to cancel classes run by quilters they thought were 'too liberal'; they also suggested to each other the idea of boycotting certain quilters, and reporting them to the American tax authorities so that they would be tied up in tax investigations. I even got an email telling me to keep my nose out of things that as a foreigner don't concern me 'or else'! (I did wonder with a smile what the 'or else' might be for the nanosecond before I hit the 'bin/trash' button) All their targets were chosen because of their support for things they considered to be liberal causes and those who publicly supported the 'Threads of Resistance' call were fair game.
So, if you disagree, that is fine by me, but lets not allow things to get personal. Let's listen to both sides of the argument and maintain a civilized debate.
The exhibition received over 500 entries, which is an extraordinary number for such an art call. Obviously not all could be accepted to travel to the multiple venues (click here for details) but every entry can be seen on the Threads of Resistance website by clicking here. I've looked at them all and they form an incredible body of work.
There are also a number of other exhibits protesting President Trump's administration's actions and policies. Here are links to those I know about.
The Threads of Resistance exhibition opens next week in New England - I am really looking forward to hearing the reaction and the reviews once it opens. My thanks go to all those who were bold enough to bring this exhibition to reality.
Thanks for reading
My quilt 'Echoes of Demons' is included as part of the complimentary exhibitions named 'Turmoil & Tranquility' which will be going on tour after IQS to Quilt Festival Chicago and then will be coming to the Festival of Quilts next year. As I won't be going to the US to see the exhibitions I am really looking forward to seeing the quilts there.
'Echoes of Demons' will hang in the 'Turmoil' exhibition, which features work that depicts chaos, discord, imbalance and tumult. Artists were requested to explore the meaning of turmoil in their own lives. The works selected represent turmoil through color, line, and composition. It will be hung in the exterior space created by paneled walls, with Tranquility in the interior space. This environment will mirror the chaos depicted in these works.
The artists participating in 'Turmoil' are:
Margaret Abramshe, Holly S. Altman, Karen M. Balos, Diane Born, Sandra L. Branjord, Betty Busby, Carol Capozzoli, Linda Colsh, Vicki Conley, Linda Engstrom, Sandy Gregg, Betty A. Hahn, Jim Hay, Patricia Kennedy-Zafred, Jill Kerttula, Judy F. Kirpich, Jeanne Marklin, Kathy Nida, Claire Passmore, Martha E. Ressler, Deborah L. Runnels, Mary C. Ruzich and Maggie Vanderweit.
I am very proud to be exhibiting with such fabulous artists. To view the artworks on the SAQA website, please click here
Kate Lydon was the juror for both exhibitions. She is the Director of Exhibitions at the Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and oversees the installation of exhibitions mounted at SCC’s main Strip District gallery and at the One Mellon satellite gallery in downtown Pittsburgh.
Gallery Walks at Quilt Festival Houston:
The next exhibition is a little closer to home and will be at the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show at Birmingham NEC from 3rd to 6th November. The gallery space at the exhibition is quite limited, so a small selection of work from the very successful exhibition 'Unfolding Stories 2' by the artists of Contemporary Quilters West will be shown. My quilt 'Am I Beautiful Now?' will be there.
Work by the following artists will be displayed:
Alicia Merrett, Angela Knapp, Carla Mines, Christine Seager, Claire Passmore, Colin Brandi, Dot Carter, Eileen Waycott, Kay Swancutt, Jane Brooks, Judy Stephens, k3n, Liz Hewitt, Mandi Bainbridge, Stephanie Crawford, Wendy Weller
I will be at the exhibition on Sunday 6th November, and look forward to meeting all those who will be there.
The final exhibition is the West Country Quilt and Textile Show at the University of the West of England (UWE) from 11th to 13th of November. It is a relatively new show on the circuit and is going from strength to strength. A group I belong to has a huge gallery at this show and there will be an extensive collection of work from new and existing members of Contemporary Quilters West. Almost all of the work from the exhibition 'Unfolding stories 2' (hung earlier this year at Rook Lane, Frome) will be on display, along with a large selection on new work from existing and new members of the group. It promises to be an excellent gallery.
There will also be the first chance to see the work created in response to a 'Chinese Whispers' challenge.
3 of my quilts from the 'in This skin' series will be on display in this gallery.
Work by the following artists will be displayed:
Alicia Merrett, Angela Knapp, Carla Mines, Christine Seager, Claire Passmore, Colin Brandi, Dot Carter, Eileen Waycott, Kay Swancutt, Jane Brooks, Judy Stephens, k3n, Lisa de Boer, Liz Hewitt, Mandi Bainbridge, Maria Harryman, Michelle Cook, Stephanie Crawford, Wendy Weller
My quilt 'Big Sister' will also be on show in the open competition - I wonder what people will make of her!
If you are attending any of the exhibitions I have mentioned i would love to see you on the stands - please do pop in and say hello!
Thanks for reading.
As well as keeping busy trying new ideas and creating things, it is also good to keep up with all the fantastic work that is being made and exhibited by so many other talented artists. However, I do sometimes difficult to keep track of 'what's on when', so I have been searching around to find some great exhibitions to visit in my first month back in the UK. Here are a few that have caught my eye.......... it looks like I won't have time for anything else!
Dorset Art Weeks: Textile Exhibits
28th May to 12th June 2016
Fracture: prism textile group
1st to 12th June 2016
A Child of the Sixties: Threaded Together
2nd to 23rd June 2016
Lady Sew and Sew Warehouse, Farm Road, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 1EJ
On The Edge: Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilter's Guild of the British Isles
4th to 11th June 2016
The Bramble Patch, West Street, Weedon, NN7 4QU
Brunel Broderers: New Worke
8th June to 11th July 2016
Bucks Open Studios: Textile Exhibits
11th to 26th June 2016
Making Space: 62 Group of Textile Artists
17 June-3 September 2016
Unfolding Stories 2: Contemporary Quilters West
24th June to 5th July
So, if you happen to be in the South West in the month of June you certainly have plenty of opportunities to see some wonderful textile art. I am amazed and delighted at the amount of work there is going to be on show. I guess it demonstrates how popular textile art has become.
If you notice any errors, please do let me know, and if you have information you would like me to add to this list, please get in touch and I will happily add it.
Thanks for reading.
You may recall that back in January I spent some time messing about with some walnuts I found in the park, which I turned into some lovely walnut ink. If you want to read that post you can find that post by clicking here.
As I was testing out the ink I drew a face in my sketchbook - it was just a quick drawing - more of a 'let's see what this ink looks like' sort of thing. This is it.
A few weeks later I began work on a quilt for an exhibition that is scheduled to debut at the International Quilt Festival in Houston later this year, entitled 'Turmoil'.
The concept of the exhibition captured my imagination, as Turmoil will be hung in the exterior space created by paneled walls, with Tranquility, (a parallel exhibit) in the interior space. This environment will mirror the chaos depicted in the artworks.
The moment I read the exhibition brief I knew that I wanted to tell the story of those who suffer great turmoil in their lives as a result of witnessing very traumatic things; those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress. The disorder is suffered by millions, if not billions of people worldwide. It consumes the brain of those who have been profoundly affected by witnessing or experiencing great trauma. For them, what follows are turmoil, pain and torment. Whether asleep or awake, demons from the past are ever present, echoing on and on, tumbling around in the mind’s eye and hindering the sufferer from freely going about their daily life.
I decided to use the solemn looking walnut ink drawing as the starting point. I scanned the image and began playing about with it on my computer. I don't use Photoshop - but instead the free version known as GIMP. As I played about with layers, rotation and colour I was able to create the image below.
This is the image I used as I planned my quilt. To recreate the layers I made a stencil from freezer paper and repeatedly screen printed it onto a piece of white cotton poplin.
Gradually I covered the whole cloth and this was the result.
From here I continued the idea of adding layers of dye and paint, creating something that to me looks very unsettling.
By adding further layers of voile and stitch the quilt became more visually disturbing. My neighbours do not like it one bit!
I decided to name the quilt 'Echoes of Demons' - those images that keep returning to those who experience and suffer with PTSD. The overlapping tormented faces emphasize that suffering is unceasing; often dark and raging, at other times quieter, but ever present. They are the demons that need to be dealt with before recovery is made.
Today I discovered that 'Echoes of Demons' has been selected to hang in the exhibition. I am so very pleased. Not just because my quilt was selected, but more importantly because it continues to build awareness of those who experience the debilitating and terrible effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Thank you for reading.
"Take the time to smell the roses, my dear, before they fade away"
Over the past few weeks I have been working on creating some fabrics to use for another new quilt for the 'Words of Wisdom' series. The inspiration for this quilt came from a conversation between two ladies who were waiting in the checkout queue at the supermarket. It was a long line, and they were having quite a melancholy chat about how time really does seem to fly, especially as we grow older. I was stood behind them and somehow became involved with their conversation. We chatted for quite a few minutes until it came to their turn to pay.
Although they were busy packing their shopping into the trolley one of the ladies turned to me, and with a sigh said "Take the time to smell the roses, my dear, before they fade away." How right she is.
When I came to design the quilt based on these poignient words I remembered a quilt that I made quite a few years ago, also based on Roses. It was part of my South African 'Destination' series, more of which you can see here.
This is that quilt - it is called 'City of Roses', and refers to the city of Bloemfontein. I enjoyed making it very much, as at the time I was experimenting with dyeing my own fabric and piecing free cut curves, and learned a lot about how to make both processes easy.
For the new quilt I decided to look back at this one and use it as my starting point.
Starting with the background I chose the same technique as I did for the original quilt. This time, however I wanted to add lots of interest to the fabric. I did a little work in my sketchbook to explore different ideas and did a few trials on a selection of fabrics.
Rather than just using a simple spiral to depict the roses I decided to make it a little more elaborate. I made a printing block from lino and experimented with different types of paints. The sample above are acrylic paint and Markal oilstick on a piece of organza.
I also experimented with mono printing - spreading acrylic paint directly over the surface of a glass topped table and drawing spirals into the wet paint.
This is the piece of fabric I ended up with. It is a mixture of mono prints, block prints and black lines made with thickened dye which I 'drew' using a squeezy bottle. At this stage it is looking way too busy.
For the second piece of fabric I wanted to use some of the words spoken by the lady. There are a few options for writing on fabric, and wanting bold text I decided to try out writing with thickend dye. I mixed up some manutex and some extra black dye, put it into a squeezy bottle and did my best joined-up handwriting! I later added some further text with a pale grey fabric marker to contrast with the black text.
From all the trials these are the two fabrics I have decided to go ahead with.
Laying them on top of each other like this immediately showed me that the frame of words idea was not going to work, so I took the plunge and chopped the floral fabric into 3 large panels. I then experimented with a few different layouts - horizontal, vertical and a mixture of both. I also wondered about cutting the fabric into even smaller pieces - but in the end I decided to go with option 3 below.
I also decided to knock back some of the vibrancy of the floral fabric by layering it with a large piece of organza before quilting. I always like the softening effect this can have, and in this instance I liked the way it made some of the less prominent flowers begin to fade into the background.
Returning to the original quilt for inspiration, I added yet another layer to the quilt - this time in a horizontal band across the top third of the quilt. Looking at my sketchbook pages there were lots of options for rose shapes - and again, after trialling a few , I chose to echo the shape I had already cut for the lino printing block to maintain a sense of continuity throughout the quilt.
From the photo above you can just about see thet I chose straight lines for the quilting - I felt this quilt was busy enough already, without adding any addition linear detail. And this is how it has turned out. I am going to mount it on stretcher bars when I get back to the UK - so no conventional binding or further finishing is required. I am calling it finished!
'Unfolding Stories 2'
I belong to a great group called 'Contemporary Quilter's West'. Between June 24th and July 5th we shall be holding our second group exhibition, 'Unfolding Stories 2' at Rook Lane Chapel in Frome. It is beautiful venue an I think our work will hang beautifully there. The group is incredibly talented and I am proud to be a member and I hope to have some of the quilts from this series selected to hang in the exhibition.
The exhibition will be on during the Frome Festival so if you are in the area at that time it would be lovely to welcome you to the Chapel.
Unfolding Stories 2
June 24th to July 5th 2016
Rook Lane Chapel, Frome
Thanks for reading.
It is that time of year again - when I am thinking about making a quilt for the annual challenge set by the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles. This year's theme is 'on the edge'.
I have participated in this challenge for the past two years and am very pleased to have had my quilt selected for display both times. Lets hope it is third time lucky!
This year the challenge is going to be a little different, in that the selected quilts wont hang at the Festival of Quilts, but instead will tour various venues across the UK (and possibly further afield). You can find out more about the challenge here. There is still plenty of time if you want to make a quilt to enter into the challenge too. All you need is to be a member of the Contemporary Quilt Group. Go on - what do you have to lose?
So, with all that in mind, I decided to make a quilt that involved the extremes of curves and points, hot and cold, and with more edges and corners than a quilt really ought to have. I woke up at 4am on Monday morning and decided that I should start the quilt right there and then!
I had a lot of scraps of fabric that had been pre-fused with bondaweb from another project, so I went through them and pulled out some vibrant colours - then sorted them into 'hot' and 'cold'. To be sure I liked the idea I had in mind I made a small sample piece to experiment with. This will probably be the piece I submit with my entry, which I hope will help my quilt get selected!
(I really like the idea of sending a sample piece to the challenge judges. I think it gives them a far better idea of what my quilt looks like and how carefully I have made it. This particular challenge always requires a small 20cm square sample to be submitted so that way the judge(s) have 3 things to help them make up their minds: the photos of the quilt, the statement I submit explaining what the quilt is all about and the sample to hold. The other thing I like about this challenge is that the quilts are all judged anonymously.)
As you can see, I went for sharp points and curvy waves on either side of the quilt, leaving the middle empty - something we don't usually do on a quilt! I cut the pieces free hand, so it came together very quickly.
You can probably also see that I have cut a square from the bottom corner of the sample - that is deliberate - not just the scrap of fabric I chose! I wanted to experiment with making the quilt an irregular shape, and because it has that inside corner I wanted to see how neatly I would be able to finish the edges of the quilt.
After a bit of thought I decided to try the pillowcase method of stitching the backing fabric to the front of the quilt, then turning the whole thing inside out - just like a pillowcase. I made my 'Cape Dutch' quilt in the same way. (Click here to see it.)
Using this method meant that I needed to put the wadding on the back of the quilt before stitching on the backing - so I decided to stitch the wadding to the front of the quilt with soluble thread first, to make sure it didn't move and wrinkle whilst I turned the quilt right sides out.
Finally I stitched the backing to the front of the quilt (with right sides together), making sure to leave an opening through which I could turn the quilt.
And here it is. The edges are very neatly turned (no binding now required), the corners have remained nice and pointy, and the whole tiny quilt is nice and flat. I have started some free motion quilting to try out a design and to make sure I know the thread / needle / tension combination for when I come to make the real thing.
I will keep you posted on how it turns out!
And now for the other thing that has me 'on the edge'...................
It is my own fault, and I should know better, but I opened up my computer this morning to find all the images of my work on the 'Go Easy on the Makeup' quilt have vanished!! Who knows where they have gone? I have spent hours searching for them, trawling the internet to see how I could locate and retrieve them, finding out interesting stuff that I had no idea about with regard to hidden files, overwriting files, retrieving files you deleted years ago, but all to no avail. So, PLEASE PLEASE - if you have anything on your computers which you really would hate to lose forever
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER NOW!
I think I might make a quilt about that!!
Thanks for reading.
Following on from my last blog post this one continues the story of the 'Going easy on the makeup' quilt. Last time I mentioned that I would move on to playing with some ideas. I like this way of developing a quilt, I find that it is a good way to find out what works and what doesn't.
So, this post is more of a rambling running commentary of what I was thinking and what I tried out next.
For the lips I decided to cut a paper stencil and try it with Markal oil stick and acrylic paint. I also wanted to try fusing a piece of red organza onto the voile and the machine stitching over to add a little detail. The results were varied, but each gave a different effect. The Markal did not show particularly well, so I discounted that idea immediately.
I hope you are getting the general idea - lots of trying out different ways to achieve what I have in mind.
The benefit of this is that I can use the samples to choose the best option for the quilt. I also get to explore different ways to use the materials I already have and find out what works and what doesn't. What I discovered here is that acrylic paint takes surprisingly well onto voile - and perhaps unsurprisingly, Markal oil sticks don't.
I also discovered that even with 2 layers of soluble stabiliser, machine stitching through one or two layers of voile puckers the fabric too much for what I was trying to achieve. I tried hooping the voile - but even with very careful hooping, hoop burn added to the distortion of the fabric.
After a lot of trials and thinking my solution was to use a combination of fused organza and hand stitch with embroidery thread, rather than use the machine. This is how the eyes turned out. I hope you agree that the effect works and the time I took to experiment with different ideas has paid off.
Scroll down to see how it turned out.
This isn't quite the finished quilt - I am keeping that a secret until the exhibition it is hopefully going to be part of in June.
UNFOLDING STORIES 2 - An exhibition with Contemporary Quilters West, at Rook Lane Chapel, Frome, Somerset, June 24 - July 5, 2016. I hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading. I hope you have enjoyed sharing in the progress of this quilt.