Archive for July, 2015

When Art Quilts first burst upon the scene in the 1970’s, most artists followed the convention used in traditional quilts of using a border for their work.  See Michael James, Blue Nebula, 1979.

Soon however they were interrupting the border, using it as a design element, or otherwise changing its function as a “frame” for the quilt.

Most recently, the style is to dispense with it altogether, or keep a ¼” binding only. The edges may be bound to the back, stitched, or even left raw.  Any of these methods allow the image to go all the way to the edges.

What I usually do is either bind to the back, or use a hand embroidery stitch called “Blanket Stitch” all the way around the piece.

Here are some examples of various treatments, some from the 2015 Quilt National show, a major style setter.

EPSON MFP image

Deidre Adams, disruption, 55 x 98″, detail. Note the irregular bottom edge. Quilt National, 2015.

In the Morning I am So Tall detail of corner

EPSON MFP image

Jane Dunnewold, Grandmother’s Flower Garden 1, 40 x 62″ Note the irregular edge on the left. Quilt National, 2015.

EPSON MFP image

Theresa May, For All the World to See, 85 x 89 inches. Note the simple 1/4″ binding that does not create a visual stopping point for the image.

Dawn Nebula Michael James 1979_Page_8

Michael James, Dawn Nebula, 1979. Note the border. This was one of the conventions that quilters picked up from traditional quilts. 1979 was very early in the Art Quilting universe.

EPSON MFP image

Barbara Schneider, Line Dance, Tree Ring Patterns, var. 11, 30 x 80″ Note the irregular edges everywhere! Quilt National, 2015.

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While reading through my latest issue of Quilting Arts Magazine (August/ Sept 2015), I ran across an article by Cecile Whatman entitled “Storytelling with Texture.” Recognition dawned as I realized I could utilize some of her suggestions. I have been trying to figure out the best way to incorporate papers (some of them old and fragile) in my work.

She described a way to adhere, or laminate, papers to fabric.

So I gave it a try.

The first picture shows a length of plain unbleached muslin fabric, laid out on my work table (thoroughly covered with a drop cloth). On it I arranged torn papers (and a bit of fabric) just to make sure I had enough paper at hand to cover the area.

The second picture shows the gel medium I used. I poured some into a bowl, and added just a little bit of water, as it was already fairly thin.

Then I brushed it onto the muslin cloth with a foam brush, and re-arranged the papers on top, following with another layer of the gel medium.

Finally,  you can see the finished cloth, dried and pressed. It took several hours to dry. II added some stitching as well.

I’ll use this as background for my “old wood” series.

I’m excited about the possibilities!

Torn papers arranged on piece of plain unbleached muslin fabric.

Torn papers arranged on piece of plain unbleached muslin fabric.

Jar of Matte Medium

Jar of Matte Medium

I removed the papers, and applied the matte medium to the fabric with a foam brush.

I removed the papers, and applied the matte medium to the fabric with a foam brush.

Then I put the papers back on the fabric, and applied another coat of matte medium on top of the papers.  Then put it aside to let it dry.

Then I put the papers back on the fabric, and applied another coat of matte medium on top of the papers. Then put it aside to let it dry.

After drying for a few hours, this is the finished piece of fabric. I pressed it, and added some stitching.

After drying for a few hours, this is the finished piece of fabric. I pressed it, and added some stitching.

Detail of finished laminated cloth.

Detail of finished laminated cloth.

I had thought to make today’s blog post about my experiments adapting “convergence” quilts in my work.
I had wanted to show different steps in the process — you know, like a cooking show.
But, alas, my working space is currently occupied by another project in midstream.
And that must be completed before tomorrow morning when my art student arrives for her lesson.
I call her “the creative storm” because what she leaves in her wake is akin to the detritus from a mighty tidal wave.
So,here we are on a Thursday morning, my appointed “blog posting time.” Here goes an abbreviated version, minus the Cooking Show step by step perfection.
I borrowed Ricky Tims’ “Convergence Quilts” from the Quiltescence Quilters lending library.
Basically you cut strips of stacked fabrics, sew them together, then cut cross ways, and sew again. There are all kinds of variations.
The Quilts in Ricky’s book are full sized quilts, using this technique throughout.
Attractive as they are, the overall geometric style is not for me. But I began to think of how I could use some of the techniques.
I experimented, and found a design that I thought might work for a theme I have had in mind: Old wood. Specifically, our wood pile. There are so many variations and interesting designs in those aging sections of logs.
The pictures show the cover of Ricky Tims’ “Convergence Quilts, Mysterious, Magical, Easy and Fun,” Published by C&T Publishing.
Secondly, a piece of my own convergence quilting, using four different fabrics.
And finally, a finished 12 x 12 piece, tentatively called “The Wood Pile.”
Even when I’m cooking things don’t turn out like the cooking shows. I actually have to take time to wash the dishes!

Example of convergence piecing technique. Martha Ressler

Example of convergence piecing technique. Martha Ressler

Convergence Quilts

Cover of Ricky Tims’ Convergence Quilts, C&T Publishing

log pile

Martha Ressler, Wood Pile, 12 x 12, fabric, paper and found object collage on wood panel. 2015

Last week I spoke about how I get inspired to make a work of art. I used the example of a visit to the Angel Oak in South Carolina, purported to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi.

As I walked under its immense limbs, some curving down to touch the earth, I breathed in its fragrance, the earthy perfume of this huge living organism.

I marveled at the “Resurrection Ferns” which grow directly on the bark after a rain.

On the trunk there were ruts, scars, cut off limbs and damage done down through the ages.  Here Native Americans rested, then white settlers, slave masters and enslaved workers, warriors, artists, children, and lovers.

This is the end product of the process that began for me with a sketch that day in May when I visited the Angel Oak. It is entitled “The Secrets it Has Kept,” 40.5 x 40.5. Studio Art Quilt with fabrics, papers and found objects by Martha Ressler.

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5

The Secrets it has Kept, Studio Art Quilt by Martha Ressler. 40.5 x 40.5