Archive for the ‘Embroidery’ Category

I’m finally getting around to blogging my 2019 art resolutions.  Hey, it’s still January, right?  That’s not so bad.

First, I’m going to make 2019 my the year of Instagram. I’ve learned just enough from listening to the blog Artists Helping Artists by Leslie Saeta to get me psyched.

screenshot instagram martha ressler

I plan to post every day: morning and/or evening. Search out more hashtags I want to follow, and through them, find other artists I like to follow.  So far #fabriccollage, #slowstitching, #artquilt, #foundobjectart and several similar are ones I’m paying attention to.

I try to stay on Instagram after I’ve posted to “like,” comment etc. for at least 15 minutes.  I understand that there is an algorithm that helps you if you do that. I don’t have a definite goal in mind for the number of followers I would like to have, but I do want to grow my presence there.

Do you have suggestions for me?  And — do please follow instagram.com/martharessler.

I want to continue making art quilts using found objects, but only when/ if it makes sense to do so.  I think I got off track a couple of years ago, incorporating them when it didn’t quite make artistic sense.

Birds Bees and Beyond.jpg

I’m pleased with the “Incorporating Found Objects in Art Quilts” class I gave, as well as my current, ongoing Beginning Art Quilters class here in my studio. So I want to plan at least 2 more of those during the year.

I’m intrigued by a stitching art called boro.  It’s a Japanese form of embroidery related to Sashiko. If I understand correctly, Sashiko uses orderly white thread stitches on indigo, and boro comes from mending process. I am more interested in adapting these, as part of the slow stitching movement, making small fabric compositions.  They may or may not turn out to be completed art quilts. But first I need to learn what they are and are not.

I want to try to create some sculptural forms using art quilts.  I have some ideas  .  .  . stay tuned on that score.

From the Farmhouse Junk Drawer.jpg

Travel this year will be focused on Cuba and the Caribbean, so I aim to create a body of work coming out of those experiences. I aim to dig below the surface in our Caribbean travel. Beyond the sunshine and sandy beaches is a history forged in blood from sugar and slavery.

I’ll continue my active work with local art organizations, including Art Plus Gallery, the cooperative gallery in West Reading of which I am part.

And – the garden will call to me come spring. There will be weeds to pull, natives to plant, and birds to watch.

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I started using found objects in my art quilts when I was living in Pittsburgh. I lived, worked and had my studio in an old industrial area called Lawrenceville, which inspired much of my artwork. The streets were a source of interesting detritus, which I had the idea of sewing into the quilts.  Here is an example: Walking Sketches, 20 x 20″, 2013.

walking sketches 20 x 20 lo res.jpg

When I moved to the country (Berks County in eastern PA) in 2014, I hesitantly continued to use them in rural landscapes. In the Morning I Am So Tall, 2014, is an example. I was blending the found objects with the values and colors in the piece, but I found it an uneasy alliance. The detritus didn’t come from those locations, and I was never sure the idea was working.

Still, I was and am attracted to the concept of the pieces representing an “archeological thumbprint” — markings made by humans as we traversed the world.

In the Morning I am So Tall small

I stopped using them in the rural landscapes last year. This is Red Roof, Purple Sky, 16 x 20″, 2018.

purple sky red roof lo res.jpg

I still was able to draw upon the “archeological thumbprint idea” thru incorporation of old lace, and sometimes papers — things that did come from this geographical area.

One piece that worked well was “Wild Turkey Parade,” where the found objects became turkeys parading through our meadow. Here is a detail of Wild Turkey Parade 1, 2015.

Wild Turkey Parade 1 detail lo res

The found objects still call to me.  My collection has built back up, after I got rid of most things last year.

They found their place in the Eastern Europe in Stitches series I did last year, as we travelled through that area. Visits to flea markets were a great source. Here is Secrets of Prague, 5 x 7″ 2018.

Secrets of Prague lo res

I became enamored of used postage stamps in particular. I often looked up the story behind a person or historical reference. Thus the tiny quilts encased worlds within worlds — secret histories to explore.

Here is Nicolaus, Karl and George, three unlikely postage stamps companions. 5 x 7″, 2018.

 

Nicolaus Karl and George lo res

Just recently I’ve returned to an earlier idea of creating little birds and other creatures from the found objects in the quilts. Here is Krazy Kat, 5 x 7″ inspired by a Walmart hanger that I didn’t really mean to bring home!

Krazy Kat

For 2019 I want to continue using them, both in created creatures, and in little quilts that represent a place or idea.

My stock is building back up! Here’s what I brought home just yesterday. So, stay tuned!

Found objects 1 3 19

After I made my sampler for my upcoming “12 Ways to Use Found Objects” in art quilts class, I decided I liked the little cat  (#9) so much I wanted to turn the idea into a little art quilt. (see my posted blog for Dec. 22.)

So, here is how I made him. The substrate is black felt (I lined the back with a fused piece of cotton fabric for extra strength. Next I cut the various elements, mostly using a tin snips (Stanley). It makes light work on plastics. The red tool is just a wire cutter. (yikes I really should clean these tools!)

Then I started to lay it out.

 

Hm, it looks like he needs something behind him.

Krazy Kat 1

I had started to add the hand embroidery at that point.

Here is Krazy Kat finished.  He is 5 x 7, and waiting for his frame.  I’ll show him in January.

Oh dear, the ears get a little lost with that background .  .  .  .

Krazy Kat

 

I am designing a class that I’m calling “12 Ways to Use Found Objects” in your art quilts. This is my Sampler of the 12 Ways. Which are listed below.

Can you see the numbers next to each image: 1, 2, 3 etc?

Sampler for 12 Ways class

  1. Glue on/ sew invisibly.  This is the easiest and most obvious.  I try to at least rotate the object, so it is not so obvious what it is, or was.  Can you tell what this is/was?
  2. Sew on decoratively.  This changes the “thing,” using decorative or contrasting stitching.
  3. Trap/ tulle/ cheese cloth. Trapping the object with net, cheese cloth or tulle.  sewing the cloth down can be done in a number of ways.
  4. Paint the object. This is very useful.  An ordinary object like a bottle cap can look quite different. In this case I also drilled a hole in the bottle cap.  Also useful!
  5. Change shape/ cut.  This is crucial.  I use many different tools, depending on what I am cutting. For example a utility knife for cork, a metal shears for plastics and metal and a Dremel for ceramics. Can you tell what this was before I cut it?
  6. Paper –  text. By fusing MistyFuse to both sides of paper it can be preserved and stitched. Text can be meant to be read. This example shows the text using two different ways of cutting it out.
  7. Paper – as texture, design only. Or papers can be used just as a design element.  Can you tell what this paper was originally? Either way, it has MistyFuse on both sides of the paper.
  8. Reverse applique. This is not quite the proper use of “reverse applique” but I wanted to express the idea that an item can be placed under the top layer of the quilt.  There are many ways to do this.
  9. Create animals/ figures. Of course this one takes some time.  The little creature has to be created, then attached.
  10. Heat/ distort/ plastic bags. This takes some experimenting with heat, and different types of bags.  I have quite a collection!
  11. Sew directly on the paper – Greeting cards. This method isn’t really for art quilts, but is useful for making greeting cards out of your collection of cards received.
  12. Combinations methods. Stacking. Paint/ trap. Cut/ paint. A reminder that by combining methods the possibilities are endless!

I’m sure there are more as well.  This is the first time I am offering this class. I hope to continue to experiment and learn from my students as well.

I’ll blog after the class this winter!

I’ve just completed new work in the Eastern Europe in Stitches series. I’m getting ready to hang a show of the complete body of work at Judy’s on Cherry in Reading on Monday.  The reception will be Thursday, November 15, 5-7 PM. The show is called Doubletake East, because my husband Jay Ressler will also show his work from our trip to Eastern Europe. Contrast and compare!

Peoples violin

Of the stamps from DDR (East Germany), one says Musikinstrumente der Volker. Musical instruments of the people. Are they any differents from the others I wonder?

Martha Ressler, “People’s Violin,” 8 x 10 framed.  Art Quilt, hand stitched with found objects and stamps from Germany.

relativity framed 8 x 10

An image of Albert Einstein from the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall. He lived in Berlin for many years until he left for the United States in 1933 when Hitler came to power.

Martha Ressler, “Relativity,” 8 x 10 framed. Art Quilt, drawn and hand stitched with found objects and stamps from Germany and the US.

mystery figure framed 8 x 10

A mysterious hooded and winged figure, painted on the Berlin Wall. Who is it? Part of Eastern Europe in Stitches series.

Martha Ressler, “Mystery Figure,”  8 x 10 framed. Art Quilt, drawn and hand stitched with found objects and stamps from Germany.

tear down this wall fraed 8 x 10

An image from the remaining pieces of the Berlin wall captures the exuberant feeling of freedom in 1990.

Martha Ressler, “Tear Down this Wall,”  8 x 10 framed. Art Quilt, drawn and hand stitched with found objects and stamps from Germany.

raise a glass framed 8 x 10

Most of Germany’s wine is produced in the Western part of the country, except for the Saxony region, along the Elbe River, near Dresden. I particularly enjoyed the Golden Reisling!

Martha Ressler, “Raise a Glass.” 8 x 10 framed. Art Quilt, hand stitched with found objects  from Germany (and Cuba and Czech Republic).

 

The Other Side of the Wall smallThe Other Side of the Wall depicts the color and vibrancy of Tijuana that abuts the US/ Mexico wall just a few miles from San Diego. It is for the Border Wall Quilt Project. All pieces, mine included, are 8 x 16″

The wall on the Mexican side is brightly painted, and the family in blue is my drawing taken from one of those paintings. There are community gardens, a Nuclear Free zone plaque, and other colorful works of art.

butterfly painting on the wall

Part of the wall lists names of those who have died crossing the border. Although theoretically one could swim around the wall that extends into the Pacific Ocean, the US side is highly militarized.

border wall

Life goes on in lively Tijuana. But a pile of “wishing rocks” reminds us of the yearning for peace and unification of families.

wishing stones 3

I’ve started a new series, similar to Eastern Europe in Stitches.  Recently I asked a good friend fom Tijuana to give me a tour. She was raised there, and holds many happy memories of growing up, especially of her grandmother and her farm.

She is also an artist who could readily understand my interest in viewing the art on the Mexican side of the wall that separates it from the US. There is a memorial to those who died in crossing the border. (top right in the pictures below.) You can see how the border wall extends right into the sea.

So we absorbed the beauty and sadness on the Mexican side of the wall. There was a pile of “wishing stones” including wishes for “unity of my family” and “that everyone finds prosperity and love.”

I’ve made four little quilts (5 x 7″) so far in this series. I bought some used Mexican postage stamp on Etsy, and some small items while I was there so I could add found objects. Each one includes a drawing on cloth (then stitched) of something painted on the wall, or something else I saw.