Archive for the ‘Paintings in cloth’ Category

The smiling figures in this lighthearted moment on our trip to South Africa belie the tragedy embedded in this place. They are seated in front of the High Court Annex in Cape Town, where South Africans had to report annually to be classified as members of one of seven “races.” Our guide, seated on the right, relayed how his own family had been split up by this cruel, subjective process. He is joined on the left by one of our tour group members, a young doctor from Atlanta.

In the past, as persons of color, they would have been violating the South African laws of Apartheid, a system of rigid segregation and oppression of the non-white population. African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, and the Apartheid laws were abolished in mid-1991, pending the historical first multiracial election in 1994, when Mandela was elected President of South Africa. Today the “whites only” bench remains as a historical reminder that Apartheid has been tossed into the ashcan of history.

I was involved in the international fight to free Nelson Mandela and end apartheid in the late 1980’s, and sewed my collection of political buttons from that time into the quilt.

Today, though Apartheid has been destroyed, South Africa is one of the most economically unequal country in the world. The fight for equality continues as it does elsewhere, including the United States.

The rest of the piece tells the story of our visit to South Africa. The Bushveld, at the top, is where we enjoyed a safari. Nelson Mandela’s prison cell and the quarry where he and other political prisoners toiled, fabrics I bought there, South African money and Jackass Penguins and other animals we saw are among the other items in the design.

This piece was created for an invitational show of art quilts called “Things That Matter,” which will preview next year.  It is 60″ wide by 37.5″ tall.

The photo of the figures was provided by Jay Ressler.

 

I have many painter friends, and I am active in the local art world as well as the community of Art Quilters.  So when Plein Air West Reading loosened its rules this year, I decided to take up the challenge.

This is the second year of the event. For 2017 only 80% of your piece has to be completed outdoors.  The rest can be in the studio.

Here’s what I did: limited my palate to blacks, whites and grays, and pre-fused some workable size pieces to take with me. I packed a scissors, tracing paper, parchment paper, drawing paper, muslin and pencil and set up a small table near an outlet so I could plug in my iron.

I started as any Plein Air artist would: made a sketch.  For me, the sketch had to be the same size as the finished piece would be.  And I worked as I always do: traced the shapes in the drawing from the sketch (the buildings, the sky etc) and cut them out in fabric.

Honestly the experience did me more good than I thought it would.  As in all plein air work, the values are higher keyed (brighter — more white) than when translated through a photograph.  Since values are my most difficult artistic component, it was a useful adjustment to work outside. Also, of course, you can walk around and better see what you are trying to depict than when working from a photo.

The most difficult part was trying to keep the pieces from moving in the slightest breeze.  A pin or two helped here. And I don’t know how I could do this without an extension cord and iron fairly handy. I used it by heating it up, unplugging and bringing over to my work — still hot enough to activate the fusing and hold the fabric pieces down. But I couldn’t be too very far from it.

Of course I finished the pieces in my studio: using my sewing machine for the quilting and binding. I also took photos, printed them on cloth, and places them in key spots.  Those I printed in color, so the works were desaturated with bits of color.

These will be shown June 17 at Art of the Avenue in West Reading.  Just look for the Art Quilts in the Plein Air display.  I doubt there will be any others.  But maybe next year!

I tried something different. Starting with an old map (with which I am well supplied!), I created a mono print using gelatin printing and stamping. Then I covered both sides with Misty Fuse to preserve and stabilize the paper, added some fabric pieces, made a quilt sandwich, and quilted the piece. Finally, I added some found objects. The piece is called “Gulf Coast Pastimes,” after some of the wording on the map of Mississippi and Louisiana that is still visible. Plus I was thinking about some of the Gulf Coast pastimes of my younger years while working on it!

I am inclined to try more of these, but would appreciate some feedback.

gulf-coast-pastimes-smaller

I sent in my piece for the SAQA Trunk show in time for the deadline.  It is, somehow, the first time I’ve participated in this great concept.

My piece is called “Of Trees and History.” It’s an “out take” from a piece that was a study for “The Secrets It has Kept,” inspired by my visit to the 500 year old Angel Oak in South Carolina. I color shifted: orange for green on the tree, and turquoise for the trunk color.

This small section thus become an abstract.  It really was the best part of the original piece.  Sometimes that is what you need to do!  Cut it up.

SAQA ( Studio Art Quilts Associates) organizes members to submit small (10 x 7”) art quilts.  They will be mounted on a 12 x 9” backing board and sealed inside a clear envelope. The artist’s location, artwork title, statement and information about techniques and materials will be on the back.

There are about 400 pieces in the Trunk show, and they are then divided into groups to travel.

Our Pennsylvania chapter of SAQA reserved the Trunk Show last year for one of our meetings.  It was so much fun to lay them all and look at each one – so very different in style and technique. And yes, they did arrive in a real trunk!

This year’s Trunk Show will premiere at the 2017 SAQA Conference, which will be held at the end of April in Lincoln, NE. After that, it will travel to venues both in and out of the United States for up to 3 years.

You can make reservations for the 2017 Trunk Show, available in May, by contacting William Reker at shipping@saqa.com.  I think the cost is about $50.

I’m thinking about how to bring it to Reading, PA in the coming year.

SAQA Trunk Show

of-trees-and-history

 

I’ve been working on a series that is all surface design. My concentration has been on making my found objects and papers completely integral to the piece.  The art quilts in this series are not representational, yet not completely abstract.  There is an “all-over” composition.

They start with the substrate — vintage feed and seed bags, or for some,  old linen table wear. The feel of these things is important to me. I love linen table cloths because of the subtle design woven into the fabric itself. And my collection of feed and seed bags, a gift from my cousin — they were her mother’s collection — is dear to me.

I also rusted these fabrics for an increased look of aging.

The sepia toned photos I found hanging carelessly in a McDonald’s restaurant somewhere on the Outer Banks. They were not credited. I took some photos of them, and had them printed on silk (Spoonflower.com). The seagull photos were taken by Jay Ressler, and are used with permission. (also printed on fabric.)

I took my husband to Ocracoke, NC for our vacation this year.  It had more meaning for me than an ordinary beach trip. I’d enjoyed summers there as a kid, but hadn’t been back in 51 years.  My memories glowed with the warmth of a setting sun on a pristine beach.

Luckily the charm of Ocracoke (the last in the string of islands off the coast of North Carolina) remains intact.  The village has sprouted new restaurants — delicious food, and no chains! — and there are fewer working fishermen, but it’s still a National Seashore, with Rangers to teach about nature.  And the beaches have the finest sand, and are clean and not commercialized. People meander around on bicycles or golf carts. You can still stay in a quaint cottage, and buy fresh fish daily in the Village.

This piece, called “Banked Memories” is about the mingling of memories and today’s reality.

 

I finally finished “Tree Map” a 38 x 38″ piece made up of 12 x 12″ squares. Mounting, backing, and wiring took some doing. I’d broken my wrist in December, and am still gaining strength in my right hand. (Yes I am right handed!)

But it is luminous as a whole. I don’t know if the photo will really show it, but I’m proud of it.

The materials are fabrics, papers, bits of plastic bags (a manner of recycling), and layers and layers of Mistyfuse, a light weight fusible web.

Yeah!  This is the last day.

I had hoped to maybe get two 12 x 12 squares of the Tree Map finished today, but I didn’t, quite.  They are small, but take extra time because of the hand stitching on them.

I like the look of today’s piece, the central one, the best. I now have my method down, and this one has such an interesting pattern of rot, in the center of the tree, where I guess it would be! I’m using layers of Mistyfuse to hold together thin layers of fabric pieces, cut up plastic bags, and paper. Some of the Mistyfuse layers are painted.

I should note that I haven’t had professional photos of these pieces — just me and my camera in different lighting conditions. When it is done it will look better!

When I started the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge I hoped to maybe complete 20.  In the end I think I did 27, and am pleased. Two of these were crafty items — not really counting as art — but they took up as much time. In the beginning I had a head start, using some pieces I’d almost completed in December.

But then I got into a work rhythm (I hate to use “frenzy”!) and worked long days to complete an entire quilt each day.

I’ve almost kept up with my volunteer, arts organization, work during this time. But some tasks will need to be caught up in February.

Cheers to everyone who participated in this challenge.  And thank you Leslie Saeta for organizing it.