Posts Tagged ‘Art Quilts’

I just finished a busy week teaching youngsters at a summer camp. Yes, a distraction from my artwork, but I like watching them grow up.  And it helps to ground me to the families in my community and feel a part of it.

The week before that, I participated in a Plein Air contest. Luckily it wasn’t a juried entry, as I am primarily a studio artist. I do like participating  — this was the 3rd year. Working outside heightens your senses, and makes you feel very THERE. I’m happy with one of my pieces, and only medium-satisfied with the other two.  I’ll include pictures of all three. Of course it is a logistical challenge working with fabric outdoors. For one of them I took along our marine battery and inverter and my iron. That way I could fuse down the pieces as I composed.  It actually worked fairly well. The first one, Museum Path, was done on a breezy day, and I was constantly chasing bits of fabric.  I was trying to pin them down, which really didn’t work very well. I had to add all the details: light poles, the bench etc. later in my studio.

Also I upgraded to a paying WordPress account. You aren’t supposed to see any ads.

Is it worth it? And — feed back please — do you see ads??

 

I recently returned from a trip to Cuba.  We went on our own this time, visiting an artist friend in Trinidad, a city in the south of the island.

You can see a video of my trip here. 

But what I wanted to do today is share some pictures of the process of compositing my collages.  I spent a morning on the patio of the Casa where we stayed, spreading out all of my fabrics, found objecs, papers, etc etc, and creating several compositions that I could later stitch.

I thought it would be fun for a reader to play “I spy” to discern what was the change each time, and why it was important.

Here we go!

Click on the image to see the captions.  The final piece is at the end. See how much the stitching adds to the image!

Vintage Cuba

Martha Ressler, Vintage Cuba,

Here is another smaller one. Click on the image to see the caption.

I started a new series of small quilts.  They are based on the 72 municipalities of Berks County. The local paper is doing a series – one of them a week, alphabetically.

So far I’ve done four: Albany, Alsace, Amity and Bally. I drove to each place, and picked something to draw. Then drew it on fabric, embroidered it, and composed the rest of the little quilt.

Here they are. Stony Run In in Albany. My mother in law grew up here, and we’ve eaten at Stony Run Inn several times.

Albany lo res

Next is Alsace.  I chose Spies Church, overlooking rolling countryside.

Alsace lo res

And the one with the nicest name: Amity. For that I liked the look of St. Gabriel’s Church in Douglassville. Amity Township is the oldest in Berks County.

and finally, so far, Bally. I didn’t expect it to me much, but it’s a cute little town. I chose this diner, that looks more like a castle.

Bally lo res

Only 68 more to go!  It would certainly help if the newspaper managed to get this series on-line. For the next one, Bechtelsville, I have to virtually drive all the way back to Bally — an hour away. Grump, grump.  I could have hit them both in one shot!

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.

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

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!

A group of art quilt artists organized by Sandra Lauterbach and Sandra Poteet is showing at our second venue: Vision Gallery in Chandler, AZ, Nov. 8 – Jan. 5, 2019.  The opening reception is Saturday Nov. 17, 4-6 PM.

The piece I have in this show is called Celebrating the Destruction of Apartheid. On a visit to South Africa I was thrilled by this lighthearted moment. In front of the High Court Annex in Capetown, where South African had to report annually to be registered as one of 7 “races”, today anyone is free to sit on this “whites only” bench. Apartheid is where it belongs — in the ashcan of history.celebrating the destruction of apartheid small

If you are in the neighborhood of Chandler, AZ, please visit this important show, where 31 fiber artists remind us that THIS thing should not be forgotten . They offer hope, a tender need to call out to the world to remember the precious things in life.