Monday, May 7, 2018

seeing stars




Roots, tendrils, and tangles often appear in my imagery and I render them literally. In more recent work, I couched bits of cloth and thread in stabilized twists and tangles. In this particular piece, they follow and wander against the outline of eight pointed stars.



























I keep coming back to these stars. They are familiar imagery in the language of quilts and nature. Individually, each radiates and reaches outward - a familiar pattern of growth and bloom. Arranged next to each other, their points find, touch, and connect.

























In a traditional side by side block arrangement, the star points reach outward from center and predictably find another. This is comforting. Repetitive pattern is visually comforting.



Working on talking about what I make. Writing everything down on the why and pulling out what makes sense is proving helpful and enlightening. I like to think I am a visual artist because I don’t know what to say, otherwise maybe I’d want to be a writer. But the act of writing it all out in words, also expands into more visual ideas. I feel encouraged.

[ Detail photos of I Felt A Connection, on exhibition in the Artist as Quiltmaker XVIII | 18th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Quilts at Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA) Gallery in Oberlin, OH. May 12 - July 12, 2018. ]

Friday, March 16, 2018

all that cannot be let go

Every scrap of thread, fabric, or yarn I find

is just a little directional encouragement away from

an engagingly tender line.

The roots, vines, veins, sinew, filaments, and fibers that hold everything together 
are rendered from all that cannot be let go.


(detail photos of recent works - I Felt a Connection and Dearest Spring)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

textures quilted and washed

I logged in to write a new post after so long away from this place and found these photos waiting without words. 

So, here they are as a little note to myself on materials and process - that crinkle of the crispest cottons after a wash and dry.

A whole new year is full of expectations, and making the first mark on a new canvas is always a little intimidating, but here we go. Hello, again.

Friday, July 14, 2017

State of Flux



Meet State of Flux, completed in April. Inspired (among other things) by discoveries of ambiguous creatures whose life cycles may metamorphose into something that could consume every leaf off of the tender plants I have so carefully planted and nurtured, or...be the awkward beginning of something beneficial and beautiful. Inherent or instinctive behaviors can be very hard to identify by outward appearances.

Making something 3-dimensional was challenging and inspiring. I look forward to working on something like this again and applying what I learned this time around.

State of Flux is currently at the Indianapolis Art Center as part of the Curio Cabinet Exhibition until August 5. I found the theme behind Curio Cabinet so inspiring -  "examining the role of art in inspiring curiosity, mystery, intrigue and wonder".

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

layers

I use flannel as batting. It is easy to find (thrifted) or old odds and ends at home. The texture also seems to help it "cling" to the quilt top, even with lots of transporting as with all my hand stitched projects. I still pin the layers, but minimally really. I do a lot of my hand stitching on just two layers, top and flannel. Then, I add the back layer and machine quilt the three layers together, hiding my hand stitching thread ends between them.

I am going to try multiple flannel layers in some areas on this project, to add a bit more relief to the positive spaces. I have cut away the negative space flannel and now the back has a interesting look on its own, a bit of raw edge appliqué. I will add another layer of flannel, so positive areas will have two layers of the flannel rather than just one.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Go and see the flags...


I am still stitching stars. These above are hand-embroidered on a pieced field of blue fabrics I inherited from my grandmothers as well as bits of clothing that my boys have outgrown. 

I have been wanting to share a wonderful source of information I’ve found while researching flags and hand-sewn stars. When I started working on my current projects, I did an online search for “hand embroidered stars on flag”. The top result was a link to RareFlags.com, a site which provides information and photos on a portion of Anthony Iasso’s collection of the historic American flag. I find something new and fascinating every time I visit. Many thanks to Anthony for sharing his wonderful collection and knowledge on the history of the American flag.

Anthony says, “Many people are both surprised and amazed when they discover that the American flag that they’ve known for most of their lives has such a varied and storied past. The American flag is a treasured icon, woven through our nation's history. Our national flag, in its many forms, has been present during all of our nation’s wars, national triumphs, national tragedies, and in our every day lives. Flags have been manufactured in factories and sewn in our homes. The number of stars has changed as the nation grew from the original 13 states to our modern union of 50 and the number of designs and patterns found on flags over our nation’s 235 year history are almost limitless.”

Please go and have a look over there - RareFlags.com. Anthony welcomes comments in the Rare Flags guest book or contact him by email with any questions about your own rare flags.

A few of my favorites on Anthony Iasso’s rareflags.com site are listed and linked below (though please don’t limit your visit to just these pages!). 

Methods of Creating Stars

Updating the Flag with Stars

The Suffrage Flag

"Grand Luminary" and "Great Star" Patterns


The detail photos of these flags and the techniques used to make them are wonderful. I am finding the connection between national history and the history of handmade textiles so very inspiring. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

satin stitch five-pointed stars

Hello, I know it's been awhile! I am back to share a bit of what I am working on now - lots of five-pointed stars.

I thought I would quickly show how I am satin stitching my stars. To make your own stars you will need:

• fabric and some scrap fabric behind it to stabilize the embroidery (I used a blue bit of fabric and a scrap of flannel behind as the stabilizer)
• embroidery floss, needle, and scissors
• a scrap of cardstock or thin cardboard to make a star stencil
• a permanent fabric safe marker to draw the stars on the fabric (I used a Pitt Pen with S tip)

1. Draw a five-pointed star on a piece of scrap cardstock or thin cardboard.

2. Carefully cut out the star with an exacto knife.

3. My supplies (probably could have been Step 1). Oh well.













4. Trace the star onto the fabric.

5. Place a dot in the center and connect to the inside corners of the star to divide into five segments.

6. Use 2 strands of embroidery floss (knot in the end) and start from the back of the fabric, pushing the needle through on an inside corner. Take the needle front to back on the opposite inside corner. Repeat moving towards the center to cover the segment with satin stitch. I try to hist center of the drawn line with my stitching.

7. Repeat the satin stitch moving towards the center of the star.

8. Once you have stitched to the center of the star move to another inside corner and repeat the satin stitch towards the center on the next segment.

9. Repeat the satin stitch moving towards the center of the star.

10. Fill the inside portion of each segment with satin stitch so that the center of the star is completed. This stabilizes the center and overall shape of the star. If there's a lot of fabric showing through in the center of the star, a small X stitched over that area seems to tidy it up.

11. Now begin on any segment and repeat the satin stitch working outward towards the point of that segment.12. Then go to the next segment and work towards that point.





13. This just shows the stitch pattern I have been using on the points - the last stitch on the tip is a vertical on top of the smallest horizontal. This makes a nice little point.

14. A finished five-point star, like the ones on a United States flag, except these are stitched by hand and each one is a little different.



I started stitching stars because I decided to make a United States flag with some of my grandmothers' fabrics and clothing that my boys have outgrown. I started with piecing the blue field and stitching the white stars, the white stars on the blue slowly blooming in a familiar a pattern. Working on that led to an idea for another project and so now I am stitching gold stars for a different kind of flag. The gold stars are about 1.25" point to point. I am almost halfway to 50 stars on the gold ones. Almost.

There's something very satisfying about working out the same shape over and over, all different and all the same, the soothing texture of repetition. There's a familiar rhythm to the star pattern, no matter the color of the stars.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

summer sewing

A deadline is often the thing that brings be back to sewing when other things have prevented me from giving it the time I would like. I have been posting a bit of progress on this one on Instagram. The ease of process in posting a photo or two over there is working well with our all over the place summer schedule.

This recent cloth is a table runner - roughly 14" X 90", made with vintage and repurposed fabrics. The blue fabric is from a little indigo dye session last summer, just a quick dip in a weakening pot.

The back is a thrifted canvas drop cloth. It gives a wonderful weight to the runner, enough relief for a nice crinkle after the wash, and a lovely fringe on a raw edge. Just the quilt top and the drop cloth are a manageable thickness for both hand-stitching and machine-stitching. I really love the weight of this combination.

That's a Buttonbush branch above, my inspiration for the leaves and circle blooms. I am eager to get another portable project ready to roll. Our summer has been full of bike races and although this runner project was portable during the appliqué and hand-stitching stages, for the most part it was made at home.

Because, sometimes a bike race looks like this. Maybe time to start a little mud cloth.