Art Lab Showing 2019

Drove yesterday to Parrsboro, NS to set up a show of 22 quilts and wall art pieces which will hang in the Art Lab Studio and Gallery until August 30.

I’m always amazed at what my work looks like when hanging together like this – I can see just how much I accomplished in a year.

The reaction of the visitors yesterday at the opening was encouraging – people were interested in how I constructed the wall art, particularly those pieces with photo elements printed on cotton.

It seems the favourite pieces, they got a lot of attention, are the modern “flower” appliqué hangings. I thought the “banner” pieces might generate interest but the flowers seem to be winning out.

Until I saw the show hanging, I hadn’t realized how much turquoise featured in my work this year. It shows up in quite a few of the quilts and hangings as a highlight colour.

Three Hangings – Completed

I spent the better part of the day hand stitching the hidden bindings on the back of each panel – took over an hour each and left a small hole in the middle finger on my right hand in spite of the small metal thimble disc (Ultra Thimble) I had stuck to my finger. (The hole will take a day or two to heal.)

Three Hangings – Completed 10″ x 42″

I made a point of matching the hidden bindings with the front of each hanging so that when they’re on the wall the fabric at the edge is consistent with the panel itself.

Back of Panels

I am definitely pleased with how these panels turned out – they feel refined, sort of elegant. I must find a location to hang at least one of them somewhere in my apartment! That will be a challenge because there isn’t much wall space left.

Untitled #1

Untitled #2

Untitled #3

Three Hangings

I’ve been working on these three hangings for the past several days – I needed a few more wall hangings to fill out the stash for the upcoming showing in Parrsboro in August and decided three simple long narrow panels would work. These three panels are done except for the hidden binding which I’m just about to do.

Three Hangings – in Progress

Finished dimensions: 10″ x 42″.

Once started, I can see a gazillion more I could do but I am going to stop here for now. I still want to get the Black Rocks piece done for the show; however, I’m turning to garment making for the next couple of weeks.

Garden In Bloom – A Colourwash Quilt

Finished this quilt last evening with a hidden binding. I auditioned various fabrics for bordering but I didn’t think anything worked very well. A black border muted the white corner and any other colour simply didn’t work. So a hidden binding it was.

Finished Watercolour Quilt

Final dimensions: 18.5″ x 24.5″. As one of the women in the Friday knitting group would say – a good sized place mat!

I quilted the piece by stitching in the ditch on a zig-zag – that allowed me to do complete stitching runs in a single thread colour. The lower left corner was stitched in black, the upper right in white. The more middle tones I stitched using an Aurifil variegated grey. I did a reasonably good job – the stitching isn’t at all obvious.

I’d considered quilting the panel in 4-block or 16-block units. I went so far as to create an embroidery design, but in the end I thought I’d not be happy with the quilting overriding the colour flow and in the end settled on stitching in the ditch.

I have several hundred 2″ blocks left over from this project. I don’t see me doing another art piece like this but you never know. I have discovered these quilts are also referred to as “colour wash”. And it also qualifies as a “postage stamp” quilt because of the small block size.

I’m happy with the outcome. Notice I embroidered my signature using black rayon embroidery thread along the right side. The bottom rows were too busy for any signature to show.

Now on to the next project.

Watercolour Quilt Panel – Making Progress

I played with the arrangement and the colour flow off and on yesterday – I’m stopping with this layout:

Laid Out

I worked at changing the block placement from linear on the diagonal to a more parabolic flow and also tried bringing in brighter colours toward the top.

Half Assembled

The curved colour flow is stronger with the stitched blocks because they end up 3/4 the size (1.5″) of the raw 2″ blocks.

Assembling the blocks is a careful, slow process – I decided to work in pairs of rows, laying the row above on top of the blocks in the row below and rotating them 90˚ so I would be stitching the horizontal edge (12 pairs at a time). Next I pressed the pairs open, assembled 4-block units, finally stitched those together to form a 2-row strip.

I’m needing to be extremely focused while doing the pairing to make sure I’m reconstructing the block layout precisely. So far I’ve succeeded without having to take any stitching apart. I’ll have to be just as careful when I get back at the sewing later today!

I still think I want to add an appliqué of some sort because the panel seems unfinished – at least at this point. I still have no idea what I can add – I googled “watercolour quilts with appliqués” for ideas but everything I’ve seen doesn’t achieve the elegance I’m looking for. So once the panel is completed I may have to put it away and sleep on it for some time. I don’t think the panel wants a silhouette and a photo image printed on fabric won’t do either because the background is very busy. So I will just have to leave it for a while.

First Pass – “Watercolour” Quilt

I’ve just spent the past two hours trying to set up some kind of graduated layout using the 2″ squares I cut from the jellyroll I bought from Whims.

Not an easy task I discovered – 40 different fabrics (20 2″ squares of each) which I’d put in tonal groups in ziplock bags. Trying to keep track of what I used and what I had was not so straightforward.

Watercolour Quilt – First Pass at a Layout

This is my first graduated layout. I am thinking about sewing this together just to see how it turns out but I have no idea what I’d do with it after that! This array would end up about 16″ wide x 20″ long. Although I started with 40 different fabrics many are rather dull and not easy to incorporate into this layout.

Looking at the photo, now, I think I may rework this layout by extending the dark colours further to the right and see what else may be possible with the dull colours in the middle. That will mean collecting up squares from the same fabric, piling them to one side, then digging through the bags for more of squares that belong to the darker colours!

It’s gonna sit on my cutting table over night, and likely into the weekend before I actually time to take it apart and start over.

Modern Flowers – II

Just finished. I’ve spent the past four days stitching the edges of the appliqué – the leaves and flowers, and creating embroidered flower centres. It’s been slow but steady. Whereas I did a narrow quilt border on the previous version of this idea (flowers on a black/white background), this time I took the flowers to the border edge and decided to do a hidden binding so the cropping of the flowers was easily evident.

Modern Flowers – II (Wishing For Spring)

This version of the idea is brighter than the previous one. I could continue with variations on this theme, but I’m going to stop here. This is wall art piece #9 – I’m aiming to have 12 pieces completed by the end of July – so I’m getting close. On to other ideas.

Last week I cut a set of “watercolour” jellyroll strips in to 2″ blocks – I want to try doing some kind of “watercolour quilt” with the fabric squares – a wall art piece, actually, not a lap/throw quilt. I thought this would be a quick and easy project – not so sure now that I’m trying to lay out the squares in some kind of dark/light array.

There are quite a few people who are doing these quilts – there are any number of tutorials on how to make one. They use a special fusible gridded interfacing – not going to bother with that – I am planning on simply sewing the blocks together in rows based on the layout I create on my cutting table. Also many versions of these quilts use the “watercolour” piecing as a background for something else – I may end up doing something like that but I have no idea what the top appliqué elements might be at this point. Anyway, this is the next project I’m going to try – let you know how I get along!