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Monday, July 29, 2013

Preparing For Festival Of Quilts...

...continues apace, making up kits for the workshops and finishing off samples and new pieces of work to hang on the stand, to give you an idea of what I'm up to, and about to write about next, to boot.  One of the workshops I'm teaching this time is called 'Take Two Shapes (...and a Line)', and it's about making your own appliqué designs.  I don't suppose I'm particularly associated with appliqué, but I frequently use fusible appliqué in my work, though it is never the focus.  Over the years, I've watched people make ever more complex applique designs; for myself, though, I prefer to keep things simple.  Dear Jane has nothing to fear from me... I'm more likely to make and use abstract and naive designs.  I admire realism, but I'm more interested in suggesting a flower, than describing its every detail in cloth.

I've always thought that there were two ways of working.  In one, you start of with a picture in your mind of what you want to achieve, and then you render it.  This sort of artist keeps copious sketchbooks, plans a lot and often frets at the end if what they make is not exactly what they envisaged.  And then there's people like me.  I like starting at the other end, with no definite plan.  I start with a simple shape, and I play with it, get to know it.  Cut it up.  Combine it.  See what it naturally suggests.  And then, I develop a design or series of designs, based on those ideas.  It's a bit like an exploration.  And yes, I too keep copious sketchbooks (and then totally fail to refer to them...sigh).

Often, I combine two shapes, in a variety of ways, and then think about stitch, which creates the line.
The quilt above is a case in point.  I'm very fond of penny rugs, which were made from felted wool scraps, and, whilst called rugs, were really bed or table covers.  I wanted to make something that referred to that tradition, without necessarily following it slavishly.  So... I took two shapes, a circle and a square.  The cloth is Evolon, which I've rust dyed and then acid dyed.

 The squares are beads; the large ones are made of glass.  It's a (very small) wholecloth, about 12" square; the line, in this case, was first hand quilting, and then, because that wasn't strong enough, I couched sari yarn along the lines.  So now, I have two lots of squares; the beads, and the suggestion of squares made by the lines.  I like the idea of using embellishments like beads and buttons as an integral part of the applique design, rather than added on at the end, because it seems like a good idea...

If this is sounding like a cross between a tutorial and an advert, it is.  I'm teaching this particular three hour workshop on Thursday and Saturday mornings, and there are still places if you would like to come and explore with me, I'd be delighted to see you!  More about all the workshops can be found here.

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