Archive for the ‘Surface Design’ Category

Becoming a rose hip

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Off and on for the past couple of weeks I have been dyeing fabric, drawing or photoshopping images to make thermofax screens, and finally working on collaging the background for the rose hip, the large (36″ square) version. To those of you have landed here from my new newsletter, thank you! To those of you who don’t know about my new newsletter, please go here to the home page and sign up! I will write about mid-month and will never share your info!

When I last checked in with you, I was just getting to this stage–finishing the rose hip on a flat surface.
The next step was dyeing some greens. Kinda looks like pond scum, eh?

While I was at it, I used up the leftover dye for some autumn-y leaf colors for a future project.
Some of the fabrics turned out great–alas, most of these didn’t work for this piece. AND I got smart…I am now adding tags with the pure dyes used in each piece so I have a clue if I ever want to make them again.

Next, working on thermofax screens. This is the photo of a chicken at the Common Ground Fair last September–as soon as I saw the strong light and dark I thought “Thermofax screen!”
And here it is after photoshopping. It made a fabulous fabric, very dark tone on tone, that I’ve used in the background. Alas, I forgot tot akee pics before I cut it up!
I also wanted to make a texture similar to Rugosa rose leaves, so this is my initial sketch, which became a screen.
I tend to work in batches, so while I was making those screens, I made several others. That one on the right, the feathers, is about 20 inches long! The snow is for another future quilt.

These are the transparent paints I mixed, with a little black, to use for the rugosa texture on the rose leaves.
Here’s one of the leaves…..
And the two large leaves, in place. The long one on the left is about 18 inches long. Alas, after looking at it this morning, I have decided those two leaves are too dark and have to go. Back to the dye pots once this post and my newsletter are done! I’ll use the fabric for something else eventually.
LOVED the batik but knew ordering it that it was too high contrast for my process. A little Dye-Na-Flow and ProSilk textile paints fixed that easily: overpaint in green!
And where I am now. I want the quilt to be dramatic, but it feels to dark overall. The smaller version has brighter green leaves and I’ve decided I need to dye something that is midway between the medium-light hand-dyes on my shelf and the dark green used here. Or use some fabric Lisa Walton gave me years ago…I think her bits of green are just right, especially once I add some texture.

So that’s about it for now….thanks for surfing in, share the post, and let others know about the newsletter. I’d love to ramp up my teaching again, and the best way to do that is by showing my work and getting the word out there. Now, off to make cookies for the guys roofing the house in freezing weather, then down to the studio.

Busy busy busy

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

Do you ever have those days where you are trying to cram so much into one day you think your head will explode? Yeah. Today!

Rose Hips, large version, testing leaf fabrics
The best news is that the greens will work! This is my enormous rose hip in progress. The 12″ square “test drive” and demo sample is on the left. The big one will finish 36″ tall, probably square, possibly not.

So far today:

  • Rinse out hand-dyes from yesterday, hand wash
  • Machine wash and dry hand-dyes from yesterday, iron
  • View SAQA Webinar on 3-D artwork considerations
  • Create “artwork” for three simple thermofax screens
  • Add more things to the To Do list as remembered
  • Scan said artwork
  • Manipulate said artwork in Photoshop, sent to printer
  • Eat lunch
  • Send email relating to upcoming The Quilt Show appearance
  • Review email and reply as appropriate
  • Refill RX–call it in
  • Think about booking plane tickets for TQS trip, decide to deal with it later
  • Make another pot of tea — perhaps turn on Father Brown on PBS / recorded
  • Think about making thermofax screens today
  • Think about making stew for supper first instead
  • Decide to blog before dealing the three previous thoughts
Test drive background fabrics for large Rose Hip quilt
These are both the fused or the right side of fabrics I’ll possibly use as background pieces. Some clearly need some over-painting to knock down the high contrast.

So that’s my Saturday…how is yours going? I think I’d prefer a novel with that (decaf) tea right about now, and it’s only 2:12 p.m. I need to “set a spell!”

Getting ready for the next quilt….the herald of summer in Maine

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Before I can start in on the fusing and collaging process, I find that I now need to dye fabric specifically for a project.   While working on my Lilies of the Valley Quilt, I used up most of my good “summer” greens.   My next piece is for Explorations at the New England Quilt Museum (in Lowell, Mass.), a regional SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) show.  I’ve had several ideas I wanted to try for this piece, and really wanted to push myself to do something different and unexpected.  Unfortunately, those ideas are just not wanting to fit into the required vertical orientation and size required!   So I’m going to do a large piece on something I’ve been wanting to do for a while:  Maine’s lupines that bloom in late May and early June and herald the summer.

SAQA members from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were invited to submit a body of work.  If selected, artists would then make a 30×50″ art quilt featuring a specific technique.  We were advised to submit several techniques, so I suggested dyeing, fused collage and machine quilting/threadwork.   I am delighted that I am one of 24 artists selected!  There will be two exhibits of 12 artists each.  We won’t know whether we will be in the Oct-Dec 2018 exhibit or the Jan-April 2019 exhibit until the works are completed and submitted August 1.  That means I need to work FAST!

I was chosen to showcase fused collage.  The exhibit is about techniques, with in depth information and supplementary materials.  From the acceptance letter:

In the exhibit, your piece will be accompanied by a number of items, including your artist statement, a brief bio, a photo of you in your studio, and materials which explain your technique. Each artist has a 20″ x 50″ area that they can use to explain their process. You can use process photos, sample pieces, written materials, even video presentations if you can figure out how to make it work.

But before I can fuse, I need the right COLORS to fuse.   Some years ago I made some cloth that I gave to my friend Kathy, who used it is a fabulous portrait of her granddaughter.   I thankfully kept notes of which dyes I used, and I call this combination “Kathy’s fabric.”  This time, I decided to make it not as dark—summer meadow greens instead of piney woods greens.

I start by dotting dye on, both navy and basic blue. I literally stick my latex-gloved fingers into the dye and daub it on. MANY classes with Carol Soderlund and many MANY yards of fabric and miles later, I can begin to predict what I will get because I tend to refer to my notes and books from the workshops, then go improv.

Then I add two or three yellows, because not just one will quite do what I want. Sometimes, I do a second cloth, as here, where I have actually mixed some greens instead of just doing yellow on blue.

For dye geeks, most of the time I prefer to paint dye onto cloth, then paint soda-ash/fixer solution on top, but this time I soda-soaked first, then daubed on the color.  When I want significant patterning, it’s soda-soak first.

The photo at the top of this post is the one which began with blue dots, then yellow, then greens.

Once I’ve gotten the color on, the fabric needs to batch so it moves under the table for several hours before washout, sometimes (as this time) overnight. Had to make some of my bright spring greens, too.

Then I decided to try to make a field with lupines in it, but blurry, to use as background at the top of the quilt.  I may have messed this one up…..

Sky at the top–good until I put some plastic over the top to batch it overnight. Apparently SOB there were stray dots of dye that didn’t get washed off properly last dyeing session. SOB.

This is what it looked like about six hours later. I like the way the dye is seeping up into the sky. This is when I covered it. SOB.  And most of those dots got covered up. 

This morning when uncovered. SOB. Random specks of pink in the sky. SOB. Will have to see after washout what remains.  Cover it up with tall lupines perhaps.  SOB.

I also decided to try ice dyeing for the first time, inspired by my friend Jim Vander Noot. I used a magazine holder because it was available to keep the fabric up out of the pooling, dripping dye (instead of a screen). Put another piece of cloth in the bottom of the tub to soak up the drips. I use pure dyes, not mixes which is more typical for ice dyeing, so I kinda winged it on this one. I sprinkled the dyes in the picture below on, then dribbled some yellow dye solution I had already mixed up as well.

Dyes sprinkled on.

Today I washed out….stuff in the washer now.  OH MY I am SOOOOOOO gonna do more ice dyeing…totally hooked!   Hope they look as spectacular washed and dried as they did rinsed out!

Stay tuned for an update.

And…gratuitous cat pic of the new kitten, Zabu (named after the Leapin’ lemur on Zoboomafu which the boys watched when they were little)

Sweetness, to be followed when awake by zooming and cavorting and wreaking kitty havoc.

#saqa, #fabriccollage, #artquilt,#artistsoninstagram, #fusedfabric

#saqaexplorations, #neqmexplorations, #saqa, #neqm, #saqamari

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Words –> Power –> Action

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Two and a half weeks ago, I came across a Jimmy Fallon re-working of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ on Facebook and Youtube (hear it here–really LISTEN to the lyrics).  I was so moved by it that I wanted to create a quilt based on the song, but realized there were all those pesky copyright issues with using Fallon’s lyrics, so instead I created this quick piece to capture the spirit of the re-worked song. I pretty much never just drop everything and make a quilt this rapidly, but I just had to do it. I have titled it Words –> Power –> Action because, as our mothers told us, words have power.  Over the past two years, the election cycle, the results, and the first year of the current Presidency, have galvanized many so many of us. I have changed.  Legions of us have changed.

Words–>Power–>Action, © 2018 SarahAnn Smith

 

As a US Foreign Service Officer, I was not allowed to participate in partisan politics (federal regulations) because our job was (and should be) to serve ALL Americans.  I was used to keeping my mouth shut.  As a national level quilting teacher and artist, I felt it was better to keep politics and religion out of the classroom (and still do), so I kept my mouth shut.  But the past 20+ months have convinced me that I must speak out.  My quilt about the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017 was my first overtly political quilt.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017.

I’ve been so distressed about the polarization and apparent lack of civility, compassion and understanding, of tolerance for differing views, that the past two years have been pretty depressing.  Our political climate has made me angry and galvanized me to take action and speak out.  Inspired by Fallon’s lyrics I went in search of quotes.  I’ll share all of them after each detail photo in which they appear.

I began like our nation, with revolutionary words from the US Declaration of Independence, which are written at the top of my brick wall (yes, I have the Pink Floyd lyrics “another brick in the wall” running on loop in my head, along with the phrase “the writing is on the wall”–I resisted the temptation to use that as a title!).  I dyed fabric to be a wall, using cold wax (from ProChem, and can’t find it any more on their website!) to create a resist for the mortar.  The backing is dyed cement grey.  The edges are raw, like my nerves and emotions (and those of so many others), torn on both the top and backing, with a tiny bit of batting peeking out and scruffed up.

The top portion of Words–>Power–>Action . There are more visible bits of words and phrases, and longer quotes written in lighter ink behind, as if they were fading graffiti.

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Speak Up, Speak Out
  • get woke
  • We the People
  • Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.  Barack Obama

Background quotes:

  • Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedwhenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  US Declaration of Independence
  • We did not come to fear the future.  We came here to shape it.  B. Obama

Closer view of the center of Words–>Power–>Action with quilting that I hope simulates the rough texture of brick.

Center portion of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Take a knee
  • Listen
  • Reach Out
  • #metoo
  • When they go low, we go high.  Michelle Obama

Background quote:

  • We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.  B. Obama

Center bottom of Words–>Power–>Action .

Bottom right of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.  Hillary Clinton
  • Vote!  Get Involved
  • Courage can be contagious.  Michelle Obama
  • e  Pluribus Unum (for non-US readers, this phrase comes from our Founding Fathers and means out of Many, One which represents who we are as a nation, a government of the people, by the people and for the people)

Background quote:

  • here in America we are waging a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thanks for reading this far.  I hope you like it.

 

 

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QA TV Series 2000, including me, is now on air!

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Hi everyone…a quick pop-in to share that Quilting Arts TV has begun airing.   Check with your local PBS station to find out when it will air in your area.  In Maine, it will be on Maine Public’s Create channel (I think).  If you’re like me and don’t have access to a PBS station (grumble) that airs it, you can download the episodes or series at Interweave, here.  I’ve even got a new badge:

Sarah’s on Quilting Arts TV again, Episodes 2001, 2007 and 2012.

 

I’ll be talking about my journey from hobbyist to professional in the industry (Episode 2001), how to get crisp corners when facing art quilts (Episode 2007), and  my way of using thermofax screens to blend collaged fabrics prior to quilting (Episode 2012).  I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me–nothing of mine is earth shattering, but not much in life is.  It’s the little tweaks and changes that make the difference, and I hope my tips and techniques will improve your quilting and life.

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