Creating texture with lines

Amazing how experiences tie together. Last weekend I was in Seattle briefly and visited the Seattle Art Museum. I wanted a chance to view their exhibit, Graphic Masters: Durer, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogwarth, Picasso and A. Crumb, before it closed this coming week. I loved studying the work of artists like Albrecht  Durer whose prints were amazingly detailed. Check out the complexity of this portion of The Crucifixion by Durer and how he accomplishes form and texture through simple lines.

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When I returned home, as I continued to work on  the cottage window, I remembered Durer’s use of lines and focused on both density of line and open space as I completed the quilting.

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I am quite pleased with the results and will be happy to include it in the Irish series that I am definitely creating.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can check out other artists.

 

 

Play time!

Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens.
It renews our natural sense of optimism
and opens us up to new possibilities.
Stuart Brown, MD

While back in upstate New York last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Strong National Museum of Play.

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Having spent an afternoon immersed in Sesame Street, Star Wars, train sets and a pretend grocery store, I found it difficult to return home and not remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” And so, I took some time to hike to a beautiful view not far from my new home.

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Inspired, I returned to my studio and got down to business. One of my first projects was to quilt Aspen III. I had written about  Aspen II a few weeks ago. Aspen III is a foot square version where I chose to highlight different aspects of the image with my FMQ. Here you can see the results even though I have yet to bind it. I am especially pleased with my treatment of snow in this version.

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I am really enjoying quilting with Hobbs wool batting and silk. It is allowing me to really play with texture options in my quilting. Currently, I am working on another piece which will become part of a series on the West Coast of Ireland. This is a window from the cottage that I quilted and wrote about several years ago and that I was able to photograph in detail on trip in late 2014. You can see from this photo of a section of the piece that creating texture through selective stitching is playing a large part in this composition.

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Can’t wait to play some more!

 

Adventures in Cutting

Remember this Irish Cottage?

RootsI loved creating this piece. The ‘construction’ of the cottage was the most enjoyable part of the process but I struggled a lot with the landscaping surrounding the building. It works but is not what I really envisioned…..

Last September I had the chance to return to the west coast of Ireland and visit my ancestor’s cottage once more. I took countless photos and recently picked one for one more possible art quilt.

BunloughThis time I decided to deal with my foibles on those bushes up front. Before even cutting a full size muslin backing, I began experimenting with portraying those grasses.

 

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Beginning with some greens for a background, I began cutting shapes to lay over it. The approach held some promise so I continued to experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly I have been adding to the complexity of the grasses. I still have a way to go in tweaking this technique, but  you can see from the three photos below the potential of layering mixtures of fabrics cut in random patterns.

 

Grasses_3grasses_4Grasses_5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which brings me to last Sunday morning when someone on a morning talk program did a brief piece on a current show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Entitled “Henri Matisee: The Cut-Outs”, it is a presentation of works by Matisse later in his life – all cut out from paper. Even before Matisse turned to creating solely in paper, he often used cut outs to arrange the composition of his paintings I had to smile. I felt a special kinship with this amazing artist. I have always admired his work…undoubtedly in studying it, without consciously realizing it, I was probably absorbing some of his approach. Here is just one example of his brilliance with cut paper that I found on the web from the Fondation Beyeler Museum.

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ALGUE BLANCHE SUR FOND ROUGE ET VERT, 1947

That Sunday morning program also mentioned a chapel in southern France that Matisse designed later in life and thought it was the crowning glory of his work. That sent me searching a bit on the web. The chapel is the Chapelle du Rosaire and it is pristine. You can find some photos here but, better yet, I found a video from the BBC Modern Masters series in 2010, in which Alastair Sooke visits the Chapelle du Rosaire. It is really worth watching.

Where my own experimentation with grasses will ultimately lead is yet uncertain. At this point, I know enough to move on to attending to other areas of my future piece, gathering fabrics and playing with nuances. I will keep you posted in the coming weeks.  🙂

As always, linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Hopping Around the World

This week I am delighted to be participating in the Around the World Blog Hop.  I was invited by Deborah Lynn Stanley and you can read her blog hop post here. The theme of the hop is to answer some questions about our creative process. I found it  a great opportunity to stop and consider my own artistic journey so here goes!

What am I working on?

I have been working on art quilts for about seven years. Late last year I began to study hand stitching with Karen Ruane. I am currently taking a class entitled Simply Stitch 5 with Karen. It is a free form class via the internet where the student is a ‘fly on the wall’ in Karen’s studio while she works. You have a choice of working on what Karen is working on or doing your own thing with feedback from Karen and other students. We use Flickr for posting photos of our process and receiving comments. I have found that this approach to learning works wonderfully for me. I travel back and forth between upstate New York and Spokane Washington regularly so I need a flexible learning arrangement.

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As part of Karen’s class, I have just started to create a cloth that will be comprised of men’s handkerchiefs embellished with feminine touches. I have just finished my first ‘block’ which added lace trim and french knots to a blue handkerchief. I love the color combination and the feel of working with these fibers and am going to be really curious to see how this develops as I embellish more handkerchiefs!

 

Ghost Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always have an art quilt in process and have been working on a piece on deforestation for an upcoming Call for Entry. I don’t usually work on pieces for specific Calls but this was a topic that interested me and so I used the Call as an opportunity to make a statement through my art. Here is a peak at one of the ‘ghost trees’ that I have designed to wander through a devastated landscape. I have hand stitched mulberry paper backed with roving onto a hand dyed organza background.

 

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Hmmm. My art quilts are reaching out more and more beyond the use of cloth fibers to get the effect I need. For example, in my art quilt, Roots, I use wire for the fencing near the cottage.

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Why Do I Create What I Do?

That is simple: – to make a statement. It may be about something I observe in the world. Often, I am capturing a moment in time either from my travels or my life that had significance to me. I hope that my art will touch others and invoke emotion in them. My art is my means of reaching out and communicating with others.

A trip to Antarctica a few years ago is a great example of how my travels have inspired my work. I was deeply touched by the beauty of ice in that intriguing world. To date, I have created a number of art quilts out of my Antarctic experience and I am sure more will surface. Journey is a good example and you can find others here on my website.

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How Does My Wriitng/Creating Process Work?

Ideas for my art often come during meditation. I also take a lot of photographs as I travel. Something in a photo will capture my attention – it may be the light, certain shapes, or the overall essence of a particular place. Over time, I get a clearer image in my mind of what a particular piece might look like. From there I will either begin sketching with an idea of creating an art quilt from unique fibers, or I may decide to play with a photographic image in Photoshop with a goal of printing the image on cloth for stitching.

At some point along the way, the art work itself ‘takes over’ the creative process. I listen to it as I work and follow the direction it dictates. Sounds crazy but if I don’t listen, I grow intensely dissatisfied with the piece.

Linking to Talented Friends

As part of the hop, I get to invite some friends to join in next week. The three who will be posting next week are:

Jeanne Marklin – Jeanne and I both have a passion for travel.  We attended SAQA’s annual conference in 2013 together and I quickly appreciated the depth of her knowledge of the fiber art world. Her art quilts are stunning and she is masterful dyer. Be sure to check out her blog and her website today and again next week.

Diane Miller – Diane and I are members of RAFA, Rochester Area Fiber Artists. She is constantly exploring and creating amazing art quilts and jewelry. You can see examples on her blog.

Regina Dunn – Regina and I met over the internet as we participated in SAQA’s Vision Project. I love Regina’s enthusiasm to explore new methods and her talent to in writing about her process on her blog. She will be writing a post for the hop next week. In the meantime, you can see some of her work on her website.

More Blogs to Discover

There have been many exciting participants in the hop in the past weeks. Here are links to a few so you can enjoy learning about them:

I hope that you all enjoy this opportunity to explore what all these amazing artists are accomplishing.

Roots

Irish Cottage, Bunlough, Devlin North, County Mayo, Ireland

2013

25.5″ x 32″

Not For Sale

Fused appliqué with free motion quilting/thread painting and a bit of jewelry wire.

This quilt depicts the remnants of a cottage on the West Coast of Ireland in Bunlough, Devlin North, County Mayo. The cottage was still standing two years ago when my cousin took a photo of it. It figures prominently in  my family history and why my grandmother moved to the U.S.

Detail image – click to view larger:

Roots, detail