MQG is Loving the Improv Charity Quilt We Made

The Balancing Change quilt my guild made for Quiltcon 2016 was truly improvisational from beginning to end.
At each step, we improvised and modified. Even the quilting wasn’t decided until the quilt was on the frame. But at each step we kept basic design theory in mind.

Balancing Changes - San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild 2016 Challenge Charity Quilt , view of quilt front.
Balancing Changes – San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild 2016 Challenge Charity Quilt , view of quilt front.

The Balancing Change quilt my guild made for Quiltcon 2016 was truly improvisational from beginning to end.

We knew we wanted to make a quilt for the Quiltcon Charity Challenge that embodies how random things become organized, how chaos ends up organizing and balancing out in the end. In the greater San Antonio Texas area 2015 saw an overwhelming amount of destruction, Wimberly flooding probably being the worst. I think we did succeeded.

In our first sew-in, we all talked about ideas and we decided a triangle, the symbol of change, would be important imagery. We also discussed traditional blocks that we could use as inspiration, specially the churn dash, as a symbol of change. I saw this an an opportunity for me to get a beta ‘test’ of a improvisational ruleset I am working on to publish (more on that in a future post.) We added a few more rules such as scissors only, no rulers. For at least half of our group, this was a very uncomfortable situation. We all knew this quilt would expand our horizons.

Our first go around resulted in an interesting mess that didn’t inspire us to move further. We looked at it and moved parts around and it just didn’t work. So we let it rest for about a month in order to let our creative juices get to work.

2015-BalancingChange-3
Balancing Changes, view of quilt back.

Sarah Jimenez found a sketch of a black and white triangle with a couple of bars all done in pencil. It began a conversation about the concept of balancing. We considered two bars, but felt that it could be taken as a political statement and we wanted to avoid that even though there is much chaos in politics. We wanted this to be about the abstract concept of changes affecting us and not about a specific idea. Instead of directing the thoughts of the viewer, we wanted our quilt stimulate and open those thoughts.

I had also been reading a lot of design theory and wanted to apply some ideas of depth and movement through relative sizes and layering of objects.
Sarah and I worked together to combine the ideas into the final layout.

Taking the design concept of depth one step further during the quilting process I applied comic book drawing theory. In comic books line value and thickness are often used to indicate depth of field. Thinner lines with color value closer to the background indicates farther away from the viewer while bolder thicker more color value difference indicates closer to the viewer. So I used a variety of very thin 60 wt threads, and thicker 50wt and 40wt threads when quilting. I had planned on using 30wt thread too, but it required mechanically adjusting my machine to accommodate the very thick needle. There was not enough time to get out the tools before the quilt had to be in Pasadena for Quiltcon 2016. I plan on trying the thread weight ideas on a future quilt though. The idea intrigues me.

This quilt really pushed our group to get out of our comfort zone and to really think about improv as a concept that still requires design theory application to get a great results. We are all happy with the outcome. We all learned a lot. I hope this group will do this again!

 

MQG talks about it on Instagram

#quiltconcharityquilt, #quiltcon, #improvquilting, #quiltcon2016, #quiltconcharitychallenge

There Is A Philosophy of Monoprinting?

Glad I asked me that…

There is serendipity and a leap of faith in the act of monoprinting. Faith is something we all need more of.

Most printmaking is all about making hundreds or thousands of copies of something all the same. Mono printing isn’t like that at all. The genius of monoprinting is that it is a one shot deal. Every print you make will differ.

In mono printing, you spread paint on a surface and transfer it to another surface. You can manipulate the paint in-between if you wish. You can manipulate the surface you put the paint on and you can manipulate the surfaces you press onto the paint. But you can never identically reproduce the exact same chaotic placement of every bit of paint. You can make things similar, but never identical. So you can make coordinating prints that look really good together for triptychs or series of art objects.

All that similar but different concept attracts me to it. Kinda like how I am attracted to people. I love that people are different. If we all were the same and had all the same ideas, and all the same way of doing things, the world would be a really boring place. Monoprinting also appeals to the scientist in me. One of my favorite classes had a section on chaos theory and how organization comes from disorganization. Monoprinting is a bit like that.

You could put paint right on the fabric but it just won’t look the same as monoprinting. You would lose that bit of specialness that monoprinting imparts. There is a spontaneity that we should all have in life and monoprinting is a kind of physical evidence of how a little chaos results in something wonderful.

Monoprinting can also change a fabric, it can tone down one that is too wild or it can add energy and interest to a fabric that is dull or boring. Sometimes a little dab of paint will do it. Same with people, animals, and things. All our experiences rub off on us and change us a little bit. Every encounter we have changes us a bit, every encounter changes the fabric. The more I think about it… there is a philosophy we can learn from monoprinting.

Once I get out of my introspective mood, I’ll write up another post about my low budget monoprinting presentation soon.

Creatives Worldwide Blog Hop

As you all know, I’m a fan of Rose Hughes and her fast piece applique method. I have all her books and I can’t recommend them enough for anyone wanting to get into art quilting. She is now participating in a blog hop with this . I decided to follow along too.

Four questions to answer and I think it might clarify some things in my mind.

#1 What am I working on?
I’m working on four projects concurrently. The first is my giant rainbow elephant applique that is currently on my long arm. The second is a first time attempt at a drunkards path. I’m a member of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild and so I’m using a ‘modern’ ashy grey solid and mixing it with my beloved batik. All shades of blue in this case. I have no idea how it’s going to come out. Currently the blocks are all over my dining room table while I get inspired as I move them around. Hubby calls this “working on your puzzle”. The third thing I”m working on is a “fast piece appliqued” sea-horse art quilt. My friend Carol wanted to learn how to do it and so we each picked out a scene to do. We’ve got the piecing done but not the couching and quilting. I can never be working on just one thing at a time. I love having something arty that needs embellishing around that is portable so I can work on it in the car or on a plane. The fourth thing on my quilty agenda is outlining and making samples for my free motion quilting class that I’m teaching in November. I decided having some sample of thread tension and speed related issues would be nice to show. I think it’s like doing a foot book or a stitch out of all the stitches one’s machine can do. I’m learning a lot. The process of teaching and prepping to teach is very educational to me. It’s making me grow and be a better quilter myself.

#2 How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I supposed I don’t have a style yet. I’m still learning, trying other’s methods and muxing them together to invent easier ways of doing them. So I don’t know that it differs, other than I really mix it up a lot and you’ll find lots of different techniques on my work. Right now, you probably won’t see anything done the same way twice either. I don’t really like rules. So I suppose free form and rule free is more the way I do things. Though my drunkards path quilt now has a lot of straight lines between the blocks. hmm… guess I’m breaking my personal ‘rules’ too.

#3 Why do I create what I do?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. But most of all, I get inspired when I’m told I can’t do things “that way” or “that’s not going to work” or “no one does it that way” or “that’s not art.” Hearing statements like that just fire me up and make me want to prove that it can and is and is possible.

#4 How does my creative process work?
With my career in coding and web design work, I have always had the philosophy “work hard now, so I can be lazy later.” That translates to thinking about things a lot before starting work. I would rather get it right the first time and have a plan for dealing with the problems than get blind sided by issues later and have to apply a lot of bandaids to the code. Do it right the first time, so it wouldn’t have to be redone a second time. Take the time to do it right. That said, my philosophy, while great for programming, can get in the way of art. What ends up happening is that I tend to ponder on something for way too long before I go for it. But I am not fixed once set on a path. I also tend to switch strides in the middle of a plan and morph it into something else, something better.

Pet Post Cards

SAMQG is doing pet post cards as a charity outreach project and the cards will be available at the Houston Quilt Show 2014. I was inspired to make these by a memory of my bad cat who tormented my fish. Actually, I always thought the fish were tormenting the cat. He never managed to catch a fish. Though he did get wet.

My Bad Cat Pet Post Cards
My Bad Cat Pet Post Cards

We made post cards that used all kinds of techniques. My Bad Cats are raw edge appliqué and have a rat tail cord art quilt edging method to finish them off.

The rat tail cord edging is actually pretty easy. First use a narrow long zig zag to seal off the edges of your quilt sandwich. Then widen your stitch just a teeny bit, lay a rat tail cord right next to and touching the edge and zig zag it on the quilt. THEN, widen your stitch just a bit more and change the length so it is not quite a satin stitch. Since you stitched around twice already, there is enough thread already laid down that a true satin stitch won’t be necessary for a neat and pretty finish.

I’ll show in some future post how to make the ends of your rat tail edge meet up nicely.

Detailed Information about the Free Form Table Runner Class Feb 22, 1014

The Free Form Table Runner class being offered Feb 22, 2014 from 10 am to 2 pm. at the Texas Art League Gallery. Sign up at the Gallery. There will be a break for lunch, you can bring your lunch or some students may wish to work on their project so we arrange for lunch from the Coffee Shop, or perhaps a taco run. Iced tea and water available during the class.

Click here for PDF to
save and download.
TALfiberart-tablerunnerfreeform
For more detailed information, Please click on this image for a pdf you can save and print. This flyer will also be available in the Texas Art League Gallery; and, in the Watermelon Shop next door if the Gallery is closed.

The Gallery has limited hours but is open most afternoons Tuesday – Saturday. They would really appreciate more volunteers who would like docent at the gallery so that it may open more hours of the day.

The Texas Art League Gallery is at at 509 E Davis Street, Luling, Texas 78648.

Improving on the idea

A more developed sketch of my landscape for the window
A more developed sketch of my landscape for the window including the window frame.

The middle of the night sketch was really rough, but it was enough to remind me of my thought image. So I improved upon it. I drew this on freezer paper. The kind of freezer paper that is plastic on one side and rough bright white paper on the other. I like the size of the freezer paper and I can tear off as short or long a piece as I want. Plus it’s great for foundation paper peicing. I use it to cover countertops to keep them clean from wet messes. Truly freezer paper is probably the most versatile tool for any kind of crafter or artist. And it’s pretty cheap too!

art, quilt, landscape, teacher, inspiration, howto
Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes made it possible to bring my idea to reality.

About the same time I drew this idea out, I found a book which really lit up my world. The book was Rose Hughe’s Dream Landscape book about art quilts and her methods. I thought it was the perfect thing to try to make my idea a reality. I modified my sketch and also made a copy of it at full size to match the exact size of the window based on her book.

Design considerations

I decided this year to learn more about “design”. So I bought a highly rated book about the topic. Though I decided instead of paint, that I would use my scrap fabric. This lesson was on how tone and color can affect the brains initial interpretation of size and depth (near or far location of an object). Also about how texture can do the same.
Also on how color can disrupt those impressions or distort them.

Look at the next three samples. They have elements laid out the same of the same size and shapes. Ask your self which element is nearer to me? Which element is biggest, which one is smallest? Do this for each image.20130604-014052.jpg

20130604-014318.jpg

20130604-014352.jpg

20130604-014410.jpgThe idea that texture can affect perspective is because naturally we can see more details when objects are closer to us. So lots of texture is interpreted as being closer physically than something that has no texture. Something to keep,in mind in a landscape quilt. You could use two to tonally equal fabrics, but have one with more texture, or denser more complicated patterning in the print. Your brain will ‘think’ its closer.