Monday, January 23, 2017

Machine Embroidery Group Challenge

It is coming to the end of January, sort of. I have to have my piece for the February meeting done.
I decided to just DO IT. I have used an image from the internet.

At first I was going to crop another one, just focus on the tree trunks, as I have done some pieces on gum tree trunks in the past.

I saw something about doing crazy quilting, in non-traditional ways,  and thought I might do the tree trunk in that technique.
Lots of thinking, not much doing.

Then, I can't remember why, I decided to look at different images and came across another one that appealed to me.

So I have done some free motion sewing on soluble fabric, a bit of sewing onto fabric backed with interfacing and then sewed the free motion pieces onto the fabric.

LOTS of pins to stop it shrinking too much when the soluble fabric is dissolved. 

It is 'inspired by Hans Heysen'. I don't think I will be challenged on any copyright laws (not that it is for sale anyway). But the inspiration is definitely from his images.

I used fabric I already had, emptied some bobbins that still had thread on them and didn't buy anything to do this one. Still working on reducing my stash.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Playing with gesso and textiles.

I have been considering trying a new technique. I saw an interesting chapter in a book: exploring creative surfaces by Lynda Monk.
My machine embroidery group at the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria, had the theme water, and I thought I would try to use a new technique, seeing it was a small piece and was just for play.

The chapter I came across was Creative Surfaces with Scrim. I love scrim!
I started with some white scrim and ironed it onto some adhesive interfacing.
Then I put Gesso over it.

Then I painted it with acrylic paints.

I didn't really have much of an image in mind, I was just playing. And I don't have a lot of acrylic paint, so just used the primary colours and blended them. (I do have black and white too, of course.)

As the textile was rather thick, I wasn't game to use my machine on it. I hand sewed a little bit to make it fit our Water theme.

This photo was taken at a different time of day and is rather murky. The actual piece does look a bit better than this!

I have some rather ancient silk dyes. I thought I might as well get them out and see what happened. It seemed to be much stronger colours, but I also seem to have smoothed the gesso out a bit more.

Then I decided to paint the interfacing (why not?) with silk dyes.
I also played with a small bit of Tyvek (I got it in a kit many years ago, I only have a small piece.)
I adhered the Tyvek to the scrim with Vliesofix .
The heated Vliesofix (I used an iron) shrank and pulled the scrim a bit more.

 I then ironed it onto the adhesive interfacing, as I had done with the other pieces.

At this stage, there was no gesso, so I smeared a small bit next to the Tyvek and it took the silk dyes a little differently.

You can see that I have painted some Tyvek too, the piece on the left. I haven't done anything with it yet.

I haven't played with it since October.  I have been tidying up - a little bit and I came across this in my visual diary and thought I might give it a go again soon.

Still out in The Elements.

My small tapestry is in a flower pot at the moment, under the hollyhocks. They drop their flowers very conveniently into the pot - most of them fall in, some others are 'helped' into the pot.

There is some blue staining which is, presumably, coming from the flowers.

The flowers are starting to rot, which is putting some darker, murky colour onto the tapestry, I think. I am not sure if it will last if I ever decide to wash the tapestry. But it will be interesting to see.

There is still a month to go before I have to decide if I am going to enter it in the challenge. I'll wait and see what state it gets into by then.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mild Summer Days

I hope I haven't brought the mild days to an end by being happy about them!

It is that time of the year when we have had Christmas and New Year holidays, it is the summer holidays, Australia Day is coming up, the tennis and cricket are on and you lose track of the time.
And a lot of your friends are away.

It is the time when you think you are going to be creative, get stuck into things, and you don't.

So today, feeling a bit not-knowing-what-to-do, I went to Heide Museum of Modern Art, to see the exhibition there. We went to see the O'Keefe, Preston and Cossington-Smith: Making Modernism exhibition.
It was just what I needed - inspiring.

I took the camera along in 'just in case' we were allowed to take pictures but, of course, we weren't.

So I took a couple of consolation photos out in the gardens. It is a lovely spot, full of sculptures, people having a wonderful day, a vegetable and herb garden and just lovely surrounds.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Doing more in the hopes it will improve the idea

I have actually scheduled this post so I won't forget to do it on 17/1/17.  How organised am I?? (It is not as good as 7/1/17 but it is ok.)

It has been much nicer in the last week or so, weather-wise. Gorgeous summer days with cool nights.
The Australian Open tennis is on this week, so it will, of course, get hotter. I don't know how the players survive some of the conditions they are asked to play in.

But back to my interests ...

I have made some more little skeleton pieces. I laid them out on the, supposedly, finished piece I was not happy with.  The camera is a wonderful invention, especially the digital camera, where you don't have to pay to have the images printed (remember the old days??).

I tried a few different layouts and then decided on the one that I like best.

Can you notice the subtle difference? Such a big decision!

Now I have sewn them on and even put a border around it. That was traumatic, I hadn't given any consideration to how I would finish it off, I was just focused on how I might make the front of the small art quilt.

Keeping to my idea of only using what I have, I couldn't find any fabric that would be an ideal border. I wanted it to be muted and unobtrusive.

Fortunately, I have also been playing around with an idea for the 4th quilt in this fossils of Gondwana idea that I am currently working on. So I had some fabrics spread around for that. (More on that later, probably.) It occurred to me that a couple of them might make good borders. They didn't quite do the job I wanted. However, after I had done the sides, I realised that, if I used the second fabric, I might get a better effect. So now I have two different fabrics in the border. Not my usual thing but, as I kept telling myself, the quilt police aren't involved in this. I just have to do what I feel like doing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trying to beat the heat.

As I have already said (complained!), it was hot here recently. It came upon us rather suddenly too. We were having a lovely cool start to summer and then Christmas Day was HOT. We had no time to get used to it. It was hot for a while and I started to do some sewing to take my mind off it.

I tried to be creative during this time, when not preparing for Christmas celebrations, of course.
I am still working on my idea of fossils in the ground.
I am also trying to meld some of my recent experiments and workshops into a cohesive piece.

I looked around on the internet for images of fossils in rocks. Then I traced one image onto soluble fabric and free motioned it.

I made a background using Vliesofix and silk hankies that will look like rocks (I hope). Then I put the skeletons onto that background and free motion quilted it.

I did lay out some of it one hot day and was not popular with the family as I had to turn off the cooling while I laid out the silk, it kept blowing away and being very annoying. So I had to work quickly to get it in place and then turn on the cooling again.

That was a couple of weeks ago now - how time flies, even when you are not having a good time.

I have done some of the quilting but was not happy with the outcome, it seemed rather sparse and the image didn't pop out. More work to do. That is the beauty of small quilts. Not too much effort is wasted if you don't like the outcome.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Inspired by Art

My machine embroidery group has come up with the idea of doing a small piece each month, based on a famous artist.
January is based on John Olsen. I saw his exhibition, The You Beaut Country, recently and really enjoyed it.
I have come to my artistic life rather late, so don't know many famous artists. This year should be a great learning time.

I found an image I liked as my inspiration.
I didn't want to copy it, just be inspired. But it is hard to not copy! It inspires because I like it.

I have used some techniques from recent workshops.
I started with a small piece of silk that I dyed a while ago, using oxalis flowers. The whole work is only going to be A5, half of a piece of paper. So not a lot of fabric was required.

I ironed it onto a piece of fusible interfacing.

Then I used some small bits of Vliesofix that I had kept, left over from previous works. I teased out a layer of a silk hankie and ironed that to the Vliesofix.

Next I teased out some pieces of raw, dyed silk I have.
(I decided to only use things I already had, no purchasing at all - not a problem on a hot day when I didn't want to go out anyway.)

I used the very thick wadding that I bought recently, after a workshop.

I also used some thrums from my weaving and some novelty yarns I have had for years. (I only ever use tiny bits of yarn in my sewing, so it will last for many more years I think.)

It all came together rather well. I think it was because it was so hot and I just decided I needed to be doing something to take my mind off the heat. It is also rather small and not getting it right would not be a disaster - quite a good way to be trying things out, really. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Have to post today!

Today's date is great - 7/1/17 (7117)
It is hot today, I have left my tapestry out in the heat. Someone suggested that I might singe it with flame but I think the sun is plenty hot enough and can carry the element of fire for me.
I have taken it out of the earth for the time being, am just letting it bake in the sun. I might try putting some leaves or other big thing that might work as a stencil/resist and see if that has any effect. I doubt it but I will try it anyway.
I am about to go out and hang the washing, the first things will probably be dry by the time I hang it all out. Ah, Summer!

Even the flowers are getting burnt.

The hollyhocks are throwing heaps of flowers down onto the ground and I am valiantly collecting them. Now I just have to think about what I want to do with them, and when.
At least I have discovered that the dried up flowers do produce colour, so I don't have to race out first thing every morning to get them before the sun gets to them.

But first I have to get over the heat and find some energy.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Work in Progress

Happy New Year.
One of my group posted that she is working away on her tapestry for The Elements challenge.
Mother Nature is doing a lot of the work for me. And she has been doing an excellent job of providing fire (heat), air and water lately!!

I thought I would check on how things are going.
Buried in the earth. You can just see the top corners.

The back, much lighter than the top.

The front of the piece. Not smelling too bad yet.

Not sure if this is progress or not. The small purple bits from the hollyhock flowers seem to have disappeared. Oh well, it is only an experiment.