Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Choices, And A Decision

Let me start by saying, holy cow...

... chartreuse has arrived! Finally I'm pleased and I think Mom will be, too. These fifteen yards are going to make a gorgeous rag-rug!

Also, I want to thank all of you for your amazing and innovative suggestions for completing my latest piece. I frequently use the phrase, "The Brain Trust" when describing to friends and family the community of quilters and artists I am fortunate enough to hang out with. This is not without good reason... no smoke being blown up your skirts, here. The breadth and depth of your quilting knowledge alone is extraordinary, but you each have a very deep bench because you've also got a passionate, intense artistry that is immensely inspiring. Thank you all for your willingness to share what you know and feel with the rest of us!

I went back and forth for days about how best to give this piece a proper finish. It has become, for now, My Latest Favorite, and I wanted very much to honor the spirit in which it was made, and my thought processes as I was constructing it. I did over-think it, in the end. But then it occurred to me: if I don't think about my art, sometimes even think about it a lot, who else will?

So the piece, which I came to think of as 'Squall' because of the stormy sunset color palette, is now finished and there's kind of a funny story to go with it. I am posting a hi-res version so if you click on it, you'll see more detail than this photo can offer.

'Squall' 30 x 22.5 2009


After thinking through many different options, I finally settled on one of the simplest finishes and the one I knew I could do well... the pillowcase turn I had envisioned from the start. But how to allow the fraying and stitch work, the heart of what I wanted to express, to remain exposed? The solution was ridiculously easy: take a page from my experimentation with my pleat and snip work and construct the pillowcase top as a separate unit- then simply stitch the two pieces together.

I had a beautiful hand-dyed teal green fabric just begging to become the backing for this piece but because I'm not known for my measuring abilities (stop laughing, I'm a total left-brainer), I decided to make a template to use to cut my fabrics and define my stitch lines. I could sandwich my "pillowtop" the usual way (fabric, batting, fabric), trace the template onto it, sew, trim, turn, poof- instant backing!

While searching for something large enough to cut my template from, I came across a sheet of fabric paper I'd made a few years ago back when that was the craze. Honestly, I'd never had a lot of luck with laminating fabric to paper, though I gave it many tries. Finally, in a last ditch effort to make it work, I tried laminating dyed cheesecloth to painted paper. The cheesecloth adhered beautifully, but I wasn't crazy about the final piece, so I stuck it away in my paper storage unit and forgot about it.

I dragged it out yesterday and realized that not only did it have a appropriate textile texture, but the colors were an almost exact match for my piece. I laid the completed stitchwork on top of it and knew they were a perfect fit, they had to be together. I didn't even alter the cheescloth paper, either- it was the perfect size, and was as close to square as I was ever going to get, so- abandoning the beautiful teal hand-dyed pillowtop idea- I stitched the quilttop to the cheesecloth paper and called it done.

Here is a detail shot of the texture of the cheesecloth paper.

The biggest concession I made for this piece was that it will have to be framed. I swore to myself that I'd stop making art that needs to be behind glass (how Approachable is that, I ask you?!) but I guess there will be work from time to time that requires me to compromise on that point.

Now that I've given birth to Squall, I think I'll take a few days off, guilt-free. Happy creating and Happy Thanksgiving!


elle said...

WHOA! I wish I could come hang out with you for a couple of days. That is SO COOL! I like it. Bet your mom is gonna shout when she sees the chartreuse. Rag rug coming right up. Good days work Judi!

Katrina said...


Eva said...

Cool work. Seems so technical with the rectangle pattern. Like electronics. What was it you said about the brain hemispheres?

Anonymous said...

Wow - that's amazing. I love how the texture of the cheesecloth paper picks up on the trailing threads of the top piece.

Robbie said...

It's great! I love the fray look and the colors enhance your piece perfectly! Now to the wine!

Robbie said...

It's great! I love the fray look and the colors enhance your piece perfectly! Now to the wine!

Zee said...

Love the way you did it.

When you frame it, you don't have to use glass. And if you do use glass, make sure the glass isn't touching your piece, use 1/4" spacers between your fabric and the glass. If you use a wood frame, make sure that your fabric isn't touching the wood. You can seal the wood with shelac, then it will be safe for your fabric.

deb did it said...

you are one busy lady!! all your work is so inspiring! and OH...chartruese is my favorite color!! gorgeous!!

laura west kong said...

Have a great mini vacation! I love it when the fraying edges show too.