Monday, February 8, 2010

Stitching, Mistakes, Lessons and CS. No. 5

This quilt critter got some of my attention last week in the form of free-motion stitching. My stitching over all was not too bad- not too great, either, but about what I would expect at this stage of my self-education. The stitching is ok- but the stitch choice and even the thread color choice were both pretty horrible.

21" x 29"

Not having had any kind of sewing or quilting background, I'm in the dark as far as guessing what type of stitching is appropriate for each area, and how to get stitching to help me tell my story. As a paper artist, when a particular design element wasn't working, or was more prominent than I wanted it to be, a little paint would push it right to the background and I could go on with my piece until it was complete. Not so with stitch lines.

It's going to take time to learn how, where and when to stitch, and what threads to use. I'm fortunate to have a good friend in snowy Canada, Elle, who has taken pity on my confusion and is flooding me with excellent information that will help fill in a lot of the gaps in my sewing education! Thank you, Elle!!

One incredibly important thing I did learn from this piece is that, for myself, the straight line stitch is far more fascinating. It leads the eye along on a trail of discovery. If I want a viewer to notice a particularly neat area of a hand-dyed or painted surface, a wiggly line heading to it and then playing around it will pull the viewer's gaze with it. Representational stitching on my own work, like I did with the leaf pattern on this piece, doesn't currently speak to me.


This piece has been constructed using only my own hand-dyed and painted fabrics. 

On other fronts, My CitraSolv/NatGeo Collages continue. I'm up to number 5 and I believe I have six more masonite panels to use up. 

CS. NO5, 2-8-2010, 16" x 18"

Once again, I kept the design simple because I wanted to play with tinting the papers with various mediums. Here, I've used both watercolor paints and fabric dyes to stain the papers once they've been applied to the masonite. 

Collage has always been difficult for me, I tend to agonize over every decision and have even walked away from- leaving incomplete- complex pieces I had worked on for months because I simply couldn't decide when they were finished.  Some pieces tell you, "STOP NOW!", while others will play cat-and-mouse with your muse until they exhaust you and send you away, bored and frustrated. Art is capricious that way.

The purpose of doing these collage is to try and break through my obsession with needing to over-analyze the placement, size, shape, value, color and relevance of every tiny element. I'll let you know if it worked when this series is complete.

My friends over at LQuilt have their forums up and running this week and I would love it if you'd come over and join me for discussions about fabric surface design, the tools we most love, and how to build your own stash of fabrics that you've created yourself, and any other subjects relevant to surface design!

See you there!
- Judi
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