TIF Challenge May 2

Well I didn’t turn into a pumpkin! I got my May TIF Challenge piece done yesterday (just) but too late for taking photos.

I decided to create something that included some of the techniques I love most, and to try to express how I often feel as if I’m exploding in all directions – there’s such an onslaught of possibilities it seems impossible to choose between them.

For the background I used a piece of indigo-dyed shibori I made at a workshop taught by Nell Dale. I applied scrim that I’d dyed and torn, and some little bits and bobs – hand stitching, machine stitching, felt, knitting, dyeing, batik, printing, and layered fabrics. I also love textiles with writing, so I added the phrase that Neki of A Moveable Feast picked out from my thoughts on the challenge question – ‘naming is not defining – it is choosing’.

But choosing means saying no as well as yes. I long to learn to focus enough to practise, in every sense of the word. I enjoy exploring so many things but I also value skill and mastery, and to attain those things one must make choices and leave some roads untravelled. For now, as a student, I’m constantly trying out new paths and revisiting old ones, but I also hope that on the way I’ll discover which directions take me “further up and further in”… that I will learn my name.

appliqué piece

Links to the beautiful and thought-provoking work being done for Sharon’s Take it Further Challenge can be found on her blog In a Minute Ago, the Flickr group, and the Take it Further Challenge blog.

well, it’s done…

… the ‘when will this ever be finished’ wall hanging for City & Guilds Patchwork & Quilting is now finished!

This was my first experiment using felt as the batting so it became an integral part of the design. The assessment was to make a piece using appliqu̩ techniques. It has three layers Рpainted silk organza, handmade felt, and painted silk pongee. The shadow appliqu̩ shapes are hand dyed cotton and hand painted silk, and the machine and hand quilting are in cotton.

I cut back the top layer of some of the shadow appliqué and machine quilted areas after quilting them. I finished the edges with buttonhole stitch and then needlefelted them to break down the stitches into the felt. The support is a piece of driftwood I found on the beach, and the work is 53cm x 78cm (or 76cm x 78cm if you include the wood).

applique hanging

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail

weekend ramblings

Warning – moan…. I’ve been feeling a little despondent because the project I’m working on is progressing (too) slowly – and wondering why I bit off so much more than I could chew – hunger? greed? inattention? And because I wasted time today unpicking a whole lot of machine stitching – laborious and eye-straining and nothing to show at the end. Except holes. (Although in another context I could really like the lines of tiny holes you would get if you stitched without any thread…)

And I said I wouldn’t show any more of this work in progress – but as I have nothing else to show for the past couple of weeks, I’m going to anyway! I’ve done the appliqué and machine quilting on the third section (of three) now, and I’m ready to start handstitching it. I’ll be doing some of that each day, but I should also give some thought (or action, even) to Christmas, I guess.

inprogresssmall.jpg

I haven’t had much time to read blogs this week and Bloglines says I have 932 unread posts so I feel a ‘Mark All Read’ moment coming on – but before I got so behind I did see this hand carved stamp tutorial of great beauty on Geninne’s Art Blog and wanted to share it.

appliqué in progress

I made good progress today with the appliqué wall hanging which is my first assessment piece for City & Guilds 7822. I got all the shapes laid out ready to shadow quilt. On the left of the pic is the overall design; on the right, how it will change with painted silk organza pieces laid over it. After it’s quilted I’ll be cutting back into it to reveal some of the coloured shapes and the felt batting again. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking the composition but this is about it. I’m going to treat myself to some variegated machine threads at the Festival of Quilts, so I won’t stitch it till after that, but I can get the pieces fused to the felt and think about the quilting for a few days. Now that I see the appliqué pieces on the felt, I’m not sure that I’d go on to add the top layer if it wasn’t for a quilting assessment, but I think if I’m careful with placing the stitching I can cut back effectively to get some interesting contrasts.

appliquedesign.jpg

I tried a technique from Tray Dyeing yesterday – not with Procion MX dyes (as used in the book), because I don’t have everything I need for that yet; but I dyed some strips of silk with Javana silk paints. These bits were torn off the edge of one of them to put in my sketchbook – I sent the piece off to my daughter with some other bits, and forgot to take a photo. I used lemon, magenta, and cyan together – I love the resulting zingy colours. The silk was dry and loosely scrumpled in a small box before squeezing the colours on with a pipette.

javana.jpg

I was reading a very interesting entry a couple of days ago on Karren Brito’s blog Entwinements – What people will do to wear red – about the effects of dyes on the skin – in clothing, not just while you’re using them. Food for thought, especially as I hope some of my dyeing experiments will end up in my wardobe. If you’re interested in dyeing there is some wonderful shibori including wearables on Entwinements.

felt again

well, I now have three felts that I can use for the appliqué hanging – I don’t like the green as much as the first one I made, it lacks some shades of turquoise and some acidy greens that I didn’t have in the merino, but I’m trying not to be perfectionist about this. A layer of coloured silk chiffon is going over it, after all, and everything will be different in the end. Today it has rained endlessly but just about the time I finished there was a lull and I ran out to take a picture.

felts2.jpg

I can hardly bear to stop making felt now and get on with quilting and drawing and work and those kinds of things.