Lesley Brankin

Textile Artist

Category: Art Quilts Around the World

The End

The End

The latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge had me stumped so I did as I often do and turned to Google for help. Searching for images related to ‘Film Noir’ I came across an picture which demanded my attention – it was the book cover for “Film Noir: The Encyclopaedia” (ISBN: 9780715638804)

I was particularly drawn to  it the figure of a man walking from the dark into the light and the strong vertical lines of the building. I tried to create a similar silhouette myself and failed dismally to get anything as satisfying as the book image. Being aware of potential copyright issues, if I was to use such an iconic figure, I emailed the author Alain Silver explaining what I wished to do. Within 10 minutes I had received a response generously giving me permission (copied to the publishers) and offering a copy of the original full size image. Thank you Alain!

I didn’t want to copy the entire image so needed to decide how to try and obtain a similar atmosphere but in a different setting. I liked the idea of moving from a dark edge to a light centre – this reminded me of some image manipulation which I had done based on photographs taken whilst visiting an installation called ‘The Hive’ at Kew Gardens in London.

The Hive, Kew Gardens

The Hive – Internal View

The Hive – Photo Manipulated Imagery

I overlaid these with the book cover to create my design. Using Gimp (an Image Editor) outline versions of the layers in my design were created and subsequently enlarged to A3 poster size using Double Take. (Both packages are available as ‘free to use’ software for Mac OS systems.)

I used black and blue florists fibre mesh (backed with Misty Fuse to stabilise and facilitate bonding later) for the foreground fabrics – these give a softer look than a solid fabric. The ‘holes’ and silhouette shapes were cut out using a craft knife. A commercial grey mottled patchwork cotton was used for the backing and the sun stencilled onto this using inktense pencils (later overlaid with a piece of orange fibre mesh for additional texture).

The mesh was heat bonded to the backing fabric and a ‘bagged out’ quilt sandwich created. All of the main edges were stitched down and any large areas of the black fabric free motion quilted to aid adhesion. Finally some free machine embroidered ground vegetation was added.

The End – Quilted Detail

Magical Venetian Mosaics

San Donato

Should you ever find yourself on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon, Italy do be sure to make time visit the church of Santa Maria e San Donato. Although the outside of this building is stunning in its own right (and is itself a fabulous source of patchwork design ideas), the star of the show has to be the beautiful medieval mosaic floor. Sadly when I visited photographs of the interior of the church were not permitted but the delight it gave me wandering around remains with me today.

Santa Maria e San Donato, Murano

Having injured my hand at the end of 2017 and unable to do any stitching I did not want to miss out of doing the latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge. With Google’s help I found an image of a section of the church floor and drew up a sketch. Using a light box I traced this onto prepared for dyeing calico (muslin to my American friends) using a permanent marker pen. I then spent many happy hours colouring in the design using a mixture of Inktense dye pencils (painted with aloe vera to activate them) and permanent marker pens.

I have finally been able to complete the quilt by simply free motion machine quilting around the main motifs using a mid shade of grey thread.

Pop Art Penguin

Pop Art Penguin

There isn’t really a lot of explanation needed for my latest Art Quilts Around The World challenge quilt! It is what it is – a Pop Art Penguin. Why a penguin? Well simply that I have a love of these characterful creatures, they always make me smile. The design for this one is based on a photograph I took whilst on a birthday trip to a local bird world last year. The design for the background flash and stripes was adapted from an image called “Pop! Goes the Mouse – Mickey Mouse” by Carlton & Reis.

My quilt is made entirely using appliqué techniques – invisible machine appliqué (for the stripes), reverse appliqué (for the flash shapes) and bonded appliqué (for the penguin). Raw edges on the flash have been stitched down using a small blanket stitch and a fine zig-zag was used on the penguin himself.

Cogs & Bees

Cogs & Bees

The theme for my latest  ‘Art Quilts Around the World Group‘ quilt was “Steampunk”

I had great plans to design a fantastical creature but got sidetracked by the wonderful shapes that cogs create! I already owned a selection of MDF ply cog shapes which I used to gelli print the background fabric. Next I had fun creating some ‘rusty’ cogs from thick Vilene and acrylic paints – these are stitched on such that they have a loose outside edge. Then came the addition of some of the smaller ply cogs and a few metal ones I found in a drawer. In that same drawer were some old keys and angel wings (isn’t it amazing what stuff we keep ‘just in case’?!) which for some unknown reason I was inspired to make little bees from. For a quilt which simply ‘developed’ as I went along I am quite pleased with the result.

Mary’s Garden

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Mary’s Garden

The theme for the latest ‘Art Quilts Around the World Group‘ challenge was ‘Nursery Rhymes’. For my quilt I decided to ‘ignore’ the darker side of this nursery rhyme (you can read all about this in Sue Zimet’s post) and take the words of poem quite literally.

It was the word ‘contrary’ which caught my attention i.e. ‘opposite in nature, direction or meaning’.  Behind the garden wall, Mary, whom I view as a young girl, perhaps of teenage years, shows her spiky, disorganised ‘other’ self.

Techniques used: Image manipulation and printing, rubber stamping and Inktense pencils, appliqué, fabric painting, stencilling, foiling (silver bells), machine quilting.

You can see the other group members’ quilts here.

What Secrets?

What Secrets?

I have recently joined the ‘Art Quilts Around the World Group‘ and this is my first challenge quilt (A3 size). The given theme was “The Eyes Have It” and so my starting point was the saying “Eyes are the Windows to the Soul”.

When we go away on holiday I take lots of photographs of architectural details and in particular windows and doors, the older and more decrepit the better. I often wonder just what stories these faded, crumbling relicts have ‘seen’ and could tell us about if they could communicate.

By overlaying and manipulating photographs with a sketch of some eyes I created an interesting computer montage of a window. The image was then printed onto transfer paper, the window cut out and applied to a commercial quilting fabric, trapping strips of frayed muslin in the process. Finally I added washes of colour and stencilled ‘peeling paint’ shapes to give the impression of an aged door. Machine quilting and embroidery stitches add interest and definition.

© 2018 Lesley Brankin

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