I am delighted to announce that Eclectica has been shortlisted for the Fine Art Quilt Masters 2018, one of 23 pieces of work selected for inclusion in this prestigious exhibition at Festival of Quilts in August. You can see the full list of selected works here – I am in some great company.
This is one of a number of pieces of experimental mark making work which have evolved since my attending an inspirational drawing course led by renowned textile artist Matthew Harris at West Dean College early last year. It is not a quilt in the conventional sense in that I have layered, felted and stitched multiple pieces of painted muslin onto a base of wool felt. Deliberately there is no backing fabric as I wanted the drape of the wool to be an inherent feature of the piece.
Eclectica – detail
Fish ‘n’ Chips
Fish ‘n’ Chips is touring (2018-2019) with Contemporary Quilt’s ‘In Print’ challenge exhibition. Our first venue is The Forge Mill Needle Museum, Redditch and runs from 25th May until 8th July 2018. Other venues and dates will be announced in due course.
Monoprinted on calico using artists acrylic paint. Transfer printed appliquéd transparent fabric and acetone printed newspaper ‘chips’. Machine and hand quilting.
During March and April Hereford Cathedral hosted the travelling Weeping Window installation, a collaborative piece by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. A subset of the original Tower of London Poppies, created to commemorate the First World War centenary, this work captured my imagination.
Hereford Cathedral, Weeping Window March/April 2018
Hereford Cathedral, Weeping Window, detail
Still sticking with my mark making theme – this is an A4 sample piece I made in response.
Weeping Window Detail
The mark making experimentation continues – this time I have tried layering painted muslin to give depth to the image. When I made this I had no idea of a title but ‘Marshlands’ seems appropriate. I am not so sure about the formality of the gridded tied background quilting but I love the zing which the Frosted Matt fluorescent thread adds! The finished sample is just 9″ x 7″ in size.
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
The Road Most Travelled
Even though the hand is better the mark making experimentation continues as, of course, I can now add stitch as well! This is a small (9 x 7 inch) hand stitched sample piece.
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.
My hand is finally mended enough that I can begin getting creative again. One of the first things on my ever growing ‘to do’ list was to finish off my rag journal documenting my fabulous trip to Jaipur with Colouricious Holidays last year. I made two smaller versions as Christmas presents but didn’t manage to complete my own. This includes fabric samples from all our printing workshops, photographs, drawings, embroidered block prints, journal entries and all sorts of other ephemera collected whilst away. Feeling very satisified with myself although it is still likely be a few weeks before I am back to full stitching mode.
Sample Page – Jaipur Memories
Sample Page – Jaipur Memories
Sample Page – Jaipur Memories
More Mark Making
Making marks with simple tools is addictive!
Media used : acrylic ink and water on rag paper (with gesso underpainting)
Tools used : old store card, Japanese paint brush and pen tops.