Thursday, September 15, 2011

The new theme: SURPRISE

Dear Material Mavens,
     Today I am revealing the theme for our next two months. After visiting a beautiful website where people made quilts referring to famous paintings, I thought I would choose ART as our theme. Next I thought I would choose EDGY since I think we may want to do work that is on the cutting edge of Art Quilting or Art. It would also provoke more experimentation and thinking about what creates art but after today’s reveal I see members are already experimenting wildly. I thought of an art element, CONTRAST which would bring up two sides of things. I almost forgot to mention RISK.
      However, I remember in my other art quilt group as we were choosing all of our themes at the first meeting, I drew first naming:
 “Linda, I see you are to choose the topic for July,” said the leader.
“Oh! That is my birthday month!” 
“OK...Let’s have ‘Birthdays’ be the theme,” responded the group.
 I said, “How about BEGINNINGS.” 
Thus, BEGINNINGS it was; and it proved a very fruitful theme. Perhaps I like to choose something on the spur of the momentas I am doing today, for this can be surprisingly rewarding.
       This very week, I had a surprise visit to the ER. I am thus choosing SURPRISE as our topic or THEME. I once had a painting teacher who said, “Amaze me!”  Let us go forth to amaze or surprise ourselves and our audience, perhaps with the unexpected in its variety of manifestations.

HARMONY (At last !) REVISED 9/16/11

This lovely small quilt got finished at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 15, and was the last iteration of several "Harmony" themes I had running around in my head. If you could see my studio right now, you'd see all the pieces / parts of the other versions ! I didn't intentionally wait 'til the last minute...but life challenges were abundant, not the least of which was getting the studio finished ! Cabinet makers, painters, and installers were in and out for a long period of time; I had great difficulty finding any of my materials and products; and just sitting down for quiet periods of 'think' time were best found in the wee hours of the morning.

From the very first moment I received the "Harmony" challenge, the song "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony..." began to haunt me. I kept hearing the New Seekers singing that song, and remembered the huge Coca-Cola ad campaign that made the "Harmony Song" an international icon. We found the lyrics, and I used Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to get the words 'off my computer and on to the fabric.' (Be advised: products do deteriorate with age [and moving from Alaska to Texas, and being in storage for almost 2 years!] Successfully transferring what appears to be very simple took several attempts, and my printer took a beating.)

I love to do free-motion quilting, so here's a close up of the overall quilting I did on "Harmony." I used Madeira 30 wt. variegated rayon (one of my most favorite threads to use). The colors in this particular thread are cream, light pink, and a very soft blue, and are perfect for using with the hand-dyed fabric that reminded me of the sky at sunrise. [The hand-dyed fabric came from former Alaskan, Bonnie Bucknam (Handwerks) who now lives in Washington state. Bonnie's fabrics are always fabulous and top of the line !] Getting back to the quilting, I always use Madeira monofilament in my bobbins - love it, love it, love it! [Be aware... you might need to tighten your bobbin tension when using monofilament... it's a 60 wt. very fine thread !]

The final picture is of the back of this little quilt. The events of Sept. 11, 2001 affected all our world and have become pivotal points in our lives. With the recent 10 year anniversary of 9-11-01, I still shudder with emotion at what happened to our country and to our world. The backing fabric for my "Harmony" quilt made me think of time and space, the disaster, the healing, and the promise of tomorrow for all of us. Music being what it is.... "I'd like to teach the world to Perfect Harmony." Amen. Alleluia !

Rita's Harmony Quilt - World Harmony

(Before describing the Why and the How of my quilt, I need to explain what you are seeing.  This small quilt is done as a gallery wrap which means it is wrapped around a 12 inch square wooden frame that is ¾ inch thick.  Because of the wrapped and folded corners, I could not eliminate the background the quilt was standing in front of without erasing some of the quilt edges or changing the color of some of the edges of the quilt.  That is why there is a wide black border around the quilt.)

In thinking about the design for Harmony, I thought about the ideal of World Harmony, the harmony of the color wheel, the harmony of black and white, the harmony of opposite shapes (circles and squares) and ended up putting all of those together in one design.  I am sure I completely overthought the whole thing.
Everything is fused applique to the white background.  The continent design on the Earth is done with French knots.  I machine stitched around all the appliques with gold thread. The hearts are small pearl buttons.
I had to smile when I saw already mentioned, "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect hormony" as that is my alternate title.  Our local quilt guild, Homespun Quilters' Guild, is having a challenge in February to make a quilt based on a song. My challenge entry is now finished as well!

Petra - Harmony

I really don't know where the inspiration for this quilt came from. I thought about writing Harmony in different fonts or different languages and then I thought of night and day and the balance between them. I was thinking if there was anything that represented night and day and thought of the owl and cockerell. I had an image of a cockerell and made him up in purples, reds and yellows. I then made the owl and loved him but there was no harmony with Mr Cockerell, so I remade the cockerell to match. I really liked the sun and moon, the photo doesn't do justice to the fabric, it is so shiny and glittery, not something I would usually use or feel confident with but hey this for me is about growing as a quilter. Everything is attached using bondaweb with freemotion stitching, i've then attached some beads. Well done everyone, they're amazing,

Barbara's quilt-Moving in Harmony

I had help focusing on how I would depict harmony in a quilt. First it was my guitarist son who used harmonic chords to define harmony. I thought I could relate the chords (finger and string placement) with colors. This led to my thinking about Josef Albers theory of squares of colors and how they relate to each other. My husband suggested using transparency to define harmony in my piece. I found prints in red, orange and yellow and went to my favorite stash of dance photos. My technique included Wonder Under fused dancers stitched/quilted with a tiny zig-zag stitch of monofilament thread and a little Tsukineko Ink for the tiny brown hand.

Sara's Harmony Quilt-I'd like to teach the world to stitch

Since as one of my friends said "what do you know about harmony?", I decided to research the meaning of harmony. I learned about different musical notes played at the same time, mathematical ratios, repetition of shape and color harmonies. Most of all I kept hearing the Coca Cola commercials of my youth "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" which made me think of bubbles dancing.

I started with some onasburg that I stained with tsukineko fabric ink. I used the cool colors of blues, purples and greens. The background came out more muted than I thought it would but I decided I liked that effect. I then used thread painting to color my shapes using many warm colors of threads. The quilting was done with a blue/purple/green variegated thread.

Andrea's Harmony Quilt-Undulating Harmony

My first thought regarding HARMONY was that I wanted to use a harmonious color scheme. My next step was to look "harmony" up in my well-worn 1963 New Collegiate Dictionary. Definition 3a: pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts.
c: internal calm: TRANQUILLITY.
Definition c lead me to water, which then gave me my color scheme. After dyeing a range of blue/turquoise fabrics that I was pleased with, I started silkscreening images that to me represent water and tranquil places that I have visited.
Construction was intuitive machine piecing and then quilted with gentle undulating stitches. A few purple organza waves were fused on after quilting, as I have recently "discovered" layering with the transparent fabric to be a visually satisfying technique.

Linda’s Harmony Quilt -- Harmony on the Homefront, a double-sided 12 x 12


  Three things happened at once: 1) My accuquilt cutter arrived, 2) Joe and I were babysitting the grandchildren while their parents moved their home to another state, and 3) I needed to think “Harmony.” 

    I was excited to try the cutting machine, so I put an inexpensive blended roll of batiks into the chopper to get numerous triangles and many squares of two sizes. In creating the quilt. I limited myself  to only what was available in this particular stash cutting. 
    Off and on, the children concentrated to make houses of squares and rectangles. They had “house” on the mind and organized a tabletop of multi-colored homes (small square and triangle on big square as in the center). Harmony, however imperfect,  prevailed in several directions.This two- sided quilt is an homage to that time, the youngsters’ design, and my new helper, the fabric cutting machine.

Patti's Harmony Quilt

This is my Harmony Quilt "Renewed at Crystal Lake, N. H.". I was inspired by the crystal clear waters and serene nature of the lake. I have gone for many summers to Crystal Lake since I was a little girl. I was on my kayak and paddling through a small cove which was covered with blooming pond lillies. When I did a close of the lily, there were little black bugs hanging out and enjoying the flora as I was. I felt like we were all in sync with nature. (Actually, I might have been bothering them).

I did machine applique, free-motion quilting, and added crystal beads. I added some shimmer with netting.

Judy's Quilt-Gentle Harmony

Harmony brings thoughts of relaxation, joy, peace and calm. Silk is a soothing fabric and circles are harmony in a complete unit.

I did not do any sketching for this quilt since I’ve never worked that way. That is something I am working on to change. I started playing with the silk fabrics and cutting out circles. When I looked at what I had, it just started to come to life. They looked like wind chimes and when the red tulle was added, it was as if the wind chimes and a curtain were gently blowing in a breeze.

I normally use a tiny zig-zag to stitch my fused appliquéd pieces down, but the circles looked wrong with that technique. I free motion quilted around them and also the squiggly lines to make the quilt flow better.

To bind the quilt I put “Misty Fuse” fusible web on the back of some of the green fabric and used the pinking rotary blade to cut 1” wide strips. Then I fused the strips on top of the quilt one side at a time. Before I would go to the next side I turned the ends under and fused the strip in place on the back. I sometimes stitch along the edge to give it a “binding” look, but this one doesn’t seem to need that.

When we moved to Texas we stayed with friends until we found a place to rent. They had wind chimes that were soothing and pleasant which is what I needed at that time. This is what the quilt reminded me of.

Alice's Quilt--Asian Harmonies

Asian Harmonies

I planned early on to use the Chinese characters for harmony--printed, painted, or appliquéd onto my background fabric.   Perhaps use them with the ancient Taoist Yin-Yang symbol.  But how to integrate the images?  Then I found some lovely Asian fabric, featuring Koi. My brother had once had Koi in a pool in his replica of a Japanese garden, so why not mix Chinese and Japanese symbols?  The curves in the bodies of the fish seemed to echo the curves of the Yin-Yang.  So I sketched a Yin-Yang and cut out two fish.  The Koi fit neatly inside.   

I was eager to try sun printing.  So for the background I painted some PFD fabric with two different blue acrylic paints and mixed in a bit of black.  Using freezer paper, I traced the Chinese characters and then cut stencils from craft foam.  Placing the stencils on the painted fabric, I waited for the hot Texas sun to do its magic.  I cut out the Yin-Yang from coral and turquoise fabric scraps.  I first appliquéd it down onto the background, and then the two printed Koi, using a tiny zig-zag stitch.  Broderie Perse appliqué, in other words:  another technique I’ve always wanted to try!

I machine quilted around each of the Chinese characters and quilted concentric circles around the Yin-Yang symbol and concentric arcs in three corners.  I used the pillowcase method for finishing the quilt. I've struggled with a name for my quilt; I finally settled on "Asian Harmonies."