Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Material Mavens in Houston IQF--2014

Our numbers were down this year from last!  Last year I believe we had 11 Material Mavens present in Houston; this year the four above were there for our mini reunion dinner and "show and tell" on Thursday, which happened to have been an "important" birthday for Sara!    Judy Steward came on Saturday, but that was after the rest of us had gone.  So above you can see Alice, Carolyn, Sara, and Rita, holding our MM banner!

Carolyn and Rita proved to be the organized ones, while Alice and Sara were either disorganized or forgetful or whatever!  Both of us forgot to bring any of our MM quilts to show.  But thanks to Rita and Carolyn, we had fun seeing some of our little quilts in person.  I took pictures of each one showing each quilt she brought.  The "extra" women in the photos were some nice quilters from Oklahoma, who had also discovered our little sitting area outside Carolyn's and my room, and also Rita's friend, Sue:

Carolyn and her Contrast Quilt

Rita and her Contrast

Carolyn and her Spring

Rita and her Friendship

Carolyn and her Strong

Rita and her Spring

Carolyn and her Translate

Carolyn, Rita, Judy, and I were also thrilled that our group quilt "Whimseyville" (which many of you saw in person last year) was accepted in Houston.  Though we won no awards, simply getting in the show was excitement enough!  Judy Steward's Quilt "Bubbles" was also accepted in the "painted quilt" category. 

Whimseyville by Rita, Alice, Carolyn, and Judy (we collaborated on the first panel; then the other
four are in the order of our names)

Yes, we really did have a quilt in Houston!

Judy's "Bubbles" quilt

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Contrast Composite

Friends, Alice is posting this, but Randy is the one who composed the composite, as usual.  I always enjoy reading his "rationale" for the way he has arranged the quilts.  So, I will copy and paste his explanation below.  This time, with the different shapes of the quilts, I am sure it was quite a challenge for him to construct this composition.  Many thanks to Randy from all of us for working so hard on behalf of our group!

And now, Randy's explanation:

How the Contrast Composition came together:

Contrast was really fun to put together because it introduced the challenge of a variety of shapes to add to the colors and themes, all of which focused on the central  concept of Contrast. 

The first row works well together in shape (squares), color (reds, grays, bright to dark), and then the flowers seem to point to the center and Judy’s quilt seems to 
point out to the beyond and limitless imagination (read that as you Material Mavens).

The second row is obviously plants, subtle colors, and elements of threes.

Row three: Geometrically, what fun because Nedra’s quilt is the exact size as Tricia’s but looks smaller because the visual element is the bright background of the zebra. And see how well the two horizontal images balance the vertical image in the center? Visually, what fun because that zebra can’t wait to get past that flying goose and into the water. Wait, Tricia, are there zebras in Willoughby, spring or fall?

Row four: The bright oranges and the circles and this time the two horizontals framing the center square just worked perfectly together.
Row five: Is actually my favorite row. The darks and lights (true contrast) of the grapes match very nicely with the bright contrasts in Carol’s portrait. The slight size 
disparity lends a great place to add the title for the page.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Judy S.- Contrast: Positive/Negative

I always have a problem with leaving negative space. With this piece I used a stencil and the quilting fills up the negative space, so again I filled everything up. At least I used the white thread so that it doesn't appear to be filled. 

The other part of this painted quilt is bright color contrast. I have always enjoyed bold colors as well as colors flowing from light to dark. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sara's Contrast - What Shade of Gray?

I loved this word and can see it as a theme for a series. Most of my quilting choices are built on high contrast in value, color and shape. I took a color class once and I was intrigued with simultaneous contrast where a color changes its appearance depending on the colors or shades it is juxtaposed to. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrast_effect . I was intrigued with the many optical illusions I found illustrating similar concepts on the web and decided to see what I could do in fabric. I started with what looked like a neutral gray on red and green solid backgrounds. The effect was less than striking. I then thought about what I was doing and decided my commercially dyed fabric might have a blue bias and was therefore not truly neutral. I then decided to pull a swatch of all the solid grays I could find in my stash. I added a constant gray circle to the center of each square. I did start with adding small square but decided the circle added contrast in shape. The gray circle does change in appearance as the background changes. I like the way they seem to vanish as the foreground and background get close together.
Construction was straight forward. The circles were glue basted to the backgrounds and raw edge appliqued with a straight stitch. After the piece was done I felt compelled to add a spark of red (I have a hard time working in just neutrals) and I added the smaller red circles.

Rita's CONTRAST: An Alley in Prague, Czech Republic

Rita’s CONTRAST:  An Alley in Prague, Czech Republic
When our son graduated from UTAustin he joined the Navy, was commissioned as an officer and eventually assigned to a station in Rota, Spain. In that same era, Randy was working at McLennan Community College and had become friends with a young lady from the Czech Republic. Gaby later graduated from North Texas University (majored in photography), taught for MCC, and returned home and taught at the University of Brno. So in the summer of 2004, Randy and I, and our daughter, Lisa, decided to travel to Spain and were invited to take a side trip to Prague to visit Gaby. She was our tour guide, interpreter, food adventurer, and good will ambassador. When she would “get lost” (how would we know?), she would raise her hand and announce, “I have it under control.” What a wonderful adventure in a magnificent city.
Then, on the way to visit a centuries old castle, our “under control” guide walked us through a sun lighted alley, grey brick walls, exposed drain pipes, typically littered – and  beautiful pink hollyhocks growing out of the pavement around a drain pipe. We noticed and walked by. As an afterthought, our photographer daughter un-shouldered her camera, turned on her heel, snapped one image in black and white and we moved on. Now, years later I have my CONTRAST.
The image is done in raw edge fused appliqué. I used a method I learned in a class taught by Lenore Crawford from Quilting Adventures in New Braunfels, Texas.  After the fabric was put in place, a little paint, a little embroidery and a little Micron pen was used for shading and detail.  The quilting was done around all the sharp edges (not the shadows).  The small flange was a technique I learned from a Thimbleberries Block of the Month class.  This is then bound with a classic quilt binding.
And yes, I remembered the hollyhocks were bright pink!

Janet's Contrast Quilt - Thank You Dr. Ives

Janet's Contrast Quilt – Thank You Dr. Ives

     Here is how I started quilting five years ago.  We live in a fairly small town so if you need good quality fabric you drive to Dallas or Austin to get it and believe me it gets really old after awhile.  We passed the quilt shop in Waco one day and I told my husband their fabric could not be any worse than our one fabric store so in we went.  I had watched my grandmother quilt all my life but she only used scraps from clothing, tea towels, chicken feed sacks, whatever she had.  Here was a store with beautiful fabric and quilts like I had never seen before.  I started picking up patterns and was especially drawn to one that was paper pieced.  A clerk in the store asked me if I quilted and when I said no she informed me I could not do that pattern.  Wrong thing to say, she might as well have waved a red flag in front of my face.  So I bought a beginners book on paper piecing by Alex Anderson and started to teach myself.  This was the first time I learned about the Ives color chart where the primary colors are magenta, turquoise and golden yellow.  What I liked about it was I could make out a lot of the colors.  As some of you know I'm color blind.  My husband picks out my fabrics, puts them in order, numbers them and I write the number on the pattern.  He liked it so much he began to quilt, and then to win big blue ribbons.  I am so happy and proud (we are working it out in therapy).  Anyway, when Contrast was picked for this month I dug through my discard box because I knew I had a square that was a great example of contrast on the Ives color chart.  If you are looking for one I finally found one at an art supply store.  By the way, years later I did buy the pattern I fell in love with and 300 hours later I had a quilt top.   It is called Anesthesia because I had had day surgery and while still pretty sedated I ordered the pattern (the last one and they were not going to restock) and a lot of really expensive fabric from Batiks Plus.  I got an e-mail from them the next day telling me my order had shipped.  I called asking them what order.  The clerk said you ordered a pattern and fabric and they were sorry but they could not take it back as the fabric was cut and it really had already shipped.  The whole day I tried to figure out how to tell my husband I spent $360.00 in my sleep.  I finally decided it was his entire fault because they told him to keep an eye on me and he took a nap.  We are working it out in therapy.

 P.S.  We just had our twenty fifth wedding anniversary.  Talk about contrast.  When we got married David had hair, neither of us wore glasses, between us we were eighty pounds lighter, and really broke.  I wore a suit I already had, the wedding party wore their own clothes and the reception was chocolate cheesecake, regular cheesecake and punch.  David took me hiking for the weekend at the Boy Scout camp south of us.  So last weekend we got married.  David wore a tux and my present from him was a beautiful tea length fifties style Oleg Cassini blush satin dress with an ivory chiffon and lace overlay covered with tiny pearls and covered buttons all the way to the hem.  And yes he picked it out by himself.  It was perfect as it was boned all the way around which held the bust stiff and kept if off of my mastectomy incision which still has not healed. It also gave me the illusion that I still had a bust. Our original wedding party attended and a long time friend who decided at fifty to become a minister officiated. She is also a monster quilter and walked off with a bunch of ribbons from the fair this month. We also had our oldest and closest friends surrounding us while we took our new vows.   We only had twelve guests because we got married in the chapel at the hospital.  It is an oval room with one wall consisting entirely of a stain glass window from floor to ceiling depicting the Creation with a huge mariners compass in the middle, my favorite pattern and this month’s quilt. 

Kathy's Contrast: Organic / Glamorous

  Wow !  What exciting adventure this has been !    New Theme and a new Format !     I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I wanted to portray "Contrast" and finally decided that:  #1   I would make no new purchases; I'd only use things I already had in my Studio; and  #2    I would include fabrics that are Organic, fabrics that are Glamorous, and fabrics that would complement the organic and glamorous theme.

The picture below shows the black floral fabric I used for the backing and the binding.  The yellow fabric with the small black "bubble" circles was used as the sub-strate for the "glamorous" fabric that's a sheer olive green / bronze poly blend with beautiful gold 'beads' that were commercially attached.  The 'organic' fabric on the bottom right is fabric that I "rust-dyed" here in Texas, using bits and pieces of rusty-stuff I found in the fields around our home in Texas and when I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Keeping with my organic & glamorous theme, I found pictures of the beautiful flowers in a book that used Art Deco designs from 1938.   I made 'patterns' of the flowers using my "Light Tracer" light box which made tracing the flowers a breeze !     I layered the backing fabric and batting, then used "Misty Fuse" to attach the sub-strate and glamorous fabrics to each other.   After pinning all 4 layers together, I machine appliqued the flowers through all  layers of fabric.    Holo-Shimmer threads by Sulky were used to applique the flowers and to create the stems and leaves of the flowers.  (When using any of the metallic threads, I always use a Metallica needle, and "Sewers Aid" to lubricate the thread which helps make the thread more manageable !)

And then my most favorite part of the process....  the quilting !    Taking my lead from the yellow / black fabric, I free-motion quilted hundreds of "bubbles" around the flowers, being very careful not to hit any of the gold beads with my needle.   Are they bubbles ?  Is it the morning mist ?   Is it the dew and the stars in the twilight hours ?

Since this is an Art Quilt and won't ever see the inside of a washing machine or dryer, I tried something entirely new (to me) for the binding.   I cut the binding strips using a standard rotary cutter for one side of the strips, and a wavy-edge rotary cutter for the other side of the strips. I sewed the "regular cut" side strips to the front /side of the quilt, then turned the wavy-edge sides of each strip to the back of the quilt,   then pressed / ironed them into place using "Heat n Bond Hem" iron-on adhesive.    This same process was used to attach the top and bottom binding strips.  And voila !  my bindings were finished  :-D   

I also used Heat n Bond Hem adhesive to attach the hanging sleeve / label.
   "Contrast" is one of the best quilts I've ever made, and I was thrilled to incorporate so many ideas and processes into this new and exciting format !  

Gail's Contrast Quilt: Venn Circles (and the next theme!)

Venn circles or diagrams were chosen to illustrate the contrast theme.   Venn diagrams are interlocking circles showing the commonality of different or contrasting subjects.  The left subject (circle) is a double nine patch representing the traditional quilt.  The right subject (circle) is a piece of deconstructed linen made by Jane Hartfield which represents art quilts.  The overlapping part has elements of both and perhaps is "modern".  Venn circles can be applied to art,mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science.  Venn diagrams can be very complex and involve multiple interlocking circles.  I have chosen a simplified version made of hand dyed cottons, screen printed and stamped linen, bound with Sari silk ribbon.

I choose "modern" for our next challenge theme!
a close-up view

Jane's Contrast Quilt "Blue and Orange"

Jane Hartfield’s Contrast Quilt

“Blue and Orange”

The word contrast sent my mind spinning! There are so many contrasts in my life that I had to really work on focusing on something I could depict in a quilt. First I thought black and white with just a bit of color, then hand stitched versus machine, then old prints versus hand dyed or painted, then curvy versus straight, hard vs. soft, saturated vs. pastel…The list was endless with so much opportunity for expression.

I finally decided on color and shape. I chose a hand-dyed blue velveteen fabric for the background which I contrasted with a commercial orange upholstery sample which I had over-dyed. I quilted the background with square or rectangular sections accented with silk yarn couched in place. Then I appliquéd circular shapes onto the orange square. It is quilted with circles. The binding is made of raw silk which is fused and stitched in place. I like the contrast of the complementary color scheme and the shapes of circles and squares in a variety of sizes.


Tricia's Contrast - Spring / Fall on Lake Willoughby, Vermont

My husband's family has a house on Lake Willoughby, Vermont.  It is in the Northeast Kingdom.  The view from the house across the lake and into the notch is always amazing! We were recently up there with the fall colors emerging. I thought it would be interesting to show the contrast of the view in the spring with new leaves with how the colors change in the fall .  I took the left side of the notch and made the spring leaves and the right side  created the fall leaves.  It was a natural break between the mountains.  I used fabric, machine stiching and Pental pastel dye sticks to enhance the colors.  In looking at all of our photos of the two seasons I also noticed how much our yellow raft contrasted with the  blue lake so I included the raft.

Carolyn's Garden Contrast

My hobbies are quilting, gardening and playing the dulcimer. I was honored early this year when my niece asked if she could be married in our backyard.  The wedding took place this past June.  She had been a widow for many years, so it was a joyous occasion for the entire family.  I spent all Spring adding flowers of every color to our garden with the help of a gardening friend.  When the word "contrast" was announced, I immediately knew what I wanted to portray in my quilt.

In Dallas, there are two gardening seasons - Spring and Fall.

"Garden Contrast" highlights the beautiful color palette I can still see every day as I look out the window of my studio.  The vivid colors of red, yellow,  gold, purple, lavender, orange, white - and yes, even blue - gaze back at me as I work on my next quilting project.

I used a soft lime green Kaffe hot shot cotton for the background with a band of black and white 100% cotton fabric to simulate my window.  The flowers and leaves are batiks fused with Wonder Under.  I used 50 wt. Presencia thread on the flowers and a contrasting green 50 wt. Aurifil thread for the detail in the leaves.  The centers of the flowers were free-motion stitched using zigzag and circular designs.

Alice's Contrast Quilt--The Spirit Tree

While thinking about my Contrast design, I first thought about using my favorite complementary colors—blue/green and red/orange—since  complements contrast so beautifully. My first quilt was pretty but too simplistic, a green tree against an orange background, and it didn't have any emotional content for me.  

Meanwhile, I read the book THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd.  This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  Its intricate plot is too complex to summarize here, but it involves the relationship between a young slave girl named Handful, given to the daughter of her owner as a birthday present.  This book is all about the extreme contrast between the lives of slaves and that of their privileged, wealthy owners. Thus I decided to base my quilt on this book.

Handful’s mother told her about an African custom of choosing a tree to be a Spirit Tree, and so she and her mother choose such a tree.  When they steal a spool of red thread from their owners, they begin to wind the thread around their chosen tree, an act symbolizing the rebellion they feel but cannot express openly.  That explains the name of my quilt and why there is red thread embroidered on the tree.

Too, quilts pay an important role in this book.  Handful’s mother frequently makes quilts that symbolize the legend that some of their people are able literally to fly to freedom.  Her favorite colors are black and red.  Thus the background for my Spirit Tree is a mini-quilt of red and black flying geese.  

I felt to give further homage to the book, I needed to include some literal wings.  And so, superimposed over the tree and the flying geese is an image of a goose in flight.  I used a copyright free image, but I agreed to cite the source of the image.* I printed this image onto ExtraOrganza, made by Jacquard.

I fused the green batik tree onto the background with Wonder-Under.  I reinforced this with tiny zigzag stitching.  I hand quilted using Perle cotton threads, black around the flying geese and red for the thread around the tree and around the perimeter of the background. I made this quilt bigger than usual and then attached it onto a 11” x 14” artist’s canvas.  I loved using the new rectangular format!

a close-up of the goose in flight

*PS For some reason, Blogger gave me an error message when I tried to do the link.  So here is the citation:  <ahref="http://www.geekphilosopher.com/GeekPhilosopher.com/photos/photos.aspx" target="_blank">GeekPhilosopher: Instant download of free stock photos, images, backgrounds, and desktop wallpapers. Pictures can be used for personal and commercial web sites.</a>

Nedra's Contrast - Savanna Stripes

When I saw Kate Wilhelm’s photo of a zebra in her calendar of South African images, I knew that was what I wanted to use as my inspiration for contrast.  Despite a very involved process of messages and e-mails I went through to contact Kate (including finding another photographer named Kate Wilhelm and a fiber artist too), I was able to get her permission.

Following the suggestions from many of you Mavens, I tried to use water soluble stabilizer but it was fruitless – it gave me fits as I did not have an embroidery hoop in my transported supplies in Maine and I was not happy with the warped results.  I thank you all for your help, but I started to thread paint the zebra using my own difficult process.   I outlined the copy of the photo with a sharpie and then printed it onto traditional stabilizer ironed to freezer paper and put in the printer.  I began the tedious job of straight stitching to fill in the sections of the zebra in black and white thread because I was too afraid to use free motion stitching as I knew it would twist and distort the shape.  After what seemed like weeks of stitching and diligent pressing to maintain the shape without distortion, I had my zebra “colored” in.  Amazingly with my careful process it was only slightly mishapen.  I then satin stitched it to the background and continued to fill in with free motion stitching for more depth and shading.  White tuille was used on the hind quarter of the zebra to replicate the shading in Kate’s photo.  Hand stitching with white DMC thread contrasts with the fine black lines in the background fabric.  The red print seemed to be the perfect frame for the zebra, but when finished it still seemed to need something.   I hand stitched a bit more with black DMC thread and added a few black beads for a little more contrast.   I hope Kate sees my rendition as she asked for a photo and the link to our website which I’ll give her. 

Here is the website if you’d like to see the photo I used – the zebra is on the November page of the calendar.  

 I really enjoyed this theme.  Even though I had originally voted to stick with the 12 x 12 format, I went with the 11 x 14 as it worked better with the design.

Lois' CONTRAST- Noni's Grapes of Piania

My grandfather, my Noni, picked grapes in Tuscany and made his own wine. My grandmother, my Nona, told stories of stomping on the grapes with her friends in her youth. They lived in a stone house that was built around the year 900 that still stands high on a mountain top. Their wine cellar was a tiny space under this ancient family home. Old casks were used to store each year's wine production. My mother was born in this house and the family stories of the fall wine production are a part of my heritage. 

 We recently visited a winery, and  what a contrast. The two story high gleaming stainless steel vats, and the miles of high tech piping all connected to some sort of computerized control system certainly produced great wine, but for me lacked the romance. 

I recently visited a mom and pop farm in PEI Canada, where a small family was making felting equipment , spinning yarns and combing  roving. The wool came from the animals on their farm, just outside the door of their small shop.  Intrigued by their needle felting supplies, I had to give it a go. So with a book, and some of their hand made roving I returned to Atlanta. The contrast between the city of Atlanta and the pastoral Prince Edward Island caused me to think about how differently so many things are made. 

Somehow these contrasts resulted in my making  my first needle felted piece.  combined with of course some thread painting!

Andrea's Contrast Quilt: Autumn In Boston

hand dyed cotton, commercial cotton, screen print, printer,
machine pieced, fused, machine quilted

Initially, I must have jotted down at least 8 different ideas for this theme, as it really captured my imagination.  I then put all ideas aside until September.  I narrowed the list down to one, but before I started to work on it, I had the occasion to email a friend regarding what the weather could be like in Boston in October, as she was planning a short visit.  Due to that email I went in a completely different direction.  ( I'm always amazed when things like that happen! ).

I love the contrast in the fall between red, orange, yellow, and green leaves against a clear bright blue sky, so this is what I have tried to represent.  A maple tree in a neighbors' yard started to change colors sometime in August and the fallen leaves were actually pink and green, which fascinated me.  The color pattern on these leaves reminded me of my snow dyed fabric, so I knew I wanted to "feature" these particular leaves.  I used my printer to make color copies of the leaves on to fabric.  
I also wanted the quilt to include examples of both high and low contrast, which is why I screen printed the building in blue, as close to the background as I could without it disappearing, to represent low contrast, as does the portion of the left leaf that is on top of the strip of pink/orange snow dyed fabric.
I have really enjoyed working on, not only this particular theme, but the new 11 x 14 format as well. 

CONTRAST - Carol B's

This is my rendition of Contrast. I chose the word, then I did what everyone else in this group probably does, just go blank and scratch my head in puzzlement. What am I going to make?

So I played around with the word….black & white is contrasting, so are a lot of other colors, but I wanted to make something totally different and out of the ordinary. I decided to do, my daughter Sarah, who has very light skin and dark hair = CONTRAST.

First I asked permission to use a photo she had which was a gift for a friend - well she is an adult and I didn’t just want to take her photo without permission.
Then I did some photoshop stuff with it, like change it to “posterized” which gives me about six colors to choose from, rather than look at the subject/colors all at once. It broke the tones up so I could see where to make transitions.

Because the original pic was square, I had to get this enlarged somehow, so I used the copier at work and did it in sections. (Since then a friend has given me an enlarger!)
I then outlined the sections and used a black magic marker to divide up the colors, and then numbered them. Luckily for me, I found a person who does fabric dying in all the shades I was looking for (skin tones) at the Mancuso show in August.

The piece is not sewn, but fused, and I framed it as well.  I thought it would look better this way. I did try some sewing, but it was very distracting and I just wasn’t happy with it.