Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kathy's "REACH"



I wasn't quite sure how to handle this challenge, but for some reason this poem popped into my mind. I don't know if I read it somewhere, or more likely, it came to me through "Divine Inspiration."   

Of all the events in my somewhat ordinary life, the most significant of those events was the tragic loss of my son, Ian Alexander Harte, in October 2003.   I was still living in Alaska; Ian and my daughter, Aimee, were living in California near their Dad.     When I got the phone call that Ian had "gone missing" I was terrified.   How could this happen?   He had just turned 24 !  He'd just graduated from college.   He had a job.   He was supposed to be OK !   Our family did everything humanly possible to locate our boy.... Police, Detectives, Investigators, Attorneys; Ian's friends, his college; "Missing" posters on every vertical surface in the town where he lived.  We stormed the gates of heaven, begging our Dear God to return Ian to us.    It was not to be.
 * * * We will celebrate Ian's 38th Birthday tomorrow, October 16, 2017. * * *

During these past few months, our beloved country, the United States of America, and many other countries (especially the "Island Countries") have been devastated by Hurricanes and Tropical Storms.    As Hurricane Harvey was gathering speed and force, many areas in Florida were under "emergency" (mandatory) evacuation.  My daughter, Aimee, and 9 year old grandson, Logan, were among those evacuees.  To hear my child sobbing; to hear my grandson crying as he asked if they were all going to die was heartbreaking.    Fortunately, we were able to get them out of Florida and they stayed with us for the several days it took "Harvey" to calm down.   We celebrated their safety, and them being here with us in Central Texas !

The small poem at the beginning of this dialog has become the title of my "REACH" quilt.   I'm grateful to our Dear God for all He's given to me; and I know at some point in time I will understand!
The Quilt :    The Cross represents God's ever-presence in our lives.
Fabrics:  I hand-dyed the background fabric using lots of rusted "found objects."    Commercial fabric was used for the cross, and the backing.  
Quilting:  I Free-Motion quilted the background using the fabric designs as inspiration.    The Cross was machine quilted using straight stitching to simulate the grain in the wood.
Finishing Techniques:   I used a "Ragged-Edge" process for the Cross to give it dimensionality; I also left the edges of the front of the quilt ragged.    The "Poem" has been printed onto fabric, and appliqued to the back side of the quilt.
Binding:  The binding is a "double fold," and was used to finish the edges on the back of the quilt.

Peace and blessings,    Kathy

January 15, 2018 Challenge Word

The next challenge word will be "Rock".

Dee's "Reach"


After many weeks of thinking – just thinking about this word “Reach”, I finally went to my “Epiphany Drawer” to see if I could stir up a bit of imagination or magic; it worked.  The “Epiphany Drawer” is where I keep all of those very special scraps that turn out so amazing that I cannot believe I made them.  (big grin – of course they are.)   These are the scrappy treasures from classes and workshops where I try new things.   These pieces are never big enough to make a ‘real’ work of art, but heaven forbid that I ever even consider cutting them up!!!  Also, I usually do not have the tools to replicate them at home.  So, this is the drawer that I reached into; I wanted to do something that had a combination of things that I love. I gave myself permission to play as I reached into the symbolic fuel tank.

This 12 x 12 piece has a background that was drip dyed with three red colors.  The way those reds perfectly melded together, I knew that I would NEVER cut it apart, so I cut it apart.  The green and black piece is silk-screened and I knew I would NEVER cut it apart, so I cut it apart.  I love improv piecing, so I did.  I had a never used “Pounce” chalk pack and a never used stencil from 9 years ago that were
threatening to expire, so I used them, too.  This was fun - I should REACH more often.

Carolyn's Reach: Reaching for My Daddy

My sweet mother-in-law loved to tell the story about my husband's childhood antics.  Jerry was always an explorer, and one day when he was 3 years old, his mother glanced out the kitchen window and saw him climbing up their tall ladder.  

The extended ladder was leaning against the roof where Jerry’s Dad was repairing some leaks. 

Of course, his mother panicked, but she quietly slipped outside and signaled to her husband that Jerry was climbing up the ladder.  His Dad turned around just as Jerry reached the very top rung.  He carefully reached down and caught Jerry’s hand. His Dad pulled him into his arms and carried him safely down the ladder.  When the theme, “reach” was announced, this scene immediately came to my mind.  My quilt marks this event in my husband’s young life.

To create my quilt, I free-cut cotton batik fabrics and fused them onto the steel blue background.  Although their home was in West Texas where there were no trees or flowers, I decided my little scene needed enhancing.  So I used fusible fabric and fabric pencils for the tree, embroidered a few flowers and finished the quilt with machine quilting using Aurifil thread.

Judy's "Reach For The Stars"

This is what popped into my head when I came up with the challenge word. It has been my focus for quite a few years and I feel like I am getting closer and closer to reaching some of those stars.

Of course my first thought was to make hands and stars, but I just couldn’t get the emotional connection with it that way.

I found this beautiful Jenny Beyer fabric in my stash and it reminded me of watching sunsets growing up on the farm. It was magical the way the sun would set and the stars would pop out one by one and then there were millions as the Milky Way would appear.

Climbing trees to touch the stars was one way to get closer to them. I also enjoyed swinging as fast and high as I could go. I would stretch my toes out as far as I could to reach the stars.

I always make my quilts 12” x 12” but this time when I auditioned it framed 11” x 14” it was the right way to go. I followed my gut and did what my art told me it needed. 

I added twinkling stars that are little Swarovski crystals.

So sit back and enjoy watching the stars appear as you reach out your hands, heart, and dreams to them.

Andrea's Reach

11 x 14 hand-dyed cotton, textile paint, machine stitched

"The desire to reach the stars is ambitious.  The desire
to reach hearts is wise and possible."  Maya Angelou

When I saw the new theme I googled quotes with the word "reach" and as soon as I read this particular one visualized a variation of this quilt.  I prefer to have at least two or three designs to chose from, but even after waiting until just a few days ago, nothing else came to mind, so decided that this was the one that wanted to be made!  It also allowed me to use the heart shibori fabric that I made in a class over the summer.  The challenge was to add the imagery in a way that would not completely detract from the background, but still convey hands reaching for the hearts.  Once I stitched the hands and hearts outline I experimented with making them a bit more prominent, but anything that I tried ( fill-in stitching and grey organza cut-outs ) overpowered the shibori hearts.  At that point, even though it did not feel like the quilt was complete, I thought it could be.  Then literally, in the middle of the night, I thought of stenciling in the imagery with a transparent grey textile paint, which I made even more transparent by adding an extender.  I was very pleased with the result, and feel that I finally found the balance between background and imagery that I wanted.

Sara's Reach Quilr

This theme was a bit of a challenge for me. I usually like to think of several approaches and make sure I don't go with the first three ideas. Unfortunately, I only could think of one idea and I did not like that idea!

This summer my friend came over to use my embroidery machine. While we were waiting on an embroidery completion she asked if we could organize my work room. No argument from me - we are not done but things are much tidier. In the process I found a very old screen print sample - I think it was done with a crayoned resist and some rather thick paint. I hung it in the corner of my design wall.

While thinking about the theme, I looked up and saw my little screen print. I thought about how I always seem to want to extend my own reach. I seem to always be taking classes and going to lectures on fiber arts as well as other topics. I decided my that my screen printed birds are flying off to reach a goal and that I should combine them with a variety of swatches I created in classes. Last March, I was lucky to be in a class with Leslie Tucker Jenison where we created all sorts of fun printed and colored textures on fabric and paper. We collaged the results onto a base using Misty Fuse. I enjoyed this way of working - I believe the stripes were created in that workshop using a gelli plate. The light blue fabric seems to be dyed silk from a workshop long ago. The green fabric may have been a wipe cloth from a dyeing or painting experiment. I added some couched needlepoint thread to two sides.

Hence I have an image of birds reaching off to the sky and me reaching off to constantly increase my skill set rolled in to one (and as a side benefit, a little completed quilt is so much more visually satisfying over random swatches and samples!)

Rita's Reach: Creation and Creativity - not a reach!

The most reproduced image of Michelangelo’s, the Creation of Adam, which is on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, was my inspiration for this quilt.
After I had the hands completed and placed on the background of clouds I thought the message was complete. The next day it just seemed unfinished. Yes, lesson learned, always sleep on it and it may look different the next morning.
There’s a bumper sticker that reads, “How cool, the same God that created the mountains decided the world also needed humans.” My design was now almost complete.
To merge the clouds and hands and mountains together took a bit of creative thinking.  A photo was captured of the hands from the chapel ceiling. Next, a line drawing was made on a clear plastic sheet for the light to dark detail required in the hands. The hands are then made with a technique where 5 values of very light to very dark fabric are selected and used to illustrate the dimension in the hands. The mountains are then made by the same technique using only three values.  Colored pencil has added a bit of shading.
When I had all three elements ready to assemble another dilemma developed. Do the hands go above the mountains or behind, or how far apart? Again, a good night’s sleep and the next morning I tossed the drawing of hands over the mountains and it worked and that is what you see. It is finished. Perhaps it was divine intervention.

REACHING FOR THE SUN - By Teresa Schlabach

This summer I was lucky to spend 2 weeks in Southern France.  While there I saw fields and fields of sunflowers.  They grow up to 5 feet tall and the flowers are bigger than my head!  The flowers reach for the sun until they start blooming and then turn their backs on the sun as they bloom.  I found myself reaching for the warmth and happiness of the sun everyday.  There is no substitute for sunshine.  I thread painted this sunflower based on a photograph I took.  The center is actually Alpaca wool and silk stitched in a circular motion giving some depth to the flower.  Sunflowers represent happiness and that makes my heart smile.

Alice's Quilt: Reaching Up and Holding the Moon

“Reach” was a challenging challenge word for me!  I considered “reaching a goal” and also that wonderful song by Diana Ross, “Reach Out and Touch.”  But somehow images inspired by those didn’t translate into a quilt for me.

During the recent eclipse of the sun by our moon,  I started to pay special attention to that amazing moon.  And the recent harvest moons have been breathtakingly beautiful!  Then I remembered something someone once told me.  If, when the moon is full, you go outside, close one eye, and position your hands just so, you can reach up and “hold the moon in your hands.”

That notion inspired my quilt.  I found an excellent free clip-art image of cupped hands. After printing it, I traced it onto flesh-colored fabric.  Then I cut my moon out of mottled gold batik.

I couldn’t find a dark blue, night-sky-looking fabric in my stash, so I decided to paint some PDF fabric for the background.  Once the fabric dried, I sandwiched it with batting and, for the backing, a wonderful commercial print of planets. The cupped hands and the moon are fused and appliquéd by machine onto the background.  I added some gently curving lines of quilting.  This 12”x12” quilt was bound conventionally with more of the background fabric.   The planet-fabric backing is pictured below.

Gail's--Reach into My Stash!

This was the easiest challenge for me. I immediately thought "reach into my stash" and that's exactly what I did. I like to use these challenges to "reach" new levels of technique. For the past year I've been mulling over a larger piece involving curved piecing.  Being a "reach" for me I've naturally avoided starting it! Now I feel competent to start it after "reaching" this 
smaller achievement. I have a large unique hand dyed piece from Helene Davis Art Studio in Paducah. I will again "reach" into my stash to incorporate just the right fabric. The background for this challenge was a piece of art fabric I impulsively "reached" for in Houston a few years ago. My hope is this little quilt will "reach" your soul in a symphony of color!