The more often I visit this event the more I realise it is the Gallery exhibits which persuade me to brave the crowds, not the competition quilts.
In part this is because I don't find the competition rules or the judges criteria very helpful for my work. I find it strange that an Art Quilt is judged against the same criteria as a traditional one!! That said, it is an amazing collective exhibit of textiles work.
Interesting that many of the gallery exhibits do not conform to the tight quilting competition rules, they are often art pieces with their own rationale. It is these pieces I really enjoy.
The other draw is access to some of the best textile materials you can find, all under one roof!
These are the exhibits I particularly took an interest in:
Contemporary Quilters West's gallery "Unfolding Stories" was of particular interest, involving textiles artists I have seen previously and who are engaged in breaking boundaries if it meets their needs.
SAQA "Concrete and Grassland" was inventive and fascinating. I really enjoyed studying these pieces and as a result am contemplating joining them.
Nancy Crow - As a fan of her work for many many years, especially when she was creating fabulous compositions from what looked like strips of fabric. Her book "Improvisational Quilts" in 1996 made a difference to my approach to stitching and I have always taken an interest in what she has been doing. More of this later.
Shizuko Kuroha's gallery garnered a great deal of interest in her limited pallette eye popping pieces. Each meticulously pieced. More of this later.
The Creative Textile Studio always feeds my imagination and encourages me to remember to experiment when a technique seemd ready to fail what I want of it!
I have been using my sketchbook to collate ideas from which to create some work on the is theme.
Spending time outside in a number of gardens recently I have been noticing the colour schemes which seem to pop.
It's these combinations which I really enjoy including in my own work.
Purples and green pop but the blue and green calm things.
Yellow, green and purple with a touch of silver seem just right. I'm trying to start a library of combinations that work and which I feel exited by. I saw pink combinations with greens and with with blues which, although pretty in the garden do nothing for me and my work!
It is the overwhelming impact of colour that remains with me when I recall our trip to India earlier this year. The brightness of the light and the blend of buildings and clothing create a warmth.
To start with with I am going to play with some collages of imagery from Delhi and Jaipur where I was so struck by colour everywhere!
Images on paper torn up to create rough sections which I have then played around with to get a feel for what they look like.
Delhi and Jaipur have provided these lovely snapshots of the vibrant colours and shapes.
Text is too central in this piece.
Not at all sure that the animals work in a piece like this.
Mounted onto a painted box frame this first foray into paper lamination and a Sense of Place has taught me a great deal and I am now looking forward to further exploration based on our recent trip to India.
I will explore this through the blog and on my India pages.
Its fine to learn from trial pieces but necessary to remember the points when starting the full piece!
I have now starting working on my Sri Lanka reflection. Using an old linen family sheet, dyed and torn I then set about choosing my images and tearing them into the sections I wanted to use. I didn't remember to use a less heavy weight paper as I got the bit between my teeth when I couldn't just lay my hands on better paper!!
Auditioning the image slivers was the most important part of this piece to try to create a balance and to make the piece look less like a collection of torn pictures!
It took several attempts before I got something of the effect I wanted to create. I liked adding some elements of a map and my own text written at the time of the visit. I also decided to add a drawing of the stilt fisherman and some Sinhalese script.
Heavily quilted in wavy vertical lines, there are now hundreds of ends to sew back in!
Having discovered Matt Medium as a means of fabric lamination, all be it with tissue paper so far, I wanted to try using photocopied images laminated to fabric before stitching into the surface.
The paper laminated successfully.
Selecting images and tearing them to get the exact element of the picture and layering them.
With the elements laminated I felt that I wanted to include some text about the subject. I had written a piece of text some time before so went back to this and printed it off. I then added it to the edge of the piece.
The text was then laminated, although I might not have chosen to have it at the margin of the piece if I has thought of this at the start!
Three important lessons learned..... Try not to get too much Matt Medium on the fabric where the image will not be; print the images on to lighter weight copy paper and where possible remove bits of any image which will be covered by the next addition to prevent the build up of multiple layers of paper which then have to be stitched through.
Early ideas for ways in which I could make something of my Sri Lanka images concentrated on using photocopies on plain paper with bondaweb and in Black and White.
I also wanted to explore writing about place and including that in the piece. My ability to write in free motion machine stitch is still far too rustic to be serviceable, so tried a photocopy.
So.... I resurrected an early attempt, worked on it and completed it, not because I think I have found the right formula but because trying to resolve the design has helped clarify what I might want to omit and what I want to do more of.
Landscape is one one my key themes this year. I like to work from places that mean something to me and which have a visual impact. Where I start seems a little ad hoc - I found some images from a trip to Sri Lanka some years ago. An amazing place, but a trip imbued with sadness as my father passed away while I was there.
The images were taken the day I knew I'd not make it home in time to be with him. All this time later I can approach these interesting images and work with them without the burden I felt earlier, just the joy at the colour, pattern and shape that drew me to the docks in the first place and a link to him.
Here are some of the raw images I've been working with.
Mending is usually about using stitches to to remove, cover, strengthen areas of fabric which have worn or been distressed. I wanted to explore the use of machine darning to 'quilt' my piece and experimented with different threads.
I was also interested in using the words we use to describe these surface changes to fabric and have experimented with writing them on the cloth with stitches.