Cynthia St. Charles Store

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fabric Art Book

For some time now, I've thought I might enjoy making a fabric art book. These seem to appear in Quilting Arts and Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazines regularly, so I have had a chance to see pictures of them before.

Brooke is in charge of table decorations for Big Sky Quilt Retreat and she wants 3D textile art for centerpieces. She was challenging us to make something with a bottle. Her bottle/textile art is fabulous. Every time I tried to think about what I could make with a bottle - the only image I could conjure was Brooke's lovely art.

So, I gave up the bottle idea and decided to try for a book. I reasoned that if I could make fabric postcards - a book would be just like making several fabric postcards and putting them together. For inspiration - I chose a quote from my dictionary of quotations - this, by Byron - about nature:

There is pleasure in the pathless woods
There is rapture in the lonely shore
There is society, where none intrudes
By the deep Sea
and Music in its roar
I love not Man the less
but Nature more.

I think this went fine for a first attempt, but I don't think that book making will be my new vocation!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Blue and Orange Christmas Stockings!

A couple of weeks ago, I offered to make Christmas stockings for my nephew and grandson. This will be the first Christmas for both of them. I have been thinking about the design for these stockings for quite some time. I wanted to put a star on them. OK - that seemed reasonable. But then, I realized that I really wanted to screen print the three wise men as well. OK - also reasonable. I pulled out all kinds of fabrics in reds and greens from my stash but nothing seemed right. I decided to paint the fabric, and as I considered my image - I could not escape the fact that red or green was just not going to cut it for this idea.

Yesterday, I painted a sunset sky as the backdrop for the star and wise men. Turned out OK - so I went ahead and fused the foreground - a scrap of hand dyed black. Then, I screen printed the wise men in black and the star in gold.

Today, I layered and quilted the fronts. Then, I put them together with a single layer of fabric for the back of the stocking (I was rather surprised to discover a commercial fabric in the perfect shade of blue and purple - printed with wise men - perfect for the back of the stocking. I bound them and just now finished hand sewing the binding.

Is it OK to have a Christmas stocking that is blue and orange? I really like these stockings, but they might throw a wrench in the traditional holiday decorating scheme. (I used to care about such things back when I went in for holiday decorating - now I begrudge the time it takes to put up a Christmas tree because it is time out of the studio!). I wonder if the boys will someday feel cheated because their stocking does not have a jolly red Santa or green Christmas tree on it.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Journal Quilts 2006 - January, February, March, April

Lady in Waiting - January 2006

I was really struggling with my feelings about the impending birth of my first grandchild. My daughter seemed so young. My years as a single mother were the most challenging of my life, and I feared her future with the father of the baby was not secure. My worry colored all my thoughts and I decided I’d just work it through with a journal page. I wanted to use the fabric I marbled last summer. While looking at some Egyptian tomb art, I found a figure I wanted to adapt. Lady in Waiting was created. She deserved a lot of beads, which were sewn on in the hospital after Dad’s knee surgery. I am still worried!

Lady in Waiting #2 - February 2006

I was so happy with the first "Lady in Waiting", that I decided to try again with another type of image. I searched and searched and finally found an image from a "Printer's Mark" from 1493. A printers mark was used like a trademark - something printers used as a signet - during the Golden Age of Printing.

I used the marbled fabric once again, and added beads, but this one was a disaster!

Elizabeth in Bloom - March 2006

Michelle is home from college this month and she shot some film of Elizabeth and her big belly. After she got back to school, she sent this picture to me via email. I printed it onto fabric, but then what? I decided to tear some sheer fabric I had monoprinted with flowers last summer into a strip long enough to cover the image. It hangs loose - attached only at the top.

This one is a bit of a disappointment, too.

Grace - April 2006

This is to be my final "pregnant" journal quilt. The baby will be born this month. My daughter is radiant, graceful, and serene. So different from the way I felt when I was pregnant with her 21 years ago!

I've been able to use my hand marbled fabric each month so far.

Journal Quilts May, June, July 2006

Postpartum Blues - May 2006

Airus was born April 29. He is beautiful and healthy. The delivery was easy and my daughter is radiant, calm and serene as a new mother.

Elizabeth is not experiencing postpartum blues, but I know a lot of people struggle with depression after delivery. I wanted to use the Egyptian image from my first journal quilt and do it again - this time with the baby in arms. I wanted to do it shades that would convey the impression of postpartum blues. I think it might have been better if I'd used a contrasting color for the background - maybe orange or yellow? I dunno.

Madonna - June 2006

I had the idea of using some shibori dyed fabric for the background. I used reverse applique for the figure - two different fabrics - so I layered three fabrics on the top of the quilt sandwich to get this effect. I think the differences in the two fabrics are too subtle, actually, and I think I could have done a better job placing the figure. It would have looked a bit nicer a bit higher up, maybe.

The Duchess - July 2006

While helping my mother move this month - we came across some things I had never seen before. One of those things was her set of Alice in Wonderland paper dolls! Many parts were still there, and I was taken with this image of the Duchess. She let me take the whole set home!

I thought this Duchess image fell right in with my series of madonnas! This madonna must be the grandmother, though!

Really, I have been so dismayed these days at my reflection when I look in the mirror. Yikes! I am a grandmother! Gravity is starting to have its effect on my appearance. I don't look quite like this old gal just yet, but I fear I am headed that way!

Journal Quilt August 2006

Madonna a la Picasso

I did a little Picasso research in August because I wanted to create my own version of an abstracted figure style continuing my “Madonna” or mother w/baby theme. I like this image - it is one of my favorites of the series! This was the last quilt I made using my own marbled fabric.

Journal Quilt - September 2006

This was the last in the series. I had a candid photo of Elizabeth with Airus asleep in the sling. It was not a great photo, but it was the only one I had at the time, so I played with it in Photoshop because I was thinking about making it into a screen that I could use to print on fabric. Turned out it wasn't really worthy of a screen, so I just used Sylvia Wier's technique for stitching figures - I put the picture next to the sewing machine and stitched it freehand on my layered scrap of satin. The satin was something I brought home from my mom's stash when I was helping her move. This is my least favorite of the group of 2006 Journal Quilts.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Safety Net

I've started a new series. This series is titled "Passages" based roughly on the book by Janet Sheehy about the stages of adult development. I want to do a series about the states and events in adult development.

I have long toyed with the idea of dyeing painters canvas and stretching it over stretcher bars. This fall, I ordered 10 yards of organic painters canvas to give it a try. I was pleased with my first attempt, called "Safety Net". It measures 14" x 32".

Friday, December 1, 2006

Starting out

I have considered blogging for a long time. Sometimes I am so excited about my work in the studio that I can barely contain myself and I just want to share it with the world.

Yesterday's project was to make my gift for the "Women of Artistic Vision" Christmas gift exchange. The theme is "Elbows". Each member is to create a unique gift offering with that theme. I thought I would just bring one of my groovy handbags to wear on the elbow, but I came across this site with some images of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings. Here is the link to that web page: Leonardo's Drawings . The one for the arm bicep movements captured my imagination and I knew I must use it in some way to make my gift for the "Elbows" exchange.

First I made a screen. I pulled out some silk organza, which I dyed using Colorhue dyes
(here are instructions for using Colorhue dyes).

I dug out some of the first fabric I had ever handpainted and decided to use it for a background. Then, I pulled a couple of pieces of commercial fabric to use as borders. After the handpainted silk was dry, I screened on a series of images of da Vinci's arm studies.

I spent a lot of time messing around with the arrangement to get a look that I liked. Then I fused it all in place and machine stitched. I put the binding on while Airus was napping.

I am satisfied with the outcome of a few hours messing around in the studio!