Monday, 30 March 2015

African Quilt pt.3

With a clear view of the source inspiration for this piece I began looking at quilt design ideas.

I also looked at an idea I had used on a recent piece, where I made a large and a small quilt and stitched the small one onto the surface of the larger. Below is a photo showing the edge of the smaller quilt lying on the background quilt.

This would allow me to use the fabulous yellow fabric from Esther as my background while I then created a smaller piece using the shape and colour and feel of the sun on the water.

When I got to this stage I was really happy with the concept and could then bring together the fabrics I would use to suggest the sunset on the river. My stash is more than adequate and a recent purchase of another piece of Esther's fabric fitted with the concept as well.

I also realised that a piece of cotton damask created by Nene Jallow from The Gambia would fit with this scheme as well. (the bottom swatch)
As I will have a significant amount of the yellow Esther fabric as a whiolecloth quilt, I needed to give a lot of thought to the quilting of it.
The photo from the river, showing the patterning of the ripples suggested a simple watery horizontal quilting to me.

My design included putting a vertical stril through this yellow fabric, would that affect the quilting? Another sample needed.

My feeling was that the strip did not necessitate changing the quilting pattern.
Now I had to try out my idea for the smaller top quilt, stitching strips of colour. Did it matter id the strips were straight or curved? I decided that it was an abstraction from the photo and therefore quite OK to use straight lines.

I like the hand stitching, and plan to continue any of these lines through into the background quilt to anchor the two pieces together.
Now I just have to get stitching for real and make this quilt!!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

African Quilt - pt. 2

I have had time to keep looking at my ideas for this quilt. The more I looked, the less happy I became with the ideas I had generated thus far. For a long while I just didn't "get" what it was was that I was unhappy with.
Here's a reminder of where I had got to.

What I realised was that the fabric is organic, random and free, but my designs were rigid and regular and owed little to the culture that had created the fabric. So..... I turned to the large collection of images that I have brought back from trips to Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa hoping that among them something would trigger the "yes!" Response.
I found the images that evoked the right response.

The Rufigi River in Tanzania. I had very strong images in my memory as well as these two photos of the light on the water at sundown, the patterns in the water and the array of colours if one looked hard enough. Now I could work on a design.

Friday, 20 March 2015

"Sewing for Pleasure" at NEC

Just back from this show at the NEC. Just a bit disappointed this year, as there were far fewer groups exhibiting really interesting work.
However three things really did stand out.
"Experimental Textiles" students of Kim Thittichai had a fascinating display of their just completed nine, two day course. Full of fascinating experimental textiles and students' sketchbooks.

Jane Bradshaw's excellent sketchbook really caught my eye. The students stewarding their stand were quite excellent ambassadors for the programme and I enjoyed chatting to them about the work.  I also thought how much my work might benefit from such a rigorous programme!

"Jeudis" exhibited again this year. I had been completely bowled over by Elaine Winterton's work last year and her vessels shown this year were less quirky but stunning pieces. She has the instant recognition factor! I was also drawn to Christine Plummer's mixed media, framed work and enjoyed talking to members about their work.

CQ and the Journal Quilts again had a stand and these little gems attracted a good number of visitors drawn to the fabulous array of 8" squares.

I really liked these pieces:

Three of mine were there too

I have come home with a selection of scrim, sari ribbon, threads and beads and bought some very tactile linen/silk mix and a piece of recycled cotton from the help Burma stall which I hope will become a new quilt in a very different colour way for me. More later!

Monday, 9 March 2015

An African fabric quilt from the start.......

If you have read many earlier posts you will know that it's the fabric that sets my creative juices going and that I will often start a piece with little idea of how it may be concluded!
I have set myself the challenge this year to try and design a quilt, with a size and defined elements before I start to do any work! I did start with two lengths of fabric sourced from the Festival of Quilts in August 2014 and I thought I would share that process with you.
The fabric, cotton, hand dyed and printed and resist printed by Esther from Ghana and bought from Maggie Relph and The African Fabric shop and a hand dyed piece from Heidi Stoll-Weber. They absolutely sang to me. That was the beginning, I had no idea how I would use them.

Initially I thought about an idea based on the wonderful Rudbeckia flowers, but my poor drawing skills put me off and I went down a more abstract, geometric route. I really did try out a raft of design possibilities.

The very abstract nature of the fabric made it hard to replicate in coloured pencil!

I tried photocopying the fabric so that I could create collaged ideas to give a better indication of how the final quilt would look. This was a very helpful move and one I'll use again. All of this before I cut or stitched any fabric!
Even after all of this I was still not convinced I had found the right ideas, back to the drawing board. More to follow.