28 April 2006

"The Other Side of the River"

Marks on bark cloth -- I was looking for something "contrasty" to use on two complementary panels, and this painting seemed to provide that contrast. In fact it seems to fall into two halves -- accented by the fold so it would fit into my portable sewing kit.The basis for the two panels is - a couple of moth-eaten trouser legs, made of a wool so good that strands from unravelled fabric can be (and were) used for stitching. Other threads for stitching are dark green twisty rayon, navy blue perle, variegated dark purple silk -- colours called Sorcery and Mole! -- and stranded black cotton. Anything I had on hand that would contrast with the pale background - yet would give a bit of interest on closer inspection.
The irregular neutral patches again came from whatever was on hand, washed to give ravelly edges and that crumpled texture; then they were quilted down on the base, and the embellishment began. I'd forgotten how much I love hand stitching. The piece just grew -- rapidly at first, and then there was a bit of a slowdown in progress (spot the difference).Almost done now -- the underlying "geography" is (almost) all covered up. I've found something that will work for the "river" - silk reclaimed from a blouse found in a trawl of Gloucester's charity shops on Easter Saturday. The river is sewn onto a larger piece, and the "banks" will be sewn onto it too.
The bark cloth that inspired this piece comes from the Congo. While stitching I've been thinking about the way the Congo river forms a boundary and an artery in the area, and wondering about both the colonial history of that area and its horrible recent history. It's much more pleasant to think about the area's traditional tribal societies and their artistic output.

I'd imagined the bark cloth was about 30x40, but the measurements of the original piece are almost the same as mine - 80x55 - mine is 90x49.

19 April 2006

"Blossom Blizzard"

Here they are, the blossoms, in repose; I imagined a strong wind blowing them along, like the wind blowing the dry snow across a prairie road --The framework was a branch-like structure (organza, and a liberty print, bias-cut for flexibility, held on with rather carefree stitching) -
The first of the "blossoms" being blown (snippets, bondawebbed) -More and more (layers of changing colours, held by runs of rapid machining, various threads) --
... and more -- enough already! --
A close-up --

07 April 2006

Walthamstow market

Bargains to be had in socks, stockings, tights --And shirts ready to fly off somewhere --
This is a party shop, chaotic and packed with surprises --
Further along, all sorts of cuddly toys -- Several fabric shops along the way - mostly nasty stuff, but if you need organza it's here --
Possibly the world's best retail price on zips - 25p each, whatever the length --
And, bizzarely, here's the crushed velvet I've been looking for -- is it saving someone's place?

The day's gleanings

Wearable clothing, recyclable fabric for quilts, escapist reading, and a present or two.

All together now - Barcode Series

#1 - On the Rocks - the words found on the selvedge of the multicoloured fabric - quilted in yellow in concentric crazy rectangles, inspired by the jazzy fabric --
#2 - Fish are Jumping - long lines of quilting in yellows and oranges, about 1/4" apart, soaring and doubling back on themselves at various angles -- #3 - Dizzy Spider - quilting in orange thread, following the spirals and extending them to the other areas --
#4 - Goldfish Bowl - quilting consists of outlining and "colouring in" the fish in reds and oranges, then meandering blue "seaweed" in between. The central square was thrown together for a challenge on the UK Sewing list - my challenge was to get out my unused serger and do a few simple seams - after which the rest was put together conventionally --#5 - still unnamed, still unquilted --#6 - quilted in horizontal rows in blocks of various colours, but not yet cut to size (too much spiderweb, right?). During the long stretches of contemplative quilting time, no name emerged --
I'm having a break from these and getting on with some handstitching on a piece that needs to be finished soon.

When I make more Barcodes, they'll be smaller! These are about a metre wide and though I love sitting at the machine for hours doing the quilting, that's not the best way to do lots of different experiments in the interaction of pieced fabric and the quilting.

ps -- some tweaking

A little applique of stripey areas, and a bit of orange piping inside the binding. A title emerged: Pond Life.

05 April 2006

Raspberry red linen

Four and a half yards, 60" wide, of possibilities ... into the machine it goes for the first of four or five pre-washes, helped by being knocked about by several tennis balls, borrowed specially (thanks, Vicky and Hwaida!).