Friday, 11 October 2019

cloth collage

The BirdQuilt is evolving nicely, or I could say organically; organic has such a wholesome ring to it and it really does seem to have a life of it's own.
I sense this is how I work: I always have a feeling of not being in complete control of what happens in the creation of a piece (or story for that matter), let alone the outcome. 
I enjoy how once I've started a piece it moves forward of it's own volition, I so look forward to being taken by surprise by what happens.
As I have more time than I used to with another part-time job in this setting-up-my-own-small-art-business process [meaning this is it Full-Time!] it allows me to observe my self at work; in so doing I'm learning more and more about how and why it is I do as I do.
How I start out with an idea, a small sketch, sometimes not even that, just a scrap or two lined up or (part of) a lino-print on a bit of cloth.
I like starting in the middle and working outwards, I prefer some sort of symmetry, however the two sides (panels) are never completely alike, they are similar whilst differing ever so slightly.
I can work pretty neatly, with lots of small stitches, I prefer the squares and oblong shapes in a patchwork, at the same time I am most definitely not a perfectionist, so I do not mind if and when the lines do not quite add up. Maybe I don't use rounder shapes as I'm not yet capable of managing those. What I find extremely useful is ironing the seams before sewing as the crisp crease offers an excellent guide for my needle and thread.

This 'hanging construction' for the BirdQuilt allows me to try out different combinations, a bit like making a collage, pinning strips of fabric on,  taking a step back, looking closely, engaging with the piece.....taking a photo, staring at that, undoing some bits, stitching them back together, deciding to take it apart yet again....sewing together new patches, abandoning the project in frustration at being stuck; inspiration rekindled  by Jude's class......picking the cloth up once more.
This small collage of patches simply grew by picking bits from my third scrap basket (I have three baskets: one with very thin bits of fabric, a second with my small collection of silk cloth bits, a third with cotton/linen scraps)

These cloth scraps were gifts from so many: Jet Jude Julie Nancy Jennie, the blue chambray comes from Dee and the green flowers from Lise, my mother; I call it Connection Patch Piece, underlying everything I do is the desire to connect, make connections with others

In these emotional times I yearn for colour, desiring cheerful, joyful patterns in the knowledge that sadness, pain and loss are facts of life, always just around the corner. They'll seek me out no matter what, all I can do is decide to lean in and in moments of reprieve embrace life.
laid out on the floor


I made four more StarBirds, two of which feature here, I do like the combination of the blue with the home-dyed fabric below; I don't know why the tips of the wings turned out 'clipped off' however I think I've managed to make turn my mistake into a quaint detail, varying from bright red to a magical nod to Jude

Thursday, 3 October 2019

life is about letting go

after 2 days of serious sewing 4 joyful birds!

first sketch (and in fact final basic design) for a bird puzzle block, of course inspired by Jude's Class over in Small Cloth, Patchwork in Perspective Part 2

 I had gotten stuck in the BirdQuilt and here was the solution to unblocking my clogged up brain

this is StarBird number one, made with a nine-patch-grid in mind; a lot of stitching and seams meeting at the back which needed a good iron-press, so I got to thinking, maybe there's a shortcut:

number two, with larger areas pre-cut, however this proved to be more difficult than I had imagined, especially the triangle on the left! which pushes the piece up a bit; good to know though.

Number three is the one with the green polka dots, where I divided the larger left triangle into two, making for a better fit, plus the 'body' is made up of three parts again: a square and two triangles (are you still following?)

I suppose I could get away with keeping the lozenge (i.e. the head) and the larger triangle with the wings facing 'downward'. However in all other variations I think I'll stick to the making of squares, as I am not that precise, despite using the same templates and ironing the seams flat before stitching.
 I have learned and discovered for myself by actually doing (duh), that breaking the parts down into (parts of) squares and then sewing them all together according to the nine patch grid makes perfect sense, which is why Jude, among many other patch-working people probably follow this principle; the nine patch (or 4, 16, 25 etc) method is the most forgiving as far as I can tell
I also very much like the grid-lines showing

instead of being less work, number four proved to be more work, although that could be down to my imprecise cutting and ironing! those angles where the corners meet up were particularly cumbersome, although I did enjoy trying all this out!

I am now sewing four more, same as number one, albeit with different background colours, as I need a couple more for the quilt. The birds are all Blue so they match the colour scheme, because I'm that organised (not;-))

This is a 2faced post, much joy in the stitching and much sadness due to family circumstances, I wasn't sure how much I wanted to share here, but the crowd's not that big so here goes:
it has been a tough year for me, not just because I have been struggling with my burn-out and physical pain - I am on the mend! - but also because both my aging parents' health has deteriorated rapidly these past months; in fact my 85 year old mother now does not have long to live. Although we, i.e. my younger sister and brother, do not know exactly how long, as no doctor can possibly answer such a question.....With parents aged 88 and 85, I suppose this is only to be expected and we have of course known this was going to happen, especially after our dad's heart attack a year ago. It has been an emotional blow to hear, see and feel how bad it really is now. Fortunately my siblings and I have a good, loving relationship and can offer each other support. I have a husband and two sons, who are incredibly sweet, kind and loving; a couple of close friends who are simply there for me.
Many of you have been through this and know exactly what I'm talking about.

We will be together tomorrow, just the five of us spending precious time together

I don't know how or what or why, just that I am going to have to let go