Saturday, 22 July 2017

Another Klimt teaser

August is a busy month here in bilsblog land so I too have been working on my Klimt challenge, though this hasn't been a struggle. Once I'd decided on the direction I wanted to take, this piece has virtually made itself. I must admit to not having considered the quilting as much as I should have before I began so I'm still auditioning different options to be able complete the piece by my self-imposed deadline! I give you my scraps -

"Look Mum - no gold!!!"

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Klimt teaser

I can't believe it - I have finished my piece - me, the queen of the last minute!!!  Anyway, I thought I'd give you a teaser of the fun I have been having.

Some of the fun bits and pieces I have been using

Of course there is gold and, and, and...


Friday, 7 July 2017

Self-introduction: Uta

My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was about five or six years old, and I have been involved with textiles ever since. Patchwork came into my life when I was an exchange student in High School in the US and saw the first patchwork pillows. After a period of self-taught traditional patterns (before the age of internet etc.) I turned to contemporary design in 1994: My mother’s cure for my then newly broken heart was an enrollment in a patchwork class. I started teaching patchwork classes and hand-dyeing my own fabrics a few years later, which has led to a small business with hand-dyed fabrics and a bi-monthly fabric club. I studied with Nancy Crow and other international teachers and am a member of SAQA, SDA, the German Patchwork Guild (currently the International Officer for the Guild) and QGBI. I write an English blog and a German blog (and I try to keep them different in topics).

When my son started drawing at the age of 2 ½ I soon realized that his drawings - completely standard for his development, nothing extraordinary - could be turned into inspiration for my work, and I began using his drawings as a starting point for my quilt designs. This led to a series “Play of Lines” which kept me busy for several years; two large quilts of mine from this series were exhibited in the “Color Improvisations” show curated by Nancy Crow.

Play of Lines X

Play of Lines VIII -
this quilt is now on its way to be traveling
with "Abstract and Geometric".

Other series of mine are called Shapes, and, most recently, text messages. Shapes began because I had an exhibition in a UNESCO World Heritage with two other quilters which was the first building designed and built by Walter Gropius, later founder of the famous Bauhaus Art School. So we had decided to use the basic geometric shapes, which figured prominently in Bauhaus teaching, as inspiration for the quilts that should be on display there.

Shapes 10

text messages turned into a series when SAQA issued a call for entries under that title. I had an idea right away, and then realized that I had already been working with text before. And it adds on to my former academic life, when I was a linguist. 

Promised Land 2015? (text messages 9)

I have had several solo exhibitions at international venues and been included in a number of juried traveling international exhibitions.

For the past three years it has been slightly harder to find enough and ample time for quilting as I got involved with voluntary work helping refugees in Germany, and for this past year I have been teaching German as a foreign language to a refugee class as well. This is a very important aspect of my life right now, that has also begun to enter my work. It will be interesting to see how it develops here - apart from how the refugee situation in Germany and Europe will develop in general.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Thank you for the invitation!

Hello everybody. Thank you very much for inviting me to become a member of this group. As I was taking my time to decide whether I was up to the challenge I had to figure out whether my hesitations were because of 'starting with Klimt', or other reasons. He's not my favorite artist - but one grows with the challenge. And I have decided to use the only picture of a painting by him that I could find in one of my art books, so I am all set in terms of inspiration.
I will come back and introduce myself within the next few days and am looking forward to being part of this group!

A new member!

I would like to welcome Uta Lenk from Germany to the group.  She is our new member.  Uta will stay with us even after Linda F has finished her new house and returns to the group.  We will then have a 'Baker's Dozen' which is 13.  Baker's Dozen

You can read all about Uta on her website  where you can see many of her beautiful quilts.  Her CV is very impressive.  Colleen - a fellow long arm quilter to keep you company!

I  am personally excited to have her on board and she will join us starting with Klimt.

Welcome, Uta.  I hope you enjoy your time with us as we travel through series 3 and the challenge of being inspired by artists chosen by our members.


Friday, 2 June 2017


My life has just taken an interesting turn, and I am going to give up most, if not all, of my quilting connections for the next couple of years.  Basically, Mick and I agreed last night to buy a house in Castle Donington, and to sell our two current houses.  We had been looking for a suitable property since February, but could barely dream we would get this one.  It's an old house, with some modern additions, and a huge garden, all within easy walking distance of the village centre.  It's the one house in the village that I've said I would love for the past 20 years, and this is the first time it's been available in 64 years!!

On the down side, there's lots of work to be done, both before and after the move, and I won't have neither any time nor a studio for quite some time, so I'm very sadly bidding farewell to this group.  I have loved being a member since it's start, and I'm particularly sad to be leaving just before you tackle Klimt.  I shall continue to follow the group, and I will soon have more spare bedrooms available should any of you need to place to stay in this area of the UK.

Totem Tree a la Janvier

Sorry folks, little people and life  - what can I say?

I found this challenge difficult to come up with something that wasn't a close copy of his work.  I thought about marbling (well done Colleen), I also wondered about dribbling paint/thickened dye!  But I kept coming back to the wonderful Haida style of depicting animals, long admired.

Instead of a totem pole I have a totem tree with the inspiration coming from this Janvier painting.  It seems to have struck a cord with others as well.

Janvier: Fort McMurray Series
In my Totem Tree the animals are digitized and embroidered by machine.  The were chosen to represent the sky, the earth and water.  The rest is fused applique and free machining.  I will add more twiddly bits when I have a moment.  You have no idea how much unpicking I had to do - nothing like being in a hurry and it being nearly midnight to put a spoke in the wheel!  I decided to put it aside and apologise for being late.  I'm not that happy with the end result - perhaps a bit more work on it will help...

Totem Tree

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Ancestral Home

It was so delightful to have Alex Janvier as our artist for this challenge. I was born and raised in Fort Benton, Montana, located 60 miles south of  Alberta, Canada. Learning about Native American Indian culture was part of my upbringing so I was thrilled to learn more about him as a living indigenous artist raised in my part of North America. His art is truly unique with his strong sense of color, movement and lines. I especially marveled at his expert inclusion of animal symbols that are identified with tribes of the Pacific Northwest. He so skillfully places these in his work, that one must study his art to see what and where he includes them.
 For my personal challenge, I began by using silk fusion pieces that I made in a workshop with Tamara Leberer at Quilt Adventures. I wanted to recreate the fluidity of color and shape of his work.  "Premier Joy" (shown below) was my inspiration piece. I purposely layered silk fused shapes to intersect in a similar manner but very simply. To highlight these shapes and intersections, I edged them with silk sari cords that were couched on with invisible thread. To further enhance the colors, I positioned my silk fusion rendition onto fabric that was dyed to look like pulled string art. To finish, I included images of an eagle, a fish and a feather done in the style of Indigenous symbols.


   Better late than never. I found this a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I thought I liked Hundertwasser's paintings until this challenge: I discovered that I only had an impression of them and I'd never really had a good look at them. I like his use of colour, but I dislike the way in which he used so many closely placed lines. However I really like his architectural designs and so I chose to interprete the Hundertwasser-haus in Vienna.


January Bloom

  I am always trilled to be introduced to artists I've never heard about. This was no exception and like others I struggled on how to interpreter this talented artist. I didn't look too much at the photo, just did my own thing. Rosemary came close to what I had in mind!

  I choose tread painting, my first try (and last?), I had such fun making it, but it was a chock that I could't make it flat with stretching and pressing. A useful lesson I think. So I had to double quilt the white background in order to "thame" it, to make it flat.

  Not quite what I had in mind, not quite pleased with it, but I learned a lot and getting out of your comfort zone is always mind bogging.

Alex Janvier: Abstraction Composition 1

January Bloom

January Bloom in need of "taming"

Marbled Janvier

 Soon after selecting Janvier I decided to revisit the shaving foam marbling technique our Text'Art group played with a number of years ago. I would have liked to had another go at this as it's so much fun. However, I will ensure NOT to use scented shaving foam from the dollar store. I used a facing to complete the round shape and am pleased with the outcome.

I have always been under the impression one should never compose a design that falls off the page, or in this case the fabric!  I have been proved wrong in this instance.  I must confess that I found this artist very difficult at first and found it hard to be inspired as to how to put my inspiration across.  However, as I studied his work I kept going back to pieces that did meander off the sides of his designs.  I drew it up before I left to visit my daughter in the UK but didn't have time to do any adjustments on my return due to various unforseen health issues.  In the end it was fun to put my drawing onto fabric and absolutely love the colours he uses so beautifully.  Below are the pieces that inspired me and my final piece.  I am happy with my finished piece.  I did use paint and appliqued fabric and outlined everything in 12wt cotton thread and, although his backgrounds are very flat (as is his colour), I decided to quilt the background minimally.  I was not sure if it should have been faced or bound but instinctively went for the binding in a slightly mottled, darker colour than the background as I desperately needed to enclose the design.

My final piece:

Intertribal Quilt Song ...

... with apologies to Alex Janvier.
Just as with the title of this post I've adopted a very light-hearted approach to this challenge, I hope you'll forgive me. Goodness I love the fluidity of the lines he creates and his colours are stunning but could I replicate any of this in fabric?  When I found myself wanting to paint rather than stitch I knew I had to look sideways for inspiration. Enter this work:

Inter-tribal Drum Song - Alex Janvier

It was the 'inter-tribal' bit that did it for me. I'm a contemporary quilter through and through so why have I recently been dabbling with needle turn applique or visiting a wonderful exhibition on Welsh wholecloth quilts?  These styles all have the same roots but it doesn't stop us, here in the UK at least, from associating with others interested in the same aspect of the broader genre - quilting tribes so to speak. It was this thinking that gave birth to Inter-tribal quilt song. Each oval is cut from a sample or, in one instance, a JQ to represent some of the different quilting tribes. I thought that I'd be able to couch some of Janvier's wonderfully fluid curves but was defeated, though looking again at the photo of the original I'm wondering whether something could be achieved using reverse machine applique ...
Inter-tribal Quilt Song

Tribute to ...

I definitely struggled with this one in that I had visions but had no idea how to get there. Am I happy with my piece .... not completely.  I may play around with it some more at a later stage after some more thought.

Looking at his work I saw marbling, the swirls inside marbles, road maps. All shapes I love however I did not want it to look like I had created another piece in his repertoire so my thoughts changed to putting together little bits of his culture & background to using some of his techniques.

I started with the technique and played around with paint on a off white whole cloth ....

I then inserted a sketch of Janvier, quilted feathers around the circle and stitched into his face. Fabric was wrapped and stitched around cord and used to frame Janvier and create my dream catcher.  I then added the beads & shells to complete my dream catcher.

Here came my problem .... ideally I should have 'threads' criss-crossing the middle of the dream catcher but on placing them across it destroyed the face of Janvier.  Ho Hum !

These are the 2 pieces of Janviers that I took my inspiration from.


Blue Moon

I had a lot of fun with this one, never having done a circular piece before. The circle is 16" and I placed it in a 20" frame, which I think sets it off nicely.

This was my inspiration, Oil Patch Heart Beat, 2013, which really spoke to me.

Kiwi Dreaming

I tried a slightly different approach with this artist.  Instead of picking a particular picture as an inspiration I looked at several of his pieces, then went away and thought about what impression they had made on me.  I then tried to design my piece without going back to look at his work again!
I'm sorry it is not a very good photograph, but I was extremely pressed for time.  I want to add more detail and complexity to the image at some point, though I'm not quite sure how to do that yet.  My intention had been to have the kiwi image barely discernable in the middle of a jumble of lines and colours, but the fabrics I choose for the various areas have made him stand out rather too well.  Perhaps that is the way forward, to add some stronger colours in other areas of the piece.  What do you all think?

Alberta Rose

As much as I liked the work of Alex Janvier, it was hard to decide what to do.  I chose one of his different pieces - he had a couple on display referencing the Alberta wild rose (the official flower of the province).  And I liked the lines on another. 

This is a snow dyed piece of fabric that I felt begged for whole cloth quilting.  I've quilted it with roses with yellow stamens.  The Alberta rose is a single petal rose and is quite open.  And then I didn't want to put coloured lines on it so just did quilted ones. 

We have had a lot of discussion in Canada lately about cultural appropriation.  It will be interesting to see where it all goes. 

Below are my two influences.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Alex Janvier
This artist proved to be a real challenge for me .Even choosing one painting for inspiration was difficult . After much deliberation I decided to concentrate mainly on his style and use of line work. I found it fascinating the way he creates positive and negative spaces with random lines . It took several attempts before I came up with a design which pleased me . Then I had to decide what were going to be the positive spaces (coloured appliqué pieces) and the negative spaces (white). Usually I do a lot of free motion stitching but in this piece decided that only the background be quilted so that the positive spaces stand out more. In the end I really enjoyed the process ,had fun doing it, and like the piece .
Here is the Janvier painting which was the most influential for inspiration .

Here is my piece. I have called it "I see fish"
I look forward to seeing everyones inspired pieces . Rosemary

the next artist is......

Gustav Klimt. Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. Wikipedia
My choice was an easy one and I am sure Klimt will be an easy artist for everyone as his work is so quilt like. But i have been waiting for this opportunity as there is another Klimt inspired work I have been longing to make. Looking forward to what you all come up with!

Next Artist

To be determined by......Helena.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Next challenge

Colleen,  please could you pull the next name out of the hat?  There's not a lot of time left before reveal day - Wednesday!  The name of the next artist can then be announced on June 1st.


PS  I haven't put a stitch in my piece yet - only pin pricks to mark some centres - it's still virgin fabric.  H

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Looks like it is my turn to be late posting this month.  I'm off to France in a weeks time for the rest of May, but had allowed plenty of time, I thought, to do my piece this week.  Alas, I did not plan on my mother falling at table tennis and breaking her leg.  I am currently down in Andover with her, and the chances of me finishing a piece before next week are looking very slim.  I have brought a pad of paper and some ideas down with me, so at least I might have a finished design soon, rather than the very vague ideas I've had so far.

Monday, 1 May 2017

More Janvier artwork

I am adding some more photos (the ones I liked the best, that do not duplicate Dianne's photos) for your potential inspiration, not including my own personal fave. My piece is almost finished! I have to put a rush on it because my daughter is expecting her second son any minute now in Toronto so my time in May will be limited....

Friday, 7 April 2017

Maybe Someday - inspired by Paul Klee - selected as donation for charity raffle

I am a member of the Lakeshore Artists Association, a group of professional artists in our area. I am very proud to be the only textile artist (so far) and was very pleased to be asked to donate a piece for our upcoming exhibition. All proceeds from the raffle are donated to NOVA, a very worthy local charity, and 1/3 of the sale of the artwork is also donated to this organization.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

May's Artist

Presenting.... Mr. Alex Janvier

A Canadian artist currently showing at our National Gallery

Three Black Blobs

This is so exciting; my first quilt with 12 By The Dozen. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Three Black Blobs

I am very pleased with it, not being very keen on his very colourful paintings, it has been much fun to make this into mostly grey and monochrome quilt. 

I tweaked a photo of the original painting in Photoshop then removed the colours. Then I pieced and quilted the background, and after some hand stitching, fused the flowers and added machine stitches in black. 

I had it in my head for a long time, but true to form started too late, finishing on Tuesday afternoon - long before midnight though...........

Then it turned out I had it problems, thanks for the help Hilary!

Based on the painting (745) Blobs Grow in Beloved Gardens, 1975


There were so many different ways to approach this artist!  I decided to be influenced by his paintings of buildings - I liked the wonky grids that he created. 

Here is mine: 

based on one of many paintings like this:

Sunset over the Kruger Park

Did I give myself a challenge!  Sorry to those who also struggled! 

I finally settled on putting something together which had an element of Hundertwasser in that my colour range would be kept simple along with the subject matter.  Because of my title I also wanted to add animals in some quirky, naive, caricatured form. Hence the 'Tinga Tinga' style of the giraffe & zebra.  

This is my finished piece. Whole cloth, painted & stitched.

This is the Hundertwasser that I used as my starting point.

Tinga Tinga is a painting style that developed in the late part of the 20th Century in Dar es Salaam by a local painter called Said Tingatinga. Today Tinga Tinga paintings are one of the most widely represented forms of tourist art in Tanzania and neighbouring countries. Here are some examples.

On reflection maybe I have kept it too simple.  Possibly dividing the green areas left and right of the blue in half again and the lines slightly variable would have been a better option. You live and learn!

The best of all was visiting Kruger Park in January this year, having been there last January, and seeing a flourishing green park again. Last year it looked like a tornado had ripped thru the park, it was dry and barren.  Now it is so green and lush.  The rains have worked a miracle.