Monday, 14 July 2014

Improve It or Wreck It

Some of you may know that Dianne and I signed up to Jane Dunnewold's online Artist Strength Training course.  It has just finished.  One of the assignments was to take an existing piece of work and either improve it or wreck by moving it forward.

I chose a piece I had done years ago as an exercise in a course with June Barnes and Leslie Morgan. It is based on spiral staircases, balustrades, curves, etc.  The funny blurs of yellow and green are supposed to be propeller moving up and down (groan!).

I have long wanted to add paint to a quilt so I thought this is it.  My chance to have a go.

 First I painted black acrylic with a paint brush.

Then I created a mono print echoing the curved lines in the ochre paint.  I loved the way the original quilted lines stood out together with the mono printed lines.  So far so good but I felt this was only part way there. It had no focus.

Going back to the original curves and circles I thought to add some on top.  The white circle was too stark so I added some little green stamped circles - too insignificant.  So I painted some of them in - still too stark and while the large O has some relationship to the lines the little circles do not.

As a last resort I ironed black Misty fuse over the top - bad move!  This idea is going nowhere.

Finally I cut holes in the quilt and satin stitched the edges.  I then stitched out little vignettes repeating the circles and curved lines on sheer organza and have attached them behind the holes.  

Strangely this project has reflected quite accurately where I was all those years ago, quite traditional, and where I am today - far more contemporary and interested in incorporating embroidery and paint into my work.

I am delighted with the piece; I don't feel I have wrecked it.  It may not be a master piece but I had a LOT of fun doing it.


PS  I am working on my grey challenge - promise!  It is a Challenge - with a capital C.


  1. Clearly you brought a lot of energy to this transformation. It must have been cathartic! I do like the idea of having the sheer round windows in the piece too, though I would have preferred them to be either higher or lower rather than in the centre. Will you do something like this again? It is magical how the paint highlights the quilting lines, isn't it? Very Rauschenberg.

  2. I did consider the position - even scattering them. Then decided I would consciously break the rules.
    Yes, I love the patterning the quilting lines brought to the piece. I didn't foresee this (but should have).
    Would I do something like this again? Does that depend on having an existing so-so piece of work to start with? Seems weird to create a piece to try to wreck it... but there are artists who do this kind of thing. Do they resort to this because they are unhappy with the piece or do they deliberately go all the way to quilting something to then paint over the piece?