Saturday, 29 February 2020

Blocked in window, Labrousse

 Quite a few years ago I made a sketch  of a blocked in window in the hamlet in Limousin, where my father in law comes from, intending at some stage to turn it into a quilt. As usual, it just stayed as an idea, until this opportunity came up. I stencilled it with paintstiks. I find it's not as interesting as I thought it was going to be, but I'm glad that I tried it out in the end.


I have always been fascinated and drawn to Art Deco / Art Nouveau designs and so it was a natural that I would use one of them as my interpretation/inspiration under the current theme.  Windows fell into it perfectly.  

This is my choice and this is the result.....

The background cloth is coffee dyed white cotton.  The glass is made up of two layers of organza and one layer of chiffon with a very subtle white dotty swirl on it.  The flowers and leaves were painted onto the one layer of organza and sandwiched between the other slightly darker shade of organza and the chiffon piece. The window frame is appliqued and then the piece quilted.   I am not 100% happy with the quilting around the window.  My lines got a bit lost in translation.  The binding became an issue and caused my delay in getting it finished.  I eventually found the piece I have used.  It was my best option and although slightly more green than I would have liked I can live with it.

Almost finished?

As predicted, I failed to manage any quilting on my piece before the deadline.  However I am quite pleased with the result so far.  This used a photograph from my files, taken some years ago, and I just loved the colours involved.  I started out thinking I would make a more abstract, simplified version of the photograph, but inevitably ended up with a more photo realistic version (I blame my engineering background).

And here's the photograph I tried to post a few days ago of an older challenge, which I also failed to quilt in time, now finished.

Both of these pieces were influenced by a course I did with Lea McComas at the Festival of Quilts last August.  The windows piece used her method of translating a photograph into shades of dark and white, which I then used on each coloured section.  The latter one used her idea of covering the work with a fine, neutral coloured, net  before quilting to hold all the tiny pieces of fabric in place.  I won't be using the fine net option again - to me it reduced the vibrancy of the colours too much. 

Window on my world

This is not my first idea which was an image of the telescope at Jodrell Bank (here in Cheshire in the UK) pointing to a starry night sky full of constellations, stars, satellites, etc - a window on the universe!

This a 'window on my world' through my eye and the camera's eye.  I have enjoyed working on this though a wee bit disappointed at the transparency of so many materials.  Raw edge, fused applique with a tiny bit of pen work (Micron Pigma Pens).  I'm pleased I gave myself red painted nails - something I never do! - because I love those little sparks of life.  Is my head in the clouds? - looks like it and I have since had my hair cut very short!!!

I have a confessional to make.  While I was stitching I could hear this rustling/crackling sound and eventually the penny dropped - I had left a piece of Bondaweb paper in the layers.  Duh!  I needed your surgery skills, Rosemary, to extract it from the back - and your theatre stitching skills to sew up the hole!

Window on my world
Thanks for starting on Series 4 with such an interesting theme, Jinnie.


PS  I wasn't sure whether to add 'squiggles' to denote a camera brand or not.  What do you think?  H

When Jinnie first posted "Windows" the first thought I had was to go and find a design from  Coventry Cathedral as I wanted to do something modern, and after researching I cannot believe that I have never gone to Coventry to view this amazing building but decided that I didn't want to go the stained glass route as beautiful as it is.  My journey then took me to look for modern windows and found this one below, which spoke to me.

From that point my mind went to a pile of greeting cards I had purchased at one of the cathedrals on one of my visits to the UK some years back and have never used.  They are tile designs circa 1900. The one that I chose to work from is pictured below and which brought to mind Charles Rennie MacKintosh and his roses.

I then decided to change the shape of the window and incorporate the roses into the window.  As can be seen from the original picture the window is looking from the inside to the outside and I have simplified the surrounds.  I liked the idea of the stairs at the side of the original picture as the straight lines complimented the curve of the window but decided that it would make it too fussy and might take away from the original subject.  I then decided to change the shape of the window and incorporate the roses into the window. 

Hello again everyone . I see that my name has been pulled from the hat so I am the next person to choose this next interpretation .I have chosen 'New York Art Deco Buildings' which include the Empire State , the Chrysler building , the original GE building, the Fuller building, the Waldorf Astoria hotel and many other well known buildings. The shapes are often geometric but in this era of architecture there were many decorative elements on the outside of these buildings which should give everyone all sorts of ideas and possible interpretations .Hope you enjoy this .

(I just want to add that I shall not be commenting on anyone's work until after Tuesday . I am attending a workshop being given by a wonderful Textile Artist by the name of Sophie Standing , a Brit who lived in South Africa for 10 years and now lives in Kenya . Does wonderful work with animal images . I am so enjoying the Class  . Look her up online and see what you think .)
This is my "Windows "piece. I didn't choose a particular window or particular style . Over Xmas 2019 my husband and I went to visit our son who lives in Brisbane . On one day we walked up from the centre city to the Anglican Cathedral which is situated at the top Of Ann Street . It is an interesting building as the exterior is made from Brisbane volcanic rock which is called Brisbane tuff and is coloured from pink to lavender .The inside of the cathedral is made from sandstone  So I started the piece by using Inktense pencils to colour the bricks and then placed the colourful window on top . here are pictures of the Brisbane Tuff and my piece.

Kookaburra: Friend or foe?

So much has happened since I had the idea for my wall hanging that I was feeling a little removed from its initial inspiration. That was, until doing a wildlife rescue and recovery course last Sunday. We focused a lot on birds as they make up by far the largest percentage of calls for help. As I handled birds with broken necks, saw photos of broken beaks and heard of concussed birds some with broken ‘shoulders’, the motivation behind my piece was brought into clear focus – the problem that windows represent for birds.

Windows have romantic notions attached to them in our culture and in a practical sense, are generally seen positively letting in warming sunshine on a cold day and cooling breezes in the summer. However, for birds, they can be quite sinister particularly when they reflect the sky and trees which tricks birds to fly into them. And, also they reflect the birds themselves which they often mistake for an intruder in their territory which needs to be seen off. According to an article in the Washington Post online 3 February 2014, it is estimated that a staggering 365 – 988 million birds die from colliding with windows in the USA annually.
I wasn’t sure if I should make this the subject of my window piece but I was out pondering the possibility when, right before my eyes, on the tail end of a spectacular storm, I watched in disbelief as what I think was a heron, flew directly into the large window of the indoor market I had just visited. My friend and I looked for the bird in the bushes where it had fallen but we couldn’t find it. All that remained was a ghostly impression of its body and wings on the window.

You’ll be relieved to know that I rejected the initial idea to depict a dead bird in front of a window and opted instead for this live Kookaburra sitting on my neighbour’s windowsill tapping persistently at his own image, thankfully not flying at it! Working on this project has resulted in some positives. I learnt there are ways of bird proofing windows which I will be able to tell friends and family about and also put into effect myself as I am about to move into a new house. In addition, I was able to try out fabric paints and an iron-off marking pen I had ordered from Helen Godden and, also, to give free motion quilting a go. My FMQ technique has a long way to go but it was a satisfying start. 

Here are photos of some of the stages.

Thank you again for welcoming me to the group. I would never have created ‘Kookaburra: Friend or foe?’ without the membership to motivate me.

Quilt 1: Window

I made a small textile piece a few months ago in response to a photograph of the huge window structures at Dubai airport. I enjoyed making it and thought it would be an easy job to create a new quilt using  windows as a starting point.  I kept thinking that an idea would emerge, but with 2 days to go still nothing new came to mind. Time had run out, so it was important to do something. As a result the quilt I have made is pretty enough, but not very satisfying. I guess it is good to acknowledge that not every piece turns out well.

This is my interpretation of one of the windows at Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. If you have seen or visited this mosque you will know how incredibly beautiful it is. Despite visiting, I don't have any photos of my own of this mosque, but if you do a Google search you will find lots - and I am sure you will be amazed.

And this is the quilt. It doesn't have a black border,  that is just the background cloth I put it on for the photo. The window shape has been cut out and the carved wooden pattern has been made using 2 layers of heavy weight interfacing with organza sandwiched in between. I have taken the photo with a light box behind so as to illuminate the window void.
The floral decoration is free motion embroidery / quilting which has been coloured using Derwent Inktense pencils and fabric medium. In the mosque this decoration is created in the most incredible relief using marble and other semi prescious stones and on such a sale that it takes your breath away.

In hindsight I think the composition would have been stronger if I had made the window very much smaller, but as the theme was 'window' I got sidetracked by that.

This is also the first time I have made a 16 x 20 inch quilt. I am not used to this format. My first reaction is that I am not very keen on it, and I think I need to try again for the next piece to see if I can manage the size better.

Thanks Jinnie for starting us off. I am looking forward to seeing all the other great pieces - and to the next challlenge.

Friday, 28 February 2020

A good idea goes bad ...

I had a couple of ideas early on for this challenge. The one I chose to develop was based on what we see depending on which side of a window we are on and the difference the view makes. There are lots of touch points for me in this idea which I'd like to explore but the quilt I’m showing today doesn’t do the idea justice.
I had to leave the making of the quilt until I went on our NWCQ retreat but I’d forgotten that clearing the kitchen for re-development meant restricted access to my fabric. So instead of a series of windows with inside/outside views I’ve had to capture my idea using basic frames and text and the result is sadly underwhelming.
I thought about re-making the piece and submitting late but there is still little time for stitching.  By the end of April the majority of the work on our new house will be complete, and my commitment to our wonderful Quilters’ Guild over, so hopefully I’ll be able to give our challenges more time.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

And the next person is...


Next challenge

Sorry I seem to have taken my eye off the ball.  Jinnie will you please pull a name out of the 'hat' and post the name here on the blog?  Sorry, but that person has a day or two to come up with the next architectural challenge - to be posted here as well.

I am also struggling to have mine finished by midnight tomorrow - fingers crossed...

Good luck everyone.


I might not be finished in time!

I'm working away at my new piece of work, but at the same time am trying to do lots of work in the garden whenever it's not raining (and those in the UK know that those times are few and far between at the moment!), plus help supervise and project manage our new extension.  I have also committed to making some 180 tea cozies for a car club event, and frankly am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the deadlines lurking at me from every dark corner.

I'm very much hoping to have the main work done on my piece before the end of February, but it's very unlikely I'll manage to get it quilted in time.  To make up for this, here's the piece for our challenge before last, which also failed to get quilted before the deadline.  As you can now see. it's quilted and bound and completely finished.  Hurrah!!!!

Some time later . . . . . alas, I'm having problems with my computer and it won't pick up any images from my phone.  I'll try again later after rebooting the system!

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Once upon a time

Stopping to have the car’s battery checked, I noticed this derelict building next door. The window seemed to cry out, willing me to listen, wanting me to tell its story of neglect and decay, so I took this picture, knowing I would one day share it through my art.

Looking through my fabrics a while ago, I came across a piece that had got wet and was covered in mildew. I simply couldn’t throw it away, so I kept it in my special stash.
When Jinnie chose ‘Windows’ as the new theme for the next ’12 by the dozen’ series, I remembered my saved photo and the fungus fabric; I had my first piece of fabric just waiting for me to start!

I built up the total picture by dividing it into sections, allowing me to work on each segment separately. In this way I could remain focused. When one segment ground to a standstill through flagging inspiration, I quickly changed over to something more interesting. As I worked, I could hear the window talking to me … … “Once upon a time I was new … I was freshly painted … the wall around me was smoothly plastered … I was not always in a state of deterioration and dying … tell them I lived!” 

With this piece I have tried to tell you the story of that window.

 A Big Thank You

Thanks to you Hilary for sorting my email address and signing me into our blog.  I was in meltdown when I found out I wasn't signed in when I deleted my late husband's email account which I was using for all these years.  You are a star of note!

Friday, 21 February 2020

I may be late!

We had a leak in the basement.  From the ceiling.  Onto many bolts of  fabric.   And we didn't discover it until they were well and truly wet.  So Robbie is in the midst of trying to find the source.  Please note the ceiling in the second photo, yes, that black rectangle.  It's a big hole  now.  The table below was where all the fabric was "stored"........  It's all washed and dried now, but I need to find a place for it.  I guess work harder faster and use it all up will be my mantra.  Oh, and I only discovered the leak because I thought that there was some fabric I needed at the bottom of the pile for my 12btd piece.