I’m still experimenting with the order I stitch the different colours. I used to start with the mid-tone. Often I ran out of room for the highlights & lowlights. If I start at one end of the range sometimes I don’t make it to the other end.
Recently I’ve been starting with the lightest colour. Then switching to the darkest. Alternating light and dark, moving toward finishing in-fill using the mid-tone. This seems to be working well.
Lightest threads stitched, beginning the darkest
It never ceases to amaze me how the thread stitches out on a white ground -darker and less colourful than it appears on the reel. Experimenting is essential!
Today I’ve started the physical work of making four new quilts for my upcoming exhibition.
I begin with the colour idea and select from my scrap pieces baskets. I love those baskets- sometimes it seems I work more from them than from my big pieces of fabric. No matter how much I take out, they always seem to fill up again. A kind of quilter’s cornucopia. I think they began life as CD storage.
You can see the brown/black scraps basket on the ground in the foreground of the pinboard photo.
I’ve pinned the pieces to a big sheet of Styrofoam. One column for each quilt, graduating from light to dark so I can keep track of how much I have of each. I’ll compose each one separately, but at this stage it’s helpful to see the ingredients in relation to each other.
Can you guess the inspiration behind my four selections of fabrics?
In my last post I talked about re-setting my practice smaller after several all-consuming large projects. Here’s how I went about that:
Stopping- I took two, count ’em, two! days off any kind of seeing or even fabric fondling. It was weird.
Looking – I looked at Other People’s Art, in galleries and books. I looked at Nature. I looked at faces, including my own.
Learning – I went to an excellent 3-day textile art retreat with Cecile Whatman, of which more later.
Stocktaking – I sorted out all my in-progress works (fewer than I feared) and all my fabrics. That was exciting!
That all took place over a couple of weeks. With sufficient “think small” mindfulness, enough to break the automatic pattern of thinking large.
It seems to have worked. Since then I’ve started on two mid-size commissions, seen three small works hung in my first ‘art’ exhibition, of which even more later, and received the spark of inspiration for several small new works. Enjoying smaller scale for now.
Over the last fifteen-or-so months I’ve completed four large quilts on commission. All are original designs I created to delight the clients in every detail. It’s been an enormously interesting and rewarding experience. I feel privileged to have been invited into the lives of these people in such an intimate and trusted way.
Those big quilts take up a LOT of space in the studio and in my mind. I’m going to change focus for a while and direct my energy to smaller works. There are so many ideas captured in sketchbooks or pinned to the design wall during those months. Time to make them “materialise”
I hope and expect to make large commission quilts in future. If you would like one please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a leisurely conversation while I’m forging small-scale.
The next post will be about how I’m re-setting the foundry.