Sunday, July 20, 2014

Palm Canyon is Finished!

This series of blog posts describes the process I used to make the commissioned Palm Canyon art quilt shown below.  Today’s post describes the finishing of this art quilt. Prior steps are shown in my previous posts.

Finishing Palm Canyon

Well it's taken a while, but this is the final post for the making of this quilt. Whew!

Because this was a larger quilt (3 feet by 4 feet) with a lot of appliqué pieces, I did my quilting stitching as I went along. The quilting stitching served to hold down the appliqué pieces so they wouldn’t fall off or shift as I moved to the next area. I used a variety of stitches across the quilt. These photos show some of the stitching that I used, and some finishing touches like beads and french knots.

thread painting

French knots on trees

beading at bottom of waterfall

I stitched some animal shapes in the larger spaces in the subsurface, like lizards, rabbits, tortoises, etc. This photo shows a lizard I stitched into a beige fabric piece.

lizard stitched into beige fabric

After all the quilting was done I squared it up, and sewed on a binding to the edge.  Next came the naming of the quilt and making a label. I let the client choose the name, and she selected “Joyful Solitude” because that is the feeling she gets when riding her horse back in the canyon. What a nice thought! Here is the label I made for the quilt back.

My last steps were blocking and photographing.  I am pleased to say the client was very happy with it and has hired me to make another custom piece for her. She was a pleasure to work with and I look forward to another interesting fiber art project!

My next posts are going to be about tips and quilting favorites. Thanks for visiting my blog! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beyond the Edge - Fiber Perceptions Show

I am a member of "Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists" and we have an exhibit at the Cerritos Library that is running now through September 15th. This is a beautiful location and I think the exhibit has a very nice collection of fiber art pieces. This is a postcard with information about the exhibit:

This is my "Three's Company" art quilt that is part of this exhibit:

For more information about Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists you can click the link below:

Beyond the Edge

Monday, July 14, 2014

Going Below the Surface!

This series of blog posts describes the process I used to make the commissioned Palm Canyon art quilt shown below.  Today’s post is describing the area on the quilt that I call the "Subsurface". Prior steps are shown in my previous posts. 

Making the Subsurface

If you look at this photo you see a cut away of the earth's surface showing what goes on below ground. It is separated from the surface by dark bias strips. That is the area I am talking about today. 

Since this quilt was made for someone who is a geologist, I wanted the subsurface to look "correct". Part of what this person loves about the Palm Canyon area is her understanding of the geologic processes that helped to form it.  She sent me some links to a college geology professor’s notes and photos to use as reference. It was like going back to school!  I found many of these photos very helpful for designing the subsurface, as described here.

Disclaimer – Although I worked for years with geologists, I am not a geologist. But I looked at the photos and got ideas for the design that I am going to describe here. This is a simplified, layperson’s description of what I wanted the subsurface to look like:

  • ·        Layers of rocks and soils are deposited on top of each other over eons of time. These layers look different – color variation, size of rocks and pebbles, etc.
  • ·        Earthquakes shove a part of this layering in one direction or another, so the layers angle up and down. Sometimes the shoving causes rocks to come to the surface and stick out.
  • ·        Some of these layers get completely folded.
  • ·        Earthquake faults separate areas and cause discontinuous sections.
  • ·        Big rocks get in the middle of the soil layers in places.

I am sure any geologist reading this is chuckling at this time, but those were my rules of thumb. And although I may not know what I’m doing, I did pass my drawing by the geologist client and she gave it the thumbs up.
So here are some photos of the subsurface.


different angles

fault lines

 Notice the variety of colors and textures, different angles, folding, rock "inclusions", jutting to the surface, etc. I did my best to capture this in fabric. 
rock inclusions

jutting to surface

After all the rock pieces were in place, I  laid tulle over the entire subsurface to give it a darker value than the above ground area. I wanted it to be distinctly different looking. I also sewed bias strips along the fault lines and the barrier between the surface and subsurface to help further separate these two areas. 

That's enough science for today. My next post will be the finishing of this quilt. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trailhead Area and Foreground

Constructing the Palm Canyon Art Quilt

Today I’m showing details of the trailhead area and foreground. Plenty of rocks were used in the making of this area, as well as shrubs and desert trees. I selected a variety of fabrics for these features, and I thread painted to depict weeds. Since the rocks were small and some of the fabrics had a potential to fray, I used Fray Block around the edges. These photos show the work in progress.

The horse’s body was made with ultra-suede. I love the textures it gave to the horse. I picked the color to match the color of the horse owned by the woman that commissioned this quilt. I painted the shadow side of the rider’s body and horse to give it more dimension. The tail was made using embroidery floss. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. Very little grooming required J.

I painted the trailhead sign and backed it with wool to make it stand off the surface a bit. The sign legs were made using the same fabric used for the palm tree trunks.

Next post will be the subsurface!  Be ready to get dirty!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Oasis and Waterfall in Palm Canyon

Another chapter in the on-going story of the making of the Palm Canyon quilt...Today's installment - The Oasis and Waterfall:

This quilt depicts some major landmarks of the Palm and Indian Canyon areas. This is a desert area, so finding an oasis and waterfall while traversing this canyon is an unexpected treat. The oasis and waterfall are both shown in the photos below.


Top of Waterfall

Bottom of waterfall
These features were made the same way as the hills, ie: freezer paper templates on fabric, temporarily held down with adhesive of some sort, then stitched. The waterfall area has rocks and water. The water was done in layers using different sheer fabrics. I used a lot of different pieces to get the look I wanted around the waterfall. The number of pieces used  is shown in the next photo.

Falls Area - I'm using my window as a light table in this photo, which explains the background.

The palm trees were made using several different layers of palm leaves. I put darker palm leaves in the back and lighter values on top of those. I used ocher colored fabric for the dead palm fronds that hang along the trunk. I stacked fabric and cut several palm leaves at the same time. These photos give you an idea of how I did that.

The palm trunks were made using a variegated fabric that I show below. These were highly detailed areas that took some time, but I’m very happy with the way they turned out. Sometimes it’s worth the extra time to get it right.

Next post – Foreground and  trailhead area.
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Making the Hills More interesting

I didn't want the hills to look flat and boring so I used a combination of techniques for added interest. In many instances it was just a matter of selecting the right fabrics. There are wonderful batiks or prints in cotton that I used for a lot of the hills. The batiks have irregular shapes and colors that add a lot. 

I also used upholstery fabrics because of their texture, and silk to add some sheen.  

Upholstery fabric hill

Silk fabric hill
Another technique I used was to add some tulle shading to them. In the upholstery fabric photo above you can see the shading on some of the hills. 

I also used tulle to create a lighted top to these jutting rock shapes.

Some hills I created by stitching shapes to the hill fabric. Here you can see two hills with fabric that I have stitched on: 1) the purple-ish fabric shapes stitched to the orange silk fabric and 2) a large number of fabrics were stitched to the batik hill to depict striations in the hillside. 

If variety is the spice of life, then these are some spicy hillsides!

My next post will be on the Palms and Oasis area. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Palm Canyon - Sky and Hills

Here's the next installment for the Palm Canyon landscape shown here. Today I am talking about the construction of the Sky and Hills:

Creating is usually a combination of excitement, doubts, fear and thrill.  To tamp down the doubts and fears I like to start with an easier task. In this case the sky and hills were the easiest area to work on, so that is where I started. After laying the sky fabric at the top of the muslin background, I cut out my hill shapes on freezer paper using the enlarged drawing as my pattern.  Here are some of the freezer paper hills shapes.

The next step involved selecting fabrics for each hill shape. I used my color plan to guide me and pulled out various fabrics from those pulled for this quilt. Once the hill fabric was chosen I ironed the freezer paper on the fabric, cut the shape out and placed it on the background muslin. I used a light glue to temporarily hold the piece in place. Here are some photographs showing the work in progress:

 This photo shows the sky fabric and several hills in pinned in place.

After stitching some of the hills down I went to the next hill area and filled it in. Here you can see that the orange hill is stitched down and the lower hills are pinned in place.

This photo shows some of the hills after they are machine quilted. My next post will talk about how I added some details to the hills. Thanks for visiting my blog!