Monday, November 17, 2014

Bonsai Trunk

For today’s post I’m writing about how I made the tree trunk for the Bonsai fiber art piece that I show above. As I mentioned before, I made this from a watercolor painting I had done. My favorite part of the tree is its' trunk.  In particular, I love the twisted appearance of it, and I thought I captured that in the painting.   I wanted to make sure I got that same look in the fiber version of this, so I decided to make the trunk by painting it, the same way I did in the watercolor painting.

I used an ivory raw silk fabric for the trunk.

raw silk fabric

I cut out the trunk shape and marked the darkest areas with a Frixion pen. I wanted to start painting with my lighter values, so I mixed a pale yellow and pale mauve shade and started applying to the trunk. I used my watercolor painting as a guide for the placement of the colors. After painting the light values I put in mid-values and then dark values. I mixed the inks with aloe vera gel to give them more viscosity and prevent bleeding. After the dark values were in I came back and added some aqua blue for highlights on the trunk in a couple locations.

ink painting

watercolor painting

To set the paint I pressed the fabric. Then I hand appliquéd the trunk to the background fabric. I marked the outlines of the trunk on the orange background fabric so I would get the placement correct. I used a needle-turn appliqué technique with silk thread. I found it difficult to needle-turn the raw silk because it frays more than cotton. But I did the best I could and persevered! I had several branch openings to stitch down and some of these edges did not look great, but I knew I was going to add foliage to that area and those edges would be covered. It worked out and I was pleased with the look of it after it was done.

trunk stitched down

My next steps were adding the table and pot that the plant is in. I will describe those steps in an upcoming post. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Attend the Shades of Passion Show Artist's Reception - Virtually!

Did you miss SAQA's "Shades of Passion" show this year? If you did, you can enjoy a montage of images from the artist's reception by clicking on the link below. The video shows many of the art pieces in the show as well as artists and guests. 

Thanks to Laura and Luke Bisagna for creating this video - Shades of Passion

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mapping Out

Quilts on the Wall's "Maps" Exhibit will be on display with Ellen November's cartographic themed fiber art at the Malaga Cove Library in Palos Verdes Estates. I have a piece in this show, it is the Mission themed fiber art piece shown on the postcard below on the far left.

The artist's reception is November 8th, from 2;30 pm to 5 pm. The show runs from November 1st through 29th. Additional exhibit information is shown below. It should be a wonderful show and I hope you can see it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bonsai - Fabric Selection

And now we move on to the fabric palette for this art quilt:

I have been collecting silk fabrics for some time and thought this piece had an elegant look to it that would suit the use of silks perfectly. I used the orange background fabric and my watercolor painting as a guide to help me select. The two most important features in the painting are the tree trunk and the plant foliage. The tree trunk needed to contrast well with the background, and I had a vanilla colored raw silk fabric that seemed perfect for it.

I didn't want to use fabrics for the foliage, but instead I wanted to use a mass of stitched threads and yarns. I will talk more about that in a future post, but for the purpose of selecting fabrics I knew I wanted this mass to be blue/green primarily.

The pot fabric needed to coordinate with the foliage, so I chose a Japanese blue green print that I had picked up at Road to California a couple years ago. I had another raw silk in a light value blue-green that I used for the lip of the pot.  

I am so glad to use the Japanese fabrics in my stash for this quilt. It obviously makes sense given the Bonsai subject matter, but that’s not the main reason. There is a vendor at Road that carries Japanese fabrics and I have been attracted to them for a long time. Each year I buy some. They are a little pricey, which is fine if you use them. But for a few years I was just buying them and putting them in my stash. Last year I decided I wasn’t going to buy more until I used some of what I had. So here I am, using some of it. That justifies my past purchases and the ones I am sure to make at next year’s Road to California show. A win all around!

The table fabrics were also from my stash. I had some dark reddish brown prints that seemed to work perfectly with the orange background and blue-greens.

An entirely stash made project. That’s a good feeling!

Here are all the fabrics together:

My next post will be about the tree trunk.  Thanks for visiting my blog! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bonsai - Background Fabric


This is the background fabric that I used for my Bonsai:

background fabric

It was painted at a workshop with Teresa Shippy. Teresa conducts workshops each summer on tin tile fabric painting. She owns several tin tiles. These are the pretty tiles that are found on ceilings of some very beautiful buildings. The impression on the tin tiles is painted on to the fabric. To do the painting, you lays the tiles flat, then spread your fabric on it. Wet the fabric, apply paint and let dry. Once it is dry you then apply additional paint using a dry brush technique. The dry brush paint adheres to just the raised area of the tin tile, accentuating the impression on the fabric.

If you want to attend one of Teresa’s workshops check out her website - Teresa Shippy website  They are a great time and good value. You will come away with several fun backgrounds for art quilts.  I highly recommend them.

The process described above is what I did here using orange as my primary paint. The orange looks brown here, but trust me, its orange.  After the tin tile impression dried, I splattered on yellow paint using a Jackson Pollack technique -  fling it!  I love the look of this piece, especially the lost and found parts where the impression comes and goes.

tin tile impression

Once the background fabric was chosen it was time to transfer the image to it.  I traced the painting I had done and enlarged it.


Then I laid the orange fabric on my enlarged drawing and used a Frixion pen to mark the location of the key features. The Frixion pen erases with a hot iron, so its safe to use it without worry that the marks will show up later

enlarged drawing

 In my next post I will talk about the fabric palette that I chose for this art quilt. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bonsai in Fiber

This is a photo of a framed watercolor painting that I did several years ago. I painted this from a photograph of a bonsai plant at the Getty Museum in LA. It was a large, very old bonsai and it looked incredibly stately in that setting.

I always wanted to do this as a fiber art piece, and now I have. Here is the fiber art version of this bonsai:

This fiber art piece is on display in Temecula as part of the Textures show at the Merc Gallery. The Merc is located at 42051 Main Street, and the phone number is 866-653-8696.  The Textures show be on display until November 2nd.  I'm going to describe the making of this quilt on my blog next. And I hope you have a chance to catch the Textures show before it closes. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Moon Shadows - Using Derwent Intense Pencils

As I have described before on this blog, I used oil paint sticks for the majority of the painting on this piece. But, for the owl and the rabbits I used a white Derwent Inktense pencil. These are my pencils.

I switched to the Inktense pencil because I thought the large size of the oil paint stick would not fill the smaller area that the owl and rabbit shapes took up. The pencil point also gave me more control for the tighter curves and crevices on these animals.

To apply the Inktense pencil I poured a small amount of liquid painting medium on a dish, swirled the pencil in the medium and then stroked the pencil on the fabric. The medium I used is shown here:

I stroked in the direction that the moonlight illuminate the area of the animal to give it shape. I added more of the white pencil to those areas that are closer to the moon or that had more girth. Here is a photo of me applying the pencil:  

I let the pencil/paint dry and then pressed the area to set it.
It’s was as simple as that!

 Here are finished animals. Thanks for visiting my blog!