Sunday, August 30, 2015

From Cottons to Silks

Cotton fabric is wonderful on art quilts, especially when you are painting the fabric yourself. I use it for most backgrounds and painted pieces. It gives a smooth appearance that is clean looking. But.....

I love using more exotic fabrics on my art quilts. 

I know they have issues with fraying, or being flimsy, or too transparent, or too stiff, or whatever, but they add texture, visual interest, dimension, transparency and sheen to a piece. On this pelican piece I have used velvet, wool, raw silk, Japanese textiles, organza, metallic fabric, silk sari fabric, and the good old stand-by, cotton. I really love the variety of textures it gives to the piece.  I also love being able to shop for fabrics beyond the cotton sections. 

Velvet, wool, raw silk, Japanese textiles, cotton

Organza, metallics, raw silk, Japanese textiles

Sari fabric

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pelican on Pier - Design and Pattern

I thought I'd use this post to show how I made the pattern for this art quilt once I had the design drawn. As mentioned in my previous post, the pelican was based on a photo of a juvenile pelican that I saw on Balboa Pier.

This is the photo that I took of the juvenile pelican. I copied the photo in black and white and enlarged it on copy paper. Black and white allows you to see the major shapes more easily. I  wanted to come up with a line drawing of the pelican, and using an enlarged photo makes that easier.

The drawing below shows the pelican line drawing. I added a little "heft" to the size of the pelican because I wanted it to look like a robust healthy bird, and I thought the juvenile (above) still looked a little lean. I focused on the primary lines that define the shapes of the bird parts. The only area that required more detail was the wing. I have made bird art quilts before and the ones I made with lots of individual feathers looks much better to me. It's a little tedious, but worth it in the end.

After you get the line drawing made, you enlarge the drawing to your finished size. I do this at my local FedEx Office store. I'm on good terms with the large format printer and need no help to get my enlargements done.

Pattern pieces are easily made by taking your enlarged drawing, laying freezer paper over it and drawing around the lines. Then cut out the pieces. Be sure to label your enlarged drawing shapes and your corresponding freezer paper pieces.Here are some of my wing and tail feather pieces.

Here are my larger wing and tail background shapes.

My design also includes palm trees in the background. I considered putting in beach apartments but they looked too busy in my initial sketches. I had palm tree pattern pieces from a previous art quilt and was able to reuse those. Here are my reused palms patterns.

So its fairly simple: take a photo, trace a line drawing, draw the shapes on freezer paper and cut them out.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pelican on Pier - Where the Idea Came From....

This is my "Pelican on Pier" fiber art piece that I made for the Beyond the Edge Boundless Exhibit. It is 18" wide by 36" high and mounted on a stretched canvas.  The tail and part of the head/beak extend beyond the canvas. I love the presentation on the canvas.

Pelicans are such interesting creatures to look at, they remind me of pterodactyl dinosaurs. Making a pelican art piece has been on my artwork bucket list for a while, so I'm glad to get this item checked off!

The inspiration for this piece came from a young pelican on the Balboa pier.

My husband and I were taking a walk before getting lunch at a local restaurant and this guy was just sitting on the pier, scanning the water for his lunch. He kept one eye on the water and one eye on the people on the pier.  I was surprised at how seemingly comfortable he was with people nearby, and all the photos I could snap of him without him flying away. So his shape and details became my drawing.

The colors I used were very different from this young pelican's coloration. I found his coloring a bit drab and not in my favorite color scheme. I had some other photos of pelicans and I liked the shading in some of the adult pelicans, so I used that as a starting point. I don't really try to mimic "real life" coloring for the most part. I prefer making things interesting in colors I like.

This is a pretty rough sketch, but here is the color plan that I started with for this piece.

Next steps are cutting patterns pieces for it. That will be my next post. Thanks for visiting my blog!