Our house has been in renovation since January, and will be for quite some time. Thank goodness I have an escape from the dust and mess that's going on in the house. It will all be worth it when it's done, but it's nice to immerse myself in something other than painting walls and sweeping drywall dust.
I love my studio. It's like going to a retreat, and all I have to do to get there is cross my driveway. This is what sold me on this piece of property. Well, the view isn't bad, either.
The building was a fruit packing shed at one time, but I saw the potential for a great studio space. I believe it has been several things in between the fruit packing shed and studio, such as an RVrepair building and a motorcycle workshop. I think it was destined to be a studio.
So, While the construction workers are doing their thing, I'm doing my thing. This is a piece I started several months ago. The Art Quilt Association's last show challenge was Illumination. I had a picture that I took at a friends house in Anchorage. They have a great view of the city and Cook Inlet, and I loved the way the sun was illuminating the trees. I decided this would be a good subject for my quilt.
I decided to continue playing with placing loose squares of fabric directly on to the batting, with canvas as the backing. I've been playing with this technique on smaller pieces, but decided to try a larger piece. Below is the start. I don't use fusible web with this technique, but lay the fabric directly on the batting. Fusible web is great, I just don't like to use it on an entire piece. I think it makes the piece too stiff, but that's just my opinion. There are some amazing quilts out there made with a lot of fusing.
I kept moving and playing with the squares until I had the desired placement. There was a lot of moving of squares going on for awhile. Looks good......no, doesn't look right.....change that color here, move that color there. You get the picture.
Once I had the squares placed the way I wanted them, I placed water soluble Solvy over the entire piece, then stitched all the squares down. I am basically getting the quilting of the piece done at the same time. After I rinsed the Solvy away, I had to figure out how to portray the brightness of the sunset, and the silhouettes of the trees. And, what about the evergreen trees? How should I do them?
An orb for the sun worked out great, but the trees were giving me angst. Do I paint or stitch them on? I wanted the trees to have a lot of texture, so I cut some rough shapes for the evergreen trees, then stitched more tree shapes on Solvy water soluble stabilizer. I overlaid these on to the fabric tree shapes.
Now, for the silhouettes. I drew some tree shapes, and cut a stencil. At first I thought I would paint them on, but then realized I wanted them to have more dimension, so decided stitching would work better.
I cut fabric for the trunks, then stitched the branches, overlapping threads until I had the desired effect. I felt it still needed more, so I cut branch shapes from sheer fabric and fused the shapes below and in between the stitched branches. This is one area where fusing worked well for me. I wanted the piece to evoke the feeling of looking down on to the Cook Inlet, and since it was a winter scene, I decided to place some snow banks in the foreground and paint a bit of snow on the evergreen trees. Below is the end result. It did get juried in to the show, and was included in the juror's (Maggie Weiss) top five choices, so I was pretty excited about that!
More recently, I've taken advantage of the warm weather and have had some fun with rust dyeing. Using the rusty pieces I've picked up from the scrap metal yard, I've created some interesting fabrics. Here's a little number I created for a word challenge from the critique group I participate in, The Raven Mavens. I had everyone draw a word from a hat, and we all had to come up with a piece, with our interpretation of the word. My word was COIL. This was great fun, and be sure to check out the Raven Mavens blog for other challenges we have had.
Here are some other rust pieces that are waiting to be stitched.
So, as the construction workers make dust, I make fabric. It's all good!