Thursday, September 6, 2018

From Inspiration to Fruition

That Spring [1992] I was able to participate in a pilot class slated for that Fall’s EGA National Seminar taught by Katherine Colwell, “Drawing and Design for Embroidery.” I was very impressed by her teaching skills and especially her techniques. Up until then I had ideas and dreams of “art” swirling around in my head, but no means to express them. I had even given up thoughts of finishing my art degree at university. Her methods opened my eyes to ways of using pattern and value to express suggestions of ideas instead of minute detail.

All of a sudden, everywhere I looked, I saw possibilities! And pattern and value could be expressed best, I thought, by using Blackwork techniques–even using reverse or negative values–white threads on black grounds.

While looking through an anthropology journal I spied a photo of a Welsh lake in which a possible crannog was located. Now crannogs were known from Ireland at the time [1989 Antiquity, 63, pp. 675-681] but not Wales.

The reason the crannog caught my eye was that I had just seen that morning a stand of trees on a knoll that suggested to me the outline of the trees on the crannog. I was needing an idea for an entry in the National Advanced Study Group (NASG) which would later became EGA’s Fiber Forum [1992] and I was consumed with using Blackwork stitches to interpret negative space as a means of creating an art piece.

I had no idea what kind of trees covered the crumbling remains of buildings that once stood there, but I could see that they were rounded and low to the ground. Out in the country was a stand of trees growing close together and eaten from the underside by cattle in the field–I could only get within 3/4 mile as it stood on a hill deep in the pasture. By squinting at the tree mass, I picked out patterns of branches growing together, as opposed to separating branches and leaves. By drawing an outline around each group, I could assign a different Blackwork stitch to express the mass patterns.


When I drew the detail from the photo, I realized I had to do major refining and elimination of detail. I then zeroed in on the crannog and drew just a suggestion of hills and foreground. I knew the detail in stitching the background would be too heavy–so I chose to use various lack nettings and layer them to achieve the depth in the background.


I chose a mat circle to finish the picture and drew a line within upon which I stitched a line of machine stitches to anchor the nets at the edges outside.

Next I traced a set of tree patterns and placed this over the nettings and used a red thread to stitch outlines of the Blackwork patterns to delineate the branch groups. I pulled away the tracing paper and filled in the red outlines with my chosen stitches–this in turn held down the nettings.

To achieve even more depth, I added a few black stitches to the tops of the ridges of some of the background hills. I also used a liquid embroidery pen to paint in some depth. The reflection in the water was made by using a reverse tracing of the tree patterns and placing it under the linen and painting to suggest the reflection.

The only straight line in the piece is the dock. I wanted all other lines and patterns to be rounded and “shrouded” in the mist of antiquity.

Layers of nettings, a few stitches and some traces of fabric paint later and here is the result. Llangorse Crannog by Carolyn Smith Vasquez, my name at the time.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

EGA's Fiber Forum 2019 Entry

Pod of Promise was found hanging at eye level from a vine growing in a tree–all of its companions had opened and dispersed their promises in the wind–it alone retained its future.




Twiggy was the only item found on a wind-swept patch of sand dune, but when interpreted in stitches I can imagine the tree from which it came in all its gnarliness.




Artist’s Statement: Each small item, one of nature’s castaways–a twig, seed/pod, flower or insect can inspire a miniature portrait or thread panting to be used as an inclusion within a wood box’s bezel-set opener knob or box top itself.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Josephine for my Simon Quilt


Wonderfully wrapped bundles of Josephine by French General just received from the Loopy Ewe for my Simon quilt's stash. The little packages were almost too pretty to untie. Their prices are reasonable and their selection is great--highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Simon - a quilt from Petra Prins

I have been gathering fabric, mostly Josephine by Moda's French General, to make a Simon quilt [1775-1800] as reproduced by Petra Prins in her lovely book, Promenade in a Dutch Garden.


Since the original quilt is only 62" x 76", I have added 2 rows of hour glass blocks to each side and top and bottom, to better fit my bed.
I first scanned the quilt diagram x2 and cut and taped in new rows and scanned and reprinted. I now have a model from which to begin my quilt.

Original

New size.



BTW: the lovely pink, red and white stripe you see at the top of the box is what I will use for sashing borders.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Disappearing Nine-Patch Table Runner


A house warming gift for a new arrival to the village--a disappearing 9-patch table runner using golds and browns from my fabric stash.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dear Jane Quilt Using Moda's French GeneralFabrics


I have found a blogger who is using French General fabrics to make a Dear Jane quilt. I thought I wouldn't fall under Jane's spell, but I won't be able to resist …

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hexagons …


My thanks to Hilda, Every Stitch, for information on hexagons and links to other blogs with superlative details on hexagons: Collector With a Needle and Faeries and Fibres. Be sure and scroll down the pages as more articles are listed at the end of each.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ramoneur (sooty) Brown

Ramoneur, chimney sweep or sooty brown, was a popular color for 18thC patchwork. It can be found today in French General's Josephine old brown.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jane Pizar Marriage Quilt Date?


I have fallen in love with patchwork, specifically 18thC European patchwork. For some reason, I always remembering thinking that patchwork was only American. How wrong I was! Barbara Brackman, Quilt Historian, has a wonderful post on the Jane Pizar wedding quilt, and I believe like Brackman, that it dates to the end of the 18th Century. The only problem I see is it will cost a fortune to acquire all the snippets of fabrics to reproduce such a beauty! But I am well on my way …

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cutting Hourglass Blocks From Strips


My thanks to Vicki's Fabric Creations for sharing a chart on how to cut hourglass blocks from strips. I am gathering strips, charms, fat quarters and yardage to make a Dutch-inspired quilt. I will be using Fons&Porter's Half and Quarter Ruler as I am concerned in getting the most from my limited fabric stash. Part of the charm of this quilt is its scrappy quality. Chintz design is «Virginia» from Windham Fabrics.
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