Thursday, June 30, 2011


When I moved to this house over 3 years ago, I was thrilled to see that I had a shed.  I thought it would come in handy for all the overflow stuff that didn't fit in my studio.  I have now decided that it is a makeshift dye room.  The weather always dictates if I dye or die.  When summer is at it's hottest, I can dye, have a sauna and even a sweat treatment but Tuesday I woke to 68 degrees and thought it would be a glorious day to dye some of my silk.  I probably won't have another day like that until Sept. but I will be back in the sauna to dye again soon.  Thought you might enjoy seeing where I actually do my dyeing.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Very Blue Man

Before painting
Have you heard of the Blue Man Group?  It is a theater performance that we saw years ago in Chicago - quite spectacular.  Several Blue Men (completely painted blue) performed various acts with no words ever spoken.  This new quilt reminds me of them a bit.
This was my next adventure with this new technique.  Can you tell that I am having a lot of fun?  And am obviously working in my studio again.  Hurrah!!
Anyway - I decided the next challenge was to take a photo and make a pattern for myself.  And see if the quilt would actually  work without the pattern from an expert like Teri.  Here is the process:  Find or take a photo with a lot of contrast in the light and dark areas, trace the photo on clear plastic and trace the different values areas and mark them with L (light), D (dark) etc., make the drawing larger (I used Rapid Resizer (a web application), make a pattern and then use Teri's technique.
After painting
I wanted to use a less than natural color selection so I used some of Jan's marvelous blue fabric.  I actually sort of like blue portraits even though some folks think they look like zombies.
Once I had the fabric pieces selected and fused to the background, I was rather worried.  It looked pretty disorganized and confused before the painting was added.  I am not certain that I could have ever learned this technique without the hands-on class and personal coaching from Teri because at this point - I started to lose confidence.
BUT - I kept going.  I like the finished piece (not yet quilted).  And I learned a LOT about pattern drawing - there are some definite areas that I will do differently the next time.  But I won't tell you which ones because then you might spot some of the problems instead of focusing on the overall effect. 

Same Face - Different Colors

I thought it might be interesting to see the two quilts together - instead of in different posts.  You can definitely see the similarities but they look like different people.... such different energy.  Hard to believe it was the exact same pattern.     barbara

Now Try Another Color

Before painting
I had finished the class project quilt but, quite honestly, I wasn't quite sure that I could do another one without the excellent advice of Teri.  Could I choose the right pieces of fabric to make it work?  Could I paint the right places in the right colors?  Sort of scary.....
In order to reduce the anxiety that I was feeling, I decided to use the same pattern that we had used in class.  Teri had made a pattern including all the value designations.  My good friend Jan (and fellow blogger on this site) had dyed some fabulous fabric for me to use in my experiment.  And it worked perfectly.
After painting
This one isn't quilted yet.  The pictures are before painting and after painting.  Amazing difference.  And I learned a whole lot by doing this on my own.  One of the things that I learned was how to use paint to draw the color from one piece of the fabric to the other so that the fabric choices for different values didn't stand out as glaringly different pieces - and were able to flow together visually.  At least I think that they do. Take note of the difference in the neck area between the before and after photos.   I am sure that my skills at this will increase as I practice.   barbara

Class Project Quilt - after quilting

So here is the finished project.  I did simple echo quilting on this one - but I think I will do something different for the next one.  I used the envelope technique with rounded corners and like this finish a lot.  It would certainly keep the quilt show judge from criticizing the mitered corners!  Ha!   

Class Project Quilt

Before painting - small photo is the inspiration
After we learned the basic technique, we spent two days selecting fabric for the portrait and piecing the fabric pieces together - well not actually "piecing".  They are fused with Misty Fuse and then fused to the background fabric.  Then we painted to add details, emphasize the shadows and highlights.  It is NOT easy.  In class Teri (that is what Esterita is called) helped each of us every step of the way  - which was critical to the learning process.
Since it was a three day class instead of a five day class, the pattern for the face was provided and this is the first one that I did.
After painting - note  the difference around the eyes and the chin
I chose one of my favorite fabrics - and it was horribly difficult to cut holes all over the place - but I like the finished piece.  I think it is dramatic.  The fabric that I selected made it more challenging to paint - but I think this helped me learn a lot.

Hot Springs Inspiration

I took a three day class in Hot Springs Village the beginning of May.  In April we had weeks of rain and about a zillion bad storms and tornado warnings.  I am deeply frightened of storms so I was a nervous twit by the time I drove to Hot Springs for the class.  But I am SO GLAD that I did.
I was so lucky to be included in this class because I don't know any of the people in the group that was sponsoring the class.... but they needed folks to come, and I have always wanted to take a class from Esterita Austin.  I am completely amazed by her beautiful art quilts.
Little did I know that not only would I be in a class with such a famous teacher - but I would meet some wonderful friendly artistic quilters.  And Esterita is a GREAT teacher - and lots of fun too!!
In the class we learned her technique to create portrait quilts paying special attention to value as well as color.  Check out the next few posts to see examples of what I did since the class....   barbara

Gone a long time - but I am BACK!!

When I started this blog  I was committed to posting new information frequently.  And I did that for a while - but I haven't posted since March 7.  I admit that I have been a "bad" blogger.
Where was I, you might ask?  I was in a great big glurpy creative slump.  Gloppy and Gooey and Glumpy.  Is that enough "G" words?  Anyway I think part of it was that we had many visitors (and that was wonderful but disruptive to my normal schedule) and then it rained and rained and - well I think I got sort of depressed and funky.
But now I am back - and creating wonderful new quilts and ready to be a good blogger..... so .... here we go!     barbara