Having printed and over printed my fabrics I have now started to work on composition. I have challenged myself to create a piece inspired by stillness, by inner calm, by tranquility. All of my work to date has been inspired, if only partially, by physical objects. Although the Ruins pieces are quite abstract I was able to think of their composition in terms of ‘bricks’ and ‘buildings’. This time around is proving much more difficult. Can I break free from looking for literal representations and create truly abstract pieces?
I started by pinning fabrics to the design wall to see how they interacted. I moved them around a few times. Then a few times more. Looking at them through the eye piece on my camera helped but I still struggled to see my path forward.
I decided to change the scale and started cutting small pieces out and working with those. (I remembered how using paper ‘L’s to isolate small areas of textile revealed some lovely details). Adding small pieces of solid colour had an immediate impact. All the fabrics have been printed with colours from my Dunure colour family so they work together from a colour standpoint. And the printing all has linear elements which also helps creating a ‘pleasing’ composition.
This feels like a breakthrough! At last! I still cannot see how to get from here to a large scale piece but am going to have some fun making little fabric collages. My ugly ducklings are have not transformed into beautiful swans yet but they are no longer ugly.
Fabric collage ready for stitching
Detail from Ruins 4 – selected for ‘Structures’ at The Old Fire Station Gallery, Henley-on-Thames
So first a little bit of good news. I heard on Friday that Ruins 4 has been selected to show in an exhibition called ‘Structures’ which will show at The Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley-on-Thames from 19th to 24th November. The exhibition has been organised and curated by Kate Findlay. Kate is well known for her incredible series of art quilts inspired by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the physics behind this truly amazing machine. Check out her website.
Knowing that Ruins 4 is heading out into the world has spurred me on to tackle a job I have been putting off for the last couple of weeks. Adding facings to Ruins 5. I have been using facing strips to finish my quilts for years but have always struggled with bulky corners. At times I have resorted to bashing them flat with a mallet (it works!). But recently I saw a link to an article by the art quilter Terry Aske that promised square, flat corners. She gives really clear, step by step instructions. The difference between her method and the method I have used to date is that she doesn’t take the facing strips on the left and right hand side of the quilt to the upper and lower edges. Click on her name to get details. All I can say is THAT IT WORKS! Thank you Terry!
Well I am a long, long way from transforming my ugly ducklings into beautiful swans but I have had some success using the soya wax screen on a piece of really awful fabric. Again I found that using white ‘L’ frames to select small sections of fabric really helped me to evaluate the results. As a big piece of fabric it does absolutely nothing for me. But in small sections it shows promise!
Original fabric on right, I added lots of lines using a soya wax screen
Fabric scrapped with thickened dyes then overprinted using a soya wax screen
I also took a piece that was original printed with the soya wax screen and added more lines, mostly in a mid grey colour selected from the same Dunure colour family. The resulting fabric is also best viewed in small sections but is definitely starting to spark!
Soya wax screen and thickened dyes
Soya wax screen and thickened dyes