Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Looking Up

Last week on a morning walk, I luckily had my camera with me. I don't always remember to do that, but this morning I did. I love looking up and seeing the wonderful silhouettes of trees and other things soooooo - I took some pictures and put them into Photoshop Elements to play with. It's fun to try the different filters. This one is the "poster edge" which I use a lot.
I also tried "photocopy" which is a good filter to use if you're wanting to make it into a silkscreen; it's necessary to have sharp edges.
This next filter which was "stylize - find edges". I thought this was the best one for making into a screen - some interesting texture lines.
After making it into a screen, I transferred the image onto some "sky" fabric which I microwave dyed for a mottled effect. I like the results and also the fact that it doesn't jump out and say "I'm a tree" - just some interesting texture.
Tomorrow, wonder what I'll find on my morning walk. Sometimes walks are very ordinary but sometimes they lead to something great - hope tomorrow is a "great" one.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Focus June Meeting Pt.2

Hi again, continuing on with my Focus group and the many talented members - I was talking about a challenge this group is doing to be displayed at the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Seneca, SC. Marge did this wonderful piece based on a piece of petrified wood she had. I look at this and wonder - is it made of fabric or wood? It's so dimensional, I feel like I could get splinters if I touched it.
Marge is also a weaver and created this wonderful long scarf she plans to cut it in half for her daughter and daughter in law - lucky gals! I was so fascinated by this piece; she wove it, then felted it and all the while, both sets of yarns being intertwined with each other! They do not come apart. It's amazing to see and impossible to figure out - I love pouring over pieces when I can't figure out the process - this is one of those.

At the last Focus meeting, Marge was sharing with us a new "quilt in the works" - just on paper for the moment, but since last month, she has come up with a wonderful color palette. I'm not a piecer so this kind of work truly fascinates me. Marge plans to take her time with this, it's a king size quilt and many pieces.
Dixie Haywood did this wonderful piece for the wood challenge. Her dad was a woodworker and made everything in these photos, including the playpen. I'll post the full view next time. It's wonderful.

Marilyn took a workshop a while back on creating faces in fabric. This is her granddaughter.
And this is the photo recreated in fabric, still not done but a great start.
I was fascinated with the branches on the trees which Marilyn created by stitching on water soluble stabilizer.
Marilyn has also created a piece for the wood challenge based on a photo of a log and ferns.
And notice the face in the lower left - it's very subtle.
A good meeting!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Focus June Meeting

My Focus group from SC met yesterday at my home; as always it was fun and inspiring. Janet Ginn showed us her latest piece made for her grandson; the pattern is her own design. It's a wonderful "man/boy/male quilt". The colors are very rich - a great combination of solids, plaids and stripes. It's a fairly easy block but so effective.

Many brought their challenge pieces. Focus is participating in a challenge with another fiber group - the Thread Heads of SC. The challenge is to make a piece depicting wood of some sort. It can be color, trees, things made of wood etc. They will be on display at the Blue Ridge Arts Council this fall. Diana Pickens made this wonderful piece depicting trees in a very abstract presentation. It's very effective with long strips and an organic themed fabric. It's not completed, but looks pretty great like it is.

At the last meeting, Diana was showing us a quilt she was recycling.  I never saw the original - just the blocks after she removed all the quilting and took the quilt apart. It's a beautiful piece - here's the block from last meeting

and the front. It's beautiful in person - wonderful color and lovely machine quilting. You can see it up close and personal at the Asheville Quilt Show this August at the NC Arboretum.
This is a detail of a piece Veronica Moriarty is working on. I love the quilting motifs in the center.
Veronica is working on a piece based on a picture near and dear to her featuring a boat and water. She's had some problems finding the "perfect" water, bringing the piece to meetings to share and get our input and has finally found something that will work really well. The first is the original photo, next is some fabric she painted and far right is her solution. I think it's an interesting way to interpret the background she's trying to create. The "mock-ups" were done in paper - a good way to design. I can't wait to see the finished piece, know it will be another beauty!
Have lots more to share with this group so please come back and visit - til then, keep creating! Judy

Friday, June 18, 2010

Waiting Impatiently

I've been planning the colors for my Sunrise quilt - kind of muted, grayed colors. I found the perfect swatches of color but didn't have enough dye to proceed, still waiting impatiently for the order. I work with a lot of procion mx dye; I know there's lots of great formulas out there for mixing hundreds of colors but over the years, and before I knew of the formulas, I started buying lots of different colors. It was not very cost effective, I admit but they're there when I want them (most of the time). As each new jar of dye enters my studio, I dye a large swatch of fabric. I do both cotton and rayon since I use both in quilts. It's hard to judge a color by the tiny little colored paper square on the color chart. I need LARGE so here you go. After each swatch is dyed I do a sample discharge - 1 for Softscrub, 1 for diluted bleach and 1 for discharge paste. You wouldn't think there would be a difference, bleach is bleach right? Not always - take a look. I like to know how a color will discharge since this is a process I also use a lot. These are some of the colors I'm thinking of using.

I also do swatches for silk; I have found having these samples invaluable over the years.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset Quilt - Playing with paper patterns

I found this wonderful picture which was my inspiration for the flowers growing up the trellis for the "sunrise/sunset" quilt. What appealed to me most was the "aging" wood at the bottom. I wanted to use that look in the trellis. I cropped the flower picture after making many duplicates; I wanted lots of little pattern pieces to work with.

I also played with the colors in photoshop. I wanted something softer that would work with the sky colors. I used the hue/saturation slide under Enhance to get a more pastel look - bottom of post.
Looking through my photo files I found a number of possibilites for "aged wood"
which I cropped after making duplicates to give me lots of possibilites. This might be a little strong. I'll have to print it on fabric and play with it on the design wall.
I also liked this photo with the "sunbeam" on the wood.
This next one is a good possibility - a little more subtle.
By playing with the color variation under enhance, color adjust and variation, I removed some of the blue. I like this; don't know if it will work but will have to get flower fabric dyed up first to see.
And then to make them into a "picture package" to cut apart and use as patterns.
This is the fun part, almost like playing with paper dolls.
I have flowers, wood and skies to make my paper collage.
The quilt is to be 32" x 42" so as luck would have it, a piece of graph paper is 32 squares by 42 squares. I didn't have to tape anything together - each square is 1". You can see the different colors on the flowers from the original. I think they work better with the sky. I wanted it to be a semi-abstract look with sky intermingled with an aging wood trellis and flowers winding up the wood.
Next step is to paint the fabric with mx dye for the flowers. I'm almost out of the colors I want to use so I need to call in an order. Now I'm anxious and don't want to wait, but what's a gal to do. I suppose I could clean or catch up on laundry - nahhhhhh. Talk to you soon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset Quilt

My PTA fiber group is doing a challenge. I don't often find the time to do challenges but this one appealed to me. It has to do with Sunrise/sunset - what do you think of when you hear the words - so many possibilities. I walk in the morning so I thought of things I see while walking; since I love nature, I had several ideas. The first thing I pass is a trellis with flowers growing up it. I had an "ah-haaa" moment. I wanted part of the quilt to use digital imagery; I have some beautiful pictures of the sunrise and sunsets which could serve as a backdrop for a trellis of flowers. I also remembered a wonderful book I could use as a reference.
Artistic Photo Quilts by Charlotte Ziebarth is one of my favorite publications with good, user-friendly instructions. Charlotte uses Photoshop Elements but most techniques can be applied to other programs. So with her book in hand, I set to work.
In my photo file, I found a sunrise I liked and could be cropped in different ways.
I loved the colors but wanted to see what would happen if I used the "auto-color-correction" tab under Enhance in Photoshop Elements - I really like this verson also, but more like a sunset.
So then I took it a step further with this photo, opened Enhance - adjust color-color variations - decrease blue which was also a nice look.
Then I decided to take the original picture, hit Enhance - adjust color and then hue/saturation. Using the top slider under hue, I moved it back and forth to get a look more neutral in flavor. I like neutrals so this is a possibility.
Charlotte suggests doing a paper mockup on graph paper before printing on Fabric. I loved this idea. Gather up photos you like or use the one photo to make duplicates to crop different sizes and angles. Go to File-print layout -picture package. The picture package gives you many options for sizes and combinations. I pick one with many different sizes. Click ok; the last picture you clicked on will appear in all the boxes in your picture package. To get a variety of pictures, go up to Use-folder and browse which will give you access to all your pictures. Click on the box you want to change and then the picture you want to replace it. Click open.The new picture will appear in that box. Do that for each box and you'll wind up with something that looks like the photo below.
I go back and number the photos in the picture package to correspond to the originals in the folder. This way I know which one I'm working with. I did 2 picture packages for the sky - one in blues and one in the more neutral tones. Now to cut them apart and start playing.
I'm really liking this way of designing for digital. I used to print out fabric and play but that gets very expensive. This makes more sense. Stay tuned for "Playing on Graph Paper"

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Walk in the Garden

Our garden is thriving with all the sun and rain. The 2 men in my life do an incredible job with the garden and I'm their biggest fan - take a walk with me to see what's blooming today. We have mostly perenials so there's always something new and different going on outside.
The Peonies right now are my favorite. They bring back wonderful memories of when I was a child. I lived next door to my grandmother who shared a garden with my mother. They had a strip of Peonies that were gorgeous and in my mind HUGE. Of course, I was very little, but I do remember them being the biggest flowers I'd ever seen.
Ours are really big also.

This is the first year we've had such beautiful blooms on our "Rhodies". They don't last long but are so pretty while they're here.
We have several gardens in the back; the rock garden is closest and has really taken off this year.

Knock out roses - not my favorite roses but have such beautiful color and last throughout the summer.
And Astilbe - beautiful plumage type flowers but don't last too long, but while they're here, they're beautiful.

And my favorite - Asiatic Lilies - they almost look artificial.
And upon closer look - a bumble bee, doing what good little bumble bees should do - so I'll sneak away and let him be!