Improvisation: The Only Way to Design

improv10Lucky me! I just came across this set of pre-fused fabric scraps and collages for art making. (Note to self: clear my work table more often.) Sure some of the pieces are 10 years old. But like starter dough, these scraps have great art making potential.

improv20But first, a batik background fabric is selected to provide a base for the design work. Working on a background helps you choose the colors for the elements in the design and gives you an idea of what size it will be. This set of odds and ends are pulled from the “fused for your convenience” scrap pile to kick start the design. 

improv21And here’s the design made with some of the fused fabric shapes and other shapes found in my mound of pre-fused scraps. Improvising is the only way to go! Next up? Hand embroidery, of course.

Improv Stitching on Wool #2

woolimprov1I’m a picture person. An odd shape of fabric or random doodle on paper always conjures up an picture or image in my mind. These few random stitches on wool above suggested an image to me. Can you guess what it is?

woolimprov2I think its a sheep. Now, I don’t know much about sheep or goats or any of those animals with curly horns. But when you improvised a stitched image, who cares? I’ve extended the original couched thread shape to form the animal’s body. Now that I have an outline, I can fill it in and hope to becomes a creature of some sort.

Making Spring Blooms #4

blooms5Now that the center vignette of my quilt is cut to shape, I can start adding the flowers, stems, and leaves to the vase. Here’s a tip: slip a piece of release paper or parchment paper under the rim of the vase. Arrange the leaves and stems and tuck them under the rim. When they are in place, remove the release paper and fuse the rim into place.

blooms6The improvised vignette is removed from the Teflon sheet on which I’ve been building. It is centered onto an over-dyed batik fabric and fuse-tacked into place. I like the idea of the flowers extending into the frame of the green fabric as if they are reaching beyond the confines of the wallpaper.

Making Spring Blooms #3

blooms4You could call my favorite method of making art work “structured improvisation”. This means taking fused fabric scraps and assembling them into designs without a preconceived idea of what is being made. One structuring method is  to design a setting or vignette.

A vignette is like peering into a window. And  like a window, there is a frame around the edges and you look in on a scene.Here you see a table top and wallpaper trimmed into a shape. This vignette will be dropped onto a background fabric that forms the frame. Don’t you love that red vase on the table?

Making Spring Blooms #2

blooms2When you make improvised quilts you must be brave! So I bravely sliced my woven collage on the diagonal to begin the next flower project. Does that woven collage remind you of a table cloth? Me too. And I’ve just discovered I’m making a vase of flowers sitting on a table.

blooms3Before overlapping the apple green fabric (table) to the green batik fabric (wall), I’ve decided to add striped lines to make wallpaper. The red stripes are 1/8″ strips of fused fabric cut on the bias so they won’t fray. Everything is fuse tacked into place and ready for the next steps.

You may detect a shiny surface behind all the fused fabrics. The design is fused directly onto a Teflon sheet that covers my table. The Teflon will release the fused fabrics after they cool.

Making Spring Blooms #1

springblooms3

Spring Blooms #3 by Laura Wasilowski

It’s so great to be back in the studio! You may remember my Accidental Artist series from last month where I made this quilt, Spring Blooms #3. The quilt began as a large collage background with free-cut design elements on top and lots of hand embroidery added too.

Now I’d like to show you another method I have of creating fused quilt designs in an improvisational manner. This time I’m making a center vignette and then slipping a large background fabric behind it.

blooms1

Fused fabric scraps from my stash including a fabulous red and blue woven collage.

It’s a different approach but still begins the same way: improvising with fused scraps from my fabric stash. Isn’t that woven collage rescued from a previous project fun? Can’t wait to get started!