For the traveling SAQA exhibit, Radical Elements, I kept a journal that travels with the quilt about the construction of my quilt, Blue Wing Chair. Following are final journal entries about making the right side or “page” of the quilt/book. This page is an image of my favorite blue chair.
Paint and stamp heavy paper with a wonderful blue water-based paint. After they dry, fuse the hand painted papers (just like you would fuse fabric). Free cut the blue papers into bird wing shapes.
Draw a pattern for my blue chair onto release paper with a black Sharpie marker. Fuse the paper wings onto the pattern building up a wingy collage.
Remove the paper collage from the release paper. The marker lines from the pattern transfer to the back of the paper. Cut the chair shapes out, place them onto the yellow Timetex, and fuse into place. The right page of of my book/quilt is complete.
Blue Wing Chair (detail) Laura Wasilowski
One of the benefits of belonging to SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) is the opportunity to be part of traveling exhibits like Radical Elements. My quilt in the exhibit, Blue Wing Chair, is currently on view at the Gallery of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. (At last, I’ve got trustworthy representation in the nation’s capitol!)
Painting a book cover for Idea #1
Exhibition artists were also asked to create a journal as they designed art work based on an element from the periodic table. For the next few days I’ll pass on a few of my journal notes beginning with this first entry:
Brilliant Ideal #1: While flying on #*&#$ Airlines I had a sudden flash: make a quilt called the Blue Book on Blue Chairs and make it out of real books. Here’s the plan:
Paint the covers of old books and replace with new titles and images. Drill holes through the pages and back. Attach (quilt) the books to Timtex.
As I drive from the airport, I come up with the book titles many of which are based upon quilts I’ve made in the past: Blue Beach Chair, Blue Electric Chair, etc. Dodging through traffic, I visualize the construction and race home to test the idea (see photo above).
Well this is a lousy idea. I soon realize that real books are real heavy and it would take a slab of wood to hold them all in place. I want to use alternative materials for the quilt but this is not working. Brilliant Idea #1 crashed and burned. More brilliant design ideas tomorrow.
Blue Wing Chair by Laura Wasilowski
Today the Radical Elements exhibit sponsored by SAQA
, will open for a five month showing at the Gallery of the National Academy of Sciences
. Blue Wing Chair
is my entry into this exhibit with a theme combining quilting and science. At last, a use for that periodic table displayed in chemistry class!
Blue Wing Chair (back) by Laura Wasilowski
This, from the SAQA website, describes the Radical Elements exhibit:
Our physical world is created out of the chemical elements, from hydrogen to platinum to arsenic. For this exhibition, each of the selected artists created a new work influenced by an element from the periodic table. Inspirations came from anything relating to that element, whether it is a play on the name, its color or the products made from it. Both representational and abstract works were welcomed.
The artists were also asked to move quilting beyond the usual materials of fabric and thread, exploring the function and decorative properties of different surfaces and stitching materials. This exhibition was the first to embrace the newly expanded definition of an art quilt and is a signature exhibition for SAQA.
In the next few days I’ll show you the design process for making Blue Wing Chair. But first, can you guess which element from the periodic table I was given to depict?
Bird on a Branch #2 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski
Working in a series gives you a feeling of comfort. After all, you only have to have 1 design theme and not think of another for months! That’s why it makes me happy to announce my new series, Bird on a Branch.
Here’s my theory: if I place a bird anywhere on a quilt and make sure there is a branch involved, I’m working in this series.
Bird on a Branch #2 by Laura Wasilowski
You may recognize this quilt above as the “ink quilt”. There was an ink mark on the left that is now covered up by a cloud. And because there was a branch handy, I added a bird and stitchery. It was a way to save the quilt and to add to a series. You could say I was killing 2 birds with 1 stone. (No birds were harmed in the making of this quilt.)
Nice Neighborhood #5 by Laura Wasilowski
Thank you so much for your quilt title ideas. Next year is looming and you’ve given me dozens of suggestions on what to call my next series of house quilts. It was hard to whittle it down to one idea…… so I picked five.
Here are the winners of the title contest. Each will receive a bag of pre-fused fabric scraps so they can make their own homes.
- Susie for Mi Casa
- Laura Woods for Home Tweet Home (I’ll use this for birdhouses!)
- Cami for Whimsey Lane
- Billie for Coming Home
- Patricia for Happy House
My House #12 by Laura Wasilowski
Maybe you have this problem too. A big challenge for me is coming up with new names for quilts in a series. For example, the quilt above is from the “My House” series in 2011. Now you know in 2015 I’ll be making even more house quilts. I can’t stop myself!
My House #15 by Laura Wasilowski
But what should I call that new series? Anyone have any house title ideas for me? Please leave your ideas in the comment section and I’ll pick a winner. The winner receives my gratitude and a bag of fused fabric scraps to make their own house quilts!