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.
The top fields and blue house have all their stitches but what to do with the red field in the foreground? Why not try a simple Running Stitch. That sounds easy and fast. What I discovered, after a dozen rows of running stitch, is that the red field is huge! To break up the running stitch fatigue, I added a few straight stitches to the light blue flowers. But don’t worry, I shall plow on and finish this field some day.
After finishing all those juicy French Knots out in left field, I tackled the yellow and green fields to the right on my blue house quilt. This is what I like about adding hand stitchery to a fused art quilt: you can make shapes with stitches. Shapes like little flowers growing in a field.
Here’s another small quilt that awaits me in the studio. It was halted just as I was adding red French Knots to the fields and had to leave to hop on a airplane. That’s the advantage of hand-embroidery, you can pick it up and continue where you left off. It’s so nice to return home and settle into a comfortable stich-a-thon. Wonder what happens next on this piece? I’ll show you tomorrow.
It is with great joy that I return to my studio today! And here is something to look forward to: a quilt top ready for hand stitchery. It was discovered under a pile of fabric and other partially finished quilts. My fingers are itching for a needle and thread. Where would you start with the hand embroidery? And what stitch would you use?
While hiking up a hill in New Zealand, I stopped to catch this great view of Akaroa harbor (and to catch my breath too). Can you imagine turning this into fabric? To convert this image into a quilt design, here’s what I’d do:
- Stylize the image by simplifying the shapes that make up the design: hill, tree lines, water, island, distant mountains, and clouds.
- Change the color palette to brilliant greens and blues. (I can’t help myself.)
- Add some flowers in the foreground.
- And finally, add another boat to make a total of 3 heading out of the harbor.
So I’ll let you catch your breath too and ask: What would you do?