In the past, I have made pieces that are so close to quilting – but always referred to them as embroidery because they were not traditional quilting and I have never actually made a traditional quilt. At the end 2012, I left the comfortable environment of Committed to Cloth, retired from the City, decided to start quilting and set myself a number of goals.
The plan – start improv cutting and piecing in black and white, introduce colour as I progressed. I now have over 40 quilts of varied sizes in this series. The series was named Pieces of Crow – I would have liked to go to the States and attend Nancy Crow workshops. This wasn’t practical as I needed to do 2 workshops back to back which meant a 3 to 4 week stay in the USA, hotels and a car, 200 metres of fabric (and I only use my hand dyed cloth) and so on. It wasn’t go to happen!
The first one is badly stitched. one eight of an inch between parallel lines is hard to keep even. It needed a walking foot and doing such fine lines with a walking foot I find difficult. The second was slightly better.
By the time I got to number 4, I was cheeky enough to enter it into the Fine Art Quilt Masters as Festival of Quilts in 2013. I called it POC XL as it was much bigger than the first three.
The following year, Bush Fire, was accepted for FAQM. I had introduced colour by this point – actually, it is bleached IKEA black cotton. As well as FAQM, this quilt travelled to the USA with the World of Quilts shows.
A number of the others in this series have been accepted into various exhibitions.
A taste of India (detail) travelled with Wide Horizons IV around Europe and the USA and finally to China.
Below are detail images of some of the other pieces in this series – the yellow ones were a mistake for two reasons, a quilt with lots of yellow is unlikely to be accepted for a show as it is difficult to fit into a coherent exhibition (lesson learnt) and the smaller horizontal slithers I added, broke up the design.
Next time will be about the mini-series within POC.
In 2006, I joined the Committed to Cloth community and did a Wet and Wild Course. This included working with formusol as a discharge agent and using a needle nose bottle to doodle. I loved making these pieces. I have no idea why I stopped! Probably a difficult day job. After these doodles, I really lost my way – didn’t want to be a quilter, wanted to embroider, tried making unsuccessful whole cloth pieces and so on until the end of 2012, when I started to quilt. The next year I began properly quilting and working in series. But more on that later……..
Here are some phone camera photos of the doodle pieces.
The first three – design principles play no part in these!
And then some which reflect the shapes of a later series, Pieces of Crow and one which resembles a quilt!!
And then the wheels fell off and my work got somewhat random!! I started working with trees. It could never be a series as I had 11 meters of lovely cloth printed with a single motif of trees all done in one session. How was that going to develop as I worked each piece. The last one I pieced ended up in my UFO box when I saw no future for it and realised that the chances of my being able to sew neat nine patches was nil. When I do a talk, I take my box of UFOs and throw them on the floor – it makes people really happy to know that I don’t get it right all the time!! Someone asked for it and completed it for a charity so some good came of my misfortune
The rest of the fabric is waiting for me to make it up into cushions like the yellow one above – one day.
After the handbags, I did two Textile courses at Open College of Arts – then distance learning courses. I loved the first course and learnt lots of new techniques. During the second course, I started my second series which at the time, I called Bodies. In some ways, it is probably not a true series. Whilst the theme and the basic shape remained the same, the techniques changed as I learnt more about surface decoration on fabric.
I experimented with bleach and here is the first one.It is behind glass so photographs badly. I made two of these and gave one to a friend. I often get asked about using bleach – these are over 15 years old and still seem fine. They will outlive me.
I also did did some of my first screen printing. My nephew kindly made me a frame to use.
The Gold Lady was an improvement as my screen printing got better and the stencil didn’t disintegrate as it did with bleach.
Then the series changed and I used very different techniques to produce the Fan Lady. The Fan Lady was my project half way through Textiles Two. The tutor did not want me to continue with my Bodies series for the rest of the course and wanted me to work on a very different theme – so I stopped the course and moved on.
I have a lot of small paper designs but only completed a couple more. However, I consider that the corsets I made on a C&G Historical Heirlooms course are also a part of the series – a bit of a stretch.
At the end of last year, I lost my way with my Collage series. I wasn’t happy with the last 2 I had made in the series. I was also not really concentrating on my quilting – printmaking had taken over.
I really like Kathleen Probst‘s abstract work so to get myself back on track, I joined her Working in Series online workshops. It is working and I am finding that it is re-enforcing working practices and tools that I have used but have let slip.
One of our tasks was to read the Working in Series posts on Kathleen Loomis’s blog, Art with a Needle. I have followed this blog for a number of years. But re-reading the posts, made me realise that instinctively, I have worked in series ever since I took textiles seriously and tried to make art. For me, it was all about trying to improve the previous design and my techniques.
So here is the first series I worked on – some embroidered handbags. They were shown in an Exhibition in Henley-on-Thames, I think in 2002. This was long before I learnt how to dye properly at Committed to Cloth. The black ones were the last I made, a definite improvement on the pink ones!!
Part of my homework is to catalogue my various series including photos. so as well as documenting them on my pc, I thought I would share the images.
The series do improve and I will share more in further posts!