WIP Wednesday: more background

I carved out a little more time this past weekend to work on my current art quilt. I pieced together the ground section, which I did in a log cabin-ish type of pattern (truth: I haven’t actually ever followed a pattern to make a log cabin quilt! I’ve just admired photos and looked at patterns in books). I generally do most of my quilting by the seat of my pants – whatever feels like it’ll work, I’ll try.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

Here’s the start, at the center, of the ground section.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

And the back view. Isn’t that just pleasing to look at? Maybe I’m the only one who loves to see the underside of quilting when it looks so tidy?

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

After piecing together the entire ground section, I added blue to the sky, clouds, and put the ground and sky sections together.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

Most of the photos I’ve used for reference have clouds at the point where the sky turns from sunset colors to blue, and I think it works really nicely.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I’m going for a frayed-y look around the edges of the clouds, so I removed some threads where it was easy to do so. These edges will also get more frayed-y looking as I work with the quilt top. So far so good! Now I really need to figure out what I’m doing with the figure(s) so I can work on that this coming weekend.

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WIP Wednesday: Fall Frolic background land

Last time I posted about working on the sunset/sky portion of my Fall Frolic quilt, and this last weekend I did some preliminary work on the land part of the background.

More Fall Frolic art quilt WIP

I’m doing something akin to a log cabin pattern, with concentric sections radiating out from the center. I’m not 100% sure what exactly I’m going to go with on this, but I started cutting out blocks to form this basic shape. For these quilts I like to do a background with some traditional-ish quilt techniques, so including this type of shape fits into my overall vision for the project.

You can kind of see in this picture that the right side of my craft table is really leaning toward the ground. The caster on this leg broke about three moves ago and all our re-glueing attempts have been temporarily successful at best. I really need to find something better before this one gives up entirely. I have a bunch of yarn and other supplies in bins and tote bags sort of shoved under/around the table right now, so it would be nice to find something with drawers or cubbies to store all that stuff off the floor. I’d also like to be able to keep my cutting mat, which is about 36″x60″. Anyone out there have a table/unit they love and recommend?

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WIP Wednesday: Fall Frolic begins

My next art quilt project is officially underway! This piece is for the themed competition at the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival quilt show, and this year’s theme is Fall Frolic.

I started picking out fabrics last week. The competition requires the use of one particular fabric which must be incorporated in some way.

Working on my next art quilt - themed Fall Frolic, for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Quilt Show competition

You can see that required fabric on top of the stack on the right side of that photo – it’s a leaf print which has a lot of red, yellow, and green in it.

My concept for this image is a scene featuring a witch (gotta go with inspiration from one of my favorite parts of fall: Halloween!) in the woods, frolicking in some way as the sun sets. I’m still figuring out what I want to do for the figure and trees, but I have started working on the background.

Looking at some photos for reference, I tried to get a sense for what sunset usually looks like in Michigan, if you’re in a place where you can really see it. Sunset tends to be orange at the horizon, then move into gold and yellow and then as you get toward the ‘top’ of the sky, fades into blues. There are often clouds in Michigan in fall, so I’ll use those as well but they’ll go on top of the background layer.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I cut strips and started lining up the fabrics for the orange/gold/yellow section of the sky.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I’m sewing these strips together unevenly – meaning that each strip will not necessarily be the same height as the strips above and below it, and wont’ necessarily be the same width all the way across, either.

Art quilt WIP: Fall Frolic

I’m once again trying to use fabrics from my stash almost if not completely exclusively, so I haven’t purchased anything for this project – just shopping my stash to find what I want. So far so good! Next I will work on the upper/blue portion of the sky, and then the land at the horizon and foreground. I’m so excited to be working on a new project!

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It’s done! It’s done! It’s done!

FINALLY! I have finished my latest art quilt, Modern Venus.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I am so happy to have completed this gigantic project. It’s taken forever, mostly due to its size and the fact that we moved a bunch of times during the making of it. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, too.

As you can probably tell, this piece is a riff on Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, which led to the name I gave it: Modern Venus. I find works by other artists very inspiring, and I find that studying a work in the context of creating something inspired by it helps me to understand the original piece and notice the little details that I might not otherwise.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

As do my previous art quilts, this one features a main figure inspired by Blythe. I also wanted to give the main figure unruly hair that would overwhelm the rest of her.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

This figure is also menaced by moths which are swarming toward her, apparently having emerged from the dark side of the moon. One of the construction techniques I use in my art quilts is a blend of traditional patchwork pieces for the background accompanied by a top layer of appliqued figures/objects. I wanted there to be rough edges on this piece, so I left room for a little bit of fraying around the edges of most of the appliques. The moths are cut out from printed cotton fabric and then appliqued on to the background. I didn’t fully adhere all of them to the background so there is some movement in their wings.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I like to include details that are specific to my own experience, so the trees I created are White Pines, which are native to my home state (and current home) of Michigan.

Now for a little bit of behind-the-scenes: as I may have mentioned, our home has plaster walls, so hanging things is not as quick and simple as with drywall. This means that I don’t have a ready background for photographing large items like this, so I enlisted K’s help.

Finished a major project today! #annearchy #artquilt

Thanks to K, we have this terrifically handy frame to use for hanging things. It’s meant for use with a green screen, but it works well for a quilt, too!

Karl helping me with the backdrop

K then helped to hold up a temporary background (spare white sheet we normally use as a dust cover for large items in the basement) while I snapped pics.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I’m looking forward to finding a spot for this to hang in our home, as well as to entering it in some upcoming local shows.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

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art quilt WIP: SO CLOSE

I am getting SO CLOSE to finishing this project! I really cannot wait to be done with it. My brain has already moved on to my next project.

Art quilt WIP

I’m actually working on the binding!

via GIPHY

I chose a gold fabric for the binding since I feel like it adds a ‘gold frame’ feel to the piece. Since the quilt is inspired by a grand Renaissance painting, it seems to fit. I am so happy to be in the home stretch of this project. I’m hoping that this coming weekend I can make the time to completely finish this project.

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WIP Wednesday: quilting by hand

I’m making more slow but steady progress hand-quilting my current art quilt WIP. It’s really slow going, but I’m getting there!

Art quilt WIP

As I stitch, I keep asking myself what I was thinking making such a large piece. A learning experience for sure!

Art quilt WIP

I started re-listening to the Harry Potter books for the thousandth time and that is helping the time pass more quickly while I’m stitching. I opted for the Stephen Frye version this time, as I’ve listened to it fewer times than the Jim Dale edition.

Art quilt WIP

Some of the quilting I’m doing is also decorative, but some is just functional to keep everything together. As usual I’m making decisions about what to do as I go along, which is working well for me. I like to have a basic plan in my head but also the flexibility to make changes to that plan on the fly. This is how making art works for me – do you find the same is true for you?

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creativity looming

Have you heard? There’s a new fiber group in town! The Isabella Fiber Arts Guild, which meets the second Thursday of the month in Mount Pleasant. We’ve been meeting for a few months and the group is growing – if you haven’t been but want to join, you’d be very welcome! The members of this group have a wide variety of talents: knit, crochet, weaving, and more I’m forgetting at the moment, I’m sure.

Isabella Fiber Arts Guild January meeting - table looms

Each month we focus on a particular skill or technique or topic, and this month the demonstration was on table looms. Several members brought their table looms to show how they work and let everyone have a chance at trying them out.

Isabella Fiber Arts Guild January meeting - table looms

This is a rigid heddle loom. Isn’t it cute? I love that it’s so portable and can be used on a stand like this or just set on a table or even used on your lap if you have something to balance it on.

Isabella Fiber Arts Guild January meeting - table looms

These are assorted other types of table looms. I remember making a table loom (though I used it leaned up against the wall most of the time) when I took a weaving class in undergrad. (My major was English and Secondary Education, but weaving counted as some kind of general requirement. If I were going to school now, I’d be all about the art/making classes!) We also got to use the big floor looms in that class – I was sad to hear from someone at the IFAG meeting that CMU has apparently gotten rid of all of their floor looms. Those things were so cool! I feel lucky that I got to use one in that class. The table loom I made was basically a square frame formed by four pieces of wood, with a ton of tiny nails along the top and bottom on which I strung the warp. I remember that we had our choice of yarns to use from the cupboard in class – it was a huge cupboard with giant cones of all sorts and colors of fiber. It felt like a treasure chest!

At our next meeting we are going to be cold dyeing! I’ve never done this before and I’m quite excited to try it!

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Review: Pop Painting

Pop Painting

Pop Painting: Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon by Camille d’Errico

When I first cracked the cover of this book, I did not actually know what Pop Surrealism was. However, on looking at the art inside, I realized that I am totally familiar with this style! Plenty of Blythe enthusiasts are into this style and I see it online all the time. This particular artist seems quite inspired by kawaii, which also fits.

Not just an overview of the style, though, this book is specific to the author and includes details about her techniques, inspiration, and journey as an artist. She also addresses the reader as a mentor, encouraging and guiding and hoping for artistic fulfillment for others. Artists looking for quite specific technical detail won’t be disappointed, either. She describes techniques and tools but also how to depict particular elements such as eyes and hair and how to add depth to your work. Despite not creating art in this medium much if at all, I found this book to be quite inspiring and learning more about the techniques increases my (not insignificant) appreciation for those who create it.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

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WIP Wednesday: still stitching

I’m still steadily stitching away on the hand quilting of my current art quilt.

Hand stitching

I’m using relatively large stitches for a couple of reasons. 1.) I’m stitching in the ditch, so it’s all straight lines at this point, and 2.) I want it to go at least a little bit quickly.

Reverse side

Here’s what it looks like on the reverse side. I’m not being very picky about accuracy, since I want it to be clear that it’s hand quilted. I’m still figuring out what I want to do when I’m done stitching in all the ditches. I may do some decorative stitching on the figure, but I’m still thinking about what exactly. Maybe just something in her hair?

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WIP Wednesday: moths have arrived

After last week’s playing around, I decided on placement for the moths and started sewing them on.

Art quilt WIP

I decided to do this by hand, so that I could get a less uniform look to the stitching. (Also, lifting the presser foot a billionty times for each of these did not sound like fun.) I am super pleased with the result!

Art quilt WIP

I don’t do much hand sewing very often, but I find it really in-the-zone-putting when I do make time for it. Note to self: do more hand-stitching! I watched a ton of Jane AKA maidensuit‘s videos about Blythe stuff while I did this stitching and the time flew by. I also got inspired to make the skirts that I posted about on Monday!

Art quilt WIP

I used a variety of freehand stitch patterns to sew these moths on, and I pretty much stuck to just sewing on their bodies (thoraxes? thoraces? thesauri?) and then adding the antennae. I may decide to do some more stitching on the wings, especially of some of the larger ones that want to flop around more – I’m still considering what I want to do with that.

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