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Chickens and Candy

Being creative does NOT mean that everything you attempt will turn out successfully.  Sometimes, my ideas just don’t work out like I thought.  Today was one of those days, but I learned a few things in the process, and that’s always a good thing.

Over a year ago, I started a large art quilt that was going to be for a SAQA show.  The theme was “Upcycle,” and my idea was to create a piece using an old feed sack and somehow incorporate candy wrappers into the design.  In my very first post here, I featured the feed sack that I chose, and you will see how the candy wrappers fit into the project.

I have yet to finish the quilt, today I thought I’d try an idea I have for the candy wrappers.  My original plan was to quilt the piece with thread sketches of chickens, and add the candy wrappers as random accents.  A few days ago, I thought I’d try making collaged chickens using the wrappers and applique the chickens to the quilt.  Using one of my own drawings, I first traced the drawing onto a piece of Foundation Stuff, and made another tracing onto paper to create a pattern.  I numbered and cut out the paper pattern pieces.

Next, I used lightweight fusible webbing to bond candy wrappers to additional pieces of Foundation Stuff.

Using the pattern pieces, I cut out pieces from the bonded candy wrappers, then assembled them on the Stuff with the drawing.  I often use a glue stick to tack pieces in place before sewing, once dry, the glue presents no problems to sew through.  However, I discovered that the glue does not work well on Foundation Stuff!  The Foundation Stuff is a new product to me, so I am learning the capabilities of it.  I was able to slather both sides of the parts I was trying to join, and weight them down until the glue dried.  Then, I carefully took the developing chicken collage to one of my sewing machines.

I use an 80 or 90 universal or topstitch needle and quality 40 or 50 weight thread when sewing with paper.  Use a long stitch length (straight or zigzag), and remember that paper will dull your needle very quickly.  I sometimes save needles that I have used for a little while, but are still useful, for sewing paper.  Once you finish your paper sewing project, discard that needle.

So, here is my trial chicken.  It is an interesting concept, but in the end, I just don’t like it.  I don’t like the candy wrappers, they overwhelm the chicken.  This isn’t going to work for the feed sack quilt.  At this point, I don’t even want to put the candy wrappers in the quilt at all, not even in my original plan of randomly stitching them across the surface.  Since the quilt is no longer for an upcycle challenge, I am fine with this.  Now, I am considering making 3-D fabric candy pieces for this project.  I won’t know how that idea will work out until I try it.

Later this week I will have some musings on music and trying to capture the moment that you first hear or see something that just rocks your world.

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Scraps, Squares, Stitches

I am addicted to these little stitched squares!  This most recent bunch has turned out very well, I like all of them.  I am still amazed at how scraps can be transformed into little treasures.

In this set of four, I played with making stitch flowers by filling in petal shapes with combinations of stitches, and then tried out a monochrome color palette:

More trials with monochrome, and then I jumped back into multicolor mayhem:

These little squares are a great way to audition color combinations. Think of them as preliminary sketches for larger pieces.  I absolutely love the layers of textures that I combined in the square on the lower left here:

I wonder if the square I make for a given day reflects my mood at the time.  I’ll have to pay more attention to that.

 

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Stitching Summer Days

Each season out here has its own particular charms that intrigue me.  Right now, it is being able to see the gentle rolling of the land without piles of wild brush and lushly leafed trees hiding the topographical details.  The branches of the same trees are wrapped with feathery blue-gray lichens, unnoticed in the spring and summer months.  When the cold winds whip through the valleys, I stay in and stitch the summer flowers to keep warm thoughts of the growing season in my mind.

There are certain points along the property where I live that I visit frequently to note changes as the season roll through the year.  At the end of my long driveway is one of those points.  Across the road is a neglected cow pasture that fills out in summer with a riot of wildflowers: soft purple chicory, Queen Anne’s Lace, blaze orange butterfly weed, mullein reaching to the sky, jewelweed, and sometimes a bright red Canadian Lily.

SummerFencerow2

Later in the season, iron weed, Joe Pye weed, goldenrods and asters take over with a different palette of colors and textures.  I have already made several felted and stitched portraits of the fence row, and more are in the works.

I don’t know if I will ever tire of stitching these roadside meadows.  So many people speed past them, in a hurry to get somewhere, and they never notice the flower show to the side.  It doesn’t show up on their GPS.

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The Last of ICAD 2018

I finished it!  Almost a year and a half late, but my quest of the index-card-a-day challenge from 2018 is at an end.  Week 8 (prompts: radio, mint, postage, cassette tape, tide pool, circuit or network, typewriter):

Week 9 (prompts: twister, favorite color, staple, wish, telescope):

These little daily challenges are great exercises in many ways.  They also prove the theory that you have to make a lot of stuff to get decent at art, and a fair amount of what you make isn’t good.  So, is bad art still art?  It exists, but should it?  Many of my cards are terrible.  There are a few gems, and some that I could have done better, but I won’t re-do those.  I am keeping all of my ICAD efforts, and over the winter I will make fabric boxes to hold each year’s cards.

I am going to forge ahead and finish the cards for the first year I tried the challenge, 2017, but I won’t post my efforts as frequently.  I don’t think that I will stick to the one-a-day pace that I set for finishing 2018 (not to mention that I should have done one card a day when the challenge was current).   On Thursday, some thoughts on my fabric collage boxes.

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ICAD 2018, Week 6

A very quick post, I wanted to get this out yesterday, trying to keep up with getting caught up!  The prompts for this batch of index card creations are: pretzel, poetry, palette, pixelated, pinball, portrait and plate.

The card for pretzel was an experiment, I simply made layers of three colors by putting real mini pretzels on the card and spraying them with Marabu acrylic spray paint.  I like the effect, and I’ll be paying with those paints more in the future.  For the poetry card, I cut out a few lines of text from magazine articles and filled in with my own words.  Palette was simply blots of acrylic paint in one of my signature color combinations of purple, green and yellow.  Finally, the pinball card was a pleasant surprise.  After looking at images of pinball machines online, and studying the photorealism paintings of Charles Bell, I cut shapes out of colored paper, layering them to imitate the pinball graphics, and added details with gel pen.

More tomorrow, some sort of stitching.