Tuesday, January 28, 2014

More resources

I just found this repository of information.

The Getty museum has a virtual library of books on art that you can download.
I see I am going to be doing a bit of reading.  I'm sure we can all find something useful here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Something to do when it's hot

It has been very hot here in the last week, up to 44 celsius, which is over 110F.  It has been impossible to work in my studio, so I have been doing a bit of work on art history.  I thought this might fit in with our new theme.
My favourite period of art is the impressionist period and I watched a ton of videos on the impressionists.
What really amazed me is that the Truth is not anything set.  Different art historians present their FACTS, but every historian tells a different story.  Two people in particular I found were presented quite differently by different historians.
The first is Edgar Degas
The author of those lovely ballet paintings is presented as a friendly person who was a close friend of Mary Cassatt by one historian, and another historian presents him as a misogynist, who regarded her as 'just a woman'.  How different is that?
The second person is Paul Gaughin.
One historian presented him as a selfish and egotistical person who deserted Vincent van Gogh in his time of need, whilst another presents him as a sensitive man, who did his best to help a mad Vincent.
It is difficult to know what the truth is about either of them.  Luckily these two are not on my short list...or perhaps they should be just for this reason?
And of course what I am to do with all this information is beyond me at present.  I started my search because I was looking for something to use as inspiration, but as yet haven't found anything which pops out at me, except for the life of /vincent, but that is because he has always been my favourite.
Just a bit of information I though might be of interest.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Artistic License

“ A writer’s or artist’s freedom to deviate from fact or from conventions . . . for effect.” www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/license

“The freedom to create an artwork, musical work, or piece of writing based  on the artist's interpretation . . . dictionary.reference.com/browse/artistic+license

Some of us have mentioned the influence of others on our work, especially the influence of famous artists or those well known in the world of fiber art. Over the years, I have noticed works of art in museums and galleries and thought, “wouldn’t that be a great quilt?” What painting, sculpture, photograph, architectural wonder or graphic arts image has given you inspiration?

Piet Mondrian Composition A

Some artists modify older works of art to develop new ones. What shapes, colors, composition or media in the works of other have given you an “aha moment”? Or maybe you have been inspired by something in the natural world.

Just in case you need some images to get your creative juices flowing, this may prove to be useful: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/


Sunday, January 12, 2014

from that first lullaby

that your mother sings, music is part of our lives - it's woven into our fabric. 

Music - woven

We live with nursery rhymes, TV jingles, theme songs, camp fire singalongs - we can't escape!  We turn the radio up when a favourite song comes on, so we can belt it out along with the radio - right?  I know I'm not the only one that does that!

Right through our lives we are surrounded by music.  Anthems at the beginning of sporting events. Graduation ceremonies - all that Pomp and Circumstance.  Weddings - that first waltz, right through to a funeral march.  Even nature - bird songs, whale songs, the lovely musical sound of a waterfall.  It's all around us, and in us.

I started out doing some weaving - 

thought that would work, so I created some fabric paper by gluing some sheet music to a piece of muslin.  I spritzed it with some ink before the glue dried to give it a bit of colour.  Once it was dry, I sliced it up and woven it into a piece of satin.

I had some fabric with music on it so I pieced it  with some random fabric to make my piece bigger.  Next step was to create a stencil using freezer paper, and then using paint sticks, stencil a treble clef on to the fabric

I also quilted a woven area into one section.

I needed something more with the treble clef, so I painted some fusible interfacing, cut out some notes and stuck them on.  Decided they were too black so rubbed them with a little paintstick to tone them down a bit

then finished it all off with some quilting - the words "Music - Woven into the fabric of our lives" and a few extra notes and treble clefs

Do you have music in your soul?

Feeling the music

 I get ideas in my head when a new challenge is announced
but most of them never come to fruition.

This theme was no exception!

Perhaps some day I will learn the skill of sketching out my ideas on paper!

As the deadline loomed,
I looked at musical photos, 
musical videos,
 and finally
musical quotes.
While I feel like this may not be the most original idea
I resorted to my love of text to portray this theme....

using some musical black and white fabrics (of course!)
that have been in my stash for a while
along with some of my newer hand dyed fabrics
to create this quilt...

Oddly enough,
while I aimed for the 16" x 20" size suggested by Janet, 
my piece came out to be 18 7/8" x 20 5/8".
(Yes, I usually am odd!)

I think I may try to add some embellishing -
I started playing with some beading in the "i"-
(and if I do, I will post an updated photo!)
but I did manage to finish this one in time 
for our extended deadline.


This variety of triangles with differing fabric patterns in an asymmetrical arrangement produces a feeling of  tension and dissonance. This is not  how I generally view the “music of life”, but I wanted to break out of my traditional method of approaching our challenges. A literal interpretation of music and its beauty was not intended.  After looking at some examples of “modern art” I was struck with the idea of creating something which was not literally musical, but rather portrayed an aspect of music which is almost antithetical to the harmony one usually expects and appreciates. 

For a previous project, I had fused and cut out triangles, but that idea failed to come together. The fabrics I used are a combination of commercial, hand dyed, acrylic monoprints and digital inkjet prints. The quilting, although parallel, hopefully enhances the dissonance theme. The arrangement of the pieces follows no set pattern. The placement of the black lines and the shapes going off the edge of the composition are intended to increase the tension.

17 5/16"  x 18"

A Tribute to Frank Mills

So what do you think of when you think of music?  Opera, Rock 'n Roll, Jazz?  It was a question I asked myself when Janet suggested this theme.  First I thought of portraying a musical instrument; something like this:
But this wasn't striking a chord with me.  I thought perhaps rendering the image of a great musician might do the trick, something like this:
Nope this wasn't sounding the right note for me either.  Okay, more research and I thought, hmmm maybe a well know album cover, something like this:
This "mouldy oldie" was not going to play nicely in fabric.  Maybe I was taking this too literally, so I browsed my music collection and heard this:

This provided the harmony that I needed to get me started and on my way to completing a piece for this challenge.  So my tribute to Frank Mills is my interpretation of this particular melody in fiber. 
Thank you Janet for bringing MUSIC into my studio. If you step over to my blog, you will see how I put it all together.

Water Music

My inspiration came to me, via wikipedia, quite quickly, however it didn't turn out quite how I envisioned it.
I am posting this, because it was an interesting experiment, or series of experiments and, isn't that what the challenge is all about?  I had fun doing it and didn't let myself stress over the things that didn't quite work.  It's a learning experience and this certainly was, for me.
I cut lots of tesselating shapes that suggested water to me, with fusible on the back.
Then I arranged them and fused them for my background
I free motioned some music.  It is the opening bars of George frederic handel's "Water Music".
There is also some handwriting in free motion with variegated thread - very messy.
I also added some foiled text - which was one of the things I was really quite happy with and will do again.
I also added a print on chiffon, which worked well but the contrast was not good, so I outlined some parts.  I didn't like it, so I added a bit of scribbled free motion colour to the main characters.  It was a bit rough, but I just went with it.
you can see my original idea of the water shapes in the background created major problems with contrast.  The shapes are all fused to the background.  Probably, I should have kept it simple and left the picture off, but it was the picture that inspired me in the first place.
"Water Music" does exist,  but the premiere as depicted in the picture is only hearsay, as the painting was painted a hundred years after the supposed day.  But supposedly the music was played for King george 1 on a trip up the Thames River on 17 July 1717.  This story is what the handwriting in the background tells.
Also, my picture is a bit hard to read, and this, I think is due to the shiny gold affecting the other colours in the picture, like glare.
So that is my piece!  As I said, it was quite an experiment.

Music- Beverly

Hand dyed cotton, machine quilted hand embroidered

This piece started in my head.  I thought about the many aspects of music- structure, represented by the treble and bass bars, notes, and other 'letters', which I saw as straight lines.  Then there are the curved, rolling lines, representing the flow of the music as it moves through me.  That was my starting place.

I rooted through my stash, looking for fabric that spoke to me with those thoughts in mind.  I found this piece that I did last summer.  I liked the straight lines of the rust against the petrol green background.  I kind of reminded me of the readout of an echocardiogram- but hey, heart's have a beat too, right?

I machine quilted it with curved, flowing lines- or at least attempted to.  Working on this piece told me how rusty my free motion skills have gotten.  It was not easy.

After the machine quilting, I hand embroidered the 'notes.  I wanted to use perle cotton, but couldn't find any in the color I needed, so it ended up being three strands of embroidery cotton.  That gave me the accents I wanted.

If the proportions of this piece look different than the others, that is because they are.  I did not realize until I was almost done that it is 12 X 20, not 16.  By the time I realized it, it was too late to do anything about it, and I aure didn't have the energy to re-do it.  So, it is what it is.  Hopefully, my creative energy and mojo will return with the spring and warmer weather.

I showed this to my son, asking him what he saw.  He said it looked like a digital music file- hence the name!  So, that told me I'd been successful in conveying my idea, at least from a modern perspective!

Music - On Stage, Singing and Dancing

Music began in my sketchbook .... dangling notes, dancing ....
....perhaps the notes shouldn't dangle .....
 .... was winter on my mind?
 .....I kept thinking of "every good boy deserves fudge" .... did you learn your music lines with those words?
 ...and finally getting close to my final plan .... five notes .....
I did make a final sketch but didn't take a photo of it .... just started digging into my fabric stash .....

 I was thrilled to find that I didn't have to create "rhythm" background, as I already have this dyed piece in the colors I wanted.... but I did dye the yellow/orange and red strips to match .....

Decisions.... how to add the notes .... machine zig-zag, machine stitch cord, or ..... I finally decided to hand stitch the cording in place......
 ....it was lacking something. I wanted the treble clef to be dancing and singing with the backup of notes, but this wasn't it ... so I added the dance trail of the treble clef as it had entered the stage .... seemed to tie the piece together and ground the treble clef......
 ....but those notes were too stiff so I ripped parts out and tried to make them a little more graceful.....and I added another cord next to the original cord of each of the white notes. I'm hoping the music show is ready to go!
 Thanks Janet for a fun challenge!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Musical Interlude

It's relatively quiet in our little group, so I thought a little musical interlude might be nice.  Here is a shared piece from YouTube.

On another note, just in case you're curious here is a sneak peak of what is waiting in the wings.

Picture is not as good as it could be, but it gives you an idea.