Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nepal Monument–Part 2

The second step for the monument was to put the spire on.  I decided that the one I had originally drawn was not the right size so re-drew it and started picking fabrics.   Again, I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I added some Metallic silver paint to change the texture of it a bit.  IMG_2256

I was happy with the design, but didn’t feel as if the perspective was right, so I went to an expert, my Daughter-In-Law Amber, for help.    Her first suggestion was that I cut the three pieces apart and play with those some…..

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Amber is an Elementary school art teacher and a very accomplished artist and she jumped right in to help me…..

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Her suggestion was that the spire was too upright and needed to have some angled movement in it.   IMG_2402

I think that she was right!!!

The next part of the piece was to get the mountains in the background.  I was torn about these because I wanted them to show up but not to overtake the scene.  I found one photo that had a nice view of the mountains and used that for my pattern.

By a serendipitous occurrence, the  size ended up to fit the quilt perfectly.IMG_2252

I started off working from a color photo on my computer…..

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…but then realized that it was much easier to see the shading from a black and white version.

I had way too much fun filling in these mountains, playing with the colors and shading until I had a pleasant design that showed the depth of the scene…..

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I was excited by the fact that, although I used the photo to help with the shading some, I was able to do a lot of it intuitively….a FIRST for me!!!

The next obstacle was to get all of these pieces glued down and get rid of the pins.  I started working with the bottle of glue as I had before but decided that a stiff paintbrush was easier to use….

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I also realized that it would be easier to work from above the pieces so pulled out a stepstool to give me a little height……

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After I glued all of the mountains down, I took it to the machine and outline stitched around each piece.   My plan is to add a lot of quilting and hopefully the outlines wont show much.  I am very happy with the progress so far…..

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Next will be the grass and rocks leading down the path.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Nepal Monument - Part 1

Many people asked Michael and I why we wanted to travel to Nepal to trek in the Himalayas.  It all started when we watched Michael Palin’s series about the Himalaya Mountains.  One of the things that captured my imagination in these shows were the pictures of Buddhist temples covered in prayer flags.  We saw those images while in Kathmandu but not so much while we were hiking.  Instead, as we walked, we passed many small prayer monuments.  Our trek leader, Badri, said that he wasn’t religious but I noticed that he would often place a small rock, stick or flower on these monuments as we passed.

So, as we trekked, I kept visualizing the quilt that I wanted to make to commemorate this trip and I knew that it was going to focus around one of these monuments.

I started planning the quilt late last year, searching all of our photos for the perfect picture to use.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find ONE photo that had everything I wanted so I decided to use bits and pieces from several of them.

This one had the look that I wanted and showed the aspect that I desired, but I wanted the monument  to be wider rather than taller……

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I used this as my pattern but extended the front so that the shape was different and also added a rectangle opening.   It came out looking like this…..

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I enlarged the design, traced it onto a very fine interfacing and started adding the fabrics, using a Wonder Under backing…..

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But, I didn’t like how it looked!!!  The grouting was the wrong color and the rocks looked too stiff.   At this point, life got busy and this project got packed away and put into the closet.

Now, fast forward…..  While we were in India, I found a blog by Susan Carlson  ( Susan Carlson Quilts ).  You may have seen her twenty foot Crocodile quilt or one of her other “Specimen” quilts.   As I read her blog, I found that she free-cut her fabrics, gluing the edges down before she quilted.   I also discovered that she had written two books so I ordered both of them and this one arrived first….

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In this book she made use of paper patterns for the pieces, cut them out of fabric and glued them to a piece of muslin.

In her second book…..

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….she dispenses with the paper pattern and instead draws the design on the muslin and cuts the fabrics to fill the spaces.

Since I felt more comfortable using a pattern, I chose the first method and started cutting and placing my fabrics on my interfacing backing…..

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I was immediately happier with the more organic look.

After I had placed all of the fabrics and got ready to glue them all down, I realized that I couldn’t glue onto the thin interfacing because it would just seep thru the interfacing and onto my design wall.  Instead, I traced the pattern out on a piece of muslin and started the slow process of moving each piece off of the wall and onto the base…..

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Per Susan’s instructions, I used a VERY thin line (dots actually) of “Aleenes Original Tacky Glue” and slowly added the pieces….one row at a time.

I was basically pleased with the outcome…..

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….although I knew that the opening needed some work (it is not yet glued down) and I also felt that there were too many color variations in the rock.  I had the idea to add some paint to blend the colors together more, using a thin translucent grey in two shades.  I used a sponge to add the color and, although I started the process with much feat and trepidation, I was happy with the end result…..

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I moved to the sewing machine and started thread painting around each of the bricks, adding more thread and texture to the grouting.  After I had finished the thread work, I turned it over and gave it a good pressing from the back.  I was thrilled to see that the rocks had actually wrinkled a bit in the process, adding yet another serendipitous dimension to them…..

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I also made the decision to have the opening go all the way thru the monument, although that may change again at some point.

Happily I have now completed the FIRST step in this quilt design.  Next will be to create a spire of some sort to go on the top.  Then I have to figure out how to add snow covered mountains to the background without them taking over the focus.  Finally will be adding the prayer flags flying from the spire and hopefully staying in perspective as they flow out of the picture.

Contemplating the prospect of the project is daunting for me, but just like on the trek, I plan to take it one step at a time!!  Hopefully the end result will be worth the journey, but regardless of the outcome, I am determined to enjoy the process to its fullest!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A finished UFO!!!

 

To start this post, I have to go back to September of 2013!!!  I first posted about this piece HERE, working thru the process that I used to discharge the fabric vase.

Then I started working on the applique of the vase and Sunflowers, enjoying the process greatly…..Sunflower

But, as with most UFO’s, other things cropped up and the project got stuck on top of the fabric shelves.   Amazingly, before I threw it up there, I had finished all of the applique except for ONE flower petal!!!

When I unexpectedly had a few hours in my studio, I really wanted to accomplish something so I pulled out the top, quickly finished the applique and set it up for quilting.

It didn’t take long to have a fun, FINISHED project….

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Now if all of my other UFO’s are as easy to finish, I will be one happy camper!!!!

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