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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Down to the Wire

After the Storm II

Working like a maniac to all hours to finish this in time to have it framed to hang next Thursday. Not time for a long post, but thought I'd keep documenting the process.

Have created "speed nuno" for the trees (on silk) and bushes (on kona cotton). There'll be more dark bushes in front of the trees on the right as well, but haven't cut the felt yet. Also, field'll be a little less tilted (but only a little).

Had originally planned a straight edge for the field (my traditional roots are showing) but found the curved edge evoked the sense of motion I needed. I passed several fields like this in the Midwest last summer and snapped one photo from the window of the car to remind me I wanted to make this.

This work isn't based on the photo per se, but rather is a melange of memorable images.

The whole thing will be constructed on canvas wrapped stretcher bars and framed.

Later . . .

Final composition more or less, but the angle of the field is just a tad too flat. Pay no attention to the white bit--it's the paper placeholder for the field, not actually part of the quilt.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Less is more

My starting place, but too little contrast and too literal

Added some basic trees without many layers, got better definition.

Removed some layers on other elements for better definition and like where it's going. Less literal, more suggestive.

Thought I was going to sculpt with layers, but looks like I'm back to sculpting with the quilting stitch. Not that I mind. A couple of years ago I thought I would soon break away from purple, green and gold, too, but hey . . . :-)

Why knock a good thing?

I have a tree!

Just finished my first tree. Well, it's actually more of a bush and will actually be mostly behind everything else, but I figured that made it the best one to start with.

Anything else I need to do will, I hope, become clear as I finish more pieces of the picture. Has been fun for me to realize I needed to invert all my shapes--the trees all needed concave rather than convex curves and pointy bits rather than rounded bits.

I frequently beat up on myself for working too slowly, but really I'm coming to realize that I can't rush when I'm trying to figure out how to make something work--I need time to stew and ponder. Once I've found a solution I'm happy with I work pretty quickly, but if I rush in before I'm happy, inevitably I'm very unhappy with the final product. It's all part of my creative process, I guess, and fools rush in.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Check it out!

Just visited the Kingsport Art Guild's website for the dates of an exhibit and found my piece at the top of this page. Cool!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Narrowing it down

Ex-per-men-ta-tio-on, Ex-per-men-ta-tio-o-on, it's makin' me gray!

(you know, like anticipation and Heinz ketchup?)

(and yes, I know there's an "i" in experimentation, but it didn't fit in the song--artistic license and all that!)

Spent the day yesterday closing in on my method and think I'm getting there.

Nope. Not enough shape, too much difference in texture from middle to edges. Do like the distortion the stitching caused and will try to figure out how to make that happen on purpose.

Nope. A little better at evoking a "bushy" feeling, but don't like the lines crossing from one layer to the next.

Nearly there. Need to create a "trunky" bit or some brush at the bottom, though. Think I might create some nuno brush. Has its own texture and color variations and great to sew on since stitches sink down and hide in its depths.

Hopefully color will help, as well, since it will add visual depth and interest to the "trees."

Tomorrow I must begin using the actual materials--no time to procrastinate. Darn it--I think this creating quickly and on a deadline might be good for me! Mom always said things like this build my character and she may be right. Double darn!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One of these days . . .

. . . I might do a quilt that doesn't require me to tackle a construction conundrum (sure would save a lot of time)
. . . but I don't think so.

I need to make trees. Abstracted trees that have the texture and general shape of trees without being either too literal or too cartoonish.

So I started fooling around with scrap batting and remnant wool fleece. Needle felting always is near the top of my mind but wouldn't work at all in the materials (a variety of fabrics, including dyed cotton batting) and at the scale I wanted. And while batting is cake to needle felt, layers of batting are not. So nix that idea.

Got out the SetaSkribs to see about shading with them, but realized quickly that wasn't the solution because they pick up fibers from the batting like mad AND I've finally faced the fact that I'm a purist and would far prefer to create shading with my fiber materials rather than paint or a marker.

That's not a judgment, 'cause loads of folks use paint and ink to tremendous effect, and now that I've said it out loud (-ish), just watch--I'll have to eat my words on my next work. Anyhow, nix on this approach, too.

Well, looked back at my study and began playing with layered batting again, this time without needle felting, and realized I might finally have stumbled on to something good. Really?! I know you're looking at this thinking, "O.K., if you say so, but I don't really see it," but my mind was racing several steps forward and I thought I was on the right track. So . . .

Kept on playing around with batting and muslin and think I'm still heading in the right direction. Will have to fine-tune my method AND figure out the best way to contruct them, but that's the fun part!

I'll be using this variety of fabrics I dyed, including aida cloth, cotton batting, muslin, Kona, and silk gauze. That should be the final ingredient in creating the texture, shading, subtlety and abstraction I'm aiming for.

If I'm really honest with myself, I must admit that these puzzles, though sometimes frustrating in the moment, invigorate me. They stimulate me to push the boundaries of what I think quilting can accomplish. DH had it right when he said that if I ever make a quilt I'm completely happy with it will be one of the saddest days of my life 'cause I'll have to give up quilting for something with more challenge. I'm happy to report that I still finding quilting plenty challenging--and rewarding!

Oh, and by the way, finishing this quilt quickly is now very important because I'll be having a solo exhibit at City Hall in Kingsport, TN, from Aug. 3 to Oct. 1, 2009, and need it to anchor one of the main walls. If you're local or passing through then, stop by! Woot! (It's been a pretty good couple of weeks!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Award of Merit

The Beach at Castle St. Gregory
(c) 2007 Cindi Huss

Happy day. Am in the middle of a fun visit from family and found out today I received an award of merit for "The Beach at Castle St. Gregory" (above) at a fine art exhibit at the Renaissance Center here in Kingsport. WOOT! WOOT!