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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!)

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