Friday, July 22, 2011

Cats in Art

Cats in Art Card Collection
Cats in Art is a collection of five 4 x 6  inch fabric art cards.  Each card depicts a work of art by one of the world's great artist except the figure is feline.  The centerpiece of each card was fussy cut and fused to the background fabric.  On three of the cards, Cato de Milo, Paw Bump and No Mouse, the background fabric was hand painted and graphics were stamped using metallic and acrylic paints as I thought it most appropriate for the focus piece. The other two cards the background is a batik.
Cato de Milo
Paw Bump
Cata Lisa
Lord I hope Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci have a sense of humor!
No Mouse

Post Card stamp on back of card

On the back of each card there is an area for the address and a short note.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stumpwork & Applique

"Stumpwork" is the term used to refer to a particular form of domestic raised embroidery practiced in England between 1650 and 1700.  Jane Nicholas.
"Applique" ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck onto a large piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns.  The Oxford American College Dictionary. This block was designed by Karen Kay Buckley and is called Heard it through the Grapevine.  I used both techniques (Stumpwork and Applique) in this block.
The butterfly's wings were formed by bending 30 gauge wire, the size used in cake decorating, to create its shape. Muslin was then attached to the wire frame with a tight buttonhole stitch.  Once the fabric was secured, I then worked the entire area in long short stitches.  The body of the butterfly is a strip of gray fabric that was gathered up using a running stitch and frayed to within an inch of its life.

The grapevine wreath is appliqued leaves, branches and grapes.  The leaves and the grapes were formed using spray starch and Mylar (heat resistant) plastic.  In this technique, the template is cut from Mylar which is then placed on the back of the fabric and the shape is cut out leaving a scant quarter of an inch seam allowance. The seam allowance is then folded over the edge of the Mylar template, brushed with spray starch and pressed into submission with a hot iron.

I used Ms. Buckley's Perfect Circles Mylar washers for the grapes.  However, the seam allowance was sewn with a running stitch, the thread was pulled to gather the fabric over the washer, brushed with spray starched and pressed.  This method produces crisp, sharp edges.  I used bias bars for the branches.  Beads and stem stitching were used to further embellish the block.  
I love using hand dyed fabrics in my work, fussy cutting those areas of wonderful graduations in color that is just perfect for that grape or perhaps that grape leaf.  Of course when all is said and done, that half yard of hand dyed royal purple or spring green fabric looks like Swiss cheese.
My favorite needle for hand applique is Jean S.Lyle, size 10Q and my thread is YLI Silk #100 and Mettler.  I find with silk thread, once it has been conditioned, that my stitches melt into the fabric, never to be seen again, which is exactly was we want.   Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sam Lord's Treasure

I entered my first cave when I was 16. Located in the Kanuka Mountains of Guyana, we found bats the size of West Texas, it stank to high heaven but the drawings on the walls and the broken pottery on the floor, fired up my imagination and fascinates me to this day.  Since then, I have visited many caves throughout the Caribbean.  Recently I have stared painting abstracts of caves e.g. Sam Lord's Treasure (left).

Samuel Hall Lord was a buccaneer who built his castle on the rugged cliffs of Barbados' east coast.  It's believed that the caves under the castle held much of the buccaneer's loot.  When I visited those caves, I found no treasure of gold or silver but within the walls were the ocean's treasure, fossilized sea snails and limpets and on the floor were the remains of shells in colors of silver, black, gold and pink. 
Detail of Sam Lord's Crosses
As much as I enjoy painting, I always come back to my first love, fabric, fibers and hand embroidery.  These two needle felted pieces are abstracts of cave walls done is silk and wool roving.  I have added beads and a couple of crosses (Mr. Lord may have missed those). They are heavily hand embroidered, using a variety of stitches e.g, fern stitch, french knots, bullion stitch, needle weaving, couching and the simple back stitch.
Sam Lord's Crosses

Two Red Limpets
The Two Red Limpets measures 2.5 x 3.5 inches (ACEO) and the Sam Lord's Crosses measures 4 x 6 inches.  Enjoy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Colorful Birds Post Cards

Forget Angry Birds!  I know we live in the age of e-mails and tweets but which one of us does not like to receive a hand-written letter or card in the mail?  I know I do.  So with that thought in mind, I went about creating these 4" x 6" post cards.  I used Laurel Birch's Jungle Song as my focus fabric.  There are five cards in the collection and each card has a different pair of colorful, whimsical birds.

                                                                               I first fused the fussy-cut birds to hand dyed fabric, which was then fused to my "batting".  I used Fast2Fuse as the batting for this project as it is a great stabilizer and would stand up to the rigors of the US Postal Service. Each card was lightly free motion stitched.  The cards are fabric backed and archival ink was used to stamp the word "Post Card".

These whimsical fabric post cards are ready for that hand written little note and postage.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th!

This quilt was made in 2007 and every July since then, it is carefully unwrapped and hung in the studio. I found the flag, torn and muddy lying at the side of the road, where no flag should ever be.  I took it home, cleaned and repaired it and used it on my calligraphy quilt.  The calligraphy was done by me and so was the quilting.  The three red wax seals represent the three branches of government and the Preamble is surrounded by fireworks.  
Have a safe and happy 4th of July.