Envisioning Ourselves: Draw this First

May 26th, 2014

my ladies and iI’ve been working on an online portfolio. I find that whenever I’m slogging through something, I have a soundtrack of things I say to myself to pull me through.

It runs currently like this.

There’s nothing like reworking your portfolio and resume to make you take a close look.

Before you pick up a pen or a brush, or sit down to your machine, there’s a whole other art piece you need to create. You make whatever it is you make. You give it life and breath and spirit and hope in that creation. But along with that, you’re creating yourself.

Our vision is what we choose to see.

Our decisions make us what we choose to be.

Our limits define our strengths. We do what we do often because it is a work around for what we can’t do.

Our courage continues in a process that isn’t linear or rational or always along with the flow. Art is not for wimps. Of course it isn’t measured in how you feel. It’s measured in what you do.

All of those things make us who we are as artists. And who we are as people.

Vision is that person viewpoint which is wholly our own. It doesn’t matter if we see the world in dead bones, or trees, or flowers or space ship parts. We see what  we see. Our vision may be the most powerful gift we have as artists.

As I’ve been reworking my online portfolio, I’m finding that everything I’m saying here is simply what I need to hear. I’m whispering to myself in the dark. But that’s an art too.

Please come see my new portfolio at ellenanneeddy.wordpress.com and let me know what you think.

Layer after Layer: All the Same Art

May 17th, 2014

marble fly spiralIf you’ve been an artist long enough, you learn certain things about yourself, about your approach to art, and how that approach fit’s you in all kinds of odd ways. The strangest thing to me about art is vision and construction. No matter what media you’re working in, your vision is probably consistent. No matter what media you try, you’ll probably form images of similar things in the same ways.

alice and flamingof

Over time, I’ve discovered I view the world in layers. There’s the layers of air currents, water currents, soil, laundry and fabric scraps. There’s a whole other layer of things in the refrigerator we won’t discuss. And then there’s the layers of art.

It’s really not an onion experience from me. I’m not peeling an onion. I’m building something in layers. One layer under another. One layer over another. You may think you can’t see what’s underneath, but it always peeks through a bit.

awlizards

This may explain why I’ve recently be seduced by photoshop. I’ve been slowing working through the courses on Lynda.com, and playing with old Victorian Etchings. And in the way I’ve  layered thread on top of thread, and sheer on top of sheer, I’m layering image on top of image.

ferny frog

Is there any practical use for this? I’m not sure it matters, though I’ve started playing with it at Spoonflower.com. Spoonflower will take your designs and print them as fabric. You can check out what I’ve been playing with http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/ellenanneeddy?sub_action=designs

GRANDVILLE 2psyco

Mostly I think it’s a virtual playground. But it does have it’s dangers. If you create something on the computer is it done, or is it a reason to go further? Will you have the will or need to take it into another media?

This is uncharted water. I just don’t know.

I do know that I’m taking layer after layer of something and putting it together where it all peaks out to be seen. It’s just how my art works.

Ann Wasserman’s New Book: Preserving Our Quilt Legacy

May 13th, 2014

annAnn Wasserman has repaired and rehabilitated countless quilts over the last 30 years. She has vast experience and a curator’s attitude towards the work. And a great deal of common sense. Most quilters think that they know about repairing quilts. We also think we know about storing quilts. It’s not necessarily so. We know about stitching and color, but the skills to repair a  really damaged quilt are really different .Machine quilting isn’t any help here. Repair and conservation require a knowledge of fabric history, a skilled set of stitches and a sense of restraint. book cover Ann’s new book, Preserving Our Quilt Legacy provides all that.

There is a mountain of information about fabrics from different periods of time, bats, and nicely drawn stitch diagrams. But more than that, there’s a wealth of information about the difference between  restoration and conservation. She offers a very sensible set of guidelines for when to repair and when to simply preserve a quilt that respects the quilt as an historic document. And a huge base of information about storage, care, and sensible display. 

If you have a lovely old quilt in your life, this book is solid information for it’s care. For a collector of old quilts it would be an invaluable resource. For anyone doing restoration or conservation, a bible.

AnnsquiltAnn is also an established contemporary quilter. You’ll find her own work and her book for sale on her web site at www.annquilts.com.

Errol’s Stole: The Art You Make for your Moms

May 11th, 2014

errols stoll

I’ve said I don’t do commissions often. Even less often do I make something for someone. I’ve done that since I was five and it’s lost a lot of it’s pleasure for me. That strained look. The “Oh you shouldn’t have,” comment.

Some people deeply appreciate your work and for some people it’s just an object. Sometimes they just don’t understand.

This doesn’t look like my work, because in a very real way it isn’t. I crafted it. But the person who wanted it gave me their specifications, their design ideas. In a way, I lent them my hands.

Father Errol is a priest I’ve known for over ten years. He’s been an endless source of support and good sense for all of that time. He’s a lovely extra mom. He’s at a point where there are some lovely life changes coming for him. So this stole is to celebrate that.

For those of you who know liturgical art, the symbols and colors chosen for a stole have deep meaning, sometimes in history sometimes just to the priest himself. It is, in a way, an extension of who he is and what his ministry is.

I don’t mind lending my hands to someone who’s held mine. It’s a whole other kind of gift. I’ve had a number of fabulous other mother’s. Errol is one of the best. As they say, make something that makes someone happy.

Back up on the Horse

May 7th, 2014

eddy-cicada-song detail“Humans are amphibians…half spirit and half animal…as spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time, means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation–the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

 

 

Someone once said about a rather true insult, “I resemble that”. I’ve always loved C.S. Lewis’ quote about undulation, and always held it true. It isn’t that we always do something, or that we consistently do something. It’s that, even when it’s not working, we do it over and over.

I’ve heard that described as insanity. I’ve heard it described as perseverance. Probably a mix of both. Most of our vises are really virtues in the wrong place, used for the wrong task.

One of the things that gets endlessly tired in an artist’s life is the process of entering things. And facing the statistical likelihood of rejection. I’d hit a point where I really let that slide. 

Then the call for the SAQA portfolio came in the mail box.

“Where is that horse? Can I get up there? Do I get to use a ladder? Do I know where that photo is?” This should be familiar. Sometimes it feels like a ground hog day experience.

All of the above. I sent in my entry, be it the last day to do that. And remember that if I don’t put work in public it will never shine. So my cicadas will sing in public. Probably better them than me.

A Word for the Year: Satisfaction for the Very Short

May 5th, 2014

850 Magic Mushroom 2I’ve been quiet for a while here. Sometimes a year is full of words, and stories, statements and tales. Sometimes it’s full of silence. Sometimes it’s full of redirection and rethinking. 

But it’s my birthday today, and with that in mind, I’ve chosen a word for the year. It’s not what I think will happen. It’s not exactly what I hope the year will be. It’s my commitment to myself. And perhaps to the people who either live around me or depend upon me, or just hope for me. The world I’ve chosen is “Satisfied.”

This is not about prediction. It’s about predilection. It’s about choosing to find the satisfaction in the day, the month, the year. Last year had a lot of losses. Most of them too personal to  try to talk about.  I have been, in my life, a championship whiner. I’ve decided that’s not improved even by cheese. I’ve spent the year searching for a way without whining. what I’ve done is to pull in. I’m waiting for the story to flip.

There’s a day for story tellers, when the awful awful thing that happened to you becomes Awe Full: A thing full of some kind of odd gift, odd humor, deep humility and true silliness. Tragedy flips into comedy simply by how we tell the story and where we end it all.

I think satisfaction might be a kissing cousin to grateful, with the difference that there isn’t a need to dig for more, more more. Just an understanding that something in the now is in it’s own way, enough.

One of the things I lost this year is one half of an inch in height. It doesn’t sound like much but if you’re only five feet tall, your measurements become more significant. I’ve grew up in a short family so tall people just seem sadly alien to me. And to be pitied. They must hit their heads a lot in airplanes. And they need to buy more fabric for dresses. And it’s so far down for them to reach the floor.

But the other truly sad thing for them is that they look serious. They look like they need to be taken seriously. No short person suffers from this. Short little legs, tiny hands and feet, a round head, a head below other people’s head. No wonder people laugh at short people. It’s like having  an odd wise child at your feet.  It’s probably the juxtaposition of a childlike  physique and wisdom earned by age.

And what a soap box! Short people have, for centuries, been able to say the unthinkable, which really needed to be thought about and said.  It’s the position of the fool, the clown, the wit. And though I’ d die rather than put on a red nose ( my rosacea is plenty bad enough on it’s own), I find myself loving that part of myself that is waiting for the flip. And is willing to tell the story.  Waiting to think of the way this will be funny in time. Or at least cautionary. And while I’m waiting, I’ve decided to choose a satisfaction in what is where it is. Just for right now.

 

 

 

New Directions: I’m Looking for a Few Good Stores

November 24th, 2013

Impressionist-henry I feel pretty much the same about change as I do about dental work. It never seems like a good idea until it’s essential, and then it’s the only thing to do.

This year has brought a lot of changes. The biggest one is that the teaching industry is down. Not just a little bit down. Way down. I still love to teach. I still offer classes and will always love to teach. But the opportunities are not as prevalent. 

In the wake of the vacuum, I’ve been home more. There’s a cute local store called Threadbenders, in Michigan City, IN that I’m very fond of.  I’ve started doing their social media campaign.

Why social media? When was the last thing you looked up in the phone book? It is so much easier to go online and find what you need to know now. I think my last phone book landed in the bushes, but that doesn’t matter because I don’t use one any more. 

But there’ s a whole other level of this. This is how it works.

My god daughter called me up and said, “I need your help on a sewing project.” I said, “What are you looking at?” She said, “Pull up my Pinterest page.” Out popped a great project for fairy wings. We both clicked on to the picture to find ourselves at the how-to blog that had a list of instructions. Then we clicked the supply list for the stabilizer they had used it took us to the web page of a store that carried the stabilizer that really made that project work. The rest was a talk about logistics and color. Three clicks on the Internet had given us all the information we really needed. She ordered her fabric. I could talk her through and she was off to sew.

Let’s wind back ten years ago. Ten years ago, we would have gotten together over a pot of tea, looked up a book that had some projects like that, gone to the store to see if there was a stabilizer and some fabric that might have worked. Maybe gone to three other stores if we didn’t find what we needed. Not only is that in slow steps over several days. It’s a system that was hit or miss by definition. And it’s impossible at a distance. I wonder how we got anything done.

We know that the younger generations depend heavily on the internet. Older sewers may have their doubts and fears. But these kids are right. The truth is that the internet advantage is massive. It gives us global and endless instant access to sources, experts. ideas, and information.

So the information we would have searched days or months for, is right there, on the screen within the time it takes to type the question. No searching for days. No need for a blind-end road trip to find what you need. No wonder people under thirty don’t really keep phone books or directories.

What does that mean to those of us who are quilters looking for ideas, projects, fabrics, and tools and communities? That there is a much easier way to look. And it’s so much easier that it’s really worth the trouble to learn how.

What does that mean to those who serve quilters? The quilters are looking for easiest ways to find you. If you want them to join you, you must be there to be found. They may stumble across your store or guild in their travels. But they’ll look for you first on the internet. If you’re not there, they’ll find someone who is.

How many stores have time to do this? If you’re running a store, your time is taken up running the store. Most stores say they will, set it up, and fall down. It’s just  too much to do.  It helps to have someone who’s able to set up up and keep it rolling who knows what quilters do, what they need, what they want, and what entertains them.

So I’m taking my 35 years of store and classroom experience and building an online presence for Threadbenders.facebook panel

we can do it pegIt’s been a hoot. Peg Cullen West owns the store and is and great quilt person. She’s staffed her store with very expert and passionate quilters. She’s opened her doors to quilters of all kinds and hosts the Michana Modern Quilt Guild.  She has a long arm available either to rent or to have her quilt for you. And she has a secret weapon.: Henry.

 

 

henrys head logoHenry is the store dog.He’s a sweetie, and he loves people. And he’s a hambone. You want him to stick his head in a wreath? Pick out fabric ? Henry’s your boy.

 

I’ve loved photoshopping this store and branding it in unforgettable ways. They now have an integrated Pinterest, Facebook, and  Blog and what I’m really doing is simply showing them off. I write their blog, find entertaining projects and bits of humor and show them as a great shop and great quilting community which they are.

One media pathway isn’t really enough. You don’t want them to find you once. You want them to find you everywhere they look. You want to build not only name recognition, but a presence they remember. The social media world divides into several kinds of sites that provide different kinds of exposure. No one path will attract everyone. But a skillful weaving of those paths can create an excellent way to you or to the person or store that can help you. Being out there in a brick and mortar store provides a small local presence. Being on the internet in a skillful blending of media puts you at everyone’s fingertips. It serves individuals, groups and stores alike, in ways can be fashioned to work for your circumstances to bring you to the people you need, and the people who need you.

So I’m looking for 3 to 4  more store to do this for. I can’t really do it for more than that. I intend to be choosy, because you really need to care about a store to do it well.

I’m still delighted to come teach. But I’m changing as the world changes, and I’m really delighting in supporting and growing a small local business I believe in.

There’s a series of articles I’ve written on social media at Quilting Hub.  Quilting Hub is a media information center that’s wonderfully expansive and community responsive. It’s a great place to find all things quilty.

Art is not always your art. Sometimes it’s artfully living. Sometimes it’s showcasing someone else’s artful living. It’s all a creative effort towards joy.

And I’m looking for a few good stores. If you have, or know of a small store that might be interested, contact me at ellenanneeddy@gmail.com

Open Season: It’s Hate Mail Time!

October 30th, 2013

891 By the StreamI always find it interesting the things that people write when they feel they are anonymous. This is my second piece of hate mail in a month.

I had a brave little bunny write me some hate mail on hate mail, which is new even for me.  I’ve decided that I’m not absorbing hate in the dark this month or at any other time.

Obviously I’ve failed to meet this woman’s standards. I’m terribly sorry she didn’t let me know that at the time, when I could have possibly done something to  apologies for my failures and have addressed the problem. But it’s not that kind of letter. This is a letter strictly to shame someone. It’s supposed to shame me, I suppose.

Hate mail is not about the person being written to. It’s about the writer. It’s not about the faults of the person written to, although they might have those faults. It’s about the not so brave person who’s evidently held on to some offense from years ago, only to strike out in the dark years later.

Sad. And since it’s anonymous, unfix-able. Meant to be. I understand that I may fail and disappoint people. But a letter is like this is about shame and blame, not about correcting wrongs.

She said she didn’t want her name plastered on Facebook. That’s not what I would have done if she’d directly told me I’d offended her. I’d have asked what I could do to apologize. Instead she wrote a fairly hateful missile, which I’m showing in it’s entirety just so that she can see that whether her name is out there or not, her darkness is.

I’m not proud. Nor am I right or wrong. This isn’t as much about me as it is about her. And name or not, here she is with all her warts and mine, in the light.

So here’s her little note. 

letter

Next time  have the courage to tell me what I did wrong to my face. And we’ll see what kind of self absorbed princess I am. For all my sins, I’ve never written anything to anyone I didn’t sign. You might not mind your name on Facebook if you weren’t doing something basically nasty.

By the way, did you know that kind of letter is  considered harassment and stalking?  And I do know who it is. This is bullying. And I won’t absorb this in  private. If you want to bully me, come into the light and tell me your name.

 

Mad Science and Art Part 2

October 27th, 2013

blue flowerw

One of the great things about being an artist is that  you get to redefine how people use all kinds of artistic toys.

There’s a mad kind of creativity that ends up reaching for the oddest tools at the strangest moments. It’s how we grow.  In the main, it’s embarrassingly awkward, thrashing around with with the pile of things that might work.

This week I was shaping leaves and flowers with Innovative Crafts  Heat and Shape. We’ll have a full article in the Winter Issue of Crazy Quilt Magazine, and you can read it there. 

ironing toolsw

I spent yesterday trying out different curling irons on this stuff. This is from a woman whose worn a pixie hair cut at least 40 years of her life.  We even tried out the one with balls. It didn’t exactly  work the way I expected but it did curve petals.

None of it happens if you can’t try and fail with abandon. I lack any rational linear ability to reason in straight lines. That’s ok. I can thrash through one weird idea after another with abandon. The only times I really get into trouble is when someone sets up a system that will only work one way. I’m not very good at systems that only work one way.

And after I’ve dyed fabric in the crock pot and quilted my quilt upside down with a Sweet Sixteen, what did you expect?

Tools Change Everything: Zigzag Bobbin Work

October 20th, 2013

20u singerI believe in tools! 

Years ago I bought this 20U Singer industrial. It was under protest. I had burned the brushes off a very nice 930 Bernina. If you don’t know any of these numbers, take my word. 930 Berninas were war horses in armor.

So they told me that a 20 U was  a tough enough machine. I had mine calabrated to work with embroidery thread, and did a number of zigzag embroidery images on it. 

For a fast machine, it was still a tedious experience. This machine doesn’t really use a foot. So all the fabric needed to be hooped. And unhooped. And re-hooped. Again and again and again.

I simply stopped working with it at one point. I was considering selling it. 

 

179 The problem with princesBut people have always loved the quilts made through this technique. It allows for so much detail and coloration. 40 weight embroidery thread is ephemerally beautiful, and it shines when it’s laid in color layers.815 butterfly garden detail

Yesterday, I tried it with a felt stabilizer sandwich and a Halo hoop

 

halo hoopl

 

The Halo Hoop has been around for a while. I use them for any larger bit of embroidery I’m working on. It’s a weighted metal hoop with a plastic coating that grips the fabric. Instead of clamping it, you simply slide the hoop along.

My favorite stabilizer sandwich is ( from the back tp the front) a drawing in Totally Stable,  a layer of Decor Bond,a layer of polyester felt, and a layer of hand dyed fabric as my top. Anything that doesn’t iron down, I spray glue with 505 spray.

 

 

frog in process

I took this frog drawing and stated to color. I worked from the back for two reasons. My drawing was there, and I could tie off the ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

frog in process  f2I didn’t get done, but I got far enough to know that between the stabilizer sandwich and the Halo hoop, the whole technique had been revolutionized for me.

Things I learned

  • My father’s old saying: if it’s too hard, too horrible or too long, you have the wrong tool.
  • You can use a hammer for a saw, but it’ s hard on the hammer and what you’re sawing.

Rethinking how to use your tools makes all the difference.  

You can work without a foot, but you need to use your fingers and a hoop. And hopefully your brain!finger positiona

And most of all, good tools change everything!

264 As Good as it Gets

 

The Show I Won’t Get to See

October 11th, 2013

894 For the Bees PleaseTomorrow the Uptown  Blanco  Quilt Show opens!

902 Crescent moon

I remember the first show I had a quilt in. It was in a three story rotunda building. My quilt was on the top rung. I went up to it and started to pet it, and an eight year old boy barked at me”Don’t touch the quilt!” I gave him a wry embarrassed smile and said, “But it’s my quilt!” It didn’t matter. As a mother and child reunion, it was a strictly hands off situation.

I’ve shown quilts for 30 years. But it really never pales. You walk into the space and there it is, your quilt. No matter what anyone says in front of it, it’s your quilt. It’s a humbling moment. When it’s a group of your quilts, it’s jaw dropping. “They hung my quilts.” I still think it a thundering honor.  I’m never sure of how to act. So I usually answer questions and tell stories and generally fill the silence with my panic.

I won’t be there this time. But my quilts will be. And trust me, they’re loud. They fill the silence quite well with their colors, their untold stories, their energy, their ferocity. I’ve always wished I was as as verbal, as strong and as bold as my quilts. But they do quite well by themselves. So you’ll have to see them for me. And tell me how my children have fared

If you’re near either Austin or San Jose, you’re near enough to get to Blanco, TX. You’l also find a wonderful juried show surrounding them. 

 Uptown Blanco Quilt Show

3rd Annual Uptown Blanco Quilt Show

Uptown Blanco’s 3rd annual quilt show, “Colors of the Sky” hosted by the Uptown Blanco Textile Studio runs Friday, October 11 – Sunday, October 13. In addition to the 200 quilts on display, there will be special exhibits of quilts by internationally renowned quilters Louisa Smith and Ellen Anne Eddy. Ellen is our guest teacher and lecturer.

The Uptown Blanco Arts & Entertainment, Ltd. complex will be filled with quilts, wearable art, vendors and on display will be the patchwork smart car quilt that was created as a Breast Cancer Fundraising Campaign in Europe. The life size patchwork quilt completely covers a smart car and is made entirely of fabric donated and signed by over 20 celebrities including Russell Brand, Ryan Giggs, Sara Cox, Elizabeth Hurley, Rachel Stevens, Twiggy Lawson, Joanna Lumley, and Jane McDonald each selecting personal swatches of pink fabric from worn articles of clothing all used to create this special quilt.

Events Details:

This special exhibition showcases the vast wealth of quilts created in Blanco County and throughout the Texas Hill Country.

Event: Friday, October 11th
Reception: 5pm – 6:30pm
Show Hours: 12 noon – 7pm

Event: Saturday, October 12th
Show Hours: 10am – 5pm

Event: Sunday, October 13th
Show Hours: 12 noon – 4pm

Price: $5 entrance fee, children under 12 are free

Download 2013 Flyer ->
2013 Press Release ->

New Book !

Many Creatures Under Many Skies, a show booklet of my work will be available on sale at the show, as well as on my website. It’s available for sale now. 

9780982290156-many creatures front cover

 

 In case you’re no where near or you’re wishing you could have a souvenir, I’ve made a small show catalog, Many Creatures under Many Skies, for sale at  the show and on my web site.  It’s a grouping of some of the most exciting quilts I’ll be sending to the show in a cool little booklet.  You can order it now on my web site at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/store.php?cat=1

Dancing Trees

Dancing Trees

 

Soulmates

Soulmates

 

 

 I will be in Blanco  from Friday February 28th through Sunday March 2nd with some great classes and a lecture. You can sign up now!

Go see my quilts! Did I mention they’re for sale. Check at the new Uptown Blanco Textile Center for prices and availability.

Ellen

Artists and Other Prickly Creatures

October 9th, 2013

GRANDVILLE 2I received an interesting piece of hate mail yesterday. It’s taken me sometime to process it and I’m still working through that. But the bottom line is that I had gone to a group of creative people who were not my primary art interest (we’ll say they were weavers, because they were not), and my selfish self had shown itself. A really dear friend of mine  who the letter was from, cataloged how I had offended everyone, and how I had no interest in being in a group of creative people because I was selfish and driven and rude.

I was pretty much raised in a barrel as a kid, so it’s not impossible that I was. Most of the manners I have I’ve learned from the kindesses of quilters. I do try. I have my failures.

I can’t quite dismiss what she said, although I have a problem with anyone who wants to tell me how I’ve harmed everyone else. There’s no way to fix that. Tell me how I’ve harmed you, and I will, if I can to my best to make it better.  There was so much rage in this.There was no way to back up, apologise, rework it. Which makes the friendship a dead duck on the floor. At that point there’s nothing to do but sweep things up. 

Then I remembered, they do for a hobby. I do this is a part of my job. I take it out in front of people, occasionally sell a piece, occasionally teach with it, and use it in a daily way.  I’m really not sure most of them do, except in this small class in this group.  And I am sure it puts me in a place where my needs creatively are quite different.

I’ve known so many amazing artists and quilters who were loathed in their groups or guilds. They were like an eye in a hurricane. All kinds of chaos swirled around them. And that was usually the complaint. “They’re self absorbed. They’ve very driven. They’re competitive.  They believe that they are geniuses.” I suspect that I am guilty as charged. It takes an amazing amount of courage to put all this stuff in public. And a huge amount of drive. And don’t forget arrogance.

I’ve believed always that everyone is an artist. It’s part of the human condition. We breathe, we dance, we tell stories, we make art. And what that is is imposing order and beauty on the random ugliness and cruelty that often is part of living. We re order it, redefine it, rework it until we make it something we can live with. Talk about selfish. Well, yes. To do that professionally takes immense drive and  compulsion and probably puts you lacking in the social skills. Because everyone will challenge what you’ve done, or what is worse, ignore it.

I’ve never much doubted my abilities, because I am so often alone with them, so often compelled by them. To doubt them would be like trying to breathe in a vacuum. You can. For a very short period only, you can.

I’m sad for this letter, this judgement, this failure of comprehension on their part and manners on mine. But I understand how threatening it can be to stand next to the eye of a hurricane. Even an older hurricane who’s weathered by time and experience. I wish everyone in this group the joy of their creation, and understand that the chaos of my own is probably not group appropriate. And that my own will have it’s own joys. That will come too.  I’m an artist. It’s an isolating process. I’m prickly like that.

This porcupine is another Grandville image I’ve played with on photoshop. He’s my alter ego today. He’s blue, sc^&*^ed and tattooed, which is pretty much how I feel. Ah, the glamorous world of art!

See Making Layers in Art if you’d like more information about how it was done.

 

 

Making Art in Layers

October 6th, 2013

 

Hi Peeps!

 

435 Swimming Upstream

 

So much of my art is done in layers. Sheer applique is layer after layer of color and texture. I create a layer of hand dye, then add a layer of stitching, add another layer of sheers, add a solid image and then add more stitching and sheers. I don’t so much design a quilt as I build one in layers.

 

So its a good thing to try those layers on a whole other platform. I’ve begun some while back to study Photoshop on Lynda.com, which is a software classroom web site. I don’t know  anyone knows Photoshop. But I’ve learned some tricks and it’s interesting it, too, works in layer.

 

I started with a great abbey hall and soften the image.

 

 

abby window

 

 

 

granville 3_0003_abby window

 

 

 

 

 

I added in two Granville drawings. Grandville was Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard  generally known by the pseudonym of J. J. Grandville, who did fabulous character drawings in the 1900s in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put in a painted layer underneath to add color

 

granville 3_0001_Layer 1granville 3_0000_Layer 2granville 3_0002_Layer 3

 

 

 

And added white swirls for energy and pattern.

 

Then I slid the color panel to the right.

 

What did I learn?

 

What I’ve always known. All art is art is art. Playing with layers in one form is no different than playing with another form. And I learned I like white swirls, a lot!

 

 

granville 3So get out the paint, the computer, or the organza, or the very wierd lace. Layers make a rich tapestry to delight the eye. The building of patterns and textures make the rich and fabulous world in which we celebrate our art!

 

You’ll more information on Grandville granville 3aat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Ignace_Isidore_G%C3%A9rard_Grandville

 

grandville bookDover has a great digital design source book on his work.

 

Lynda.com has classes on almost anything and everything. It’s a fabulous way to learn new software.

 

Go play hard at something new! It’s amazing what happens when you bring that skill back to your own art.

 

Ellen

 

 

New Show, New Book, New Raccoon

September 30th, 2013

906 Cicada SongNext week I’m shipping a show off to Blanco TX

The studio is crammed with boxes and quilts and photo set ups and a racoon trap. Yes you heard me right. A raccoon trap.

I will have  a series of 35 works, large and small at the Uptown Blanco Quilt Show October 11-13th. It should be a grand display of a number of quilters work, but I’m proud that they’re featuring such a nice body of work display for me . If you’re near either Austin or San Jose, you’re near enough to get to Blanco

 Uptown Blanco Quilt Show3rd Annual Uptown Blanco Quilt Show

Uptown Blanco’s 3rd annual quilt show, “Colors of the Sky” hosted by the Uptown Blanco Textile Studio runs Friday, October 11 – Sunday, October 13. In addition to the 200 quilts on display, there will be special exhibits of quilts by internationally renowned quilters Louisa Smith and Ellen Anne Eddy. Ellen is our guest teacher and lecturer.

The Uptown Blanco Arts & Entertainment, Ltd. complex will be filled with quilts, wearable art, vendors and on display will be the patchwork smart car quilt that was created as a Breast Cancer Fundraising Campaign in Europe. The life size patchwork quilt completely covers a smart car and is made entirely of fabric donated and signed by over 20 celebrities including Russell Brand, Ryan Giggs, Sara Cox, Elizabeth Hurley, Rachel Stevens, Twiggy Lawson, Joanna Lumley, and Jane McDonald each selecting personal swatches of pink fabric from worn articles of clothing all used to create this special quilt.

Events Details:

This special exhibition showcases the vast wealth of quilts created in Blanco County and throughout the Texas Hill Country.

Event: Friday, October 11th
Reception: 5pm – 6:30pm
Show Hours: 12 noon – 7pm

Event: Saturday, October 12th
Show Hours: 10am – 5pm

Event: Sunday, October 13th
Show Hours: 12 noon – 4pm

Price: $5 entrance fee, children under 12 are free

Download 2013 Flyer ->
2013 Press Release ->

New Book !

9780982290156-many creatures front coverIn case you’re no where near or you’re wishing you could have a souvenir, I’ve made a small show catalog, Many Creatures under Many Skies, for sale at  the show and on my web site. You can pre order them on my site. It’s a grouping of some of the most exciting quilts I’ll be sending to the show in a cool little booklet.  You’ll find a preorder for it on my web site at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/store.php?cat=1

 

 

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raccoonLast night as I was finishing up the last three quilts there was a  series of odd bumps coming from the studio bathroom. My neighbor Mary and I were  there. She’d used the bathroom. I went in. And an odd churring noise coming from the closet. We spent this morning, the exterminator and myself, emptying the closet in search of racoons. No Luck. There’s a trap in the studio bathroom.  I’m going up to finish the last 2 quilts. I may choose to wear stomping boots.

It’s all to the glory of art.

Barking up the Right Tree: Making Tree Bark

September 22nd, 2013

 

747 all time is spiral in a garden

There’s a reason to hug trees. The texture of tree bark is an incredible experience. Here’s a great way to recreate that texture using an applique technique and some simple machine couching.

applique scissorsI started with a special pair of scissors. Applique scissors have a special bend that makes it possible to cut straight to the edge of your stitching.  I free motion stitched two layers of brown hand dyed cotton. .I stitched my tree shapand stitched inside the  bark in chevrons. Then I cut into those chevrons  through the top layer through the channel. Then I clipped through the edges  up and down the stitching

 

 

tree bark stitched and cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

restitched slashing Once the top surface has been slashed, I go back with my darning foot and irregularly  fold back and stitch the edges to make them textural.restitched slashing 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the bark is formed there are all kinds of chanels through the surface.

couching yarnscouching footI took all kind  of yummy heavy yarnd  and couched them in place using my couching foot.The couching foot has a special thread escape for larger yarns and cords.

 

 

 

 

couching

 

With the feed dogs up, couch the yarn through the chanels of raw bark. 

I love to use this trick when I’m working with wood or trees and I want something more than just brown hand dye.

Nifty Notions and Ginger both make applique scissors. Sadly I don’t know of someone who makes them for left handed people. 

 

 

747 all time is spiral in a garden detail672 Willow detail3

885 turtle in the lady slippers

Making Dragonflies Fly Part three: Differing Paths

September 15th, 2013

wind over water 8

Here’s the final installment of Making Dragonflies Fly! You’ll find it here and on youtube. I hope it sends you skittering into your sewin room wanting to stitch. It features Inn Fuse, Innovative Craft’s new Fusible film.

It’s one of my favorite techniques. But it’s certainly not the only one.

There’s a phrase I use in class that I know drives people nuts. They’ll ask me if this is how I always do something. And I’ll say”Yes, except when I don’t.” Idt sounds flip. It’s never meant that way. It is what I do except when I don’t. The world is a complicated place and my studio is too. And for reasons of effect and energy, I don’t feel tied to one way of doing anything.

What we’ve showed in these three videos is free motion applique. It’s a great way to make a bold statement with fragile fabric. It’s a way to use really beautiful textures in a piece.

Is it the only way? Why in heaven’s name should there be only one only way?

I also feel that way about people’s life decisions, child rearing, dog taming and general weight control. The world is wide. Try different things.

But most especially about art.. Art has two componenets. There’s the making of art, the skills involved. And then there’s what happens while you’re working. If you don’t develope the skills, you limit yourself. That’s ok.. Tomorrow is another day and you have days after that to stretch and grow.

If you don’t go in and just make art, you have no reason for those skills. It’s like having a very powerful engine that’s not connected to anything. Of course the point is balance. You know the edges I’m dancing on here. The person who makes the same quilt forever in the same way over and over. The person who takes class after class and everything looks like the last class. These are points in process. They’ll get there. So will you. So will I.

So I thought I’d walk you around the ways technique changes me. I have a number of dragonflies (they’re myself traveling, so I can’t help but do them) done in different technique.

Free motion applique is fused and then stitched with a free motion zigzag. It gives lots of impact, lots of presence. It’s a great way to use amazing fabric.

Dragonfly in Bloom
Dragonfly in Bloom

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s dragonflies made strictly of thick thread in the bobbin. If they’re stitched directly into the cloth they’re more subtle and more part of their environment.

blue moon896 Moonrise SwampThen there are dragonflies made as separate embroidered appliques of pure stitching. They’re done with thick thread in the bobbin.These are bold and electric images.

Moonstruck
Moonstruckectric thread compositions.
895 Wind over Water 7
wind over Water 7

Could I choose? Would I choose? Like most things, everything has it’s season and time. And I will do them all.

What we bring as quilt teachers to you and your guilds is options. Choices. Information about what is available and how to use it. Can you gather that information on your own? Of course you can. With world enough and time.

But isn’t it nice to learn from people who can help you know?

eddy class brochure_Page_01webThere still are spots in my schedule for 2014. If you’d like to have me come to your guild with a suitcase full of choices and skills, check out my class catalog at Issuu, Or check out my classes page at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/classes.php

 

Making Dragonflies Fly Tutuorial Part 2 Patternless Applique

September 8th, 2013

853 dragonfly in bloom

 

 I have very little patience with patterns, recepis, instructions and general directions. My mother had a phrase for it. She called it a being a pig on ice. What it  meant was that you were being a large and confused creature who needed help and refused it in all forms. Of all people, she should have known. She had her own moments of skidding across slick surfaces.

It’s not that I can’t take direction. It’s that I want to know enough about something that the directions can be veryloose. And I want what I do to be unique.

This is why I teach patternless applique. This is why I do it. I want that freedom. I want you to have that freedom.

So for this video I show you how to form a dragonfly of sheer and brocade fabric just by cutting. 

inn fuse-4.part2 2

 Why? 

Because it’s so simple and fun that even a pig on ice such as myself can’t help but make a great dragonfly every time!

 

 

 

 

infuseAgain, we’re testing out Inn Fuse the new fusible craft film from Innovative Craft. And we tested it here on

  • brocade
  • glitter organza
  • tissue brocade
  • lame

You know, the fabrics you wanted to use but you were scared. Well slide over her, over onto
the ice and join us. It’s a lot of fun.

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden also has more information on patternless applique and

making dragonflies fly! You can find it on my web site,on Amazon or at C&T

Next week we’ll show you the third part of the tutorial, stitching soft and hard edge applique!

10799_SP_Part2 (1)_Page_12

Making Dragonflies Fly/: A New Tutorial on Fusing with Sheers and Inn Fuse

September 1st, 2013

You’ll also find this tutorial on You tube

471 Waterlily Waltz

 

infuse This week I have my first of three tutorials up for you on using Inn Fuse, Innovative Craft’s new fusible film. Iwas particularly excited to hear we have a new fusible film. I’ve been a Steam a Seam fan for some while, but since there’s been trouble getting Steam a Seam I’ve had to rethink how I workThere are several things that really mattered to me. Like release paper and the ablity to reposition my pieces. So when Inn Fuse came out, I was estatic to find a product with both those properties. I talked about this in an erlier post called A Box full of Rocks. Inn Fuse has  those  properties and some very fine virtues all it’s own. 

But whenever we have new products, they change how we work, how we think and what is possible. And there are some differences.

Inn Fuse is a lot stickier. It’s based on a nail polish remover solvent instead of  an alchohol base solvent. It can be run through an ink jet printer. And it’s amazing for all kinds of sheers as well as for cottons. Of course, it takes a little special handling.

So in the interest of not giving you a recipe for a cake that won’t rise, I’ve put three tutorials up. This one we’ll build a background on hand dyed cotton using all kinds of sheers and Inn Fuse. 

Here’s some of suggestions for using Inn Fuse:

  • Use teflon scissors:
  • Back your fabric with the release paper to make your cutting easier.
  • Use a pin to separate the glue from the paper
  • Use a discardable piece of cotton as your pressing cloth.
  • Iron thoroughly at a medium heat.
  • Don’t be afraid to be sheer! I used lace, tulle, organza, glitter organza, cheesecloth and oriental brocade. It worked on them all.

I’ll put up the next two segments over the next couple weeks. Look for them there.

You’ll find more information about Inn Fuse at Innovative Crafts.

teflon scissorsYou’ll find teflon Scissors at Havel. 

You’ll find me in studio cutting a whole bunch of dragonflies to be fused.

 

 

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Heat and Shape: Mad Scientist/Artist at Play!

August 25th, 2013

cycada song2Somewhere in my family background, there has to be a mad scientist somewhere. Either that or a wild woman who was brewing some very odd teas. 

I’ve been a dyer for over 30 years now. It’s not all of what I do. It’s never really been the focus of what I do. But my work would have been much less rich without it. 

I’m also incapable of measurements. Not in cooking, not in dyeing, not in any way. If you just can’t pour it in and hope for the best it’s probably not going to happen on my watch.  Soups and stews, yes. Much better at bread than cake. It’s all a dyslesics view of the measuring cup. It’s a sugguestion, a guideline. Don’t ask for accuracy.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love  experiments.So I was delighted when I got a package of Heat and Shape. 

I’ve pasted in the information for you. Of course, it never occurred to me to do trapunto. 

Heat & Shape is a revolutionary heat-activated batting that allows the home crafter to create unique, 
rigid, three-dimensional fabric designs.  There is no need for water or messy chemical additives, Heat & Shape is non-toxic and is activated with only heat and pressure. Heat & Shape can be easily 
cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and, prior to heating, can easily be sewn through using standard
needles and thread.  Due to the nonwoven nature of Heat & Shape it will not fray at the edges like 
Woven stabilizers.  

Ideal as a hidden stiffener to add stability and crispness to handbags, tote bags and
placemats.  Let your imagination run wild with fanciful masks, costumes, millinery, boxes, bowls, flowers 
and ornaments.  Heat & Shape is mold and mildew resistant and is machine washable and dryable.

Quilt Heat & Shape into some of your favorite fabric, lightly steam and you have what we call
“Poor-Man’s Trapunto”; a beautiful stipple  effect as the Heat and Shape crisps and shrinks as you steam!

I found myself thinking, Leaves! So I cut a bunch of leaves and shaped them and veined them with the iron and the heat. As you heat them, they shrink and take on the forms around them. It’s like shrinking felt that can be molded and marked and seamed.

When I got done they were fearfully white. But they were polyester. It’s been a long time since I played with Rit, but Rit is one of the dyes that is formulated for all kinds of fibers. 

crockpot 2It was like my old college days. We used what we had.At that time Rit was it. Rit responds to vinger, salt and heat and I used a lot of both of those. I put it in the Crockpot and left it for two days. It remains to be seen whether the mix of purple and green made that brown or whether I singed them. But theydiyed leaves are very, very fall like.

dyed leaves 2

dyed leaves 3

 

 

They’re currently pinned to the Cidada quilt that is in process on top. I’m excited to see what they’ll look like with veining and stitching all over them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll find Heat and Shape at InnovativeCrafts.Com. Even though it’s polyester, we’ve proved it will dye with heat, salt vineger and Rit. Although, there’s a rumor that it could be made in rayon.  Which would dye with cold water procions. The mad scientist in me is completely overjoyed. cycada song detail

 

A Summer School Gift for You

August 18th, 2013
color outside the wheel.indd_Page_01

Color Outside the Wheel An Ebook for you!

We’ve had a great week. I hope you’ve learned some great new ways to approach color, past picking the colors off the wheel. I need to thank Caryl Bryer Fallert, Kathy Weaver, and Susan Shie for letting me explore colors in their magificent work.

french toast

French Toast, Susan Shie

Robo Sapien Agent 4

Robo Sapien Agent 4 Kathy Weaver

Feather Study 1 by Caryl Bryer Fallert

Feather Study 1 by Caryl Bryer Faller

 I need to thank Monique, Kleinhans, Rebecca Dorian Brown, Lauren Strach, Joan Davis, and Roberta Hoover Ranney for letting me put them in places of honor on the refrigerator gallery.

 

I have the answers to your tests here. Not that that matters. The real test is, does this change how you think? What you choose? And that’s as much a test for me as for you. But here’s your answers.

Color cast is
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.

2. The color wheel is
C. a map of color relationships.

3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually 

4. We all recognize the same color names
B. False

5. Color temperature is about
 C. Both

6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
B. False
1
7. All blues are the same.
 B. False

8. Everyone sees color the same way
 B. False

9. Differences in hues are
 B. differences in light and dark

10. Contrast
C. Pops out the figure from the ground

11. You should never use a color your hate.
 B. False

12. Color theory is
 B. A theory that works up to a point. C. 

color outside the wheel.indd_Page_01As a gift to my students. I’ve packaged up this class in an ebook you can enjoy and work with at home. Thanks for being such good students. And go color off the wheel. You can download it at issuu.com or click the picture for a link.

Next week I’m exploring the new box of Inn Fuse that Innovative Craft sent me so I can do a demo for them. And, of course, for you

Thread Magic Summer School: Color Outside the Wheel Pop Quiz

August 17th, 2013

893 for the bees pleaselFor the last week I’ve talked about color, not just in terms of color wheel but what we do with our color choice past the wheel. My hope for you is that you’ve come away with new thoughts about how you might choose color, play with color and color way outside the lines and outside the wheel. I hope it makes you try colors you love, colors you hate and colors you just don’t know yet. I hope it makes you braver and bolder. And I hope you show us all.

Here is your test. You don’t need to pass it on to me. I’ll put the key in to tomorow’s post, with my Summer School gift to you. I’ve put together a free ebook from what we’ve studied here. I hope to have it posted up tomorrow.

Name: Class: Saturday, August 17, Total Possible Marks: 12 Test  

1. Color cast is
A. Made of plaster
B. Dark or light
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.

2. The color wheel is
A. a pretty chart.
B. everything we know about color.
C. a map of color relationships.
3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually
B. are scary
C. make things look muddy

4. We all recognize the same color names
A. True
B. False

5. Color temperature is about
A. Warm and cool colors
B. Color cast
C. Both

6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
A. True
B. False

7. All blues are the same.
A. True
B. False

8. Everyone sees color the same way
A. True
B. False

1
9. Differences in hues are
A. differences in intensity
B. differences in light and dark
C. differences in colors

10. Contrast
A. Should be kept to a minimum
B. Is only for hues
C. Pops out the figure from the ground

11. You should never use a color your hate.
A. True
B. False

12. Color theory is
A. A scientific fact.
B. A theory that works up to a point.
C. A Victorian concei

Your real test isn’t here. The real test is when you pick your next colors. Choose something marvelous.

Thread MagicSummer School: Color Mixing vs. Color Picking

August 16th, 2013


672 Willow lEven though we’ve been looking at dyers and painters, we’ve been exploring color combinations. We’ve learned that the most exciting combinations offer us contrasts either in hue, tone, temperature or cast. Those contrasts help define our figure and separate it from the background. That separation gives the mind and the eye a way into a composition, a way to make immediate visual sense of what is going on.

All that falls to the ground when we start mixing colors.

 dye cupswI’ve always let the dye houses mix my colors for me. They do a much better job, and I’m constitutionally the right person to do it. It would assume I could measure something. That hasn’t happened since 1969.

But once you put one dye color on top of another color, you’ve mixed them, planned or not. And that same excitement that happens with contrasts in color combinations is instantly blended into a brown of some sort.

I know a lot of unhappy dyers. Unless you really like brown, this is a downer.

 

color picking

Picking primaries

 

Mixing from Primaries

Mixing from Primaries

 

 

 

Willow is an example of a great deal of purposeful mud. I love the browns in her, and dyed them largely from complements.

 

 

759 Blossoms in Moonlight detailThread Color is about picking rather than mixing. So the color choice rules apply. Brown is enriched in this bunny with greens,burgundies, teals, oranges, purples and olive greens, all complements but separate because each is a separate thread. The eye blends them in your mind, but their separation holds the colors true and bright.

Ellen Anne Eddy's Dye Day Workbook cover front for web tnIf you want more information about color mixing you’ll find it in my book

 

 

 

Dye Day Workbook, available in print on Amazon.com or on my web site.

It’s available as an PDF on my Etsy store Raid My Fabric Stash

 

 joans refrigerator

On our Refrigerator today, we have Joan Davis, an amazing Hawaiian quilter who’s work reflects the beauty of the island. You’ll find more of her amazing work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joan.davis

 

 

 

 

 

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This is our last day of Thread Magic Summer School. Tomorrow there will be a test. It is only a test.

I do think it’s fun at least to measure what you’ve gotten out of it all.

Sunday I hope to have a little gift for you for coming to summer school and making it fun.

 

 

Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Color Cast

August 15th, 2013

Our Color Master today is Susan Shie

Twilight Time

Twilight Time

Color cast is one of the hardest things to talk about. We’ve defined cool and warm colors. But color cast can be warm or cool on any hue. Up until now, we have looked at the color through a hypothesis of color theory. It’s a valuable tool, but it is just a theory. At a certain point it has to bend a bit to fit reality. We are assuming a perfection that doesn’t exist except in theory.

If we mix perfect primaries, it should give us clear colors. Experience tells us something different. You can mix yellow and blue and get brown. The colors are not perfect and can lean a little either to the sun or the shade. This is not about being a cool or warm color. It’s a color cast. When you look at a color, ask yourself if it is most like the color to the right or the left of it on the color wheel. If the color is more like the one to the right it leans towards the sun. If it’s more like the one to the left, it leans towards the shade. You can mix sun colors only or shade colors and be sure of clear hues. If you mix sun and shade, then you get earth. If the color has brown already in it, it’s an earth color and anything you mix with it will create more earthy color,

But when we’re chosing color as opposed to mixing color, it gives us the same kind of contrasts in temperature cool and warm colors give us.

Susan is the master of the airbrush and the story. Most of her quilts have long and delightful stories written into the art itself. Make your’self some reading time and you’ll feel like you sat for a day in her kitchen drinking tea and hearing all about the family. 

But she’s a master colorist too. She knows how to accentuate her images against all of that swirling design and she does it with a change in color cast.

spot the station six of cupsHere’s a color breakdown of how she does that.

Here’s a chart from Big Huge Labs of her color choices.

spot the station chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve separated out her sun colors from her shade colors.The major im

spot the station barages are in sun colors. Everything else is in shade colors.

The thermal shock from thse choices make her images glow off the background. Like everything else about Susan, it’s simply brilliant and brilliantly simple.

Here’s some more of her fabulous work. See how she uses color cast to accentuate and separate her field and ground.

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Susan’s amazing work can be seen on her site at Turtle Moon Studio.

tarot deckThe images we used of hers today are from the minor arcana of her tarot deck.The Major arcana is currently  available at Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

roberta refrigeratorOn our refrigerator today we have work by Roberta Ranney. Roberta’s work. Roberta’s work echos her life in Springfield, MO with  an engaging imaginiation all her own. Look into Roberta’s engaging world at her blog site at http://robertaranney.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Temperature

August 14th, 2013

860 fall koiChanges in color temperature make very dramatic contrasts.  We talk about warm colors and cool colors on the color wheel. Traditionally the color wheel is divided into cool colors

Cool Colors

Cool Colors

warm colors

warm colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those colors used in an unbroken arc are analogous colors. They’re smooth, lovely and very pretty. The warm colors speak of sun and fire, and sunsets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cool colors speak of water and greenery and soft filtered light.

There’s not a lot of tension in analogous color. It’s gentle soft color.

But if we take cool colors against warm colors, we find ourself in a visual thermal shock. Cool color against warm pops images off the background every time.

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Use intense temperature differences to separate out figure/ground images. Bright or dark, they define the difference.

On the Refrigerator

We have the awesome work of Monique Kleinhans, from Kailispell, Montana. You’ll find her wide prairie visions at her web site Ladybug’s Cabin at Paint, Metal And Mud Gallery, and teaching at Glacier Quilts, in Kalispell, MT.

monique refrigerator 2r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Tone

August 13th, 2013

 

Cyborg Female 3- Amusing Disorder

Cyborg Female 3- Amusing Disorder

Our color master today is Kathy Weaver.

Tone is the dark side of colors. In dye and paint a color can be darkened either by browns, blacks or by the complement of the color. Tint is the lightening of colors either with white or water. 

We somehow fear the dark. We sometimes forget the  colors that dark or muddy. But diamonds show up best against a black cloth. Darks are our shadows, our depths, the underside, the forest glade and our art is sorely limited without them. 

Pastels offer us a pale world, a shadow delicate mist.  I find it hard to go there. I want all my colors bright. But bright colors gleem against a pastel background. In both cases it  is a contrast in tone that focuses us exactly onto the art and lights our excitement.

Kathy Weaver has created a quilted world of robots that have always astonished me. She’s color master, part for her choices but largely for her painted imagery that jumpstarts her work. And she knows how to work contrast to make her images shine.

I’m also going to introduce you to one of my favorite online tools. Big Huge Labs is a site that has all kinds of free and fabulous photo tools. This is their swatch generator. It’s an easier way to look at the colors in a piece.

Here is one of Kathy’s works and a swatch list of the colors she used.

Robo Sapiens, Agent 5 has a glowing yellow robot against a deeply toned set of bars.

In Robo Sapiens Agent Four, we have the contrast of this wild pink robot against a beige netral.

Robo Sapien Agent 2 glows against the darkly toned background.

When we look at the swatches we can see the contrast in tone, the light and the dark. In all cases, she chooses the difference in tone to accentuate the figure from the  ground.

The figure is our focus. But if it do the same as our background, our ground, the eye has to somehow figure out where it is. Making a visual obvious distinction between the figure and the ground pops it all into view. And making it with differences in  contrast is a clean and clear way to that.

Cyborg Female 1- Complacent Nature

Cyborg Female 1- Complacent Nature

It doesn’t matter whether we choose a lighter or darker backg round. The difference itself, either way sets the figure fore and center in our perception. Cyyborg Femail has yellow arms that echo her background. But the difference in the tone pops her out against it. She glows against the background because there’s a contrast.

Fire Slinger glows against the dark because of the differences as well, although this time she’s gone to the darker contrasts.

Fire Slinger

Fire Slinger

And Invader has both soft background and foreground, but she lets the edges darken enough to pop the contrast.

Invader

Invader

Explore more of Kathy Weaver’s fabulous world on her web site at http://www.kweaverarts.com.

Or you can learn from her at her classes coming up at Arrowmont, September 29th through october 5th. Here is the website info.  http://www.arrowmont.org/ workshops/venueevents/196-kathy-weaver

 

Make your images pop by choosing differences in tone when you pick backrounds. Go light. Go dark. Go different!

Laurens refrigerator

On our refrigerator today we have Lauren Strach from St. Joseph, MI. Lauren’s nature quilts have attracted attention (and prizes) both locally and nationally. Her work sings with color and contrast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ll find more of Lauren’s fabulous work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lauren.strach

Thread Magic Summer School: The Magic of Contrasts

August 12th, 2013

bradford fantasy 1Our color masterist today is Caryl Bryer Fallert.

What all art creates is a series of contrasts, in some form or another. Color theory is one way of describing those colors. We joke about plain white canvases being art because we know  that even as an art joke there’s no drama there. The ability of art to change how we think, how we feel, how we live is the point of it all. Good art changes the world. But to do that it has to demand our attention. It does that by emphasising contrasts.

We can build contrasts in a number of ways. Color is only one. We also have contrast in value, in saturation, in size, in color cast and temperature. All of those scales give us a way to separate the elements of our work. The most important separation is between field and ground.

color wheel  pattern 3When we look at the color wheel we have the map of how colors (Hues) relate to each other. The closer they are to each other the less tension there is between them. The further they are, the more tension and the more potential excitement a combination has.The colors farthest away from each other are called complements. They’re the electric voltage to most art, and they’re what we’ll look at today.

Perhaps the finest quilt color master of our time, Caryl Bryer Fallert is a master dyer and quilter. She has a gift for astonishing color, that usually encompasses the whole color wheel. All those complements at once are electric. The tones and the saturation on these colors are relatively even. All of the drama is in the change of the hues, the colors themselves. And she’s always dyed her own fabric.

These pieces romp through the whole color wheel. Doing that they place all the complements against each other. This is a winning combination, visually and at shows because it always grabs  attention.

Once we start picking and choosing colors off the wheel, the complements still s are the king combinations of these. If we are a little more aware, we can catch a bit of the feeling we get off them. We like them because they offer on.us strong visual stimulation.

Here’s some of Caryl’s work that encompasses complementary combinations

We can also take an arc of the color wheel and focus on that. Those are analogous colors. Here are some amazing pieces of Caryl’s focused in the blue/green arc.

Caryl’s astonishing work can be seen on her web site at http://www.bryerpatch.com, at her studio in Paducah, KY and in art collections and museums across the country. Make sure you see the amazing body of work she’s continued to graced us with.

We’re used to thinking about color strictly as hue. But tomorrow will look at differences in saturation and how they make it easier to separate field and ground, background and forground.

rebecca refrigerator 4On the refrigerator today we have Rebecca Dorian Brown, the creator of Dreaming Girl Highway. Rebecca is also a master colorist and she let me put up these lovely images. Dreaming girl is a series of 78 images out of her life and time set in a deck of Inner Vision Cards. Her media is computer driven and she is a master at generating depth and drama out of pixels and vectors.

Rebecca’s amazing cards are available on her web site at http://www.dreaminggirlhighway.com. Make them your visual snack on your way past the refrigerator.

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Would you like to be on the refrigerator too? Send me several quilts and your contact/web  information at ellenanneeddy@gmail.com

Thread Magic Summer School: Color Theory Past the Wheel

August 11th, 2013

color school logoAnyone who  teaches art, teaches color theory. It’s almost impossible not to. Students ask us to explain our color choices, to correct their color choices, and to offer other color options . They will always ask you why. The real answer is almost always, because I like it. But if we pin it down, past personal preference, we can analyze why. There are ways of seeing consistantly why we like certain combinations.

Every so often I have someone come to me with a color wheel and say, “What do I do with this? ” As an exercise, it sort of falls flat. Once we have a wheel painted or sewn we can say it’s to help us mix  colors.  But that’s only such a small part of it. 

So for the next week we’re going to look at color at Thread Magic Summer School. We’ll look at the different forms of contrast that bring excitement and drama to everyone’s work, traditional or contemporary, applique or pieced, restrained or unleased.

 

color wheel  pattern 3So let’s talk about what color theory really is.

  1. First off, it’s a theory. Like all theories it describes how color works. Like all theories, it works as a theory until it doesn’t. When it doesn’t that means that we have some factors our theory is not accounting for. We’ll look at those.
  2. Secondly, the wheel is simply a chart that explains color theory. It is, basically a family tree for color, showing how colors relate to each other . Like every chart, it’s a good servant and a poor master.
  3. Thirdly, we’ll look at the difference between color combinations,  and color creation, two very different thing.

We’ll also look at what doesn’t work in color theory.

  1. Part of our problem is that there is no perfect. Color theory doesn’t work from time to time because it assumes a perfect set of primaries. Sorry. There is no perfect. So when you mix yellow with blue you may or may not get green. You may get a wierd greeny brown.  There are ways we can adjust around that and we’ll talk about them.
  2. Color theory is verbal. Colors are not. The names are going to fail us every time. There are very few absolute color names. Paint comes in recognisable formulas, and you can dial in color numbers on Photoshop, but color names are largely useless. We need to remember that and be gentle with each other when I call your blue a grey.
  3. We all see differently.  People’s eyes really aren’t the same. Try picking out thread with a friend. Don’t worry about that. You only need to be consistant to yourself.

refrigeratorI invite you to a week of Thread Magic Summer School. Last year, we looked at threads. This year we’ll look at color theory, not just what colors make colors or what combinations are called, but at the core of what makes color work within your quilts and your art. Will it expand your art? Inform you? Entertain you?  I hope so.  I will give you a test at the end of the week, to help you measure what you’ve learned. It will measure what I have to teach as well.

 Why would I do this? Because I want to remind you how very much all quilt teachers bring to your knowledge outside the basic class being offered. We teach a subject, a technique, a series of cool tricks. Those are all worth the price of admission. But past that, we bring in and make available the tangental things that can expand your ability to do what you want with your art and craft. To remind you why it’s important to keep learning when you know almost everything. Because, as for me too, there’s always something you didn’t know. I also invite you to send me your best quilt to put up on the refrigerator. Each day we’ll show off someone’s art on the refrigerator, the first and most important gallery we’ve been shown it. Please email your quilt to ellenanneeddy@gmail.com and I’ll proudly show you off.

If you like these classes, please recommend me to the guild, store, conference, or happening where you like to learn. So that we can share so much more than just  a class.

Tomorrow: Contrasts in Hues!

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