Archive for the ‘techniques’ Category

Layer after Layer: All the Same Art

Saturday, 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.

Mad Science and Art Part 2

Sunday, 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?

Barking up the Right Tree: Making Tree Bark

Sunday, 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

Sunday, 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

 

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