Archive for the ‘techniques’ Category
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.
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?
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.
I 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
Once the bark is formed there are all kinds of chanels through the surface.
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.
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.
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.
Then 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.
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?
There 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