Monday, January 25, 2010

Artificial Flowers, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt...and a "Good" Problem to Have!

(Above: Artificial Flowers, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt. Crayon on fabric rubbing, heat set; recycled artificial flowers from cemetery dumpsters; vintage linen table runner; recycled fabric and felt batting; beads and beaded trim; hand and machine embroidery. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Artificial Flowers, Grave Rubbing Art Quilt Series. Detail. Click on image to enlarge. Words: On Earth a Bud, In Heaven a Flower.)

This is the last art quilt I planned to finish before my upcoming exhibition. The show is scheduled to be installed on Wednesday and Thursday...February 3rd and 4th. So, I'm ahead of schedule on this score. I'm really excited, especially since Kim Bendillo of Garvin Designs is "setting the cemetery". There will be over 30 Grave Rubbing Art Quilts on display as well as 25 piece in my Angels in Mourning the sheer chiffon banners with free-motion embroidered epitaphs hanging under the skylights at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.

(Above: Detail, Artificial Flowers. Click on image to enlarge.)

All the flowers came from my many dumpster diving trips to local cemeteries. After retrieving the blossoms from the trash, I dissected each one....discarding the plastic and wire....leaving only the fabric. I washed them, lay them flat to dry, and separated the tiniest flowers into separate plastic bags. I knew I wanted to stitch these little flowers on something. I didn't know at the time that I'd create this quilt. In fact, I already have an art quilt with these words on it. It is called On Earth a Bud. Thus, I'm calling this one Artificial Flowers. When I made the earlier piece with this epitaph, I did attach a few small, white blossoms....but I didn't think of really going over the top with them....until more recently! It was lots of fun to stitch and bead. Also, the background is mostly machine stitched. I liked this variation too.

(Above: Twelve Grave Rubbing Art designed and pinned....on the floor....last September. Click on image above.

Last September I designed and pinned twelve Grave Rubbing Art Quilts. These represented more work than I possibly thought I could finish....but I got them done! In fact, the newest pieces in the series, Ready for Burial and Artificial Flowers, weren't even planned at the time. I wouldn't have believed that I could stitch so many so quickly.

It is a good thing I work fast!

(Above: Artificial Flowers, reverse. Click on image to enlarge. Created from a badly stained, plain white old tablecloth and vintage linen calendars. The calendars were from my mother and sister who cleaned out several boxes and a storage unit last spring.)

(Above and further below: My studio as I left it yesterday. Please note Artificial Flowers laying on the floor in the back!)

(Above: The six faux-stained glass fiber pieces created for Blues Chapel last sold!)

I need to work fast....faster than ever before. Last June I created six faux-stained glass fiber pieces. Above is a photo of them...finished, framed, ready for exhibition. They were part of Blues Chapel at the Greater Denton Arts Council's Gough Gallery from November through the first week in January. They were intended to be shown at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios when I stage Blues Chapel again. When one sold, I still had five....until late last week. Countybank in Greenwood, South Carolina just bought the other five. Now....with less than two weeks before the opening and only nine days before installation, I find myself with a "good" problem....working faster than I've ever worked before. The studio is an absolute disaster area. Yards of polyester velvet with WonderUnder (Bond-a-Web) ironed to the back are everywhere. I'm almost out of painted WonderUnder too. These pieces are approximately 58" x 18". After non-stop work this weekend, I've got three ready to stitch....then solder, melt and frame. Gotta run more time to blog!


Julie said...

Congratulations on your sales Susan and good luck with your creative drive. Look after yourself too while you work :)

Dawn said...

Oh my! Good things are coming your way! Your hard work pays off -- not to mention your talent. Congratulations on the sale and the upcoming exhibit and the past successful exhibit.


Wanda said...

Holy Smoke!!! Such great problems! The Artificial Flowers is beautiful and the back is great too! I KNEW you would love that stuff! Congrats on the sales....I knew it was just a matter of time. And your studio? Well..even for YOU it looks a bit unorganized! ha ha ha Now...go back to work!!!!

Flowers said...

Wow...These Artificial Flowers looks great.I have never seen anything like it. It was nice going through your blog.

Penny Nickels said...

I love love love your series, and I was wondering if I could interview you about it? I have a blog called Donkeywolf and I'm also a contributer to Mr. X Stitch and Feeling Stitchy.
If you are interested in letting me pick your brain, please email me at so I can get your email address.
Penny Nickels

Connie said...

Susan, I am so thrilled at your "problems". Congratulations. I'd certainly love to see the show next week. Be sure to post lots of pics.

heritage patchwork said...

I like the one done in white with the pieces of calender.Looks very innovative and you have been able to blend the two very beautifully.

Nellie's Needles said...

Wow, wonderful happenings.

As for the flowers, I've found it's easiest to clean the recycled ones while they're still on their stems. I swish them through sudsy and rinse waters and then bend the stems to hang them to drip dry. After they're dry is when I strip them down and sort them.