Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I'm Not Stitching Masks

(Above:  Big City Lights, a mini art quilt 10 1/2" x 22".  My manipulated digital image printed on fabric with both hand and free-motion machine stitching.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I had a lot of fun deciding which areas to densely hand seed stitch and which areas to outline with free-motion stitch.  Yet, the most fun came when I approached the reverse side.
(Above:  Big City Lights, reverse.)

I knew I had a piece of strange, iridescent red fabric because I found it earlier in the month when constructing Stir Crazy in South Carolina. I don't know when or where I got this piece of fabric ... probably in some box lot from Bill Mishoe's auction.  I'm sure I saved it because I liked the fact that both sides of the fabric seemed like "the front".  For the reverse of this mini art quilt, I used the redder side for the background, and the more taupe side for the sleeve.  I especially like how this fabric catches light ... on either side.  It seems fitting for a piece called Big City Lights.

 (Above:  Big City Lights, vintage leather postcard used as a title and signature label.)

Best of all, I knew I had this vintage leather postcard embossed with a red dyed floral design to use as the label. My friend Laura Brady gave me four of these unique items. It was sad, however, that the back of the postcard was hidden.  There was only one thing to do ... use one of the other postcards for another mini art quilt!

(Above:  A Straight Line, 16" x 12".  Mini art quilt featuring my manipulated digital image of an architectural detail in New York City printed on fabric with straight-line machine stitching.)

This mini-art quilt is a collusion of ideas.  First, I wanted to create something with rainbow colors because the local Outfest for Gay Pride Month (June) was just canceled due to COVID-19.  Second,  I am constantly in awe of beautiful buildings.  When traveling, I seem to take more pictures of architecture than anything else ... even nature (which is a horrible but true thing to admit on Earth Day!)  I love the linear patterns, the way windows reflect light, and side-by-side diverse textures.  I love every style and era from Roman ruins to Romanesque arches to riveted metal on modern office buildings.  The idea of stitching a series of building really appeals to me but I've never done it.

 (Above:  A Straight Line, detail of the stitching and trapunto/stuffed circular area.)

One of the reasons for not starting a series of buildings it the fact that I find it difficult to stitch a straight line!  Free-motion embroidery is no problem.  Putting the "dog feet" or "feed dog" (or whatever those things are) up for "straight-line" stitching is problematic.  Even on this little 16" x 12" piece, I had to really, really focus to keep the machine ON THE STRAIGHT LINES!  The center was much easier; it is stuffed with felt from the reverse, a technique known as trapunto.

 (Above:  A Straight Line, reverse.)

The third idea was to create a reverse that is the polar opposite of the straight lines and bright colors of the modern front.  I found a piece of nearly deteriorated Japanese fabric in my stash.  All those curves, muted colors, and natural motifs sure are different!  In order to use it, I had to fuse the entire thing to a piece of black cotton.  The sleeve was made from another exotic piece of fabric.
 (Above:  The vintage leather postcard used as a label.)

Finally, I attached one of the other vintage leather postcards ... with the attached stamp and 1907 cancellation marks showing.  As this is a "post card", I thought it appropriate to write something on it, free motion style, of course.  This is my postcard to all those people who think I ought be stitching masks during COVID-19!

(Above:  Most of the CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] boxes delivered to Mouse House as the downtown Columbia drop-off location for Gruber Farms.)

I might not be stitching masks (for obvious reasons ... and because Steve and I actually have N-95 masks on hand ... generally for sanding but now for grocery shopping!) but we are trying to help during this "sheltering in place" health crisis.  We volunteered our back parking lot for the Gruber Farms CSA downtown drop-off location.  Our backyard is safe, secure, and can allow people to collect their box in a contact-less situation.  We order a box too and now have fresh strawberries, collards, onions, cabbage, and celery!


Margaret said...

Had to chuckle at your calling these pieces "minis" when their size is my regular art quilt size! I can sew straight lines (well, pretty straight) for seams and piecing but don't do "fiddly" well (despite the small size of my art pieces, they are fussy but not fiddly. No zippers, no pleats, no button holes...) So I'm not making masks either. Instead, I donated fabric to two different people who were (and still are, most likely). No regrets!

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

absolutely love our pieces...

we do different things for our communities when we must...and housing the produce boxes is a fine example of "community"

I'm not required to do anything other than TO STAY HOME and AVOID illness. Particularly since we are entering the winter months in New Zealand and last year it was just laryngitis that caused my Asthmatic lungs to misbehave, which lead to extra meds/steroids for a week to get everything back on deck...

Ann Scott said...

Two such very different pieces, I especially like A Straight Line and wow, those postcards are cool. I think I would have been fun to try a rubbing on the floral. Being able to see your pieces close-up is great. I'm not a fan of straight line stitching either but I have 1/8" and 1/4" masking tape that help me with it.

I didn't make too many masks but as I think I mentioned before, it wasn't a fun time. I was so glad when a local group asked for fabric, I happily thinned out my batik stash.

Meanqueen said...

Always inspiring. Thank you.