Monday, June 29, 2015

Which comes first? Quilting or the Nest?

I've been asked which comes first - the nest or the quilting.  Well, it all depends!

Most of the time, the entire quilt top is finished; the quilt is layered with batting and backing; and then the quilting happens.  This art quilt was done in reverse.

This is the 8th quilt in my mixed media art quilt series on nests.  I knew that I wanted to make a very ethereal and light nest, so I decided to make it first.  I gathered up wool roving, vintage rick rack, old book pages dyed pink, tulle, goat hair and fabric scraps.  This was sandwiched between two layers of Solvay, then stitched lightly with white silk thread.

Completed nest
Rick Rack and goat hair

Then I turned my attention to a background.  The word "Beautiful" was given to me by my husband as an inspiration.  So I looked through my stash of fabric, and found a perfect fabric that faded from light to dark pink.  I quilted it with 5 different pink threads to maintain the color shading effect.

The quilted background all done
5 different colors of thread
After the quilting was done, I played around with the nest and embellishments until I liked the layout.  I added strings of faux pearls, rick rack, and a feather.  Hope you like it! 

"Beautiful" by Joanne Adams Roth

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Homage to Mom Art Quilt

One of the great things about being a quilter is sharing your love of sewing and fabric with other women.  My mother loved to sew and got me hooked on quilts before I was 10 years old.  So I have been fascinated with fabric, techniques, and non-stop inspiration for over 50 years!  OMG! 

My mother, Helen Ann Morgan Adams, belonged to Puyallup Valley Quilters for 20 years or so, and eventually got me going too.  We enjoyed the annual mother's day retreat in Yelm with our matching outfits and were joined by my sisters too.  What fun those days were!  We went to Paducah 4 times!  She loved going.  She was also a Tupperware dealer and manager in the Sumner area for over 15 years and gave us all an appreciation for having a cupboard full of Tupperware.  When she moved in with my sister at the end of her life, she graciously gave me a good amount of her fabric stash. 

Inspiration for my art quilts comes from so many sources, and I know this story is getting long.  I read a book with my book group, "The Husband's Secret".  One of the main characters was a Tupperware dealer.  Ta-Da!  The idea for this quilt coalesced from my mother's fabric, the book, and my fascination with stacking things in quilts.    So here is my still life of Tupperware, made with my mother's fabric, and in memory of her.  RIP.  Love you MOM!

Tupperware Memories by Joanne Adams Roth

Monday, June 22, 2015

Achieving depth in art quilts

I asked my weekly art quilt group for advise on how to achieve a sense of depth on an art quilt that I had in progress.  Some of the ideas they came up with were:  blur the background, use grayed out shades of the foreground colors, make things smaller and less distinct the further away you go from the foreground, and pop the foreground colors and detail.  I also read some articles on achieving depth from oil painters and water color artists, who utilize depth more frequently than art quilters tend to do.  Use all of your sources!

"Contented" by Joanne Adams Roth

You can see by the picture, I hope, that I emphasized the bid and nest, and blurred the inside of the nest and the sky behind the bird.  To achieve this, I used 2 layers of organza on the sky, and adding tulle to the nest.

The nest materials include goat hair, embroidery floss, wool roving, tulle, organza, yarn, old book pages, ribbon, thread and shredded fabric.  The baby bird has several colors of fused fabric and is colorized with color pencil and Inktense pencils.  The very wispy hair is made with 3 layers of goat hair and embroidery floss.

This quilt was based on a photograph that was shared and copied on many blogs, but none of them mentioned the original source.  Too bad - I'd love to give credit where credit is due.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Playfulness in art quilts

The source of inspiration for this art quilt from my mixed media series about nests was the word "Playful", which was suggested by my husband.  OK, I have to admit I was a little stumped as to how to make an inanimate object represent a characteristic usually used to describe a person or an animal.

I pulled out the sketch book and drew up some ideas.  The key for me on doing sketches is doing it quickly and not judging each sketch.  Our minds are able to blurt out many ideas if we just listen to them.  After I sketched up a few ideas, I picked a nest with a bird in it that appeared to have gotten dressed up for a party.

Sketchbook for "Playful" art quilt

So far in my series of nest art quilts the nests are all a little bit different in the way they look, the way they are made, and the size.  I am having so much fun making these mixed media fiber art pieces, and want that "playful" side to come out.

The materials for this nest included a pile of yarn, shredded vintage bias binding, ribbon, lace, old book pages, tulle, and an old hair net.  I piled them onto the top of the quilt and attached them with invisible thread by taking a couple of short stitches, then moving the needle an inch away, taking a few more stitches, and repeating this.  When you look closely, you can see the long stretches of invisible thread that are acting like a net on top of the nest. It gives it a very unstructured and loose feel.  Everyone wants to pet it!

The edge was finished with several layers of zigzag stitches, then couched with pink decorative thread that matches the birds neck tie.

I hope you like it!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Modern Quilt Class

I have been sewing and quilting with a group called "Undercover Quilters" for 20 years.  They have been great friends through ups and downs, moves across country, kids growing up, grandkids, and life passages.  What would we do without our women friends?

Earlier this year, they asked me to design a mystery quit for them and teach them some new techniques.  It was fun for all of us, and really great for me since I like to teach and inspire quilters.  I'll be teaching this class in January 2016 to Clark County Quilters.

Here's a few pictures with their results. 

Chris Baker

Kathy Ericksen

Dessie Carpenter

Diane Stone

Lynn Patterson

Monday, June 8, 2015

Texture in an art quilt

My small quilt group researched and discussed how we might add texture to our art quilts.  If you want to be inspired and share knowledge, find a group and meet with them every week to keep you motivated and productive.  It sure works for me!

So, texture became my cue for this quilt, which is part of my mixed media fiber art nest series.

"Texture" nest quilt by Joanne Adams Roth

Embellishing the background fabric with decorative stitches was my first layer of texture. How many of us barely use our decorative stitches on our fancy machines?  This quilt gave me an excuse to play around with them and use up some of my thread stash (which now is in 5 boxes and a drawer!).  I added another layer of texture by splatter painting the surface with brown paint and a toothbrush.

And of course, the nest itself added the most texture and this is the part that let me play like a kid. This nest was made with yarn, hand dyed fabric, rick-rack, hand dyed ribbon, old book pages, vintage bias binding, goat hair, commercial ribbon and fabrics, and was enhanced with colored pencil.

I hope you enjoy the 3-D feel of this nest!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Luminosity from my art quilt group

Inspirations come from many sources.  My small quilt group spent the first quart of 2015 studying “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  Each week we added an exercise that would help us grow as quilt artists.  We picked luminosity one week.  We all studied up on what it meant, found some great examples of quilts and artwork that represented the concept, and shared our thoughts.  I bought some luminous yarn, and made a nest quilt.  Here is my process on this quilt.

Sketchbook from Feb 1, 2015

My sketches were all yucky as you can see above.  So I went straight to my design wall.  The  background fabric was the best find from my stash.  It fades from light to dark and gives the feeling of light coming up from the horizon.  For the nest, I gathered up a pile of fiber that included yarn, goat hair, glitzy costume fabric, vintage bias binding, hand dyed ribbon, string, decorative thread, bits of netting, and shreds of fabric.  After piling it up on the background, I covered it with Solvay, stitched the heck out of it, and rinsed away the Solvay.  This sort of felted the nest.  The nest looked too ungrounded to me.  So after it dried, I couched down more bias binding and ribbon.

"Luminosity Nest" by Joanne Adams Roth

It still felt too ungrounded so after I quilted the bottom grass, I painted the blades with Derwent Inktense pencils and followed that up with fabric medium.  Then I quilted the rest of the piece with several shades of yellow and green thread to try to keep the gradual fading of the background fabric.

Oh, I knit a stocking hat from the luminous yarn too!