04 Jun

Chipmunks!

I work in a quilt shop, and while I think I exercise great restraint, sometimes there are fabrics that I absolutely MUST have. Chipper by Tula Pink was one such fabric. It’s basically a collection of florals and coordinates, but in and amongst the blooms are foxes and chipmunks in psychedelic colors. Fun, but not something that the average not too Modern but not too Traditional quilter can easily imagine in a quilt.Chipmunk WIP 1

I could envision the chipmunks though in a kind of groovy, Modern take on Broderie Perse, the traditional appliqué method of taking motifs from a (usually) chintz fabric and re-arranging them to create a new and unique scene. I thought that a sample of this might get customers’ creative juices flowing too. So, I took it upon myself to buy some chipmunks and get to work.Chipmunk WIP 2

I combined several of the Chipper fabrics with other florals I had in my stash — Kaffe Fasset, some Amy Butler, and a few non-designer prints. I wanted the chipmunks to be circling something, so I made a floral poesie. It’s not as wildly weird as I had hoped, but I think it has a nice balance of Modern because of the colors, and Traditional because of the bouquet and needle turn appliqué.Chipmunk WIP 4

After finishing the Broderie Perse part, I added two scrappy borders in the same prints plus more from my stash. I had to include the ochre nuts which were part of a popular collection quite a few years ago. I plan on adding more borders Medallion style, and I think I may need another round of chipmunks, but that will have to wait. I have some other projects which need to take precedence, and this can probably go hang out at work while we still have bolts of the fabric to sell.

27 May

A Quilted Saga

Friends following me on Facebook and Instagram have seen these photos, but not a lot of the story behind them (though I did blog a bit here — and it’s worthwhile to scroll to the very first post at the bottom about the genesis of the quilt). Here are the gory details!

In late 2002 I started working on a quilt somewhat in response to the 9/11 attacks. It was to be a king sized Service Star and I pieced and appliquéd most of it while my husband was deployed on and off for the next year+. I hand quilted most of it, but then life got in the way and I set it aside.

Service Flag

Trapunto, Broderie Perse, and embroidery, oh my!

Service Flag

In 2004 we moved and I joined a group of ladies that met every other Friday to have breakfast together and work on hand stitching projects. I picked up the quilt again and came close to finishing it before moved again. By the time I unpacked it during hubby’s fourth Iraq deployment, I had moved on stylistically.

To go with the sheers

Having embarked on The Army Wife series at this point, I considered how I could bring this into the fold. Inspired by so much subversive stitch and gallery-worthy embroidery, I decided to add embroidered bumper sticker platitudes and a shadowy Uncle Sam.

Service Star WIP (detail)

It worked in my mind, but after many, many, hours into it, I didn’t feel like it was coming together. I’m loathe to just throw the whole quilt away given the hours I have invested in it. But I felt (and still feel) like it should have just had the shadow figure and none of the distracting embroidered flags and sayings. However, I can’t really remove the embroidery because of all the guide lines below it. I tried some blending stitches, and set the quilt aside for another move and another year.

Untitled

I considered stretching the whole thing like a canvas and painting over it, but I realized I would hardly be able to get it out of the house, let alone into a vehicle to take to a gallery or anyplace! Finally, last week I decided that I was over this quilt. It wasn’t doing anything but hanging over my head. It was too late to call it an heirloom and put on a bed somewhere, and with all the “edgy” embroidery, it just looked overworked and tortured. I thought practical thoughts about what sells and where my work might fit in to that sphere. I love my “Suck It Up and Drive On” quilt and others seem to enjoy it too. It also fits in thematically with so much inspirational wall decor on Pinterest.

Untitled

So I decided to take drastic measures and I not only painted my quilt, but I cut it up into sizes I could mount on standard canvases. I plan to stitch and paint some more, adding some nice bold stars on some and the Suck It Up phrase on others. They will make what a friend calls “edgy Americana” wall decor. And I will have one monkey off my back.

Interestingly, I just read an article on Ragged Cloth Cafe this morning about creativity and fugitive artwork.