One of my early recycled silk art quilts was juried into the national Art (yes “art” not quilting, ha!) Show – “Soulful: A National Exhibition of African American Artists”. It opens February 7th and runs through February 28th at the d’Art Center in Norfolk, VA.
My piece that will appear in the show is called Color Story I: Flying Triangles. It was the first recycled silk art quilt I made when I began to experiment with using recycled materials. Below is the piece and the updated Artist Statement I did for the show.
COLOR STORY I: FLYING TRIANGLES
45 ” W x 44.5″ L, silk & linen garment scraps pieced on muslin foundation
The Color Stories series of art quilts are vibrant colored compositions, created from recycled textiles including silks, wools and linens. Many of the recycled silks and linens are from samples and remnants from NYC Fashion District couture fabrics from the 1990’s European textile houses of Ratti, Braghenti, Castellini and D’Este.
Instead of ending up in a landfill, these couture fabric samples with their complex colors, patterns and textures inspire my textile art.
This is piece is from my first art quilt series: Color Stories. If you’d like to see the other art quilts in this series, check out my page Art Quilt Stories.
Next post I will share where I am moving or some of my plans for my next adventure in life. If you would like to take a guess, it is one of the states in the image of AAA travel books below (if you know already don’t ruin the surprise for any other readers, thanks!)
Featured image credit: d’Art Center (d-artcenter.org)
I made my first four (4) recycled silk art quilts in 2012 and in 2013 I had them professional photographed. For the past 5 years I had the high quality files of these photos and have only used them for images on my blog.
I finished the piece made from recycled textiles (clothing, home decor, manufacturing samples, hand-dyed silk samples, etc.) for our local art group’s annual show with the theme “The Threads that Bind” – The Recycled Love. The 03/29/18 post provides details of the 8 types of recycled fibers that are contained in the piece and my musing on writing the Artist Statement for this piece.
Here is my finalized Artist Statement for the piece:
The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. A quilt is made from changing the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart into a pieced textile; ultimately recycling that love energy into the quilt’s recipient heart
I think this piece is a better option than those materials ending up in a landfill.
This post is actually part of my ongoing series of posts, What’son the Design Wall, in which I share my latest project in progress.
Since I’ve been primarily focused on hand quilting this piece, I will call this “What’s on My Lap” instead.
In addition to sharing my latest art quilting project, I want to continue the discussion on writing Artist Statements that I began in the 8/25/16 post, ArtistStatementsand continued in the 04/17/17 post Artist Statements, Part II.
What’s On My Lap
Our local art quilting group, Central Oregon SAQA, has an annual themed art quilting exhibit (with a measurement requirement of 18″ x 40″) at the Sisters Outdoor QuiltShow, as well at several venues in Central Oregon.
This year’s theme is “The Threads That Bind“.
In response to that theme, and keeping with my series of art quilts made from recycled jeans (and other materials) I have a piece in progress called Recycled Love.
Keep in mind this piece is in progress and I have not yet evenly trimmed the sides (why it looks “wonky”), finished the hand quilting, or added the facing (or binding), etc. (I trimmed off the excess batting as I had finished hand quilting all edges/borders and wanted it to look semi-neat for the photo.)
I am still trying to decide if I will do a “facing” finish like I did for my piece The Recycled Road (the Central Oregon SAQA annual theme was “Pathways”) or bind it like I did for my piece Recycled Door (the Central Oregon SAQA annual theme was “Doors”). You can view these two pieces I reference at this link – tierneycreates.com/2017/04/11/the-recycled-road/)
But first I need to complete hand stitching the rest of the heart and the “folded quilts” in the piece.
Here are additional photos from the photo shoot I did in my backyard this afternoon:
In addition to recycled denim jeans, this piece is made from a whole lot of recycled textiles including:
Recycled upholstery fabric samples
Recycled couture silks
Various bits of recycled clothing
Recycled sample book of hand dyed silk strips
Recycled blocks (made with recycled clothing) from my piece Recycled Windows)
Recycled section from another art quilt (Color Story VII: Ohio Shifted) that I had trimmed while making the original piece
Like I mentioned above – a whole lot of recycled textiles went into this piece!
As an example, in the photos below are the bag of hand-dyed silk samples a friend gave me; and me piecing them together on muslin to create the first “folded quilt” at the top of the stack:
The “heart” in the piece (representing “love” in the statement: “Quilts are Love”) is made from the scraps of the “folded quilts” I pieced for this quilt! I am still working on the hand quilting in the heart.
The back of the piece is also made from recycled textiles: I used an old shirt and upholstery fabric samples (I will share the back in a future post as I forgot to take a photo – oops).
I even used recycled batting in the “quilt sandwich”! Below is a photo of me zigzagging together two smaller pieces of recycled batting (that my long-arm quilter friend gave me) to create a large piece for the quilt:
Did I carry the whole “recycling” concept too far?!?!? (smile)
Next time I share photos of the piece they will be of the completed piece!
In a recent issue of the SAQA Journal(2017, No. 4) I came across an excellent article by Allison Reker titled “Craft an amazing artist statement in less than 60 words”.
The article’s author emphasizes brevity in Artist Statements and her tips to achieve such brevity make a lot of sense to me. So my new thing is challenging myself on how meaningful a statement I can make in under 60 words.
Also I think brevity leaves more room for the viewers interpretation. I want to assist the viewer to get a feel of where I am going to (or coming from) on a piece but still give them room to draw their own conclusions/have their own private experience with the piece.
So with that in mind, here’s the draft Artist Statement I’ve written for this piece.
Recycled Love (2018)
18″ x 40″, recycled clothing, upholstery samples, hand-dyed silk samples, and other recycled textiles
The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. Quilts are made from recycling the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart and hands into the pieced textiles, transferring it to the quilt recipient.
I am at 58 words (just keeping it under 60) and I plan to revisit this draft Artist Statement when I actually finish the piece. I want to play more with the concept of energy not being create or destroyed, just transferred/changed. Also I am trying to decide if I want to fit in the words in the theme “The Threads That Bind” into the Artist Statement somewhere.
Ohio Shifted (2016) has returned from its road trip to the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF).
Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of Creative Quilt Challenges(C&T Publishing, 2016) invited me to participate in their Shape Shifting Challenge, an exhibit-within-an-exhibit at PIQF – October 13-16, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.
Here is the piece which has now returned home and will become part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection:
When Wendy Hill returned my piece to me, she also gave me a copy of the PIQF 2016 brochure and the placard that had my Artist Statement and an image of what the piece looked like before I “shape shifted” it!
Here is a photo of what the piece looked like before it’s makeover:
It was not bad in its original form, it just seemed very boring.
If you would like to read about the road trip adventures of Wendy Hill and Pat Pease on their road trip from Central Oregon to Santa Clara California and their PIQF experience, check out Wendy Hill’s blog at: Wendy Hill’s Blog (wendyhill.net).
Here is the description of their Special Exhibit in the 2017 PIQF Supplement: Creative Quilt Challenges – Wendy Hill & Pat Pease
Pat and Wendy have been working together for 8 years exploring color and design through a series of self-designed challenges. These quilts show their differences and similarities in personal style and fabric choices. View in-process photographic displays of their work, and also a group challenge from quilters from the USA and Canada. Their 2013 exhibit at PIQF led to their new 2016 book Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing). You’;; want to Take the Challenge Too!
I was invited by Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of Creative Quilt Challenges(C&T Publishing, 2016) to participate in their invitational exhibit: Shape Shifting.
Creative Quilt Challenges is a Special Exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) , October 13-16, in Santa Clara, California. Shape Shifting will be an exhibit within their Creative Challenges exhibit. Please be sure to stop by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill’s exhibit at PIQF if you are attending and tell my friends “hello”!
For my piece in this invitational exhibit, I had decided to actually do some “shape shifting” and transform an existing art quilt piece that I was not too sure about, into something that actually made me smile.
I began with this existing piece, Ohio, which I last discussed in the post Update: Ohio
Something about the piece was displeasing to me and the piece felt kind of “blah”. So I removed the borders using with some very careful seam ripping (the piece is made of recycled silks; and then sliced apart a couple sections of the piece.
Then I played around with a border of BRIGHT fuchsia-pink raw silk that a friend picked up from a thrift shop and shared with me:
The selvage of the bright fuchsia raw silk had the name “FOUWAH, HONG KONG”. Some “googling” revealed this piece was likely a vintage fabric from Fou Wah Fabrics of Hong Kong:
Here is the final design of the piece, which I am tentatively naming: Ohio Shifted (I will have to create quite the Artist Statement on this piece to explain to the viewer where I got the name from…I might rethink the name…we’ll see…)
I selected this fabric for the back of the piece:
The piece is now ready for quilting. I am going to “put my big girl panties on” and quilt this art quilt myself. I need to be able to give it to Wendy and Pat by September 15th and I need to keep challenging myself to go to places (my own art quilting) that I do not want to go, so I can grow.
Initially I was going to go buy some bright fuchsia thread to quilt it with but I have selected a soft gold thread (the one on the left) that mirrors the colors in some of the blocks. I might also another another thread color, still deciding.
(Note – I did do a 1/8 an inch stitch around the edge of the piece using a 2.0 stitch length to stop the raw silk from fraying any further than the edges).
I am going to practice what I want to do as far as quilting on the quilt on a scrap silk “quilt sandwich” before I quilt on my actual piece. A couple of months ago I did quilt an entire art quilt myself for a piece for another invitational exhibit that I will post about in the future.
In March, I did participate in a Blog Tour to celebrate the release of the art quilting book, Creative Quilt Challenges by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill.
If you would like to read my post for my part of the blog tour, where I discuss working with “unlikely materials” (recycled silks, denim, wool) in making quilts please see the link below:
Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips for her latest musings (and a new homemade dog biscuit recipe!)
This is an update to my 04/07/16 post, What’s on the…Table. I am making progress with my piece “Ohio” and still using the table to design it rather than the design wall (the mini recycled silk log cabin blocks were not sticking well on the design wall).
I have sewn all the 2.5″ x 2.5″ recycled silk blocks together. I decided to “float” them in a piece of taupe/tweed looking recycled silk (it has a beautiful texture, it is a tweed like woven silk).
I am still deciding what I want to do with the little 2″ x 2″ blocks I made; and how I want to float the blocks in the lovely tweed-like recycled silk.
I cannot wait to complete the piece and give it to Betty Anne to work her quilting magic/artistry!
I have some scraps left over, and we’ll see if Betty Anne is up to the challenge to try and make a third small piece from the tiny scraps! (My piece in progress, Ohio, is made from her scraps from Ohio Star, which was made from my original piecing disaster Ohio Star!)
Congratulations to Beth T. who won the free copy of Creative Quilt Challenges from the random drawing of names from those who left comments on my Creative Quilt Challenges Blog Tour post – BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials. Thank you to every who visited the tierneycreates blog for Day 4 of the tour and thank you to those who commented. I so enjoyed reading the comments and they got me inspired to keep experimenting with “unlikely materials”!
What’s on the…Table: “Ohio”
This post is a continuation of my ongoing series: What’s on the Design Wall.
However, this time I am going to share what is laid out on the table in my Studio, instead of up on my Design Wall. This post also demonstrates another example of using “Unlikely Materials” (recycled silk garment scraps) discussed in my Blog Tour post on 03/31/16.
Here is the piece in progress, I am going to name it “Ohio“:
What do a bunch of miniature log cabin style patches (2″x2″ and 2.5″ x 2.5″) have to do with the State of Ohio? Absolutely nothing, but they are part of a story. An ongoing story. Here is a visual summary of that story:
1) The piece started out as my attempt to create an Ohio Star (a traditional quilt block) from recycled silk
2) I was very unhappy with the accuracy of the points on the star (although I interfaced the back of the silks, I had some challenges with accurately piecing the points). So I attempted to save the piece by reimagining the piece, slicing up the Ohio Star and sewing it into a new configuration. I was still not pleased with it.
3) I gave the piece and the coordinated recycled silk pieces I have selected to a friend. She reimagined it into a completely new piece, while integrating all the elements from the original Ohio Star into the piece.
4) My friend gave me the leftover scraps from this piece which included scraps from my original piecing and new scraps from additional recycled silks she used in the piece. She challenged me to make something from those scraps!
5) So, I started working on this piece over a month ago, and I am calling it “Ohio”
Right now I am just continuing to make tiny blocks (2″ x 2″ and 2.5″ x 2.5″) and enjoying the challenging of using up small pieces of recycled silk. I find it to be meditative to quietly work on small slow piecing.
Will post about this piece again when it is nearly complete.
At the end of this post I will pose a discussion question, please post a comment to automatically enter a drawing for a copy of Creative Quilt Challenges. The random winner will be selected and notified around 04/07/16.
CHALLENGE #3 – UNLIKELY MATERIALS
In Creative Challenges, Pat Pease and Wendy Hill invite readers to flex their quilt-making creative muscles by experimenting with different “Challenges”. In Challenge #3 – Unlikely Materials, Pat and Wendy invite readers to stretch their creative muscles by working with materials other than traditional quilting cottons!
Transitioning from Cotton Material to “Unlikely Materials”
Four years ago, I would have looked at you as if you were insane if you suggested I use anything other than high quality quilting cottons, purchased from a quilt shop, for my quilt-making. Then in 2012 my friend and mentor, Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs invited me to work on a collaborative project involving making art quilts out of recycled silks and linen samples from garment manufacturing. These samples had been saved from the trash heap by someone working for an Italian silk manufacturer in the 1990s and stored away since then.
At first I was terrified of working with anything but cotton for quilting. Cotton is so crisp and stable. Silk is slippery, delicate, and…well…terrifying!
One of the first skills I learned when working with silk was how to back delicate silks with interfacing. The best interfacing I have used for backing silk is “French-Fuse“. I learned about French-Fuse from Betty Anne, who learned about it from another art quilter, Grace. This interfacing provides much needed stability to delicate silks and makes them easier to rotary cut and to piece.
Here is one of the early pieces I made with recycled silks – Silk Landscape:
The Wardrobe Meets the Wall
Betty Anne and I both became hooked on using the recycled silks and linens to create art quilts. We formed a collaboration which eventually became The Wardrobe Meets the Wall: A collection of art quilts created from recycled garments, manufacturing remnants, and samples.
We have a blog, The Wardrobe Meets the Wall (we are working on evolving this into a a website, “Art Quilts by Guadalupe & Hogan”). See our page The Collection if you would like to see a samples of art quilts all made with “Unlikely Materials”.
Our collection includes quilts made from mens ties, recycled silk and linen samples, scrap wool from clothing or blanket manufacturing, recycled denim, and general recycled clothing.
Once You Start Experimenting with Unlikely Materials, You Might Get Hooked!
Betty Anne already had many years experience working with “Unlikely Materials” and before I knew it, she had me experimenting with using recycled wools and denims to create art quilts.
Here is my first experiment with working with recycled wools (from wool mens suiting manufacturing scraps and wool blanket manufacturing scraps) and denims (recycled jeans) – He Dresses Up, He Dresses Down:
Basically – if you can sew with it, we will now try and make an art quilt with it. There are so many unlikely materials we have yet to try out. We enjoy recycling.
I was intrigued that in the Creative Quilt Challenge book, Pat Pease makes an adventurous art quilt with “hair canvas interfacing“. I bow my head to that level of creativity with “unlikely materials”!
(Disclaimer: We still love and support our local quilt shops and still make many quilts with traditional cottons. There are so many beautiful fabric collections to choose from and our new fabric stashes mysteriously continue to grow despite our obsession with recycled materials.)
Tips for Working with Unlikely Materials
I will not deny it – working with “unlikely materials” for the first time is scary. Here are some tips I have learned over the past 4 years. I am still learning and growing in my knowledge and comfort with using “unlikely materials”.
Do not be afraid to experiment and play: You do not have to create a great work of quilting art your first time working with a new “unlikely material”. I played with silk for a while before piecing it into an art quilt.
Check your sewing machine manufacturer’s website for tips on working with various materials and fibers.
Search for YouTube videos on working with a particular fabric and sewing tips on handling that type of fabric in your machine.
Network with other crafters that have experience working with a particular textile you are interested in trying. For example if you know a seamstress who has worked a lot with silk, you could ask her/him for tips.
Determine if a fabric/material needs to be interfaced in order to stabilize it for sewing. As I mentioned earlier, French-Fuse (which can be purchased at sites such as Annie’s Craft Store) is wonderful for backing delicate silks. It makes them so much easier to cut and piece. There are also YouTube videos on using French-Fuse.
If you are using heavy weight materials such as denim and some wools, consider pressing open your seams, and using 1/2 inch seams (like in making garments) as opposed to 1/4 inch seams. A trick that my mentor Betty Anne taught me is to run a tiny (1/8″ inch or less) seam along the front of the seams (front of your piece) to hold down the pressed down seams. This will be helpful if you have your piece professionally long-arm quilted so that the thick seams do not flip and catch the needle when being quilted.
If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up! I have had several “unlikely materials” piecing/sewing disasters (bad words were said, not suitable for repeating). Some disasters were so bad I had to put them in the trash, I could not even recycle them into another project. Speaking of recycling a disaster into another project, see the post A Very Successful Rescue! about a piece made with recycled silk that was destined for the trash but was recycled by another quilter into a wonderful piece!
Warning – your other quilter friends who only enjoy using cottons, may at first give you a lukewarm response on your pieces made with “unlikely materials”. Do not be discouraged – art is a private and personal thing and you cannot control others reactions. (I love the saying: “It’s not my business what others think of me”…or my art!). I am sure I have quilter friends who thought at first I had lost my mind working with recycled silks and linens. As you grow in your experience with working with “unlikely materials”, your confidence will grow as will your adventurous spirit.
Working on My Latest Piece with Unlikely Materials
The timing of this blog tour post is great, as I am currently working on a new piece for a group exhibit I am participating in, called “Doors” for the local SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group I belong.
Designing the piece: Selecting the “Unlikely Materials”
I decided to use a photo of a door for inspiration, and located a wonderful collection of unique door photos on an Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber .
I wanted to created a semi-realistic version of one of their doors, using recycled textiles (“unlikely materials”) and name the piece Recycled Door.
Here are the materials I selected:
Recycled Corduroy Shirt
Recycled Corduroy Pants
Recycled Tweed Wool Jumper
Bag of Recycled Jeans
Shiny Gold Home Decor Fabric
(List clockwise from top)
Recycled Corduroy Shirt
Recycled Corduroy Pants
Recycled Tweed Jumper
Unusual shiny gold home decor fabric (this fabric was given to me by the very talented art quilter, Dianne Browning, who primarily uses the unlikely materials of home decor fabrics and decorator samples in her art – you can check out her incredible art at her website Art Quilts by Dianne Browning)
Recycled Denim (from my bag of recycled jean sections)
The Piece in Progress
Below is a photo of Recycled Door in progress. If you like, for fun, you can go to the Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber and see if you can figure out which door inspired this piece.
Are You Ready to Experiment or Have You Already Experimented?
Now it is time for you to weigh in on your experience with using “Unlikely Materials” or whether you are interested in experimenting with “Unlikely Materials” in the future in your quilting projects.
This post is a follow up to my February 2016 post Surrendering My Piece to “Rescue” in which I shared my frustration with an “Ohio Star” type block I was piecing with recycled silks. I abandoned the piece due to “major creative blockage” and my friend adopted it.
Betty Anne Guadalupe, who adopted my abandoned piece, took it apart and completely reimagined it!
I gasped (and nearly fainted) when I saw the wonderful reinvention she did with my humble beginnings!
Here is what I gave her:
Here is what she created:
The piece measures 18” x 23” and is made with recycled silks and wools. If you look closely you can see sections of my original piecing. Betty Anne integrated all of my original piece in her piece! This piece will be in our show at Twigs Gallery this Friday (see my post The Collaboration for more details on this show).
My collaborative art quilt partner, Betty Anne Guadalupe and I will have a show, “The Collaboration”, opening at Twigs Gallery during the 4th Friday Art Walk, in Sisters, Oregon on Friday, March 25, 2016. The show will run through April 2016 and will feature art quilts we created from “rescued” quilt blocks (projects discarded by other quilters and reinvented/reimagined by us), and recycled materials.
Several of the pieces I have discussed on the tierneycreates blog, including We Will Not Be Discarded! and Tree Outside My Window, will debut at this show.
Below are images from the March 2016 issues of Cascade A&E Magazine (Central Oregon’s Arts & Entertainment Magazine):
Also debuting in this show will be the piece that Betty Anne created from my abandoned recycled silk Ohio Star project she rescued (see post Surrendering My Piece to “Rescue”).The piece is amazing – she used all my original piecing and reworked it, with additional recycled silks and linens, into a completely new and deliciously intuitive design. I will post a photo after it debuts at the show. We were so inspired by this “handing off of the start of a piece” to another person to reimagine the piece, that Betty Anne gave me her start of another piece based on the same group of recycled silk and linens scraps. This will be a new challenge – I will create a piece based on her leftovers from her work on my piece that I abandoned …but that is another post…
Well, I have started on the piece inspired by the scraps my friend Betty Anne gave me (from her reworking of a piece I had started and then abandoned). She also gave me a small “square within a square log cabin style block” she had made from the scraps. I used this block as the starting point for my challenge.
It is now in progress on the Design Wall.
Here is the story of it’s evolution to date, in photos:
The stash of recycled silk and linen scraps that Betty Anne gave me from her silk piece (which was a reworking of a piece I started, then abandoned)
I made approximately 56 – 58, 2 x 2 inch and 2.5 x 2.5 inch free form “log cabin” style blocks. (I do not remember exactly which one of the blocks is the one Betty Anne originally gave me to start the challenge; but I know it is one of the black silk blocks with a bright center.)
I played around with potential layouts (like floating them in a solid silk like you see above photo) and I am leaning towards grouping them all together. I love the intensity of all the colors together.
Here is a close up of one of my favorite 2.5 x 2.5 inch blocks – I am having so much fun coming up with combinations from the limited fabric options I was given. I enjoyed the tiny piecing challenge and many of the silks had to be backed with interfacing to stabilize their delicate weaves.
Now the blocks are on the Design Wall.
Now I can decide, from the remaining fabrics, what additional blocks I need to add and their color combinations.
Starting out with a strong idea and good intentions…
In this previous post, I shared my excitement over my sudden inspiration to create a traditional pattern quilt from nontraditional fabrics (recycled garment silks and linens). I knew it would be an experiment and in this first experiment, I created a traditional Ohio Star block from my collection of recycled silk and linen samples from garment manufacturing.
If you are not a quilter, an Ohio Star block is a “nine patch” block made from quarter square triangles around a central square. This block is a very traditional quilt block and was used in early pioneer and Amish quilts in the 19th century. The pattern I used was for a “Star-within-a-star” Ohio Star.
The plan was to make a small wallhanging. I pieced the Ohio Star block, and as I auditioned fabrics to use in the border, I grew more and more unhappy with the Ohio Star block.
At first I could not figure out what specifically was bothering me, as I was pleased with the color combinations/palette.
I realized what was bothering me – the piecing itself. My prior work with recycled silks involved intuitive free-form designs for art quilts. This was my first attempt at making a traditionally pieced structured quilt block from recycled garment silks and linens.
When I used to make traditional quilt pattern quilt blocks I would use crisp quilting cottons – this fabric was easier to manipulate to achieve accurate piecing and star points.
Working with silk and linen samples intended for garment making can be challenging, especially when attempting to accurately piece shapes such as star points. In order to work with the delicate silks, you need to put a backing/stabilizer material on the back of each silk section. Silk backed with a fusible stabilized can be cumbersome to cut into small accurate sections. Silk also frays.
So…to shorten what could grow into a very long and tedious story of my explanation why the Ohio Star was not working for me (and to avoid putting my non quilter readers to sleep), let’s just say: I was quite unhappy with the imprecise piecing of the block.
For a moment, I started to – just throw it away (gasp) ! Then I thought: let me try reimagining it – into some sort of “fractured” Ohio Star, where the accuracy of the piecing would not be as much an issue.
I sliced up the Ohio Star and sewed it back together into a new configuration. I revisited my stash of recycled silks and linens to audition other combinations to try to build some sort of abstract wall hanging art quilt piece around the “fractured star”.
Frustrated and drained of inspiration, I put the piece and its potential coordinating fabric away. I did not know where to go next with them.
Time to let someone else “rescue” the piece
I have several previous posts about working with “rescued” and “recycled” quilt blocks. Another quilter started a piece/making quilt blocks and abandoned the project; I then “adopted” the project and created a new piece based on the original blocks and my imagination.
While sharing my dilemma with an art quilting friend (that I was going no where with my Ohio Star silk and linen experiment), my friend offered to “adopt” the piece and create an art quilt with it.
I was delighted! Not only was I delighted but I felt a great sense of relief! I realize a textile project is not a living being but I felt as if I had recklessly abandoned a piece in progress, filled with creative energy, to the lonely “Projects on Hold” box in the back of my closet.
My experiment is going to be adopted and go to a good and loving home, where it can grow into something wonderful!
(Yes I will share a photo when my friend completes the piece from wherever her imagination takes her!)
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi
This post is really the “Part II” of the previous post: “Creative Inspiration: Where I Started…” in which I discuss my inspiration to create series of small recycled clothing quilts based on the first quilt book I owned: Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! (McClun & Nownes, 1998).
The “Big Magic” of Creativity
I am currently listening to a wonderful audiobook by Elizabeth Gilbert, read by the author – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015). In the inspirational book Gilbert proposes that Ideas are entities unto themselves that move among us searching for a home/host to bring them fully into existence.
If an idea visits you and you do not grab onto it, it will move to someone else. She also discusses the concept “multiple discovery” (simultaneous inventions by different individuals not aware of what the other is working on). She proposes that when an Idea is ready to “be born”, it will visit numerous people to find someone who is going to bring it into existence. This is all part of the “Big Magic” and mystery of creativity and the creative process.
The Ohio Star Idea (magical “multiple discoveries”?)
The traditional quilt pattern “Ohio Star” popped into my head. I mentioned to my creative partner on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall my idea of making some recycled clothing/garment manufacturing samples quilts based on the Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! book. I did not mention that the traditional pattern, “Ohio Star” had popped into my head.
At first she hesitated on the concept and then remarked: “An Ohio Star done with the recycled silks would be interesting”.
The Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! book does not contain the Ohio Star pattern. It was like we both just came up with the same idea at the same time! I was completely overwhelmed that she randomly mentioned “Ohio Star” when I was thinking it at the same time. There are so many traditional quilt block patterns – why did “Ohio Star” pop into both of our minds.
The Ohio Star Silk Experiment
Of course, I had to try and make a small recycled clothing quilt with the Ohio Star quilt block pattern! I found an image of an “Ohio Star” on the web and reverse engineered it.
My challenge: The quilts I have made so far from recycled clothing materials, such as silk garment manufacturing samples, have been using free form, intuitive piecing techniques. In order to create a traditional Ohio Star block, I had to use more accurate piecing techniques.
Using a special interfacing, I backed on the thinner silk pieces to stabilize them for cutting into specific small shapes (such as triangles). Silk is not as forgiving as cotton when piecing a block and it was a new experience to try and make a traditional block with silks!
On the design wall photo below, you will see I have completed the basic Ohio Star block. I am working on an inner border and outer border for this piece. I will post the completed small quilt top in the future.
I consider this experiment a warm up for the project to make a series of small quilts from recycled clothing inspired by traditional quilt patterns from Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!
This post was originally published on the Improvisational Textiles website on August 27, 2014 and is now moved over to tierneycreates.com
One of my recycled silk art quilts from my Color Stories Collection – Color Story III: Random not so Random, was selected to be shown at NEW DIRECTIONS ’14, Barrett Art Center’s 29th Annual National Juried Contemporary Art Exhibition. The distinguished juror for New Directions ’14 was Lynne Warren, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL.
Color Story III: Random not so Random was selected as one of 82 works by 74 artists from a total of 653 eligible entries from 202 artists nationwide.
New Directions is a premier national exhibition of contemporary art in all visual art media, showcasing the current work of established and emerging artists from across the United States working in a varied array of medium and genres.
The New Directions ’14 exhibit will be on display from Saturday, September 27, 2014 through Saturday, November 8, 2014in the historic Barrett Art Gallery 1850’s townhouse, located at 55 Noxon Street, Poughkeepsie, New York.