In Stitches Seriously Humorous ARTQUILTS, Year XXI, Vision Gallery, Chandler, Arizona
November 18, 2016 through January 7, 2017
Sheila ~ 21 by 21 inches
Batik, cotton fabric, commercial prints, poly and cotton threads, embroidery thread, wool batting, fusible.
Raw edge applique, free motion stitching, photoshop, and hand stitch.
The landscape is fused, raw edge appliquéd, and then free motion quilted. Sheila’s image was thread painted, smile and all. Sheila was twice printed onto white cotton. The first layer was random pastel colors of yellow, pink and green. The next layer printed an outline sketch of the lizard. The lizard was free motion stitched and then appliquéd to the quilt. The border is stab stitched to add movement and texture around the paisley prints.
My ideas are born from challenges, sometimes found in a conceptual design problems and sometimes found in technique development. Working in textiles and mixed mediums are my passions. The combination presents some of my greatest challenges. One problem leads to an other, each causing an artistic resolution affecting individual choices and outcomes. The resulting inventiveness can be distinguished in the personal mark. I make art that speaks to me and hopefully speaks to others.
Living in a desert has taught me to view the environment with a discriminating eye. One must look closely to see the uniqueness of it’s native flora and fauna. The unforgiving climate gives way to wonderment and eons of adaptations. I find inspiration in the light as it touches the landscape and the flowers that come to bloom after a thunder storm. The desert reminds me to slow down and to examine all things more closely.
The creation of the piece, “Sheila”, started from a simple demonstration. For our local art quilt circle, I taught the nuances of using raw appliqué techniques to create an original landscape design. I love to teach almost as much as I love working with color. The rich color choices available in batiks, provided me with a plentiful palette. The vividness of the desert colors was easy to recreate.
Once the raw edge appliqué demonstration was concluded, it became clear that something was amiss. All was well with the color and the form of the design. Still while pleasing to the eye, the piece lacked interest. I went home and pondered the problem. My challenge was to take a lovely desert landscape and push it past boring into enticing.
Thus, Sheila, the Australian lizard, came into being. I decided to create a large menacing lizard as the focal point for the peaceful desert scene. As I worked, adding definition and color to the the printed outline of the lizard with thread, Sheila began to take on a personality of her own. I free motion stitch somewhat unconsciously and by the sound of the machine. In this case, the stitching resulted in the lizard’s grim mouth transforming into a Mona Lisa smile right before my eyes. I love the whimsy of the lizard. I love that Sheila looks right back at you, beyond the canvas, smiling knowingly. She reflects my fun imaginative side.