Friday, February 19, 2010

Leftovers

Last year I was part of an interesting experiment called “Compositional Conversations“ organized by Terry Jarrard-Dimond. She invited 13 other quilters to participate. Terry started by putting a shape onto a fabric ground, then sent it to the next person. Each of us in turn could add new elements or subtract or rearrange existing elements (everything was just pinned, so you could revise to your heart’s content).

I don’t think the finished product will win any design competitions, even though design was what we were supposed to focus on. But it was fun to follow along what happened each week as a new eye surveyed the situation. You can see the work in its different stages on Terry’s blog.

My part in the exercise, which came quite far along, was to remove a great deal of the composition. I tend to get nervous when too much is going on, especially when there is a wide variety of different colors, styles, fabrics, shapes and sensibilities. So I stripped the work down to a far more minimalist design.

That lasted only as long as it took for the package to get to the next person in line. I guess the others in the group don’t like mimimalism as much as I do!

But I’m not posting to talk about the “composition” or even about the “conversation” – I want to talk about the leftovers!!

As people did their thing with the work, we left no prisoners – we packed up all the fabric and sent it along to the next person. Some of us included a little extra fabric in the package, just in case somebody might want to add more shapes in the same color. As you can see by looking at all of the versions, there was a lot of fabric that showed up at one point or another.

After Terry put the composition together, I asked her if I could have the leftovers. I have been putting them together for the last couple of weeks and now have two tops ready for viewing.

The red top is actually the smaller of the two -- 27 x 32.  The yellow top is 25 x 43.  There's more of the red, yellow and dark blue fabrics, so I could conceivably make the red top larger at either top or bottom, and could make the yellow one larger by adding to the top. 


I had originally thought of making the two pieces as a diptych pair, and had carried over some of the reddish fabrics from the yellow top into the red top to link the two, but now I don't think they play well together.

I invite your comments. I'll give you more of my own critique later, and I want to write more about the whole concept of sewing leftovers together.  Thanks, Terry and my other collaborators, for the leftovers!

19 comments:

  1. I think they are wonderful, especially the red and blue one. Kathy you probably do not remember me- I was in a Nancy Crow workshop with you years ago. And every single time I come to a selvage- which is very very often, I think of you. Even today it is hard for me to discard them.

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  2. Judy, I absolutely do remember you! You're the one with a whole wall full of Ks in your office. Being a K myself I have always liked that approach to decorating.

    You also remind me that I should write about selvages some day soon.

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  3. WOW! I feel like my contribution to Terry's Conversation (some of the blue fabric) has been re-born.
    These are wonderful!!!
    Thanks so much for recycling my fabric in such a beautiful way.

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  4. Dear Kathy
    I Love what you did with the leftovers!!!
    The colors just zing out at you, as well as blend and flow!!!!
    Beth C

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  5. Kathy,
    Congratulations on your new blog - I really enjoyed reading your posts. The "leftover" tops are wonderful - particularly the yellow/green to red to blue one. I can definitely see fabrics we all contributed.

    Congratulations, too, on the Nancy Crow exhibit. I can't wait to see the full images of the work. The exhibit sounds spectacular!

    Rebecca

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  6. Kathy, wow, how fantastic are these!?! If you don't mind, I'll be pointing to this in my next blog post. :D I can't get over the transformation of all our bits and pieces!

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  7. I hope you don't mind, but I posted about this article on the quiltart list... hope you get tons of traffic from it to your new lovely blog. :D

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  8. I love what you've done with these scraps. Question.....is it all pieced or did you fuse the squares onto a background? Whatever you did, it looks great!

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  9. Who would have thought it? Kathy would. Love the transition.

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  10. Norma, everything is pieced in. The "lines" are about 3/16 inch wide. I have used this style of piecing many times -- "Crazed 1" is shown on the right-hand column of the blog and if I finish these pieces they would be "Crazed" 9 and 10.

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  11. Yes, definitely two separate pieces. My Ebb & Flows are constructed with leftovers ... I love them.

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  12. Your two left over scraps quilts are beautiful examples of art and recycling.I also have a "thing" for scraps, but in my case, I am fascinated with the suggestive fabric outlines that are left after cutting out complex shapes. In these scrap shapes I see conversations and stories taking place with imaginary creatures or humans. So I pin the shapes onto white backgrounds and let the stories emerge with a little embroidery to help them along. I have been experimenting with letting my "dark side" do the talking. It seems I harbor many monsters that want to get out. This is a good way to release them and the results are so interesting, not anything my nice, lady like rational mind could produce.

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  13. THese are wonderful.. reminds me of Anne Lullie's creative art quilts.. great job!!

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  14. Love what you did with the leftovers -- my most favorite things to play with! You are right - they don't play well together - but each stands beautifully on its own. Good going!

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  15. Thanks, everybody, for your kind words! I'm a little embarrassed. I wasn't fishing for compliments when I invited your comments -- in fact, I have a lot of reservations about the yellow top and am a little surprised that others haven't shared my unease. I'll post my critique tomorrow.

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  16. Sandra Palmer CiolinoFebruary 21, 2010 at 2:24 AM

    Awesome! In fact, if I had to choose a favorite, it just might be the yellow. The black/white stripe is a great addition. I am totally fascinated by your line work and just realized my nose is about 3" from the computer screen studying the details even though it's 2:20AM and I can't sleep and can barely focus my eyes. Love your blog!

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  17. simultaneously simple and complex, refined and rustic, sophisticated and funky. Inspires me, though I could never ever rise to such a single-focus, highly self-disciplined process. kudoes!

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  18. Love this, and don't know how I missed it before. Hey, I recofgnize that striped fabric : )

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