Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Something new 2

I wrote last week about a new piece that I just finished for my part in the International Threads challenge.  This group of eight artists in four countries has been at work for two years and we have responded to seven different challenges or prompts.  I was so enthralled by that piece, which was quite different, at least in form, from anything I had made before, that I chose to work in that same form for my last challenge.

My new approach was to work on canvas (actually I used a heavy duck fabric instead of the official painter's canvas) and to lay down "washes" of color by dense straight stitching.  The prompt for our seventh piece was "blue" and I chose to make a piece called "Blue Mountains."

About half of the piece is the mountains, made from raw-edge fabrics, and the other half is sky, made from thread on the plain canvas background.  The little barn at the bottom edge is made from a sew-off square.

I am really happy with this piece (I won't call it a quilt because the typical quilt definition of "layers held together by stitching" only applies to the bottom half).  First off, it was fun to make!  Call up some trash TV on the DVR, turn the volume up high, and sew-sew-sew-sew all afternoon.  Change colors when the bobbin runs out.  If there ever was low-maintenance art construction, this is it!

More important, probably, is that I liked the result.  The "wash" effect of different colors of thread, layered and overlapping, has a lot of promise.  Don't know if you can see the little bit of gold in the sky just above the mountains; I put that on first and it was subsequently covered by many layers of blues, but if gives a subtle glow to the piece.  I also like the way the canvas bulges and ripples in areas that aren't so heavily stitched, especially on the selvage at the top.

I think the next time I make one of these babies -- which I will do -- it will be considerably larger than the first two, which are 16 x 32".


  1. Learning to love bulges and ripples, ravels and bumps is sweet freedom. Walking away from tradition with purpose. Honoring the stitch and using it to communicate. Love this idea. Especially the underlying glow. Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. I can see why you are enthralled with it, it's wonderful, it has life and the glow definitely comes thru.

  3. Page Moran
    I see the Blue Ridge Mountians in Virginia every day and they always amaze. They really are blue. Your Blue Mountians are a joy to see. Thank you

    1. thanks, Page! my parents and sister lived in Roanoke for several years and I loved visiting and seeing the mountains. I made a very big traditional quilt years ago called "Blue Ridge Mountains" about that part of the world. But this quilt is probably about the Blue Mountains in Australia, where my brother has a house. They're really blue too!

  4. i wanted to ask if you could take a close up pic of the top of blue mountains? wonderful work and its all yours! exciting and original -i really enjoy your blog, your opinions(whether i agree or not) and that you do your own work.

  5. Dear Kathy,
    Beautiful, loose, and free--I love it! Can't wait to see what's next.
    Linda Laird

  6. This looks great, I love it too!

  7. Hi Kathy,
    shadows, texture, lots of fabrics. What's not to like here?? LeeAnna at not afraid of color