Thursday, April 19, 2018


It is finished:

Images and design copyright RPS

One of my many goals for this year is to finish more art work for competition, selling and project samples.  So, now that I have finished this box. I'm on to the next one!  I also want to finish a couple of 2-D collages that I started earlier this year, not to mention all the unfinished projects and series from the past few years... I'd better get busy!  Next week I will profile one of these older projects.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Entry Deadline Looming...

I have made good progress with embellishing the sides of the box I posted about last week:

Images and design copyright RPS

These pictures are from Sunday, I have added more embellishing.  To
morrow I must zigzag stitch the sides together.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Waiting until the Last Minute

A very short post, as I am attempting to make something to submit to a statewide all-media art exhibit.

I have to have all of these pieces embellished by Tuesday, so check back then to see how far I get.  This is in addition to vending at the Fredericktown Quilter's Market on Saturday!  I'd better get stitching....

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Give Up or Keep Going?

I had a set of four small (8 x 10") art quilts resurface in my mass of unfinished projects.  I started them over a year ago in an attempt to have some small impulse-buy type pieces to sell at art fairs.  They were cast aside as I wasn't happy with the way that I had assembled them. 
Image and designs copyright RPS

I had pillowcase bound these two after doing some, but not all of the intended embellishing.  I keep running into problems with embellishing before quilting through all three layers.  I don't always like putting a heavy quilting design on my work, as I want the fabric itself to be the focus.  I will quilt some pieces of fabric in these collages, and I'll add hand stitching in others, but I want some pieces of fabric left unadorned.  I'll sew along the seams to quilt, but here I've put thick trims in many places where I didn't want to quilt inside the fabric pieces.  It won't be a good idea to sew over the trims again in the quilting process.

Image and designs copyright RPS

The piece on the left in the above image has some hand stitching on it, and then I pillowcase bound it.  I should have added some trims along the seams before binding, so that the trims along the outer edged would have been neatly tucked in the binding seams.  The one on the right is just a pieced top with no quilting or embellishing yet.  I still have a chance to get it right on that one.

I am stuck on these small pieces, should I pitch the ones that I have embellished but could have assembled better?  How much time should I give to fixing them before giving up?  Finally, I 'm still uncertain as to how to combine all the different techniques that I want to use in a sequence that results in good craftsmanship.  I am going to think about this for another week, then I must decide to fix them or move on.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dye Garden Dreams

I'm in a garden planning mode this week, after my hollyhock dye adventures from the weekend.  I usually plan and plant more than I can reasonably handle, not just in gardening, but in other aspects of my life.  So many dreams, so little time!  The weeds start getting ahead of me halfway through the season, and end up hiding ripe vegetables from my sight.
With these grandiose gardens in my head, here's five things I want to plant and use for dyeing:
1. Dyer's Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) (pictured above)
2. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
3. Dahlia (Dahlia sp.)
4. Woad (Isatis tinctoria)
5. Japanese Indigo (Persicaria tinctoria/Polygonum tinctorium)

I have had Coreopsis and Woad in my garden, and I let them go to seed to have more plants in the next year for dyeing.  Sadly, I got wrapped up in other things and forgot to watch for the seeds.  I hope they sprout on their own this year, and that I don't pull the seedlings, thinking they are weeds.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hollyhocks in March

I should have been making double use of my wood-burning stove all this past winter, simmering small batches of natural dyes.  I finally cooked up a couple of pots this past weekend.  First was a trial of purple onion skins:

There is no use in separating the varieties of onions, they all turn out the same on fabric.  The purple onion turned out the same as a batch of yellow onions that I did a while ago.  I like the golden color  that they impart on the silk.

Next I tried two batches of dried hollyhock flowers.  I had high hopes for these, as the flowers I started from seed two years ago.  Hollyhocks are biennial, they don't bloom until their second year, and then the plants die.  To keep biennials going in a garden, they must be planted each year to keep the blooms coming each season.  Last summer, my hollyhocks were just stunning, and I want to continue their splendor in fabric. 

The batch of red hollyhock was a bust.  The water turned a murky rose color, but it did not take to the fabric.  The "black" hollyhocks (see above picture) were a success - lovely tones of blue-green!
I neglected to plant hollyhock seed last summer, so I might not have any this season, but I will plant them soon to have blooms in 2019.  I want to try dyeing with fresh flowers from them.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Breaking the Rules

Today I resumed working on an art quilt that will definitely horrify traditional quilters.  Here is a detail of it:

This is a ragged old printed tablecloth that I covered with crayon rubbings of gravestone cravings, two shocking "violations" right there.  What self-respecting quilter would use a torn and stained tablecloth in a quilt, not to mention scribbling all over it with crayons?  I'm not stopping there with the upheaval of quilting rules, I am putting the tablecloth - a light value piece of fabric, over a black background!  So much for "work light to dark," this one is dark to light.

Now, my intent with this quilt is really not to shock the traditional quilters, or anyone.  I started this more as a challenge to myself to make something out of the worn-out tablecloth that I got stuck with from an auction box lot.  This is even more of a challenge for me as this quilt is the largest piece I have attempted.  It will finish at about 50 X 58, certainly not close to bed quilt size, but new territory for me.