Saturday, February 22, 2014

A New Feeling About Something Old

The creative urge is a funny thing.  Over the last few months, I've been feeling pretty uninspired creatively, especially as art quilts go.  It's not that I've NOT been doing creative things -- but I have a rather long list of things I want to do, and/or feel I should do, and I've just not had any urge to do any of them.  But, as always, these phases pass just as suddenly as they arrive.

So after trying my usual tricks to push myself forward, yesterday I sat down with a cup of coffee and clicked over to Design Matters TV, a wonderful online show by the always inspiring Linda and Laura Kemshall.  (A side note about DMTV:  It's a subscription service, but if you like art, or sketchbook keeping, or art quilting, or painting, you will find something there for you.  It's well worth the price, in my opinion.  You can check it out here.)

At any rate, I wasn't aiming for any particular subject -- I just wanted to watch Linda or Laura do something creative.  I clicked on the oldest video on the current menu, which involved Linda demonstrating how to use the striations in hand-dyed fabrics to create dimension in fussy-cut fusible applique shapes.  She was working with irises, which although pretty were of little interest for me.  I don't really have any interest at the moment in making a floral quilt.  (Actually, there's the problem.  I don't have any interest, period.)

But wait, maybe I do.  As I watched, I thought about a UFO I'd encountered while sorting through the UFO pile in my closet a few weeks ago.  It's probably the oldest thing in the pile, something I started back in 2001 when I was new to art quilting and just bumbling along.  I was working with a photo I'd taken years ago on Nantucket, where I was enthralled by the roses climbing over shingled houses and falling gracefully over picket fences all over town.

It was my first time experimenting with fusible applique.  I bought a bunch of Seam-a-Seam, having seen someone use it for something on good ol' Simply Quilts, and I set about constructing my fence and making leaves.

I was having a good old time sticking leaves on, and after I pressed it all, I was taken aback at how stiff the whole thing was.  I was undaunted and decided to sew some leaf details before I moved on to the roses.

But how to do the roses?  I had no idea. And when I say I had no idea, I mean I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how to accomplish what I was picturing.  And so time passed, and eventually I folded it all up and put it away.  And since then, I've pulled it out every once in a while (say, every 5 years or so) thinking I should just throw it away, but I realize that I like the leaves and they look good on that background, and actually it's better than I remembered, so I fold it up and put it back on the pile.

But today, it occurred to me that Linda's technique might be just the thing for those roses.  Before I could think myself out of it, I pulled some pinks out of my stash of hand-dyed fabric, and set about cutting some roses and highlighting them with Inktense Pencils.*

So here is a little sample rose.  Not bad, and rather fun.  Still needs some additional highlighting, but I'll worry about that later. 

And here is just a test of a few roses pinned on to see how it looks.  Promising!  i figure I'll keep going until the thing is either finished, or I discover that it's too thick to sew through and I really do have to throw it away.

But so far, so good.  I plan to spend the evening cutting out and coloring roses.

*I shall say here once more how VERY happy I am that I bought that wonderful box set of Inktense Pencils when I was at the Derwent Pencil Factory in England, and how very worth it it was to pay for an extra box of stuff to be shipped home to me.  I LOVE those pencils. And it's amazing how often they come in handy.


  1. What amazing roses! Hope that they help you climb out of your creative dry spot.

    You are right, though - super looking work so far on the fence and leaves!

  2. Your Roses are beautiful! I hope you finish this----