Grace and Poppy Quilt: Part 4

Well, here is where I am so far on the Grace and Poppy Quilt. I’ve got about the top two thirds pieced and the sun has been all reversed appliqued in the corner (though I am still in the process of trimming the pieces out).

GracePoppyWIP

Next I will finish up the bottom piece, in greens in browns, in the same free-flowing curvy style the top is done, and then I will reverse applique in the the actual flowers. I don’t know how I got onto this reverse-applique kick, but I’m gonna run with it for this quilt. It’s a little ’70’s, to be honest, but I’m OK with that in this setting.

After all that’s done, I’ll start piecing the back (yes, I am piecing the entire back… not entirely sure yet why, except, hey, why not?), and practice my free-motion quilting techniques (which means everyone I know is getting quilted potholders this holiday season) until I am ready to baste and quilt.

Onward and upwards!

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Inspiration: Mary Ann Tipple Textile Art

I’ve been looking around at a lot of modern quilters and textile artists lately as I’ve been working on my quilting skills in general and working on how to merge photography (specifically old family photographs, which I have boxes and boxes of) with textile art. Fusing my family history with the utilitarian collective history of both photography and craft arts is something that has always interested me and been a prevalent theme in my own art, and it’s always interesting to see what others are doing in this realm as well.

And that’s how I ended up stumbling on Mary Ann Tipple‘s work. She has been working with old family and found photos for almost a decade.

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While her intention lies more in visual art than the utilitarian aspect of quilting (she transfers he images using gel-medium transfer techniques and often adds hard embellishments on the final quilts), I love her sense of history and the questioning of place in her work. You can see more oft Mary Ann Tipples work at her website, Textile Art Tipple.

Grace and Poppy Quilt: part 3

Well, I’ve been out hunting around for fabric for the last month or so for the Grace and Poppy quilt, and am finally set.

GracePoppyFabric

Final fabric choices for quilt

That’s a lot of colours and Fabrics, more than I’ve ever worked with before in a quilt, so I’m feeling challenged and extremely excited. I also decided I would go through Spoonflower to get the main image printed onto fabric because I want the quilt to be functional as well as decorative, and I have never found a transfer paper (or alternative method) that can be done at home and withstand washing, sunlight, and general wear and tear.

While I await my custom fabric that will be used as the main focal point for the quilt, I decided to sketch out the front design:

GraceAndPoppySketch

Working sketch for quilt

I also decided, since I am going to have a LOT of fabric left from the front, that I’ll also do a full back, though it will likely just be wavy stripes of colour. The quilt itself will incorporate more techniques than I have used in a single piece before, including making my own pattern, piecing, applique (which is how I plan of putting the flowers on), and I plan on actually quilting the final piece myself using the free-motion quilting techniques I have been working on.

But the biggest challenge I am facing is myself. I tend to get all wrapped up and excited in projects and rush through them and then I’m not happy because I think they look rushed. So I am determined NOT to rush through this project, but give myself a good 6 months, and work on it slowly, while also just focusing on practice pieces.

practicing my loops and "c"s.

practicing my loops and “c”s.

Wish me luck, and I’ll post my progress as it comes together.

Grace and Poppy Quilt: Part 2

Now that I’ve finished the mood board for the Grace and Poppy quilt, I can move on to getting my concept tightened up and my colour palette in order. So far, I know I want the photograph to be the feature of the quilt, an iris running up the right side, and a poppy running up the left. I also want the background to be minimal in terms of design, and inspired by the colours of the wheat fields, sage brush, and various rivers and canyons that run through central and eastern Washington.

Choosing colours from the photos in my mood board, I put together the colour scheme for the flower elements and main background of the quilt.

QuiltColours

Choosing colour schemes for a quilt I am working on is very different than when I choose colours for any other medium. Whenever I work in graphic design, or even knit or pain a room, I limit my colour palette and generally stay within 3-5 colours, generally throwing in multiple variations of hues. But quilting is a whole other ball game, and the final scheme can hold up to thirty colours. I do however, try and stick to using 3-4 colour families, and ensure all colours jive with each other and just generally make sense.

Now that I hammered out the colour scheme, I can move on to gathering fabric. This process with likely take me a few good months, as I scour my stash and favorite quilt shops (on-line and in-person), looking for the perfect combination of patterns and colours. Don’t worry, I’ll share them all as soon as I’ve completed my selection.

Before I go though, As I’m always curious about others processes, if you quilt or make art or do anything crafty, how do you come up with colour palettes for your projects?

Inspiration

WATCH THIS: On Location: Natasha Kerr from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.

This!!! As an artist- mainly photographer- but also an artist that has a great respect for, and practices “crafts” art, and also as someone whose praxis orbits around family and nostalgia I am blown away by these pieces. And it gets the wheels in my mind churning. I honestly haven’t had much time for my own art in the last year, but I am starting to remember I need to make time for my art if I truly believe in its importance. I have a lot of materials that are waiting for me, passed down from generations before. Now I just need to draw a plan and lay the groundwork. And Kerr certainly inspires me to start that process.

More Glances Into the Past

If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that I’m in the middle of mucking about in a bunch of old family photos. The cool thing about my family photos is that I have thousands (yes, really, thousands) of prints and negatives going back 100 years. Both my great-grandmother, and my grandmother were both shutterbugs, and my grandmother kept all the negatives she could.

They both also took a lot of landscape photographs, and candid images of their families (as opposed to posed group shots), and that is primarily what I have been working with as of late.

One of the reasons I am starting to work with these images is because I am taking a photobook class. I signed up for the class mainly for the technical information (i.e. what makes a successful photobook? what is the history? what makes a successful series of images? when is a photobook the best format? etc.) that will aid with the new publishing venture in the upcoming year, and for some inspiration (as the class is being taught by one of my favorite contemporary northwest photographers).

The difference between me, and most of the other students in the class, is that they have a clear concept of one specific book they want to create. I, on the other hand, want all the information, and to be able to pick peoples brains, and see what is going on in the world of photobooks currently. But seeing as making a photobook is part of the class, I am using some of these old photographs and making what I hope will be a quiet contemplation of the land that my family farmed from 1912 through the late 1960’s. It’s a good exercise in editing, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Mapping History

A few months ago I got the opportunity to start going through my grandmothers photographs. This collection is not your standard few albums with posed family snapshots, but thousands of prints, slides and negatives by both my grandmother and my great-grandmother. There are family portraits, landscapes, snapshots, and close-up shots of flowers. Starting to sort through these photographs that span my grandmothers entire life (and yes, I mean entire, as some of the oldest negatives in the collection were taken in Salt Lake City by my great-grandmother in 1911 when my grandmother was born), I find myself focused on the compositions and lines in the photographs, as well as the life lines that flow through the photographs and make up the stories of my mother’s, grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s lives.

So much of our lives have been shaped by where we live, and where we come from. My grandmother spent her childhood in the Alberta prairies, mapping the land her father farmed, and much later, helped her husband work their farm in the Wenatchee Valley. My grandfathers family had helped settle the land, and it was here, after 30 years of being a nomad that my grandmother settled down, as best as a nomad can, and found her roots.

So this is where I have started, somewhere before my beginning, in the middle of my grandmothers story, and near the beginning of my mothers story, following the maps of my family’s roots.