Full and Detail Images: “Sub Rosa: Rising” began with grayscale values that were translated to color. It is machine pieced, hand and machine quilted, and minimally beaded. Detail view, with hand and machine quilting.
Please help me welcome my friend and fellow QBL instructor Judi Warren Blaydon as April’s guest blogger. I am honored and pleased to have her share some valuable insights and inspirational thoughts in true Judi fashion. Enjoy!
This past week, I heard it again. We’ve all heard it! “I love to piece, but I don’t enjoy the quilting part”. Or “I just love doing the quilting, but piecing gives me a headache”.
I fall into the category of quilt artists who love all parts of the process. I love the labor, the meditative moments, even the angst. And sometimes, even my seam ripper. I love the visions on the bedroom ceiling at 3:00 a.m. – – – so compelling that you almost can’t wait for the sun to come up so you can begin. I love the auditioning, and the contemplating – – – until there are so many fabrics on the work table that I’m afraid to put my hand in the pile, because I might make contact with the wrong end of the Rotary cutter.
I love a quilt top when it is finally pieced — crisp, sharp and flat as a pancake. I love the feel and the touch of fabric; and I love adding the quilting stitches that not only hold the layers together, but also bring dimension to our work. It is almost like drawing, using a strand of line that moves through the surface of the quilt, crossing through pieced shapes and creating indentations and ridges, light and shadow, texture and linear patterns. I also love to see hand and machine quilting in the same piece, in close proximity to one another, so their differences are enhanced and we get to see the unique qualities of the two processes side by side.
My recent quilts have been inspired by paper collage designs, similar to what I describe in “collage+cloth=quilt” [C&T/2010]– – – in which selected fragments of color photographs are layered, superimposed, and arranged to make an abstract composition, a ‘paper quilt’ that becomes the ‘map’ for a fabric quilt. The collage is simply another way of ‘seeing’ a design; it’s like a pencil sketch or a drawing on graph paper.
Often, my collages have suggested imaginary landscapes, with a horizon line somewhere in the composition. From that line, or edge, imaginary environments emerge, expressed by the character and personality of the fabrics chosen.
Lately, I’ve been translating the color collages to a grayscale version, which retains only the compositional and value relationships to be respected, and using whatever color palette intrigues me.
We all work differently, but no matter how we start, no matter what sequence of steps our work-process includes, we are all so lucky — so privileged — to work at an art that can be both personal and eloquent.
Thank you, Judi!
I just love the way Judi shares her passion in art and word! I felt as if I was sitting across from her after a long day of teaching and listening to her share some art quilt wisdom! I do hope you have enjoyed Judi’s contribution. Please weigh in by leaving a reply today! Judi will have an opportunity to review your comments and might just post her own responses!
You said it so well, loving even the angst really struck a chord with me, because that is when I sense my creative muscles are flexed, and the expanding of my creative quilting skills. So when the project is finally finished I feel a huge satisfactory sigh of relief. Maybe that is why the hand quilting is very arduous for me, it is something I just have to sit and do. Mind you that is a good time just to think about the next project.
Thanks for encouraging us on, for we are not alone in our aloneness.
Shirley: no, we’re not alone – – – we’re part of a really big parade.
Glad to have you here, Judi! I have your book Fabric Postcards and am still inspired by it (in fact I have 2 copies, one of which I spiral bound so I can keep it open) I love the process of translating an image into a small fabric piece, capturing an image with cloth and taking advantage of print and texture. I still wince when I see the trade center post card as I travel to NYC a lot for work and really miss their absence, holding in my heart the losses we experienced when they came down. Looking forward to checking out your new book!
Anna, I am making progress on my sewing room! Thanks for your encouragement to do this!
Betsey — I share your heartbreak. Ms. Yamamoto’s image certainly does remind us of more innocent times.
Well said, Judi. I also love how an idea or emotion can be interpreted in fabric. I love how one idea leads to another and a series is born. I love that moment when I hang the finished piece on my wall and say “I did that! ” I especially love that quilting has led to so many wonderful friendships.
Cathy – – –
the friendships are the BEST part. And you are one I treasure.