Going Around in Circles – One More Time

Purple dotted fabric before beads are addedSince circles are such an important design element in my work (I guess it’s that button thing!), I decided to write another blog about them. So stop the jokes about me going around in circles and check out this story.

To the left is the kind of fabric motif that I like to bead on. It’s got strongly defined elements that stand out from the background. While I love diffuse , ephemeral prints, especially some of the new batiks coming out, I fond them hard to bead on as there are no separate areas of color.

Purple dot fabric covered with beadsHere is the same fabric as above, but with size 8 seed beads added onto the background areas. I decided to leave the center dots in the circular motifs visible as their little dots already looked like beads. I did try beading on a few of those dots, but you really couldn’t see them when they were done in the same color as the fabric, and I don’t like to put beads where they won’t show as that seems like wasted effort and materials to me.

Front of fabric with a sea urchin motifBack of fabric with a sea urchin motifOn the left is a fabric that I’ve used a number of ways. The motif is of a sea urchin, but when it’s flipped on the back, as in the photo on the right, the design is not so sharply delineated. That back of the fabirc side I’ve used as meteors plunging through the Universe. As a sea urchin, I’ve used the design as shown from the fornt of the fabirc here in this detail below from the art quilt, “Undersea Garden – Blue“.

Sea urchin motif used in a small art quilt - "Underwater - Blue"This small art quilt, about 12″ x 12″, or 30.5cm x 30.5cm, had to get a lot of impact in a small space. I feel that the sea urchins helped to suggest those creatures or perhaps the presence of a small coral reef. I also like the way that the raised, navy edge of the lace motif above picks up the same colors as in the sea urchins, but in reverse. Two types of navy buttons with a pearlescent finish sewn nearby help to create the illusion of a shallow sea floor where sunlight can still reach.

Fabric with teal colored dots on a black backgroundThis teal colored dots on a black background fabric was used at the top of the same quilt, “Undersea Gardens – Blue”. Since the fabric already had dots on it, it was easy just to cut a big circle from the thin, dress-weight fabric. I have a number of circles cut out of sheets of plastic that are thin enough to cut with strong scissors,  but strong enough to stand up to repeated tracings. In my early work, which I’ve yet to photograph digitally, I used a number of geometric shapes to hand applique on to my quilt tops.

Teal dotted fabric with black background used on an art quilt, "Undersea Garden - Blue"Here is that same fabric cut out and used in the sea scene described above.  As a shape, its dark outline stood out starkly against the lighter colored background, so by layering different materials over it, I could soften it and have the shape blend more into the background. The clear white plastic beads have a jellyfish like quality to them with the white thread coming out form the centers in staggered lengths. Another effect was created with a pale blue button at the very bottom of this pic, by having aqua colored floss splaying outwards in a similar fashion. You can also see my signature humming bird button in the center of this photo that now appears in all of my art quilts.

Sometimes, an artist has the perfect materials on hand to create a desired effect. Often, however, that’s not true. For me, I will have either used up a favorite embellishment that can’t be replaced, or I need a small number more of what I have already used in a piece. It’s those times that all of the problem solving experiences that making art instills in those who practice it for awhile come into play, and you have to get creative with what you have on hand. Sometimes, I delight in what I’ve come up for as a “solution”, when in reality, what I end up using may have been the second or third choice to “fill in” for some part of what I’m creating. May you have many of what I call those “happy puppy wiggles” of satisfaction over your own creative wonderfulness!

How have you ever used a material in a different way?

Did you go through a specific series of steps or did your aha moment of discovery just come to you?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com

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