Tag Archive for art quilt materials

Getting in Line with Bugle Beads

Detail of pale blue bugle beads used in the art quit, Japanese IrisesFor me, the term bugle beads seems to be a misnomer for these long bead tubes, but that seems to be how they are known. They go a long way towards creating lines in bead work, as seen in this detail shot on the left of the art quilt, “Japanese Irises” .I find them to be kind of like unidirectional crosshatching in etchings, in that they give another quality of lines to a piece. In this particular section of the flower petal, I also used elongated white pearls to achieve a similar effect. If you look at the yellow area in the upper right of this photo, while the yellow and medium blue round seed beads have also been sewn in lines, the effect is very different from the lines created by the bugle beads.

Green bugle beads used in the art quilt, "Elements - Earth"In this detail photo from the art quilt, “Elements – Earth”, green bugle beads are again laid down as lines as if on a lush forest floor. They offer a contrast to the round lines of green seed beads and draw the eye off to the right where there is a larger concentration of buttons to suggest mushrooms and other structures on a log or mossy stone. These long beads could also be interpreted as long blades of grass that have been flattened by a passerby’s footsteps making his way through the woods.

Gold bugle beads in the art quilt, "Fabric of the Universe"Gold bugle beads in the art quilt, "Fabric of the Universe"These two thumbnails are from the same art quilt, “Fabric of the Universe” . Both show different representations of small galaxies that swirl out there in the Universe. By using gold bugle beads, sewn at angles,the eye is directed outwards into the cloud of the spiral. Here again, lines of black and gold seed beads repeat the pattern of the lines made by the bugle beads and make for a much richer texture than using only one kind of bead would have done.

Vertical rows of gold bugle beads in the art quilt, "Feathers and Stars, Stars and Feathers"In the photo on the left from the art quilt, “Feathers and Stars, Stars and Feathers” , shorter bugle beads are used to make vertical lines that mimic the lines of larger round beads and trim used in the same area. These glass beads are emphasized with the short gold safety pins with 4 large beads on the shaft of the pin that are fastened across the vertical lines. One of the problems with using elements to make lines of any length is seen on the left hand column of gold bugle beads that wobble a bit in this detail shot. In the actual full art quilt, that inconsistency doesn’t show up as much as it does in this detail shot. However, lines that stray too far from a true 180 degrees are quickly picked up by a viewer’s eyes.

Bugle beads used on the edge treatment and the tassel of the art quilt, "The Moon Rises Over Thundercloud"Along the upper edge, on the right of this detail shot, you can see bugle beads sewn on vertically to line the edge of the art quilt, “The Moon Rises Over Thundercloud” . By doing so, the edge was made much thicker than is usually found in a quilt sandwich with its decorated top, middle batting, and backing fabric. In contrast, there are also a number of much longer bugle beads that are used to make the corner tassel and suggest the ethnic look I was striving for in this piece.

Lines are not usually an important design element in my work. Bugle beads are a terrific way to incorporate them into your art quilts. You do need to be careful about choosing ones that have smooth endings as some have broken edges that will cut the threads used to fasten them. Depending on where the beads will end up in the design, clear plastic sewing thread may be needed to sewn down the bugle beads to avoid this tearing. Some new kinds of bugles even have a delightful twist in them that gives another layer of subtle texture. Do make sure that the needle that you’re using will fit all the way through a majority of the beads before threading it, as bugles especially seem to be inconsistent with regard to the size of their central holes.

Do you use lines as an important design element? How have you achieved the use of them in your work?

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

A Fan of Fans

Fans from my collectionWhen I was in high school I learned how to carry and flirt with a fan. This was in the late 60s in the southern USA, and while they certainly had been put to good use before the days of air conditioning, when I was growing up, they were rarely seen. However, as part of Miss Libby’s Charm School, where I learned “table hands”, so I could look alluring across the table from a guy; how a lady lights her own cigarette (I’ve never smoked in my life); and just in case the need should arise, how to carry a fan. The photo on the left shows two from ones that I’ve collected when I traveled, and the top,black one, I actually have used at a gala. I put a ribbon loop with the lavender flower on it to go around my middle finger to go with an evening dress in the 80s. Such pretentious days!

Detail of an indigo fabric with fans from JapanSo as I became a quilt artist, I was naturally drawn to fan-like shapes. Here is a motif from a piece of indigo fabric from Japan. I imagine that the image is a stylized flower, but to me they look for all the world like fans. I wish I had bought more at the time, as I have only a little left, but I’ve used the shape in several of my art quilts.( I’ve yet to figure out a way to utilize the terrific geometric lines in between the fan shapes yet, so those pieces get thrown away. There’s only so much room in my studio….sigh!

Detail of a beaded version of the fan from the Japanese fabricHere is a detail from the piece “Japanese Irises” that utilizes the fan shape from the fabric shown above. It’s not as elegantly curved as the actual fabric design, as the size 10 seed beads are larger than some of the printed curved ends in the fabric motif. Another problem is finding beads that are close in color to the original fabric. Color is a very important design element for me, and the pieces are first composed using the balance of colors and shapes in the original fabrics. Then part of the fun for me is finding buttons and beads that complement the fabric choices that I’ve made to give me the effect that I want. It’s not always possible to find the exact colors of beads to match the colors in the fabric, so compromises sometimes need to be made.

A batik fabric from AfricaThis is an example of some of the “batik” fabric coming out of Africa these days. While the images and techniques are not traditional, they have big, bold prints that are a lot of fun. The fabrics however, have a lot of sizing in them, so the “hand” or how it drapes, is pretty stiff. That can make it harder on your own hands if you plan to do a lot of beading on the piece, as pushing needles in and out of stiff fabric thousands of times can wear on your fingers. The fans from this fabric that are utilized in the next photo are the ones that are shown vertically on the left, although I have used the gold ones that are show horizontally a number of times, too.

Detail of an art quilt with a beaded fan motif.Angels of Darkness, Angels of Light” , is the art quilt from which this detail shot is taken. I blogged about this art quilt earlier, so if you click on the above link, you can read more about the story behind it. Here in this blog, I’m focusing on the blue fans in the lower left and middle bottom. I used blue bugles in the outer semi-circles, and then scattered plastic blue crow beads nearby to carry the color out into the rest of the nearby surface. In Japanese landscaping, that would be called “borrowing the view”, where a large feature, such as a nearby mountain is framed by a circle cut into a fence, and then a much smaller version would be built in the garden to suggest a mountain. I use the same concept in spreading out colors and shapes in my art quilts.

Semi-circular shapes tend to lead your eye around the outer edge, which suggests some movement and then grounds your eye back nearby as it lands at the end of the curved edge. I feel that the result is that movement can  be suggested in a small area. There are a number of fabrics on the markets these days with large circles on them. Cutting them in half allows for two shapes from the same piece. I encourage you to try them out in your own work, and see what  excitement you can create for yourself.

What shapes do you tend to repeat in your work? Why does that shape speak 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

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.

Light trapped in Glass – The Gleam and the Glow of Glass Buttons

A glass button detail in the middle of metal stampings on an art quiltI think that I may have been a crow or a magpie in another lifetime, as I have always been drawn to shiny things. As for my art quilts, I have to admit that the glass buttons coming out of Czechslovakia are my new favs. When the Russians left, the old button factories were re-opened, and using the old molds from the early 1900s, new materials such as dichroic foil are being added to glass to make stunning new creations. Here’s a great link to an article that was in “Bead and Button” magazine in 2009 by Jane Johnson, a button expert on the history of glass buttons.

In the photo above, you can see one of the shiny lovelies in the lower right hand corner. The golden glow of the base glass has raised lavender bubbles, and I am especially pleased as how well they complement the pale gold miracle beads around them. This piece, entitled “Elements – Earth ” , which I wrote about at the end of Oct, 2011, was an homage to the richness of a lush forest floor. This gold and lavender glass button made a terrific mushroom-like form in the composition.

Glass buttons used to embellish an art quiltIn this detail shot of another art quilt, there is a lovely example of a large, gold starburst glass button in the lower left corner. The surface of pale gold clear glass is incised with “petals” coming out from a central depression. The shine comes from the dichroic foil on the bottom of the glass, on top of the mirrored backing. One of the fun things about this type of glass button is that it appears different colors depending on the viewing angle, the time of day, and the ambient lighting.

In the middle right is another flower shaped glass button. The majority of the glass is tinted a yummy lime green, with opaque yellow and red painted and baked onto the top surface. The light refraction has a different glow to it, as the light coming through this button appears more translucent.

Glass buttons used to embellish an art quiltIn the middle right edge of this detail photo of another art quilt, is another lovely example of a tinted glass button with dichroic foil in the bottom of the tinted glass. The swirl pattern incised into the top and the pleated motif edging, could remind one of a mandala, a whirling wheel, or any number od objects in motion. I like to have areas of interest in my compositions that contrast to their surroundings. Here, this button ( 1 3/4″ or 45mm in diameter) is a little cloud in motion in an otherwise peaceful garden scene. One also might see it as a small rainbow in a drop of water.

 

Glass buttons used to embellish an art quiltFrom the same art quilt as the above photo is another of my favorite glass buttons. The top surface of the lavender button in the bottom middle of this pic has been incised a number of times to make the petals in the lavender “pansy” flower. The 3 raised dots in the ceter are painted an opaque gold. The underlying darker purple glass glows from behind the flower giving it an irridescent glow.

People often say that they could spend hours looking at the details in my art quilts, and one of the most popular embellishments are the glass buttons. They’re the ones that viewers are most drawn to, ask the most about, and reach out to touch. It turns out that the seller that has the best prices and selections of glass buttons that I’ve found is on eBay. Linda Kanazaki’s web site and eBay site have loads of very color accurate photos of glass buttons and she has very quick, free delivery here in the US. It also turns out that she lives only about 15 miles south of me. That reminds me of the fact that I am so fortunate to have access to suppplies from all over the world to add to  my art work and don’t have to wait for a sailing ship to bring me my treasures.

 Are you addicted to shiny like I am? What are your favorite materials for embellishments in your work?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this piece. 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

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.