Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh Canada - Contemporary Canadian Art at MASS MoCA

There's a fabulous exhibit at MASS MoCA called Oh Canada that I wish I could see in person!  120 art works by 62 Canadian artists are featured. 

The Globe and Mail has a great article here.  I find this quote by Denise Markonish, one of the curators, particularly poignant:

"To the surprise of many, it did not include some of Canada’s art stars – Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham, Stan Douglas and Janet Cardiff. Such omissions, Markonish says, were entirely intentional but not meant as a slight. “[They’re] already what the art world expects when they hear ‘Canadian art,’ ” she says. “Canada’s a big country, and there’s a lot going on, and I wanted to give voice to a lot of artists who aren’t known here; or if they’re known, to present other facets of their practice.”

You can read more info about the show and the artists here, at MASS MoCA's website.

Ann Brauer visited the show and has blogged about it here.  She has posted some terrific photos.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Silk Wallhanging - Auditioning Fabrics

I'm auditioning fabrics to frame this gorgeous piece of eco dyed silk by Arlee Barr.  I want to embroider / quilt through all the layers.  (Click the pictures to enlarge and see the beautiful details)

I really like the bronze silk dupioni, but I'm not sure about the maroon:

Does black look better than maroon?

I'd love to find a rich chocolate silk, I think that would bring out the greens and orange in the eco dyed piece.  Perhaps even a deep burgundy.

I used knit fusible interfacing on the back of the eco dyed silk - it's perfect.  It's so light and diaphanous so the silk retains it's suppleness, yet it adds significant stability.  A shout-out to Allie Aller for the knit fusible idea - here's how she uses it for crazy quilting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday

Here's my string quilt so far:

Please excuse the crappy way the blocks are displayed - I'm currently reorganizing my tiny apartment so that my living/dining room will be a studio (goodbye kitchen table, but hello fabrics being more accessible!)  I'm still trying to figure out a cheap yet effective design wall.  Fleece and batting both suck - I need something pinnable. 

And here's what I'm calling my Synthetic Folly:

 I fell in love with these fabrics years ago at a local quilt guild's rummage sale (the colours in real life are a glorious chartreuse and navy floral print).  I knew the synthetics would be difficult to work with, but this is ridiculous.  They have fought me every step of the way - the seams pucker, creases can't be pressed out, and even fusbible knit interfacing on the back can't make these fabrics behave.  UGH.  

To be fair, it didn't look this bad yesterday when the interfacing was newly applied, but rolling it up made all the freaking bubbles and creases re-appear. 

As much as I love these fabrics, I'm on the fence about this thing.  I originally wanted to add lots of hand embroidery, sort of like a hybrid crazy-sane quilt.  Now I'm not sure all that effort will be worth it.  At first I thought the embroidery and quilting would flatten it out and disguise the puckering, but now I suspect all that handling will just make it worse.  And having to press the darn thing every single time I want to stitch on it to get the bubbles and ripples out - hmmmmm, not happening.

I might just tie this instead of quilting it and use it as a cuddle blanket - it's a nice size, about 50" x 60".  And not investing any more time means I'll actually enjoy it as a blanket, and I'll be able to throw it in the washer without worry.

At what point do you decide a project isn't worth it?

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Won a Giveaway!

I was one of the very lucky winners of Alex Hall's giveaway over at Under A Topaz Sky.  Her embroidered ribbon roses are exquisite in person, the photo doesn't show the beautiful sheen:


And it came wrapped in this gorgeous piece of Japanese fabric:

Thank you Alex!  The embroidery deserves a nice frame, I'll have to keep an eye out for one.

Using Interfacing for String Piecing

I've been doing some string piecing using my favourite colours - turquoise and purple!  This is a stash buster so I'm only using what I've got.  Here are some blocks so far:

My favourite foundation is sew-in interfacing (non-woven, non-fusible) - the stuff used in dressmaking.  Interfacing, how do I love thee, let me count the ways:
  • It doesn't shift, distort, shrink or otherwise behave badly (unlike muslin!)  
  • It's dirt cheap
  • It can remain in the quilt - no spending hours and hours ripping out paper and distorting the seam stitches in the process
  • It withstands tons of handling, including lots of pressing
Interfacing is also my preferred foundation for crazy quilt blocks and paper piecing.  Haven't tried running it through the printer but transferring a pattern using a light table is a breeze.