Since winter is fabric designing time, I try to limit my teaching schedule during the season. It takes a lot of concentration to design a line of fabric, which is usually 9 to 10 patterns in three colorways. Sometimes the muse is illusive and takes a while to settle in, but this year the ideas flowed smoothly and I was able to turn in my work ahead of schedule. This has left me with some delicious quality time to pursue some activities that have been on the waiting list for a long time.
First of all, I have developed a line of limited edition fine art prints based on some of my favorite textile designs. Each image is printed with archival inks on heavy 8.5" by 11" rag paper, signed and numbered. Perfect for framing, the matte finish and crisp graphic make a rich combination. I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition and hope to work on some larger prints in the future.
I am also taking lessons to learn Adobe Illustrator and Bernina Artista Embroidery software. It is often overwhelming and makes my head spin. But progress is being slowly made.
After all this computer work I was feeling the need to fondle some fabric and make an art quilt. This new piece is a continuation of the Totem Series. My mind has been in a symmetrical phase lately. I wanted this piece to be filled with characters from my landscape, beginning with seeds and salamanders.
With every photo you can see a bit of the designs evolution. I began by making the initial shapes in fabric. Even if a character is eventually weeded out of the composition, I know that it will not be wasted, it will just become the incentive for another piece in the future. The design grows and shifts as the shapes begin to converse.
The spring weather has also inspired the design. The snowdrops and crocus are up and the pointy little fingers of tulips and hostas are poking through the thick carpet of old oak leaves. This brought to mind some other favorite flowers in our summer garden, hence the gaillardias and sunflower.
Our canapy of oak trees is represented, as well as the constant buzzing of the bumble bees. It is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Each character finds their proper place and then it is time to add the details.
Above is the basic composition, so far. Currently, I am assenbling and embroidering all the independent units before they can be appliqued to the background. But as long as the characters are unattached they can still change position, so there could be some more adjustments made. Below, with the magic of a Photoshop, you can see it with the eventual black border.
Each phase of working on a quilt is satisfying. Right now I have hours of stitching to look forward to, which is a luxury, indeed!