Tuesday, April 3, 2012

But is it Art? Part I

I have been itchin' to do some free-style piecing and sewing, something "arty", but I seemed always to be working on some class or pattern or something that was more traditional-based.
Now that some time is available, I have been giving it whirl! 
When it's hard to get started, there's no problem with using some "quilter's helper" (like Hamburger Helper but tastier!) in the form a special fabric. I had a couple small batik panels that were just the thing.
Batiks! Hand dyed fabric!
Well, let's see...a bird batik and a bird batik! I've had that brown piece for a looooong time, so this must be what I was "saving" it for! And the hand dyed sateen fat quarter from St. Teresa"s Textile Trove was something my sister liked, so that's good. Now, what else have I got?
No shortage of batiks around here!
I pulled out several and just cut them into strips of various widths, then started sewing and slapping things up on the design wall:
The bird has been framed
This is from the school of I Don't Know What It Needs But I Can Tell If It Belongs Or Not.
 Trial and error...if it looks good it stays. If not, it comes down (but may re-appear later...possibly chopped up!)
I sewed and juggled like crazy to get this:
No matter what I did, the bird ended up in the center!
It was looking too dark, so those little "spirit lines" at the bottom left and mid right were an attempt to fix that. I also found I should have pulled more fabrics to play with. For some reason, the group I work with tends to get smaller as I go along, so it would be better to start with more choices, especially more values. I've seen this happen in classes, too.
I like these red and forest-y colors, but they are not my usual choices. Maybe I am trying to be too safe when working with different colors.

Is there a shape you prefer? I just seem to prefer a rectangle. And it's my project, so it can be whatever I want:
The bird is sitting pretty
OK, that's better!
I think I am done...this piece is about 19" x 26".
So I took it to The Bad Girls' Pie Club, and they said the frame around the bird matches too closely and needs to be set off. That's alright, I figured to do some embellishment and quilting to perk it up a bit anyway.
Then I hated it and decided to just make it into a pillow!
It was put away for a while, and now that it's back out, I like it again. At least enough to give it some more effort. I'll separate the frame from the bird square with tiny white spaced seed beads that will be similar to the tiny white dots on the outlines of the bird and branch. I am thinking of quilting some bird-feet shapes with copper color thread.
It's all just an experiment for now. 

But it doesn't feel right yet. If it's supposed to be an art quilt, then what is it that makes it art?
We talked about this question during the class at the Campbell Folk School. In the end, we decided to just be comfortable with the question, and not demand to have an exact answer.
But I was still thinking about it, and moved on to another little batik square to  continue my trials.
Take a look tomorrow as I explore a colorway more in my own zone!

[OK, the more astute viewers will wonder: what happened to that brown bird batik from the first picture?
As is often the case, the one fabric I was sure about using is the one that will be ending up on the back!]

No comments: