Friday, August 17, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kimono!, The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota - Off the Wall Friday

Symphony of Light, Kubota (5 of a series 80}

So I tend to use my time at Quilting by the Lake as an "Art Holiday" visiting any exhibits that are happening locally.  Well this year, I hit the jack pot!!  The Munson - Proctor -Williams Arts Institute in Utica, NY is hosting an amazing exhibit of the work of Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003).  Kubota is credited with reviving and modernizing the nearly forgotten 400 year old  textile technique of Tsujigahana. 

The exhibit includes 48 nearly 7 foot Kimonos.  Some of stand alone pieces.  Some are series that are meant to be shown together.  There is also part of Kubota's amazing Symphony of Light.  Although only 36 are shown, the complete series consists of 80, yes you read that right, 80 kimonos that represent the grandeur of the universe.  Individually they really are a glory, but together they show the true talent of a master artist.  The 5 that they grouped together from Symphony of Light spanned the width of 27 feet!

The Kimonos are made on silk crepe with a long, labor intensive process of painting, dyeing,
embroidery and embellishing.  The dyeing process is daunting enough, but the hand stitching on the pieces is what creates the texture that brings the pieces alive.

I also bought the book, The Textile Artistry of Itchiku Kubota which I can highly recommend.  The catalog has the right blend of background information and gorgeous photos.  So many times I'm disappointed by an exhibits' book, but this one I can see myself reading over and over.

I promise to do a future post on the actual logistics of the modernized Tsujigahana process, but I thought for today, I would just let you drink in all that is Kubota.

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Sheer Play - QBL 2018 - Off the Wall Friday

Jeannette at work

It seems impossible but another Quilting by the Lake has come and gone.  Taking a class with Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer is always a pleasure and this class was no exception.  What I loved the most about it was that there was a little bit of something for everyone.  We started the week with learning how to paint on silk organza.  From there we learned techniques on how to seam together sheers using the Korean form of pogaji by hand and machine. After that we went into a bunch of
different ways to manipulate the sheers. Quickly we realized that if you didn't like a certain technique that was okay because we were soon onto another one and there were several to choose from.

QBL Artist in resident showing her work

After a few exercises, Jeanette had us choose a direction to do some independent work.  While sitting there thinking of what I wanted to do, I realized that for once I didn't have a big idea.  Really, what had fascinated me the most was how the sheers interacted with each other and how with layering them you got change of colors and value and that new shapes were formed.  All very unexpected and interesting!  So I started working on 4" block little studies.  All the material was provided under our supply fee and there was plenty of colors to play with.  After a couple of days work I had 25 studies done that really did make a kind of grouping in themselves.  I'm not quite sure what I am going to do with them but they are a nice start.

Looking around the room at the end of the class, there was  a very diverse body of work going.  Some people choose to work on the techniques she taught, some worked on big projects, some just played around abstractly.  It was kind amazing all the different directions we took.

Quietly walking back to my room on the last night I marveled at so many little things about the week that make QBL special.....the patience Jeannette showed me when demonstrating how to sew a seam for the third time,,,,how good the hand cut fries were at lunch...meeting up with old friends and hearing that their year went well....the 6 full days of just being with people that understand what I do.

It really was a good week. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Quilting by the Lake Quilt Show - Off the Wall Friday

Greetings from Syracuse, NY!!  What an exciting week its been!  Exhausting ....but Exciting!!  I promise I'll catch you up on my class, but before that I wanted to share some of this year's quilt show.  Each year, the conference hosts a juried quilt show asking past and present participants to enter quilts.  Each year it is fabulous. 

Here is some eye candy for you enjoyment!

Don't ask me how I chose which to take pictures of for this blog. It was just row after row of amazing quilts.What I really liked about this show was there were several quilts from past classes (some that I was in).  You can really see the fruits of the students labor!  Plus there was a good range of traditional quilts, modern quilts and art quilts. 

Stay tuned for more on this amazing week!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

Since I'm packing and traveling this week....I'm just hosting!!  Next Post will be from Syracuse and Quilting by the Lake!

So What Have You Been Doing Creatively??

Friday, July 13, 2018

Getting Ready for Quilting by the Lake 2018 - Off the Wall Friday

Its that time of year again, when I need to start my research for my upcoming class at Quilting by the Lake.  This year I'm taking a class with Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer called  Sheer Play.  It will be an exploration of layering sheer silk organza using different techniques.  I'm really excited since I've been wanting to take this class for years now and just am getting the chance now.  To me what is so exciting is that we can play with creating texture and using light wherein traditional quilting with the three layers (cotton, batting, cotton) light doesn't play into the piece.

One of the things we are going to explore is
Bojagi or Pojagi (depending on who you ask).  It's the Korean tradition of the wrapping of gifts or important objects in decorative fabric.  This evolved throughout time into a specific technique of sewing together scraps into these wrappings.  Fiber artists today use this method because the seams create such an interest element in their work.  Sometimes the seams are placed very intentionally while others are more random.

The whole thing excites me.  The idea of using seams to create line and texture.....of adding the element of light to a piece and how that will change how a viewer sees the piece as the day or display changes....the idea that we will paint white silk and bring it to light.  All  - Very - Exciting!!

Once I realized I was going to take this class last summer, I was looking at seams in a whole different way.  This is a piece that I made during QBL last year from the back side - with the sunlight going through.  So interesting.

Anyways - as always - you'll see how the class goes!!

What Have You Been up to Creatively?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Let's Talk Texture - Off the Wall Friday

Texture is defined as the tactile quality of a surface.   Most of us being fiber artists and quilters are tactile people.  We love to touch.  I mean really, have you ever walked into a fabric shop and not spent the whole time touching?  But in relation to our art, it's so much more than how things feel.

So let's break it down.


Real texture is how the piece actually feels.  Working with fiber and quilting you can easily achieve by 

Stitching, Thread painting, Quilting
Seam placement
Applique/Reverse Applique
Different Types of Fabric
Fabric Folding, Layering
Painting /Surface Design


Implied Texture is a bit more tricky.  This is the type of texture that the viewer sees with their eyes rather than feels with their hands.  Some different ways the artist can achieve this is 

Use of line, marks
Clever use of value
Repetition of shape

Okay, so I know you're saying to me "Nina with everything else I have going with making my own art you want me to worry about texture too?"  And the answer is YES!!  It's so important!!


Create visual interest or focal points
Create contrast within your composition
Help maintain balance in your piece
Convey Emotion and Set Moods

So next time sit down to your own original work, take some extra time for texture.  You'll be glad you did.

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?