Nellie"s Needles

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tessa's Birds

My 10-year old granddaughter, Tessa, has a new cousin who had a number of surgeries at the beginning of her life.
There was a bird mobile that had captured her attention during her hospital stays. So Tessa and I made her a quilt this summer featuring birds.
To begin, Tessa drew a bird. The first one was more realistic. Her second drawing of a happy and perky one is the style we chose for Ellie's quilt.
We did a bit of sketching to determine how many birds should be on the quilt ...

 ... and should they be sitting on a wire? or on a hill?

After making that design decision, Tessa helped to figure out the math for the dimension of the quilt. Part of that process was deciding how big each of the 3 birds should be. She drew out the size for each one. Her drawings became the patterns.

Tessa selected fabric for each of the parts ... birds, ground, and sky ... from this drawer full.
Tessa is sewing the birds bodies ...
Her pattern was traced onto a lining fabric which was placed right sides together with the bird fabric. The lining fabric was slashed open to turn the sewn bird's body right side out to make a nice finished edge to applique to the quilt.

Tessa is positioning the birds on the quilt.  Earlier she had drawn the placement of their legs with chalk for me to couch chenille yarn. I had constructed and quilted the background while she had a little beach time. 
She and I are very pleased with the bird's eyes. They're beetles that were fussy cut from fabric with lots of them all over it.

Tessa is most pleased with this delightful, happy little quilt.
We both enjoyed working together to make it for Ellie.  I like to think these happy little birds will cheer and comfort her for many years to come.

Here's a photo of the other side with our label. Tessa had chosen all these fabrics, too.

 note: My method for writing with machine sewing is described here.

Here's a recent photo of Ellie. This happy little girl has got a thing for birds!

An even more recent picture of these two girl cousins sharing a "belly laugh" ... I love this picture.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lillian's Purse

This summer I had the pleasure of helping three children in the Durand family create projects in my studio. The first was my 6-year old great-niece, Lillian, who made this ...
 "Lillian's Purse" - 11"x 12"

When her family visited the cottage in June I was still engrossed in making the small purse quilts. Lillian helped me to make several design decisions for this one ...

...which I ended up calling "Lillian's Purple Purse" ... which is also the title of a book she had recently read.

There was no hesitation when I asked if she'd like make a purse quilt. Lillian keeps a journal that she draws and/or writes in daily. She drew a picture of what she had in mind to make ...

Using her drawing as reference, I sorted through the huge pile of fabric samples that I've been working from to give her a selection of about dozen different pieces to choose from for the body, the flap, and the background.

The purses are constructed by sewing a lining and purse fabric right sides together, then turning them right side out so there is a finished smooth edge to applique onto the background. Lillian sewed those seams following the drawn lines on the lining layer with a bit of verbal guidance from me sitting right behind her at the sewing machine. Later I machine appliqued them in place as well as stitching the edge of the flap so the dark lining showed a bit.

In the meantime, Lillian quilted the background all on her own ...

There was no problem selecting the trimmings for the handle and "closure". However, when it came to choosing the yarns for finishing the outside edge, none that I thought would be good were what she had in mind. I got a "that's IT" when I came up with that variegated chenille one.

Lillian and I both signed the back ...

Lillian is no stranger to Studio North. At about 18-months she was helping her mom, Diane, with the pins for this piece created by Diane during that summer vacation in my studio.

The next two posts will feature each of the other Durand kids projects.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun Small Shoe Quilts

I took time just before, as well as during, ArtPrize to play ... creating smaller shoe quilts with purses.
"Bleu Belle" Shoe - 18"x 18"

"Harlequin" Shoe - 18"x 18"

"Spice Girl" Shoe - 18"x 18"

"Black Lace Girl" Shoe (18"x 18")

Those four plus one more, the "Red Shoe" (forgot to photograph that one) can be seen ... and purchased for $400 each ... at Good Goods Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan.

This last one was made as a gift for my interior decorator friend who has been supplying me with expired fabric books and yardage leftovers for years. The tapestry background and framing fabric for the above shoe quilts came from her as well as the backing fabric for each of them.

"Congo Pump for Ebbie" (24"x 18")
This shoe is African themed because Ebbie and her husband had lived there and the room where it is displayed has the flavor of that continent.
I'm in the process of working on yet another smaller shoe quilt. It's a commission that resulted from the person seeing "Imelda's Dream II" at ArtPrize and the one I created for Ebbie. You'll have to wait to see and read more about that one after it's been gifted at Christmas.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ArtPrize 2011 Report

ArtPrize is over ... sigh! "Imelda's Dream II" got a lot of attention and votes from among the 500,000 people who visited Grand Rapids, Michigan during those 19 days. I feel honored to have been one of 1,582 artist participants in this grand scale art event that covered over 3 square miles of the downtown, plus the botanical garden of that city, Miejer's Gardens.

Janice of Good Goods Gallery in Saugatuck hung my entry. I'm grateful that gallery is so generous to me. I was there to hand up tools and help to determine it's levelness by eye. It's surprising how much actual levelness according to a leveling tool can differ from the visual one. It's all relative to the art pieces relationship to the architecture of the building.
Between her expertise and the lighting guy who works for the DeVos Place Convention Center, it was beautifully lit.

That walkway was filled with people on the days that I spent with my piece to talk with those who were interested.
Interaction between the artists and viewers is a major goal of this event. Go here to see a video that explains ArtPrize wonderfully well.