Nellie"s Needles

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Four More Violet Pieces

added to my wild flower series ...

All these had begun as a single whole piece. It was the size of the one donated to the charity auction that I wrote about in my last blog post. At the end of two full days work, I did NOT like it at all! I went to bed with the thought of closing up my studio for good ... thinking maybe I had "lost it" and should consider going back to making functional quilts. For me the designing process to make those is less complex and frustrating to get satisfactory results.

But the next day I had a different thought ... cut it up! It's the woods in the distance that I fell in love with at the beginning of this series. It's the part I liked best in the first one. Particularly at the beginning of building that piece.

 beginning of Violets #1

So ... it was cut in half. I allowed a bit of foreground space for patches of flowers. Pieces were cut from the right and left sides for the sake of the composition, I worked on the woods a bit more, added the violets to the foreground, and then bordered it with a frame made from the piece that had been cut from the center of the frame for Violets #1. Three green skeleton leaves were added for balance in the bottom section of the frame.   Here's the result ...
Wild Flower Series - Violets #2 (17"x 12.5")

The bottom section of that cut apart piece had a real birch bark piece. This was my main consideration for how to size the next picture in this series. The leaves had been sewn in place on the original so that was also given thought. I chose to use the perspective of "bending down close to see the violets" in this one.  It's bordered with what had been cut away from the center of the frame for Violets #2.
Wild Flower Series - Violets #3 (13"x 8")

Well ... now I had the quilted center that had been cut away from the frame of the above piece. This prompted me to stitch together the two sections cut from the sides of the woods in #2 to create this vignette to fit within it. Just a bit more work and it became my favorite in this whole violet series.
 Wild Flower Series - Violets #4 (5.5"x 8")

I was definitely back in the groove and happy to be in the studio by this time ... that being a few days later. The previous small piece made me fall in love with making art again. Composing this one from the last section of what had been "cut up" came easyMy perspective on this one is "I can almost smell those blossoms."
Wild Flower Series - Violets #5 (9"x 8")

These four pieces that were intended to be a single large one are destined to the gallery in Michigan, Good Goods, for their special 25th anniversary exhibition in mid-June. I've since made two more pieces for this occasion. I'll post about those next.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Violets #1

A year ago my wild flower series was begun with five pieces featuring trillium. This spring I'm continuing it with violets. The first was completed today ...

"Wild Flower Series - Violets #1 (21"x 17")

Last years series featured a micro view of the flowers on a woodland floor. I began this new series with a long view of the woods in the distance ...
How the light filters through the stands of trees in the spring intrigues me. I love  the sprinkle of new leaves ... so many of which are yellow and orange and of course, bright yellow green. Here in Tennessee there are Dogwoods blooming in the understory of trees, so they're there, too.

A bright green tulle was quilted over that stand of trees and undergrowth in the upper half of the piece while a camouflage printed tulle hold all the bits and pieces of my composition on the bottom half. The log is a piece of actual Birch bark.
Leave shapes and violet petals were cut from disassembled silk flowers. I glued pieces together to form the blossoms. They and the leaves are just laid on the surface in this picture to test  the composition. I wanted to present the perspective of leaning down to admire ... and pluck ... a small cluster of these delightful blooms.

Here I've captured the leaves with quilting under green tulle. The excess netting was trimmed away close to the stitching. The leaves were then shaded with pastels and defined with paint.

I cannot tell you why I changed the arrangement of the flowers from how you see them in the previous photo ... extending their stems above the clump. I suspect it's how they're suspended from the curve at the top of their stems that swayed me. I'll revisit that first arrangement for the next piece in this series. It was at this point I started to think about the possibility of a border and where the edges of the composition could be.

From the beginning it was in the back of my mind to mount this piece on a stretched canvas frame.
That involves another layer of quilting to hold the finished art to a separate piece of fabric that wraps around and is stapled to the wood frame. I cover those staples and raw edges with Duck tape.

I made this piece specifically for the charity auction, "Art in the Garden" on June 16th to raise funds for Random Acts of Flowers here in Knoxville.
Random Acts of Flowers (RAF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity improving mental health through the power of giving flowers. RAF volunteers collect donated flowers from weddings, memorial services, florists, special events, grocery stores and churches – to recycle and repurpose them into beautiful bouquets for delivery to patients in area hospitals, nursing homes and hospice care centers. As a recycling “green” charity run almost entirely by volunteers, Random Acts of Flowers is committed to nourishing the health of the environment, individuals, and the community.
What could be better than for me to create an art piece for them with recycled flowers and leaves plus bits of fabric from other people's quilted projects.

Go here to see blog posts about the trillium series.