What Shall I Call It!

I’ve almost finished my latest abstract piece, “Abstract #4” as I’ve been calling it.

In my last post I showed you how I was auditioning the color for some skinny strips.  I decided to do them in rust and tan, and here they are.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I was happy with them.

Next, I wanted to add some even skinnier turquoise lines.  I decided the best way to do that would be with some hand stitching.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Well, I decided that didn’t show well enough.  And in the first of these two photos, you can’t even tell the stitching is blue-green!

Time for something more.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

So, I added another parallel line of stitching.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

That helped.

Now, I need a name for this piece.  I’ve got a couple of ideas, but I’d greatly appreciate your suggestions.  You can offer them by commenting in the comments section, below.  Thanks in advance!

Ellen Lindner

8

Rust with Turquoise Abstract

My latest abstract piece is progressing nicely.  After creating the sketch and selecting fabrics, I began to compose the background on my design wall.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Here it is, completed.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, I made tracing paper patterns of the two undulating lines I wanted to add.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It’s coming along, don’t you think?  I was happy with this design and began to select fabrics for the undulating lines. As usual, I wanted several fabrics for each shape.

Here they are, finished.

Abstract #4 in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, I auditioned the idea of adding skinny undulating lines.  Should they be teal or rust?  I tried out both.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I drew sketches in the computer and that settled it.

Abstract art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Not teal.

So, I cut some skinny strips of hand dyed rust and set to work.

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Right now I’m calling this “Abstract #4.”  I definitely need a different way of thinking of this piece, but titles often come to me last.

6

Designing with Elizabeth Barton: Part Two

After coming up with a design, Elizabeth likes to audition a wide variety of value options.  To do this, she had us stack paper in 3 values and then use a utility/craft knife to cut the design through all three.  Finally, you glue them together in various combinations.

Here’s my dark-on-light version.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I also made a light-on-dark version.  But, I still had brown cutouts and a bunch of unused black and white pieces.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As I was about to address those Elizabeth stopped by and said something brilliant.  “These little skinny lines are the most intersecting of all.”  She was looking at the little gaps showing in my stack of cut shapes, above.  And she was right!  That immediately sent me in the direction of adding little skinny lines.  I was excited!

This was my next iteration.  MUCH more interesting, right?  The little skinny white lines are intentional gaps between the shapes.  The black lines are drawn in to highlight the overlapping shadowy spots.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I was very happy with this!  Still, it was time to crop and to look for even more interesting compositions.  I did this on a black/grey/white copied version.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I found several interesting options, but I liked this next one the best.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

 So, what did I do?  I, once again, cut 3 different value shapes from this design and glued up 3 different versions.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

But wait, there’s more!  The day wasn’t over, yet.  So, instead of reaching for fabric I went back to some of my earlier sketching ideas.  Elizabeth had suggested something that sounded like great fun: randomly throwing a scattering of berries/squares onto paper and them connecting them.

A nice splattering of “dots.”

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I couldn’t really connect them easily because they kept wanting to lift off.  Instead, I thought I’d draw around each one, then remove it.  Then later connect the draw shapes.

What a disappointing hodge-podge.  Maybe some cropping would help.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Well, it did help, but I think it will be a LONG time before I feel like revisiting this idea.  And when I do, will the shapes become round berries or stay as small squares???

What a FULL day of sketching!  I won’t run out of ideas any time soon.

Ellen Lindner

4

Designing with Elizabeth Barton: Part One

This past week I went to a wonderful 3-day workshop with Elizabeth Barton.  I’ve long admired her ability to simplify a design and to then interpret it in dramatic, high-contrast, colors.

Our class supply list included several inspiration photos.  I was familiar enough with Elizabeth’s work to know that a landscape image would work well.  But, that’s just not what was speaking to me.  I perused by Pinterest boards for things that seemed intriguing.  Ignoring subjects, I just looked for things that were appealing.  These are the images I came up with.  (I don’t have permission to use the images, so I’m just describing them.  However, if you go to my Pinterest board “Nature Photography” you’ll see them.)

A twig with red leaves stretching over a sparkling stream,

A twig with lots of berries, with everything encased in ice,

A twig with tiny droplets of water,

Terraced and flooded rice fields.  The fields connect with undulating walls of vegetation.

All of these had a sort of “rivulet” quality to them: twigs branching off, or the walls of rice patties creating a similar pattern.  This is what I wanted to focus on.

Elizabeth showed us a variety of ways to create sketches.  These included tracing, simplifying, collaging with paper, or combinations of these techniques.  Her goal was for us to spend and ENTIRE day creating sketches!  That sounded rather lengthy at first, but I quickly got into it and was thrilled with all the variations I created.  Elizabeth wanted us to have 12 sketches by the end of the day and I’m sure I exceeded that.

First, I traced the image that most intrigued me, the iced berries.  (Tracing automatically simplifies a design, since you can’t see all the details.)  My sketch surprised me by being very boring.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It wasn’t too hard to figure out why.  Elizabeth stressed the importance of value contrast and this one just didn’t have enough of that.

But, what if I cropped it?  Like me, Elizabeth is big on this and she had us make paper “L shapes”  as cropping tools.  (I do the same in the design classes I teach.)

The cropped versions were better and are, perhaps, worth further consideration.  I think this first one would look good if turned 90 degrees to the right.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And I like this square one even better.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

At this point, Elizabeth suggested a new approach for me.  First, she had me copy all 4 inspiration photos in a grey scale.  This way I could focus on values without being distracted by color.  Definitely true.

 Then, she asked me to study the 4 images, put them away, and sketch multiple sketches from my impressions.  First, I focused on the twig idea.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I like that top one pretty well, but the next two don’t excite me.  Again, what if they were turned into a horizontal orientation?

The main image that was stuck in my head was that of the terraced rice patties.  So, I began to play with that.  First, a busy sketch that’s most similar to the inspiration photo.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Then, a simplified version.

Designing with Elizabeth Barton. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I liked that pretty well and decided to move forward with it. Next, she asked us to create our sketches in 3 different value combinations, using cut paper.  That yielded some surprising results, which I’ll show you in the next post.

Ellen Lindner
P.S. See a related post about sketching barns.

2

Maybe I Need More Fabric

Maybe I need more fabric.

My husband would LAUGH at the idea!  With about 1000 pieces of fabric SURELY I must have anything I could imagine, right?  Well, maybe not.  I’m used to working with lots of small pieces (think palm-sized to hand-sized,) but my next quilt would probably need much larger pieces.  I needed to check and see if my stash was up to the task.

My design is shown sketched, below left.  The solid and dashed lines indicate fabric changes. Sure enough, at 36 x 24, some of those pieces will need to be fairly large.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

First, I drew a rough idea of my design on a base muslin fabric.  This is full scale and will serve as the base of the quilt.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Then, I pinned up my fabrics to check it out.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Hmm.  I have enough fabric to cover the surface, but some of the pieces are either too busy or too small.  (All the ones on the left are too small.)  But don’t you LOVE those colors together?  I do!

So, I did some shopping: first, locally, and then a little online.  As I waited for my fabrics to arrive, I was glad to have enough to get started.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Only two pieces are cut to shape in the photo above: top center and bottom right.  The bottom right piece is hand dyed and is all one piece of fabric.  However, the top center one is a commercial fabric cut up and rearranged.  I’m quite happy with the way I was able to get it to gradate without harsh edges.

Now I wait for the mail.

Ellen Lindner

4

Smooth Undulating Lines

I’ve been working on a series of quilts in the same size, colors, and motifs.  One of the hallmarks of the first three quilts was undulating lines with jagged edges.  But, when I’m in creative mode I always allow myself to take detours.  So, when I got the idea to use some smoother undulating lines, I had no misgivings about changing course.

In 2006 I took a wonderful class, at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, with Emily Richardson.  One of our exercises was to create small compositions with just two colors of fabric.  I generally hate that sort of thing, but this time I had good luck.  I liked it so much that I stuck it on my design wall when I got home and it’s been living in that low corner for TEN years!

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

When I started thinking about undulating lines, this was the obvious spot for me to begin.  I grabbed my sketchbook and had a go at some designs.  Can you see that the one below right was inspired by the fabric composition above?  (You have to turn one of them to see the connection.)

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I decided I really liked the one on the left, below.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Meanwhile, I’d also done some playing on the computer.  This time I was focusing more on color.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I started on the computer with lines of one width.  But then I decided to make their shapes vary.  Much more interesting, I think.

Planning a new art quilt with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

At this point, I had a design and a general color plan.  Time to audition some fabrics.

Ellen Lindner

4

“Deja View” Complete

I finished the little piece for the SAQA trunk show.  Since it was inspired by the current series I’m working on, I named it Deja View.

Deja View, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And here’s a detail shot.

Deja View - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

At only 10″ x 7″ some of my usual construction methods needed to be modified.  The squares for instance.  In the larger pieces, they were depicted with fabric.  But, there was no way I could cut the tiny squares needed for this scale.  Instead, I drew them in with white pen and added more with hand stitching.

This was a fun little project.  It was SO nice to make something I could finish quickly!

Ellen Lindner

0

MUCH Smaller

I belong to a wonderful organization called SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates.  The primary purpose of the group is to promote quilts as art and to support art quilters.  As part of the first goal, SAQA puts together a trunk show every few years.  Members are asked to make art quilts that are only 10″ high x 7″ wide.  These are mounted and presented very nicely, then divided into groups and sent around the world to show people what art quilts can be.

I decided to participate this year and, as usual, wanted to make something similar to my usual style.  But, I find that to be quite difficult on this scale.  Still, with some simplifying, I came up with a design that would do the trick.

This is the background before stitching.

A very small art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

You’ll notice the colors were taken directly from my recent work.  I simplified the sweeping shape, though.

Next, I auditioned the placement of a large flower, again borrowing from recent work.

A very small art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

There’s one thing that’s important when working small like this.  That is, you need to see the actual finished dimensions while creating.  To achieve that, I’ve pinned on muslin strips which visually crop the piece to the intended 10 x 7 dimensions.  (The piece wasn’t actually wonky.  That’s just the photo.)

A very small art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I liked the open flower.  As you can see, some of it will be cropped off.

Next, I used my favorite white pen to add dots.  Something new for me, which I really liked.  I used the same pen to draw white squares.

A very small art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As suspected, the white squares didn’t show up well enough, so I started stitching some orange ones.

A very small art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

That was better, but I wanted them to show up more.  So, I added another lap of stitching to some of them.

A very small art quilt in progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Better, right?

Next, I stitched the orange flowers in place with clear monofilament thread.  Almost finished.  I’ll show you the final details in the next post.

Ellen Lindner

 

2

“Daydream” Complete

My latest piece, Daydream, is now complete.

Daydream, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

And here’s a detail shot.

Daydream - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

I think the colors are maybe slightly truer in the detail image, since the squares are mostly orange, rather than rust.

I’m kinda in love with this piece!  It’s now one of my favorites.

I encountered  several obstacles along the path to completion.  These included cutting off a corner, and enlarging it with additional batting TWICE.  It wasn’t a straight line journey, but I think it was well worth it.

You’ll find purchase info and other details here.

Ellen Lindner

7

Loosen Up with Torn Paper Collage

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I like to interpret foliage and scenery around me.  The problem is that my literal brain wants to depict my photos exactly as they are.  But, I know my quilts will be more interesting if I can put my own personal spin on things.

So, usually, I have to make a realistic sketch, just to satisfy my brain, and then I can get on to something more creative.  Maybe a sketch, or a torn paper collage.

Loosen Up with Torn Paper Collage. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

A torn paper collage is a great way to interpret a photo loosely because you CAN’T accurately depict the details.  Just what my left brain needs!

Loosen Up with Torn Paper Collage. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

The resulting collage can serve as a sketch for a finished quilt, or just as a creative exercise.

Loosen Up with Torn Paper Collage. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

I’ve just added a full article about this technique to my website.  It includes lots of in-progress photos and tips.  Check it out and try it yourself.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  One more example on my old blog.

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