Gift Wrap and Other Christmas Blessings

As I was wrapping gifts today, I came across a somewhat nostalgic scrap.  It was left over from a particularly stressful Christmas a few years ago.  That year, I decided to make the best of our circumstances, and to look for small blessings at every turn.  So, I decided to buy the most absolutely gorgeous gift wrap and ribbon I could find.

Oh what fun I had wrapping gifts that year!

Click on any image for a larger view
Ellen Lindner ponders Christmas blessings.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog
 Isn’t that paper beautiful?  The black and white one is flocked.  No bows, since everything had to be shipped.  (Here’s a tip:  don’t ever buy paper with glitter unless you want it EVERYWHERE.  For weeks!)

I admit to getting a little “wrap crazy” that year, and my husband had some interesting surprises on Christmas morning.

Ellen Lindner ponders Christmas blessings.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner ponders her Christmas blessings.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Coming across that scrap of paper today made me thankful for many things:
– The initial joy I got from my silly wrapping activities.
– How God blesses me in so many small, but  significant, ways.
– A greatly improved situation, that’s now mostly stress free.
– The “reason for the season.”

What a blessing it is to recognize our blessings!  In the midst of this crazy time of year, I hope you’ll be able to focus on your own blessings.  And maybe to even discover some new ones.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Were you able to identify the wrapped items above?  A toothbrush, toothpaste, laptop, and mouse.
P.P.S.  That same year I received probably my best gift ever.  Read about it here.

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“Carefree” Complete

My latest quilt, Carefree, is now complete, and I’m VERY happy with it!

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

I’ve heard it said that your favorite quilt is your most recent one, and that’s definitely true for me with this quilt.  For me, some of the appeal is the subject:  my son and two of his cousins skipping down the road on my parents’ farm.  I think it captures that universal moment of cousins being playful, as well as the personal story of my own family.

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

I’ve really enjoyed working on this piece.  It was a good reminder of the power of fabric.  The people were originally just printed on the background fabric, (as is the rest of the background,) but they really came to life when I collaged fabric on top.  I love the effect!

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  You might enjoy scrolling back to see more of my process.

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What Color is Skin?

As I studied the inspiration photo for my current quilt, I realized that caucasian skin is WAY more diverse than just tan!  As a matter of fact, since the people in my quilt are backlit, their skin looks pretty dark.

Click on any image for a larger viewCousins skipping, altered photo. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

After increasing the contrast, this was even more true.  Therefore, these were the fabrics I auditioned for skin.

Creating skin with fabric collage.  Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And here’s the first neck with the pieces pinned in place.

Creating skin with fabric collage.  Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It works, I think.

I’m really having fun with this quilt!

Ellen Lindner

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Deconstructed Screen Printing

Do you know about deconstructed screen printing?  Well, it’s a little hard to explain.  Basically, you apply thickened dye, in a random design, to a screen and let it dry.  (Yes, let it dry.)  Then, you print with a release agent.  It picks up the color from the screen in a variety of unexpected ways and is very cool!

Kerr Grabowski developed this technique and she was the teacher at a workshop I recently attended.  I think you’ll really enjoy seeing a demonstration from her on this YouTube video.

I wasn’t very good about taking photos in our workshop, but here are a few.  This was Kerr’s sample screen.  For texture below the screen, I think she used a tea bag, the lid to her tea/coffee cup, and a squiggly sort of stamp.

Click any image for a larger viewDeconstructed screen printing with Kerr Grabowski.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

She brought beautiful samples with her.  These delicate lines were made with a syringe filled with black dye.  Even though the dye didn’t print on these passes, an interesting shadowing effect was achieved.

Deconstructed screen printing with Kerr Grabowski.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

More of her samples.  Again, the most delicate lines were done with a syringe.

Deconstructed screen printing with Kerr Grabowski.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Deconstructed screen printing with Kerr Grabowski.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Now for my results, which were QUITE humbling, (and out of focus.)

Deconstructed screen printing with Kerr Grabowski.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The red swirls were made with a syringe of BLACK dye.  Clearly, that black had a lot of red in it.  Detail below.

Deconstructed screen printing with Kerr Grabowski.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Although my results were marginal, I bet they’ll make their way into future quilts.

I doubt I’ll use this technique again, but I definitely enjoyed a day of learning and play!

Ellen Lindner

 

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How Much Purple?

Although the middle shirt in the inspiration photo was aqua, I decided to change it to red-violet (red-purple.)  I chose this because it’s the complementary color the yellow-green of the background.

This was my first attempt.

Click any image for a larger viewCarefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

Definitely too bright.  How about a duller purple?  I auditioned a different fabric that seemed better.

Carefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

Yes, MUCH better!

Carefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

As you can probably tell, the purple fabrics above are only pinned in place.  After getting things the way I wanted them, I came back with a liquid fabric glue, and glued it all securely.

At this point, the gray on the back of her neck was bugging me, so I knew I’d have to address that pretty soon.

Ellen Lindner

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Collaged Hair and Such

In my last post, I showed you the large digitally printed fabric that I’m currently working on.  Since the image was somewhat pixelated – which I expected – I decided I needed to at least partially collage the people.

I started with the hair, thinking that maybe it was all I needed.

Click any image for a larger view
Carefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

But, it was so effective I knew I couldn’t stop there.  My procedure was to study the fabric and photo VERY hard, in order to find subtle variations.  Once found, I drew these directly on the quilt fabric, and then cut each fabric to shape.

Carefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

Since I was working on the backs of people, I didn’t have to be super accurate, so I didn’t make pattern pieces.  I just cut into the fabric.  And tweaked the pieces as needed.

Carefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

I quilted each section as I went.  Just to hold all those tiny pieces in place before proceeding.  Don’t you think this collage result is MUCH more interesting than the printed fabric?  I was very excited by it!

This was my set up.  I had the laptop handy, with the same image showing.  It had more contrast, so I referenced it a lot.

Carefree, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

The photo above was taken late in the process.  Because I was working on the lower portion, I actually got to sit down at the design wall.  A first for me.

Ellen Lindner

See many more collaged quilts on my website

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Major Digital Manipulation

As mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve been experimenting with printing digital images to fabric and then quilting them.  For my third project, I decided to work large.  Partly to see how bad things would pixelate, and partly because I wanted to interpret a favorite photo at a size appropriate for a certain spot in my home.

This was the original photo.

Click any image for a larger viewCousins skipping, Inspiration photo.  Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It was taken on my parents’ farm at a big family event.  I loved the way the 3 cousins in the foreground were skipping, but I didn’t need the other THIRTEEN people!

After LOTS of computer editing, I got this.

Cousins skipping, altered photo. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Much better, right?

I placed an order to have it printed at a very large scale:  about 52″ high.  And waited to see how well it would turn out.

Ellen Lindner

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Pretty Painted Pumpkins

My sister and I had great fun painting pumpkins.  The instructions said to first paint them all over in pastel colors.  But, I had to mix things up a little.

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Painted pumpkins in-progress, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, we used squirt paint – the kind designed for t-shirts – and doodled all over the top of them.  These are my sister’s.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Painted pumpkins in-progress, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And this is my final display.

Pretty painted pumpkins, by Ellen Lindner.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

With a couple of detail shots.

Pretty painted pumpkins, by Ellen Lindner.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The natural segments of the pumpkins make it easier to create a design.

Pretty painted pumpkins, by Ellen Lindner.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Aren’t they cool?

I can’t take credit for the idea.  It came from Alisa Burke’s blog.  She has many creative ideas!

These were a lot of fun, but I have to say:  they didn’t last as long as we had hoped.  I think paper mache might be in order next year.

What seasonal decorations are you using this year?

Ellen Lindner

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Digitally Printed Quilts

I’ve been experimenting with “whole cloth” quilts.  In this case, they’re comprised of images that I’ve printed on fabric, then stitched.

For my first two pieces, I started with this inspiration photo.

Curly Crotons, photo by Ellen Lindner.   AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Beautiful, right?  These are my neighbor’s curly crotons.

I wanted my quilted versions to be more impressionistic, so I played around in the computer and altered them quite a bit.  I removed a lot of the detail, knowing that I would add it back with black stitching.  Then, I had them printed by modern yardage, an online company.

This is the resulting first quilt, Curly Crotons.  The black lines are stitched.

Click any image for a larger viewCurly Crotons, a digitally printed quilt by Ellen Lindner.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And a detail shot.

Curly Crotons, stitched digital print by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

For the second piece, I used the same starting photo, but added some more computer effects.  Plus, I flipped it to the mirror image.

Curly Crotons Mosaic, a digitnally printed art quilt by Ellen Lindner.  AdventureQuilter.com

I like the transparent squares in this design.  See the detail below.  Again, the black lines are stitching.

Curly Crotons Mosaic - detail, a digitnally printed art quilt by Ellen Lindner.  AdventureQuilter.com

Next, I decided to print some small panels that I could add hand stitch to.  Here’s the first one, as I auditioned  threads.

Bird of Paradise quilt, in-progress.  Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Can you see the Bird of Paradise flower under there?  These should be fun little hand projects.

I’m happy with the first few projects and have now launched into a larger one.  Sneak peeks soon.

What sorts of experimenting have you been doing lately?

Ellen Lindner

 

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Hometown Art

I really enjoy visiting art galleries and museums when traveling.  But, lucky for me, there’s also some very interesting art in my own backyard.

A recent visit to the Foosaner Art Museum’s Education Center, brought me face to face with some great art!

Like “Oak Shadow,” by Fahan Sky McDonough.  The light, indeed, created beautiful shadows.

Click any image for a larger view
Oak Shadow, by Fahan Sky McDonough, adventurequilter.com/blog

And here’s the detail shot.  If you’ll click on it, you’ll see some of the gold thread she’s used.

Oak Shadow - detail, by Fahan Sky McDonough, adventurequilter.com/blog

This next piece, “63 Notes” was really hard to photograph.

63 Notes, by Fahan Sky McDonough.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Click on this detail shot for a better idea.

63 Notes - detail, by Fahan Sky McDonough.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The adjacent gallery had work by Marlis Newman.

Marlis Newman's work in Foosaner Art Museum Education Center.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Marlis Newman's work in Foosaner Art Museum Education Center.  AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Although both galleries are tiny, it was definitely worth walking through the door!

What arsty things are going on in your neck of the woods?

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Here in Florida, November is perfect weather for outdoor art festivals.

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