Tag Archives | Experimenting/Arting

Something Fun

Every so often I like to spend a week or two doing something artistically different.  Maybe with fabric or maybe not.  At these times, I typically pick up a good art book and spend time reading it and working through some of the exercises.  This time, it was Cas  Holmes’ book, Stitch Stories.

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If you’re not familiar with her work, she does lots of layered collages, with sheer fabrics, hand stitching, paper, and more.  Her pieces have a lovely fragile look to them.  Which made me want to try something similar. I decided to make some small collages.

This is where I started.  A friend taught our small group of art quilters how to use Inktense pencils and aloe gel.  She went above and beyond, preparing each of us an appliqued sampler to work on.  Mine had 3 pears, which I colored.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog
You can also see my little color swatch, above, onto which I was recording different colors.

This had been sitting on my work table for several months and I didn’t know what to do with it.  So, I decided I would cut it up and use it as the base for several collages.  Fun already!

Following Cas’ example of using vintage linens and papers, I gathered my materials.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Do you see that cream crochet above?  It’s part of a table cloth, crocheted by my great grandmother.  Thankfully, I have a very practical aunt, who loves art.  When she came across this stained table cloth, she offered it to me, making it clear that I COULD CUT IT UP and use it in my art!  How progressive is that?

Here’s my first collage, early on.  As you can see, I quickly deviated from a yellow and neutral palette and added green.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And here it is, with the second pear drawn on.  I didn’t draw in the third one, since I wanted each collage to have a different number or arrangement of pears.  The drawn outline will be stitched in black.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’m excited about these collages!  I’ll show you more in the next post.

Ellen Lindner

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Sharpies and Alcohol

Have you heard about “painting” with Sharpies?  The idea is to draw with a Sharpie on to fabric, and then to apply rubbing alcohol, which makes the color bleed in interesting ways.

Here’s a quick tutorial.

After reading it, I was ready to give it a try.  I used a fine tipped black Sharpie, which bled into purple.

Sharpies and Alcohol. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Sharpies and Alcohol. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Pretty cool, huh?

But, if I try this again, I’d like the design to have more white and less purple.  So, either I’d need to use less alcohol or I’d need to draw the design with more open space.

Still, a successful experiment.  (Also quick and fun.)

Ellen Lindner

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Dirty Dozen Challenges

As I mentioned in the last post, my art quilt group, Dirty Dozen Fiber Artists, often has group challenges based on drawing inspiration from a particular photo.  This was the photo we selected for our 2009 challenge.

Group Challenges. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blogPhoto credit: Martha Wolfe

We decided on a vertical orientation, with measurements of 18″ x 12″.  Here’s the group display.  Very different, right?

Group Challenges. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This was my piece, Northern Light.Group Challenges. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blogI never really cared for this quilt, I think maybe because of the color combination.  Whenever I’m disappointed with a quilt I like to examine it and think about what worked and what didn’t.  These are some things I think I did well:
– Used the soft peach glow of the candles as the predominant color.
–  Mimiced the grid lines of the windows as design elements.
– Created interesting leaves, inspired by the foliage in the windows.

Here are those leaves up close.  Some are stitched sheers.  Others are painted and melted plastics.  I like the way they curl and buckle, lifting away from the quilt surface.  That might be something to try again on a future quilt.

Group Challenges. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

However, I think the combination of peach and yellow-green just doesn’t work.  And maybe the whole foliage thing is a little heavy handed.  To test that theory, check out the in-progress background, below.  I think it was better before I added the leaves.

Group Challenges. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

If I were doing this quilt again, I think I’d keep the background about the same.  Then, I’d add a FEW leaves in maybe a rust color.  NOT green, something sorta monochromatic.

So, remembering to be inspired by the photo and not controlled by it, I’ve started on a new challenge.  This is the inspiration photo.  Photo credit Kathryn Robinson

Group Challenges. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This photo was taken in southern France.  We selected it  because it has a lot of different components, which gives us many options for working with it.

What would you want to mimic from this photo?  Colors, shapes, foliage, flowers, steps, the door, the bench?  Oh yeah, we’re using a vertical orientation:  36 x 24.  Would that influence your decision?

I can guarantee all the resulting quilts will be very different!  Mine is nearly complete, but I’m not allowed to show it until the March unveiling.  (That’s hard for me!)  Of course, you’ll be the first to see it, after the DDFA gals, that is.

Ellen Lindner

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A Spoonflower Experiment

Have you ever printed onto fabric from your home printer?  I’ve had good luck with it, but every now and then I want to print something larger.  Like the background for Carefree.  At 51″ high, I needed an online service to handle it for me.  I used Modernyardage.com and was happy with the results.

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

Recently I found myself with a credit at Spoonflower.com, another online printing service.  Since I didn’t have a particular project in mind, I decided to do some experimenting.  I prepared a large file that would cover an entire yard, 45″ wide.  It was a good opportunity to experiment with various sizes, resolutions, and artistic effects.  This is the file which included notations about each image.

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

And the printed result.

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

Let’s take a closer look.  These next two images are exactly the same, except the second one has been printed on fabric.Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

Actually, I think the fabric version looks better in person.

Here’s a detail shot of the largest image, on which I had used the paint daubs artistic effect.  (PSE)

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

And the printed result.  It definitely lost some sharpness, but I think it would be useful for most projects.

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

And the cropped sideways image.

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

With its printed counterpart.

Experimenting with online printing. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com

All in all, I’m pretty happy with these.  Still, I think I’d be most inclined to use such printing services for things that didn’t have to be exact.  Things that were already vintage or could look somewhat distressed.

FYI:  I used the least expensive fabric ($17/yard), and the hand of the fabric is unchanged.

What do you think?  Would you ever use something like this in your art?

Ellen Lindner
P.S. You can read more about how I made Carefree on my old blog.  Check out December 2014.

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Exploration and Detours

I guess it’s a good thing making a quilt takes a while because I find that I often get new ideas while implementing the previous ones.  Such has been the case with my current abstract quilt.

I left a large orange/rust shape in the top left corner, planning to balance it with something large and orange in the lower right.  Maybe something like this.

An abstract art quilt under way, by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

But first, I wanted to get my flowers into place.  I had planned to use one large open flower, but that turned into two.  In the photo below, I was putting them in place.

Explorations and Detours. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

They blend in with the background more than I had hoped, so I’ll add some orange outline stitching, or something along those lines.

While working on the flowers, however, I had time to think about that big orange shape and I thought I could do something more interesting.

I’d been noticing that I really liked paintings with lots of tiny squiggles and shapes in them.  I wondered how I could get that effect with fabric.  I decided I could just cut shapes and sprinkle them about.  So, I tried a few to get the effect.

Explorations and Detours. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I really liked that, so I went for broke.

Explorations and Detours. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Oh yes!  I love it!

But, this definitely doesn’t balance the big corner blob.  I’ll have to do something about that.

Will I need to completely remove that big rust shape, or can I just shrink it? I auditioned the latter in this next photo.

Explorations and Detours. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’m not sure yet.  But, I’m having fun exploring options and taking detours!

Ellen Lindner

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Fabric Twig

Sometimes you just need to wrap a twig in fabric.

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Update:  Degen asked about my technique, so here’s some more information:

At my local quilt store they save the tiny strips cut from fabric as they create fat quarters.  Then, they bag them up and sell them.  These are what I used, which means they’re cut on grain.  I didn’t use any glue.  I started like a bandage:  lay the strip down in the area you’re about to cover and start wrapping.  When I changed colors, I’d leave a tail of the first color and cover it in the same fashion with the new one.  At the ends, I had to tie a few knots.

I’ve also used these fabrics for knitting.  See this post.

Ellen Lindner

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Liquefy and Crop

Are you playing along with me?  If so, you’ve printed out the liquefied image from the previous post and you’ve found some small compositions within it.

I found ten, but I’m only showing you four of them.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog
Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Again, any one of them would be a great start to an abstract quilt.  What did you find?

Later, I wanted to select one or two of my compositions for the next stage of experimenting.  The first thing I did was to turn them all upside down.  That gave me a new perspective.

I chose two and cropped them SOME MORE!  Maybe you can find their points of origin in the images above.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, I began to play with the image above and to turn it into a viable sketch.

Maybe this?

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Or, with slightly altered colors:

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Hmm, yes.  I think that’s a good starting point.  As with Brainstorm, I won’t try to perfectly replicate the sketch.  I’ll use it as reference to get me started, but then – once again – take plenty of detours.  I’m already thinking I’ll add a little yellow.  We’ll see.

Ellen Lindner

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Taking Detours

When I’m in experimental mode, my plan is to take every creative detour that pops into my head.  What an Adrenalin surge that is!

After completing Brainstorm I wanted to continue to work in the loose, experimental way I had when creating it. First, I wanted to play with colors.  I figured I’d probably use the same ones I’d used in Brainstorm, but perhaps in different proportions.  Hmm, how to best audition my options?  Since my Brainstorm fabrics were still strewn all over my work table, I could have easily pinned them to my design wall.  But, I decided to do some coloring on the computer, instead.  (I used Photoshop Elements, but you could do lots of this with colored pencils and paper.)

I opened a picture of Brainstorm and digitally “sampled” the most prominent colors.  That is, I copied them.  I loaded my digital paint brush with each one in turned and slathered them onto a plain sheet of digital paper.  I tried to do it without a lot of thought.  I used the same size brush throughout and my only criteria was to spread the colors around.

Well THAT was fun!

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As you can see I also drew on a few motifs that I thought I might use at some point.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I was pretty floored at this point, because either of these could be tweaked a little and turned into a wonderful quilt background.  Wow, what a concept!

Next, I decided to make blocks of color in a computer file that I could fill in with the colors.  I didn’t intend to make a blocky quilt; I just wanted to play with proportions.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Woah, another good result.  What’s going on here?  I like these proportions a lot.

But, as I said, I didn’t want a blocky quilt, so I did some digital magic.  I “liquefied” the above image.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Also very cool.  But, I don’t want to make a quilt with that much action in the background.  No worries.  I’ll go back to that recent exercise where I found small compositions within the larger piece.  Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?

All this play would be more fun with some playmates.  Would you like to join me?  You could do something similar with one of your favorite quilts as a starting reference.  Or, I tell you what:  I’ve made the image above copyright free.  You can print it and play with it to your heart’s content!  To find compositions, use two L-shaped pieces of cardboard to create a frame.  Move them around, adjust their size, and tilt them some too.  You’ll find many intriguing little designs.  Draw them on your image and cut them out.  I suggest cropping way in and getting 3 or more compositions from this.  But, that’s up to YOU.  I sure hope someone will join me.  My enthusiasm is getting hard to contain!

Preview:  Of course, after finding a composition I like I’ll take some more detours. 🙂

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  If you want to work with a larger version of this image, go here.

 

2

“Brainstorm” Complete

This is one of the most enjoyable quilts I’ve ever made.  I cut loose and experimented and embraced lots of
new-to-me ideas.  And I love the result!

Brainstorm

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

Brainstorm

Here are some detail shots.

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

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

I was kinda proud of the title, too.  Doesn’t it look like a brainstorm?  Certainly my process involved some brainstorming.

You can read about my process in the blog links below.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Would you like to audition this art in your home?

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