Tag Archives | Techniques

Online Class with Jane Davies

After getting so much out of Jane Davies’ book about abstract elements I decided to take an online “class” with her.  I put class in quotes, because this was not interactive.  You just download the content and do the exercises on your own.  More like a book – although she does have interactive classes, too.

This was MUCH more challenging, primarily because it involved a lot of – to me – tricky painting techniques I wasn’t familiar with.

The first exercise was easy enough, however: paint a lot of paper in a monochromatic colorway, then combine it in a gridded collage.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I made two.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The ease stopped there.  The next assignment was to make a horizontal collage with different background colors top and bottom.  That part was fine.  But then, I was supposed to sort of merge the background and foreground.  This is what Jane does so brilliantly that is completely foreign to me!

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I did 4 of these, with my most successful 2 shown above.  In places, I pulled the color of the collage into the background and in other places I painted a background color onto the collage.  I had no idea what I was doing!  But, it WAS interesting.

Next came an assignment that started with a cruciform composition.  That part was okay, but the quadrants were each supposed to be different, and again, the two were supposed to be merged with paint.  Again, lots of completely random attempts on my part.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This next 3 examples are so hideous I hesitate to show them to you.  Ugh!

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Again, these were cruciforms, with paint added everywhere and then wiped off.  I completely overworked these three!

Finally, it was time to put it all together.  After watching her video twice I was ready to start.  First, I referenced my earlier sample papers showing a variety of ways to make marks with paint.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

For this assignment I followed Jane’s example of painting over every single layer, (until I got to the last few elements.)  Here, the orange circle and the black lines are not painted over.  Everything else is.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, I had a little bit of success I think.

Things I learned:
– I  love the look of partially veiled paint, but I don’t know how to do it.
– I love the idea of foreground and background merging, but I don’t know how to do that with paint either.  Maybe with fabric?
– I continue to be entranced with skinny wild lines, inspired by some of Jane’s work.

Questions going forward:
– Can I get a veiled look with fabric?  Maybe with sheers or overprinting with paint?
– What’s the best way to add those skinny lines to my fabric art?
– Can I successfully  merge both fabric and paint in my art???

You know me: I’ll HAVE to do some more experimenting as I try to answer these questions.  Stay tuned.

Ellen Lindner

6

Listening to Fabrics and Other Odd Behavior

That’s the title of my newest lecture and I’m very excited about it!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a awhile, you know that I DO exhibit some odd behaviors.

Things like cutting up quilts and putting them back together,

Urban Sprawl, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Using unusual materials,

And changing the shape of the quilt.

It’s kinda funny, because when I started searching my quilts for signs of odd behavior there were lots of them!  (Of course, I’ve been quilting a long time, so there’s plenty of “normal” stuff too.)

I’ll be presenting this lecture for the first time next week.  If you live in western Florida, maybe you’d like to come.  I’ll be speaking at The Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Brandon, FL on Monday evening, September 11th.  Cost for visitors is $10.  (And if you come, please introduce yourself.)

Ellen Lindner

 

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Suzanne Sanger’s Work

Back in October, I wrote about creating torn paper collages in order to loosen up and to work more abstractly.  Like this:

Original photo
Ti Plants inspiration photo. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Torn paper collage
Because the paper is torn, you can’t be too accurate, so you
HAVE to focus on the largest shapes.
Ti plants torn paper collage. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The fabric interpretation, Ti Party.
Ti Party, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.comOne of my readers, Suzanne Sanger, decided to give it a try and was kind enough to share her results with me (and with you.)

Her original photo, taken in Bermuda
Suzanne Sanger's Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog
The paper collage, with part of the original photo overlapping.
Suzanne Sanger's Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog
And, her final quilt, called Dozing in Bermuda.

Suzanne Sanger's Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I think it’s great.  And don’t you love the way she’s matted and framed it?

Suzanne says, “I want to thank you for inspiring me! Like you, I’ve been challenging myself to work more abstractly, and have dabbled with a range from just barely to totally non representational. Your blog post from last October about torn paper collage sent me right into the studio to tear up the only magazine I had in order to recreate a photo I took in Bermuda a few years ago. Then I did my semi-annual house switch, life intervened, I took a great abstraction class from Lisa Call, all the while leaving my torn paper start hanging on my design wall. Now I’ve switched back to my summer house, and needed a project to get myself back into the studio. Ah hah! It was time to return to my dozing man. He’s a bit more realistic than I would like, but still a move in the right direction. I LOVE this process! Hmmm. I guess I’ll have to subscribe to an image heavy magazine again, pain though that is what with changing mailing addresses twice a year. LOL. Anyway, thanks for a great idea! You always give me new things to think about.”

I love this!  So much so that it makes me want to reach for my magazines again, too. It’s a FUN way to work!

Ellen Lindner

 

 

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Working on My Flame Vine Quilt

The quilt I’ve been working on is inspired by a friend’s flame vine, which cascades down her back porch.  In the strong Florida sun, it’s especially striking when seen against the dark porch screening.

After finishing the orange flowers, I went on to the leaves.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, I tackled the long skinny pieces.  I’m not sure what they are, but they’re some part of the plant. Let’s call them twigs.   At any rate, they were in the original photo and I liked the graphic quality they added to the abstraction.  To audition sizes I started tearing fabrics and I liked the fuzzy quality I got with some of them.  So, I just left them that way.

Working on my Flame Vine Quilt. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, it was time to glue everything to the muslin and start stitching.  I added black zigzag around each block unit.

Working on my Flame Vine Quilt. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

For the petals and leaves I chose an organic quilting pattern that, in part, followed the shape of the piece.  For the background, I selected parallel lines.  In each case, they follow the angle of one of the twigs.  I really like the effect.

Working on my Flame Vine Quilt. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

After all of this, I thought some of the petals merged a little bit too much.  To add definition, I drew around the edges with a Sharpie.  That helped, but it was partially covered by fuzzy threads, so I looked for something more significant.  I found it with a thin black cord which I hand couched on.  It gave the perfect outline.

Working on my Flame Vine Quilt. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

On to finishing!  I faced the quilt and sprayed marked areas with water, to remove the chalk marks.
But, oops, one area bled.

Working on my Flame Vine Quilt. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I decided to hide it by adding more of the same.  Like this:

Working on my Flame Vine Quilt. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I used water soluble wax pastels, adding a little yellow and orange.  Plus, I think the extra water added faded the original spot.  Voila!  On to photo taking.

Ellen Lindner

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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.

6

My Train Jumped the Track

I was making good progress on my two large leaf quilts when I got BADLY distracted.  The culprit was the book  Serendipity, by Susan Carlson.  In it she explains her fabric collage techniques.  In many ways they’re the same as my own, but with a much higher level of tiny details.  It was all SO intriguing and I just had to give it a try.  “BAM!  SCREECH!” The sounds of my leaf train derailing.

Learning Susan Carlosn's technique. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I pretty much never switch gears once I start on a quilt, but this time I did so quite gleefully.  I searched my photos for inspiration and decided to work with a photo of three tomatoes.  I tweaked the composition and will probably do some more down the road.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Susan typically constructs her design elements as stand-alone units.  This enables her to move them around later and to easily audition background options when the time comes.  So, I followed suit and drew a  20″ tomato.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I drew the design onto muslin with a Frixion (heat-way) pen.  The mini iron was my “eraser.”

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The idea is to fill the shape with the proper VALUE, leaving the detail areas as cutouts.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This was my first draft as I was nearing completion of the red fabrics.  The space was covered, but it was lacking some finesse.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I switched the light spot from yellow to pink.  But, it still looked pretty chunky.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog
Next, I started fiddling with the details.  Susan explained the basics in her book, about how to soften any hard edges.  From studying her blog and website, I could also see that she often cut little motifs from her fabrics and used them to merge the colors and patterns better.  Like this.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Instead of abruptly cutting off a motif, soften the edge by continuing it onto the next fabric.

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Well, that sort of thing is totally addicting!  AND it adds a lot of interest to the piece, as well as softening hard edges.

Here it is after a ton of fiddling (with the leaves still showing as cutouts.)  Much better, right?

Ellen Lindner's tomato quilt in-progress. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’m really having a lot of fun working this way.  Perhaps it will become too persnickety for me in the future.  We’ll see.

On to those twisty little leaves.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  I’ve made several other quilts featuring produce.  Like  Mangolicious.
P
.P.S.  Did you know you can susbscribe to my blog?  When doing so, you’ll get every post in  your email inbox.  Just click the Subscribe button, top right.

12

Perfectly Flat Quilts

If you’ve done much machine quilting you’ve probably had some “friendly” quilts.  You know, the wavy ones? This is pretty standard for me so I correct the problem by blocking my quilts.

Take this quilt for instance.  Pretty bad, right?

Straighten out those wavy quilts and make them perfectly flat. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

But, a combination of stretching, pinning, and steaming turned it into this perfectly flat quilt.

Straighten out those wavy quilts and make them perfectly flat. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I recently gave the same treatment to my latest quilt, Coastal Overlook.  Here it is with the top and left edges pinned straight and square.  I stretched them quite a bit  in that process, so the other two sides are still relaxed (and smaller.)

Straighten out those wavy quilts and make them perfectly flat. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, I stretched the bottom right corner to its square position and then pulled the remaining two edges into alignment.  This took A LOT of pins and about an  hour of my time.  Finally, I sprayed the whole thing with water, steam ironed it, and left it overnight to dry.

Here are the final results, nice and square.

Coastal Overlook, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Coastal Overlook

I highly recommend blocking and I’ve written a tutorial about it.  Read and learn!

Ellen Lindner

Related Post, old blog:
I Don’t Like Friendly Quilts

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Dyeing Scarves

My sister and I had a great time attending a recent scarf dying class.  Taught by my good friend, Jo-Ann Jensen, she provided me with plain silk, knowing that I’d want to use it in quilts.  Of course!

She first taught us how to do a tie-dye sort of thing.  She calls her geodes.  Well, I just didn’t have enough patience for all those rubber bands!  Plus, I didn’t choose my colors very wisely.  This is what I got, about 12 x 12.

Scarf dying with Jo-Ann Jensen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It’s not pretty enough to use as is, but certain parts can be cut and used very effectively.

Scarf dying with Jo-Ann Jensen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, I tried to paint something that might work as a sky.

Scarf dying with Jo-Ann Jensen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I think it will work.  Again, I’ll use localized slivers.

Scarf dying with Jo-Ann Jensen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, I did a long folded piece using just two colors.  The designs I got are really pretty, but I think it will need some over dying to add color to all that white.

Scarf dying with Jo-Ann Jensen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Scarf dying with Jo-Ann Jensen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This was a ton of fun!  If you ever get a chance to take a class with Jo-Ann, I strongly recommend it!

Now thinking about how I might use these fabrics together.  Hmm.

Ellen Lindner

P.S. You might also enjoy this post on  ice dying.

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