Friday, October 28, 2011

Twisted Trees by Friends

There are many ways to finish a "twisted tree" piece--by adding embellishments, borders, frames. Here are some made by my friends:

Jackie Watkins intertwined her twisted pieces to create larger trunks. She also embellished her piece with beads.
Polly Duggan's tree, framed under glass, with beads added (above)
Mary Nell Magee painted and tore leaves from Lutrador and glued her leaves on to add texture

Gloria Green used crazy quilting, hand embroidery, ribbon and beads
Elvia Edwards added borders

Jo-Ann Evans created an underwater scene with sea creatures, kelp, and two divers. The coral was made by the twisted tree technique

Monday, October 17, 2011

Twisted Trees

Twisted Tree, 22" x 19"

In progress, pinned to foam core
 In my small Innovative Fiber Art group, Polly Duggan shared with us a twisted tree technique that she had learned from another quilter friend, Jackie Watkins. We used batiks for the trees because batiks have the same coloration on the back as well as the front. Starting with 1" strips of fabric, we dampened our fingers and rolled the strips into tight little "snakes" (remember making snakes from clay when you were a kid?). To assemble my tree, I first prepared a background (sky and ground) with batting and backing and quilted it. This was secured to a foamcore board so that the tree could be created onto the board. Although this seems backward, we began at the outer end of each branch and worked toward the trunk, adding and combining pieces to create the trunk down to the roots. After pinning the branches to the board, the piece was taken to the sewing machine to sew the branches. I added small twigs to indicate a bare, leafless tree. A barn and silo in the left background completed the piece.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Never Be Surprised at Judges' Comments

Well, I like the piece and had enjoyed hand-embroidering it over a period of six months before layering and machine quilting it. (Silk With Stitches in previous blog post.) The center section is collaged silks I dyed, and the border (also backing) is a high-quality hand-dyed cotton sateen (by Heide Stoll-Weber). I posted it in a critique group I am in and received several affirming bits of feedback, along with some reservations:
"Love the spontaneous feel to your piece and use of color but my eye stops in the lower R corner."
" I found the center totally mesmerizing, dreamlike."
" I love the flow of your piece. The silks are beautiful and your stitching and embroidery choices are perfect. The center design is powerful and the borders frame it nicely.  I did not stop at the lower right corner because my eye found the blue silk in the bottom third of the center."
Getting feedback from my peers is a great way to learn what another artist sees. I didn't enter it in the quilt show expecting anything more than another artist's viewpoint. Imagine my surprise as well as puzzlement when the judging sheet read these eleven words.
     Visual Impact: Soft
     Technical Construction: Too mixed and too distracting
     Quilting: Fair
     Additional Comments:  Nice blend of colors
It's certainly a good thing that I don't place much importance on judges' remarks! I haven't figured out what a "soft" visual impact is other than her way of saying she didn't like it. Although she thought it "too mixed and too distracting," she complimented the "nice blend of colors." These statements seem contradictory, but they reinforce my thinking: Never Be Surprised at Judges' Comments!