Friday, August 3, 2012

Art Bits

It is the time of year that the graduate students at Baylor College of Medicine are putting on their 11th Annual BCM Art Show benefiting the Texas Children's Hospital Arts in Medicine Program. Contributors get to show off their art work, make a little money if their stuff sells and contribute to a good cause. At least 30% of the proceeds from the week-long silent auction go the charity.

Last year was my first year, and all my pieces sold for more than the minimum bid. It is an interesting feeling to actually make some 'art' that someone else will pay money for. Of course, I don't get the money (I donate everything to the students), and it is not much money anyway, but still... it is a nice feeling.

Gaillardia with ants

Petersen Cleaner Shrimp on Anemone

The flower and the shrimp were experiments in raw edge applique made by making a tracing from a photo, laying the tracing on the back of the background fabric and then, one by one from back to front, laying a foreground fabric on the front, stitching on the relevant lines from the back and cutting away outside of the stitching. On the shrimp, the purplish tip of the anemone's arm, and the shrimp's parts were the last things added. The final step is to layer up and quilt. I particularly like how the shading and contours of the anemone turned out.

Predictably, for a scientific institution, my most popular piece was the DNA molecule. The base pairs (green-purple, and red-teal to imply complementary bases) were paper pieced. The deoxyribose backbone was added using Caryl Bryer Fallert's machine applique method, and then the entire unit was appliqued onto the background. The background was cut away behind the molecule to allow removal of the paper and to reduce bulk.The quilting suggests continuation of the DNA molecule, binding of transcription factors and lots of other biochemical stuff in the cell.Some quilting motifs are based on Leah Day's designs (see link to Free Motion Quilting Project).

Miniature Mariner (9"x9")
This year's contributions include more experiments, and little pieces left-over from classes. This was left-over from a foundation piecing class with Jane Hall. See an earlier installment for a description of how this was made (little-experiment-in-2-parts). I think this will be a nice little qubicle quilt.

Sedona Rainbow (17"x17")
Sedona Rainbow (back)

 This is the center of Sarah Vedeler's block of the month quilt, Sedona Star. The whole quilt is huge, and I don't make huge quilts. I don't even make large or medium sized quilts. Sarah uses 'Stable Stuff Poly' for the foundation piecing and I wanted to try it. It is nice because it is stiff like paper, but you can tear it out, OR you can leave it in because rinsing removes the stiffener and leaves a flexible polyester 'fabric'). I added the piping and prairie points (a la Susan Cleveland) to the outer ring to make a small finished piece. The back is a beautiful piece of hand dye from Frieda Anderson with thin bias strips of black and white stripe (actually the trimmings from making the piping) couched down somewhat free motion.What may look like big wrinkles are really gradations in the dye.I love how this turned out and hopefully so will someone else.

Missing Pieces (~18"x24")
The last one was an exercise (Intuitive Angle Piecing) from Jean Well's book "Intuitive Color & Design". You make a small sketch , then piece (straight lines and angles) to approximate the sketch in a 'liberated' manner. I decided to limit myself to white, grays and black, with a little red for an accent. In the cloth, the center pieced parts are trapunto-ed and really stand-up from the 'sashing' and light gray pieced parts which are densely stippled. I also couched down some beautiful hand dyed red cotton yarn next to the narrow binding, and I like how that turned out.

The outer edges of the border are squared off, but the inner parts are not, and the borders are intentionally uneven. My favorite personal art critic pointed out that things were not even. Next time, I'll make the discrepancies bigger and more intentional. Here, I think it came out looking like I don't know what I'm doing. Of course, I really "don't know what I'm doing", so maybe that is OK. Hopefully, some nice art fancier will think it is OK too.

UPDATE: Art Show is over. 3 of 5 pieces sold at starting bid or above. "Missing Pieces" and a little landscape were left at the altar, so to speak. Live and learn. For this audience, cheap is good. Mariner's Compasses are good (I'm 3 for 3).

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