Friday, July 12, 2013

Graduate Student Art Show time again

It is BCM Graduate Student Art Show time again -- time to donate a few things to the silent auction and help the students raise a little money for Texas Children's Hospital. This will be be third year I've contributed something. It is clear I don't know what people will be willing to pay money for. Things I think are cool don't sell and things I was less excited about seem more popular.

This year I have 3 little things to contribute -- two class project left-overs from the IQF Houston, and one brand new quickie.

The first left-over looking for a home was a Tsukineko painted beetle from a class with Judith Coates-Perez. The class was great and I was amazed at how the beetle (based on a Dover copyright free image) turned out, but then "What to do with it???"

Here is what I came up with. I added a batik border, like a picture frame, quilted around the beetle with very thin, nearly invisible thread, and then drew in fairly crude leaves with a chalk pencil and quilted with a nice green shiny rayon. There is feather quilting in the border, but it doesn't show much. Binding matches the backing, but is done in the usual way. Batting is two layers of a thin cotton -- the result is fairly stiff, which is nice for a wall piece, but was hard to sew through. It looks OK, but seemed to need something. One of my signature finishes is to couch thick Perl cotton along a seam or along the binding. I think the extra definition is a big improvement.
Quilted and bound

Black Perl cotton couched on, 9"x10"
 Now for the second left-over. This one is really old. I took a class on precision piecing with Sally Collins and one of the class exercises was to make a small Lemoyne Star using templates and Y-seams. It was very educational -- I learned I could do it and could probably get good at it with more practice, and I learned that maybe I didn't want to be good at it. In any event, I was left with 1 orphan, relatively precisely pieced Lemoyne Star. The fabric choices, which were based on what I happened to bring to the class, were somewhat unfortunate, and not good for showing off all the hard work of matching the points etc. You can hardly see the diamonds that make the star. I thought this might make a nice "Mug Rug" (a term I was unfamiliar with until recently), and that this might be a good opportunity to experiment with shifting the color one sees in a block with quilting and thread. Here is the original, unquilted block.
Original unquilted block

Red feathers added in half the star points

Yellow cross-hatching added on the other points
 The red and yellow rayon threads have some effect, and do improve the star's definition, but not as much as I hoped. Even denser quilting would probably have done more, but I used a double thickness of batting here too, and had a lot of trouble with threads shredding, so I decided not to push it. I used the same trick with Perl cotton around the edge to add a little more pizz-zazz. A darker salmon would probably have been even better, but my palette of available colors (I have a zip-lock bag of small skeins left-over from a previous needle-pointing life) is not unlimited.
Lemoyne Star Mug Rug -- 6"x6"

The final Art Show contribution is something that practically made itself. I recently got a couple of coffee themed batiks, and they just cried out for a free-cut cup and steam. The raw-edge cup and steam spirals were glue-basted on rather than fused, just to tack them down, and then stitched down in a sketchy free motion manner (see also And-then-there-were-two ). I used free motion quilting around the cup and in the background. It is subtle (maybe too subtle -- that is one of my problems), but the chemical symbol for caffeine is quilted onto the coffee cup. Hopefully some scientist browsing the Art Show will notice and think that is cool.

The border is actually the binding. It was cut 3" wide, folded, sewn on from the back with a 1/4" seam allowance, and then brought to the front. The mitering is done exactly as you would normally, and works beautifully. I glue-basted the folded edge down on the front, and then used a big blanket stitch with a heavy thread to stitch it down. The Perl cotton (dark brown) is the final touch.
Coffee Cup Mug Rug -- 8"x8"
As always, the fun is in the doing... Have fun and thanks for reading.


Update: Everything sold (Yippee), and there was a tiny bidding war on the bug.