Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ruffles and Flounces with Her Majesty Margo

Let me start by saying that if you have any interest in felting, fibers, Textile collage or texture and you get the opportunity to take a workshop with Margo Duke JUMP AT THE CHANCE!!!!   She has earned her Title of Her Majesty!!  Her work is stunning and innovative and luxurious and she loves to share all of her tips and tricks as she is secure in the Knowledge that no one can collage fibers and fabrics exactly like another person.  She is a total delight.  Ruffles and Flounces was my fourth workshop with Margo and this class was held at the fabulous space and shop for Altered art and Fabulous batik fabric, Artistic Artifacts.
Whenever we gather with Margo, she brings out her glorious samples and inevitably we all get caught up in asking how and what and exclaiming and drooling over each piece.  This little tease of a trunk show is well worth the cost of the workshop, but wait there is more!!!  Then we see garments and my friend Chris is asked to model the garments so we can see the fit of each!! Then the pieces are passed around and finally they are counted to make sure they have not sprouted little furry feet.  ( just kidding about the last bit)

I took several photos fo a couple of her samples . These pieces are done with wool roving and collaged with silk fabrics, lace doilies, yarns and other fibers.  All of the work that you will see here are achieved using water, a bit of soap and woman power.  No stitches were taken to create these pieces!!!!

The Texture is totally breathtaking!!  The little red berry like bits are called wool nepps.  They are a bi- product of not good shearing.  The bits from bad shearing practice are called second cuts, by spinners.  This happens when the shearer does not get as close to the skin and therefore the longest fiber form the animal and has to return to make a Second Cut to even out the sheep's wool appearance.  this second cut ends up as lost part of the best part of the fleece, at least it was till some bright person figured out how to make these Nepps.  They can be dyed any color and they give wonderful texture , as you can see!

The first garment that Chris modeled was this wonderful vest.

Margo explained how she makes her collaged felt two sided so the garments can have interest on the inside as well as the outside.  FABULOUS!!

The next garment was a wonderful soft colored jacket.  

This back view gives a great idea of how collaged Margo's pieces are- remember this is all done with water, a bit of soap and lots of hand  manipulation.  Then the pieces of felt collage are stitched together to make the garment.

( Click on any of these pictures to see enlargements and more detail)

I started out my project with a piece of green silk gauze with pink roses on it and a piece of tan cotton gauze that had red and blue floral print.  These remnants were topped by a large piece of chartreuse green pre-felt.  you can see the pre-felt in the picture above along the bottom edge.  I then layered the green pre-felt with hand dyed vintage cotton doilies, silk hankies, silk fibers and silk gauze  fabrics, sari silk ribbons and fun yarns.  Some of the silk gauze was rolled into 3-d rose shapes.  You can see the rose shapes in the center left of the above picture and in the middle of the picture below.
These two pictures were taken before the piece was wet down with soapy water and rolled and rolled and rolled some more!!!
This is a picture of the fully felted and fulled collage!  It shrank by 30%.  Along the bottom edge you can see the silk ruffle that was created by capturing one edge of a long piece of silk gauze ( cut from a thrift store skirt) .  As the wool shrinks that has penetrated the silk fabric, the silk gets carried along with the wool, resulting in wonderful ruffles and flounces.

  At the top of this picture you can see the felted in cotton doily- look at the wonderful texture- I do so love it!!!  The base of the silk roses have been captured by the wool and drawn in more tightly and are secured.

The br
ight blue areas in this picture show the pleating that I accomplished by hand pleating the fabric when wet and then covering with a very wispy bit of wool roving before the rolling process.

Here you can also see a good view of the ruffled silk from the pink skirt.

Here is a shot of the almost finished collage piece.  Just below the green pre-flet area you can see a piece of bright blue silk with a beaded motif on it.  This bit was cut from a silk beaded blouse, again from a thrift store.

now here is the same area once the felting and fulling is complete.  the beading is there along with the wonderfully puckered blue silk fabric.  So fabrics that have been beaded and sequined can be used to add yet another element to the felted collaged piece.  No needle and thread required!!!

Here you can see the back of half of the piece,  the half with the green silk gauze.  You can see how the green pre-felt fibers have penetrated the silk gauze.

This is the other side of the back , the half with the tan floral cotton gauze.  I love all of that texture!!!!

As you can probably tell I am more than a bit excited about  the possibilities for all of these wonderful
techniques!!  You will definitely be seeing more of this type of work here very very soon!!

So if you ever see classes, workshops or lectures offered by Her Majesty Margo Duke, DO NOT HESITATE TO SIGN UP AND DIVE IN!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Rules- Crazy Quilting!!

Over the past year or so I have been developing a class called Let's Go Crazy (er) - The Rules of NO RULES Crazy Quilting!!  I have asked the amazingly talented and generous quilt/textile artist Allison Aller, if I may use her fabulous book as a reference and she has given me the green light.  You can see and read about here fabulous book here!  If you have any interest in textile collage, this is a Must Have book!
This past week I taught my first sessions of this class at Artful Dimensions Gallery in Fredericksburg, VA.  We have a great roster of classes at the Gallery and we teach whenever it is convenient for the student, that is why you will not see times and dates on the schedule!!

My dear friend Leslie Brier and her wonderful mom came in to learn how to piece a Crazy Quilt Block and then how to embellish their newly created textile canvas.  We had a wonderful time and we could have worked through the day!!  This class has been designed to allow students to express their personal artistic style in their textile collage- crazy quilt art form.  We want to throw open all the doors and windows and allow all the rules about crazy quilting to flow out and make everyone comfortable with asking themselves those wonderful "What IF" questions that lead to personal works of exuberant textile collage!!

During our first session we covered the Flip and Stitch method for piecing a quilt block.  Then I shared a wonderful method for collaging fabric scraps on Steam a Seam 2 fusible web to create a very crazy collage, Such fun!!
(click on any image to enlarge)
Here are the first blocks that my students created! I enticed them to jump in with some wonderful focal images that had been printed on fabric.  Each lady was delighted with the selection of printed images- they were perfect for their respective personalities!!

After our first class, Leslie and her Mom left and with homework to practice piecing and to return with several blocks that they had created on their home! Here you see a very simple block that Paula created.  We worked on how to start the embellishing process and things to think about and now Paula is itching to get to the FUN part!!  ( Aller's Book does a fabulous job with inspiring ideas and directions for this stage of the CQ ( Crazy Quilt) process!!)

Paula went ahead and created several Christmas themed blocks  as her practice pieces!  For a gal who is not yet good friends with her sewing machine, she did a great job!! we worked on some parts that she was struggling with in her relationship with her machine and things seem to be getting Much better!! It is so nice to be able to ease the frustration of a seamstress so they can get past the anger stage when learning to use their machine!!!

Her you can see one of Leslie's amazing practice blocks.  Leslie and I have both found our local Goodwill shops to be a great resource for fabric finds.  The black lace swatches that you see in this block was salvaged from a dress that Leslie found at Goodwill by the Pound!!  ( Locally , we have an outlet where Goodwill takes their older donations and makes them available to the public for a "By the Pound' price!)I really love how Leslie has crafted this wonderful selection of black and white patterned fabrics!

Here is Leslie's block from our first session.  Leslie has started on her embellishment journey and has added this wonderful flower trim to bring some more color closer to the gorgeous lady in the center of the block.

 Here is another practice block by Leslie!! I love seeing how an individual artists personality is expressed in their work!  With the black and white block and this numbers block above you can see the "Steampunker" part of Leslie emerge!!  I can't wait to see how Leslie embellishes this amazing block.  we will have to wait till our next class and AI will be sure to share pictures with you here!!

For another peek at Leslie's artistic personality you see this third practice block above!!  I know just how Leslie thinks as I myself often go to opposite ends of my artistic expression meter to create very different pieces of artwork!!  This only serves to keep us interested and inspired and excited about all of the wonderful possibilities available to us!!

Check back soon to see the further adventures of Paula and Leslie as they continue to follow the No Rules approach to Crazy Quilting!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My First Series!

I am almost done with my first series, art work series to be precise.  This is something that I have been trying to get myself to do for a long time.  This series began as a long single wall piece and I decided to make it into three separate, though very related single pieces.

The title of the series is Love It Forward.  I have used many of my own hand dyed fabrics and sun printed fabrics and stitched the majority of the pieces by hand.  all of the embellishing has been done by hand.

(click on each photo for close up shots!!)
This is Love It Forward I and it is currently hanging on my studio door at Artful Dimensions Gallery in Fredericksburg.

In the pictures that follow you can see some detail shots of the hand stitch work on the various pieces.

When I stitched on the backing I also added a few bits of Free motion Embroidery work on the machine.  You can also see the beading that i added to the sun prints.  these sun prints were done with a wonderful old plastic place mat.

Here are Love It Forward II and III.  They need to be backed and have a hanging sleeve added and then they will also go to the Gallery. 


I really had a a great deal of fun stitching and adding beaded details to these pieces and hopefully someone who visits the gallery will want to take one or all of them home!  Why not think big!! As the first Love It Forward was hanging during our March First Friday event , i have gotten  a lot of very positive feed back about the piece and folks are anxiously awaiting the second and third installments!! Off to stitch!


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