Archive for the ‘Pele’ Category

Deconstructing and Redesigning

Photograph by Stephen DeVol, Sedona, AZ

For over 13 years this piece has been known privately as “Ode to the Fire Goddess Pele” as a result of my time in Hawaii. It’s official title is Gaia 2: Beginnings. Our biggest problem has been that it was meant to hang on it’s own, but we were unable to figure out a simple – and not intrusive – hanging system. So for the last year, since we have been showing our work in Vermont, we’ve talked about mounting the piece – somehow. Here’s the story of the creation of the original piece.

That led to me deciding to completely redo the piece – ev.er.y.thing. It took two weeks of night time by the television to get all the machine quilting pulled out. In the 13 years since this was finished my machine quilting skills are SO much better. I will say that my original tension was so bad that in many places all I had to do was pull a thread and I had many many inches come right out.

My new plan is to requilt it, change the edging, mount it on a large piece of black fabric, quilt the black fabric, and then add a sleeve. I need to have all this accomplished by May, as I plan to enter it into the “Abstraction” show in Saranac Lake this summer.

Right now I have 12 strips still with serged edges. I found a FABULOUS piece of red and gold fabric in my stash, and (hoping I have enough) I will put the binding on over the serged edges. It looks really good so far.

A close-up of the original weaving with the serged edges.

A close-up of the back with all the hand-stitching to hold all the pieces tight and together (oy, did that take a while….)

Before and after – original stitching, and after the frog stitch….

More before and after….

The beginning of new free motion quilting….

A look at the new binding and how it will work with the weavings.

This piece will also have a new name: Revolution. More on that as I get further along in the quilt.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

 

Happy Pi Day! It’s the math nerd in me celebrating……no more having to plan special activities. Now back to regular blogging….(I started this on the iPad….)

Hmmmmm…..not sure if this is going to get any better….took me forever to log in, but I think I figured out what I was doing wrong…..now to get the pictures I want…..

That said, it has been pretty productive when it comes to fabric, even amidst the move. I finished my iPad cover with the feathers from the February free motion quilting challenge, and I’m really happy with it. In fact, at a birthday party last night, three of my friends want one and suggested I put them in my Etsy store. Something to consider idea when we return, as the Etsy store is disabled right now, as we are taking some of the product, with us to Seattle.

The front is a great big feather. I love the ideas people are posting, so I went with some Superior Rainbow and added some extra spines.

The Front

I added a small facing, and then added velcro to the inside in three different places to hold the cover closed.

Some things i would definitely change next time around, but overall, I LOVE it….never thought I would be able to do machine feathers!

Now for an update on Visions……I didn’t get in. Plain and simple. But….I’m okay with it, despite the fact that the very first show I ever got into was a fairly prestigious one. I know that the work is excellent; it’s some of the best I’ve done. And I have more ideas just ready to go. It just seems like the only way you get validation for your work is to get it in to major shows. I will keep making work, because that’s what I want to do.

If it weren’t too old (2003), this is what I would have entered: my absolute, favorite piece ever. I won’t sell this, because I’ll never be able to make another one. It is now on the wall in our new home, as we actually have wall space for it. This is part of the Gaia series, where I do weavings with strips of marbled fabric. This is Gaia 2: Beginnings, affectionately know around here as my Pele quilt.

My machine quilting skills have come along tremendously since that piece. The fabric of “The Shallows” was created about the same time, but it has just been in a drawer, waiting for the right time, which I figured was now.

Here’s the fabric at the beginning – it looks pretty bland.

It’s a pretty large piece of marbled fabric.

Making some early decisions on thread and backing. Everything was done with Superior Thread – Bottom Line in the bobbin, a mixture of King Tut and Rainbows and Art Studio for all the rocks and shading. (I never did take a pic of the back…..)

I knew how I wanted to start, but I wasn’t thrilled with how the fabric looked, after not seeing it for so many years. I thought in my mind it looked far more interesting. But I started anyway.

Already I could see improvement in texture, so I figured I would be okay. But I was worried about the green spots, which were originally designed to be some kind of leaf….now I was thinking lichen. I also wasn’t happy with the amount of white showing…needed to do something with that.

At this point I am becoming quite enthused with how things are shaping up…..but that’s a LOT of pebbles, and it took most of December to get the pebbles where I wanted them, without affecting the “veining” left from the marbling.

I was also starting to think about shading, which I guess is more thread painting than free motion. I consulted with my art mom to get advice on scientific shading, in which the light source always comes from the northwest. So I needed to start thinking about shading all those rocks…..at this point I became very aware that there are a LOT of rocks. YOu can see some of the beginning shading here.

So January hits and I’m aware of my deadline, knowing I need to leave time for photography. I’m shading, and doing pebbles, and thinking about trimming. About one-fourth of the right side is cut off, as the proportions seemed much better without it – and a lot fewer pebbles that had to be completed…. I needed to think through the lichen, and if you look closely at the detail, it’s shredded money – perfect texture!

And finally: The Shallows

It’s a far cry from the original fabric, and it is now proudly hanging in our new home.

Sunday Stories – Gaia 2

Gaia 2: Beginnings. Photography Steven DeVol

I love this piece, absolutely my favorite so far of everything I’ve ever done. I really had no idea going in to this just what would emerge…everything was trial and error, but thankfully, very little error.

This piece started as a result of finishing a commission that was done on red unpolished satin. Six half-yard pieces were marbled, with my using a total of four of the finished pieces. My idea was to create a piece that would represent the volcanic origins of the earth and the goddess Pele. For the longest time this piece was known simply as “Pele.” I used a different marbling pattern on each of the half-yards, as I wanted interest within the piece.

Ever since my first teaching job on Maui, I have been fascinated with the stories of Pele, the Fire Goddess, and I was always on the lookout for the Lady in White when I drove home over the Pali at night. I didn’t realize it then, but Pele and fire have woven their ways through much of my work.

I really had no idea how these were going to weave together. I experimented and ended up with this weaving, starting with a tighter bottom and then “exploding,” much like magma does as it reaches the surface and becomes lava. The only problem with this shape came as I realized I had to figure out a way to anchor everything together. The strips are heavily hand-stitched together on the back – twice, as I discovered I had to make it much tighter to hold the weight of the piece.

A free-form pattern makes up the bottom four strips. The next four strips are the “wave” pattern, and the last four strips are what we call the ”fountain” pattern. A fourth pattern of a very small feather was ultimately not used in the weaving.

Each piece was sandwiched and serged with a variegated thread before any quilting was done. I liked the effect from the variegated thread, and I use that technique a lot now. But I have since changed how I put the individual strips together, with serging only one side or none at all, leaving another design element for later. The free-form strips were quilted using a variegated Sulky thread to accent the pattern. The four “wave” strips were quilted by following an initial curved line throughout each of the pieces and then coming back with a different metallic thread to accent the marbled pattern. The four “fountain” pieces were quilted in a distinctly different shade of thread to accent the eruption of lava.

Gaia 2: Beginnings. Photography Steven DeVol

Now, you have to understand I hadn’t done a whole lot of machine quilting to this point, beyond stitch-in-the-ditch. This was brand new territory for me! But ultimately I was hooked….I quilt most of my marbled fabrics now, and the patterns can be very zen-like to quilt. Here’s another close-up:

Close-up of Quilting

I truly love this piece, and I know I’ll never get another one just like it. It’s a little bold for any of our walls where we are living now, but one day, when I retire and the place is a little bigger, it will hang again!

For those of you who haven’t subscribed to our newsletter, we are doing a drawing again from all our subscribers for a FREE Sampler Package 1. You can visit our website to see this. Be sure to sign up – the form is at the top on the right.

And…tell me the story of one of your favorite pieces. I’ll include stories in a future “Sunday Stories” post.

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