Didn't they all do a great job!?
And I also have to say, hats off to school teachers! This one lesson a week left me exhausted! I don't think I could do this full time!
Did you know that I started writing this blog in January 2009. I can’t believe that’s already more than six years ago!
Just because, I thought it would be fun to revisit a few posts from those first months. I was a mother of three at the time, and they were so tiny and cute back then!
(Please note, the blog has had a few moves since than, so the images on the earlier posts are not very well aligned anymore. And it’s too big a job to go back through and fix them all.)
1. We loved our Schleich collection already then (it was considerable smaller than what it is now!)
2. Here are the three munchkins! Several weeks before Aaron began Grade 1. Aaron and Hannah were able to play together happily for hours and hours on end!
3. I’m always interested to look back and be reminded of the quilts I was working on over the years. This one was inspired by Aaron playing with his little cars, and by some of his own drawings of cars. It’s not intended to be about Aaron, though. More about every little boy that likes to play with cars.
4. This quilt. It’s still sitting uncut, half-bound, in my quilt storage cupboard. I never did come to a decision!
5. And the most gorgeous sewist ever. Nowadays she has her own sewing corner and doesn’t have to work on the floor.
6. My super helpful photography assistant. (Every child of mine has felt a need to run over my finished quilts when I put them on the ground. Not sure why that is!
7. Still a favourite of mine! The artwork that Aaron, Hannah and I made for Phil’s birthday.
8. The never-ending quest to dye fire-engine red. I still don’t have a conclusive answer, although every so often I make a piece that comes close.
9. My sewing box. Guess what we used it for? (Unfortunately it has since gone to the sewing-box-graveyard.)
10. My visit to Quilt National and the SAQA conference. What a treat that was – two weeks visiting my dear friend and getting a major textile fix!
A big project over recent weeks was dyeing a new batch of fabrics. By batch, I mean something like 360 pieces of fabric (0.5m by 1m each).
I needed a whole lot more light fabrics, as well as darks.
Above is my existing colour palette, while below are the new fabrics, and in the crates you see the new fabrics mixed in with the existing palette. There’s definitely a better palette now than before, although I’d still like to work on some more dark fabrics. The thing with making artwork by piecing bits of fabric together is that you need fabric in every colour, unlike painting where you can mix the colours as required.
I feel that the darker tones have been missing in my artworks, but clearly dyeing darker is also proving to be a challenge! I’ll give it another go sometime after baby is born.
I mentioned last week that my third challenge quilt is a flop… Here are the gory details…
After Eucalyptus Extension 1 and 2 I wanted to play a bit more with the colours of the next quilt. There was some discussion on this post about background colour. Thank you so much for the well thought out responses I received to that post!
Choosing background fabric for my eucalyptus quilts has always been an issue. Earlier on I always used a range of sky blues. But after working on eucalyptus quilts for a could of year, I got a bit sick of all that blue. Nowadays a natural cotton linen blended is my go-to background fabric. Ellen is right though – varying the background colour could really liven up these quilts.
So I decided to pick something out of my comfort zone. I thought about brighter, prettier colours – lemon yellow, coral, pink – but really struggled to commit to those. So (here's where I made my big error) I chose a muted (as in, take a lovely red and add brown to it) 'pretty colour' as a safer option. Maroon.
And to break up the maroon I screenprinted a blossomy design on some of the pieces. And as I stitched it all together, I knew in my stomach that I was wasting my time. High school uniform memories came flooding back every time I sat at the machine:).
The other thing I wanted to try with this challenge quilt was to incorporate some blossoms added as an extra layer between some of the pieced sections. (I have a new machine which cut these out for me – more about that in another post). Because I really wasn't enjoying this quilt, I didn't go to too much effort to find the right colour for these, and it shows. I know better for next time (and I'll try to use felt next time, I think.
I know I mentioned earlier that I was wasting my time, but really, this was part of the learning and developing process. Neither of the previous two challenge quilts really excited me either, but working through and eliminating things that don't work is helping to bring me closer to new work that I love.
I guess that when I started this challenge, I expected to see gradual changes and steps towards a slightly new style of botanical art quilts. Instead they seem to be lurching all over the place. The great thing is that the disappointing result this time has really made me thing about what I do and don't want to see in these quilts.
Here's what I do want to see:
– hand-dyed fabric
– screen-printing (optional)
– artworks that capture something of the beauty of the plants
– artworks that have a contemporary feel to them
– neutral background
Here's what I do not want to see:
– artwork that has a 'cheap and nasty', or slapped-together feel to it
– maroon backgrounds
I spent some time putting together a mood board to help clarify the kind of feel I am after. I've referred a lot to botanical art in it. Check it out here. (One of my favourite high school assignments was making a herbarium from plants collected in the local bush). Now I've full of new ideas, and very excited to tackle the next challenge quilt!
© Ruth de Vos
Size: 46cm high by 31cm wide
Materials: procion fabric dye, texcraft fabric paint, cotton homespun fabric, cotton batting
Techniques: hand-dyed, screen-printed, machine-pieced, machine-quilted
…sturdy leaves interlaced with delicate filamentous blossoms…
View more of my artwork at www.ruthdevos.com
Size: 97cm by 106cm
Materials: procion fabric dye, cotton homespun, cotton batting
Techniques: hand-dyed, machine pieced, machine quilted
This art quilt is available for purchase here.
It is the place of children to test and confirm the healthy boundaries that we as parents set for them.