History today…

The very first item I got to  work on when I opened Little Old Lady Quilting officially here in Bedford, was the most amazing hand embroidered quilt of a mother /daughter.

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There were 20 of these 17″ square hand stitched panels on a very light cotton. I knew I didn’t want to disturb the embroidery these two had done together.
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Such a loving work of Mother and Daughter deserves special treatment!
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I let the quilt dictate to me.  A very simple but somewhat close stipple allowed the embroidery to have an almost trapunto effect. A simple outlining of the edge of the floral medallion set it off even more. 
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The finished quilt was a great success and I was overjoyed to be able to do this very special piece for this mother daughter team.

 

And Ready for the Real Fun to Begin!

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Here she is in all her preliminary glory! She is prepped and ready to load onto long arm machine (RUBY)  for me to start the fun process of thread painting. In my mind I am beginning to see her take life. I have two different shades of golden metallic thread that I will do her body and the Flames with.  I have a beautiful smoky thread that will be used for the ashes. Plus I see the background quilting done in a mixture of tiny metallic silver stars, and shining black flames and smoke.

Phoenix Rebirth

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One interesting thing to me about this process is that I am constantly redrawing or rethinking the layout and colors as I go. None of it is set in stone. I had a collection of Batik fabrics that i really wanted to use for something and this turned out to be it. But I was struggling for days a out the ORDER of colors and the natural progressions from cool to hot colors.  You can see the  pencil marks for colors in the layout. they were general ideas that change more and more towards the end of the process.
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As I started on the wings I realized that on my birds at home the feathers grew in layers with the longest feathers the furthest away from the body of the birds.  So here I needed to arrange the feeling of the feathers further away also being the largest and longest, though we are viewing them on the right side from underneath the wins so we song SEE that length. 
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Still playing with color and exploring the wing shapes. Here I was struggling with contrast and with depth perception as I worked on the left wing behind the Phoenix’  body and head. I really wanted the taila nd the tips of the wings to seem to STILL have the fire in them as the phoenix rises from the ashes of its old bday for another 500 years. 

Flight Patterns

Work continues on  Phoenix Rising. 

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Step 4: A piece like this really challenges my usual thought processes. I tend to work from top to bottom in most of  my works. i also try to work from far to near in perspectives, and also dark to lights. I mixed all that up as I prepped this piece.  I Start with the flames build up at the bottom of the image. With a piece this large, I know I have to skip all over the place constantly to make sure fabrics and colors go together and that I have a sense of unity.

 

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Step 4 Still: Completed the flames for now. I’ve begun adding colors to the Phoenix herself. I’m working in layers from the hardest, tightest parts of the body (the golden legs and Beak) outward to  the feathered wings.

 

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Ive started here to give the phoenix her personality and  to explore colors against each other. For instance, the play of the bright reds against the purples presents a very energized feel for her rebirth.

 

 

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Close-up of the fabrics and the play of color.

Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!

Wynn

Taking Flight in Fabric

My latest work has been inspired by my friends at  Goose Creek Studio  in Bedford, VA.

Their next challenge show for winter is titled MYTH. And we were invited to produce a piece that is inspired or bases on a myth, but also that is in some way tied into the world and our lives personally. I had several ideas and am working on two. But the piece that has really inspired me is this work in progress “Phoenix Rising.”

The Story of the Phoenix has always fascinated me.

In ancient mythology, the symbolism of the majestic Phoenix bird, which is most often connected with the Sun, dies and is reborn across cultures and throughout time.

Ancient legend paints a picture of a magical bird, radiant and shimmering, which lives for several hundred years before it dies by bursting into flames. It is then reborn from the ashes, to start a new, long life. So powerful is the symbolism that it is a motif and image that is still used commonly today in popular culture and folklore.

The legendary phoenix is a large, grand bird, much like an eagle or peacock. It is brilliantly coloured in reds, purples, and yellows, as it is associated with the rising sun and fire. Sometimes a nimbus will surround it, illuminating it in the sky. Its eyes are blue and shine like sapphires. It builds its own funeral pyre or nest, and ignites it with a single clap of its wings. After death it rises gloriously from the ashes and flies away.

The Grammarist says: “To rise like a phoenix from the ashes means to emerge from a catastrophe stronger, smarter and more powerful. An example of rising like a phoenix from the ashes is someone who opens a new, successful business after his previous business has failed. Another example is someone who builds a new house after his previous house has been destroyed in a tornado. The phoenix bird is a mythical bird from Greek mythology. It was a feathered creature of great size with talons and wings, its plumage radiant and beautiful. The phoenix lived for 500 years before it built its own funeral pyre, burst into flame, and died, consumed in its own fiery inferno. Soon after, the mythical creature rose out of the ashes, in a transformation from death to life.

 

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Step one: coming up with a sketch I like for the subject matter.

In my own life i have on several occasions had to face a type of death: My loss of my voice as a singer; going through a physical transition to become a new person both in my creativity and in my life; and most recently the ending of my 14 year relationship with i man I truly love and thought would be in my life forever.

Like the Phoenix, each time I’ve had to die completely to the old self in order to find a new life, a new pathway.

This week’s posts will be following the creation of the finished piece I will be showing November through December at Goose Creek Studio. It will be for sale.

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Step 2: I know I want a dark background to contrast with the brilliant plumage I intend for the bird, so I choose a mottled black the fades into the ashes of the funeral pyre.
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Step 3: I’ve completed the background area ( the piece currently measures 32″ X 44″ ) and I’ve allowed a few of the “flying ashes” to add more interest in the background.

Tomorrow I begin to sort and add colors for the plumage. I will completely finish the piece as a fabric collage before I begin any thread painting.

 

Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!

Wynn

Moving Ahead with Art and Life

I’ve recently come to grips with being a single woman again. It has been a struggle, but only because the person who I considered my rock and my stability is no longer that in my life.  There are good things about that though,  and I am looking for silver linings.

Little Old Lady Quilting Studio here in Bedford, VA has passed its first year. I’ve had so much fun and I’ve had such wonderful support from the community here.

This past year I have had the great pleasure of working on some really fun quilt projects and ALSO gotten to create some incredible thread art for clients and collectors. As I get the time now to refocus on where I really want to go in the future. I realize more and more that I LOVE finishing quilt tops for others with FMQ. Doing an edge to edge pantograph design bores me to tears. There are lots  of other long arm quilters that are content to do that. or they use computerized systems to essentially do the same thing. More Power to them for knowing their niche and what they need to do to make ends meet.

I no longer accept orders for traditional quilts from scratch here. They take a lot of time  compared to my thread art works, (and energy and expertise which should be included in the pricing!) and many people in this small community just can’t afford to pay what a one of a kind handmade quilt is worth.

I am focused now on my thread art and one finishing quilts for people that understand the nature of free-motion quilting and that treasure a one of a kind finished quilt. I’m also creating whole cloth quilts for clients. There is something amazing and challenging and fun in taking a huge piece of blank fabric and using RUBY ( my H.Q. Avante 18 ) to draw and paint with thread to create a one of a kind heirloom.

This was a small wedding lap quilt I created for a wedding gift. I was allow total freedom in design and execution, as long as I used the wedding color dusty rose. The client and the couple were very happy with it!

Starting with a preprinted center panel I built a quilt around it in neutral colors for a client. She wanted the pop of color to come from the thread Work.  This was a blast to create and to quilt. And she loves it!!!

 

Now in the studio I  am concentrating more on my thread work and only doing quilts that interest me. I am so happy here in my Studio /Cabin. And having life work that fulfils me and give me a purpose makes all the difference in life!

 

Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!

Wynn

Fabric Collage Work

I am often asked about my technique for thread painting. I thought I’d show you some pieces that I have already prepped at the start they are before thread painting. Later I will show you the finished pieces.

For me this process of creating a fabric collage that gives me contrasts and a color field to work on is the launching place for my creative fun in the thread painting process. From here I  do layer after layer of threads that blend and minx and give detail and texture to the work.

I do realize that for some people this collage process is an art worthy for display in itself. And I could stop stop now and put these under glass and frame them as is. But to me they are not complete without more of the work I love.

Create Beauty and Fill the World with LOVE!

Wynn

Gifts for life!

In late 2017 I was commissioned by a dear friend and art collector to create a series of thread paintings for her to gift her husband and friends based on photos from a vacation she had taken with her husband.

I was excited and challenged by the opportunity. Here are the works I created for her. Each was 5″ x 7″ and framed. I think they turned out wonderfully. She was very happy with them, and it reminds me what wonderful and personalized gifts the small pieces are.

 

 

Serenity - 2017
Serenity – 2017
Harvest Moon Takes a Bow
Harvest Moon Takes a Bow – 2017
Fire in the Sky
Fire in the Sky – 2017
Abundance - 2017
Abundance – 2017
A due Sole - 2017
A due Sol – 2017

A Myth and a stretch!

My friends at Goose Creek Studio in Bedford, VA are often challenging me to try new things and to create something out of my ordinary for their quarterly challenge shows. The Phoenix was  created for their Show MYTH coming up November through December. I was also moved by a friend to create a second piece. And so I have created a Thread painting/ Wall hanging based on the tale of Icarus.

I always loved to idea of Daedalus creating wings to fly. But only when I went back to research the original Greek myth did I learn all the darker arts of it.

Pasiphae was the daughter of Helios, the Sun, andPerse of Oceanid. Her origins were in the East,  she was given in marriage to King Minos in Crete.

Because of an argument with Poseidon, she was cursed with the lust for a white wild bull sent by him to torture her desires.  Daedalus was known as a gifted architect and  inventor, and she had him craft a mechanical cow statue in which she could be hidden in order to copulate with this wild bull. the result of this bestiality was said to be the Minotaur. He was a being half man and half bull. Know to be ferocious and man eating and  indestructible.

 

King Minos and Daedalus had great understanding as Daedalus had created the plan for the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete and Greece today. It was a magnificent architectural design and building, of 1,300 rooms, decorated with stunning frescoes and artifacts, saved until today. The sculpture of Ariadne in Knossos and many others in Elounda and Karia are also his.   But their relationships started deteriorating at some point; some blame him building the mechanical bull.

King Minos wanted a building suitable to imprison the mythical monster Minotaur, and according to the myth, he used to imprison his enemies in the labyrinth, making sure that they would be killed by the monster. He hired Daedalus to create the Labyrinth pattern and build it for him

Minos afterwards, since Daedalus was the only human alive that knew the labyrinth’s secrets, King Minos  imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a secluded and unapproachable tower.

The Flight Of Daedalus And Icarus

Icarus was the young son of Daedalus and Nafsicrate, one of King Minos’ servants. Daedalus was way too smart and inventive, thus, he started thinking how he and Icarus would escape the Tower He also knew that the shores of Crete were perfectly guarded, thus, they would not be able to escape by sea either. The only way left was the air.

Daedalus managed to create gigantic wings, using branches of osier and connected them with wax. He taught Icarus how to fly, but told him to keep away from the sun because the heat would make the wax melt, destroying the wings.

Daedalus and Icarus managed to escape the tower and flew to the sky, free.

Icarus’ Death

Although he was warned, Icarus was too young and too enthusiastic about flying. He got excited by the thrill of flying and carried away by the amazing feeling of freedom and started flying high to salute the sun.  His father Daedalus was trying in vain to make young Icarus to understand that his behavior was dangerous, and Icarus too late saw his wings melting and dissolving. Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. The Icarian Sea, where he fell, was named after him and there is also a nearby small island called Icaria.

The story of Icarus is often told today as a story of the penalty of hubris. In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride combined with arrogance. It would be easy in today’s political scene to tie this piece to the current world.  But I see the myth as having another more important lesson to overcome.

Many teachers and mothers used that tale to control. They convince their children not to risk, not to try to fly too high, to do too much. To be like Icarus is to reach higher than you are, to want more than you allotment or caste allows.

I think we have to look past that fear factor of THE FALL OF ICARUS and learn that to try is always to take flight. Nothing is achieved without risk. but what if you succeed???

And so I created The Fall of Icarus to remind us of the glory of that moment…

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Create Beauty and Fill the World with LOVE!

Wynn

The Phoenix Flies (it is finished!)

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The Phoenix Rises – 2019 

This was a piece I loved working on and I loved creating. I finally was able to complete it to my satisfaction. After all the quilting and thread painting. I added Swarovski crystals as starlight in the background.  I then added a backing and binding fo the same material I had used for the ashes.

I am very happy for the piece. i also am very happy that like the Phoenix, I too am slowly having a rebirth from the ashes of my lost relationship.  I will survive. And I will go on to create!

Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!

Wynn

On Fire. The Phoenix is closer to finished.

I had a great time quilting and thread painting Phoenix Rising wall hanging. I used a smokey dark thread for the background, and a golden thread for the phoenix herself. I used the threads to represent unseen flames and wisps of smoke in the background, and the create feather patterns on the phoenix.

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I quilted the flames using a variegated red/ orange/ yellow thread to pick up the colors of the flames and give unity to the shape. The thread looks dark on the light yellows, but light one the darker colors. It gave a sense of motion and wholeness to the fire the Phoenix is rising from. 
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You can see the amount of thread work here up close. The Phoenix’s beak, legs, and claws were all done rather solidly with a silken gold thread. The feathers, neck, body, and tail-feathers were done with a deep rich golden thread that tied the body together and gave the image of the bird being made of molten fire and gold.  
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My last step before I put the backing and binding and the hanging sleeve on this project is to hand stitch bright Swarovski crystal beads to the background to imitate stars twinkling in this eternity between her death and her rebirth. 

Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!