Category Archives: self portrait
In case you’re new to my blog, Fun Friday happens almost every week. The routine is to put all ongoing projects away and just mess around in my studio and/or take off for awhile on some kind of artist’s date. Last week, I met a friend at Crystal Bridges for the new American Made Exhibit, showing pieces from the American Folk Art Museum in New York. We had a blast and I have my photos all loaded and titled so I’ll get back to you on that next week.
This week I decided that since my Christmas quilt is finished except for hand sewing the binding down and blocking the quilt, I would finish weaving in all the thread ends on my Self-Portrait II quilt. After that I used my practice piece to try some more trapunto before applying it to my portrait. The first time I did this technique, I had a scrap of really high-loft batting someone had given me. I only needed one layer but the high-loft batting I have now is half as thick, so I used two pieces.
Since I have already stitched my pieces down, I just restitched with very light Superior Monopoly filament thread. I use a #70/11 quilting needle with this thread and prefer it to nylon thread because it is more heat resistant and does not yellow or get brittle. Next, trim the top layer of batting close to the stitching and then carefully trim away the second layer. Grade the seam allowance and be careful to not cut into your project.
Add regular batting and a backing and either stipple or echo quilt around your trapunto shape.
Next I used trapunto to give more dimension to the facial features (lips, nose and eyes). I used three layers of high-loft batting for the eyes.
I also stitched between the upper and lower lips for definition.
Before tackling the eyes, I changed out one piece of fabric for the cornea on the left eye.
Since this is a small project, I decided to just pin the layers together for quilting.
I echo quilted the pieces around the nose first and then all of the remaining light-pieced fabrics. I used Sulky rayon thread with 70/11 needle for all the lightest pieces and a Superior King Tut variegated thread for the medium fabrics. I’ll continue to use that thread for the remaining fabrics except for the two darkest fabrics in the cheek areas.
I also decided to change out two of the neck pieces because all of these fabrics were just too much alike.
I also auditioned beads but I’m not happy with the colors–they looked right in the store but not in my studio.
I like the colors but they’re all D-size, which may work–will have to put some beading on my practice piece to decide.
All of the light pieces are now quilted so I’ll get back to you tomorrow when the rest of the quilting is finished.
Here’s a sneak preview of American Made.
I need to go back and get a close-up of the hand quilting. Oh darn, another Fun Friday for me!
The Self-Portrait #1 Project is finished except for binding and label. The label is on the computer waiting for the page to fill up and I haven’t decided on the binding yet. This was a challenge quilt with my art quilt group. We hope to put all of our self-portraits onto black fabric and perhaps enter it as a group quilt. We’ll see. Progress has been slow with the other members. I was excited about this quilt because I actually had an idea, using a sugar skull rather than a real-life likeness. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. The problems started when I went to quilt this project. I had used Lite Steam-A-Seam II and it was all working out well. I followed the directions for permanent fusing, steaming for 15 seconds. I didn’t realize that it had not fused properly until the needle kept gumming up. Break out the alcohol swabs and one broken needle later. When I went to clean my machine, I noticed that the outside of the bobbin case was gummed up but luckily there was only one bit of goo that went further than that.
Because the needle was gumming up, some of the quilting was not stellar on the back, especially where I used mono-poly clear–little nests appeared. I just finished the project and it will hang in my studio. In the meantime, I contacted the Warm Company and they told me that the new directions are to steam for 30 seconds. Fine, but my directions didn’t reflect that. Anyway, I’ll get over it and you can benefit. Of course, it always helps to do a trial with any fusible. For Self-Portrait #2 I took scraps of all of my hand dyed fabrics and fused them without much success for whatever reason. I also took leftover flowers and fused them into a little wall hanging and had very little stickiness on my needle. I steamed for 30 seconds on the front of the project (protecting with parchment paper) and then again on the reverse. I used this project to practice matchstick quilting with letters. Here it is–also needs binding and a label. I’m still figuring out how to do lettering.
So back to the self-portrait. I remembered I had some Kreinik iron-on ribbon. I could not find this anywhere so it must be a discontinued item. Originally it was sticky on one side so you could put it in place and then iron it down. I didn’t know if it would fuse and which side had the fusible but at this point it didn’t seem to matter. I used my small craft iron to outline the green flowers on the face as well as the outside edges of the face, stitched it down for insurance and then cleaned up the fusible afterward. Just use Bo-Nash Iron Clean–works great on your regular iron, too. You can find this on a number of sites including Amazon.
Next, I basted the little sunflower petals down so I could pull them back out of the way to free-motion the larger petals in place.
After free-motion stitching the small petals down, I fused the brown center. I embellished this with a new product I found on my trip to Paducah: YLI Quilt Highlights. This is a braid that you can sew on flat, or pull one thread to gather it up. I got a neutral spool (used here), a rainbow spool and one in white that I can dye any color I want. Yeehaw.
Here I basted this down just to see how to sew it–then unsewed it and resewed it to my project. You can also see my practice quilting. I didn’t need much practice–I have made two sunflower quilts previously.
Next I tackled the face. I used a white-on-white fabric that is covered with flowers. I brought out my Tsukineko inks and decided I had better used my Fabrico fabric markers instead–much easier-there were a lot of flowers to color in and I wanted paler colors. I’ll be experimenting more with the inks on Self-Portrait II.
After I finished all the quilting, I added some Angelina fibers. I did not do any fusing with them but left them loose. I stuck them under some flower centers and quilted them in place. They remind me of fireworks but one is the planet formerly known as Pluto.
I used a lot of threads for quilting. The one on the holder gave me problems until I put it on the horizontal spindle. Some threads are picky that way. Here is the quilting I did on the background.
And here it is all finished.
I almost forgot–one day as I was listening to space age music and quilting, random thoughts kept running through my head so I finally stopped and wrote them down on a blank page in my Wreck This Journal.
After I’m gone, when my job here is done, I’ll be buried in my mushroom suit, and weird wildflowers never before seen or named will sprout up along with daisies and Icelandic poppies and wind anemones and Johnny jump ups will play all day long and maybe into the night and Pluto will once again be a planet and you’ll find tan m&ms in your Halloween candy because they taste the best. In my new world there will be eclipses every month and stars will nova every night, everyone will be kind, color blind and rewind. More people will be artists of some kind and have Fun Fridays and Silly Saturdays and stuff like that. 4.30.2016.
I’m going to print this poem out and put it on the back with the label. I really had a lot of fun with this project and tried a lot of new things.
Till next time, embrace your weird.
Just a little update on Self-Portrait II. I have removed another strip, leaving two white lines that may be places for encrusted beading. While I think about this, I have a lot of thread ends to weave in (48×4). Then I need to play with Shiva paint sticks, dye, and colored pencils to add some highlights, or I will need to change out some of the fabrics. Because my fabrics were too close in value, I lost some features that I want to stand out, namely the nose and one eye that will be a profile view.
Next post: Fun Friday, which involved nothing from the studio, but one of my most spectacular Fun Fridays ever.
Where did the week go? I’m ready to start stitching my new self-portrait and I don’t even remember if I showed you the first one (actually I didn’t). It is quilted and just needs a label and binding. Okay, now I’ve found my place–I have a draft of more SAQA People and Portraits, I need to show you my first self-portrait, I experimented some more with Lite Steam a Seam II (more on that tomorrow), and it’s off to the races. I’ve been channeling Picasso and because I don’t draw or cut perfectly, I have a couple gaps in putting the pieces together. No mistakes here–this is a design opportunity. I started with 56 pieces but am not sure how many there are now because I changed one eye and the nose after I started cutting. I am not using fusible this time because it would not adhere to my hand-dyed fabrics and I also want to do some beaded encrusting. This is one of my favorite things to do–just fill in an area completely with free-form beading. Here’s an example from my interpretation of Van Gogh’s Blue Vase:
I see I need to re-photograph this quilt because I added some more beading to the green leaves.
Back to my new self-portrait. I traced all the parts onto freezer paper, ironed those onto the fabric, cut them out and glued them down with Roxanne’s Glue Baste It.
This should hold everything in place while I stitch down each piece–no fusible this time, raw edge all the way. I used a set of five rose parfait fat quarters plus a Moda Marble Dot that was in my stash and coordinated, and a Michael Miller black and white check. I’m doing this collage self-portrait challenge with my art quilt group ala Yvonne Porcella so I had to put in some checks in her honor.
I’ll be back tomorrow after I start stitching and have my thoughts a little more organized. Buh-bye.
My art quilt group has a new challenge (which we started talking about in January or February) and I finally got inspired this week. The original idea came from the self-portraits of Yvonne Porcella, a multi-talented quilt artist who just recently passed. Red was a neutral color to Yvonne–look for her books online and at your local library. I believe her website is still up and there is a challenge out there in her honor. Technical difficulties today–cut and paste the following link to your browser.
The only rules we have for our group challenge is that the portrait should be on a darkish background (no white or pastels) and can be any dimension or shape as long as it fits within a 20 x 20-inch square. I chose a purplish-blue from one of my hand dyed parfaits. My inspiration was sugar skulls that you see in Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, November 1) celebrations. Candy, sugar skull–get it? So I drew out a classic head and started with the mouth. I am using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 by The Warm Companyon on all of the fabrics. Follow the directions that come with the product, which is a fusible with two backing papers. Take off the paper which comes off easily, finger press the fusible to the wrong side of the fabric, draw your shape on the remaining paper, and cut out your shapes.
If the shapes are small, run a dry iron over the piece. The best thing about this project is that you can stick your shapes to your project and move them around until you’re ready to permanently fuse. Then use steam for 15-20 seconds. So far I have only fused my head shape to the background and zigzagged the edge with mono-poly clear thread. Here is my drawing, traced to a sheer non-fusible interfacing that I basted to the background. Cut your shapes, lift the tracing, and put in place.
Backing up, I traced the teeth onto a white star fabric and ran a dry iron over it, the pieces being really small.
I started in the middle to place the teeth, cutting out one tooth at a time. As you can see above, I numbered the teeth but you have to remember that everything is backwards so the number order didn’t totally help.
After placing the teeth, I pressed on some fusible to the back of the black fabric and cut out the entire mouth, placing it on the head.
Last night I cut out a ton of flowers. Today, I cut out some more and some centers.
In 2004, I took a fabric painting class from Phil Beaver (actually his assistant as he had just had a heart attack) and I used some of the sunflower templates for my hair. So here is my portrait so far–I have teeth and hair and a few flowers. That’s it for the day. Next time, I’ll show you more progress and talk about another challenge I have going with a secret FB group. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get out and finish up my garden project and plant my pansies. We have another freeze warning tonight–hope it’s the last one. I was going to photograph my new dogwood every day but there really has not been much to photograph with the cold nights we’ve had–maybe next week. Can I hope that it will bloom this year or just be content with the area dogwoods. Here’s one of my photos from years past. For now, I have dogwood envy.