stencils

Quilter's Connection

Time just marches on while I work hard running the studio, and making inventory for the next show.
This past March I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct a workshop for the Quilters Connection in Watertown, MA. This is one of the oldest quilting guilds around. It was founded in 1977 and now boasts 400 members, with a waiting list that could take up to 4 years before you get in. They were an absolutely delightful group of people to work with.
When they contracted me the year before, they requested that I give a workshop that somehow related to my own wearable art pieces. I decided to show them several ways to embellish their store bought scraps of fabric from previous projects, then use those scraps to make themselves a simple vest.
As I was working out the details of the workshop by making a sample vest, I decided that I too would use pieces of store bought fabric. I also decided to limit myself to using only cotton, because that is what quilters usually use. It turned out to be a great exercise for me as well!
It had been quite awhile since I had worked with cotton. I remember an old stitching friend of mine had said that cotton practically puts itself together. I had to admit that after sewing with silk charmeuse for over 10 years, she was right!
In the end I did use one of my fabrics (just couldn't help myself!). But the rest were bought at my local fabric store. I started the vest in much the same way I used to make my paper collages. I cut my base fabric, using the same pattern I provided the group with. I also cut my lining from the same fabric. I sewed the side seams of the vest together. Then I laid out the vest flat on my table.
I began moving bits of the smaller pieces of fabric around, trying to find how the pieces fit together. I have always told people that collages (be they paper or fabric) are like making a jig saw puzzle, just without knowing what it looks like beforehand. I really pushed myself to not make an all over pattern. So instead I focused on a motif. I fused the applique pieces down before zig zagging around them. I also took out my stamps, stencils, spray bottles and Profab textile paints. Once the design was complete I stitched the shoulder seams on both the vest and lining. With right sides together I stitched along the hem. Then used bias strips to finish off the neckline and armholes, just like a quilter.
After finding some great buttons, I was pleased with the piece in the end, and definitely plan on working with cotton again!
I should also say that part of my workshop was to do a presentation. But unfortunately I was not able to figure out how to upload my slideshow from iphoto to their projector. So I am including it here, along with photos of my vest and the workshop. The slide show shows my progression as an artist, starting with the work I produced after attending The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Thank you Quilters Connection. I had a great time!