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Friday, May 31, 2013

Bald Cypress

After joining Facebook a few years ago I was pleasantly surprised to reconnect with several people I had lost touch with over the years.  One of these people was my college roommate.  I discovered she was an accomplished photographer.  You can find her work on RedBubble. I fell in love with her photos of cypress trees.  Living in the midwest all my life I have only had glimpses of these trees in photos or on vacation.  Michele Conner has an entire calendar full of seasonal photos of these gorgeous trees.  She has many other photos as well, sold as cards, calendars and prints
cypress tree begins

After purchasing one of her calendars I really wanted to make a cypress tree quilt.  I've thought about how to do this for a couple of years and my recent attempts at painting fabric seemed like a good fit.  So, I asked Michele if it would be ok if I used her photo to make a quilt.  She said yes!
partially painted Cypress

The challenge for SAQA Minnesota this year was to make a 14" x 20" landscape.  The two goals seemed perfect for each other.  I made the pattern, an outline of the tree and its shadow.  I put my pattern under a piece of clear plastic with my fabric on top.  I can see the outline of the tree through the fabric.  I cut a piece of white fabric, a little larger than what I needed, made sure I had the colors of so-soft paint as well as Folk Art Floating Medium and I began to paint.
almost finished painting

The paint dries quickly and so it was soon ready for the longarm.  I used several shades of brown, black, and rust to add to the shading from the paint.  I didn't want to add much to the shadow so it would stay a little less defined.  I did brighten the leaves on the tree a little.  Artistic license, right.  I was a little rushed with the binding, but managed to get it done in time to turn it in today for display in the Minnesota Quilt Show.

Bald Cypress photo by Michele Conner Quilt by Janet Hartje
stitch detail

I still have more to learn with the paint, I am a little heavy yet and may try some different types of paints and fabric to see what happens.  It will be fun to experiment.  I want to make a number of flowers this summer.
After the Rain

Have a Creative Day

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting Ready for Minnesota Quilt Show

My challenge quilt for Minnesota Contemporary Quilters is finished.  This quilt gave me some growing pains while I was working on it.  I have been working on improving my quilting for traditional quilts.  So when it came time to do something contemporary, I was a little confused about how to quilt it.  I like how the painting turned out and honestly, I was afraid I would mess it up.  How many times do I let fear hold me back?  I really let this quilt sit there longer than I should have out of fear.

It dawned on me to think of my sewing machine as a paint embellisher.  I just wanted to highlight the painting and add more texture to the finished product.  That's all it took, a little shift in my thought process and it was done.

The challenge this year is "Abode" in whatever form it speaks to you.  My abode is a saquaro cactus and living inside is a family of gila woodpeckers.  My inspiration came from a photo I took while vacationing in Arizona.  The photo is of the cactus with the hole just beckoning a family to move inside.  I found the woodpeckers in a Dover book.

Prickly Abode by Janet Hartje
Have a Creative Day