Initial sketch of "Full Circle" (from the Parallel Worlds series) .
These 2 images show the subtle stitching which I did on the quilt to guide me as I added the main elements. If you look closely, you can see the cube and tunnel wrapping around it.
Now I'm just at the beginning of the problem-solving stage. I have quilted the background, including wisps of wool and silk fibers. I have also loosely stitched on the back side of the cube which will contain the main elements of the work. Because these elements will be "inside" the cube, it required 2 layers. The scary part about this idea of 2 layers, is that I had to be 100% certain that I had finished and included everything I needed inside before I effectively closed it off for good. Once I stitched on the top or "outer" layer, there was no going back. I have already done the initial stitching for the tunnel and was in the process of testing out different colors for the circle. If I remember correctly, I ended up using these colors but added an additional layer of color on top to tone it down.
The "passable wall" of the cube has been stitched with fibers to look foggy and the circle has been stitched down with it's additional colors. The image is beginning to get built up.
After including all of the figures, created by forming wet silk with a mixture of water and soluble film, I am now doing the finishing stitching around the tunnel. I had to cut away the green silk to give the impression of the tunnel exiting through the top of the cube. These edges needed to be reinforced.
The other tunnel is getting finished in this photo, including wispy silk fibers and glass beads. I don't remember why the pins are sitting there.
The cube was finished up with some soft hand-stitching (machine quilting would have looked too harsh and obvious) and many other parts were finished up with hand embroidery to accentuate the lines.
This work was featured in Patchwork Professional March 2020.
This work is in a private collection, but other works from this series are available for purchase from Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery.
Follow the creation of this piece, Navigating a Broken World, featured at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. for the exhibition, "Stories of Migration" in 2016.
I began by plotting out the triangles and hand stitching them. Then I continued by hand-embroidering all of the continents and their features. The brown spots are like little stars and the red spots are knots.
After embroidering all the land masses, I painstakingly machine quilted all of the oceans using my sewing machine. I rigged a special hanger from the ceiling using a hook and bungy cord. This helped support the massive weight, making it much easier to fluently move the quilt without too much strain.
Here it is flat, all quilting completed.
Now the piece is quilted, but before cutting it out of the surrounding material, I wanted to test that it would actually work out. Therefore I pinned along the lines to see the quilt begin to take shape.
Once cut out, I created further support by sewing together a thick felt object with the same dimensions. Then I hand-stitched the piece to this felt.
I still wasn't sure ultimately what form I wanted, circular or opened up and spread out. Here I've tested it as a globe.
If you're interested in purchasing this work, visit Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery at www.rbrg.org
After a full 2 years hiatus, I’m preparing to create new work. It’s a bit strange for me, because when I stopped making work at that time, I thought, “That’s it, no more, end of an era”. And in fact, it was the end of one era with art quilts, but little could I have expected that a new medium would come into my life and inspire me to start making again. This new medium is directly related to my move to Russia, where I’ve been organizing my life and learning a new language.
When I could begin to understand Russian, I started watching YouTube videos about felting. It’s a fairly popular hobby here and there’s a great wealth of knowledge being shared from masters of the craft. There certainly isn’t as much information being shared for free in the English language, so I consider it essential that I know Russian.
I first made a lot of mittens….A LOT OF MITTENS! Then I moved on to hand puppets which are my current primary occupation. They are so much fun to look at. They keep me active and allow time and space for me to practice my listening skills in Russian (audiobooks are essential to any handcraft, I think!). They keep me from sitting on a chair all day (I felt my work standing up). But I can't say that they awaken the same spark in me as fine art. This spark arises from the intrigue of problem solving and pushing material limitations.
So now I've made the decision to dive into art-making again. I need to rediscover the landscape in a slightly different medium (felt, rather than quilts) and in a different country. There are a lot of logistics involved, including sourcing the materials I need. I've just spent over a week carefully combing through the internet to find wool, silk fibers, silk cloth, silk threads in preparation. I've carefully considered my theme and potential means of expressing this theme, which has a strong impact on my choice of materials. I have to admit, at first it was fun and exciting, but by the end of the week, it was just stressful. But luckily, I’ve now officially gathered all that will be required and now I just need to patiently wait for their arrival. In the meantime I am gathering and sketching ideas.
I think in this period of waiting, it will be beneficial to review previous work and also share more about its process. When I was in the thick of things, creating these quilts, I didn’t take the time to do that because I was always busy either creating or tending to the “business” side of things. So over the next few weeks I want to document the quilted works from behind the scenes. This will also be a way for me to reflect on what lessons, techniques and strategies I can take from that medium and that era as I move onto another medium and era.
So stay tuned as I share some never before seen photos of quilts in the making.