Wednesday, 2 May 2012 the Skin of their Teeth...

That should be my motto!

I have just completed the fourth set of work to meet its deadline by the skin of its teeth. This time it was the first four journal quilts for Contemporary Quilt's Journal Quilt project. The project runs every year, the goal being to make one small quilt every month for a year, and to post the resulting quiltlets on the group pages on Yahoo. Each year there are specific crteria, usually relating to size, and sometimes specifying a theme. This year the JQs are to be A4 portrait size, and the theme is 'Shades of . . .' with the first 4 being  red, the next 4 yellow and the final 4 blue.

You will have noticed that I said 'one small quilt every month'; not 4 small quilts on the final day of the 4th month, which of course is exactly what I did! Why do I have to be such a deadline person? I can think all round a subject for days, weeks, months even, but until the deadline is looming I cannot seem to get down to work. As it was I had planned to add my own extra theme of text to the challenge, using words in different languages to represent the colours, pigment names, wavelengths etc. I had done all the research, worked in my sketchbook, dyed and printed fabric, even made a thermofax screen . . . But I left it so late that all those plans had to be abandoned in the execution, in favour of something simple and achievable in a day.

So they are just simple explorations of colour and composition.
January's is just Red & Blue, February's is inspired by the daffodils that were in my garden in February, March's is green for spring, and April's (above) is purple - Purple Rain! (it was teeming down all day on Sunday when I made them).

And why was I so late in starting these JQs? Because I have recently completed not one, but two more quilts just in time for their deadlines too!

Wheal Cates Towanroath shaftThe first was also for Contemporary Quilt, this time for their tenth birthday challenge, CQ@10. The theme was tin (10th anniversary) and the source a stunning black and white photo by Tony Howell which you can see here. I really enjoyed the research for this piece, as tin mines have been part of my psyche since we used to holiday in west Cornwall when I was a child. And we were going down to stay near Falmouth before the deadline so there was plenty of opportunity for a close look at the remains which are everywhere. Here are some pics of Wheal Coates, on the coast near St Agnes - probably the most photographed mine in Cornwall (with the exception perhaps of Botallak Crowns, which are perched precariously on the cliffs near St Just).
Wheal Coates Towanroath shaft
Wheal Coates Towanroath shaft

Wheal Coates stamps engine house
Wheal Coates stamps engine houseThe visit was just two weeks before the deadline, but I knew I could do it - I had dyed and printed fabric and worked out various designs in my sketchbook, so being able to look at the real thing rather than photos was just going to add authenticity. And the quilt was finished (albeit with no hand stitch due to time - and maybe the edges were't quite done before the photo was taken, but they are now!) and photographed, and the photo and sample submitted the day before the deadline on the 31st March.

Here's a detail - the quilt itself is actually landscape format.

The background is simple strip-piecing using fabric that has been dyed in combinations of royal blue and petrol green. Some has been screen printed using a screen developed from a drawing of the headgear at South Crofty mine. Other marks have been made using an old credit card (my favourite technique). Another (the one that looks like vertical white and green stripes) has had the colour discharged using a thermofax screen. The stripes are actually words describing the geology of the tin-mining districts. The chimney fabric was printed with a breakdown screen to represent the stonework of the walls. The whole is densely machine quilted in straight lines using a variety of threads.

And on Friday I heard that it had been selected for the CQ exhibition at the Festival of Quilts this year! One of 23 chosen from a total of 61.

The theme of tin mines is sure to feature in future work as it has loads of potential. And I have a whole palette of suitable fabrics developed just for this.

And the second quilt was for the 'By the Sea' challenge for the Region Three regional day on Saturday. That one was made in record time, but more of that in another post.

1 comment:

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