Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Playing Card art challenge...the process of making the piece

I know that Sue Pierce pretty much did all you could do with quilts and playing cards with her wonderful Full Deck show....but when our local alternative gallery, Athens Institute of Contemporary Art (ATHICA) had the same idea and asked 53 local artists of all media to make a playing card piece, I couldn't resist the challenge.  I hadn't known Sue when she chose her artists (sadly!  I asked her later why she hadn't asked me - she said "but I didn't know you Elizabeth"!! yes it's all in whom you know! ) However, since ATHICA does know me (they currently have two large industrial landscape quilts I made on show), I was asked this time around.
I chose the 4 of Diamonds and this is my preliminary sketch, I'd had the house sketch on the "inspiration" wall for about 3 years!! and though it had the nice graphic quality I wanted for the playing card, plus with houses there were opportunities for diamond shaped windows!

 I wanted to use playing card "colors": blue, gold, black, red and white....so tried at first putting in the values this way....the gold at the back really leapt forward and was very confusing, ..so I had several more goes and finally settled on the one below.   

I picked out my fabric, decided on the size of the piece - as you can see 1" on the sketch = 3" in real life...this would bring it to about 18 x 30.....
we had to make the art piece to certain proportions that would reduce to a playing card size - and yes there are going to be decks available.  alas this is the second opening I will miss this spring!! so I sure hope somebody save a deck for me!!
I thought the four diamond windows would be the first thing I should make:
 Then I placed a piece of white fabric on the design wall for the background and began to add the shapes working from back to front....
As you can see I mark out the four edges of the quilt first with long strings of fabric...the side ones are weighted so they hang straight.     Adding a few more....

 It's good to stand back and look at the piece properly every few additions just as a painter does...didn't like that dark red in the middle when I stood back, warm colors advance...so changed it to blue.

also I wanted to soften the very bold effect of the gold fabric and break up that huge shape a little, so added more sections on top.
 It's beginning to have character ...a nice clean look..but perhaps the black to the left of the large blue grey house is too strong...trying a slightly lighter value...
Now connecting the two sides with more of the same tone, I want this to work as a whole...I'm also eginning to add some secondary diamond shapes here and there, but not red!

Putting in the foreground color...I sketched it a dark value because I want to have the 4 of diamonds emblem dark over light on top and light over dark on the bottom.. 

Got the diamonds in place, not sure abut the other non-diamond windows...so moved those of until I had the basic shapes sewn together...

Sewing the top together, then reviewed it and decided to continue the diamond theme - both with the other windows which are all either actual diamonds or sections of diamonds.  then I thought about adding the trees and realised adding more different shapes would simply take away from what I had, so I left the tree idea for another day - and probably a bigger quilt. I quilted it in red with diamonds - all over!  Here's the finished piece:
As you can see I also added extra diamonds to the other two corners....I did this to help balance out the design - but not too symmetrically would have been boring!  and I do hate to be boring!!
so...what d'you think?   anyone for bridge? 
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!   Elizabeth

PS my next Dyeing to Design class starts at Quilt University  this Friday.  There's still time to enroll.  It's 5 lessons over 7 weeks of dyeing, surface design and art quilt design .  I cover dyeing a full spectrum from 6 basic dyes, gradation dyeing, arashi shibori, and several kinds of screen printing AND how to design quilts based on each of the five elements : value, color, line, shape and texture which participants will create with dye on their fabric.  The goal is to learn both ways of getting color on cloth AND the best ways to use the subsequent cloth when designing your own quilts.
  Quilt University cannot be beat for its value and international coverage and is a real tribute to its founder, Carol Miller who persuaded me to write for her.   Also I actually appear on video - several times!! Thanks to intrepid photographer Julia Triebes!!


Jackie said...

Great fun! I enjoy the process as you proceed, always helpful and clarifying. I enjoyed how you 'tweaked' the playing card challenge to the houses and weren't stuck with being literal--well done!

Anonymous said...

What a gift to see how your work evolved. I love the transition from #7 to #8. The whole piece is just so well done - thank you and take care! Byrd

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

How fun! and so neat to see your process, thank you for sharing!

Kristin said...

Interesting to see the progression of your piece. I like it!

Eleanor Levie said...

LOVE it, and loved the description of the evolution. Waiting for your new book to arrive...so excited...