A group of internet artists from all over the place who have decided to give each other a challenge every few weeks, on a theme chosen by each in turn. We have different ideas and styles, but share a love of textiles, and want to have some fun.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Here is my first idea for 'Dream'  well, actually my first idea was just to stitch onto  the photo printed onto Lutrador, but then I also printed onto Evelon and decided to combine the two.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them both until yesterday when suddenly the idea sprung into my head to cut up the Lutrador, so everything else got thrown to one side until I had done it.  And this is the result - no stitching yet, but soon...

This is my second idea.  This is fused dupion silk.  I posterized the photo and cut out the shapes in the varying shades.  This is waiting to be stitched too...

Sunshine and Shadow

I already have a quilt called Sunshine & Shadow, which was made around a light and shadow design, so this quilt has been on my mind a lot - whenever I talk or think about the challenge.

It's just about September already and the year is really turning out to be busier than I could have imagined, so I have had to just launch in. Actually I reviving previous thouhgts about shade and light. My challenge work (untitled at this stage) is started, I am also working from a photo for this challenge (which I have just misplaced yesterday...)

I especially liked the idea Annabel raised when she was discussing the challenge theme, concerning shadow being a degree of absence rather than a void.

 I am absolutely
 going to finish this challenge
on time

Thursday, 25 August 2011


I must apologise for not being an active member of the group so far!  I do have my idea ready and I've even started the first stages of putting it together, but I'm afraid life overtook me for a short while!

First it was the FoQ which dragged my attention away and then as soon as I got home I was asked by my manager at work to make a child's quilt for her newborn twin nephews - she needed it for today, giving me 10 days to design and make it!  Luckily I have a huge stash of fabrics to choose from so I didn't have to order any and I designed it on EQ7.  At the end of last week she asked me if I would make a smaller quilt for her niece too, so she wouldn't feel left out - so that was more pressure!  I've been sewing up to 10pm all week so far to get them finished (as well as doing my day job!) and today I presented them to her...thank goodness she liked them!!

So there you are - that's my excuse!  Now I have to work out why my machine's automatic needle threader suddenly decided to give up the ghost - my poor old eyes are struggling!  But I shall spend a couple of quiet evenings now preparing the dupion silk I have planned to make my challenge piece.  It's based on the sculpture 'Dream'...  http://www.dreamsthelens.com/ - and here's the photo I'll be working from...
It will only be quite simple as we go away on holiday on 18th September...so I'd better get cracking!!


Monday, 22 August 2011

Annabel-posting 2. Light and Shadow.

 Light and Shadow, stage 2

I'd left you last in the middle of my brainstorm.  Light and Shadow evolved into lots and lots of ideas, but nothing madly motivated me. This is partly because I had an idea right at the start, but which would be too vast a challenge for 6 weeks. It won't leave my head though - very frustrating!

But, pressing on, I went through the brainstorm notes. At the side of the sketchbook page, I drew some little boxes and jotted down a pictorial representation of whatever came into my head from reading the notes. I now had at least 7 possibilities for a piece.

I decided to go with the idea shown here on the right. In my little box, I have two panels, one light, one darker (in shadow), one large, one smaller,  stitched into a background cloth.

The idea was to embellish this cloth with weaving lines of colour and shapes. It would be burnt, or cut away.

So I made a start. The panels are done by putting torn masking tape on white cloth, and then using various markal sticks to rub colour onto the cloth in waves.   The panels were stitched in situ through the backing and wadding.

However, my boat is not floated, and I have stopped working on them. Not sure if I'll continue.

So I had a play with 3D which only makes sense to the eye with heightened use of light and shadow colours.

Blah too. I will muse some more.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Pavement Shadow

Seen on a walk to Nowhere and beyond, this afternoon.

Friday, 19 August 2011

some ideas

i have been playing with the tiltshiftgen app on my phone and coming up with some ideas for my piece -
 at the moment i'm thinking of using transparencies, plastic shopping bags and silk

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sales, Sizes and Yes I've Started!

With just a few weeks until the first deadline, I have been giving more thought to size and sale. I really like the idea of having all the quilts I make about the same size – especially if we do decide to exhibit.
I definitely love the idea of exhibiting. Which makes me wonder about sales, because I would like to sell too…maybe.
What’s does everyone else think? Am I the only one thinking about this too much?
In more interesting news, I have been idea struck and have started the first challenge. Initial photos to follow shortly...

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Introducing Esther Aliu

Hello, I am Esther, 55 this year, married with 3 children and a cantankerous cat. 2 adult DDs at home with us at the moment. I have been quilting for 11 years, before that I was in the fashion industry.
I love traditional work, especially applique. I am drawn to stylistic folk elements and embroideries and try to create old fashioned style quilts. I especially like exploring current notions of what old fashioned is, as I do think quilters were more experimental ‘back then’ than they are credited for.
I do a lot of stenciling and painting on fabrics. Lutrador is my next experiment…I think.
I get side tracked too easily and start new projects all the time. I hate deadlines but definitely need them to get anything accomplished. I usually wait until a week before any show or exhibit and then I work 20 hours a day to get it done.
Although I have slowed down a bit in the last 6 months, I am choosing what I commit to doing a bit more carefully. I have a quilting To Do List which I am faithfully working through on my blog. As it is planned ahead, I do find that I still need a challenge to keep me motivated – so this project / challenge/ blog is going to be a great outlet for me to be spontaneous.
I love the idea of exhibiting our ideas at the end of it all and mostly, just can’t wait to get started!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Just a spot of admin (1)

I thought I'd just post and keep you up to date with some admin and other stuff.


You might have noticed that some free standing pages have been added at the top of the blog. One if for links to your websites and blogs, and I need you to say if it's ok to add your links, which websites you want linked, and which images you want to use next to your name.

There is also a link to a page which will allow you to swap, or sell a piece (either for yourself or for charity) This will be done challenge by challenge. You will need to let me have a picture of the piece concerned, together with a price. Contact with you can be through this blog or by email, or you might like to put a Paypal button on. The charity price should include an allowance for p&p and give brief details of the charity you wish to donate to.


I've left a comment on Esther's posting but thought it ought to be on this posting too.

"It's early days yet, but I've had a couple of emails asking about the size of quilts so thought I'd mention it again here.

No size was set for the challenges as the idea was to allow free reign rather than restrict work to something quite small - or put everyone off by going too large. Sometimes ideas lead to something which a size rule would spoil. BUT, I guess if the blog evolves and exhibiting becomes a possibility (I'm thinking for example of the 12x12 group at foq.,) then a uniform size would make things easier both to hang and to look at."

Of course if sales and swaps get going, there might not be a full set of pieces in each challenge, to exhibit!

Any thoughts on the above or other things please leave a comment or email me. Thanks, A xx

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Not sure about this

I spent a day doing this and I'm not sure about it yet. I started by drawing a feather.
Then spread the colour,
Then added a few more.

My thinking is for me to do this challenge I must be true to the quilter I am.

I have always thought of the quilting as the part of the process which gives texture to a piece by giving it light and shadow. This feeling of dimension is what shadows give us, a sense of depth. They, and the light give is the ability to see depth even with one eye closed.

This piece looks better in the photo than it actually is. It needs another try on another day. I want the colour to emphasize the depth of  the piece more than just plain stitching would i.e. the shadows in the valleys of the stitch to appear darker than pure shadow would give them.....


I still don't have much in the way of energy, but I've been thinking about this challenge, both in general and particular. In general, I wondered how to approach it, and finally decided that I would take it as it comes, but wherever possible, I would use the challenges to work within my existing themes. I think that it will encourage me to go further than I would otherwise go, and would give me a set of works that fits in with the body of work I would be making if I wasn't so damn tired...

So... I then wondered about the specific challenge. The first thought was to find a shadow and express it somehow... look for the shadow of a door, or a set of shelves, or a window, and explore the colour and patterning around it. That didn't really go anywhere, as I didn't find any likely shadows... there were plenty around in the house in Strathpeffer, but this house is not so interesting for that kind of thing. Then, I found myself thinking about work projecting shadows; working with silk organza in grey and white, structured to cast shadows on itself, and on the wall. Might still do that, but it has been done before, and by better artists than me. Which isn't really a good reason for not doing it, but...

Then, this afternoon, I was looking for a particular image for a different purpose entirely, and came across this one. It's part of the ongoing work I'm doing for the 'Outside In' series, exploring depression, and how easy it would be for people to recognise people with mental health issues if they showed what they felt, inside, on the outside, instead. I think this will fit in nicely with the challenge theme, and at the same time, contribute to the development of the series. Or, not using artist speak, give me the kick up the bum I need to get on with this work. All comments welcome.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Festival of Quilts

Anyone going this year?  First I wasn't going to, then I thought I might go on Sunday as it is apparently much quieter, but now I think I might venture into the dangerous waters of Thursday because several peeps I know are going....  Anyone fancy pushing my wheelchair and getting in free?!

Monday, 8 August 2011

I think inspiration may have struck!

I have been very restricted by my injured forefinger: gashed as a result of it being shut in a car door, it was healing nicely but then developed an infection: most owww-y and tender.  The antibiotics seem to be kicking in now so I hope it will soon co-operate with me in my creative urges as I have a lot of things I want to be getting on with.

Anyway, I was surfing through the www using my nine-fingered typing, and was once again failing to find a print of David Hockney's Garrowby Hill painting, when I came across the lovely black and white photography of William Guion, (more here) which fed nicely into thoughts I had been having about our Light and Shadow theme.  Also, dear Elma kindly put up her post and I could see that her take on trees would be different to mine, so I felt better about it.  However, Elma, I really hope you don't feel I'm treading on your toes...  One of the photos (I will not disclose which as yet) was particularly inspiring and I felt I could see how I would get the effect I want, which kind of related to the painting I posted recently.  My fingers have been busy, ordering some materials from eBay and I feel very excited about starting work when they arrive and my finger allows, hopefully before our holiday starts in 9 days time...!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Toe in the water

This is my preliminary idea. The background "sky" is a my own hand dye. the shadow is layered organza fused
. I am sure this will change as time goes on, but at least I have made a start before FoQ, where I hope to find more inspiration :-)


returning to the light

hi all
i am a bit awed at being part of this group - so full of people whose work i admire and find incredibly inspiring. i have been making art textiles/quilts for about 5 years and am really moving away from the 'quilt' aspect to more freeform layered pieces. my blog is textileseahorse and has been rather neglected over the last few months as i reassemble my life after a marriage disintegration, resigning from my job, meeting my new partner and moving house.

the timing for this challenge is fabulous for me - i am really moving from a time of shadow and low creativity back into the light.

playing around with some ideas around light and shadow, i made this piece this afternoon. i am interested in the play of light over textures and in manipulating fabrics in different weights to distort and disconcert.
this is silk chiffon layered over tyvek and silk dupion - contour stitched with a gathering foot and heated.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pewter Pots and Paths not Travelled

 Every time we eat in the dining-room, I admire the pewter vases that my mum collected ( we used to have a vast ugly pewter tea urn but that was sold) . I've been thinking of sketching them for the 'Grey side of life' theme of Sketchbook Project 2012. I love the subtlety of form and light and shadow so it fit well with this challenge too. I've already used them in 'Lunaria' quilt ( see below before the honesty seed cases smothered it! ) but they deserve to star in their own piece!

 Then there's the Taplow Vase for 'Whatever Floats Your Boat' at Slough Museum
 I don't know quite how I ended up with this when something on the lines of this Picasso painting was what I had in mind. Time to revisit it I think.

Light and shadow. First thoughts.

When I set this challenge I had an immediate image in my mind, of what I would like to do, and whilst those thoughts have lead to something I intend to work on in the future, there's not enough time in the challenge for me to do such a complicated and involved piece. (well, perhaps not that complicated and involved, but it's summer, and I'm out and about a lot eating cake in various places and not paying enough attention to things artistic!) And someone said I was supposed to be having fun. Oh yes, me.

So, today I thought I'd better start again and in a more inventive and constructive way.  As ever I always begin with definitions. Very useful to get the dictionary out at this point and look up the exact meanings of words.

Light: The natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. A source of illumination. Little weight, not heavy. Not strongly or heavily built, low in density, small in quantity, gentle or delicate, not bold, not solemn or unhappy, and this one, which I didn't know, promiscuous.

Shadow: Dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. Used in reference to proximity, ominous, oppressive. Sadness and gloom. An inseparable attendant or companion. A person secretly following another. Envelop in shadow: cast a shadow over.

So, clearly, lots of fun to be had, and where on earth to start or what to choose. One of my first thoughts is for the way light plays in paintings, because I love the power painters have to play around with light.

My understanding is that the eye picks up refractions and reflections when light bounces off of things, and the brain interprets them.

We can only see because there is light bouncing around, and latest research suggest we might see things differently especially colour.  Without light we are, of course, blind. We would be living in a shadow.

The way the light bounces off of things and reflects gives us colour as well as shape, leading to the well-known idea that black and white aren't colours. White is all of light with no refraction and therefore no colour, and black is absence of light and therefore can have no colour. (Thought: Light and shadow, therefore equate to black and white)

Using light and shadow

A circle turns into a ball. The ball can be given the illusion of all sorts of things by adding shadow.

There are such interesting shapes in buildings that cast shadows.

Using light and shadow gives a 2D piece of paper or cloth the illusion of 3D or of distance and size; it tricks the brain that the eye is seeing something it's not, and I love that; it's so clever.

Edward Hopper is known for using light and shadow to good effect. He creates emotional responses and feelings as well as illusions.

Next stage is to find a large piece of paper and brain storm. Write down all the things that come to mind and see what springs forth.

(slight pause, whilst sketch book found and coffee made)

Plenty of ideas emerged over my cup of coffee, but I'm still not madly enthused by anything yet; slightly liking the idea of a shadow being a degree of absence and not absence itself.

The sun is calling me and so is the need for some shopping, so I'll keep the next stage for another posting, when hopefully I'll have a better direction and clearer idea of what I'm doing.

Thanks for reading!