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, 29 November 2011

Cloudy Window and Admin Thoughts

Hi everyone,

How are you all? Please accept my apology as my challenge entry is running late. It's just that time of year and everything has demanded attention all at the same time. I know it's the same for all of us, so I just wanted to let you know why I've been a bit quiet this last month...or actually since the last challenge. (oh dear).

This is a really great group and the idea is an excellent one, losing any more members would really be such a shame so I am not leaving, but I am running behind at the moment.

I did want to take a moment to thank Marion for taking over admin whilst she did. Blogging looks really easy but it eats up a lot of time, is pretty thankless and the constant attention needed just to make things run smoothly is slavish. Obviously you can tell how much I love blogging! Actually I really do love blogging but I have so many troubles from my lack of computing skills that I really admire and appreciate anyone who can jump in and do it. It doesn't go unnoticed. So, thanks Marion.

As for us: well, I think the most pressing thing is getting the links right as some are still missing as well as getting the gallery up, including any sale options. Is anyone doing this?

It would also be really nice to have a group button so we can spread the word on our own blogs - again, I suppose we would have to decide on a symbol/design? And does anyone have any thoughts about a 'link within' bit beneath each posting? I think it would be a good idea as it throws up random posts that might be of interest to readers.

I know this may sound like a bit of a wish list, but there is such great stuff going on here that it would be great to get it some more exposure.

I can imagine that there might be some hesitancy from a capable (read: computer savvy) member due to concerns about doing things to the blog that other members might not like. I just want to say that I really don't mind about stylistic elements and if anyone Admins, I am happy for them to make executive descisions. I say this because it's something I feel!

Anyhow, I have gone on a bit here. Hopefully I can get back on track with my Challenge soon!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

moon reflections: through the window

 here is my interpretation of through the window -  i tried a number of other ideas that just didn't work and ended up going with some small pieces i was puddling around with and it became something bigger.

each panel is a piece of linen sprayed with diluted black ink and stitched with silk thread. the moon centre was made by putting a round sponge in the middle of the fabric and spraying the ink around it.

the bottom layer is canvas painted with black gesso and a piece of silk chiffon painted onto the canvas with more diluted black gesso. each panel is stitched on the foundation canvas/silk layer.
the 'sticks' are pieces of cotton mariner's string soaked in a mixture of paverpol, fibre paste, black pigment powder and fabric paint.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


I am beginning to wonder why, as soon as I join something, everyone starts leaving! I hope that the group is not going to fail through lack of members.

I can post my 'work in progress' in the next day or so when it is more presentable as that appears to be an option.

When will we be getting the next Challenge as things are building up for me too?

Through the Window (in the Burren)

Through the Window (Burren inspired)
I got the binding put on this piece last night, but by then it was a bit dark to get a good photograph of my piece, so had to wait for daylight this morning to get the photo.

A contemporary quilting group I'm involved with (Genesis Patchwork) are currently working on a group project about the Burren. The Burren in Co. Clare is famous for it's limestone rock, rare plants, archaeological ruins etc.

So I decided to use my "Through the Window" piece as a sample piece for my Burren project. I have a number of photographs of old church windows and ruins so I took 2 of this photo's and turned them into a thermofax screen. Then I screen-printed the windows onto hand-dyed fabric.

I then used my embellisher machine to add scrim, sari ribbon etc. to add a bit more texture and interest.  I got a pack of Derwent Inktense pencils in the post this week so decided to experiment with them on this piece as well. A stencil was used with the pencils to add the lettering.

This photo of a window in Carron Church was used to make one of the thermofax screens.
Carron Church

Through The Abbey Window - better photo...

...this is a photo taken in daylight.  The jug and glasses show up much better now.
I forgot to mention on my previous post that the shadows on the sill and the arch above and around the window were created by using a grey Markal paint stick.

Goodbye and Thank You

After a restless night cogitating, I've decided to withdraw from this group. It's been incredibly useful to get my creative juices going again but now with lots of ideas generated and very limited time thanks to end of year deadlines at work I want to concentrate on working on 2 large pieces to submit for juried exhibitions next year.
With these and my CQ button journal quilts still to do  not to mention my sketchbook to fill I  shouldn't really have offered to help with admin so I apologise for that.  But it looks like you've got other offers  so I'll still be watching what you all get up to with interest.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Sorry I'm very late

I'm not in a position to post anything yet, as I'm running extremely late.  As you may well recall, I had a hip replacement operation early in October and, while recovery is going very well, it is taking much longer than I thought and sitting comfortably has only recently become possible.  I have also been exhausted by the process of building up my mobility, so not the best of times to be creative and inspired.  I finally have had an idea of what I want to do but materials, whilst procured, are still on their way to me.  I will post as soon as possible but hope you will, on this occasion, forgive me for my tardiness.  I also dare not yet look too much at the other submissions, but well done, all of you who have managed to meet the deadline, and commiserations to those still on the journey.

Through The Abbey Window

I made it!
Although the photo isn't great.  It's the best I could do in artificial light so I will take another tomorrow in daylight.
Those of you who know me know that I love making art quilts from photos and this one is made from three photos taken on our holiday in and around Bath.

I loved the brickwork on the sides of the one on the left, which is reproduced here with the aid of fusible web and nice sharp scissors!
The garden outside is a photo printed onto silk then hand embroidered.
The lead on the window is machine embroidered.
If you look closely you can see a jug and a couple of glasses on the sill which are taken from the other window and reproduced here with two layers of gold organza with wadding behind to give depth.
Again these might be more noticeable in the daylight.

So I made the deadline...just!  
I'm looking forward to the next one now... 


Having already done a Through the Window piece for the last challenge, I felt I needed to do something deifferent for this one - and what a journey it has been.  I started from a book I'd been reading, Ruth First's 117 Days, in which she describes her period of solitary confinement (without trial) under the 90-day rule during the apartheid era in South Africa.  It's a powerful description and the mark one piece was almost a sort of illustration of the desciption of her cell in the book.  As I made the piece. I began to reflect on all the other ways in which people may be solitary and confined - for example through ill health, depression, domestic abuse, political oppression, bullying or simply being housebound..  By yesterday night I had not resolved the two ideas and I was dissatisfied with what the quilt had become, but I went to bed thinking I would at least get it finished and off my conscience.

At 4 a.m. I woke with the idea of this piece fully formed, jotted down a few notes and luckily got back to sleep.  Today has been a rush to get it finished - but at least that has made me keep it simple.  All that remains from the orifinal piece is the barred cell window, and I apologise for the fact that the view is not through the window  but this side of the barred window.  Though it's a bit wobbly and rough round the edges I don't find that a problem on this occasion, as it seems to suit the subject-matter.

It is open to a number of interpretations - feel free to ask your own questions and provide your own answers...

Next time I'll start earlier!


My original plan was to make something inspired by the photos I took through the stained glass windows in our house (see my previous post). I was thinking of layering various sheers and painted fabrics. So I did lots of painting with transfer paints - tortuous, abstract, twisted tree trunks, that sort of thing - then after a bit I just started playing with the leftover paint. I made this map-like design by trickling paint over the page and causing it to run into the other lines, a bit like a roadmap.

I thought I would use this design as a sort of abstract stained glass window to layer over the rest, so I ironed it on to lutradur and cut out the white bits. I layered this frame design over the various sheers and painted fabrics; that didn't look right but I felt more of a connection to this lutradur design than to any of the other fabrics I had prepared.

After lots of auditioning fabrics and layers, I found this Indian sari fabric which looked good. Then I started thinking that instead of stained glass windows it would represent the bare wisteria branches growing outside our bedroom window that I have been staring at for years. So it evolved into that. I quilted it along the horizontal wavy lines and some of the vertical branches, and decided to couch some decorative threads to add depth and dimension and bring some of the branches forward a bit.

Then I framed it with these sheer ribbons to look like the window frame.

Added accent beads and it was done! I am pleased with how it has turned out although it changed into a piece different from what I was planning in the beginning!

Rose Window

Here is my take on "Through the Window" As light comes through a window I decided on a Rose window. It is stitched as a reverse Applique. I drew the window pattern on black fabric and each element  was cut and needle-turned with the black being stitched to the "glass" fabric which was behind the black.

Through the Window - Shinkansen

 Ever since  my first digital camera , I've been taking photos from trains at speed - I love the blurring. I've made a few journal quilts and one experimental piece  but have always wanted to scale up - this challenge gave me an opportunity to start  down that road (or should that be rail?!!!!)
 In 2006 I travelled with Susan Briscoe to Yuza-machi  in Japan   and took lots of photos from the Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Yamagata. The  green of rice paddies, the purplish grey roofs , the mountains and the coast were so different from the train photos I'd taken in the UK
 Techniques and materials used? Photos  were printed on colour catchers treated with 'Ink Aid' . I used Photoshop to increase saturation slightly but that's all -the blurring is as captured by camera. These were applied to a section of lightweight fabric from a secondhand kimono bought for Pojagi in Tokyo.
A silk organza scarf with woven lines was laid over the top and attached with twin needle stitching. Interesting difference  between the raised ridges produced  when stitched through 1 layer of kimono and the flatter ones where stitching through both kimono and colour catcher. I really should have stabilised the kimono fabric first but I actually like the effect!
I'd like to produce an even bigger piece next perhaps  inspired by the paintings of Atsuhide Ito although quite how I'd photograph it and display it....

Can't wait to see other peoples interpretation.

Through The Window

As happened last time I am not going to be near a computer for the reveal so I am scheduling this for publication and hope it works.  I am really sorry not to be here for today but I am hoping to get hold of a computer over the next day or so to see what everyone has done.

As I said in my earlier post I was becoming fascinated with the quality of light that comes through a stained glass window and I particularly became fascinated with the cut through process that I had been playing with.  After I had made a pice 10" square for my Journal Quilt I have gone on to make an A3 sized piece for this challenge.  It is not the only piece I have made, more of that in a minute.

As you can see I didn't actually take this particular technique any further, mostly because I didn't have the time but I may well play with it some more when time allows.

I said in my previous post that I wanted to experiment with sheers and I have had a great time doing just that.  I took a selection of neutral organzas, silks and nylon sheers and used fabric paints tostamp and make monoprints on their surfaces.  I kept the monoprints neutral in tones of grey and was a bit worried at first that they might be too light to show up.  Sadly I was so busy working I didn't take any photos of the process.

The next step was to use silk paints to add colour to the pieces of fabric.  I decided on silk paint as I didn't have a lot of time, again.  Once the fabrics were all prepared I started to cut and piece them using a pojagi style of seam.  This is the result:

The photograph above was taken indoors with the piece laying on the top of my sewing table.  It is very slightly smaller than A3 size.  I then took further photographs outside.

After photographing the piece hanging from our driftwood I couldn't resist hanging the 'window' in the lilac tree where the sun was shining through this morning.

I have made a lot of mistakes with the stitching in this technique and a certain amount of drifting has occurred but I am so delighted with the way this has turned out.  The surface marks are really exciting me and I am really happy with my interpretation of 'Through The Window'.  I am quite tempted though to leave it out in the garden to let the sun shine through and see how it ages.  You may also have noticed that this isn't really a quilt as it is only one layer.  Tant pis! (As the French would say).  Actually a couple of the pieces do consist of two layers as I felt the sheer was too fine.

I shall look forward to seeing everyone else's interpretations and to the next challenge!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

More admin to please read

We seem to be in a bit of an administrative black hole in that we either have an admin who makes decisions or we have nobody who can make definitive statements.  What should we do?  Suggestions on an urgent comment, please!!!  Do we need a new deadline for our second assignment, as there are now three of us at least needing an extension - and Christmas is a-coming.

Jenny, we are working through the group alphabetically now for setting challenges, after Annabel started off as group originator, and then it was our Angela.  So, the next one due is Claire Lynch, who needs to get her thinking cap on....!

My own suggestion is that we have a primary admin with a second in command who can step in when they are not available for whatever reason.

As for Challenge number 2, when is a reasonable time to complete or post as is and then post later when complete?  Or should we stick to the original date, post as incomplete and then again whenever it is finished, so as not to hold up everyone else?

I'd also suggest that the next challenge date is towards the end of February, to give us enough time for the festivities.  Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My Apologies ; Admin, Please Read

I've been a lousy group administrator, and I'm about to get worse. I have been very quiet, and those of you who know me will know that that is never a good sign. Life is busy happening, despite my plans; at the end of the year, my lovely husband will be without a job. This was not completely unexpected, but it does mean that I have a great deal to do to prepare for a possible move. I'm therefore adding insult to injury by withdrawing from this group. It's important for me to focus on generating at least a little income, as well as everything else. I'm really, really sorry to let everyone down; I clearly didn't know this was going to happen when I offered to help Annabel, which turned into taking over the admin altogether.

This means, of course, that you need another administrator...preferably one who knows how to work with Blogger. We need a volunteer...or volunteers. There's actually no reason why a number of people couldn't split the task up between them, making it perhaps easier to handle.

Once again, my profound apologies. Those of you who know me from AQL know that I don't give in easily, but on this occasion I have no choice. Best of luck to you all in continuing with this challenge.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Now What?

Well I've treated my colour catchers with Ink aid , printed them with images taken at speed from Japanese train, attached  a 4 x 3 grid of them to some vintage kimono fabric and placed a layer of silk organza scarf over the top (love those lines!). I've stitched the lot together with twin needle which as I haven't used a backing fabric (whoops) has caused raised 'tramlines'.
However you could say I've become de-railed as I don't know how to finish of the edges. should have thought that through to start with of course.....

Can you tell what it is yet....?

...It's coming together, slowly.
The stone inlay on the side of the window took some time, as did the embroidery on the window - it looks a bit like stained glass but it's supposed to be the flowers in the garden outside!
The most intense bit is now over - I hope so it shouldn't take as long for the next bit - I just need more hours in the day!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Through The Window

 I thought as I hadn't had a lot to say here I would copy most of the post I put on my blog this week describing my thought processes so far for this challenge. 
Similar to the last challenge, as soon as you start thinking about windows you see them everywhere (well, they are aren't they?) and you start thinking about every interpretation of 'through' and 'window'. A window to the past, a window through time, windows of the soul, window of opportunity, looking in through the window, looking out through the window. Window - an opening allowing a connection between one space and another, light pours in through the window, a surface that reflects light and its surroundings. A window can be many shapes; it can be clear, frosted, reinforced, mottled, distorted, etched, of many colours.

An abstract painting that I made on the subject of looking back through time which was made with a window cut from a photograph incorporated into layers of torn watercolour paper with crayon marks added and manipulated in Photoshop.

Inevitably, and to cut a long story short for the moment, my thoughts turned to stained glass windows, which I love for the light that they allow to pass into the room. The window above is part of the stained glass in Chester Cathedral and I have used part of it previously in a watercolour sketch (still need to find that).

In our local parish church we have a beautiful stained glass window by John Hayward entitles Christ Walks on the Water. With the Quilt Artist's eye that I now have I can see several ways of interpreting this window.

Over the years, and particularly in the past these stained glass windows were a way through which people who could not read learned the Bible stories. Over the years stained glass windows have become more abstract and convey their meaning in other ways.

As a way of finding my way into this challenge I thought I would play about with cut through fabrics, especially after reading an item by Naomi Renouf in the June 2010 issue of Workshop on the Web that I found on my computer.

I've started by layering scraps of fabrics onto a background and securing them under a layer of organza with stitching running at right angles to the run of the fabrics. Subsequently I cut through the channels deciding as I went along how far down to cut.

The next step is to machine at right angles to the first lines of stitch opening up and catching down each cut layer to reveal what lies beneath. (detail above)

I am quite pleased with the result so far. I feel it has some of the movement in the window in St Wulfram's church and I am excited to work it on a larger scale.

I have been trying to decide whether this would work with a more transparent feel to it so that light can actually shine through and I've made a further piece but have not achieved that transparnecy yet. Once you start thinking and looking there are a lot of ways of interpreting (light) through the window and I'm glad I've got a few more weeks to work on this project.

I have been trying to track down a link to a programme that brought home to me the power of stained glass some time ago and I can't find it. I think it was a clip of (?Rolf Harris/Michael Palin?) in a chapel with stained glass windows designed I think by Chagall or maybe Matisse. My overriding memory is of the presenter standing in the chapel with light from the window pouring over his fingers like water. For some reason the image took my breath away and brought a lump to my throat. Such is the power of light through a window. (I've just discovered it is the chapel at Vence in France and the artist was Matisse.)
I'm still experimenting wildly with the cut through/chenille and I've also got some mosaic-style ideas to play with too.  This is fun!