Friday, February 5, 2010

Back to applique

I first need to explain the color of the background fabric. I am auditioning a sashing fabric called Rich Red, a Kona cotton. Kona is really great quality solid fabric. However, you have probably already noticed that the block background fabric looks kind of pink. Sorry about that, the red shows through. The background is actually a lovely soft ivory. These blocks have been made over the course of several years, the oldest being on the far right and dates back to 1990. Yikes, time flies when you are having a good time!

This is one of the newer blocks. I love the elegance combined with the whimsy of the star flower. The rose buds are made of french wire edge ribbon.

This block is a design of mine. I do like it but feel it lacks the grace of the vintage designs. Nevertheless, there are some really fun and challenging elements. The blue blower at the bottom is composed of individual petals that are reverse applique with touches of embroidery.The center wreath feathers a base of embroidery floss with details of silk ribbon embroidery. The pink rose on the left is made of silk char-meuse filled with batting.

I made this compote filled with fruit in a workshop with Elly Sienkiewicz. This was probably one of the first times I got my courage up enough to ink tendrils and write my name on a finished block. It was a time when using oil paste sticks was foreign to me/ but I gave it a try to shade the pears and watermelon. Don't you love that this vintage design includes a design element which involves a glass tray floating above the base.

Another design with fruit, but also a couple of serious birds. I love these birds because they are proof of the sharing these artists were involved in. I have seen several versions of these haughty
avians over the years. I would guess the focal point of this design would be the woven basket. I often correct mistakes made by the earlier designer in my own work. This time it somehow didn't seem the right way to go, so if you look closely, you might be able to see clues to her influence on my own work. I used the oil sticks again, mostly on the fruit.

Don't you love this block? I know I do. I always welcome the opportunity to recreate great work and this block is a wonderful design. Just look at how many circles I was able to make. Yes! My favorite. For sometime now I have been fascinated with designers not content with even a complex wreath such as this. but compelled to fill the center with almost as much work as the outside. The birds are so animated and appear to be having a lovely conversation. I made the bow parts from the last bit of a fabric I had, which has a hand dyed look, but that is not the case. When finished, it didn't stand out the way I wanted so I used a darker blue floss to outline all the elements and the look I was after was there. More inking and just so you know, the birds eyes are needle turn applique.

This time we have not only fruit but flowers, a bird, a butterfly, and a gorgeous basket! Seriously, despite the naive tone of this design, there are some complex ideas going on. A small ruched rose on the left, the solid quality to the base of the basket contrasted with the graceful almost delicate look of the rest of the basket tells me she was talented and aware of what was going on in the quilt world around her. Even a knife to cut the fruit nestled in the arrangement suggests a desire to have a well rounded design.

This block to me, well represents much of the Baltimore style I have come to know and love. Upon examination, I am struck with the elements that are representative of so much that was going on in these designs. Looking closely, one sees first the openness of the layout. The wreath is not spare but at the same time reveals background spaces. There are flowers with no apparent stems to connect them to the whole, but we know somehow the stems are there. The rose buds are ready to open and exhibit a pretty good attempt at shading to represent a realism
we try for in today's work. The bird in the center is great. This whole block offers opportunities for reverse applique, layered in the hand applique, and embroidery. Lovely

This last block is a slightly new take on a design interpretation of a vintage block by Elly Sienkiewicz. I, in turn made a few changes for my take on this beautiful, airy confection. Don't you just love the vase? This older Ginny Beyer fabric was perfect for this use. I especially like the base and the fluted look to the main part of the vase. The red roses are silk scraps from a dress made by husband's mother thirty years ago. I hope you noticed the shading done with oil pastel sticks on the rose nearest the center. The buds are folded silk ribbon. The pink flowers on the left are my own hand dyed rick-rack. The half-ruched roses in the center are accomplished by half-ruching a ribbon on one side, joining the ends and then gathering the other side and drawing it up to form the center. Add a few French knots, a little ink, a little embroidery, well, you get the idea. I will be assembling this quilt over the next few months, designing a border and dreaming of the quilting designs. I will share again when there is something to share. I hope some of you will show me what you are doing.

6 comments: said...

How wonderful to see those blocks. I do love the red sashing. I'm off to a bead show this afternoon. Then its "get ready for company", so I'll be tidying up the guest room, cleaning the back porch, etc. This morning its laundry.... boring stuff that just needs to be done.....


Purple Pam said...

Your BA blocks are wonderful. I especially like the last one with the blue vase. I have a similar pattern from a class with Elly that I took several years ago. I want to finish it so that it can be included in my Baltimore Album quilt (whenever I get it finished).

Anonymous said...

These are so pretty. My favorite is the birds with all the grapes! You continually inspire me, Mom and I am always amazed as what you can do with a piece of fabric! I love you. ~Kelly

unDeniably Domestic

Anonymous said...

I changed my mind, I think. I like the last one with all the cool dimensional flowers. ~Kelly

Margaret said...

Nadine, I am glad I found your blog. I recently made the bird block for a friend in Yorkshire who was celebrating her 70th birthday. I used blue bird feather fabric, but I love your bird!

Anonymous said...

are you for real?? impossible and fabulous and too gorgeous for mere words.