Archive for the ‘Summer spreads’ Category

downsize

November 1, 2009

In attempting a response to my daughter’s wish for a wallhanging piece, I’ve been trying to accept that I’ve probably been too rigid in the whole “quilts are not wall art” notion, plunged in, and started a couple small works.  The first thing I see is that working smaller, after so long refusing to, is a serious shift in scale.  Sort of like the first time I tried to cook a meal as a new young wife, oh so long ago.  Coming from a large family, I made my husband and I enough food to feed eight people. It took a few more tries to learn to bring it down to a dinner for two.

So this first try at a small-scale quilt wallhanging feels awkward, but I do now want to do some others because they feel so much like sketches.  I need to loosen up.

wall1

29"x32" - fabrics include old shirts, fassett shot cotton. Darkest color is deep wine.

wall1.detail

Center medallion composed of cutoffs from a summer spread that was made with french seams using wide, pleat-like flaps.

nothing new in this world

July 23, 2009

In the summer of 2008 I asked Stephen Szczepanek of Sri Threads about a photo of a couple textile pieces he has on his homepage.  They looked to be made using an enclosed seam like a French seam.  In fact they looked like a small scale version of what I’d been working on with the summer spreads idea.  But they looked to be ramie or linen or hemp.

Stephen said they were examples of Korean pojagi, and that they were indeed ramie.  The technique is centuries old and has been having a resurgence in recent years, both among collectors and makers.  There are some beautiful examples around on the web, mostly modern versions of the technique.  I highly recommend visiting Stephen’s website and his blog to see and learn more about some of his antique pieces.

But the big thing for me in this discovery was learning that what I thought I was inventing for myself is actually ancient.  That summer I tried my hand at a small piece (it became a table scarf) using handkerchief-weight linen.

first pojagi test piece

first pojagi test piece

Looks okay, but the seams aren’t fine enough.  I felt I had to move on to a large-scale piece as a single layer summer spread, using very lightweight cottons like Fassett shot cotton or batiste or lawn.  Whites and cool neutrals.  I was thinking along the lines of an old computer sketch I had of diagonal half-squares.  I wanted the effect to be of floating, flickering, cool light.

But…by January of 2009, I still hadn’t started the pojagi summer spread of the previous summer’s thinking, but did register to take a workshop series with Chunghie Lee on pojagi and Korean textiles.  It was held at The Korea Society in NYC in association with a pojagi exhibition they were having at the time.  I did try to work on another small piece, a scarf using Fassett solid cottons in red tones.  Only got halfway with that by the time the class started.  Hope to get back to it someday.

three small summer spreads

July 17, 2009

In the spring of 2007, I started playing with the idea of using Kaffe Fassett “shot” solids for French-seam summer spreads for all three grandchildren when they were to visit that summer.  Bright, high-contrast colors: 1) scarlet, pomegranate, & cobalt,  2) grape, tangerine, & jade,  3) forget-me-not, apple, & lavender.  With some Fassett stripes and ikat dots for added visual interest, plus bright contrasting thread that showed on the enclosed seams.

I’d been playing with French seams for a couple of years or so because I’d been working a lot with linens and wanted to avoid raveling seams and also to give structure to large works.  The beauty of these seams and the possibility of using them for a single-layer summer spread kept drawing me down a path toward these first small spreads for the grandchildren.

From these, I learned a lot about how to assemble such works.  For instance, because they were made from large fabric pieces (had to make three of them very fast!), the flaps of the enclosed seams had to be sewn down.  Otherwise, the puckering when washed didn’t look good.  Since then, I’ve made others, some with flaps sewn down and others with flaps left free as a kind of pleating and surface texture.

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