Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Tale of Flags and Quilts

What a wonderful weekend at Michele's studio! Two fabulous classes with Sue Pelletier.  I remember lusting after Sue's flag collage at Art Is You last summer, and on Saturday I got to make my own version....twice.

I tried to remember to snap photos at each step of the process, and did get most, though not all. Gesso encrusted fingers kept me from touching my phone on more than one occasion.

**NOTE re the photos:  Some I snapped with my phone, some with my camera, and some I swiped from FB.  So there will be differences in quality, and probably not all will enlarge when you click on them.

We started with a 16x20" canvas and applied old book pages to block out the area where the stars will be.

Then we added tissue paper over everything else.

We had lots to choose from when it came to creating the stripes---burlap, muslin, crinoline, wrapping paper, strips of Braille writing, and more.

Taking the time to arrange the stripes to my liking.

You can see we also blocked in some color for the stars background. On this canvas I opted for non-traditional green.

The stripes were adhered with heavy gel medium.

The raised squiggles which roughly outline parts of the flag were made with dimensional paint.

Here is Sue!

And look who came by to visit.  Seth Apter!

And here's Michele.

And Heidi.

And now for the steps I didn't photograph. The stars were made with stamps and paint, texture was created by scribbling into the wet paint with a fat pencil, and after that layer dried, more color and definition with a graphite crayon.

Then, coloring the stripes, and adding text.

My two canvases, one a bit more traditional than the other.  Also one done on a canvas with a small profile, the other having a very wide profile.

There is text on this flag.  I wanted it subtle,  so I wrote it with a poster paint pen that is just barely darker than the stripes.  The text on the red, white and blue flag is obvious, and I may have to tone it down a bit.  The jury is out on that.

That's Michele hiding behind her wonderful flag (with the lyrics from "Born in the USA" written on the stripes).
Sue brought this product in case someone wanted to glitter their stars.  Do you believe such a thing actually exists?  Ceiling Glitter?  Who does this? And the directions involve tossing the glitter onto a painted ceiling.  And it's not like she bought it in 1980.  It's being sold in Loews.  Now.

This is not a staged photo; I was looking for my star stamp, and this is where it was hiding.

 And as we always do at the end of class, a group photo.

That was Saturday.  On Sunday, also working on a 16x20" canvas, we did a non-sew quilt.
First we covered the canvas with old dress pattern paper, just because Sue says she hates starting on a white canvas.  Most of this will be covered, but it is a nice place to start, and we also covered the sides.
We set the canvas aside to dry, and then drew simple shapes on index cards, shapes that had meaning to us.  Some we cut out around the outline, some we cut out only the inside of the shape, which created a simple stencil.
We had six index cards and also cut out pieces of fabric roughly the same size as the cards.  I used muslin, colored burlap, printed burlap, cotton, and crinoline.  The ones we turned into stencils (like the fish you see above on the orange burlap) were used to fill the shape with modeling paste.  The others (like the palm tree) we used to draw an outline on the fabric pieces.
On this one, I applied the paste over the whole thing, lifted off the scissors template, and was left with stripey looking snips:

Next step, arranging the six pieces on the canvas, and glueing them down with heavy gel medium.

Then we used an air dry clay to add some dimension.  I used it on the tail of the fish, and on part of the paint brush.  The clay was covered with either gel medium soaked crinoline (the fish) or tissue paper (the brush).

See how the fabrics all have frayed edges?  I saved the bits that came off in the fraying and used them to add texture in different parts of the "quilt."  Burlap fibers to define the trunk of the palm tree, and others just for the sake of texture.

We also added bits of vintage ribbon, or stitched crinoline (or anything else we could think of) to add interest to the piece.

We broke for lunch and gave everything a chance to dry, and then spent the rest of the day adding paint, oil pastels, graphite crayons, ink, etc.
I consider this to be almost finished.  I want to add some subtle stenciling on the backgrounds, and maybe define each section with something dark.....graphite pencil marks, black paint, modeling paste painted black....something along those lines.
Finally, some shots around the studio, and the class photo.



If you missed these classes, Sue will be back in a few months.  Check out Michele's site for the details.


Monica said...

it is always a relief to find I am not the only very messy person. Great class and looks fun.

Michele said...

Excellent job!! I love the non traditional flag colors and your "Art Saves Lives" script.. Beautiful art quilt - lots of bright vibrant color :)

Patzee said...

All the canvases look great! Love your non-traditional colors, and the irregular stripes on the traditionally colored one. Your quilt is so cool--love all the texture and dimension. I will be in Sue's next class. Everyone looks like they had a blast!

Karen said...

Thanks for the amazing review - I was so lucky to be in the class with you and had so much fun. I love flags!

Carol Sweeney said...

Looks like it was lots fun, love how you personalized all your pieces! Fabulous!

craftyM said...

Love it that the Flag group photo shows that "one" student that always has to be unique! Love you for that orange and green flag, my friend!! Those are all so cool and looks like great fun. I have been picking up canvases and Gina just got some from work, so I'm planning to do a little "playing" myself this year... Looks like there may be a flag coming in my future! Thanks for sharing!

Ally White Cat said...

How awesome! I love the fun you had..wonderful!I just got one of Seth Apters books The pulse of mixed media and I love it.Keep having fun!
susan s.

Lee Hynes said...

There nothing like it ,getting down and dirty with a group of like minded souls sure is fun!
Lucky you!
Ps. do you hang them on your walls at home?

~Lisa said...

WOW!! I love both of your canvas', especially the one with the green background for the starts!! So creative! You have given me quite a few ideas to try! Thanks for sharing , now I am off to check out the other blog you mentioned.

Hetty said...

Great and detailed pictures, Eileen. You must have had a lot of fun! The projects are both very cool!

Anita Houston said...

You have the most fun and amazing classes! You live in the right spot for it for sure! Love love love this!!!!!