Faces in Fabric Part 1- A Selfie

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So what does a fabric face phobic person do when someone in their group suggests everyone make a fabric face?  In my case, she goes a little overboard learning about and getting comfortable with fabric faces.  I ended up spending most of the month of April working on various faces with a little help from this book by Melissa Averinos.  I requested that my library get her new book, Making Faces in Fabric, and within a few weeks they had actually gotten in 2 copies.  I went to town as soon as it came in.  Today I'm starting a new blog series about the various faces I made over a monthlong period.  

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So, it was someone in my Undercover Quilters group who suggested that we all make a self portrait in a 12" square size.  At first, I was thinking I'd just do a bird and call it good, but then everyone argued that it had to be an actual human face.  Photographic likeness wasn't necessary, but it should have a good approximation of skin color, hair color, eye color and hair style.  On this one I didn't actually try to make it look like me except for those 4 features. 

I forgot to take photos earlier in the process, but after doing several of these I have a process that I follow and it always starts with the eyes.  Once the eyes are staring at me, it's so exciting I can't wait to continue.  The most fun to me is making the hair. It's the perfect opportunity to play with great prints.  I happen to have several good possibilities in the stash, so I know I'll keep making faces for a while.

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The other thing I noticed with these faces is that the slightest adjustment of features or hair can make a huge difference, so I take a ton of cell phone photos as I go.  

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Once the features all fused to the face fabric I started looking for a background.  The one below is a bit busy even though I liked the colors.  Also, you'll notice that on this one I fused the hair down to the face fabric.  On all the others after this I trimmed around the face before deciding on a background fabric and then added the hair at that time.  I learned a lot making this first one and refined the process in later faces.  

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I finally decided on the turquoise linen below and fused it all down.  It was at this point I realized that if I wanted to keep the hair shape (and I really, really liked the hair shape), I would have a piece that measures out at 13.5" square.  It's a little bigger than it was supposed to be, so I think I may end up doing a second selfie at some point anyway.

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Building the facial features and hair is so much fun that I was really feeling kind of nervous about the machine quilting.  Machine quilting is really a necessary evil in the best of times.  In the case of a face I started to feel that if it went wrong I'd mess it up and make weird lines in the face.  However, once I started I was so into it I didn't even realize where I was going.  I didn't intend to make the cheeks in two different patterns.  I had finished the second one before I realized what happened, but you know what- it doesn't matter!  I really love how this piece came out.  In subsequent faces I have refined the face shape and size and figure out how to make a face that fits within my design parameters.  I'll be sharing all that in the next few posts.  

If you've been curious about making fabric faces I hope you'll check out Melissa's book and give it a try.  I found her book to be an excellent way to take the fear out of making faces.  There's a whole chapter on drawing a face for those who've never done that. There are also many, many wonderful examples to refer to for ideas.  I enjoyed the book so much that I ended up buying it at one of my local quilt shops.  Now, I have the perfect reference to keep around for future faces and I guarantee there will be more!  Stay tuned for more posts about this first bunch of faces.

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See My Voice

 Only One Earth

Only One Earth

Finally, these three quilts will be exhibited out in the world!  I entered the Quilt Surface Design Symposium "See My Voice" museum exhibit on a whim.  My notification email was lost in the shuffle, but today I found it buried in my spam folder and was delighted to see that all three pieces were accepted.  

Ross Art Museum, 60 Sandusky St., Delaware, OH 43015
Exhibition Dates:  May 18th – June 29th 2018      
Museum hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday 1-5pm and Thursday 1-7pm

If you are in the area, or attending the symposium I hope you'll get a chance to check out the exhibit. I wish I could see it in person!  You can read more about these pieces in this blog post.

 She Persisted

She Persisted

 #hashtagsofourtime

#hashtagsofourtime

2018 QuiltCon :: 5 :: Political and Social Justice Quilts

 She Was Warned by Liz Harvatine (Handwork) People's Choice Award

She Was Warned by Liz Harvatine (Handwork) People's Choice Award

There were quite a lot of political and social justice quilts in the show. I don't have photos of all of them, but these really stood out to me.  She Was Warned was a favorite and it really struck a cord with a lot of people because it won the People's Choice Award.  This wonderful quilt has been hand quilted with the phrase Nevertheless, she persisted over and over again in the penmanship of 60 different American women.  That's so cool!

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 America the Beautiful by Ann Guiam (1st Place Youth)

America the Beautiful by Ann Guiam (1st Place Youth)

A few posts ago I mentioned that the Youth category had some of the most exciting quilts in the show.  All of the youth quilts in this post were created as part of the Social Justice Sewing Academy which is doing some amazing work in California to empower youth through textile art.  It was these social justice quilts made by students that really struck a chord with me.  America the Beautiful won First Place in the category.  This quilt is so timely and sobering. 

 Born a Crime by Bryan Robinson (Youth)

Born a Crime by Bryan Robinson (Youth)

Born a Crime is a powerful piece created by a young black male student.  This piece so eloquently depicts the feelings of the African American community.  

 Education:  The Only Way Out by Jamia Williams (Youth)

Education:  The Only Way Out by Jamia Williams (Youth)

This student was inspired by this quote by Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."  

 Gentrification: The New Colonialism by Juan Tapia (Youth)

Gentrification: The New Colonialism by Juan Tapia (Youth)

This quilt is not only Juan's first quilt, it's his first sewing project ever.  He was inspired by the gentrification happening in the SF Bay area.  He says this will not be his last quilt.  Of the many reasons to love the Social Justice Sewing Academy I think the most important is in getting young people to see textiles as a medium to explore their creativity and share their ideas.

 Social Justice Community Quilt by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

Social Justice Community Quilt by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

This community quilt was created in art activist workshops with high school students.  Pretty cool!  I also love the design setting for the blocks.

 Say Their Names by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

Say Their Names by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

Sadly, the inspiration for this quilt really doesn't need explanation.  I'll just say that it was created with reverse applique to great effect.  If you'd like to see more quilts from the SJSA click the link above and check out the quilt gallery.

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 Twitter Tantrums by Carina Cabriales (Youth)

Twitter Tantrums by Carina Cabriales (Youth)

This student has really hit the nail on the head with this one.  It is hand pieced, hand appliqued, hand quilted and hand embroidered with machine quilted overall.

 Feminist Quilt by Darci Read (Applique)

Feminist Quilt by Darci Read (Applique)

Feminist quilt was inspired by this quote from Hillary Clinton, "Women's rights are human rights and human right are women's rights." Sept 5, 1995.  This was made for the Women's March in January 2017 and the maker wore it while marching that day.  It was great to see it in person.

 Ms Conceived by Miriam Coffey (Use of Negative Space)

Ms Conceived by Miriam Coffey (Use of Negative Space)

This is such a great minimalist quilt.  I love the way the faded away part of the word has been quilted.  She made this in response to the word feminist being use as an insult and worse.  She says "we need to redirect the conversation back to what it means to be a Feminist- a proud human fighting for equality, opportunity and autonomy for all."

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 White America by Jessica Wohl (Applique)

White America by Jessica Wohl (Applique)

Jessica's statement says, "This work, and its message calls into question the role of Whiteness in our country and its relationship to who speaks and who listens, or who needs to speak and who needs to listen....Using reverse applique, the text cuts into the layer of white, like a skin revealing a blanket of red, a wound or bodily cut, addressing the physical trauma our country is enduring.  The "blue" section of the flag is comprised exclusively of men's business shirts, incorporating notions of labor, collared workers (white and blue), classism and capitalism."

Well, that's it for the QuiltCon posts.  I hope you've enjoyed them if you weren't able to attend the show.  The last thing I wanted to mention is that I have updated the Threads of Resistance gallery showing my own political quilts if you haven't seen them yet.  

2018 QuiltCon :: 4 :: The AIDS Memorial Quilt

One of the special exhibits I was really looking forward to was the AIDS Memorial Quilt: The Names Project.  I had never seen any part of this in person before QuiltCon.  This is a tiny fraction of the whole project.  This is just 12 sections and the whole thing weighs 54 tons.  One thing I never realized is how big the individual quilts are.  The standard size is 3'x6', the size of a coffin.

This was incredibly moving and so full of love.  Mary Fons curated this exhibit.  With something so huge I have no idea how she was able to winnow it down to just 12 panels.  Mary also did a lecture about this exhibit called The AIDS Quilt: Comfort, Compassion, & Change.  If you ever have a chance to see her do a lecture it's well worth attending.  She's so dynamic and even her serious lectures such as this one include humor and are very engaging.  She talked about this history of the AIDS epidemic, the history of the quilt project and mourning quilts in general.

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2018 QuiltCon :: 3 :: Color (or Not)

 Singularity by Jenn Nevitt (MQG's 2017 Quilts of the Month)

Singularity by Jenn Nevitt (MQG's 2017 Quilts of the Month)

Today's category includes those quilts that have a way with color (or no color), but didn't fit in the previous two posts.  Singularity was the very first quilt I came upon in the show and it is a stunner. Jenn's use of color is amazing!  I really have no interest in making this design (it's available for MQG members as a free pattern), but I can definitely be inspired by the color.

 Grandmother's Life on Mars by Diana Vandeyar (2nd Place in Modern Traditionalism)

Grandmother's Life on Mars by Diana Vandeyar (2nd Place in Modern Traditionalism)

This quilt is just so interesting.  It is created with an improv hexagon technique.  I have not heard of that before, but it's super cool and no surprise it got 2nd place in its category.

 Mod Drunk by Wanda Dotson (Modern Traditionalism)

Mod Drunk by Wanda Dotson (Modern Traditionalism)

Mod Drunk is a fantastic take on the Drunkard's Path block.  This quilt explores variation in value placement in a regular block.  This sort of concept is always interesting and a great way to break out of the box if you are a very traditional quilter.  You can have the most perfect points and stitching technique, but also play with color and design.  This quilt is also hand quilted which adds a lovely dimension when you get a closer look.

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 Mirror Ball by Maria Shell (2nd Place in Piecing)

Mirror Ball by Maria Shell (2nd Place in Piecing)

My friend, Maria, got 2nd place for her quilt Mirror Ball!  I always take a photo of the quilt information, but often don't get a chance to read it until I do these posts.  Maria says that this quilt is composed of the remains of strip sets that she created for other quilts.  She says she often finds her next quilt in the scraps next to the cutting table.  That's true for me too.  How about you?  If not, are you missing your chance to make a fabulous quilt?

 Aerial Grove by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Aerial Grove by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Aerial Grove is another favorite from Carolyn.  I love the colored "squircles" and the neutral background.  I took some extra photos, again for quilting inspiration as I have something in progress inspired by this one that I started during the Maine retreat when I had a class with Carolyn.  It was my car sewing that summer as we drove across the country from Massachusetts to Oregon.

Aerial Grove is inspired by her having grown up in Florida citrus country.  She is also inspired by aerial views (see the last photos as well).   You'll also see this sensibility in her fabrics.  By the way, Carolyn was the featured speaker and her lecture was a very interesting retrospective on her life as an architect, fabric designer and quilt pattern designer.

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 Word Play by Jill Ault (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

Word Play by Jill Ault (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

The SAQA exhibit had many wonderful quilts, but this one stood out for me.  Jill says she "pieced a word chain of related words.  Each word is connected to the next in some way, although the spelling may change.  The letters are pieced as black on white, followed by white on black."  It can be challenging to read this one, but what an interesting concept!

 Bay City Balconies by Donna Brennan (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

Bay City Balconies by Donna Brennan (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

I also really liked this small piece.  This is created with just machine stitching on white.  It is based on a photograph taken by the artist's husband.  I love this quilt interpreting a simple line drawing.

 Maps by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Maps by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Another favorite by Carolyn.  These are in her book, Savor Each Stitch, but I had not seen them in person until now.  This project was inspired by a design in her first fabric collection which was inspired by a drawing of a map of St. Louis.  I love that this triptych includes hand quilting, machine quilting and hand tying.  This inspires me to try something like it.

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