Thursday, 10 January 2013

Buttoned Up Journal Quilt

And so it begins again! And no, I won't be making 52 Journals this year! But I will continue with the Sketchbook Challenge where a monthly theme is posted on the 1st of every month with the idea that you work in your sketchbook and develop it. Those who have followed my progress over the past years (the challenge started in January 2011) will have noticed already that I do try (honestly I do!) to start in my sketchbook but before I work in depth on my theme my mind usually takes off on its own flights of fancy which always involves fabric and before I realize it fully I'm stitching away already. Will try better this year but there are no guarantees. All the journal quilts I have made so far and will continue to make for the Sketchbook Challenge are 10" square.

Anyway the first theme for 2013 is "Artist's Date". This is a concept that can be found in Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way (and also in all her other work). It urges artists to leave their studios at least once a week and take off on a pleasurable outing to "refill the artistic well". Although I don't do this religiously every week I do do it quite often, and usually on my own (which is what Julia commands). And one of the places I go to in order to regain my artistic balance is West Linton graveyard. Probably not what Julia had in mind but it works for me and that's what matters. One of the most impressive gravestones there is the one you can see on the above picture. It belongs to Archibald Wilson and you can read more about him and his gravestone on my West Linton Graveyard blog here.
I fell in love with his outfit from the very beginning as it's so detailed and impressive. So for my Artist Date this week I concentrated on that centre bit of him with the amazingly large buttons, and both photographed and sketched it.
At first the plan was to translate this entire detail into fabric but as I was looking at my sketch I asked myself what I liked best about it and the answer was the juxtaposition of both large and small circles as seen above on the left.
So I played with that idea a bit more and as you can see even went as far as starting to colour in some details but that came to an abrupt halt when I spied some vintage fabrics hanging around the studio. I had fished them out of my stash do make a sample of an online class with (that's a whole other story!) but hadn't gotten around to that yet. Somehow the vintage nature of them (mostly from Ebay) seemed to resonate with the old gravestone and that was the moment I left my sketchbook behind and took up my needle (both hand and machine). I pieced the strips of fabric as shown and then added circles of 3 different sizes (with the aid of Bondaweb). They were all hand stitched down as well, and beaded. On the narrow strips I sewed on almost my entire collection of small vintage white buttons (must get more!! Usually I get those from Ebay too).

The title of the quilt bubbled up quite naturally while I was having a shower. Buttoned Up.

Might well go back sometime in the future to translate the entire middle detail of his costume if it fits in with some other theme and am also tempted to repeat this particular pattern but in a range of completely different and more modern fabrics, just to see how that would work!

And I may as well admit here and now that I have also signed up to make Journal Quilts for the Contemporary Group again this year. This is also monthly and thus I will make 2 JQs every month! I'll share the details of that group of them when I have made the first one and am ready to share it with you! You will be able to find all the Journal Quilts I'll be making this year by clicking on the label Journal Quilts 2013 underneath this post or at the bottom of the sidebar.


Jewels said...

This is wonderful Frieda! I love the creative process you went through. I've read Cameron's book as well - somethings I followed, others not so much but that's okay! Email me your address (seriously) I am in the process of destashing as I plan to sell my house soon - I have JARS of vintage buttons and would love to send you some :)

Terri said...

I don't know how you do it all! You are involved in so many things, and you create so many different pieces regularly. Wow! This piece here is so gorgeous! I know I say that about everything you make, but it is always true : )
The inspiration is brilliant, I would have never guessed you would have gone in this direction with the design you spied on the gravestone! It is genius! The different sized vintage buttons work so well, and those fabrics are so delicious looking! I love those fabrics!
Well done once again Frieda!

Linda said...

amazing how an idea can evolve so much and take different turns from where you thought you were going. This quilt just makes me happy all over!!! It is the prettiest piece-from the fabrics to the buttons to the colors! You sure do get a lot accomplished Frieda.

Linda said...

Bet Archibald never imagined his buttons could inspire auch a beautiful quilt. Beautiful fabrics and the circles and buttons seems to bring out the best in the fabrics. Romantic feel to the quilt.


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