Hollis Chatelain – textile artist

Some years ago I was part of an art quilt group founded by Hollis Chatelain. Life and geography have intervened since then but in my mind I hold the quarterly meetings and the members as a wonderful memory. And am grateful for the friends I made.

Hollis found a technique and style suited to her need for political and environmental comment. Quilting isn’t usually associated with social matters. If quilting is mentioned most people’s knee jerk reaction is to say – “oh, I have a wedding ring quilt hand made by my grandmother, could you finish it for me?”. Or variations…….

There is a vast underground of mostly women artists (which is probably why we receive the above comments), who use a soft medium and speak about their world view. Be it social commentary, colour studies, cartoons, abstract, 3-D pieces, or any other known expression of creativity. And possibly unknown!

Enough of the serious stuff. This isn’t meant to be an essay on a particular art form. I want to introduce you to Hollis Chatelain’s work from my point of view.

She operates in three areas. Figurative, Abstract, and Nature. Because I am more of an abstract artist I have greater interest in her abstract work. I have the usual reaction of humans towards realistic depictions. If it’s not spot on it feels off, and therefore makes me withdraw from the work. This is known as the Uncanny Valley effect.

Denim Flow by Hollis Chatelain

Denim Flow by Hollis Chatelain

Of course, I immediately show a piece which isn’t something Hollis is known for. It’s one of her alternative methods of making quilts. But I just wanted to point out her use of colour and the title, which incorporates the word FLOW. And exactly describes the work.

African Doodles by Hollis Chatelain and unnamed Nigerian artist

African Doodles by Hollis Chatelain and unnamed Nigerian artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a piece she made in 2013. It’s absolutely lovely. It uses complicated swirls and patterns from a painting by a Nigerian artist. Hollis bought the painting and translated it from paper to fabric. Once again, this is not what Hollis is known for but makes sense in her body of work as she is firmly connected to Africa.

The Change by Hollis Chatelain

The Change by Hollis Chatelain

 

 

 

 

 

 

This piece is created in Hollis’ known style and technique. It is a hand dye-painted, machine quilted, whole cloth quilt.

Her statement: “An area of natural forest the size of a soccer field is cut down every two seconds, estimates Greenpeace.

From lush trees and wildlife to barren fields and deserts, how long will it take before the change becomes irreparable?”

Can you imagine walking into a gallery and being faced with this huge work? it’s nearly 7 feet wide. Firstly you are drawn to the colour – she tends towards the monochromatic. Then your eye turns towards the left of the piece where the heavier and darker trees lie, and finally you mentally walk down the avenue of shady trees.

But the kicker comes when you naturally go closer to the work because you wonder – how on earth is this made?

Strikingly, the whole surface is stitched thread.

Finally, you read her statement. And think a little.

Who knows what goes on in the mind of an artist? People may question why Hollis works in fabric and thread when she is obviously an accomplished painter and photographer. My guess is; the things she wants to talk about are more forcefully brought to attention when a left field medium is used.

It might be a deliberately calculated choice to differentiate her work. It might be Hollis just likes working in fabric and thread.

But she sure gets attention whatever her rationale.

 

Jeana Kimball’s Foxglove Cottage betweens/quilting needles size 10

Jeana Kimball Foxglove Cottage betweens quilting needles size 10These English quilting needles are our replacement for the lovely Jean Lyle quilting needles.

This is a good standard size. They come bigger, and they come smaller, but this is the size most hand quilters use.

Having said that, I tend to use the smaller size 11. No idea why. I just do!

I like the way these Foxglove Cottage needles are packaged – in a little tube. There are 16 needles in the tube.

 

 

Save up to 60% at the Labor Day Sale at Interweave

Stef Francis – Space Dyed Threads and Yarns

Silk texture yarn from Stef Francis

Silk texture yarn from Stef Francis

Much of my work incorporates hand quilting and stitching. Which means using as many gorgeous threads as possible.

Years ago, while wandering around the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandria Palace in London, I came across an array of bright colours. Stef Francis’ booth was utterly eye-catching. After nearly an hour of gathering, holding, feeling and gazing, several skeins of space dyed cotton came home with me to America. They hold a special place in my thread stash.

Any time I attended a show in England I would look for Stef’s booth and augment my collection – which is now a decent size!

Floral Fantasia kit from Stef Francis

Floral Fantasia kit from Stef Francis

Not only does she create mouth-watering yarns but she puts together kits. Everything comes in the kit: the fabric, threads, beads, sequins, and template.

This is Floral Fantasia – such lovely bright colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric pack 6 from Stef Francis

Fabric pack 6 from Stef Francis

If you just want to play she has put together some co-ordinated fabric packs. This is fabric pack #6. Think what you could do with these?!

 

 

 

Flamenco by Stef Francis

Flamenco by Stef Francis

 

 

 

 

Not only does she sell lovely things but she creates her own artwork.

This is Flamenco. It is created with silk rods and gold leaf and hand stitched on silk noil.

Go look at her Gallery to see more beauties.

YLI 100wt silk thread 1000 yard mini-cone Taupe Beige 202-11-224

YLI 100wt silk thread 1000 yard mini cone 202-11-224 Taupe BeigeIt’s been a while since we’ve added a new colour in the YLI 100wt silk thread 1000 yard mini-cones – here’s Taupe Beige 202-11-224.

These mini-cones are highly recommend by Diane Gaudynski for fine machine quilting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interweave Store

Karen Parker – Butterfly Beader

Look at these pretty beaded butterflies by Karen Parker of Wizard Island Designs.

Beaded Peacock Butterflies by Karen Parker

Beaded Peacock Butterflies by Karen Parker

Beading Daily found her at a farmer’s market with butterflies, moths, dragonflies and circles galore.

Beaded Creon Skipper Butterflies by Karen Parker

Beaded Creon Skipper Butterflies by Karen Parker

Karen makes them using brick stitch and follows the colouring of the wing scales.

Beaded Luna Moths by Karen Parker

Beaded Luna Moths by Karen Parker

I think they are gorgeous.

Beaded Monarch Butterflies by Karen Parker

Beaded Monarch Butterflies by Karen Parker

You can look at some more of her work at her Etsy Shop.

Cobalt Picasso Tile Superduo Bracelet

Cobalt Picasso Tile and superduo bracelet with ceramic clasp. Beadwork - peyote stitch. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

Can you tell I like making these bracelets? I’ve made them in 3 different colorways and I’ve still got some more ideas. The new picasso finish – which is turning up on all types of beads – really appeals. And when they are paired up with peacock tiles – well……., yum.

Flat view of Cobalt Picasso Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

This is what the bracelet looks like lying out flat. It’s 8″ long from the tip of the toggle to the clasp, and is 1″ wide. It fits a wrist diameter of just over 7″.

Back view of Cobalt Picasso Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

Here’s a back view so you can see how pretty the beads are together.

Top view of Cobalt Picasso Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

And this shows you the lovely ceramic clasp made by Jennifer Davies-Razor.

Interactive Colour Wheel

Colour is ………. Well, what can I say, it just is. And some of us can use it to advantage and some of us need help.

Hibiscus - watercolor paintingWhen I painted in gouache using colour seemed pretty obvious. I painted stylistic landscapes and still lifes and used the colours I saw, or a derivative. This is a watercolour painting of a hibiscus. It was growing in the garden of my little Caribbean apartment.

BTW. This is the first painting I ever made.

 

 

 

 

 

It got a bit more complicated when I switched media to fabric. Then it was necessary to suggest colours, find them in the fabric stash, lay them out next to each other and decide if it worked.

Large image of Lydia - fractal art quiltSometimes I had a pre-coloured design I worked from – such as this fractal art quilt Lydia, and sometimes just the line drawing. A minor complication was whether the fabric was solid, tone on tone, or multi-print. But even this could be dealt with by squinting my eyes, looking at the piece of fabric from a distance and gauging the predominant colour.

Then I started working with glass beads. And things got really strange……..

Because now you are working with transparency, metallic finishes, matte and opaque glass. So many different ways light reflects colour. Beads reflect onto each other too, add this into the mix.

One way to get started with colour is to play with an online interactive colour wheel. I found one here – The Interactive Color Wheel.

Interactive Color Wheel

Interactive Color Wheel

What’s specially neat about this colour wheel is the bar which pops up on the right hand side. It shows the hue and the tints and shades of a particular colour. Very useful.

After I found this I discovered Interweave were offering a live seminar – Seed Bead Savvy: Get the Most out of Your Seed Bead Colors and Finishes from Beki Haley. She discusses how to understand different seed beads and pick the right ones for your project. Just what I was thinking about. Thoroughly serendipitous I say.

How to Photograph your Jewelry with Jim Lawson

In the early days, when I photographed my quilts, I used a digital point and shoot camera. A good one, but a point and shoot nonetheless. The images came out very well and many of them are on my website, or even in books and magazines.

However, this does NOT work for my jewelry. A friend donated one of his old digital SLR cameras, we bought a light cube, a tripod, and some lighting equipment. But still I had NO idea how to take decent photographs of my finished pieces.

Enter Jim Lawson and his rather sweet, slightly hesitant narration over an excellent DVD download from the Interweave stores. How to Photograph Your Jewelry has been an enormous help.

The video is divided up into different sections:

  • Introduction with Lexi Erickson, Professional Jewelry Designer
  • Point ‘n’ Shoot Success
  • Using a Fill Card
  • Beyond Point ‘n’ Shoot Cameras
  • Photographing Sparkle and Color
  • Diffusion Frames
  • Capturing Detail
  • Creating a Gradient Background
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Jim talks you through a very simple set up. A camera, light, tripod, and computer. The first section gets you going with only your point ‘n shoot camera and light from a window which is rather nifty. I know you can get some pretty good pictures this way because I’ve done it myself. He then adds in the proper florescent light and talks you through the camera settings.

How to Photograph Jewelry by Jim Lawson

How to Photograph Jewelry by Jim Lawson

On Saturday we went to Michael’s and bought some silver and gold fill cards. For a long time I really didn’t understand what fill cards did. I am getting the idea now and can actually see the difference between using one and not using the card.

He uses Adobe Lightbox which I don’t have. But I do have Photoshop and most of the processes he follows can be done in this software.

I’ve watched this video several times now and keep learning something new. I didn’t know how to use the camera settings properly and now I do – thanks to Jim.

 

Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet

Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

Here is a tile superduo clasp bracelet in another colourway. I am thoroughly enamored with the new picasso finish on today’s beads. And I like the peacock finish on tiles and drops. In this instance the turquoise superduo double hole beads go with the slightly greenish, creamish, brownish picasso tile beads.

I think it has something to do with the earthiness – the beads look like polished stones.

Back view of Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

Back view of Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

And of course, it is all helped along by using one of Jenny Davies-Razor’s ceramic rings. Again, total love affair going on here.

Top view of Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

Top view of Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

Just can’t stop photographing this thing.

Top view of Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

Top view of Turquoise Tile Superduo Clasp Bracelet by Rose Rushbrooke

The bracelet is 8″ long from the tip of the toggle to the clasp, and is 1″ wide. It fits a wrist diameter of just over 7″.

And don’t forget it comes in Stone.