Sunday, November 11, 2018

Saying Good-bye

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.

Introduction:

Little Lake Butte
des Morts in Fall
by Gwyned Trefethen
Private Collection
It is that bittersweet time when I must relinquish my role as author of the 52 Quilters blog posts. It has been a delight sharing what I have gleaned over my 30 years of quilting, especially those years devoted to art quilting. One lesson I seemed destined to learn repeatedly is the emotional arch of creating art. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride every time I make a new work of my own design. It begins filled with promise. I am blown away by my genius and can't wait to get started on this latest germ of an idea. This usually means doing research and test driving various vague design concepts on paper or using EQ8. The euphoria continues as I select the fabrics/palette I will use. My mind drifts over the various approaches and techniques most appropriate to achieve my vision. Then the frenetic pace slows and I begin work in earnest. Perhaps I have pieced a few blocks, or created a cartoon as a guide to place appliqué pieces. The excitement  diminishes, as the gap between my vision and my work widen. It isn't unusual for self doubt and negative internal dialogue to start up and continue for the next period as my work comes together, but feels less than satisfactory. I have learned to focus, preserver, and trust my original instinct to make the work, very, very rarely giving in to the disillusionment. When the work is done, I see those tiny flaws, imperceptible to others.  I am shocked, months later, when those flaws have miraculously disappeared. 
Facade
by Esterita Austin

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

The design element I struggle with most is space. Perhaps this is why I was blown away the first time I saw work by Esterita Austin. In 2001 she was working on a series based on ancient stone buildings, paths, and wells. She is one of the early pioneers of Misty Fuse, a spider web like fusible that led to many fiber artists leaving needle turn appliqué behind in favor of the much faster, simpler method of fusing any shape piece to fabric.

Lets Look At Space:

Space is what gives a 2D artwork a sense of depth. This can be done in several ways, often used together, to create the illusion of depth. How objects are positioned in the work, shading, and use of a one or two point perspective all help give the illusion of depth.


Minot Beach, N. Scituate, Massachusetts
Photo taken by Dana B. Eagles
Tip of the Day:

Don't let insecurity, self doubt, fear, needing to be perfect, or not knowing how to do something, hold you back from making new work. The more work you make, the more confidence you will develop, especially to push through the difficult parts. Making art is a journey, sometimes arduous, but always worth it.

Final Words:
Thank you for joining me in a week immersed in the world of art quilts. It has been a pleasure to host 52 Quilters.

Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

How to Add Texture to Your Work

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.
Introduction:
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

What is it that draws people to quilts and quilting? One answer to that question is their tactile nature. You just can't resist touching a quilt. Quilters often refer to petting their fabric. There is something very soothing about laying fabric out on the cutting or ironing table, and smoothing it into place, much the way you stroke a cat, dog, or infant's hair. When I first started quilting in the late '80s the fabric being used, by the vast majority of quilters, was 100% cotton. That was what I used and it is still my go to fabric. The difference between now and then is what the fabric looks like. In the '80s most of the fabric was tiny prints and calicos. Now batiks, hand dyed fabrics, fabrics created through a multitude of surface design techniques, and non cottons, such as dupioni silk, recycled vintage linen, upholstery samples, and vinyl are just some of the fabrics frequenting contemporary work. Each fabric has a different hand (what it feels like when you run your hand over the cloth ) or texture.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

Mudflats
by Margaret Ramsay
One quilt artist, whom I have long admired for her strong textural work and whimsical style, is Jane Sassaman. She has been creating imaginative gardens and detailed aspects from these gardens, in art quilts for decades. Her workmanship is impeccable. I love the curves of her vegetation in contrast to the thorns which feature in most of her work either as supporting elements or as the lead character. Sassaman is a master when it comes to creating visual texture in her art quilts.

Lets Look At Texture:

Detail from Star Bright
by Gwyned Trefethen
Today's featured element of design is texture. Some common ways texture is featured in art quilts is through quilting. This allows some areas of the work to recede and others to come to forward, like a bas-relief. Another form of texture in quilts is the fabric itself. Texture can also be part of the design. Sassaman does this through her gentle smooth curves and sharp pointed thorns. You can imagine running your hands through her gardens and feeling the soft petals, or getting pricked by the thorns.

Tip of the Day:

I struggled with free motion quilting for years. I feared ruining a quilt top with my quilting, not choosing an appropriate pattern, and detracting from the quilt due to inadequate work. Now, I think my ability to confidently free motion quilt is one of my strengths. How did I go from fear to confident? Practice. Once again, I give credit to Leah Day. In August of 2009 she announced she was going to create 365 free motion motifs, share them via video, and develope a forum where others could share their results or ask her questions. I decided rather than simply watch her videos, I would try all the patterns. The patterns and videos are still available. If you want to learn free motion quilting, or improve your free motion quilting, working your way through Leah's videos is a great way to practice.


Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Creating 3D in a 2D Medium

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.

Introduction:

M C Escher - Drawing Hands
In my previous post I paid homage to Katie Pasquini Masopust and her early work with 3 dimensional designs. She was my first introduction to creating the appearance of 3D using quilting as her medium. It was M C Escher who first got me thinking about ways to fool the eye. I was especially intrigued by his infinite staircases and the image hands drawing  hands. One traditional quilt that does a superb job of appearing 3D, is the tumbling block.


Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

If you, like me, can't get enough optical illusions, but aren't sure where to start, I recommend Karen Coombs. I can imagine Modern Quilters expanding on Karen's work with a Modern aesthetic. Caryl Bryer Fallert is another quilt artist who is an expert at creating a sense of space and illusion in her work. Three favorite artists of mine, making very different, amazing 3D fabric art are Regina Benson,  Betty Busby, and Susan Else.

Ariana's Building Blocks
by Gwyned Trefethen
Lets Look At Form:

The difference between shape and form is that shape is an image represented by two dimensions (height by width) and form is an image represented by three dimensions (height, width and depth). Forms created in art may be through optical illusion. In other words tricking the eye to believe the form has depth when technically it does not. It may also be a sculpture. Dimensional Cloth by Andra Stanton is a book not to be missed if you are intrigued by 3D fabric art.

Tip of the Day:

If you are tempted to make a tumbling block quilt, but are held back because of the difficulty in piecing smooth, accurate Y seams, there is a simple solution. There are tutorials available on the internet, both written and video. When it comes to breaking down a technique, no one does it better, in my opinion, than Leah Day. Here is her video for everything you need to know to make the perfect tumbling block quilt.


Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.


Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Why Study Value?

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.



Introduction:

Bearded Iris
by Gwyned Trefethen
12.5" H x 15" W
By the early '90s I joined my local quilt guild, the Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild, in Walpole, MA. We were very fortunate to have the budget and the support of our members to bring in several nationally renowned quilters , especially those who stretched tradition and/or made art quilts, annually. When it was my turn to put together RNQG's schedule, I knew I wanted to contract Katie Pasquini Masopust. At the time Masopust was exploring a new series she called Ghost Layers. It was quite a departure from her very early work, made when she was Katie Pasquini, that focused on isometrics. Everyone wanted to learn how to create their own ghost layer style quilt. Not me. I asked her to teach her color theory class. I'm so glad I did.


Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

3 Dimensional Design, by Katie Pasquini, is the first book I purchased featuring art quilts versus traditional patterns and the techniques needed to make them. I was mesmerized by Pasquini's ability to create a sense of dimension using a 2 dimensional medium. I learned two things from this book. First, was the importance of a grid based on perspective lines to create the sense of a third dimension. Second, was why a light source is necessary to really bump out that third dimension.

Lets Look At Value:

Bargello Blessings
by Gwyned Trefethen
Made for my sister when she was
undergoing treatment for colon cancer.
Anyone who has studied a musical instrument knows the importance of practicing scales. I think of value levels as a color scale. Each color begins with its palest version and works its way towards its darkest version by gradual increments. Hence the term gradation. Creating gradations is like practicing scales. Understanding the intervals, or steps to get from one note to another or one color to another is key. Why? Because this understanding will help the artist achieve their vision. Value is necessary to show a light source. Areas infused with light are the palest colors, while those areas blocked from the light are in shadow or the darkest colors. Mid values are used for those areas neither in direct light or shadow. Value is relative. One color may read as dark, say royal blue next to a sunflower yellow, but that same royal blue will read as light when placed beside an eggplant/aubergine.

Tip of the Day:

One is so used to seeing color versus value, that it is easy not to have sufficient contrast in one's work. The result is key elements of design may blend into the background or neighboring elements. If you want to make sure you have enough contrast take a picture of your piece and convert it to black and white. Some cameras will do this. Photo apps often has this feature, as well.

Comments and Questions:

I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Importance of Friends

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.


Detail from 2001 A Floral Fantasy
by Gwyned Trefethen
Block pattern design from
Jacobean Applique
by Patricia Campbell and Mimi Ayers


Introduction

Before I started quilting I dabbled in other crafts. I had made several needlepoint and crewel pillows, knitted a few items, sewed clothing and Halloween outfits from patterns, and played with crochet. I enjoyed doing handwork, especially as a way to relax. However, nothing grabbed me sufficiently to plan my day around my craft or want to find out everything I could about it. Then I started quilting and found my passion. Addiction might be a better word choice. I couldn't get enough of it. I had left my career to stay home and raise our children. Quilting was my me time, my lifeline, my sanity. When my children were in school or napping, it was likely I was cutting fabric and sewing it back together. It could be a lonely endeavor. I wanted to hang out with like minded people. It was the early 90s. PCs were novel, but quickly becoming a must have item. We got one for our home. I discovered Compuserve. This was an email server and it had discussion boards. One of them was on quilting. I joined. Soon I was connected with people all over the US.

Lone Yellow
By Alexander Calder
Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

One Compuserve project I participated in was to read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and share observations with other Artist Way participants. What an eye opener. One practice I began, due to this experience, is to begin each day with morning pages. Cameron recommends this to all artists. It is simple. Before you do anything else, sit down and write three pages of stream of consciousness. The premise is that everyone is more open during that time between dreaming and fully awake, to make connections and problem solve. I've been doing this religiously for over 25 years. I have found it is a great way to purge inner demons and anxieties. Some how just writing the less savory down gets it out of the system and allows one to have a more harmonious day. Many of the titles for my work have come to me while writing my morning pages, as have solutions to creative problems. I've even been known to sketch an idea or two. I'm not much of a doodler, but when I do sketch or doodle I lean towards shapes, especially hexagons.


Cutouts
by Henri Matisse
Lets Look At Shape:

A shape is defined by its contour or outline. Shapes are categorized as being either geometric or organic. Common geometric shapes are circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. Organic shapes may represent objects, such as pears or leaves. They may also be more abstract, or amoeba like. Henri Matisse is an artist who is known for his use of shapes. He used paper cut outs to create both stencils and shapes.



Nestling Oysters
by Gwyned Trefethen
38" H x 39" W
Tip of the Day:

A fun artist play date is to create positive and negative shapes from a folded piece of paper. A positive shape is the shape filled in. It is a solid. The negative space is the void left behind when a shape is cut out.

Comments and Questions:

I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media Addresses:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

First Steps Towards Becoming An Art Quilter

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.

First Snow Revisited
by Gwyned Trefethen
48" H x 42" W
Private Collection

An example of a monochromatic color scheme
Introduction

Some art quilters come to the medium through art. They may have formal art school training. Others, like me, come to art quilting through the quilting side. I began by making traditional, popular quilts, starting with Eleanor Burns book, Quilt in a Day: Log Cabin Pattern. It was through making multiple log cabin quilts I learned how to press my seams so they would nest together at a join, cut straight strips of fabric, how design is enhanced through fabric selected for its value,  the importance of an accurate 1/4" seam, and how layout can significantly alter the overall appearance of a quilt. Gradually, very gradually I took baby steps towards tweaking patterns and eventually doing my own thing from start to finish. Representational quilts terrified, and therefore, eluded me. I needed someone to help me break through from making contemporary traditional quilts to making art quilts. I was told Sandy Donabed did just that. I enrolled in her next class. It was just what I needed.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

Sandy taught out of her home. My memory is fuzzy as to the exact details. I took the class approximately 30 years ago. What I do recall is having an assignment for each class, even the very first one. Students were asked to bring in an object or two they found aesthetically intriguing to the opening class. My object was an egg beater. Seems even then I was captivated by clean, simple lines. We met for eight weeks. Each week Sandy would focus on a topic, often related to the elements of design. She may even have stated that was what she was doing and named each element she covered. I was so new to art, I had never heard of them, although I certainly could recognize line, color, shape, texture and more in art when I saw it. After several weeks we began making our art quilts. We would bring them to class to be critiqued. By week six we were thoroughly vested in our design and work had begun in earnest. It was then that Sandy asked us to "make a radical change" to our piece. That is the lesson I have never forgotten. It taught me it is never too late change direction and often that crazy idea turns out to be just what is needed.
One of Claude Monet's Water Lillies
an example of an analogous color scheme

Lets Look At Color:

I was unable to discover who first stated, "Value does all the work, while color gets all the credit." This is so true. We look at works of the Madonna and Child from the Renaissance and note the rich, royal blue of her outfit in contrast to the gold leaf of her crown, and the creamy peach tones of the skin. We don't think, dark to mid value, light value, lightest value. When I begin a new work, after I have the concept worked out or blueprint prepared, I select a palette. Common palette choices are:

  • Monochromatic: Only one color is selected, but all values may be included from a mere whisper of the color to its darkest value.
  • Analogous: This is very similar to monochromatic, but colors on either side of the main color on the color wheel are included.
  • Complementary: The colors used are directly opposite on the color wheel.
  • Split Complementary: Is a combination of Analogous and Complementary. A focus color is chosen and the split colors added to the palette are the two analogous colors which surround the focus color.
  • Triadic: Three colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. Common examples of this are primary colors and secondary colors.
Adoration
by Gwyned Trefethen
35" H x 35" W

An example of a complementary color scheme
Rules are made to be interpreted. I think of the formal color palettes as guidelines. They are nice to refer to if as I select my fabric from my stash, the fabrics don't seem to be coming together. What could I add or subtract to achieve the effect I am after. I will often pull in other fabrics while working. It is not unusual for me to discover some fabrics I initially selected never made their way into the work they were selected for.

Tip of the Day:

I store my fabric by hue and stack it with the darkest fabrics of that hue at the bottom and the lightest at the top. This way it is easy for me to quickly locate fabric of  any hue or value.  I can easily identify areas of weakness and strength within my stash. For example, I can always use more of the lightest values of any hue. When I first started making quilts I would buy fabric for the project I was making. Now that is rare. Instead I buy fabric to replenish my stash, much the way you might shop for groceries, replenishing staples and buying perishables each week.

Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th. 

Social Media Addresses:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Becoming An Art Quilter

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.
Night Vision
by Gwyned Trefethen
50" H x 40" W 

Introduction:

I've been making quilts for 30 years as a passionate avocation. There are as many paths to becoming an art quilter as there are art quilters. Over the course of seven days I will share my path. It truly has been a journey, stopping along the way to explore this technique, that idea, or simply immerse myself in art in a variety of ways. I had and have no destination. This includes never setting out to become an art quilter. It simply happened several years into the journey. Now I think of myself as an artist whose medium is fiber and who is deeply rooted in the quilter tradition.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists
Each day I will share a book and/or quilt artist that captured my attention somewhere along my journey. Today it is Joen Wolfrom and her book Visual Dance. This is the first book I ever came across, which used actual quilts to explain and demonstrate the elements and principles of design. Reading this book was an ah ha moment for me. It gave me a guide on how to look at the work of others and how to problem solve when a piece of mine wasn't working out. Because I feel understanding the elements and principles of design is vital to every artist, and quilt artists are artists, my posts will include a closer look at each of the elements. Perhaps I will delve into the principles at a later date.

Bouquet of Peace
by Pablo Picasso
Elements and Principles of Design
Although I have known of the elements and principles for decades now, I never truly understood what the difference between them is. Then I discovered a great analogy on line. Artists are like chefs creating meals. The elements constitute the ingredients of a recipe, the principles are the recipe, and the artwork is the finished dish. In order to achieve a tasty dish (strong artwork) one needs to begin with the best ingredients, which are then combined through various techniques. Of course, one can make substitutions and each person performs techniques or combines techniques differently. This is why, even using the same ingredients and techniques, no dish made by two different people will taste the same. It is also why artworks made from the same paint, using the same techniques, of the same scene vary. It is the chef or artist who brings the work to life.

Lets Look At Line:
Line is sited as the first element of design. It can have many characteristics. Here are just a few: thin, thick, long, short, heavy, faint, continuous, fractured, straight, curved, outline, filler, directional, and entangled. Understanding line, how to use it effectively and how to create it using one's chosen medium requires years of study. All the works depicted in this post were selected for their use of line.

Butternut Squash: A gesture drawing
by Gwyned Trefethen
Tip of the Day:
I believe it is just as important to study art as it is to study quilting in order to grow as a quilt artist. This is why I, along with others, recommend exploring media other than quilting to grow as a quilt artist. Drawing is a great medium to learn about line.

Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.


Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)