Spiral Fabric Collage

I am having one of my regular artistic blocks which isn’t helped by this pandemic. Each day rolls into the next, so I have to mark a cross on the calendar to check which day it is.

I am also trying to sort out all the thousands of digital photos I have on various hard drives. It’s very confusing. I have used photoshop elements for years but only recently took a course on how to use and manage it. The first thing I did was disable the watch files which are linked to Onedrive and Amazon. Before that I would see a pop up downloading from such and such app and stop it but not until several photos were downloaded. I have ended up with so many duplicates. PSE has got a program for duplicates but its not very smart, to be honest. I think mainly because the file names have changed, so it uses visually similar comparisons. You can’t beat a human eye in those circumstances. None of the online cloud programs seem to have a solution for duplicate images either. So far I have deleted about 4000 images because they were duplicates or other reasons ie a photo of your meal for instagram. I don’t do that anymore. I am planning on having it complete by 12/31/2020, to start the year afresh! Then I have sort through all the old photos that we have and the ones from my parents. Unfortunately a lot of them lack names, dates or location. This is why I decide to sort out my digital disaster. That way, in the distance future, my kids will have a reasonable record to wade through. Not until 2021 though!

A while back, I decided I wanted to explore fabric collage. Much as I have enjoyed the quilt making, there are limits such how many quilts can a person have. I am not good enough to sell them and my family is small, so sharing is not an option. Even before I started doing traditional quilts, I wanted to make art quilts/wall hangings. Fabric collage seems to fit into my broad spectrum of art work. I did attend a workshop at the beginning of the year, oh that seems like another age ago but I wasn’t happy with the result. I am currently working on it and I am still not happy with it! It was too basic and was basically applique with scraps of fabric. I want to create a whole image.

I had seen the work of Susan Carlson. Unlike my work, it is monumental in scale but seems to be more inline with my way of seeing things. On her website, I saw she had a eworkshop where she explained her process by using a simple spiral. I signed up and started the Spiral Eworkshop. It was much harder than I expected! I realised my fabric collection which I thought was reasonable was not. It was lacking in lots of respects, in its variety, pattern, colour and tone. As I was about to go fabric shopping, a friend step up with a huge bag of scraps. She is much more adventurous with her choice of colours and patterns. I still had to shop for some tulle for quilting. Within days, I had finished the project. I plan to make another spiral before I progress further.

Now I have to figure out what I will do with the original sunflower collage which doesn’t look much like a sunflower. I am going to chop it up and rearrange it. I don’t like it, so I might as well experiment. Here is how it looks at the moment.

WIP

I am also going to work on a pet portrait. I signed up for a workshop by Lea McComas. Her style is very different from Susan Carlson and uses digital imagery. Susan Carlson does also but in different way. Lea McComas uses fusible backing rather than glue to place the fabric and her fabric choices are not bright or patterned because she uses different threads, colours and weight, on a sewing machine to enhance the image. As I am wading through my 20 yrs of photos I am trying to find a suitable photo of any of our pets. Again, harder than you think, especially if you have a black or grey cat. Once I have selected the photo, resized and posterized, I will need to get it printed. With the pandemic getting worse by the day, I will get it done online to reduce my risk of catching covid. By the New Year, I should have the enlarged posterized photo and the fabric I want to use.

At end of 2021, I will be doing my own fabric collage, using my photos. I have collected scores of photos over the years, on visits to Scotland,France, London and Texas. Once I have sorted out my catalogue, I will finally be able to use them for what they were intended for. In the meantime, I have a lot of learning to embrace. Until a few years back, I didn’t know a thread had a weight!

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