Monday, November 18, 2013

Textile work -- The Migration of a Shape

Few years ago in Paia, on Maui, I saw the sculptures of a very fine sculptor named Pascal. He's from France & lives in the US.

I took some photos & then started working on his alluring shapes.

I made notes in my journal.

I still haven't done exactly what he did, but he got me started on a great trip. 
And I'm not done yet. 
I have enough now to sketch out various stations & stopovers.
Here are my first configurations. 

This is where it all led.  Above it is quilted by machine & I didn't like it, so I ripped all the stitching out & hand sewed it. It's a stunning example of the visual difference between machine & hand quilting.

Then I found these amazing silk plaid bias strips.  Experimentation began: I couldn't settle on something that I thought really worked....


It finally was resolved as above.


This project was done last winter after my trip to Vermont.

I rather like the flatter look better, though maybe that's just a case of not-so-great photography!
Or it could be that my batting had too much loft & was too poofy.

This was an exercise started at Nancy Crow's class in May.

 I hand quilted it without batting, part way through didn't like it. I tore it out, machine-quilted it, & liked it way better.... oh, & I added low-loft batting into the sandwich of quilt front&back.

You just can't get those fabulous lines with hand stitching. It's faster too!
When I do this kind of machine quilting I generally make stuff up as I go along. At the beginning a few lines get put in spaced throughout. These secure the basting. Then elaboration begins.

I'm kind of in love with the transition from this... this, with slightly softened rectangles a la Pascal,...

I also love my mother's Venetian scarf coming into play.
What would she say?
She & her large shadows?

 I came home with from my May workshop with Nancy Crow with two large beginnings: one was in grey tones & one was in color.

 Because of the combination of curved seams & lines they were just awful to piece. I didn't finish that till November. This was partly because it was so hard I could only 'take it' for a short period of time. I resolved some of my piecing issues by doing appliqué, which some purists may consider cheating, but I'm not a purist.

I auditioned turquoise into the composition & decided it was a big improvement, but varying shades would be even better. 
I also got to obliterate the heinous clumsy cross near dead-center of the grey phase. 
These new color shapes were appliquéd in.
It is now in my front hall. It makes a good change there. 
 The color version went though a number of auditions too.
I did documenting along the way.

This pretty well shows most of the progression.

This is it right now, on the frame. I am making decisions about thread colors, lines of stitching, & adding more softened rectangles quilted into the overall design.
The blue shapes on the upper large brown shape shows where I am going to quilt in interior shapes the way I did with the large yellow shape.

Upstairs, on my work wall, is another piece-in-process.
The silks are the last scraps of my mother's scarf. I'm intrigued by the change of ground in the center. I was planning to put red where the white work wall is, but suddenly I think that white shape is just too much to give up.
I now have to work that thought out!

What a journey.
I've loved it, wrestled with it & am still not done with it.
I still want to get into the nesting idea.

That's it for now.


  1. Daph, these are just delicious. I love getting a glimpse of how you start with a juxtaposition of shapes and colorsthat someone else might just walk by, Then you shapeshift with impunity and playfulness. No one would know the origin of the finished forms and relationships unless you told them. I literally feel as though I am being guided by the hand through door after door of your artistic sensibility. I hope you are gathering these blogs for a future hardcover publication.
    Betsy D.

  2. leaves me breathless and grateful for a studio tour.

  3. Daphne, so good to see your new work and very convincing results. It must be the teacher in you who wants to show us the process,.. It all makes me believe that your best is still to come. Go Sew Daphne!

  4. Jane! Thank you for such a fabulous process post. Softened rectangles. Sheer brilliance.