Monday, 21 September 2009

And now for something completely different!

Last week at Fibrecircle, we spent the day graffiti-ing fabric. We'd planned ages ago to do it, and this week, after the seriousness of all the ATASDA AGMs, seemed like a good time to be childlike again. We used a piece of donated fabric, and each person moved round the table so every part of the fabric was drawn on by everyone. Then we cut the fabric into equal parts.
Here's my section:
Isn't it fabulous?

Now I have to do something with this fabric by early next year! I am toying with adding colour - graffiti is usually coloured in flat areas, or maybe adding more texture (which I can do by stitching). Will I use it whole or cut it apart? I'm sure you'll see more of this over the coming months.

More about the book

Once I'd painted the cover picture, it was April 1 and I started work on the pages. April 3 was the first quarter of the moon in April, with the full moon on Apr 10, and the last quarter on April 17. The new moon fell on April 25. I won't show all the pages here, partly because that would be tedious to look at, but also because, when you are working quickly on the final sheet, not all pages turn out as you imagined! Here are some of my favourites:
The first page I did -

April 6, a Fibrecircle meeting day - paper tissue collage
April 11 - undeciphered scripts This page shows a page of the undeciphered script of the Indus Valley civilisation, with the letters of UNDECIPHERED SCRIPTS hidden among it. On this day, I was thinking about the parts of everyone that are hidden from view, that appear unexpectedly.
The next two are pair of pages about limitations, associated with the changing season, the waning moon and my life at the time.

Tissue poppies for Anzac Day, for those dead in war and the new moon, with the words of the poem that begins "in Flanders Fields the poppies blow", written at Ypres by Dr John McCrae, who himself did not survive that terrible war.
A fantasy landscape, just playing around with colours. Painted with Setacolor paints over the original blue background.

It actually took me until mid June to assemble the book in its final form. I added colour with Prismacolor pencils to the end papers, and added text.

This was a brilliant project to do, I really had a ball. It was structured enough that I wasn't trying to find things to make each day, but free enough to let me follow whatever elusive thread captured my attention. I learnt a huge amount by doing it, although I now see ways I could have done things better (of course!). I think I got way more out of it than I would have done making a quilt (or a bag) for the challenge. If you want to see the other challenge pieces, they're on the Kambra Challenge blog.

Lots of new stuff to share

I've been quiet here lately because so much of what I've done lately has been secret. Finally I can share one thing that took up a lot of my life back in April. I belong to a group that does a challenge every year. This year, the challenge was to make something with these fabrics, a pack of 40, 7in squares of 20 Hoffman 1895 Bali Watercolors, blue-green color roll.

I was away for some of the challenge period so I wanted to make a small project, that I had a good chance of finishing in the time frame. I thought about making a bag, or using the square to embellish a garment. But when I looked at the fabrics, they reminded me of phases of the moon, so I decided to make a book that referenced the moon phases over one month. The moon in astrology relates to emotions, and receptiveness to change, since the phases of the moon mean it is in constant change. In the past, I've made diary-style year quilts, which were about what was happening in my life during that year, but I wanted to make something that focused on my inner life, what I was thinking and learning, rather than what I was doing. So I made April Moon. (I worked through lots of possible fancy titles, but in the end, simple seemed best!)

I decided I needed to keep the pages separate until after I had done whatever I was going to do, so I was free to stitch them if I wanted. Then, as I went, I could assemble flat sheets into signatures, and stitch the signatures to the spine tape, so final assembly wouldn't be too time-consuming. (I'm never really motivated by those final fiddly bits!) The Bali fabrics would be used to edge each page, so the colours would show the moon phase. I also wanted the book to be able to stand up, but each page to lie flat when it was opened, which influenced me towards a more standard book binding, with a spine tape attached to a cover, with end papers.

First I made the cover and the base pages. I didn't want to be daunted by cream quilters' muslin pages, so I painted all the pages in shades of blue. I used the same paints to make monotypes for the end papers and the cover. The end papers were printed from a glass plate with rubber bands scattered on it. The cover monotype was pulled from paint on the glass plate. (The overlay shows where the spine was going to be) Then I began to sketch in paint details of my imagined moon garden. It was utterly absorbing, as the more I added, the more areas I could see needed more work. Eventually I stopped, and this was my moon garden cover: