Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Chinese Coins Fabric Pull and Spiderweb Back

Sometime in the late 90s I bought a Balson Hercules fabric called Fujiwara by Susan B. Faeder. {Reading the selvedge.} It has always been a favorite, one I intended to use but never have. It was my first choice for the back of the spiderweb because there's over four yards, it was still in the stash, and it makes a statement. At least I will be able to visit it easily by turning this quilt over.

I combined it with some soft blues then added one funky green/black/beige plaid to pump it up. {Who remembers "Pump you up" from Saturday Night Live?} The longer I look at this, the better I like it.

Spiderweb quilt back with Balson Hercules "Fujiwara" fabric

The quilt was almost completely pin basted when I realized I'd rotated the front ninety degrees. Darn. Another evening spent taking those pins out. Then pinned it correctly. So feather-headed.

It's far enough along that I could start pulling fabric for Chinese Coins. While pondering what tack to take, I read this:

"The next step is to do a pull of all the fabrics I have been aching to use and to see how they look together." Kathy Doughty

What an exciting way to approach a scrap quilt. But, I also need/want to make a quilt for my niece who is decorating her new home in turquoise, yellow, grey, and white. And I happen to have lots of light blue leftovers right now. {Insert maniacal laugh here.}

I pulled these from my stash and {for now} intend to supplement them with leftovers in the scrap bag.

Fabric for Chinese Coins

"Landscapes/naturescapes"

Did you know there's a way to move/regroup photos on your Pinterest boards?  I've been doing a lot of that lately. Creating order by commonalities allows me to think. {That's a geologist for you.}

It never occurred to me to combine a traditional block with a painting until I saw Deb Hyde's work. Someone posted this time lapse YouTube video showing the development of Lucy ITSWD several years ago but few people seem to know about it. I'm awed that anyone could keep two balls in the air -  a specific quilt style and a scene. Definitely one to enjoy over your morning coffee or tea.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The form or the scene? The answer: it depends.

Diane Wright's Thimble Islands shows sea, sky, and islands in blues and browns while Ululu (Ayers Rock) rises in the distance across a wide valley in Ann Bauer's Summer Comes to the Mountain. (It's about the middle of the page.) The regularity and precision of column widths in both makes me think they envisioned this arrangement from the start. In fact, Ann's website shows several works created in a similar style. The phrase "working in a series" comes to life as she develops her ideas.

Diane's free-hand cut coins emphasize waves hitting rocky shores. Ann's straighter cuts create a flat, grassy plain with a hazy distant mountain. By curving the pink fabrics she perfectly conveys a setting sun reflecting on wispy clouds.

On the other hand, I think I'm overlaying the Coin form on the finished quilts of other artists. I could easily be reading more into it than they intended but  I'm struck by how well the Chinese Coin design evokes an impressionistic scene.

From Sue Kelly's previous posts, I know she did not use stacked coins as a starting point. She randomly cut and sewed fabrics until she ended up with her design for Abbott's Lagoon... which just happened to resemble Chinese Coins. Now that she's quilted and embellished this piece, it's even easier to distinguish the tidal flats, mud flats, grassy hummocks, and deeper waters of this lagoon. So much detail.

In a previous post I referred to Kaja's Build Me a Wall but it's still the only scene I've found that's a closeup of a manmade structure (rather than a panorama.) I'm unsure if she started with a Coin format but she wrote about some of her other works recently. They demonstrate how one's starting idea can unfold into more expressive form.

In fact, this Rail Fence began with leftovers from Chinese Coins. I added some darker blues, raided the scrap bag for odd strips of triangles, and worked them into a different form by rotating sections.

Improv Rail Fence built from Chinese Coins

Whether an artist arrives at a Chinese Coin layout purposefully or in retrospect, I'm delighted to find it possible to use a structured form to create a natural scene. Even if you start with some Coins, remember you're the creator of your own quilt. Feel free to change it any way that works for you. Let's celebrate all of us!

Enjoy the day, Ann

16 comments:

  1. oh wonderful post! Design is unlimited. Thank you Ann... lots of thought and work went into this post!!! Have you done a geode yet? I could see the coin idea done as strata in a large format as a geode. Amethyst. LeeAnna

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    1. So kind of you to write, LeeAnna. These are some things I've been mulling over for a while.
      I have not even thought of using a geode as a design idea. I'd love to see how you'd work it out.

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  2. What an excellent post -- and I so agree with your thought about whether or not the makers called their work "coins" v. our recognition of a familiar form.

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    1. It's good to know we are on the same page. I worried this post was too pretentious or that I was for writing like an art critic. But I always like looking for patterns, just the way I'm made. Thanks, Julie.

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  3. Wow, those are inspirational quilts! I had never seen the Lucy ITSWD video, and I am absolutely amazed. I also found Ann Brauer's work quite inspirational. It looks like the kind of thing I should be able to do with my scraps...but the effect would end up completely different I am sure! Lots of fun to imagine all the possibilities. Thank you!

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    1. Wasn't that educational to see her quilt at various stages. It gives me a better appreciation of her design and construction. One of the things I enjoy with improv is that we can start with someone else's idea but ours will look so different. Improv, to me, includes pushing ideas and working through them. Thanks for writing, Lori.

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  4. Love the time lapse of Deb's quilt, amazing work! So much inspiration, thanx for the links!

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    1. Wasn't that a treat to watch? I have a bit of a handle how she approached her work now. Enjoy.

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  5. I so enjoyed this journey into you thoughts!

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    1. Well, thanks. I'm touched that you enjoyed it. I do like trying to figure out how and why people create their work.

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  6. I have been a follower of Ann Bauer for quite some time, she was featured on a quilt show a number of years ago, can't remember which one now! Thanks for these wonderful links you've given, lots to think about with Chinese Coins. The time lapse LITSWD is amazing, I've watched it three times over! When I first saw Kaja's quilt, Build Me a Wall, on her blog I was carried back to my younger days in the North of England and Derbyshire on the farms with the beautiful stone walls. If I had to try and pick a favourite of all the quilts made by Kaja, this would be the one.

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    1. Lucky you, Maureen. I only recently discovered Ann. Thank goodness for the internet or I'd still be ignorant.
      We don't have many walls where I grew up. Barbed wire or six-foot board fences. Neither of which is very friendly. Her wall looks like a lovely place to lean against at lunch. It's one of my favourites, too, but... she has so many beautiful ones.

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  7. Great post, and a really inspirational collection of links. Thanks for taking the time to pull all this together. I very much like your fabric pull too.

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    1. The cuts and angles of each coin create such amazing differences in each of these quilts. Thanks for creating one of my favorites.

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  8. I really like the fabrics you pulled for your Chinese Coin quilt. It is an interesting mix!

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    1. Thanks, Patty. My opinions of them change as I start using them.

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