Isabella´s Portrait

I have delved into the scary world of fabric face portraiture, and I found it really daunting 😲 The best part of course was all the planning in my head, and buying the fabric, after that it was all about feeling lost and frustrated, why do I do this to myself!! And then of course because I work full time and then it´s cooking dinner, keeping house and all the boring stuff we have to do, I only get to work on my projects on weekends and even then, not all weekends and only a few hours at a time. So, the projects tend to drag on and on to the point where I get fed up with looking at the same project for ever, and then declare it finished, even if it needs more tweaking. That’s kind of what happened here, but also because I was scared that if I carried on, I would mess it all up.

I read up on some of the techniques used, which consists mainly of making a pattern for each piece of fabric and using fusible, but I don´t like to use fusible on art quilts and I´m not much of a pattern maker, I prefer to just glue the pieces down with craft glue, so that I can change my mind at any time, spray some water on it and peel it off. So basically I´m just winging it as I go along I never do any real prep work, just sort of dive in and start doing.

Anyway, here is the outcome of my first attempt at making people. My model of course is my gorgeous granddaughter Isabella, I have certainly not done her justice but she loves the portrait anyway, tells everyone that it´s her 😀

I won´t bore you with details of how I made it, there are plenty of sites and videos of people far better equipped than I who explain how to go about making a portrait quilt, I´ll just leave you with a few photos of mine.

It´s also thanks to my daughter Andi who pointed out that the features needed more definition, that I allowed myself to lose some of the fear and go bolder.

I must also add that I posted a photo on an art quilt page on FB and a lady commented on all the things I should do to make it better, I must say that although I really appreciated all the constructive criticism, I didn´t do any of it 😀 Once I consider something finished, it´s finished. I will try to do better on the next one, and yes, even though this is hard, I´m making another one very soon, so stay tuned 🙂

And to end today´s blog here is a far better image of Isabella.

Rhino Fabric Collage

My Rhino Project is done. Took me an age to do, and it´s mainly due to being on partial lay-off, due to the Covid pandemic that it is actually finished. It´s quite large measuring 116cm x 98cm, and I am sooo in love with it

I have an enormous love of all wildlife.  Having been born and bred in Africa my heart literally sings when I´m in the African bush, which unfortunately is a very rare occurrence since moving to Portugal. Actually the last time I was in the Kruger Park, was in 2013, goodness, I can’t believe it´s been 7 years already, but it´s so costly to visit my birthplace and then when I come back to my “home” in Portugal I feel homesick for ages! Oh my, just writing this has made me feel a little sad, 7 years, wow… Anyway, I chose to make the Rhino because they are literally being slaughtered for their horns and soon there won´t be any left. It´s  sad that humans are so incredibly ignorant.

I have dozens of Rhino photos taken by me at the Kruger Park, I chose this one because he was really enjoying himself at the water hole, it was late afternoon, and all around us their was such serenity, all we could hear was the occasional sloshing of the water as he moved around, the cicadas, and now and then the far off cry of a fish eagle. 

When I  made my Jack portrait Here I already knew that I wanted to do a Rhino art quilt. Jack was my stepping stone. I knew I wanted the Rhino to be big and I wanted it colorful, and I wanted the background to be similar to it´s natural habitat, and so that’s what I´ve tried to do here.

I ordered some Kaffe fassett fat quarters from overseas, unfortunately I can´t find Kaffe Fassett anywhere in Portugal. The background fabrics I ordered from Spoonflower, and the rest I sourced from the local stores and from my home stash. I started it in early March so it took me 4 months to do.

Here are some close ups of the rhino and the birdie on top.

I mounted the quilt myself on canvas, and it´s new home is in my lounge. I´m a little worried about how it will stand up to dust etc. but mounting it in glass would have been a huge expense, I also like the look of natural mounted textile, so that the thread work and fabrics are clearly visible and touchable.

The other day my daughter Andi, jokingly said that it looks like he´s wearing a mask, so I suppose he´s very 2020 appropriate 🙂 I love looking at him in the evenings, when I´m relaxing in the lounge.

Looking at the quilt every day up on the wall, I can see so many things I  could have done differently and better, but I try not to dwell on these thoughts. I know that if I had worked on it for a year, I would still be finding fault with something or other, so I´ll just enjoy my Rhino as he is.

Oscar´s Portrait

This is going to be a pretty quick post because I´m not happy with the outcome of my Oscar Portrait, but I have to post about it anyway, because this blog  is essentially my journal, and also I´m tired of thinking about this horrible Covid-19 pandemic! I started it before the Jack portrait but I put it aside to make Jack Here which I thought would be much harder, but it actually wasn’t.

I really battled with Oscar, I chose a horrible photo, which really doesn’t do him any justice at all, and it all just went downhill from there. So now Oscar´s face kind of looks like a koala and the fur is so….boring.

Oscar has 2 coats, one for summer and one for winter, here he´s wearing his summer coat.

20200209_122048

20200209_121735

And here he´s wearing his winter coat 😊

IMG-20200224-WA0002

Well, the most important lesson I took from making this portrait was   – Make sure you love the photo that you will be working from and that it truly inspires you. I am currently choosing a photo for my next subject, and this time I’m really thinking about it and taking my time.

Even though I´m not overly pleased with the result I still hang them up on our home office wall, nobody really goes there, except me 🙂

20200331_143756

Thanks for the on-line visit, Stay Home, Stay Safe!

 

Jacks’ Portrait

I finally found the courage to venture into the world of art quilts. After a lot of procrastination, such as tiding the workspace a few times, dusting the sewing machine a bunch of times…I just sort of dived in without the due attention that it merited. I wanted to start with a portrait quilt of one of my dogs,  however, I didn’t choose the best photo for either, I just picked a photo randomly without the notion of which pose etc. might be the best for a textile rendering….. Lesson number 1 has been learnt. Jack´s pose in this photo is not the best, it has a lot of depth, which makes it harder to portray.

20191229_162809

I actually began the Portrait of my other dog Oscar first, because he´s a shaggy brown dog and so I thought it would be easier, but then I put him aside and started Jack because I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was going to portray a totally white short-haired dog, and I always like to get the difficult stuff over with first.

This is a quick summary of how I did it. I took the photo, enlarged it to an A4 (page size) and then using a lightbox traced the major outlines and shadow lines to another paper, then took that to our local copy store and had them enlarge it. Using a sharpie I traced the enlarged image to a thin muslin type fabric. ….Lesson number 2, ……use a waterproof sharpie because when I changed my mind about a piece of fabric and had to squirt water to loosen the glue, the ink smudged all over the muslin and the fabric pieces, and on light coloured fabric that is definitely a no no.

20191111_082517

The interesting part comes next, which is choosing bits of fabric, cutting it, gluing it, and thereby creating the image. I spent quite a bit of time reading Susan Carlson´s blog Here she´s such a fantastic teacher.

20191111_184838[1]

The background was particularly difficult for me, I just didn’t know what to do., I messed around a bit, changed my mind a bunch of times, and eventually just settled for what you see here, red squares portraying the floor, and a different upper fabric. The red part is covered with red tulle and the upper part with black tulle, I stipple quilted with matching thread.

I also made the background to big… lesson number 3, …..know which size the finished work should be, so I don´t waste time and fabric. I bought a canvas from the local store and attached the quilt to it by folding over the sides and stapling it to the back, so it´s nicely stretched.

And there you have it, all done!

20191229_165304

I showed it to Jacke and his friend Ollie, They think it´s kind of ok 🙂

20181206_135151