Thursday, October 30, 2014

Having fun with mixed media - the World of Wearable Arts (WOW)

Although the history of using the human body as a mannequin for art display surfaced occasionally in the twentieth centure with Atsuko Tanaka's Electric Dress in 1956, it was not until 1987 that Wearable Arts became celebrated in New Zealand as an annual extravaganza. It was the brainchild of Susie Moncrieff and for the first few years it was held in the small, artsy city of Nelson. Once it had become more and more popular, it eventually transposed itself to the capital, Wellington, usually around the end of September and early October, spring in our hemisphere.

These days, Wow is an internationally known spectacular that attracts designers from all over the world such as Canada, Japan, USA, India, Thailand, UK, the Netherlands, Israel, Fiji and Germany.

Even though the art costumes are the reason for being, WOW has become a cross between an art show, a fashion show and the Cirque du Soleil. Lighting, acrobats, music, ballet and other media all combine to make the show truly spectacular. The downside for people who want to see the art costumes up close, is that they become ever more remote and incorporated into the 'fabric' of the show. The only way to see some of the costumes in detail is at the permanent exhibition in Nelson.

There are several categories: Pacifica, Children, Bizarre bra, Avant garde, and sometimes lighting or this year it was inflatables!

The entrants have instructions about the garment and any accessories having to be robust to stand quick changes and several shows, with maybe a tour at the end. Any material can be used, including metal, wood and plastic. Paper can be tricky, and needs lots of reinforcement.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Make a Textile Leaf Bookmark or Appliqué motif - Tutorial

Having been involved in sewing and crafts all my life, it's inevitable that, at times, my work sometimes crosses over between quilting and textiles.

By making your own textile leaves using organza, thread and soluble stabiliser, these attractive leaves can be used either as bookmarks for the 'bookworms' in your life, or as appliqué embellishments for your quilts or textile art work. Even with the advent of e-readers and iPads, etc, many people still enjoy holding and reading a 'real' book. Or they are the perfect complement to your glorious collection of 'coffee table' books or quilting magazines that you love to sit and browse through. 

Eucalyptus leaves...

As bookmarks, they make great gifts, especially if you want something unusual and personal that you can produce in a short space of time and with few material requirements. 

This video tutorial tells you everything you need to know to create your own fabric leaves in any shape you like. Inspired by nature, you will learn how to source ideas and images to create a traceable pattern or template that can be used and re-used. 

Essentially, the technique is a form of thread sketching using the free motion foot on your machine. Even if you are new to free motion quilting, a little practice will see you producing these attractive textile leaf shapes in no time at all! 

Requirements are few and only very small quantities of fabric, soluble stabiliser and thread are required, so these leaves are also very economical to make. 

If you don't want to use the leaves as bookmarks (or even if you do!), they can be created in any leaf shape that takes your fancy. 

This one is a Ginkgo biloba leaf - the organza gives it a lovely, translucent effect...

and this is the leaf of the Fittonia albivenis skeleton plant...

I hope you enjoy learning how to create your own beautiful leaf bookmarks or appliqué embellishments.

Deborah Wirsu
To see more of my work, visit my web page

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lettering and Bookmaking

I was thrilled when I saw our new challenge: Lettering. This, because I am so fascinated by the shapes of letters, from the earliest Cuneinform and Hieroglyphs, up till our time with thousand different fonts.
And comming from Norway, I am so fascinated by the exotic elegance of Arabic and Asian writing.
I have used lettering many times in my quilts, like here in our challenge: Every single day, where I used the Chinese sign for Tea:

But, the earliest form of lettering in Scandinavia, Runer, are just as fascinating. I used them in one of my quilts about our Viking-ships, here is a picture of my Design-board, where I'm trying out different texts.
And this brings me to my second topic, bookmaking. 800-1000 years ago, at the time of the Runes, there were no books in Scandinavia that we know of. Writing were done in Runes on stones or wooden sticks, Runepinner. A few of these have survived, one of the most fascinating is one tiny piece of wood, about 12-15 cm long, where the row of boats you see at the bottom was engraved. At the back of this piece of wood, were the text you see to the right. These dates to around 1250, while the text at the top left was found at the Oseberg ship and is from around 820.  

In 2010, Laura had a show in DMTV, where she talked about bookmaking, and this show opened a new world for me.  So I made my first sketchbook, filled with many kinds of paper. 

On the covers, I've used Silk paper I had made . On the front, I had laminated in a leaf from a plant from my garden,

and on the back, I tried to use some golden flakes:

Later, I've made this one, a concertina book

 The cover is lino print on cotton rag paper, and it is, as all of my books are, filled with decorated paper, photos, prints etc.

 The next is a long stitch binding, the cover is hand made paper with embedded leafs:

And this last one I made, with soft leather cover:

If you want to have a try, the videos from DMTV are in Archive Two (you have to subscribe to DMTV to get access). You can also find a few instructive pages here:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

November challenge

Theme for November challenge:


In last time I often see letters on quilts. I don't know if it's fashionable or if it's only because I like it. 
There are so many different possibilities to use letters on quilts:
calligraphy, monograms, handwriting or the fonts of the computer editor.
You can write nonsense or use words or a text which is important to you.
The letters can be     - printed
                                       - painted
                                       - handwritten
                                       - embroidered

I am inspired by:
- Jette Clover
- Sara Impey
- Deborah Boschert