Electric Trees

 Previous NextElectric Trees Quilt - Allison Green

Electric Trees
Silk face, polyester interior and backing. Various threads including metallics. Each 12″ x 24″ © Allison Green 2013.

Set of two stitch drawings with ink accents. Based on  a transformer tower. Explores similarities between the natural world and the man-made.

See how it was constructed.
Previously displayed at M&T Deli in Fredericton, NB. #1 sold to private collection, #2 pricing available upon request.
Electric Trees Quilts - Allison Green 9 Electric Trees Quilt Back - Allison Green

Astral Ink

Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_8Astral Ink
Silk face, polyester interior, canvas backing. Various threads including metallics and variegated. 48″ x 36″.
© Allison Green 2013.

Silk painting with Procion dyes, free-motion quilting to within 1/2″. Designed after a photograph of ink swirling around with textile medium. This is a commentary on the mixing pot that is space, and the fluidity of time.

See how it was constructed.
Previously displayed at M&T Deli. Pricing available upon request.

Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_5 Astral Ink Quilt - Allison Green_3

Silk circuit

silk circuit copySilk Circuit
Silk face, polyester interior, cotton backing. Various threads including metallics. 20″ x 16″ © Allison Green 2013.

Silk painting with Procion dyes, machine quilted to within 1/2″. Based on a circuit board. Exploring the idea of beauty in industry, and the relationship between textiles and technology.

See how it was constructed: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Sold throughM&T Deli in Fredericton, NB.

silk circuit_8 copy Silk Circuit

The Cogs of Communication

A Brief History of Written Communication

The Cogs of Communication

Gouache, vellum, tracing paper, newspapers, and dictionary pages. © Allison Green 2012.

Paper quilt with symbols painted in gouache. The top layer (painted tracing paper) represents our initial form of written communication, symbology. Underneath this layer are dictionary pages, which display the next step, formal written language. The piece is then quilted with a wave stitch, showing our most recent development, wireless communication.

Shown in Context/Texture at the NBCCD Gallery in 2012.

A Brief History of Written Communication (Detail)

The Crossing

The Crossing by Allison Green

The Crossing
Linen, quilt batting, gouache, cotton, and textile medium. 32″ x 16″.
© Allison Green 2012.

Painted quilt with free-motion machine stitching and hand-embroidery. Inspired by the old train bridge in Fredericton, NB. Now converted into a walking trail, this piece show the softening of the bridge over time. Sold in the Summer 2012 Isaac’s Way Art Auction for youth music lessons.

Railway crossing 120 (2) (1280x1187)

Extra, extra.

Just a couple little updates. To be honest, a couple little updates and one BIG update.

“The Crossing”, my train bridge quilt, is now up for auction at Isaac’s Way. You can see how it’s doing here, but have to stop in to the restaurant to bid. It will remain up until mid-September. A lot could happen between now and then, especially in the busy tourist season!

My quilted map shown in the previous post, “Here be monsters.”, is now up for sale for sale at the M&T Deli. For patient individuals, I am also available for custom map commissions. Feel free to contact me for more information.

In the next couple weeks I will be starting a commission from the maintenance gentleman at my work for a painted fish. He showed up at work the other day with this big piece of driftwood for me to use, I was delighted.

My woven lighting sculpture has found it’s home at Jeremiah’s Place, a brand new restaurant in Hartland, NB. I am going to visit sometime soon to take pictures and try out the menu.

And for my BIG NEWS, I was offered an internship for the Sculpture Saint John Symposium! With five other interns I will be learning from six international stone sculptors for a month and a half (I talked more about it here). I must say, I am all a-flutter! It is my hope that I will have time to thoroughly chronicle this experience here on my blog. Off I go to Saint John on August the 2nd!

Here be monsters.

There have been many a thing on my plate as of late. To begin with I’d like to talk a little about my time at the M&T Deli. There I spent the last couple weeks sitting pretty in the window, picking away at a painted art quilt. It was a wonderful experience, and I even got fed delicious soups and sandwiches. Wish it were my day-job :)
I thought I would feel tension at being watched while at work, but on the contrary it relieved pressure. I was not tempted to become distracted, to have a nap, to stare blankly at the piece, waiting for inspiration to come.  I just kept plugging away with a smile on my face until the whole thing came together. There was plenty of people-watching to occupy that part of my brain which likes to blabber in my ear, and I met a lot of interesting and interested people. Someday I will find my very own downtown window studio.

I would have to say this is the largest piece I have every accomplished, 48 x 36″. I decided spur of the moment to create a giant map. I’ve always wanted a giant map, and I love pouring over old ones. I ran down to the Owl’s Nest book store, a trip which never disappoints, and picked up some books.

After some deliberation I chose an area in Cape Breton. I have a lot of roots there, but truly I chose the particular spot only because of the composition and the little islands to the right. I blew up the map with the photocopier, and believe me when I say this was the hardest part of the project. I can’t get on the computers at school again until next year, so I had to blow it up in a number of steps to get it as large as needed.

Once I had printed it off I followed essentially the same steps as my train bridge quilt. I transferred the photocopy onto cotton muslin:

Mixed my colours (inspired by another map in a very beautiful french map book, seen here ripped out mercilessly onto the floor):

Mixed with textile medium and painted onto the cloth:

Stuck with spray-baste to some extra-loft quilt batting (which I will forever use henceforth, despite the moderate price increase), and quilted with a variety of threads:

This is where the main differences lie with this project. While the train bridge piece was from a photo, and therefore required much less decision-making, the details of this piece are mostly from my head. It took me a little time to decide on a quilting scheme. It is also entirely curvilinear and thus I had to use the free-motion presser foot. This form of quilting was best described to me in a how-to video; it is just like drawing but you have to learn to move the paper, not the pencil. This was a bit daunting at first but I quickly came around and will never shy from curves again.

First I sewed a line around all of the landmasses. Then I began on the waves, only because I had an easier time deciding what to do with them. I made repetitive wave forms in a variety of directions, sizes, and colours, mostly trying not to overlap. I am most happy with how they turned out. This dense quilting had the effect of tamping down the batting where the water is so that the landmasses rise above it. And so very undulate-y.

I used quite a bit of metallic thread to make the water sparkle. I found out very quickly that a special needle is necessary. Not sure exactly what it was that I used but it had a groove all the way up and a decent hole. This put an end to all the breakage.

I decided to split up the land along intuitive lines that vaguely followed the splotches of colour. This protected the raised quality of the land but added some interest.

At this point I had finished the quilting and flipped the piece over to take some extra stuffing.  I put little slits in some of the land segments and squished in some fiberfill. A sort of barbaric trapunto.

This makes for little mountains of land when the whole thing is stapled onto MDF. If I had it to do over though I would rub glue over the entire back of the quilt so that the water would stay totally flat. Very pleased with the outcome at any rate.

I thought I would be finished here but looking at the piece I felt it lacked a narrative element. The boy had recommended giant squid and I now thought more seriously about the idea. I love the old maps with their pictorial warnings.

I made little sepia ink drawings on muslin and sewed them on here and there. The piece may have benefited from additional little drawings but I thought it looked crowded when I tested them out. I didn’t want them to be the entire focus. I was originally going to apply them as a folded-edge appliqué but time was running thin and they were looking a little too prominent. So I cut them right to the edge and whipstitched them on with transparent nylon thread (my best friend).

I love the fray around the edge, and how they lie completely flat. The boy commented that it seemed like the map had been made first and then as monsters were discovered they were tacked on in the appropriate places. I like the idea of a map as a work in progress.

In my first day of art history we made a map of our initial understanding of the subject. One could as easily make a map of their internal environment, or their life experiences. You could tack on little drawings as events occurred, or sew on whole new continents as time passed. I think I might start one today.

Lending dimension.

Nothing pleases me like sewing. As much as I procrastinate with most things, when it comes time to sew, I am in there like a dirty shirt. This post will take you through part two of my painted bridge quilt. For part one see previous post. I powered through the machine quilting all in one day, but please, for the sake of your own sanity, allot more time than that.

For this stage you will need:

Painted cloth from previous step, thoroughly ironed
Garden variety sewing machine
Various matching or contrasting threads
Piece of backing fabric same size as painted piece
Piece of quilt batting same size or a little bigger
Spray-baste (or pins if you prefer)
Board or canvas
Staples and staple gun
Wire and nails for hanging

Your painted piece is safe to handle now, don’t worry about smudging it. Get your batting, backing and spray baste and head outside.

The first step is to make your quilt sandwich. I decided to try out spray-baste with this project and found it worked really great. Was a little sticky but you could wash it out afterwards. You start by spraying all over your batting, then positioning your backing fabric. It is in theory re-positionable but try to get it on your first go because it buckles if you try to change it. Then you flip over and stick down your painted piece. Try not to smoosh the whole package too much as the spray when wet will compress it more permanently.
Let it dry for a couple minutes and head to your sewing machine. I think I had my stitch size set at 3 but pick something that looks good to you. With your painting facing up, you are just going to trace each of the areas of colour. You can be as detailed as you like, or not. I went off the lines quite a bit to begin with and I think it just added to the sketched quality, so don’t be too too careful.
I started in the middle with the bigger lines and worked my way out to each side. This tacks your batting into place really well so you don’t get any folds. Then I went back and did all the fine detail work. Working this way also means you are feeling like a pro by the time you get to the fine work. When I got to the VERY fine area in the middle of my piece I balled up the rest of the quilt with elastics so I could work freely without fighting the excess fabric.
I used thick dark brown thread for most of the lines, dark red for the rust-coloured areas, and on the railings a soft purple thread designed for jeans. I used a rust colour for my bobbin thread to make it even on the back. I think the more thread colours you used, the better this would look, so go nuts.
I did a fair amount of hand-embroidery after the fact, to outline the little people and do the loose crosses in the rafters. You could skip that part if you wanted to. The next time I try a piece like this I would like to do quite a bit more hand-embroidery. I think it finishes it off nicely. You could even do the whole thing that way.
Here it is all quilted. I love the way it bumps out all the different elements. I think you could take this even further with trapunto (a sort of selective stuffing method) or a double layer of batting. You could hang it just like this or use it as a centerpiece for a larger quilt.
I chose to mount it on a piece of MDF since it will be sold alongside paintings. I laid the piece face-down and put the board on top. Then I temporarily taped around the edges and flipped it over. I wiggled it around until centered, then flipped back over and stapled it profusely. I stretched it a little so it would hug the board, but not so much that I skewed the image or flattened the batting. Then I put a couple nails into the back and wrapped each end of a wire around them for hanging. It came out to 32″ x 16″.
Very important: Always sign and date your work on the back. I also stitch-signed mine with a free-motion foot, you can see it peeking around the bottom right edge.
Here is the picture I was working with for comparision:
Let me know if you make something along similar lines, I would love to see the outcome! It really is so simple, just a little time-consuming. But isn’t that the way with anything worth doing?

I’m unabashedly happy with how it turned out, haha. Can’t wait to make another one, and I am going to have the chance real soon! The last week of this month I am going to be making art in the window of the M&T Deli (Queen St, Fredericton), for the same people who put on this auction. I think it’s going to be a real experience.

I’m going to play with this sort of subject matter a little more too. I like the idea of “softening” industry. Now more than ever we are trying to marry technology with humanity. We have seen the vulgar results when these two areas are left to their own devices. For me, representing this relationship in cloth is a no-brainer.

Relinquishing grip.

I miraculously forgot about my rust buckets for a couple of days. Guess I was too busy worrying about the piece overall. When I came back to it today the chain bucket looked like this:

For some reason it only dyed in the areas that were out of the liquid, where the rusty vinegar had wicked up into the cloth. I’m hoping those parts were just exposed to more oxygen. I dumped the liquid into the other bucket (which had done nothing) and with a little luck the iron on the cloth will oxidize.

What a pretty colour though! A much stronger red than anticipated.

While that was working away, I was stressing big time. Today I was cutting up my bridge pattern. Gradually then suddenly I was overcome with bleary-eyed frustration. And no, it had nothing to do with the act of cutting. I couldn’t decide whether to piece the fabric bits together with sewing machine or appliqué them onto one big sheet by hand. Piecing would be more difficult in keeping the bits lined up while hand-stitching would take more time.

I have been consumed by this question for several days, with no headway. Might seem silly, but it’s not like I could progress further without answering that question. Of a sudden I realized I couldn’t choose because neither seemed doable by Friday.

I am never a fan of quitting, but sometimes you need to accept your own limitations and move in a slightly different direction. Once I allowed myself to think of different choices, one came along very quickly, like it was waiting in the rafters. So I put away the cloth I had dyed for the occasion and moved on.

I am going to paint the train bridge image onto one single piece of linen with gouache, then quilt and stitch it afterwards. I won’t have to worry about piecing at all and can focus on  colour and finishing. This flash of inspiration has me excited about this project all over again. Me and gouache are best friends, and so I am a very happy camper.

I gleefully dug out my paints and started sampling. The top row here has half and half Sonja’s textile medium and Holbein gouache, with varying amounts of water. The second row is simply gouache and water. The third was a photo transfer using blending pen (more about this later) with gouache/textile medium painted over.

I stuck them in the wash with regular detergent to see if the textile medium would soften up (it had developped a displeasing sort of acrylic look). It did a bit, but still too cakey on the heavy areas. Interestingly, the gouache alone weathered the wash just fine. Little bit came off, but nothing like you would expect.

I don’t intend this piece to be washed after it is sold, it will be stapled to MDF and hung on someone’s wall. I was just a little worried about running unwashed paint through my sewing machine. In light of this development with the unmixed gouache, I think I’m just going to use it straight.

Today will be a play day, with lots and lots of painting.