Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Article for Bernina on Leaves, Leaves Leaves

Look at the Bernina WeAllSew.com website to see this article I wrote about the Leaf process.

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

Leaves by Barbara Schneider #bernina #leaves #3D #three-dimensional #3D Leaf, #artist's process #how to make a leaf #weallsew #printing on fabric #fabric printing #free-motion stitching #freemotion stitching #sculpture #painting #art #art quilt
Here in the western NC mountains we’re blessed with amazing color every autumn as leaves change from green to all shades of red, orange, yellow, and, yes, a bit of brown, too. My little cottage in the woods is surrounded by huge oak and pine trees, but there are also maple, sourwood, and sweet gum. The dogwood tree outside my office window is a lovely shade of pink/red, and my neighbor’s maple trees provide a background of red and yellow. The ground looks something like this:

But these leaves aren’t real – they’re stitched! Barbara Schneider’s “Forest Floor,” along with other pieces in her Leaves series, features realistic leaves fashioned from fabric and thread. Here she describes her process for creating stitching and shaping her lovely leaves.

My Leaves series is an exploration and interpretation of these beautiful objects by enlarging and reshaping them. I collect leaves and look closely at their structure and shape. In particular, I like to collect them at the end of summer when they have begun to wither and fragment. Looking at them closely and then enlarging them allows me to see them as sculptural objects. I look at the play of light upon surfaces, and shaping the pieces introduces a new element – light and shadow interacting with the undulating surfaces.

“Leaf Fall” by Barbara Schneider:

I begin with real leaves that I collect at the end of summer when they beign to wither and twist and change color. The sample leaf shown later is a very large grapevine leaf that has begun to change color.

Scanning, printing, and assembling leaves
I start by scanning the original leaf on a flatbed scanner. Then I use a photo manipulation program (Photoshop Elements) to enhance and enlarge the leaf to prepare it for digital printing directly onto the fabric. I usually use a PFD (prepared for dyeing) cotton lawn fabric.

Printing onto the fabric
When I make a piece that is digitally printed I usually need to print it in sections and then reassemble it before moving on to the next step. I work with a 13″ x 19″ printer, but have found that as long as I stay within the width (13”) I can print pieces that are longer than the 19″ length. I prepare the fabric by ironing it to freezer paper, set up the print parameters on the computer, and then print the sections with a 1″ to 2″ overlap. I remove the backing paper and then fuse Wonder-Under to the back.

Fusing, free-motion stitching, and cutting
I use Wonder -Under or Mistyfuse to join the front, batting (I use just a small amount), and back together. The next step is to add detail and texture with free-motion stitching using a variety of threads to create the veins and whorls and other assorted marks that are on the original leaves. Sometimes I double up threads, sometimes I overstitch or use heavier threads – whatever best expresses the essence of the particular leaf.

Stitching the leaves
One of the things that it is fun to interpret is all the markings on the leaves. Free-motion stitching with the BERNINA 750 allows me to re-create these markings on my leaf pieces.
I stitch the leaves with a variety of threads – mostly I use rayon thread for the strength and the lovely colors. I often use two different color threads at the same time for the topstitching as it gives a more mottled feeling which seems right for the leaves. I often combine multicolor threads in varying colorways. For the bobbin thread I use a color that blends with the back leaf fabric color. I use a Titanium-coated Superior Topstitch Needle, size 100/16. I find a have very little thread breakage with this needle.
I look closely at my original leaf and try to create the same veins, whorls, and marks that I see in it. This might involve straight stitching, satin stitching, and free-motion stitching, as well as overlapped stitching to build up areas of texture. I change the threads for different areas and work my way around the leaf. I often go back three or four times to add more detail and to change coloration.
I try to imagine what the stitching will add to the surface – is it pattern, texture, or color? Whatever it is, I just try to let it flow through my brain and into my hands and then I just go with it!

What brings the leaves alive and what excites me about them is creating dimension and shaping them so that they catch the light. After all the steps above, I coat the entire front and back with a thinned-down white glue product (Aleene’s Fabric Stiffening and Draping Liquid). I lay the leaf out on a plastic sheet over my work table. While the leaf is damp and pliable I shape it, using a variety of supports such as small cans or plastic bottles, foam wedges, pins – whatever I need – to hold the leaf in the desired shape for as long as it takes to dry.

To learn more about this process
I have published a DVD – Three Dimensional Fiber Art: Shape and Texture, Light and Shadow with Quilting Arts Workshop / Interweave Press on this process and how to make other things as well.

“Leaf Fragment” by Barbara Schneider:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hanging The Eye and the Needle exhibit

 Our banner!
 The Fineline entrance
The Fineline garden

Work in progress
 Frieda and Laura
Here are a few photos from the hanging of the show yesterday at The Fineline Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL. The exhibit opening reception is Saturday Octover 19 from 2-4:30. Please come out and see the show! Thanks to Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasilowski for helping with the hanging.
Hope to see you at the exhibit, Barbara and Pat

Friday, August 2, 2013

Quilting Arts PBS Episodes

This past spring I filmed 3 different segments for the Quilting Arts TV program that runs on PBS. The new series starts this month (different times and places for each PBS carrier). In case you might want to see my short segments they are part of Series 1200 – specifically in the 1211, 1212, 1213 episodes. 

Barbara Schneider

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

International Quilt Festival Chicago

Hi all,
Starting tomorrow the International Quilt Festival will be in Chicago. The basic information is listed below. There is a lot to see at the Festival I will be at the Studio Art Quilters Associates booth from 4-6 on Saturday if you have any questions about your SAQA membership or ideas for things to do. I would love to have input.
Also I will be doing a demo at the Open Studios booth from 2-4 on Saturday. Come by and visit there as well!

International Quilt Festival
Chicago 2013

June 21-23, 2013
Preview Night June 20
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont, Illinois
June 20 (Preview Night) - 5-9 p.m.
June 21 & 22 - 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
June 23 - 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Admission: $10 adults/$8 seniors 7 students.
Children 10 and under free.
Full Show Pass (includes Preview Night) - $25

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quilt National 2013 Opening

Here are some photos from this past weekend opening at Quilt National 2013 at The Dairy Barn in Athens, OH. Top photo is Kathy Weaver (Highland Park, IL) speaking about her piece followed by me talking about mine. The others are an assortment of photos of other wonderful pieces. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Upcoming Exhibits

I will have a piece, Forest Floor, var. 3 at Quilt National, opening May 25, 2013 at The Dairy Barn Gallery in Athens, OH.

Also, Reflections, Venice, var. 20 is currently at Form Not Function at The Carnegie Center for History and Art in New Albany, IN until July 13, 2013.

Reflections, Venice, var. 18 will be at the International Quilt Festival - Long Beach, California in  July 2013 and also at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, September 12 - December 2, 2013.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pokey and me

It was fun to do the filming for Quilting Arts TV. This is a picture taken with Pokey Bolton, the host, during one of the breaks on the set.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Filming for Quiltings Arts TV program

 I just came back from filming 3 segments with Pokey Bolton for the Quilting Arts TV program on PBS. The show will air this fall on PBS. It was a really fun expereince, once I got there and got started. I did a segment on my Reflection quilts, a segment on the three dimensional shaping (using the leaves) and one on digital printing through an online printer.  My car was FULL with proejcts coming and going. It filmed in Cleveland and that was long ride under the threat of the big snowstorm last weekend.

Hope to have  images to show at some point here.