Art journalling and tea bag quilts

I have been enjoying experimenting with my teabag quilts. However, I fancied doing something a bit different. I made a collaborative quilt with Fran Halperin – she added text and pattern to my design and then I stitched a circle over it in white. I was really pleased with how it worked out.

I decided to have a go at using a quilt as the base for an art journal page. I do these usually on paper and build up lots of layers using mandalas/ printing and adding text.

On holiday in France a made a tea bag quilt that wasn’t doing anything for me, so I used that as a base

And I made a simple 3×3 teabag base.

I am afraid I forgot to take a few photos – blame it on the fact that I was away for two weeks and got over excited on the making front

I started by making a background using pen and paint stencilled through a couple of mandala stencils. I glued the lettering in place with Matt medium. Then added my white back stitched circles

I didn’t like the text it seemed too simple – so I added more – just stitching on top this time. I added a pale orange set of circles in between the white and drew on top of it with pen and gelatoes.

This morning when I got up it seemed too simple . So I attached the lettering

I attacked the other quilt which went through a similar process too

Details of the quilts – I chose the text flipping though a Psychologies magazine with soft eyes and picking out words that jumped out at me

Paper bag quilt

I wanted to do a quilt that represented where I am situated on holiday – rather than a teabag quilt. We bought some veg in a pretty bag with French words on.

I took the bag apart and cut out the decorated panel. I ironed some iron on facing on the back and used a paper towel for added strength.

I started embroidering my back stitch circles. I asked Dad if he had any old envelopes with postmarks or stamps on. He didn’t have any but he gave me a French stamp and an airmail sticker.

I decided to leave them just with running stitch around the edge

After yesterday’s cardabelle drawing I was delighted to find one on a bag Jon bought a croissant in from a bakers

I worked all over the bag in circles and straight lines – I thought I might add other pieces on top as I find them over the next week.

I like the back almost as much

Sewing paper until my fingers hurt

Mandala sewing update. I have found that if I sew on the back of the paper using back stitch, you get lots more cotton showing and it is a better contrast to the front of the stitch

The back of the above piece

I was sewing on cartridge paper and this is too thick really, for needles and my hands (even when you crumple the paper).

Cheap printer paper works really well but you need to be careful not to catch it with a knot or pull the cotton tooo hard.

I had fun sewing a circle onto a tea bag – but it was very hard to rip afterwards because the paper is so thin.

I also discovered that these pieces scan better than the photograph because they cast so many shadows.

Montjaux and line drawings

I am back down in France for a couple of weeks. I brought all my quilting kit with me. However I felt like drawing instead. I am still drying out teabags .

We have had the house in the family for 30 years. So I blog and post pictures regularly,

This year I wanted a new way of representing the house. I decided to have a go at doing some line drawings – in the style of blind contours. There are too many rectangles to do it properly. I thought I would set my self the task of one a day….

Day one: Kitchen Window

I love the this window. There is usually some basil in a pot. This year someone has stuck in a piece of dried honesty, it looks fab against the light.

Day two – I decided to draw the window in the main room- there is a great view of the hills through the balcony.

It was very hard to do my feet 😂😂😂

When my Mum was alive she used to make Jam and pickle. This morning when I got up and checked in the fridge There was lots of fruit that needed to be used up – it’s hard to keep on top of it during the hot summers here.

So I made a mixed fruit jam. It wouldn’t get to setting point so I decided to draw the back door as I waited – which is old and hasn’t been replaced by us

It opens up on to a small ally way and isn’t used very often – it’s a storage place for brooms and mops

The symbol of the region where we live is a Cardabelle – a flat circular thistle. Mum was given one as a present years ago. This afternoon it was too hot to go out so I decided it had to been done. I made several to get my hand and eye in and added water colour.

The thistles are very rare. They used to be dried out and nailed to lots of doors in the village but you don’t see them as much because they are protected. They are about 40cm in diameter and very prickly.

Experimenting with different thread/ teabag quilt

I have had a sewing box for ever. This is the first time I can remember running out of white thread.

I had a go at embroidering a mandala with the same thread that I used for my most recent quilt ( see my last post). I sewed using cheap white thread that I had had for years. I was disappointed with the results. So I overworked the stitches and added some thicker cotton/ wool

I saw some multicoloured thread on a friend’s Instagram feed and thought it would be fun on teabags. I went on a shopping trip and found some fab colour ways made by Guttermann.

I also bought a heavy duty white thread and a large multi use 100% polyester white. The multicoloured reals are 100% cotton.

I love the results

I think the orange will be great as the cotton to sew the tea bags on to my substrate. The darker/ rainbow mix shows up the best. However I like combination of the three colours.

The stronger thread shows up against the tea bags very well

I decided to make my – mandala into a sample piece. I added the paper fabric as an edging

I am getting better at making my work more regular (😂😂😂)

New teabag quilt

I decided to try a new method of sewing with teabags. I used running stitch to attach 56 teabags to a pillow case protector that I picked up second hand. It is a nice weight of fabric with a bit of padding.

My adopted Granny was from County Durham. When I was younger I remember we had a quilt that she made- that looked a bit like this

I don’t remember Grannies being as complicated as those above but I remember loving it- how it felt and the patterns. I wanted it to be mine. ( picture from Pinterest )

I am quite pleased with how my design is developing- I wanted to stick with working in circles – following on from my mandalas ( the next one will have a more Durham themed pattern)

The fabric and padding that I am using isn’t quite thick enough to get the Durham effect. Though I like the feel of my piece, and the contrast of the white thread on the tea colour.

I decided to add some straight lines to join the pattern together – it feels more coherent. I need to photograph it in daylight

The spaces between my lines need to be more consistent- though I like the fact that it still looks like teabags. Some of my other work lost the individual bag feel.

When I was working I tried 3 ways of sewing the bags edges- I pinned the teabags next to each other- but they moved sometimes during the process. Depending how quickly they dried out – made some of the edges crisp and fragile

Crispy joints

Hidden joints

Darned

I think I like them left as they are – with the white fabric showing as contrast. I am going to finish the back stitching- edge the piece and may be back it. I will add a finished pictures

I backed my quilt with a favourite old pillow case and edged it with colour run absorbent sheets that go in the washing machine.

Art making as enquiry

Jon has been writing a book for the last four years. It has finally been sent off to the publishers . During the last few weeks he has been reading sections to me, I have read bits and become immersed in the words.

He has written about ‘writing as inquiry’ ( Richardson1997 ) before and I reminded that I could substitute ‘art making’ or just ‘making’ for ‘writing’.

It’s how I think through my process. My art making could be an seen as an inquiry.

Recently I have been sewing into my mandalas this seems to form its self into definite, purposeful shapes, engendering in me a sense of solidity (Wyatt 2019, forthcoming).

Collaborative piece – my sewing into Jon’s writing

And there is a pulsing between the lines ( ibid)

The sewing, drawing, printing, making, seems to be an assemblage of times of day, space, bodies, objects, movement and more (ibid).

Another collaborative piece – we are working on ideas for the cover of his book

The pieces hold an imprint of that time of making, held within the layers of work- almost suspended -captured by the movement of my hands, my body, my inquiry.

References

Richardson Laurel, Fields of play (Constructing an Academic Life) 1997

Jon’s book will be – Wyatt Jonathan,’ Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry’ 2019