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Friday, January 20, 2017

Quilting in Clay: Part 1 - Precision Personified

We all enjoy creating canes and slabs, but what do we do with them once they are created? Or an even more trying question, some of my favorite techniques are creating sheets of crackled clay or inked sheets that mimic batiks - what pray tell do we do with these? My solution was 'quilting' in clay. NOT as is currently recognized - ie: create a cane from extruded clays... but instead using my sheets to create quilt designs.

The process is so easy it's insane. After deciding on a pattern, use a ruler (or pattern grid - more on that later) & slice your sheet, applying pieces in proper order on top of a soft layer of Sculpey Original. As I look at the photo above, initially the pattern looks very complex and I honestly wouldn't know where to begin to build canes to duplicate this pattern. And, quite honestly, IF I could sort out what canes to build, I doubt I have the skill to build them in a way that absolute precision could be maintained. But, for the above pattern, a simple long slice creates strips. a few more long slices creates squares and triangles - easy cheesy done. And IF you find you enjoy this technique, you will master looking at quilts with an understanding of how they are assembled.

Are you ready to create artwork like this?

I will be adding NEW Categories, the 1st will be Quilting: Flat. Quilting: Flat will refer to a solid non broken finish (as opposed to dimensional work) & will be geometric in nature, differentiating from the landscape category. There will also be sub-categories that will be added. 1st is Basic... this will include the easy cheesy patterns of basic geometric shapes as above. It will include simple strips, squares & triangles. Here are a few more of the types of designs you will find patterns for in the Basic sub-category.


The next sub-category will be 'Complex'. This will include patterns that have parallelograms, isosceles triangles and (more important) curves or circles. I have pattern grids for the 1st 2 but usually cut a card stock pattern for the curves. These are still relatively easy, but do require a bit more thought. Here are a few samples of the types of patterns that would be considered 'Complex'...

Now, it's time to introduce you to Judy Niemeyer. Judy is to the quilting community what Carol Simmons of   is to polymer clay. Let me preface with IF you aren't familiar with the pure genius of Carol Simmons, you need to follow her blog. IF I had to pick just 1 teacher & that would be the only voice I could hear, Carol would be my mentor. Fortunately, there are more generous teachers within the polymer community than there are minutes in a day... do be certain to grab a front row seat IF she teaches in your area. Judy Neimeyer, like Carol & Captain Kirk take their artistic genres to levels others never imagined. With Judy, she was the 1st to combine the brilliance of color use with an awesome blend of landscapes meets traditional quilting. My next sub-category will simply be 'Niemeyer'. Although not every work pattern will be her... she is the heart of this art form & it will be easy for me to remember. Fortunately for us... we work in clay & can reproduce one of her designs on a large piece in a matter of days... whereas her designs in a full quilt can take well over a year. For som intense eye candy, be sure to stroll around her site   Note that I will be sharing a really cool trick for quickly & easily creating 'spears' - her trademark use of triangles... that makes recreating her type of designs a breeze. 

Now, for the 4th sub-category - I will call this 'Backgrounds'. True quilting combines connecting pieces to create the over-all pattern, but then sews a background pattern into the pieces. These are easy to integrate into our designs which take our art pieces to a whole new level. I am also guilty of turning background pattern designs into the focal point artwork. Take a peak at a few, they are just beautiful... and easy cheesy!

And now for the 5th & final sub-category... I will call it 'Links'. ANY patterns that make me think of inter-locking chain links, whether they be borders, large patterns or Celtic knot-work.Here are a few samples, although I'm sure you get it.

So, there is the gist of Quilting: Flat & the associated categories. When ever I post to Any quilting category, I'll be placing everything I need to do it in clay, including patterns - often including variations in pattern & photos, so we can just hit the table & do it. I've begun restructuring menus to include quilting sites & artists that will be added to the left hand menus. You should blow around online a bit, the inspiration within the quilting community is incredible & quilters are great about sharing patterns & ideas.

This is specially pertinent for me, because I often integrate fabric into my clay work. Just remember, until I do full tutorials on integrating fabric, a few points to remember:
1 - Working over Sculpey Original or a similar Soft clay is where the magic begins
2 - Glue coat between fabric & clay. Elmer's All-Purpose is ok
     Gorilla IF water resist is needed
3 - IF using over vase that will have water OR doing full window art tapestry
     where condensation or moisture is an issue (tut forth coming)...
     be certain to waterproof fabric. (tut forth coming for that too)

So much to post, so little time.
Hope you get to play in your clay today!
ClayPlay Liz

P/s: Here's a pdf link to the photos in the slideshow - enjoy. 
Slideshow Quilt Photos

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