About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Landscape, or rather, seascape, wall quilt: construction details

I have been intrigued by the landscape quilts of Katie Pasquini Masopust. I bought two of her books, "Fractured Landscapes" and "Ghost Layers and Color Washes".

Earlier this week I took a photo from our deck of a sailboat in Baynes Sound. I took the picture in the early morning, facing west so the bright sun from the east illuminated the scene wonderfully. In iphoto I saturated the colours in the photo and upped the definition and contrast. I printed the photo as size 8" by 11", on matte photo paper, and then printed a black and white version so I could evaluate the contrast in values.

Although I used Masopust's books as inspiration, I did not want to use her machine appliqué technique. I like to piece my quilts and really cannot imagine fusing or raw edges. I traced the black and white photo to establish the major design lines, and measured the proportions, with calculations along the right hand side of my sketch.

I then took a piece of 24" by 34" newsprint, and by eye, enlarged the photo design 3 times, that is 300%, by copying the main structural lines.  I did measure the photo and my drawing to keep the proportions correct.

I  pulled fabrics and had a great time creating the water from angled strips of solid and printed azure blue fabrics, the treed hills from diamond pieced greens, the sky from nine-patches of blue, and the foreground beach from golds and browns. I put it all together with curved seams following my newsprint pattern master pattern, constantly consulting my two photos for colours and values.  I cut the large pattern as I progressed so that I could use it to cut the edges of the colour changes.

My final detail was to hand appliqué the sailboat in the centre of the picture using needle turn appliqué. I photocopied the sailboat from the black and white photo at 300%, and traced it onto freezer paper using my light box. Then I used the freezer paper pattern to cut white and red fabric shapes, copying the exact shape again to the right side with a Frixion pen (the ink disappears when ironed) to follow the correct shape on the right side as I needle turned my tiny shapes. I am particularly proud of my appliqué of that skinny mast!

In placing this defining element into my composition, I recalled the remarkable Constable exhibition that I saw at the Tate gallery in London about 8 years ago. In each of his magnificent paintings Constable placed a flash of white and red at the centre, and often a small dog. See "The Hay Wain" http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/john-constable-the-hay-wain
which has been called one of the greatest British paintings .

I have copied Constable here, or been inspired by him, and if I had only managed a small dog in my picture, well ! I have also tried for a Constable sky. Of course his paintings are 6 feet high and wide so he has the advantage of scale :-)

I am very pleased with my composition and am looking forward to its completion. I am going to use pure cotton batting, probably Warm and Natural, and I have a piece of rough raw linen for the backing. I have wonderful plans for machine quilting of the sky and water, and will hand stitch around my lovely sailboat. Such fun!!

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