So, the kumo shape and line work has become inspiration for a new series. Now it's time to get to work. First, I am going to try to piece together a similar design. I had committed to making a challenge quilt for a group to which I belong. The only restrictions were size and color; 20” x 32” and three shades of yellow and three shades of blue. I had hoped that using different shades would add dimension. It was not as successful as I had hoped, but it is something to continue to work towards. This quilt has a faced edge, so the lines go all the way to the edge. I used three different color threads in my machine quilting: blue, light yellow, and a darker/brighter yellow. The first two pictures show the challenge piece. The middle picture is me starting another piece. I felt overwhelmed by background, and decided to simplify. The right two pictures show the piece in the end. While I don’t know as though my lines/figures are as wonky or complex as a dyed kumo, I think the designs still work. I think that the quilting lines helped develop the design.
During the time I was making the above quilt, I was experimenting with MX dyes to find the right combinations of colors to match my indigo dyed work. My thought was that I would need yardage to match, also if I needed to fix something, I could mix the color with Print paste. It took many trials to work this out, but I did find one that works well. I wanted to use one of my multiple kumo pieces as a whole cloth (see first picture above). I found the areas in between the kumo designs deadening, it stopped my eye from moving around. My thought was if I darkened them, your eye would be drawn around the piece better, and the kumo would pop more. My first attempt wasn’t quite right. While I feel my eye moves around the piece better and the kumo definite pop, the edges are too definitive, they look too fake or altered. More later about this piece. With leftover print paste, I decided to try and print some designs related to the kumo, or should I say riff on the spiderweb. While I “like” some of them, I am not sure any of them are a particularly successfully riff on the kumo. Three are more burst then kumo. But I am happy to keep exploring the idea of printing. I may quilt the ones I am happy with as whole cloth quilts. Not sure what will happen to the other two… they may get quilted or cut up into other work.
Remember the piece I said that I would use as a whole cloth quilt? I wanted to experiment with it. So, I added some color to fill in some empty areas. I cut a stencil that mimics the lines of a dyed kumo. I need to make sure not lead the eye off the piece, or to take away from the kumo figures, so I added the yellow lines in the first picture. While it doesn’t seem to be much of a change, I find that it added a focal point… which is something I didn’t notice I was lacking. I quilted the area within the yellow line with yellow thread, but it did not define the area as well as I had hoped. So it was time to break out the inks. I mixed yellow ink with aloe gel to lighten it, then painted the mixture onto the quilt surface. The second picture shows the final quilt, close-ups are on the right.
So far, I have made 5 kumo quilts (and numerous t-shirts), and have a new piece percolating on the design wall. I still have ideas to explore. This is a series I can stick with as it feels challenging and more distinctive.