Tuesday 30 March 2021

More Fabric Portraits

 I have done a couple more fabric portraits since my last post about them in early February.

This time I tried to do a self-portrait. I chose 5 levels of fabric and left them out on my table overnight.

First choice of fabrics

When I looked at the fabrics the next morning, I thought I was being too safe and needed to challenge myself a bit more. I pulled out some more fabrics to work with.

Final choice of fabrics

Here is what the portrait looked like after I had used the 3 lightest fabrics.

3 values done

You can still see it's a face but it really shows how important those darker values are.

Here is the portrait with all 5 values.

Portrait of me.

When I showed my portrait to our on-line group, someone thought that my second value was too light. I must admit that there is a lot of light values in it because my skin is quite pale.

I considered making it again using a lightly darker colour but then I couldn't be bothered and used a fabric pen to darken the value!

Here is the portrait with the pink darkened.

portrait changed

I wish that I hadn't done it now, it looks too pink. One of my friends said that I look sunburnt!! Oh well, just another lesson not to jump into changing things too soon. 

I think that I will do another one now, but maybe I 'll find another photo to use. Next time, I'll stay away from pink.

I also did another portrait of my cat, Misty. Here is the first one that I did.

Cat portrait 1

This time I used the collage method, where I cut up little pieces of fabric in 3 different values. I laid the fabrics down on a line drawing that I drew on a piece of Steam a Seam 2 fusible. When I had all the pieces of fabric in place, I ironed them down. Because there were still lots of loose bits of fabric, I put a layer of black tulle over the top.

Cat Collage

This is what it looked like after quilting.

Cat Collage

Quilting definitely improves a piece. I liked doing both methods but I didn't enjoy quilting the last collage one as much. There were quite a few layers of fabric and the machine had to really work hard to quilt it.

I prefer it if quilting is smoother and freer. I put tulle over the entire top instead of just the cat and it did darken the background a bit, if I did it again, I would try just having the tulle over the cat.

I must get on to doing some more portraits so I can improve and not forget how to do it. I have been distracted lately doing some surface design techniques. There are only so many hours in a day and you can't do everything.

Bye for now,


Wednesday 24 March 2021

Sue de Vanny Exhibition

 Hooray, I finally got to a quilt exhibition last week. The first one in 12 months. The last exhibition was actually my own show that was on this time last year and then the world seemingly stopped and there has been nothing on since.

Sue de Vanny's exhibition is currently on display at the Kyabram Town Hall Gallery in Victoria, Australia. It is a large gallery space with professional lighting and it specialises in textiles. We are so lucky to have a gallery like this.

Sue de Vanny is an art quilter and it was so wonderful to see all her quilts together and have a close look at her techniques.

Sue has been to South Africa a few times and uses her photographs as inspiration for many of her quilts.

Close to Me by Sue de Vanny

Long Tall Sally by Sue de Vanny

Majestic Presence by Sue de Vanny

I am amazed at the realism she has achieved in the lion quilt above.

I have always admired her quilt Limelight.

Limelight by Sue de Vanny

I remember Sue's tram quilt at the Australasian Quilt Convention back in 2014, it was very popular and won Viewer's Choice, I think.

Tram Route no. 10 by Sue de Vanny

Sue has started with a different pieced technique lately and this quilt has recently won 3rd prize at Quilt Con, the Modern Quilt Guild Competition. It was able to be at the exhibition because the show was a virtual exhibition this year.

Shape I'm In by Sue de Vanny

I drove the two and a half hour drive to Kyabram with my friend Marion, who was also my room-mate when I went to Uluru in 2018. It was good to spend time with Marion again. I asked Marion to take a photo of me in front of the quilt that I love the best out of all of Sue's quilts.

Me in front of Time by Sue de Vanny

I felt so inspired by the exhibition that I wanted to come home and start sewing, of course I didn't, life got in the way but I do have some ideas percolating in my mind.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 16 March 2021

Exploring Emotions with Quilts

 For the past few years, I have been thinking about how to explore emotions with my contemporary quilts. One of my latest quilts is called Grief.

A year before the Covid event, my best friend and my younger brother both passed away unexpectedly within a year of each other. It was tough, even though life must go on, there is a hurt that you carry around inside. I decided to make a quilt about this sad subject. Don't get me wrong, I am not depressed or anything, in fact, I think I am the opposite, I am usually pretty upbeat and positive.

I chose fabrics in various greyed blues that I thought would represent the subject. I started to make this quilt last year when we were in lockdown. Luckily, there is a quilt shop within 5k of my home so I was able to order on-line and go and collect it. Once you have an idea for a quilt you don't want to wait three weeks for the delivery of the fabrics.

Fabrics for quilts

I decided to try and make the fabrics change from darkest at the bottom and gradually get lighter towards the top to represent feeling better as time went on.

Fabric gradations

I thought about the people that I was missing a lot while I was making the quilt and it was quite therapeutic. I really believe it helped me accept that they were gone and I could move on and be glad that they had been in my life.

Here is the finished quilt.

Grief ©2021 Linda Steele

My artist statement for the quilt was

'Grief cracks us open: eventually we reshape and re-emerge but we are different than before. We will never be the same, life is different now. With time we will become more compassionate, more human and more patient than before'

Here is a detail photo.

Grief detail

I entered this quilt into the SAQA Connections exhibition and was absolutely thrilled that it was accepted. SAQA is a top international art quilt group and I was very honoured to be chosen and be amongst some very prestigious company. The exhibition will premiere at Houston in November.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 9 March 2021

SAQA Acceptances

 I've had good news recently, two of my quilts have been accepted into SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibitions. 

The first was a regional exhibition for Australia and New Zealand called Distance and Diversity, my quilt will be travelling around to various shows and galleries for a couple of years. The first exhibition isn't open yet and so we are not allowed to show the entire quilt until after the opening. I am allowed to show a detail photo though.

Reef Revelations detail

Can you tell that the girl reading the book is my granddaughter, Savannah? I actually painted her skin and appliqued the hair and clothes. It was a very nerve-wracking day painting that face, but I was happy in the end.

 SAQA have a conference every year and this year it is a virtual conference and the Oceania region (Australia and New Zealand) are the hosts. They are having a virtual quilt exhibition as well and the theme was Impressions of Oceania from Around the World. The quilt did not have to be a new quilt and people from all over the world entered, I was thrilled to have my quilt Firelight accepted.

Firelight by Linda Steele

This quilt is made from wool and it was a very different technique for me. I must get around to trying it again!

Here is a detail photo.

Firelight detail

I think that might be my last acceptance for a while unless I get onto some new work. I am still busy playing around with paint and portraits. I am learning a lot and hopefully it will eventually translate to some new quilts.

We have recently heard that AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention is going to be held in August instead of April and the Victorian Quilt Show that I coordinate has been changed from July to November. So, I have some time to get some more quilts done.

Bye for now,