I have been spending a lot of time in the studio recently but you wouldn't know it from looking at the pictures on my blog. The problem is that most of the pieces I have been working on cannot be shown, either because they are Christmas gifts or, more likely, they are part of an upcoming competition or exhibit that prohibits publication of images before the event. Since this blog allows public access it qualifies under the publication ban.
One of the things I can now show is the book cover I made as part of the gift exchange for my fabric artist's group in Billings. The theme for the Christmas exchange is often chosen a year in advance and we then have 12 months to plan our creation. Even so, I would guess that most of the gifts, like mine, are constructed after the first of November or even later. The theme for this year was "book". We can interpret the theme however we wish and we do not have to stick with fabric in the creation, but it does have to be something made with our own hands. There is no requirement to participate and we often have a member or two who simply finds the season too busy to spend time on the gift exchange so they sit out a year. All along I had planned on making a book cover. I had doodled out several possibilities, all landscapes and was zeroing in on a final choice. Then, about September or so, it seemed like every book and magazine I picked up featured a new method or technique or design for making book covers. When I saw the one in the newest issue of Quilting Arts Magazine I knew I had to re-think my sketch. The technique shown looked like so much fun I just had to give it a go. The result is the cover shown here in the first four photos. The luscious texture is achieved by covering the whole thing with a layer of polyester organza, free-motion machine quilting over it all and then applying the heat gun to the surface to melt away the organza in places. Even though the article warns against making the piece too small I still managed to do so so I added a leaf of faux leather to the closure side. The cording used to make the closure was braided using a simple method I discovered in Bead and Button Magazine a few months ago.
The fun part of a gift exchange is, of course, the exchange part! We use a non-biased method of placing a number on each wrapped package and then drawing names out of a hat to see who goes home with what present. My gift went to Linda MacD. I in turn received a wonderful package from Brooke A that included the little gems shown here. The container is a deep shadow box and inside were three incredible pieces of art. The base of each was a page from an old book with the intriguing name of "Adventuresses and Adventurous Women". Inside each was a grouping of sharp objects: rose thorns in one, broken glass in another and pins and needles in the third. The theme of the grouping was "Quilting as a Blood Sport" and it was inspired by the hair-raising adventures of those of us who participated in this summer's artist's llama trek in the Beartooth Mountains. Each little miniature then has an extensive amount of stitching holding it all together.
Next year's theme has already been chosen. Jeanne K put forth the idea of "Time" which was adopted by all. I am already thinking of possibilities!