Thursday, January 24, 2013

Component parts

I have been working on a new piece, which probably will be my submission for the High Fiber Diet "Simply Red" show. It is also a continuation of my series of Latin American architecture. It is based very roughly on my photo of the basilica in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Typically, if I were making something based on a photo I would start by laying out the sky, then working my way forward, fusing and stitching the main pieces into place. Then I would go back and add in details and finally I would add whatever decorative stitching and quilting at the end. My village quilt gave me a different idea. For that piece I made all the little houses, including details; then the background and then started assembling  the component parts. It occurred to me that I might want to actually break bigger buildings and compositions into component parts to assemble. This helps me see how they are fitting together and how the black stitching and outlining are working and makes it much easier to rework just a portion if it isn't coming together the way I want.

Dome components pinned into place

Foliage and tower

As you can see I am taking a lot of liberties with the photo. In fact I am not working from the photo at all, rather from a very simplified sketch of the photo. That foliage is an idea. It may not work, but it's a component piece so I can ditch it or replace it if I decide before everything gets put together.

I am pinning all the pieces, as I go, to a piece of thin, papery, non-woven interfacing that I drew a grid on, as well as a kind of suggestion of where pieces will go. Eventually all the pieces will be fused to the interfacing and it will be layered into the whole deal and essentially disappear.

Have you ever worked this way? How does it/did it work for you? I am liking the flexibility it gives me.


  1. Love the red! And the tree piece really makes it pop, so keep it, or others like it. Never having seen your work in person (shame on me!) I need to know what the black outline is- do you sew your units to something black or is it a machine satin stitch (but it doesn't look like that!) That subtle black line really pushes the pieces to illustrative. Can't wait to see this all together- you will have a vast resource to do many more!

  2. I'm working on a wall hanging that started out as someone else's pattern and has since morphed into my own thing with new pieces and a different feel. I tend to start that way a lot. My piece is all components and I've been moving things around like paper dolls. So far the current layout seems either busy, boring or something that isn't right, so I'll have to fiddle with it again. I like your details that are already in your components. What a good way to audition an idea. Too much stitching or a not-quite right color? A 3"x4" component is easier to re-make than re-doing a whole section. I'll have to go try that with some of my pieces to see if it helps. Can't wait to see more - yours AND mine. :)

  3. Terry, thanks for this timely post. I was just trying to work out something similar in my head and this solves some problems for me. Love how the new piece is coming. Thanks for sharing!