Photography final arrangements

I keep on going with trying new things but not sure how best to arrange.

I’m really not sure that I enjoy the overlays. To some extent it’s two good photos spoiled.

Wondering now about pairing an inside thing like an insect or bottom of wine glass or sanitiser photogram with a pinhole through the window photo without the overlay.

Would look something like this but done in most likely cyanotype. Outside pic could be cyanotype and inside maybe coloured solarfast. Although I am really wondering whether to ditch all the solarfast for this project and just do cyanotype because it gives better imagery. Like Gerrard says it’s cleaner.

If I was to do this though, how would the whole quilt be arranged? Nine diptychs would look very landscape

Could do three by six diptychs and that would be a square 🙂 Of course that is 36 prints. 72 inch square quilt with no sashing. So that is actually alright but a lot of work in a week. At least I wouldn’t actually have to sew it. Could do that later.

Still trying to work out what photosensitive chemical best. Cyanotype or solarfast.

Here I have bleached cyanotype with washing powder – tried to control the amount and then I have used one tea bag only to tone the print. Definitely warms it up but it is not as pink as that looks. Other options are a harder bleach and tannin which will give a brown and white print.

I could do my wine glasses/flies etc in the same toning or I could use solarfast with muted colour. i could use red wine for some of the tannin toning and maybe I could also use different teas. Manipulating the colour with home materials like washing powder, tea and wine seems like a good plan. Also could use vinegar and peroxide. Perhaps I should look for a cyanotype artist and research toning a bit more. So far I’m just using what I learned at the two day workshop at Gold St Studios a couple of years ago. I did Van Dyke brown while I was there too and do have chemical for that. They can also mix with cyanotype. Trouble is it’s all a bit late for that now but something to consider in Honours.

Here I have paired the fly with the outside scene. I have dulled down the fly because it’s too bright green solarfast but I can repeat the print and treat it the same as the left hand print to more completely match colour. This is the sort of pairing of imagery I imaged but not necessarily these too as a pair. It’s late to add this much work but I think I can do it. With the objects I can flip around and reverse if I like I can also use scans of small objects which give amazing detail. Could also still do some small object lumens. Have time for that.

Just mocked this up in photoshop from a negative to show another example. Will have to flip around configuration to stop me having a column of outside and a column of inside.

Obviously not using the same photos but this would have to be the arrangement 3 diptychs across and 6 down.

Jean Ray Laury Viewed 14 October 2020. Image reference

From Art Quilts Unfolded:

Spider,S (editor) 2018, Art Quilts Unfolding, Schiffer Publishing, USA , p 9

Jean Ray Laury created this quilt in 1956 as part of her Masters Degree in Art at Stanford University.

Interestingly it is familiar interesting objects arranged haphazardly a bit similar in composition to work I have done. 1956 is amazing for a quilt in a masters of art. Wonder how she went. Mentioned in the book as early work in art quilt genre.


Trying a composite of a lumen and a pinhole. Done separately this time but merged in photoshop. Since I’ve discovered how to cut irregular shapes I was able to post the circular wine glass without it’s dark background so it doesn’t interfere with the image.

I’ll add in the cyanotype print once I’ve done that.

Painting statement 2

This is by no means the final work but is the image I’m using for my work in progress powerpoint.

Want to try and get a title and a mock up statement in the next 30 mins!

Contained: Adapting to a hostile world

This work is attempting to convey the sense of both protection and prison now attributed to the home, in the face of changes in the broader environment. Inside the blue grey mood is textured only by the ongoing pulse. Outside the colours are brighter and swirl in an organic mist. A ring of everyday objects hug the centre, forming a barrier against hostility or simply dulling the boredom. The objects loom large, intruding inside creating a sense of claustrophobia in safety.

So feedback was that it reads as an eye and doesn’t really say what I’m trying to say above. So I need to change it or change what I say.

Yvette felt it was talking about plastics

Consensus was to keep the variety of colour

Suggestion of using ECG quilting on project one.

Also can use on project two. Yvette raised the possibility of circular which I think is a good one. Circular quilting goes on and on forever.

Not sure how to quilt project one. I could have lines of ecg quilting in the core block. Maybe also along the sashings but that would need to be done by machine. Not sure if I could physically execute that but I guess I could try.

People were interested in the process – maybe I could incorporate more about process in some way in my statement.

I’m happy to go with the narrowing down or constriction of a pupil – can use that in the statement.

I feel like the colours lack coherence. I’m wondering if I could make it a bit more coherent if I used all the same fabrics in a flatter fabric like just a quilters cotton.

I’m also wondering about putting sashing between the wedges to reference prison bars but also to increase coherence with the dyed background. I think my issue is that the tone of the colours in the wheel are not as rich as the colours in the background. I may be able to dye fabric to use as backing but I think there is loss of the detail of the photogram when I do that. I will try add cyanotype over the top and exposing longer than I would to see if I can get cyanotype highlights only. Only using one colour though to try and intensify. Maybe put the solarfast on to dry fabric. Or soak with cyanotype first and then put solarfast on top. No I think the problem is that the colour loses intensity because it doesn’t penetrate so solarfast first.

I would like to lay out the items in a more structured way so that it more fully represents a barrier but also so that I can work within the small central iris with ECG quilting that would be visible. Wondering about the possibility of the sashing being the outside fabric. So the barrier is imperfect? Maybe I should use the blue as sashing. Sneaking out through the cracks.

A ring of objects hugs and constricts

Everyday objects reflected.

Outside world on the periphery. In the periphery the outside is seen as swirling organic colours.

Contraction of the world to the everyday. – should I change the nature of the objects to be less plastic and more just everyday. Not really a link to protection from covid but more just personal objects around. I really don’t want it to look like a work about plastic rubbish. More what I see everyday. I could forget the barrier or at least more of a sideline. Not the disposable objects but actually my possessions that I value. Now it looks like one of those rafts of rubbish in the ocean.

Learnt something about word press then. I can select tiled columns to get this sort of layout but I do need to first select this and then add photos. Can’t do it after.

These three images are a start using more solid permanent objects from around the house and also using solarfast on dry fabric and then covered with cyanotype. The more solid objects allow for a longer exposure of 2 hours without losing the image. I just discovered that the rather odd shadows on these were because I accidentally had two lamps going – one directly over and one off to the side. I have changed this now to two one above the other and we’ll see what difference that makes. Previously I was using only one lamp to also stop obliteration of shadow but now I am using more solid objects potentially I could also play with lamp combinations to get different shadows of the one object. Lots of potential to trial but not lots of time.

Painting statements

On and on I go – This title has a tune because I’m thinking of The girl with April in her eyes – a song from years ago by Chris De Burgh. In his song it’s ‘on and on she goes’.

Don’t like the ‘I’ in it though. Could just be On and On


On and On

Twenty eight years of care, concern and anxiety have unveiled a previously unrecognised resilience. Repetitive life size silhouettes of the face are stained and cobbled together but the ongoing set of the jaw is visible, clenched both in worry and concentration. Reds, browns and purples bruise the repetitive blocks in various degrees. Looking back whilst time relentlessly moves forward and the metallic grey grid of resilience holds all together, and drags everything on into the future. The soft medium of a quilt reflects care and comfort but also retains a strength and ability to face most onslaughts, in a way not seen in many other mediums. Wash, repair, hug and keep going.

Feedback was that this one perhaps needed something more. Suggestion was that the ECG quilting would suit this one. It could go on the top of each image but that would not work well for the blank “core”. I might try out my original plan of placing a grid within the core and then maybe quilting the sashings down the middle in a larger grid.

I have gone back into this one and restitched over the core with a grid. I think this is ok but now it seems to me that there is some lack of continuity of density of quilting with the rest and makes it look unfinished.

You can see how all the wrinkles in the fabric show up now in comparison to what happens in the core with its dense quilting. I haven’t ironed it which I could do but it’s an inherent problem with a quilt that I need to address. I have used backstitch as the quilting stitch. No doubt abhorent to a traditional quilter but I like the continuity of line I can get with that. I don’t necessarily want it to read as stitches but just marks.

Now I’m wondering if I should stiffen the whole quilt by stitching over the lot in a grid that was a bit softer that the existing one but similar layout. I could smooth all the wrinkles that way but it would have a raised texture between the grid. It may look like I’m in jail rather than held together by resilience but it would look like a nice resilient quilt. By the way I learnt that I can use polygonal lasso tool to cut out a shape like this in photoshop. Then you select the object and use layer via cut to cut it out. I have to do something because looking at this quilt I can see that I don’t like the wrinkly fabric. Whilst ECG concept would also work for quilting here I don’t think it would have the same effect at smoothing the image that a grid would. Also I like the thickness of the silk thread I’ve used for the core but it should have been paler grey. Unfortunately it’s turned out nearly black but I think for continuity I should use the same colour. Might try and do a three stitch grid but one stitch regularly over the sashing. It’s a big job but I will see how it looks. I can work on blocks individually even though they will ultimately all be joined. That way I can see what it looks like. Wish I could try now and not have to work on bloody sculpture.

Further experiments

Wondering if pinhole would give a bigger depth of field so I took a couple of pinholes through wine glasses. Did give some interesting images but didn’t translate very well into transparencies.

I’m not unhappy with this image but it has lost the detail of the photo. Not helped by inverting the colours from intended. I’m going to end up with a whole lot of 12 inch blocks and I may end up just combining what I consider the best ones.

I then went on and did a cyanotype of a wineglass pic, not a pinhole. I notice that I sort of get the pinhole soft focus effect anyway even without the pinhole so maybe the pinhole is a bit redundant. It doesn’t give a full range of sharpness like I was hoping but more a full range of subtle blur. 🙂

The cyanotype however is much better than the solarfast for actually seeing what is going on in the images.

Sandra Sider

Finally I am inching closer to finding artists that are doing similar work to me.

Sandra Sider uses cyanotype to print fabric and then use this fabric to make quilts. She is involved with SAQA and also works as a curator for the Texas Quilt Museum. She is editor of a SAQA book – Art Quilts Unfolding – which I had meant to buy a couple of years ago and have now bought.

Viewed 5 October 2020

If you look carefully at this work you can see that it is comprised of cyanotype printed on coloured fabrics and combined with commercially printed fabric and finally stitched with large visible stitches. Sounds like she must also make a transparency from a digital photo. So all very similar to some of the work I have been doing.

She also has a book called exploring your artistic voice in contemporary quilt art and I’ve bought that too.

Tafi Brown

Lucked upon this contemporary artist making quilts with cyanotype via a Surface Design journal article from 2006.

<; Viewed 4 October 2020

This artist is starting to get close and is certainly using experimental printing on to cloth to make quilts. Not sure about her thematic but she has certainly pursued a art career with academic art study as well.

Her site looks like it might not have been added to since 2007 which is a shame.

She is in the SAQA juried artists but again nothing recent. The SAQA juried artists would be somewhere I might find a few more contemporary artists doing experimental printing of fabric prior to making a quilt.

Ongoing stress about the topic for Honours proposal

Still thinking about possibilities. I understand it has to be narrow and now trying to work backwards from what I’m actually doing towards what my proposal could be about. I’m wondering if I make my topic about the barriers to quilting being accepted as art, then I will have to spend a lot of time discussing a more political/ feminist perspective that I am not as interested in. I’m much more interested in physical experimentation to create imagery. Also the artists I reference will be in regard to pushing the envelope with quilts, which is fine but I would also like to be aligned with more process oriented artists. So maybe my question should be more about the process and fabric manipulation. I can still include quilts I guess, but maybe focus it more on the fabric processes than the discussions about the place of quilts. I’m thinking that I’ll more easily find artists pushing the boundaries with fabric manipulation that I will find pushing the envelope with quilts. If I can somehow combine the two then even better but I don’t want to spend a lot of time around political themes or feminist themes.

So working backwards the body of work I’d like to produce would be:

Quilts as the format, likely abstract. No pictorial but also not traditional. Piecing that adds content or meaning. Not formal applique but layering. Building up a work over time. Selecting fabric from my experiments that work to evoke emotion. Leaning towards sublime and formalism, so likely large scale, small details, colour contrasts. Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter. Struggle to think of quilt artists doing what I want but they will be there. Often they become more mixed media with use of paints that take away from the quiltyness.

Colin in Sculpture was talking about avoiding taste and making sure that it conveys meaning.

Manipulating fabric especially over time like rusting, solarfast, lumen prints, photographic techniques, cyanotype, dyeing. Experimentation and serendipity.

Emotive or personal content

Use of purposeful stitch


My quilts will be functional objects still. I don’t want to include anything that means they can’t be washed.

So how to combine this all in one question?

I’m going to first try and worry about the fabric manipulation side and then discuss the quilt as the best medium for displaying, assembling and adding further meaning to the work.

Sample layout

This is a layout of a bunch of the work I have done. Putting these together suggest that I could possibly use a range of techniques out the window. The fly is out there but could stay too. I have other imagery like that I could include.

Feedback was good for the new prints but the mix was also ok. Martin started by saying the coherence of the wine glass was good but then moved on to also saying he liked the variation. I’m attracted to the variation. The theme is the things that surround me whilst I’m looking out the window at the world in this covid time. Or could be more specific, looking out at the world through the lens of a wine glass literally. So I’m sure the wine glass would resonate with lots of people. I’m going to do more work printing and then decide which is working for me for my final nine patch. I’ll do more wine glasses too as well as the photogram ones. If nothing else I’ll end up with lots of fabric for future works.

I may be able to get more variation within the wine glass lens series. I’m working on colour contrast rather than tonal contrast. So maybe I should ditch trying to get colours from the actual photo and simply pick one colour from the image and use its complementary for the second colour. That is effectively what has happened in the top left and that one works the best. I also need to be a bit careful about overexposing the first colour because the fabric will only take so much dye and not develop further colour over the top if I push the first exposure to its limit.

It’s meant to reference windows in a grid.