When Sabine announced the Carnival theme, I immediately thought of the local town fairs that pop up across the country in warm weather. I turned to my journal and filled a page with different images and ideas: cotton candy, laughter, tickets for rides, roller coasters, sticky fingers. It was clear that my biggest challenge was going to be settling on one idea. At one point I did consider doing some sort of image collage to help represent the colorful and chaotic nature of these town fairs, but that didn't seem the right path for this piece. In the end, I pared down my ideas to create this: Ferris Wheels and Goldfish.
Ferris Wheels and Goldfish
I think I got my first ferris wheel ride at a hometown carnival. I do know that I got two of my pet goldfish by winning a carnival game. A platform was covered with little water-filled fish bowls, but a few also had goldfish in them as well. If you were lucky enough to throw your ping pong ball into a bowl with a fish, you got to take the little fish home. And I did -- twice.
I enjoyed thinking about the carnival theme and I hope to investigate it further on my own.
“Carnival” is Latitude Quilts’ first challenge. As I started my doodling, I realized that
everyone has a different image of a Carnival.
For some, a Big Top circus tent filled with magic and surprises; for
others, a time of indulgences before Lent in places like New
Orleans or Rio. My interpretation of the theme revolves
around the beaded necklaces that are thrown amongst the crowds in New Orleans. Having never been there, I didn’t want to
show the actual parade, but the day before with the tacky necklaces ready to be
taken and given away. My piece is titled
here I come”.
Techniques: hand appliqué and hand embroidery
Materials: commercial batik fabric, tulle, beads, and
hand-dyed pearl cotton
After the theme was announced my first thought was about carnival in Brasil and I've started to look for a photos on the web.
But one day I was reading about old Russian holidays and suddenly remember my childhood when we celebrated "Maslenitsa". This is a holiday of farewell of winter. People go to the fair at that day where there are a lot of fun, roundabout, jokes, games, dances and Russian traditional pancakes ("bliny").
So the idea of the quilt was born. I chose colors: white- for snow; red, blue-as traditional for Russians. Circles symbolize roundabout, pancakes, women skirts, when they dance.
An impression of Carnival: streamers and confetti and for a bit of colour three red noses, which represent the dressing up and the funny costumes people wear. I made a fabric collage with pieces of (mono)printed fabrics, stitched down with lines of machine stitching. As I had lots of fabric I made a series of three quilts. You can see the other two on my blog.
After some research on the history of Carnival, I ended on the Greek celebration of the Dionysia, a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus.
I decided to use a whole-cloth, snow-dyed cotton as background. Then I printed an old stone-carving of Dionysus on a piece of organza, and appliqued some masks of silk and sheer-fabric. I used embroidery-seams on the masks. Then I machine-quilted the background. I finished with a traditional binding and some French knots to better merge the face of Dionysus to the background.
I enjoyed this theme. It is a subject matter that I most likely would never have approached on my own. The first thoughts that came to mind when contemplating this challenge were monochromatic, photographic images of the "side show" carnival variety. In fact my perception was so photo oriented that I knew I would not be able to take this line of approach without copy-write access which became a deterrent.
I then began to explore the Venetian Carnival which, of course, is such a visual draw. I chose a relatively subdued palette in contrast to this very lively and colorful theme. The figure in this piece is meant to be somewhat ambiguous as Carnival is known to be a festival of disguise both in terms of gender and social strata. Fruit and vines were included to indicate a celebration of bounty and indulgence. Pears were added in reference to nature, curves and the feminine form, also a formative subject matter when considering the Venetian Carnival!
Finally, a little starling head appears in this piece to add a sense of mischievous folly. This very particular bird appears in many of my pieces.
Techniques and materials:
hand painted, appliqued, hand-painted fabrics and paper
photographic image transfer, inkjet (This pertains to the little starling who actually lives in our home and kindly poses for photo-shoots whenever necessary. He is a non-releasable rescued bird.)
Prisma coloured pencils, textile paints and textile medium.
free motion stitching throughout
After looking for inspiration in the history of carnival and at the wonderful masks of the carnival of Venice, Italy I camne back to Germany. We have a lot of carnival guilds, many of them having shows, the biggest being shown on television. After seing a report called 60 years carnival show of Mayence on television I reviewed what overall impression was left: music and songs, happy people, lots of colours, both from the costums and from the room decoration with the colouzrs of the guild(s), as well as ballons, paper streamers and confettis, especially at the end of the show.
This are the elements I incorporated into the quilt, the colours representing both the happiness of the people and all the colours in the room. My quilt is called Fasching as this is how the people call carnival in the south of Germany.
For me Carnival conjures up images of long ago Venice. While researching this I learnt of the Moretta masks patrician women wore. They were kept in place using a bite piece, so they could not talk, eat or drink while celebrating carnival. I sought to capture the isolation and discomfort that made me feel.
Does this still happen today?
That hidden self behind the mask.
My goal was to combine the use of new techniques and materials with familiar ones.
Fabrics used are cotton, man-made voile, and a silk/bamboo blend.
Techniques include tray dying with Procion dyes, melting, hand and machine applique, colouring with Markal paint, beading and free motion quilting.
– in Danish ’Fastelavn’ – is the original Danish carnival held in February
which is wintertime in Denmark.
Normally it is very cold and often we have snow at that time. Nowadays it is
primarily a children’s feast which brings colours into cold and dark days. The
children get some branches heavily decorated with sweets, coloured paper and
Rio de Janeiro has inspired to carnivals in Denmark but these carnivals are postponed until winter is over.
background is made of free hand cut fabrics in white and blue to mimic the
Danish winter landscape.
colourful Shrovetide/Fastelavn is mimicked by tree shapes, in the border and in
some decorated branches.
were added as branches on the trees and on the children’s decorated branches.
To create the background using thickened procion dyes and a syringe I let my hands go where they wanted. My mind reflected on the atmosphere of a carnival - thinking of my visit to the Dungog Annual Show with its carnival of animals parading, balloons and fairy floss, loud music, rides for the children, which added to the the merriment of conversing country folk with our locals. It was like a range of flavours before our eyes, ears, and minds.
Hand stitching, tiny felt pieces, and painted fusible webbing, worked together to embellish this quilt.
Colour, movement, music and joy were my first thoughts when presented with the theme 'Carnival'.
With my background in music, the theme drew me to the strong rhythms and energy of calypso music, often heard in festival and carnival settings. I am also inspired by nature and to me, Australian Lorikeets suggest the colour, movement and 'personality' of carnivals. Lorikeets are delightful, gaudy birds, extremely playful and love to listen to music and 'dance'.
I think of my piece as suggesting a rhapsodic state, created by energy, beat, music, heat, perpetual movement, colour, ribbons...
The piece is worked in cotton, using turned, fused machine appliqué and dense quilting. 15"x15".
This quilt is based upon a photo I took at our local country town's New Year's Eve Carnival. Nearly everyone has had an encounter with these laughing clowns. You might of found them cheerful, magical or downright creepy! I could not resist representing this lovely moment with mother and child. There was a lot of reflected light bouncing around and I loved the way the shiny fake clowns contrasted with the softness of the mother and child. I used a collage process, first colouring the fabric with crayons and pencils and then fusing all the pieces into place. It was then finished off with thread sketching and quilting.
Art is the basis on which I seek to
explore and understand the many influences that shape our perception of
ourselves, our belief in who and in what we are. Our self-image then influences
our interpretation of our life experiences and our interactions at all
levels. Who is everyone else in relation
to my view of myself? What is the meaning of something in relation to my
perception of myself? How can I interpret the world within the framework of my
self- knowledge, experience and beliefs? How do these interpretations affect my
I use many different techniques in
my artwork depending on what I feel will best express what I am trying to
convey. I use hand dyed and commercial fabrics, piecing, appliqué, stitching,
quilting, drawing as well and many other techniques. Recently I have started to
weave fabric strips into fabric for backgrounds and motifs. This helps me
express in visual terms the idea of interweaving different elements to create a
new and different whole.
In this challenge quilt I have used
the carnival mask to examine our use of masks in our daily life. From the
background weaving of emotions, experiences and beliefs that form our innermost
self, what do we choose to reveal to the outside world? What do we hide and why? Do we ever reveal
our entire self? What effect does this fragmentation have on our
Carnival is not part of my culture, though I have been to some in the UK and also Switzerland. I wanted to use colour and the carousel theme to convey a happy, slightly chaotic, celebration. The 3D coronet, held flat with beads, uses Vikki Pignatelli's double-sided zigzag technique. The black and white stripe refers both to the poles that hold the carousel ponies, and also the poles at the landing stages in Venice, another Carnival icon. I enjoyed working with the abstract units, building the colour blocks to balance and play with each other. The quilting uses modular rectangles as background line only.
When Janice told us that I had to decided about our first theme I felt I had a big responsability. I first couldn't think of an appropriated theme and I didn't want to take one already choosen by others. On November, the 11th I had to reveal the theme. This is a big day in Germany for carnival fans as on that special day they celebrate the opening of carnival season. I knew I had my theme: CARNIVAL. It is celebrated all over the world in different ways, giving us lots of opportunities to find inspiration: Germany, Venice, Italy, New Orlenas, USA, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil...
There have been many times when I have explored ideas for quilts, which have then been abandoned for various reasons - I may be 'stuck' with the idea development, or have a need to do something else first. The reasons can be many and varied, but I always keep my ideas as I like to revisit them at a later date. Sometimes the 'idea' is a springboard for something completely different! This sketch has not yet made it to the quilting stage, but there are things I like about it, and will develop further when I have time.
.....one of these should have been but I chose another design.
I like these harlequin squares but they don't really show the Danish carnival: fastelavn which was my intention.
However the cat is from the Danish fastelavn. Many years ago a living cat (sometimes 2 cats with their tails tied together) was put in a barrel to 'beat the cat of the barrel' with the cat as symbol of the evil.
It didn't really take me where I wanted so I dropped this idea too.
By the way: I have used some of the ice dyed fabric I showed in a previous post.
I had two ideas for my quilt. The first one went together really well, so I didn't pursue my second idea. I have a thing about cows, and I found some wonderful photos of cows who looked like candidates for the Rio mardi gras! This is during the annual migration back down from the summer pastures, called almabtrieb in German, I think.
What you'll need is a packet of gelatin sheets (or gelatin powder), a bowl, a shallow dish and water.
Cover the dish with cling film.
Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. The more gelatin you use, the firmer your gelatin plate will be. Instructions on the packet are 12 sheets for 1 liter of water for normal use. I’ve used 18 sheets for 0.5 liter of water. (I’ve used a little more than I normally do, as I didn’t want the plate to fall apart for this tutorial. I could only leave it in the fridge for a few hours, as I wanted to finish this tutorial today.)
Squeeze out the sheets and put the gelatin back in the empty bowl.
Measure out how much water you’ll need to fill your dish. Boil this amount of water and add it to the gelatin in the bowl. Stir until dissolved.
Pour the solution in the dish and leave to cool down. Then put it in the refrigerator for a day, the gelatin will have set and it should be very firm.
Take the gelatin plate out of the dish by lifting the cling film and put it on a flat surface.
You can choose which side you’d prefer on top, the side which has been sitting on the cling film and will have creases, or the top, which should be smooth. It’s up to you what you prefer.
Now you can start making your monoprints.
Use a paint roller to apply a thin layer of textile paint or acrylic paint to the gelatin plate. Take a piece of fabric and lay it carefully on the plate, then gently press with your hand. Take it off again and you’ll have a monoprint.
To make marks on your print you can use just anything: pieces of string, leaves, shapes, cut out of paper. Lay them on the painted plate and make a monoprint. This will give you a negative print. You can then use the objects and use them to make a positive print on your fabric.
You can also apply a layer of paint to the plate, lay a piece of fabric on top and then you can use stamps or other objects to make marks by gently pressing them on the fabric.
For the following samples I used the green fabric from the first print, put it on the plate on which I'd applied red paint, then gently pressed a stamp on it. The result was this positive print.
I was then left with this plate to make a negative print.
There are so many ways to make monoprints, just experiment and play, it’s fun!