Diane Stavola Blog

Archive for September, 2007

The Birth of a Collection

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

One common piece of advice to artists that floats to the surface periodically is “work in series”. I haven’t really done that till now. In testing new techniques and products, I haven’t ever developed a cohesive grouping either of quilts or pieces of jewelry.  Too repetitious!

Times do change, and I have honed in on what I love to do.  So a series is born. 

I have begun to develop a collection called Champagne and Diamonds.  This is a photo of the prototype on which all the pieces in the collection will be based.Champagne and Diamons prototype  Click on the photo and you will see a larger image.

Rivolis are the hot item in the beading world. Swarovski makes a wide variety of colors and a more limited number of sizes.  They are crystals which are domed front and back.  They are similar to cabochons because they do not have holes for stringing.  They must be either glued to a base or encased in beadwork.

I took some with me to the EGA seminar in Chicago and began to work with them.  The particular peyote encasement that I have used is one that I learned many years ago from a friend in my hometown beading group.  At the time, I was gluing my cabochons to ultrasuede and didn’t see the need for this technique.  I took the class anyway and filed it away in my memory banks. And now I am glad I did. 

After encasing the Rivolis, I netted around them and then attached them to each other and made a strap with a toggle clasp.  It was so beautiful that I have been continuing with it and have ideas for many, many pieces of jewelry.  I hope to have some show up in my jewelry gallery (with better photos) in time for Christmas.

I have used 24 and 22 kt gold plated beads.  The are beyond expensive but the look they give is well worth it.

pendantYesterday I made this component.  I need to have a fancy line of jewelry ready for a gallery that represents me.  The pieces are due on Monday.  I won’t have large necklaces, but I should be able to get some necklaces and earrings done using this pendant. I hung it on the gold chain shown here.  It looks wonderful.

chainHowever, I don’t want to part with my chain.  I also think that the piece would look better if the necklace is hung on a beaded chain.  It took a while but I did finally decide on a chain style.  I have included a picture of the metal chain and the beaded chain side by side.  chain and beads togetherThey are not exact but I think the beaded chain feels like the gold chain.  Although it is a bit larger, it still works with the pendant.  When it is finished, I will add that photo also.

Step One

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

I don’t think I ever worked as hard in college as I did doing step one of the Design Master Craftsman.

Using the provided bibliography as well as reading online, magazines, and newer books, I read almost 60 books before beginning my design.  Now do you have to do that?  Absolutely not!  You only need to do the work necessary to get the job done. Am I absolutely, certifiable? Probably.  But I have never had more fun researching and studying than for this program. 

Finally, I am doing only what I want and accomplishing what I want in terms of my art. In essence, I am creating the parameters for my work.  I am the developer of my own core curriculum.

Sunrise, Sunset

This quilt , “Sunrise, Sunset” (photo by Ellen Martin) was my final project for Step One which dealt with rhythm and balance. The final piece had to be an all-over pattern.

The motif was developed from a series of drawing exercises I did. The specific exercises came from Richard Box’s book, “Drawing for the Terrified.” It was a simple line drawing that caught my eye as I was reviewing my sketchbooks for ideas.

I put the drawing into EQ6, imported some fabrics, and played with a variety of settings and colorways. The motif was rotated and flipped to create a 4-motif repeat. This was then repeated across and down the quilt.  The outside borders are the motif elongated and flipped.

For the final colors, I chose a piece of fabric I have had for ages.  It has a black background with red-violet and blue-violet designs that are outlined in gold. This became the basis for the quilt’s colors,  and I was even able to use this focal fabric in the quilt.  That doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes the fabric is the inspiration for a color palette but never makes it into the piece.

sunrise-sunset-detail-_2.jpgThis detail shows the fabrics a little better. Click on the image for a larger view.

The entire quilt, including the borders, was paper pieced using the paper piecing product from EQ6.  I taped the multiple pages together using that pink hair tape some of us remember from way back when!  It is gummy and can be a pain, but it holds nicely if placed on both sides.  To avoid gumming up my sewing machine needle, I removed the tape as I reached it.

I debated removing the paper piecing papers, but, in the end, I left them in.  There is a tremendous amount of bias in this quilt, and I didn’t want to risk distorting the top hopelessly. The draw back to that is that when piecing the blocks together there is quite a bit of bulk at the points where they meet.  This is especially true at the corners, but also at any place along the edge where seams must be matched.  The matches are not quite as crisp as I would like. Overall, I am pleased with the outcome.

 My required essay was on visual unity.

I have passed with distinction!  And I am now on to step two. 


Creative Sketchbooks

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

For a year or so I have been hearing about Cities and Guilds courses. Most of the classes I had heard about were Embroidery classes.  While I love embroidery, my two great passions are quilts and beads.  So after doing a bit of investigation, I decided a Cities and Guilds class was just not for me.

 Then about 6 months ago, a friend, who was looking into Cities and Guilds in relationship to beading, sent me information on Linda Kemshall’s site, DesignMatters.  While there is no beading class at DesignMatters, there are definitely quilting classes.  They are very attractive, but being well into working toward my Master Craftsman in Design through EGA, Inc., I was more interested in classes that relate to design.

There is a course at DesignMatters called Creative Sketchbooks. And what is it about? Design. There is also a computer design class.

So along with my Master Craftsman in Design, I am also now well into Creative Sketchbooks.  And I am loving it! It has opened a whole new way for me to approach design.

Now sketchbooks are not new, but not having been trained as an artist, I didn’t have a full grasp of the concept of sketchbooks.  I had bought a few and used them from time to time to make sketches and write down ideas, especially for my jewelry.

After only three modules (this is a ten module course), I now carry my camera with me eveywhere and keep several sketchbooks going that I use almost every day. I develop designs much faster and am about bursting at the seams with ideas.  


The Master Craftsman Program

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

The Master Craftsman program is offered through The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Inc.  It includes a wide variety of the needlearts, including a module on Design and one on Color.

 It took me a while and some convincing (thank you, Carole Lake!) before I decided to commit to the Design module.

 Pursuit of a Master Craftsman in Design requires a minimum commitment of 3 years. The program is divided into 6 steps.  Each step covers a different aspect of design.  Evaluations are done twice a year in May and November.  

There are three components to each step.  They are: an essay based on specific aspects of design, a design that meets specific criteria, and documentation of the design process.

What I particularly enjoy about this program is that you are given the problems and time frame within which to complete the work.  How you study, what texts you use, what additional classes you take, are all up to you.  As long as you can document the appropriateness of your approach and the actual work, you are free to structure the program to your own abilities and skills. The techniques you use are also up to you as long as they are some form of needlework.

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