270 Colors Quilt: From Start to Finish

We first met Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of Whole Circle Studio in the Spring of last year, just after Quilt Market. Hilary Jordan (our social media coordinator) and I spotted a fabulous mini quilt that she’d made featuring none other than Aurifil’s iconic 50wt spools on Instagram. With a rainbow of colors against a stark white background, the mini was striking and it’s no surprise that it caught our attention.

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-2-00-46-pm

Sheri’s original mini quilt, So Many Colors, April 2016.

Sheri and Hilary connected on Instagram, which led to an email exchange with me.  We learned that Sheri designed the “So Many Colors” mini quilt as a donation to the Quilt Alliance annual fundraiser in early 2016. The theme was “Playing Favorites” and the mini quilt incorporated her favorite brand of thread, Aurifil, using one of her favorite piecing techniques—foundation paper piecing.

Initially, we weren’t quite sure how we were going to work together, but we knew we wanted to do something fun and impactful in honor of Aurifil’s upcoming 10th Anniversary. After a series of conversations, a whole bunch of exchanged emails and some internal planning, a decision was made. We have absolutely LOVED working with Sheri over the past 8 months. She is creative, thoughtful, incredibly professional, and we couldn’t be happier with the quilt that she created.

We’re thrilled, today, to introduce Sheri to you and to let her debut her quilt in her own words, with a series of stunning process photos to give you all a closer look at how this fabulous masterpiece came together. Thank you Sheri!!


I am so excited to share the process of creating the 270 Colors quilt I created for Aurifil to commemorate and celebrate their tenth anniversary this year. The quilt features all 270 current colors of Aurifil’s 50wt thread!

After playing with different layouts in Adobe Illustrator and then presenting them to the Aurifil team, we decided to proceed with the layout shown below. The placement of colors mimics the arrangement of how the spools are displayed when the drawers are pulled out in the Full Selection Collection Box.

wholecirclestudio_270colors_01_initialdesignI started drafting the pattern and testing while I was waiting for materials from AurifilRobert Kaufman, and The Warm Company to arrive. It was important to me for the spools to be shown at actual size and proportions once all of the pieces were sewn together. Measuring, making diagrams, and sewing prototypes (and then re-testing) helped achieve this.

wholecirclestudio_270colors_03_initialdesign

Organization was key while making this quilt! I needed to match all 270 colors of thread to corresponding Robert Kaufman Kona® Solids. As soon as the big, beautiful box of Aurifil thread arrived in my studio, I created a spreadsheet in Excel. The color numbers in the spreadsheet are arranged in the same configuration as the thread is in the drawers. Having this tool allowed me to mix and match the thread to the fabric but still be able to return it to its correct location in the box.

Once I was organized, it was time to get down to business — cutting and piecing! Even the scraps were beautiful.

After a very busy month of piecing, I moved on to basting. I used Warm and Natural batting from The Warm Company and LOTS of pins. I tend to use a lot of pins. The process of basting can be tough of my fingers, but using so many pins ensures that all of the layers remain smooth. I rarely have puckers or shifting while quilting.

The piecing and quilting was done on my Juki 2010, with Aurifil 50wt. I used my walking foot to quilt the orange spools (color: 1104) and the background (color: 2024). I free motion quilted the “thread” portions of all 270 using the cross wound pattern found on the actual Aurifil spools as inspiration. Instead of marking, I positioned pins as a guide for each spool. The spreadsheet I had set up also helped me keep on track while quilting. I highlighted each number as it was quilted. It also helped to create some test strips so I could practice my free motion quilting before digging in.

wholecirclestudio_270colors_41_quiltingtest

Check out this video clip demonstrating the free motion quilting process:

After a month of quilting, I was in the home stretch. It was down to burying threads, squaring up the quilt, binding, and sewing on a sleeve.

The final quilt measures approximately 70″ x 85″. The spools are the actual size of a large 50wt Aurifil spool and are spaced 2″ apart. The quilt is finished with a binding that matches Aurifil’s iconic orange spool (using Robert Kaufman Kona® Tangerine) and the back matches the blue in Aurifil’s logo (Kona® Water).

wholecirclestudio_270colors_full

wholecirclestudio_270colors_35_finishedshot

Happy 10th Anniversary Aurifil USA! I am honored to have had the opportunity to design and produce this quilt to help you commemorate this big milestone.

Be sure to check out the quilt as it travels to QuiltCon, 2017 Quilt Markets and with Alex when he visits a local quilt shop near you.

— Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill
www.wholecirclestudio.com


Find Sheri Online
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter

sheri-fellowship-designer_quilt-market-houston-2016_dsc_7900b

photo courtesy of Craftsy

Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill is a designer, maker and self-taught modern quilter. Sheri graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BFA in Graphic Design. She has twenty years of experience leading creative teams to create award winning identities, products and environments. She has worked in small design studios, a dot com and the exhibit department at a children’s museum.

Sheri’s quilts have gained national recognition including awards from QuiltCon, Quilt Week/Paducah and the Quilt Alliance. They have been featured at art centers and galleries across the country. In addition to publishing her patterns, her quilts have been featured in national publications such as Modern Patchwork. She also teaches quilting techniques.

Sheri was awarded the first annual Craftsy Quilt Designer Fellowship in 2016. This fellowship enabled her to debut Whole Circle Studio’s first booth at International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas in October 2016.

Sheri works from her home studio in the suburbs of New Haven, Connecticut—a hop, skip and jump away from New York City. She loves to chat about design and quilts. Contact her at sheri@wholecirclestudio.com.

[Images, biography & guest post text courtesy of Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill]

Showcase Sunday {2.12}

showcasesunday2-12

Welcome back to Showcase Sunday! We are already so inspired by all of the new things you’ve been creating so far this year! We love having a forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do and can’t get enough of the lovely things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@zenchicmoda

@zenchicmoda

@yardgrl60

@yardgrl60

@the_tattooed_quilter

@the_tattooed_quilter

@thatcraftaddict

@thatcraftaddict

@sls_fabricshop

@sls_fabricshop

@quiltyhabit

@quiltyhabit

@quiltingjetgirl

@quiltingjetgirl

@quiltbystarlight

@quiltbystarlight

@quiltachusetts

@quiltachusetts

@purlverde

@purlverde

@nq1yearofstitches

@nq1yearofstitches

@mybearpaw

@mybearpaw

@mrssophie2

@mrssophie2

@kareepickett

@kareepickett

@julieschloemer

@julieschloemer

@ivory_spring

@ivory_spring

@itssewscottsdale

@itssewscottsdale

@freebirdquiltingdesigns

@freebirdquiltingdesigns

@colorgirlquilts

@colorgirlquilts

@ablossomedchaos

@ablossomedchaos

Find free patterns, tips, tutorials, and inspiration by following Aurifil on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram. All are updated regularly to provide you with the best the sewing world has to offer!

For more information about Aurifil products, including thread weights, Designer Collections, and where to purchase from your local quilt shop or select online shops, please visit Aurifil.com.

Showcase Sunday {1.29}

showcasesunday1-29

It’s our first  Showcase Sunday of the New Year, so welcome back! We are so looking forward to a creative and inspiring 2017. We love having a forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do and can’t get enough of the lovely things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@quilterpatsloan

@quilterpatsloan

@purlverde

@purlverde

@madbirdtextiles

@madbirdtextiles

@carolasmussen

@carolasmussen

@redbirdquiltco

@redbirdquiltco

@_beckyo_

@_beckyo_

@pieladyquilts

@pieladyquilts

@misterdomestic

@misterdomestic

@purlverde

@purlverde

@yardgrl60

@yardgrl60

@luellabella

@luellabella

@marymenzerdesigns

@marymenzerdesigns

@amandamurphydesign

@amandamurphydesign

@campbell_soup_diary

@campbell_soup_diary

@white-hills-quilts

@white-hills-quilts

@quiltyhabit

@quiltyhabit

@quiltingjetgirl

@quiltingjetgirl

@ebmakery

@ebmakery

@colorgirlquilts

@colorgirlquilts

@taunjalynn

@taunjalynn

@freebirdquiltingdesigns

@freebirdquiltingdesigns

@ladykquilts

@ladykquilts

Find free patterns, tips, tutorials, and inspiration by following Aurifil on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram. All are updated regularly to provide you with the best the sewing world has to offer!

For more information about Aurifil products, including thread weights, Designer Collections, and where to purchase from your local quilt shop or select online shops, please visit Aurifil.com.

Deep Gems by Paula Nadelstern

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-9-08-47-pm

Paula Nadelstern‘s Deep Gems collection for Aurifil was prepared as a representation of the vibrant and rich colors typically present within her kaleidoscopic fabric designs. Oranges, reds and pink offset the cool blue and green tones, creating a truly fantastic range. Though these colors work particularly well in partner with Paula’s unique quilting style, they would also be the perfect complement to a variety of quilt projects. The collection features 12 unique colors of the highly versatile 50wt thread.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Deep Gems
12 Large Spools, 50 wt, 1422yds/each
2145 – 2150 – 2270 – 2260 – 4020 – 2545
5022 – 1147 – 2870 – 2810 – 2735 – 1200

paulanadelstern-deepgems

To view this info on our website, click the image above. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

THE INTERVIEW
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got started in the world of quilting and textiles?
I’m a New Yorker wrapped up in the fabric of city life. In fact, I make my quilts on the same block in the Bronx where I grew up. I settled into full time quilt making by way of the playground park bench. That’s where moms on hiatus from previous lives (I was an Occupational Therapist) hang out and share ideas—like organizing total non-sewists and quilt novices into making a raffle quilt for the local cooperative nursery school, the same one I’d gone to as a toddler. One good group quilt led to another and another. By the time I gave up my place on that bench to the next generation of moms, I had the expertise and repertoire for a comprehensive book on group quilts (Quilting Together, Crown Publishers 1988) and was stitching my way toward a new career. And to this day, over 40 years later, the Nursery moms make an annual raffle quilt.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
My interest in things kaleidoscopic began in 1987 when I was struck by a bolt of fabric–a sumptuous, sinfully-expensive, bilaterally symmetrical Liberty of London cotton. Little did I know that purchasing a quarter yard would change my life forever, leading me three years and four quilts later to purchase my first actual state-of-the-art kaleidoscope and join the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society, The BKS is a society of artists who design and create kaleidoscopes, galleries and shops who sell kaleidoscopes and collectors and museums who appreciate and enjoy them.

The amazing first bolt of Liberty of London fabric

The amazing first bolt of Liberty of London fabric

The insight from this anecdote is obvious: buy that piece of fabric no matter how expensive it is. As I peer through the many incredible kaleidoscopes I have garnered over the years, like a sleuth searching for clues, I discover my design inspiration all over again. Who knows what the next turn of the scope will reveal to me or to you?

With hindsight I’ve realized that another factor played strongly in the development of my personal design and technique strategies. Historians have suggested that the block-style method of making quilts evolved in response to the cramped quarters of early American life. My family’s living arrangements in an urban environment created similar considerations that, unwittingly, I resolved in much the same way.

When I started making kaleidoscope quilts, my workspace in our two-bedroom apartment was the forty-inch round kitchen table. (I’m the only person I know who taught her family to eat in front of the TV). I think the reality of limited space helped shape my idiosyncratic style. Instead of the traditional square-shaped-block, my block-style method is based on a triangle because a kaleidoscope is a circular design composed of identical triangular wedges that radiate from a center point. Throughout the design stage, I’m working on a single full-size triangle that is drafted on graph paper and patched from fabric using templates. Whatever I do to one triangle, I simultaneously do to all 6 or 8 or 16. I don’t see the final gestalt until the last seam is sewn.

Do you remember the process of creating your first quilt and how you felt once it was finished?
Lots of teachers on the circuit will tell you about the important female in their early lives who taught them to how to sew, insisting (kindly or not) that all imperfection be repaired. I grew up with a mom who prided herself on not being “fussy”, mended a lot (a habit left over from the Depression) and generously appraised every attempt of mine as either great or good enough. I am not complaining. When, as a young teen, I borrowed her much revered but temperamental second-hand, brand-name sewing machine, the bobbin would jam within minutes. Although this led me to suspect I wasn’t very good at sewing, I returned to it again and again because there is something optimistic about a palette of colorful, tactile fabric.

My matriarchal aunt’s gift to sixteen-year-old me of a steadfast Singer Featherweight©, purchased for $25 at a yard sale and fitted with a single hole throat plate, changed all that. (I used to call it an old machine until I learned it was a year younger than I am.) Together we made my first quilt (a comforter cover really) in 1968 in my college dorm, ripping up my old clothes into 10” squares and sewing them together. I was exceptionally proud of it and so was my mom. Today I work in a 15-by-10-foot studio revamped from my daughter’s former bedroom. Picture ceiling high cupboards stuffed with fabric, drawers overflowing with the paraphernalia quilters collect, 6 feet of design wall, and a Bernina poised for action on a 4-by-6-foot counter.

Paula's prized first quilt

Paula’s prized first quilt

Your book, Fabracadabra, was just released with C&T Publishing. Can you tell us a bit about that process and what you loved most about it?
I’ve been told that I write books pretty much the same way that I make quilts. Fabric by fabric. Choice by choice. In a word, slowly.

The truth is, I’d rather be working on a quilt than writing about it. But it’s not until you write about something that you understand it really well. Breaking down your own creative act, first by identifying your personal strategies, and then by dividing them into a sequence of steps, forces you to reflect on what things aren’t as well as what they are. This exploration steers you in lots of valuable directions. It leads you to the vocabulary needed to articulate your private visual language. It helps you recognize the kinds of mistakes students are likely to make and head them off in class. And sometimes, when you are very lucky, it awakens new ideas, pushing you, the artist, further along your creative path.

fabracadabra

The book demonstrates how quilts made of simple shapes can be transformed into complex-looking quilts that are easy to piece using gorgeous, intricate fabric. Some, but not all, of the quilts are traditional patterns, gift-wrapped with charismatic fabrics.

Do you have a favorite project from the book?
One of my favorite quilts from my new book FABRICADABRA, Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric is the quilt called An Agreement of Butterflies.

I was waiting to give my lecture to the Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita, KS when a traditional butterfly quilt held up during Show & Tell captured my attention. In a flash, I recognized a kindred pattern capable of showcasing a gazillion symmetrical prints all at once. Choosing the fabrics bewitched me into a flow state, the name for those glorious moments when you’re so energized by the task at hand that time seems immaterial. I made many more 5” x 5” squares than needed.

Closeup of An Agreement of Butterflies by Paula Nadelstern

Closeup of An Agreement of Butterflies by Paula Nadelstern

The collective nouns for various groups of animals and birds amuse me. A shrewdness of apes. A murder of crows. I assumed there’d be one for butterflies but when I couldn’t find it, I made one up. Assembled from forty-nine different fabrics (plus a common butterfly belly and black background equals fifty-one) from my first thirteen fabric collections for Benartex, these diverse colors and prints seem to be in accord — that’s why I called it An Agreement of Butterflies. So, color me speechless when a second internet search, six months after the first one, revealed labels for a multitude of butterflies. A rabble of butterflies. A flutter of butterflies. An equally appealing quilt title, a rainbow of butterflies. But the perfect coincidence, the goose bump laden karmic moment was the phrase: a kaleidoscope of butterflies. It must be true, I Googled it.

An Agreement of Butterflies by Paula Nadelstern

An Agreement of Butterflies by Paula Nadelstern

In your work, you herald the kaleidoscope, a word you say promises ‘surprise and magic, change and chance’. How has this informed your quilting style?
For almost forty years, the kaleidoscope has not only been my design inspiration, it’s also been my classroom. Analyzing not only what a scope is but also what it isn’t has steered me in lots of valuable directions, including toward the fundamental principles of design. I’ve learned to manipulate physical properties like focal point, rhythm and line to inject a feeling of motion into an otherwise static image. But it is the unique qualities synonymous with the kaleidoscope personality that I’m always trying to get to know better. Surprise. Magic. Change. Chance. I’ve learned that to conjure an instant of luminous and fleeting spontaneity, I’ve got to trust in symmetry, rely on detail, commit both random and staged acts of color and understand that the whole will always be greater than the sum of its parts. No matter what my quilts look like in the future, this personal design vocabulary, gleaned through the eyepiece of a kaleidoscope, will take the journey with me.

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them? Do you have a favorite color/weight?
I’ve been using Aurifil 50 weight for years for piecing. My larger quilts can end up with thousands of seams. I like that I can rely on the combination of delicacy with strength because it helps keep the multitude of seams thin and not bulky.

I’ve used Aurifil 12 in many of the beautiful colors for embroidery and for a big stitch echoing a hand quilting stitch.

Paula at 2013 Quilt Market in Houston

Paula at 2013 Quilt Market in Houston

KALEIDOSCOPIC XXXVIII: Millifiori, 82“x 82“, is my first quilt using only fabric from collections I’ve designed for Benartex and the first one quilted by me on a long arm machine courtesy of APQS. In 2013, I spent Houston Quilt Market in the APQS booth, quilting this extremely patterned piece, mentored by the delightful, generous staff. I think the choice of an olive Aurifil thread was brilliant. I’m fascinated by the effect, the impression that the thread changes colors, chameleon-like, against the multitude of hues in the quilt: golden, green, dark, light.

KALEIDOSCOPIC XXXVIII: Millifiori, 82“x 82“, Paula Nadelstern (2013)

KALEIDOSCOPIC XXXVIII: Millifiori, 82“x 82“, Paula Nadelstern (2013)

How did you go about selecting threads for your Aurifil collection and what excites you most about the range that you are presenting?
My intent when selecting the colors for my Aurifil collection was like my goal when I design fabric for Benartex. I want to offer beautiful stuff that can be used in a myriad of ways for anyone’s piecing adventure, not just to be used to make kaleidoscopic designs. I welcome color and motif inspiration whenever I’m lucky enough to notice it: an elevator door, a set of Italian dishes, a painting at the Met, the arabesque patterns in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on a teaching trip to Abu Dhabi.

deepgems-paulanadelstern

These charismatic and luminous jewel tones tickle my imagination. In fact, I plan to use DEEP GEMS as the inspiration for one of the colorways in my next fabric collection. I can’t wait to see what happens.

THE GIVEAWAY

pn-rafflecopter

To enter-to-win 1 Large Deep Gems by Paula Nadelstern for Aurifil Thread Collection + 1 copy of Fabracadabra by Paula Nadelstern for C& T Publishing and 2 bundles of Kismet by Paula Nadelstern for Benartex , click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 14! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, December 15. Good luck!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Niraja Lorenz!

ABOUT PAULA
paula-profilePaula’s quilts have achieved international recognition for the innovative and complex designs inspired by the bilateral symmetry of kaleidoscopic images. Honored by inclusion in the Twentieth Century’s 100 Best American Quilts, her designs have inspired products including the vast carpet in the Hilton Americas hotel in Houston, TX and were showcased in the American Folk Art Museum’s first one person exhibition highlighting the work of a contemporary quilt artist (2009). In addition to numerous awards, Paula was a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and The Bronx Council on the Arts. She is the author of FABRACADABRA, Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric, Kaleidoscopes & Quilts, Snowflakes & Quilts, Puzzle Quilts: Simple Blocks, Complex Fabric, Paula Nadelstern’s Kaleidoscope Quilts: An Artist’s Journey Continues, and Kaleidoscope Quilts: The Workbook. She designs textile prints exclusively for Benartex, Inc. and lives in New York City with her husband, Eric. her daughter, Ariel, lives a block away. 

Learn more about Paula on her website — http://paulanadelstern.com/

Showcase Sunday {12.4}

showcasesunday12-4

It’s been a long time since we’ve posted a  Showcase Sunday, so welcome back! We love having a forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do!  We can’t get enough of the lovely things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@charmaboutyou

@charmaboutyou

@josewshandmade

@josewshandmade

@iamlunasol

@iamlunasol

@skinnymalinkyquilts

@skinnymalinkyquilts

@quiltyhabit

@quiltyhabit

@nightquilter

@nightquilter

@mybearpaw

@mybearpaw

@gardenvarietycookie

@gardenvarietycookie

@lappelises_quiltestue

@lappelises_quiltestue

@lesliepeterson5

@lesliepeterson5

@pieladyquilts

@pieladyquilts

@bigstitchquilting

@bigstitchquilting

@ml_wilkie

@ml_wilkie

@chelsierosner

@chelsierosner

@misterdomestic

@misterdomestic

@mrssophie2

@mrssophie2

Find free patterns, tips, tutorials and inspiration by following Aurifil on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram. All are updated regularly to provide you with the best the sewing world has to offer!

For more information about Aurifil products, including thread weights, Designer Collections, and where to purchase from your local quilt shop or select online shops, please visit Aurifil.com.

Showcase Sunday {9.11}

showcasesunday9-11

Welcome back to Showcase Sunday, our forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do!  We can’t get enough of the beautiful things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@ivory_spring

@ivory_spring

@colorgirlquilts

@colorgirlquilts

@sewbespokeandco

@sewbespokeandco

@freebirdquiltingdesigns

@freebirdquiltingdesigns

@richyjr16

@richyjr16

@ladykquilts

@ladykquilts

@jennrossotti

@jennrossotti

@kidgiddy

@kidgiddy

@iamlunasol

@iamlunasol

@janequiltsslowly

@janequiltsslowly

@quiltyhabit

@quiltyhabit

@beccibee

@beccibee

@jleblanc1951

@jleblanc1951

@mybearpaw

@mybearpaw

@stephskardal

@stephskardal

@yardgrl60

@yardgrl60

@mmphsbelle_quilts

@mmphsbelle_quilts

@allie-and-me-design

@allie-and-me-design

@jeliquilts

@jeliquilts

@laurensewcycle

@laurensewcycle

Showcase Sunday {8.28}

SHOWCASESUNDAY8.28

Welcome back to Showcase Sunday, our forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do!  We can’t get enough of the beautiful things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@charmaboutyou

@charmaboutyou

@laurelpoppyandpine

@laurelpoppyandpine

@modernmakersretreat

@modernmakersretreat

@faithessenburg

@faithessenburg

@littlejennawren

@littlejennawren

@ivory_spring

@ivory_spring

@nightquilter & @duringquiettime

@nightquilter & @duringquiettime

@molliejohanson

@molliejohanson

@t.s.westy

@t.s.westy

@_beckyo_

@_beckyo_

@marymenzerdesigns

@marymenzerdesigns

@jennynaultmeeker

@jennynaultmeeker

@laundrybasketquilts

@laundrybasketquilts

@wtodd141

@wtodd141

@mariarosarianolabonaccorsi

@mariarosarianolabonaccorsi

@campbell_soup_diary

@campbell_soup_diary

@meadowmistdesigns

@meadowmistdesigns

@katespain

@katespain

@quiltyhabit

@quiltyhabit

 

 

 

Showcase Sunday {8.14}

SHOWCASESUNDAY

Welcome back to Showcase Sunday, our forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do!  We can’t get enough of the beautiful things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@colorgirlquilts

@colorgirlquilts

@sarahedgarprettyfabrics

@sarahedgarprettyfabrics

@duringquiettime

@duringquiettime

@kimmiekaren

@kimmiekaren

@richyjr16

@richyjr16

@jennrossotti

@jennrossotti

@aquilterstable

@aquilterstable

@a_swede_life

@a_swede_life

@mrssophie2

@mrssophie2

@sewbespokeandco

@sewbespokeandco

@mommy2lu

@mommy2lu

@sariditty

@sariditty

@thequiltyarn

@thequiltyarn

@mybearpaw

@mybearpaw

@misterdomestic

@misterdomestic

@snippets101

@snippets101

@suerasmussenquilts

@suerasmussenquilts

@piecefullife

@piecefullife

@ivory_spring

@ivory_spring

@redbirdquiltco

@redbirdquiltco

@jolene_is_a_longarm_quiltr

@jolene_is_a_longarm_quiltr

@shrutinow

@shrutinow

@punkinpatterns

@punkinpatterns

@makemakemakeymake

@makemakemakeymake

 

 

Showcase Sunday {7.17}

SHOWCASE SUNDAY-2

Welcome back to Showcase Sunday, our forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do!  We are truly in awe of every stitch you make, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)

@pamkittymorning

@pamkittymorning

@beccibee

@beccibee

@entropies

@entropies

@laurelsstitchery

@laurelsstitchery

@drawingwithneedles

@drawingwithneedles

@tishinwonderland

@tishinwonderland

@ladykquilts

@ladykquilts

@carolasmussen

@carolasmussen

@pieladyquilts

@pieladyquilts

@redbirdquiltco

@redbirdquiltco

@deborahdawnt

@deborahdawnt

@stephskardal

@stephskardal

@iamlunasol

@iamlunasol

@eavlund

@eavlund

@mrssophie2

@mrssophie2

@schnigschnagquiltsandmore

@schnigschnagquiltsandmore

@colorgirlquilts

@colorgirlquilts

@francoise.lcs

@francoise.lcs

@elvengardenquilts

@elvengardenquilts

Sophie Standing

We’ve been following the work of Sophie Standing, an incredibly talented textile & fiber artist, for quite some time and will admit to being in complete awe of her art. She brings her subjects to life with a stunning combination of fabric and thread, pulling from countless hues, layering various patterns and thread weights, and expertly piecing them all together to become one amazing image. Sophie references both her extensive artistic background and her physical surroundings to create these artworks. We had a chance to learn a bit more about her background and her process via a short interview a few weeks ago and are thrilled to share it with you here today. Sophie proudly uses Aurifil threads.

SophieStanding-Profile

You have a rich artistic background, what first drew you to textile embroidery art?
Sewing was always a big part of my life. From the age of 11 or 12 (I can’t quite remember), I was working in a craft shop run by an Italian woman. It was a tiny little space, filled with skeins of cotton and silk and wool. It was like an Acadians cave. I didn’t earn much money but always managed to spend it all in the shop on threads, cross stitch samplers, or ‘make your own teddy’ kits.

As I got older my sewing and creative flair turned more towards clothes and fashion. I loved fabrics and would buy them without even knowing what they were going to be used for. I was a total fabric hoarder… and not just quilting and haberdashery fabrics. Also woven textiles from Guatamala, Indian silks, Indonesian embroideries. Two of my most treasured possessions are the large hand woven and embroidered bed throw/wall hangings that my husband, Andre, bought me in Bhutan when he was on business there. They are both more than 70 years old. The hand embroidery is exquisite and the amount of hours it must have taken to create is mind blowing.

I started doing a bit of machine embroidery on skirts and dresses, just the odd heart and group of bubbles or balloons, and gradually started experimenting more. Whilst living in Cape Town my friend Saskia asked if could create some fabric art pieces for the walls of her shop on Long Street, Misfit. These were the first pieces of textile embroidered art that I made. It was three pieces in total: a rabbit, three swallows and a meadow of flowers.

I had never worked like that before, creating animals with coloured fabric appliqué and then sewing the details with threads, but I loved it. I guess it just combined my love of of so many things… flora and fauna, fabrics, threads, sewing, & art.

SophieStanding, Sunrise Aardvark

SophieStanding, Sunrise Aardvark

Sophie Standing, Black Rhino

Sophie Standing, Black Rhino

How has the medium evolved for you over the years?
Although I studied art and design at University in Liverpool for wood, metal, ceramics and textiles, my textile embroidered art is all self taught. It’s been a process of trial and error and experimenting. I have become far more expressive with my use of fabrics, using very bold flowers next to stripes and clashing abstract patterns. My sewing has become so much more fine tuned. It’s like anything I suppose, just practice and experimentation. I get lost in it sometimes, locked into the mammals eyes and ears, fur and hair.

Sophie Standing, The Secretary Bird

Sophie Standing, The Secretary Bird

How do you choose your subjects?
Mostly this is influenced by my clients. These days I work solely with private commission and try to have one exhibition a year. The client and I start by looking at photos of the mammal to see what the client loves about it and what they wish me to portray in the animal. Between us we find one that has the right composition and look for a textile art piece.

I only do the large mammals on a large scale these days. Over time I’ve realised that the amount of detail needed to create a face with machine embroidery just isn’t achievable on a small scale. For smaller pieces, I concentrate on portraits of mammals like lions, wild dogs, or antelopes. I also do insects and birds on a small scale.

Sophie Standing, Dung Beetle

Sophie Standing, Dung Beetle

Sophie Standing, Starfish

Sophie Standing, Starfish

What is your greatest artistic inspiration?
The world around me…

Although I concentrate on African mammals, now that I’ve lived on the continent for 15 years, I do also enjoy creating the odd beast from elsewhere! I very much enjoyed creating a Siberian tiger last year and would one day love to do an English countryside themed exhibition — fox, badger, stag. Memories from growing up in England.

SophieStanding-SiberianTiger

Sophie Standing, Siberian Tiger

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve worked on?
Yes, but a few!

I still love the wild dog portrait I create some years ago now. The latest Impala, which was also concentrating mainly on the face, is another favorite. I really enjoy honing in on just the face of the mammal. It’s where I can really bring the creature alive.

Satao, the tusker I created about a year and half ago, was a very special piece to make for a client. He was Kenya’s largest ever tusker and was killed by poachers in Tasvo National Park in June 2014. Desperately sad.

SophieStanding-Satao6

Satao, Sophie Standing

SophieStanding-Impala

Sophie Standing, Impala

Describe your process from start to finish.
First of all I trawl through images of the mammal subject matter, — sometimes photographs that my husband and I have taken, other times images from friends or other photographers. If they are copywrited, I will approach the photographer for permission to use the image as the basis of my art.

Then, I set to work drawing, using the photograph of the mammal as inspiration. I could simply print out the photo and then enlarge for the artwork, but I like to go back to basics — to study the mammal and draw all the intricate areas before I attempt to draw it with threads!

Once the drawing is finished I then enlarge it to the appropriate scale on a photocopier, sellotape the A3 sheets together (we don’t a photocopier in my town that can print large than A3!), cut it out, and lay it down on a pre-painted canvas cotton background. I pin it in place and trace around it, making sure the nostrils and eyes etc are in the right place.

I then remove the picture and am left with a pencil outline of my mammal. I begin to choose all the fabrics and pin them down on the pencil outlined image.

Then begins the hours of sewing! I always start with the eyes of the mammal and slowly stitch all the details, changing my thread colour continuously to achieve the layers and textures of the creature I’m trying to bring to life in blues and purples and pinks!

What do you love about Aurifil threads?
Everything! The amount of colours that are available is fabulous. I have the colour chart on the wall of my studio like a piece of art, it’s delicious! They are glossy but without giving too much shine to my work. They are very rich and almost glow!

The weights are brilliant. I mainly use 50 weight for all the very fine detailing, facial features and hair,  and whiskers. I switch to 40 for the areas of the body that still need hair or wrinkly skin texture — it covers a bit faster. The 28 and 12 weight are really great for extra definition in certain areas. They work  best in fish and birds in my work.

Oh, and the different spool sizes too. For my work, using all four thickness, its ranges from 1300mt to 750mt of cotton on a spool. For my last exhibition, I used approximately 22,000mt of thread. That was finished spools so it was a lot more than that as there were many half and quarter used spools.

Sophie Standing, Ostrich

Sophie Standing, Ostrich

What is your favorite weight and how do you use the different weights to create texture in your pieces?
50 and 12! The two extremes make the most contrast when used together….

What type of machine do you work on?
Always Bernina! I used to use my grandmothers Bernina 830 Record. I inherited it when she passed away. She was a wiz on it and created many of her own clothes with it, including evening dresses. I love that machine — it’s as heavy as an ox.

Sadly I have pretty much run her into retirement now. I really want to get a new motor fitted into her so I can have her as a back up when my new Bernina is being serviced. One day I’ll get her out of Kenya to send her somewhere for some Bernina TLC!

Right now I use the Bernina 1008. I don’t want a high tech machine and I don’t use computer programs for sewing. It’s the free motion and darning foot that I use everyday. The basic foot for straight stitch and zigzag gets used when I mend or alter my and the family’s clothes.

SophieStanding-WhiteRhino5

Sophie Standing, White Rhino

Any tips for artists just getting started with textile embroidery?
Just explore — don’t be afraid to just try out things. Sometimes it won’t work and will be a mess, but that’s how I learned.  Experiment with colours and designs, all ranges of fabrics, stripes, spots, florals, geometric, as many clashes as you can on one piece of fabric art. Be bold.

Sophie Standing, Bird

Sophie Standing, Bird

– – – – – – – – – – – –

We’d like to thank Sophie for taking the time to chat with us! We are inspired and awestruck and can’t wait to see what comes next. We’d encourage you to follow along with her to get a sneak peeks at in progress artworks and closer looks at newly finished pieces.

Find Sophie Online:
WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest

More About Sophie:
Sophie Standing was born in England and grew up in Hampshire. She studied wood, metal, ceramics and textiles at Liverpool Hope University. Since graduating, Sophie has worked as an artist in many different mediums, including works in ceramics, stained glass windows, weaving, dress making and more recently experimenting with textile art. She was fortunate for many years to be part of the team that designed, installed and displayed the award winning windows at Fortnum and Mason, Piccadilly, London. She is also an accomplished wedding florist and fine artist, life drawing being a speciality.

In 2003 Sophie moved to Cape Town, South Africa and is now living in Kenya. Sophie’s textile embroidered art is inspired by the flora and fauna around her in Africa and combines this with her passion for fabrics and textiles. Her one off pieces are created by appliqueing an intricate collage of fabric onto the canvas where her image is already sketched out. She then draws the details over the top of the fabric with her sewing machine using many different coloured threads.

Sophie has an extensive collection of fabrics from all over the world and in a vast array of designs and textures, ranging across haberdashery, dress making, quilting, new and vintage, floral, modern, wool, cotton, silk… Liberty and Kaffe Fasset being among her favourites.

Although Sophie enjoys working towards exhibitions she usually works to private commission and enjoys the process of working closely with clients on a project. She has sold works to clients in Kenya, South Africa, UK and Germany.