We were very fortunate to have an art quilter(textile artist) attending each of our first two Machine Quilter Retreats. Art Quilters are so much fun, quirky and creative, they think outside the box and kept us in stitches! We decided that having an 'art quilter' on retreat was going to have to be mandatory. So when a space opened up for the July retreat, I invited Anne Smithies back as our 'art quilter' in residence.
Anne, having attended the May retreat, decided she would use the weekend to get on with her own projects. She brought some paints and a white piece of fabric. Just after breakfast in the morning sunshine , Anne created a simple colour wash with acrylic paints as the backdrop for a beach scene. Then she used simple objects, bits of card and wood, the tip of a paint brush, the cap of a marker to stencil flower shapes on the fabric with blue paint. Anne let it dry in the sunshine, then ironed it to set the colours.
Next, Anne loaded the top with some backing and wadding on a 4 foot Art Quilter frame. Anne used the frame just like as easel, to support her 'canvas'. Now the sewing machine needle became a brush which Anne used to paint with thread.
It was amazing watching the beach scene evolve as Anne added texture shape and colour with the various threads. Then Anne moved on to the 'still life' flowers, adding detail with line and colour and texture to the background. The incredible thing was just how quickly and simply it came together. As the rest of us more traditional quilters watched Anne work throughout the day we felt liberated. We felt confident that we would be able to put into practice what Anne had demonstrated for us. Anne's creativity is infectious! I'll be posting more about her in the future and we hope to have some of her textile projects on show at the Festival of Quilts!