Thursday, April 28, 2016

Texture & Form with Velda Newman

This month's SCVQA visiting quilt artist was Velda Newman.  Monday night, she shared her quilting journey including pictures of her home and studio, quilting progression that included a number of quilting accolades, design inspiration and of course, quilts.  Velda is known for her larger than life quilts!  As we were within driving distance, Velda brought two of her very large quilts (I believe her Zinnia quilt is 8 feet x 18 feet!!)  While most trunk shows only required 2-3 quilt holders, this trunk show required two teams of 8 or more of our tallest members!  They sure did have their work cut out as these quilts were heavy and given the height, most members had to hold their hands above their head and stand on their toes to hold the quilt up!  After viewing her amazing Zinnia quilt, Velda then pulled out her newest quilt which was still in progress.  As a result, she asked that we not take any pictures, but let me tell you this one is simply gorgeous, radiant, spectacular, magnificent...

I left the meeting feeling so inspired and even more excited about taking Velda's workshop "Texture & Form" on the following day.  Velda expertly led us through four different projects, sharing her tips & tricks along the way!  It was an ambitious agenda, but Velda paced it well and I never felt rushed or pressured.

First up was Velda sharing how she uses stitched lines to create the illusion of dimension and texture in her Baskets quilt.  We added several layers of interest to create dimension in our own simplified baskets.

Once we had practiced the various processes, we moved onto lemons.  There was a small glitch on the supply list and very few people brought yellow fabric, but we all had yellow-green fabric, so most of us ended up with limes instead!  This may have been my favorite technique as we stitched some basic contour lines and then bisected each line with more and more stitching lines.  It was rather meditative, which was a good thing as Velda told me to keep going until you stop seeing the square grid!    
Baskets of Fun, When Life Doesn't Hand You Lemons--Make Limes Instead!
After lunch, we moved onto leaves.  Again, Velda showed us several techniques she uses to create dimensional leaves complete with veins.  We each had opportunity to practice stitching pleats to simulate the veins of a leaf.  The side veins were fairly easy, but I struggled a bit with the center vein...and as a result, my quilt has a little extra dimension and texture...albeit not intentional!
My Leaves Have a Bit More Dimension and Texture Than Velda's Leaves...
Cantaloupe Texture
The final exercise was recreating the texture of cantaloupes!  Inexpensive cheesecloth (many thanks to one of my tablemates who had yards and yards of cheese cloth) was manipulated and layered onto our fabric and batting, and free motion quilted pebbles add the final layer of cantaloupe texture!  I thought I had manipulated my cheesecloth sufficiently and was about to start stitching, when Velda arrived at my side just in time to help me add even more texture and dimension.  I was a little nervous about free motion quilting on my travel machine, as I do most of it on my Bernina at home.  But I surprised myself at adapting to the other machine and not relying on my Bernina Stitch Regulator!

Last but not least, Velda gave us a bonus demo on how she uses paints on her quilts to create even more depth and color!!  It was amazing to watch her transform another student's lemon with a few strokes of light green paint...it looked 3-dimensional!!  And while she makes it look very easy, I know it is because of her years of art classes and painting on her own quilts!
Projects from Velda's Workshop
I am still in awe at how much we covered!  I am not entirely sure whether anything will become of my grouping of textured forms made in the workshop.  More importantly, I leave with a whole new batch of tricks and techniques that will help me incorporate more dimension and texture in future quilt projects!!

Many thanks to Velda and the SCVQA Programs committee for a really wonderful workshop!!

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