Friday, July 24, 2015

It's not a mistake, it's a new design!

Everyone makes mistakes.  It's part of life. As an art quilter, I get asked by friends to do all kinds of things fiber related.  (I imagine that's true of people in many different fields, not just artists!)  This was one of those cases.

Our car club needed a backdrop for an event at the beach.  It sounded like a fun thing to do and something I hadn't done before so I agreed to do it. Life's an adventure!   Here's the backdrop in use:
My backdrop for the Funkhana
The main challenge in creating it (other than the size--I don't usually work so large!) was adding the lettering. I printed out the letters on regular printer paper. Then, I taped the sheets together with correct spacing and ironed a long strip of freezer paper* on top, cut out the letters and removed the typing paper. (Note to self--don't use steam for this part--it makes the paper stick a bit too much to the freezer paper, which makes it difficult to remove.) This left me with a long stencil that could be ironed onto the background. It mostly turned out great!

It was a learning experience, though. One thing I learned, though, was to NOT go back and add more paint after the freezer paper stencil got quite wet and started to dry--as the paper starts to lift up from the fabric. After finishing the painting I lifted the freezer paper from the canvas. Aargh! Leakage!
Paint leaked under my stencil. Drat!
Leaks happen....
After throwing down my brush, jumping up and down and saying several magic artist words, I considered my options and set to work.  In this case, I was able to lift enough of the leakage by re-wetting to then paint over what was left so it looked good. Whew! One can't always do that, though.

Which brings me my philosophy on quilting mistakes. "It's not a mistake, it's a design opportunity!" Or, as my friend Lynda Prioleau says, "Put a button on it!" I'm really, really, really lazy. So I hate ripping things out and look for every possible reason not to do it. Honestly, in most cases, unless you tell someone, no one will notice...and if they notice, they won't think it's a mistake. So don't point it out.

Sometimes, though, things will bug you and you have to be creative. Fusing stuff on top is always good. Or adding buttons. Slice and dice to add more fabric in there. (I've done this when the border fabric I wanted to use wasn't enough.) Paint. Appliqué. And, every now and then, rip something out. I DO have a seam ripper. I did that when I inked the wrong date on a gift for a friend. I had to rip out a set in piece with curved seams. Ouch, that hurt! But that's always my last resort.

I have a quote that's perfect for those times when mistakes happen. I don't know who first said this, or where I got it--it's just written down in my sketchbook:
If plan
A favorite saying....
Words to live by. Everyone have a great day! And don't sweat the small stuff. As they say, it's all small stuff! *Freezer paper is white with a plastic-y coating on the back to make it waterproof. It's been used for a long time to wrap meats before putting them in the freezer. Reynolds has it; some grocery stores carry it. It has instructions on the box now for how to use it in quilting. The coated side will melt just enough to temporarily stick to fabric, making it ideal for templates and stencils. It peels off fairly easily when you're ready.

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