Beach ChairIn honor of summer, I’m working on a new beach scene—tentatively titled “Afternoon at the Beach.” This one has an appliqued adirondack chair in it and I tried a new process to get the image. Although I don’t normally do much applique, I like these beach pieces and they seem to need applique and beads. For this image, I took a picture of an adirondack chair on my back porch and printed it out so I could use it as a guide to draw the simplified image onto interfacing. Then it was a matter of choosing the fabric and using the needle turn method to applique the pieces onto the interfacing. You can see a little bit of the interfacing still showing in the space under the arm on the left. I know it would have been quicker to use a fusible web and eliminate the hand sewing part, but I actually like hand sewing and I don’t care for the stiffness the fusible sometimes adds to the piece. I admire the artistry others get using fusible techniques, but it just doesn’t seem right for my work. I also did a little bit of thread sketching on the back and seat of the chair to add texture. The whole piece is created separately and then appliqued in place onto the design after it’s quilted. That gives me flexibility to move the applique around on the background to find the best place for it to go.

I know you’re thinking that sounds a lot like work and you would be right. That’s one reason I don’t do a lot of applique. But my work is rooted in the traditions of the past, since that’s how I learned my craft–even the contemporary abstract pieces. Fiber art appeals to me because of its tactile nature. I want the work to be dimensional–that’s why I spend so much time on the quilting part. The stitching sinks down into the batting and creates wonderful ridges and lines and shapes in the unstitched areas. Applying the applique and beading to these pieces by hand is all part of the process.

For some reason this photo isn’t as crisp as I would like, but I wanted to share these thoughts and the piece is at the framer’s being mounted onto stretcher bars. When it’s all finished, I’ll show it again.

You can see last year’s beach piece here–it’s called “Sunrise on the Beach” and it has been sold and gone to a new home.