At last I have finished two journal quilts. It is only March of course and the first four have to be submitted by the end of April so in theory I have caught up. My brain is already turning to ideas for the third.
The set theme this year is Colour. The first four have to be in shades of red (hence the previous posting), the next four in shades of yellow and the final four in shades of blue. Participants in the project often set themselves a theme and I know from past years that it does make it easier having a starting point. I also realised that as this is something like the sixth year I have made journal quilts, I have tried out a vast number of techniques so I do not really wish to be led in that direction. Instead I have decided to work to a theme of twentieth century artists and schools of painting. Doing this can help to sharpen your observational skills, something I learnt years ago when I took a painting class where we sometimes worked 'in the style' of artists the teacher chose.
Thinking of red, quickly led me to Rothko, much of whose work uses large areas of red. I knew that he likes his viewers to meditate on the paintings, a bit like stained glass in a medieval cathedral. He often built up layers of thin paint and I began to think of how I could do something similar to this. Then it occurred to me I could try pojagi, a technique which would be completely new for me. I had dyed silk organza in reds and also had some indigo dyed silk organza. I decided to work by hand.
Although I began with ideas of replicating the sort of shapes Rothko used, I soon decided that it would be better to concentrate on learning the stitching technique so the shapes became a bit random. The stitching lines were also a bit wobbly so I was glad to find that this is quite acceptable. The rules for journal quilts this year say they must be of at least two layers and be quilted so I needed something on which to 'mount' my piece of pojagi. In the end I took a piece of linen that I had dyed, backed it with felt and then machine quilted it. I then stitched the pojagi to the top so that it floats like a curtain.
I would like to do some more pojagi although I shall have to dye some more organza (or buy some). I need to have a go at machine stitching it and I am interested in doing quilts with more than one layer. Jack Brockette http://saqa-texas.blogspot.com/2011/01/jack-brockette-fiber-artist-master.html does amazing quilts of three layers with machine embroidery on the middle layer and free machine quilting of the three layers. If you Google 'pojagi' there are lots of entries and at least one useful Youtube video of the techniques. With the aid of my Contemporary Quilt friends who answered all my questions via the Yahoo group and these other sites I was amazed to find that I had learnt a new technique even though that was not my intention! I have also realised that hand-stitched pojagi is a good 'travelling' project so I shall organise something I can take on holiday with me. This will make a change from the Kanta style bags I have been making for the last year or so.