Thursday, January 13, 2011

Heavy Metal

The December / January issue of Quilting Arts magazine has an article on Metal as a Surface Embellishment by Mary Hettmansperger, the third in a series - I'll admit I didn't see the first two. Seeing the article made me dig out an experimental piece I did a few years ago - - -

Right - 2007 - - - February 2007. It was a mini quilting challenge to create a small piece out of non-fabric materials. I embraced the challenge and had something in mind from the minute it was announced.
About a year before I had purchased this beautiful lamp on Ocracoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. I don't remember the name of the artist who created it but I just love it. It's in my powder room, and yes, those are still Christmas decorations to the left - - - I'm moving kinda slow this year getting them put away.
Here's a close up of the shade, oxidized metal mesh, held in place with brass brads. The whole process intrigued me - this was my inspiration.
Here are 7 of the 9 "blocks" I made for the challenge entry - originally I had them mounted on black wool off-set by a contrasting bronze synthetic fabric. I wasn't too happy with 2 of the blocks so I dismantled it and will reset it some day.
Here's a closer look at the blocks and how I created them. Many of the materials I used were borrowed from my husband's work bench. This square of brass mesh is topped by another metal mesh, held in place by some wire from his bag of electrical tricks.
This is the wire mesh I used for the background - I used a brass mesh for all of the blocks, the copper mesh is still in the package, but I assure you, not for long!
And, yes, it performs as advertised - you can cut it (not with your fabric shears, please), and sew it - with your sewing machine (I used a 90 needle). It is so cool!
This block is set up like a 9 patch, and features another cool metallic product - - -
Leaf metal - adhered to the wire mesh, and sewn into place. The center is a brass eye.
Here's a block using more of the larger mesh, leaf metal and - - -
The unexpected, peacock feathers woven into the metal mesh.
I love this block - why - the fuses - those little cylinders tied to the background with wire - they are so interesting. I oxidized the brass mesh for this block, giving the rainbow like coloration.
How do you achieve the oxidation - my creme brulee torch to the rescue! You can't be functionally fixated - you need to find multiple uses for your stuff! What a great use for the torch!
Be careful if you plan on giving this a try - these torches get white hot!
Here's a sample of the brass mesh oxidized.
And, here is the copper mesh - I love this one - I can see a new series of blocks made from the copper mesh to compliment the brass blocks.
This block uses those cute little gear-like washers and brass brads.
There are so many cool supplies at the hardware store that translate into this application - I've just begun to scratch the surface.
Don't forget to explore metal sewing and craft supplies!
This block features snaps! THe white mesh is drywall repair mesh.
Snaps come in all sizes and colors, rivets are fun too!
And for this last block I picked used a picture hanger, on the front - it's interesting.
I loved the challenge 4 years ago and this article has inspired me to re-visit my fascination with metal and sewing - the possibilities are so intriguing.

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