Monday, February 20, 2006

February Journal Quilt- detail and process

I have no idea how much of the original post is lost after my attempts to get my sidebar
back where it belongs.
The Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated 15 days
after the Chinese New Year and in 2006, the Lantern Festival
was on February 12th.

In one legend, the Jade Emperor in Heaven was so
angered at a town for killing his favorite goose, that
he decided to destroy it with a storm of fire. However,
a good-hearted fairy heard of this act of vengeance,
and warned the people of the town to light lanterns
throughout the town on the appointed day. The
townsfolk did as they were told, and from the
Heavens, it looked as if the village was ablaze.
Satisfied that his goose had already been avenged,
the Jade Emperor decided not to destroy the town.
From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary
of their deliverance by carried lanterns of different
shapes and colors through the streets on the first
full moon of the year, providing a spectacular
backdrop for lion dances, dragon dances, and fireworks.

My goal was to use the oil pastels and see how they worked. I found a photo online
of a lantern festival and used it as an inspiration (much simplified).
Regardless of many attempts to set the oil pastels, they faded
and rubbed off when I began quilting. (Have recently read Karoda's comment about
using diluted gel medium to set regular pastels and will try that next time.)

Here are some of the early sketches and use of the oil pastels. I really did like them
although they did not show up as well as I'd hoped. The small piece I used to experiment
on as I worked on the JQ had a particularly difficult time because I handed quilted it
and that meant even more handling. I decided to machine quilt the JQ, but it didn't fare
much better...
and my quilting gloves ended up with much of the color.


  1. I like the festive feel of your page! And what a neat story. I am glad that you included it.

    I wouldn't say that the oil pastels were a wasted effort. :-) I'm sure that you learned a lot while going through the process. And you will apply that to projects in the future. It is frustrating though!

  2. You have captured the light! I apreciate reading about your experience with oil pastels as I have not yet discovered why people like them. Love your threadpainting too! Jen

  3. lovely...

  4. I love the texture-y-ness of this, Jen. And it's a lovely composition.

  5. Jen, Your experience with the oil pastels may not have been in your mind "successful" but your piece certainly is! (Plus you learned a lot from it) I love it, and it so gives the feeling of the night being lit by these marvelous lanterns. I think it is a beautiful rendering and I can clearly feel the mood of the festival. Great!

  6. This piece radiates light. I love the texture. And I like the background behind the piece. Very cool.

  7. Jen, This is so wonderful. I love the texture you put into it and it truely does glow. I have tried the oil pastels only once and then the colors were put on rather light. I just heat set them with my iron. Didn't seem to rub off any after that.
    *note* using the gel medium may make it a little trickier to quilt unless you have a teflon coated pressure foot.

  8. There is something very refined about this piece and the impetus behind it.
    Thanks for sharing your process, critique, and suggestions for next time.
    The black background is perfect, too!

  9. It looks even better close up! It's like an illustration in thread, and the texture is wonderful. Can you imagine if you were to do this large in thread? It looks like a lot of work already, but well worth it....beautiful!

  10. Yummy. This continues to be so much fun and so inspiring. I love the glow of this piece - it has a wonderful sensorial quality... can almost hear the breeze through the trees and feel the coolness in the air. Well done Jen! You might try Shiva painstiks, they have a drying agent (as well as linseed oil) as a binder. I think oil sticks have wax and mineral oil so they never quite "dry".

  11. I have traveled to asia several times with my job and know some details regarding the chinese new year holiday but the lantern festival is a new one for me thanks for opening my view of the world alittle more with your beautiful piece. pp

  12. Great story and a lovely piece. Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations with the oil pastels.

  13. I really loved the way you described your process, even though it was frustrating. It's the journey. Because of that journey, your piece is beautiful and I loved the story.

  14. Wow, that is really about thread painting! You did a wonderful job creating this image solely by thread. Interesting to know you did it by hand because I associate this technique more with machine quilting. I have to finish another challenge and I was comtemplating to do it by hand (it's a face) so I would have more control. I'm inspired by this to give it a try again. Lovely story as well.

  15. The journal quilt was machine quilted - all thread play is by machine. I had a smaller practice piece for the oil pastels that I hand quilted/embroidered... (no picture of this has been posted) and it has a completely different look from the journal quilt.

  16. either side of your quilt works for a front...night and day. The glow of the lanterns comes across well and this would look great as an element in a larger piece. btw, I used chalk pastels.

  17. Magical..I love the thread play. And thanks for the history too!

  18. Jen, like I said I'm reading backwards so have not seen finished quilt yet but wanted to reply to your comments about oil pastels,

    there was a thread on QA about using pastels last year so you might want to take a look in the achives,

    the main points were that oil pastels are not good for fabric longevity, soft pastels were better, as Kim said Shiva paintsticks are said to be good, I have never used them (keep meaning to buy some) but they have been highly recommended over here,

    I did some experiments last year with soft pastels and dye crayons, both worked well, after I ironed the soft pastels they lost most of their chalkiness and quilting was not a problem,

    thanks for all your info, oh what make were you using? please,

  19. another beautiful piece. is that black velvet, or just cotton?


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