Friday, February 12, 2021

Painted Paper Patchwork Barns

I meant to post this several months ago when I first made these, but alas I never got around to it.
Better late then never though, so here we are and here we go...

My last post, oh so many months ago, had me sharing some stitched and quilted barns I was making out of vintage fabrics. I loved making those, but they were really hard on my hands as they were very thick in some areas. I was having to use a pair of pliers just to pull the needle through in those thick areas! Eventually my hands just declared, "No more!" And so, I had to stop.

Trouble was I still had barns in my system and very much wanted to keep stitching some. So I sat down and thought and thought about how I could hand-stitch barns but not cause so much pain to my hands? Then I stopped thinking and just listened and watched what popped into my mind. 

(That is very much my creative process.) 

And what I saw were these painted and stitched paper patchwork barns.

I got right to work, watercolor painting small bits of torn watercolor paper, (I use 140 lb). and stitching the pieces into various barn shapes, hand-stitched together with 12 wt thread. 
Much easier on my hands and very satisfying to make!

After playing around with a few samples I decided that the stitched barns would look nice on painted backgrounds, which you see here in all of the photos. However there was still one element missing... 
I wanted the colors, the paper, the surface, to have more... oomph! 

I thought some more for a bit and then I remembered seeing some oil painters on Instagram who used cold wax medium in conjunction with the oil paint. Those works always catch my eyes as they seem to have such depth and richness to them. But would cold wax medium be compatible with watercolors?

I did a quick Google search and found that cold wax medium could be used as a final coat for watercolor paintings. Perfect-o! So, I got me some of that cold wax medium and gave it a go 
and then fell in love. 

In the photo above and the 3 photos below, you can see the soft sheen and luminosity achieved by applying the cold wax. Once dried and buffed, it truly gives the watercolors that beautiful richness and depth I was hoping for.

To complete the paintings I mounted them, (via hand stitch) to another sheet of 140 lb. watercolor paper, so they can be easily framed, (or if a framing procrastinator like me, propped up until one get around to such matters.) The finished pieces sort of remind me of tiles and contain so many elements I love, from subject matter to color to patchwork and stitching...

So, out of one road block, caused by hands that said, "No more stitching these thick fabric barns" a new creative path was forged through thinking about possibilities and listening to the answers that popped up.

How wonderful!

All of the barns shown have been sold, 
however, I do have a new batch made, that I haven't shared anywhere yet 
and will eventually list in my Etsy shop

For now though I am just laying low, staying home and avoiding going to places that don't feel safe. And unfortunately that currently includes my local small post office, (which makes me so sad as I love the post office and try hard to fully support it). But alas, last time I was there over the holidays, face masks were not being worn by most of the staff, and that's just a deal breaker for me until things settle down and/or I can get that coveted vaccine. 

(And yes, I know there are ways that you can print labels and ship without having to do it in person but I am not that savvy on the process and really do enjoy the act of doing it myself.) 

One more thing on the subject of face masks... if you are reading this and are in the "no face mask camp", (as are so many of the folks that live in my area are) and are now feeling a tension boiling up and/or eyes rolling in your head over my concern for all of our safety and wellbeing, (something that face masks have been scientifically proven to be effective in)... please, keep it to yourself... 
I don't need to know. We simply disagree. Strongly. 

~ ~ ~
~ Breathe ~
~ ~ ~

To each of you, (if anyone is even still out there reading my semi-neglected blog.... hello???) Stay safe, stay well, stay creative. As Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity... Never lose a holy curiosity."



taiqi said...

I love your project. Yes--Curiosity is key to the process. Thanks for finally posting--I do check once a week. You have such wonderful tutorials--Janet Wright

Victoria said...

Janet, Thank you and I truly appreciate your frequent checking on my neglected, but still dear to me, blog. I am working towards my goal of getting back into the practice of more regular blogging this year. Hoping for at least once a month and ideally 2x a month. Fingers crossed I come thru! xo

Pauline Michaud said...

Victoria, these are truly beautiful! I'm amazed at the thought process that went into this.

I'm just curious and sharing a thought... have you considered using wool instead of other fabrics? I think wool would be easier to stitch through than other woven fabrics and might be an interesting medium to use as well.

Victoria said...

Hi Pauline, Thank you so much for your kind words and very helpful suggestion. I hadn't considered wool before. Currently I am working on some projects that are once again using the vintage fabrics but not as layered and thick, and so far my hands are holding up. (Knock on wood!) It would be interesting to play around with wool as well though, and I will definitely have to give that some thought! xo

Quiltdivajulie said...

These stitched and painted paper barns are amazing - and the wax, what an amazing difference it makes. Yes, I keep an eye on your blog for new posts. So happy to find this one waiting!

Studio TBF said...


Ziggyseamstress said...

Very inspirational - thank you (and I love the Einstein quote)!

Penny Schine Gold said...

So glad to see another post pop up. I love the new version of barns--the watercolor is beautiful.

Joanne (Jo) Luongo said...

Absolutely love these! Thanks for sharing. I've been doing mini-quilts myself using hand-printed fabric scraps as well as paper but I've used the sewing machine...I think the hand sewing has a lot more impact. Go you!

Victoria said...

Quiltdivajulie, Thank you so much and I deeply appreciate you still keeping in touch with my blog!

Ziggyseamstress, Thank you and I am glad you liked that quote.... it's a good one!

Penny, thank you so much!

Joanne, Thank you and your work sounds lovely! As for machine stitching, I really like the industrial look that machine stitching gives and also like the visual of machine quilting and hand stitching combined. Both are really a form of mark making that of course also functions to hold things together. I'm sure you'd agree that part of the fun we get to engage in is deciding which form of mark of making suits our project the best! xo

Gina said...

These are so beautiful! I’m totally with you on the face masks... fortunately it is mandatory in the UK now!

Helen said...

These barns are completely wonderful. So simple, but so not simple at the same time. No wonder you just carried right on making them.

I am a firm believer in giving space for play and just seeing where it takes you - and here it is taking you somewhere quite lovely.

Victoria said...

Gina, Thank you so much! And happy that folks comply with wearing them in the UK. Also mandatory here in Pennsylvania, but often ignored and not enforced, unfortunately.

Helen, thank you very much! Creative play and curiosity are wonderful companions and make for good company!

Jennifer said...

Oh, they are lovely and poetic, your stoic barns soldiering on, each matted alone, like us waiting it out.

A few lives ago I lived in south-central Pennsylvania, but not for very long. The country was beautiful, and I remember those barns well.

Victoria said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Your beautiful and descriptive words touch my heart deeply and I am grateful to you. xo

faunhaert said...

I love the little barns they look almost leathery.
maybe this might be way to make bracelets?
it would not weigh weigh much at all.
you could punch the stitch holes with the machine
then fill them in with the thread.
I bought some finishing wax where the milk paints were
thinking this should be good for something. ;)

goldencomet said...

Victoria, I have been reading your blog, off and on, for a few years, since you were making work quilts. Was so glad to find you again. I so love your creativity! I also have been watching your new president doing such a good job tackling the pandemic. (I am in Canada.)

As we say in Nova Scotia, "Be safe, be strong and be kind".

Victoria said...

goldencomet, I'm so happy that you found your way here again as well, and thank you! And yes, I am very grateful to our new president. I sleep much better knowing a sane and compassionate man is sitting in the Oval Office and I am sure much of the world sleeps more easily, too. Still many issues to face and fix, but I have hope now. I like your Nova Scotia saying, and I wish you the same as well! XO