Clicking on any image will take you to a much larger file with more detail visible.
As you know, I'm a sucker for all things French, Parisian, and especial Marie Antoinette. So, it'll be no surprise that my latest mini album (can an album is almost 11" tall be considered a "mini?") is filled with portraits, both formal and gently satirical of one of the most famous monarchs in history.
Her famous "let them eat cake" has been repeated thousands of times - and, like Mae West's "come up and see me sometime," is totally misquoted! The queen never said it.
The front cover features a vintage metal and enamel picture frame, to which I've added a contemporary piece of rhinestone jewelry in the shape of a crown along with fabric and paper flowers and metal, ribbon and pearl embellishments. The image of the queen, somewhat dulled in the photo due to attempting to reduce the glare of the glass, is rich in deep blues, greens and reds.
The spine features ribbons adorned with strands of elegant beads, chains, and a porcelain doll with a rhinestone crown. The ribbons do double duty - not only do they add luxe embellishment to the outside of the album, in addition to epoxy, red-line double stick tape and staples, they help hold the
binding into the cover. The pages were heavy, and I wanted to make sure they weren't going to go ANYWHERE!
The first page spread is the inside front cover, featuring 'toinette in one of her famous hats, as well as a contemporary rendering of her done in digital art by Cassandra at Cassiscreations. I've added gold foil paper doilies, fabric flowers, paper flowers, ribbons and a silk butterfly. The first page has a pocket decorated with a spray of lovely paper flowers and rhinestones, as well as a die cut crown pattern, which holds two tags to either be used as photo mats or enjoyed with the images of Marie. It's finished off with an amethyst rhinestone crown.
The second page spread has a corner ribbon on the left side, embellished with frilled silk and fabric flower, which holds a tag with a charming cameo of Marie Antoinette. The right side features two 'life up' pages (you can see where they are by the gold tassels that lift each page). The main page features a novelty pewter pressing of Marie surrounded by handmade paper flowers. The crystal dangling from the top of the page is a stunner!
The next photo has one of my photo "oops" in it. On the left side, the two diagonal corner pieces are actually a pocket which holds the tag with the portrait of Marie with the umbrella you see in the upper pocket. I'm not quite sure how it got up there. Oh, well. The other tag is a beautiful piece of vintage french letter writing. The entire page is trimmed out in gold rhinestone banding. On the right side page, there is a charming portrait of the queen with the Dauphin and Dauphine. The page is embellished with faux gems, gold lace ribbon, and a yummy looking laser-cut die cut French pastry.
This spread is pretty self explanatory - the trim on the left side page is Dresden Scrap, appropriate with Marie's Austrian heritage - and I love the gold flocked paper that is behind the pocket holding thte tag with her portrait. On the right, the pocket is trimmed with pleated book page paper and black ribbon printed with gold fleur de lis. The jewel in the middle of the tag is of unknown metal to me, and the faux gems are very sparkling in a rainbow of colors.
Ah! I love the colors on this page spread! You can't really tell from the photo, but the red design on the lime green paper is glittered and the red glitter tulle is bunched with a beautiful gold filligree crown. The colors in the portrait of Marie are deep and luscious and rich. The portrait is actually a page that folds open and there is another image inside the page. On the right is a piece of some of the most beautiful lace I've ever seen. I've had a small piece of it for a decade or so, not really knowing what to do with it. Without doubt, it was just right for the Queen of Versailles! This is the same portrait that is on the cover the album, but you can see more of it (on the cover, the vintage mat covers up quite a lot of it). Again, you can't tell from the photo, but the design on this page is also glittered and sparkles quite a lot!
Well, here we go again - another "oops" moment. Because I couldn't photograph the book standing up (it would close up on its own), I had to photograph it while it was laying flat. That is why the vintage jet beading (which is gorgeous!) is laying off to the side - in reality, it falls straight down as fringe is meant to do! This beautiful image of Marie is enhanced with a luxe paper flower and black eyelash trim. Behind the tag is an exceptionally elaborate embroidered and sequinned gold lace embellishment. On the right is a delightful whimsical image of Marie with an exaggerated version of her well-known over-the-top hair stylings. It is trimmed out in rhinestones and the pages is trimmed with silk ruffles, rhinestones and a laser-cut die cut royal crown. The background paper is a beautiful piece of flocked goods.
The final spread has on the right side a waterfall feature - four images of Marie Antoinette which lift so the ones under can be viewed. The page is trimmed in fabric roses, ribbon and pearls. On the right is another satirical view of Marie's famous hair fabrications - this one looks to be about four feet high and features a complete sailing ship! Her (never said) famous quote is at the bottom and the page is trimmed out in various gorgeous renderings of laser-cut die cut French pastries and cakes.
I hope you enjoyed your little tour through my latest creation. I had a lot of fun playing with the images of 'toinette, vintage jewelry and trims and contemporary reproductions.
While you're here, be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway for a free copy of Somerset & Company's "Art Quit Studio Winter 2015" publication!
Art Quilting Studio is a quarterly publication produced by Stampington & Company. They have quite a few magazines under the omnibus - all quality publications, which I really consider soft bound books, as opposed to the less-impressive sounding 'magazine.' Their Somerset Studio series is one of my favorite things to find in my mailbox throughout the year.
Art Quilting Studio is no exception to the benchmark they have set for themselves. It is gorgeously illustrated with fine photography accompanied by literate and knowledgeable text and all printed on really good weight paper which feels as substantial in your hands as the articles you are reading.
I had to admit, when my copy arrived and opened it up, I knew I was in for a treat. The front page had an ad from a company that produces special-design storage systems for artists and craftsmen of which I own three different pieces. I knew this was going to be right up my alley!
With the plethora of traditional quilting magazines on the market, I really appreciate the focus on new and innovative work Art Quilting Studio takes. The very first article, which was lavishly accompanied by photos of the work, was sheer collage quilting by Terri Stegmiller. These delicate, ephemeral - yet substantial in design - really spoke to me. As the vernacular goes, they knocked my socks off! There are many other intriguing and fascinating techniques explored and exhibited in such articles as "Free Motion Faces" by Liz Alessi, a marvelous quilt made of the outer covers of hardbound books by Suzanna Scott (article written by Amber Damien), that expands the boundaries of what constitutes a "quilt."
Another not-to-miss article is "One Hot Mama," in which Asya Lesly shares her quiltmaking inspirations and intimate details of her personal life that have affected her design work. I found myself reading as if hearing her speak, her words affecting me.
Two different articles could not have been more different in style, design, effect and vision. Yet both spoke to me on very different levels. "Altering Vintage Photos & Papers for Fiber Art" by Janice Paine Dawes was exciting in that it took vintage materials and turned them into striking, contemporary works that made you want to fall into them. She shared much of her technique and materials, so that you can play and experiment! The other was "Pretty Little Rectangles" by Debbie Feist - and it was another world from the quilts of Ms. Paine Dawes. These are delicate, fragile-appearing, vintage inspired works that speak of romance, spirituality, and brings visions of a world gone by. Ms. Feist also shares her materials, tools and techniques so that you can create your own world of the past with fabric, fiber, ribbons and embellishments.
The article I spent the most time with was a feature which appears in every issue, "The Artist Portfolio." This issue, the featured artist is Sue Benner, who was interviewed by Ricë Freeman-Zachery (who also wrote the article). As Ms. Freeman-Zachery states: With luscious hand-dyed and painted silks and cottons and - believe it or not - scraps of carefully salvaged vintage polyester, Sue tells us stories about the things we can't see with our eyes. The multiple page article includes a plethora of photographs which shows both the beauty and the versatility of Ms. Benner's work. You are sure to enjoy this one!
There are many other articles - I think I counted 16 - as well as regular monthly features, including book and product reviews. Certainly one of the most extensive periodicals available. I spent almost three hours (I read magazines cover to cover, as you know!), and poured over the photos, keeping my magnifying glass close by so I could use it when I wanted to get a closer look at the quilting in a specific piece.
One of the things I truly appreciate about this magazine is that its goal is to inform, inspire and invigorate the reader. I do tire of quilt magazines that simply have pattern after pattern after pattern repeated every month. Art Quilting Studio keeps things fresh and alive - and even when the artists share their techniques, they aren't really patterns or tutorials. They are artists sharing their work secrets. And it makes you feel privileged.
So, I highly recommend this issue of Art Quilting Studio Winter 2015, now at your better quilt shops and book stores or by mail here.
And now, for some good news! Stampington & Company has generously offered to send a lucky commenter a copy of the Winter 2015 issue. Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered into the contest. If you re-post this blog post on YOUR facebook page or on YOUR blog, leave an extra comment for each entry and you'll get extra chances! We'll run the contest until the end of the month.
And now that you're inspired ... go make something beautiful!
Yes! Life does sparkle and shimmer and glimmer and gleam! And I love it! Whether I'm making art, working with fabric, paper, ink and vintage findings - or working on a theatre piece - or sewing like an ecstatic dervish on a new art quilt - I'm always attracted to what shimmers just out of sight...the ghosts of sparkle and the rich dignity of decayed splendor.