Friday, February 26, 2010

Dinner in Shanghai: jdemilo

“Dinner in Shanghai” 
jdemilo, February 2010, 18” x 22”  
 Hand and commercially dyed silk, hand embroidered, handmade fabric and commercial beads, machine and hand quilted

Artist Statement: My goal with this piece to was to create a whole cloth quilt featuring a strong design element and using various surface design techniques. 

After a few days of looking at the picture, the design elements I chose to feature were converging lines suggested by the table edge behind and chopsticks in front of the circular disk of the plate.  I also wanted to represent the various textures and the gold swirl on the table top.

I began with a piece of white cotton that I resisted, dyed, stamped and stenciled to death.  While it became much more complex, it did not develop the richness I had wanted—a look of understated wealth.  When I found the cream silk, I gave up on the cotton and  I tried again.  Perhaps you will see the cotton in a later art quilt.

This time I resisted and dyed the silk background.  Next I made a freezer paper stencil and used a gold oil paint stick to create the swirls in the background. The cloth was not as complex as the first attempt but the silk and gold paint gave it a lustrous sheen that provided the overall look  I wanted.   The plate was bit flat so I used some discharge paste to imply more dimension before I seed embroidered it for texture.  I machine quilted around the plate and hand quilted around the swirls.  

The chopsticks and food on the plate are fabric beads I made.   I hope you can tell the dimensionality of them.    I wanted a simple clean image but it felt a bit…unpolished, unfinished, lacking that last little bit (you know what I mean?) so I added gold beads to the gold swirls.

That completed it for me.  I finished by stretching the quilt on stretcher bars for a clean look. I love the look of it on the orange walls in my house.

On Saturday I will post pictures of “Dinner in Shanghai” on my home blog where you can give me an honest critique of the piece.  I truly appreciate hearing the strengths and the not so strengths of my pieces as I grow as an artist.  Please do stop by.

 I will have a tutorial on how I made the chopsticks and fabric beads on my blog on Monday. They are my first attempts at fabric beads.  I found them easy-peasy and fun!   You should give them a try too!


  1. I love that you put the swirls in the table top. I thought about how to do that but couldn't figure it out. The silk you used is beautiful and the little "firecrackers" on the plate are great. Wonderful rendition!

  2. Elegant! and very rich! and a visual delight!

  3. I toyed with the swirls idea too as embroidery designs so I am really happy that you took the ball and ran with it.

    Your "food" reminds me of a "meal" I had in Tokyo once. I didn't have a clue what I was ordering and when it arrived, it was something like 3 little bits on the plate. I quickly figured out I would have to spend a fortune to get enough food to fill my stomach.

    Great interpretation, Judith!

  4. The background fabric is absolutely beautiful! You've captured the luster that was one of the things I liked about the photograph. It's a very pleasing composition too--I like the way the diagonal lines at the bottom run counter to the lines of the chopsticks. Lovely, Judith.

  5. I really like the beads and chopsticks!! Using the gold swirls really brings out a richness of the piece. Really works very well!

  6. Good treatment with those swirls-they are see through which is a nice effect. The color scheme sort of has a Near East feeling to it. It is a very rich looking piece because of all the individual elements that you chose.

  7. Lusterous! Elegant! I think this is one that would be much more appreciated in person where you can enjoy all the embellishments and techniques to their fullest. Love the beads!

  8. Yummy fabric beads! I like the swirls with the plate - a very nice balance.

  9. Love the gold beads, and yummy "food" bundles! Very elegant!

  10. My first reaction was just focusing on the sumptuous fabric and delicious bundles. It is so beautiful. Very cool chops sticks as well. In line with an Asian theme, it actually brought to mind a traditional Japanese meal called Kaiseki where small bits of perfectly cut and artfully arranged food are served in multiple courses. Each one is a work of art-like yours.

  11. Wow, we took a similar path on the design, but with very different fabric choices and results. I love those fabric beads, I'll be looking for your tutorial. It definitely exemplifies the Oriental concept of food as art!


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!