Wedding Gift

Had a fun visit from Richard and Emily this weekend. I had given them their choice of a wall hanging for a wedding present and we were finally able to make connections so they could choose. And there is a very good reason for letting people select their own art…we all have different tastes!

They looked through a whole pile of possibilities…even I hadn’t realized how many pieces I had until I started sorting through. Traditional as well as non-traditional pieces. I’ve been making these things a loooooooooong time! It’s always music to the ego to have people like what you produce, but it was even more fun because they liked some of my favorite non-traditional pieces better.

Richard really liked a couple of my quick start quilting pieces. But he and Emily were relatively quickly able to narrow down their choices and this is what they selected.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

And because I’ve known Richard since he was a little boy, of course I gave him his choice of the quick start piece he wanted! These are the ones he liked and he chose the light one.

And to top off my day, I had a meeting with Marie at Pentamere Winery right here in town and was able to set up dates for an exhibit of my work. August, wine, art quilts..now I need to make sure everything is set up for a professional presentation.

Little things like labels and sleeves and mounting small pieces on canvas or just on paper and in an envelope. I’ve been better lately at the finishing details, but, remember that stack of quilts that Richard and Emily started with? I was surprised at how many of those did not have either labels or sleeves! And many of the smallest pieces were just laying in a heap…finishing details, that must actually get done!

Let’s see how long my finishing resolve lasts.

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Hippity Hop and Spin!

Working on too many projects at once, which I haven’t done in a while. This is how I used to work all the time, but I’d forgotten how disorganized it makes me feel until things start to come together.

One project is to finish the collages from last weekend’s workshop. Getting there, but going from a little sewing to finishing edges to painting some canvas to mount a couple of pieces to watching paint dry!

While the paint is drying, I started to work on the vintage fabric challenge from Karen Musgrave, using Rayna Gillman’s techniques. Rayna’s techniques are nothing new to me, but her thought processes while using them in design work are very helpful. I love looking at design from a different perspective than just what’s in my own head.

Now, this fabric is something else! It’s very sturdy, to start with, and heavier than many fabrics we are used to working with. I decided to start with the simple discharge process of bleach, and I thought initially that there was no change! When I put the bleached piece next to the original, though, it was definitely lighter, but no prettier!!!

So, strip piecing, here we come. Thought as long as the pink was so obnoxious that I would start by overwhelming it with all shades of pink, but then went with Rayna’s strip therapy method and just started cutting and sewing. Got interrupted by dry paint waiting for another coat and then looked at Rayna’s book again for any other helpful hints. She works much smaller than I do, so this is where I stopped for the day.

I’m thinking I’ll start re-slicing what I have done so far and work with smaller pieces…but I have SO much fabric, I was hoping to use up a bit more of it. Sigh…not on this challenge, I guess. I also need to incorporate the unbleached fabric…maybe do something else to it first!

In between sewing things, I’m trying to get a handout ready that has a bio, artist statement and recent teaching/exhibits on it for a meeting about a possible local store exhibit. I don’t have one bit of problem showing my work and talking about it, but writing about myself is hard! In this area, I am very far from feeling like a professional. I guess I know what topic of self-help books to look for in the library!

Early phone call this morning added one more thing, but it’s an automatic top priority. Grandson AJ is not feeling well and will be joining me today. Sad that he isn’t up to his usual cheerful self, but extra snuggle time is always desirable!

All right–that last layer of paint is dry so I can get back to work on mounting those projects and then more strips to piece and that collage to get stitched and another one to get mounted and…hop, hop, hop!!!

Brown? Yuck!

Or that’s what I used to say about all those brown based calico prints that were so popular back in the Dark Ages, when I started to quilt. But just look at what I couldn’t live without today…

I had decided very recently that I should start getting rid of more of my commercial fabric, since I’m preferring hand dyes…and I might even get into screen printing more. And then these luscious batiks JUMPED into my hands when I was visiting the quilt store. They already have the type of designs I was interested in for screen printing. Neutral graphics–perfect!

This looks to be a very busy week or two coming up. Lots of unfinished projects that I feel NEED to be completed. My work is moving in a different direction and I want to explore it. It may be temporary, but I don’t want to someday say that I thought I might want to explore a creative direction and never took the time.

Taking some items into a local business later this week, too. They always have artist’s displays–good art!–and I want to get in on it!!! I want a variety of display options for my work so I need to pick a few to show them and get them gussied up for their best presentation.

And I don’t have an artist’s statement or resume in any good format, so I need to put together something that will be decent for that, too.

Did you know that it’s tax time, too? I’ll bet that won’t come as any surprise to you, but the drudgery of getting everything organized needs to get done. OH–you keep everything organized and up-to-date all year long? I may have to hurt you badly out of jealousy!!!! So, that’s another yuck chore to do…

And fun stuff like the vintage fabric challenge…pictures as soon as I have some results, but I’m getting the inkling of an idea about how I want to use the fabric. Very nebulous, but most of my quilting plans start out that way.

Mostly I need to get off the computer and get to work!

Safe Life Adventuring

Because I have a passion in my life that I am free to pursue, I am always having new adventures in quilting. So much less nerve-wracking than bungee jumping or cave diving…and I’m good with that! My excitement comes from learning that soil filter cloth makes a great foundation for collages. And that cloth Tyvek is perfect for packing and storing and safely shipping quilts. And finding out more about using paper in my work…wow!

Now those of you that know me in person, know that I can often be quite sarcastic and might be skeptical about the above paragraph. This was NOT my sarcasm speaking. I learned an incredible amount at my weekend workshop with Laura Cater-Woods and I truly get excited when learning new techniques and processes that I can apply to my textile work!

I took a few pictures of what we were doing so that you can have an idea of how we played.

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Admittedly, I was the skeptical one when I signed up for this workshop. I didn’t think this was really an area that was right for me. But I’ve not done much collage work and what I have done never made me very happy, so this sounded like a ready-made mind-expanding experience. An exciting adventure, right?

Workshops like this are hard for me to pack ‘stuff’ for, even though ‘stuff’ is my favorite supply list ingredient. It seems as though I always bring the wrong ‘stuff.’ And, of course, this was the case…only because the new environment brings new ideas and when I gather supplies it is from a base of the old ideas. This means that I’ll make whatever it is from whatever I bring, but it’s often not what I would create if I were picking from the whole studio of materials. But…hellooooo…it stretches your imagination and creativity to work with what you have and not what you wish you had!

So what did we actually do? Start with some type of base–fabric, paper, soil filter cloth…whatever. If you have an idea, great–start placing fabric, paper, quilt pieces, “stuff” on your background. If  you don’t have an idea, do the same thing until you start liking what you are placing and moving and using. When you are happy with even one thing, make it ‘permanent’ with fusing, or glue, or gel medium or stitch–whatever is appropriate for that part.

Continue and continue and continue, one part at a time until you think you are finished. Then step back again and decide if you are ready to perhaps quilt, perhaps paint or write or stitch in some more details. At some point, you declare it done, with finished edges and ready to hang or place on a shelf if your finishing takes you in a more sculptural direction. Done!

This sounds kind of simplistic, but the whole process depends on your artistic viewpoint and getting to what you want to express. I thought it would be quickly slap on some stuff and call it good. Not so. Taking time and thinking it through make for better design decisions and better finished projects.

That’s the kind of adventures I like…stretch the mind and not a hamstring…break through to new ideas, not break an ankle! Oh, yes, I’ll stick with my safe life adventuring, but it’s just as exciting to my textile passion as the adrenaline rush is to a skydiver…and my worst fear can then be getting my fingers stuck together from the glue I’m using…even safe accidents in my world!

Wacky Quilters

The Knot Even Quilters group met this week. My family and I will always call them the Wacky Quilters because my friends and I have always been a little bit off the beaten quilt path! While we had our meeting, a coaster was sitting on a side table. I didn’t get a picture of it, but is said, “Quilting Goddesses Gather Here.”

I think we should change our name again…we ARE quilting goddesses! We have the power to create and our passion is truly magnificent. Of course, our choices are all divine…OK, OK…but we have lots of fun while we play with all things fiber-related.

We are looking at several challenge projects this coming year. I’m mentioning them here because you may also belong to a group that likes to play and these ideas may appeal to you.

We are going to create a quilt–or something–with which we would “Feather Our Nest.” Or call it a Treasure Chest or What I Would Want on a Desert Island…

We are going to create a Me Quilt. A self-portrait, kind of…a quilt that represents how we see ourselves, literal portrait not required!

We are going to do a Baker’s Dozen again, because it was so much fun the first time we did it and the group is bigger now. We put 13 something’s in a bag, put the bags on a table and select one. We make a quilt using some of everything in the bag, add anything we want and use any format we want. Then we get our own “stuff ” back! I forgot that part in the original and put in some stuff I didn’t like…and now I have it back, but transformed by one of my creative goddess friends into a beautiful wall hanging!

We are going to do a Fractured Flower. Small groups, take a flower picture, interpret it, return it to the group and cut into as many pieces as people in group (3-5 is best) so everyone has a piece of every interpretation and then put it back together again.

We also want to do some gel plate printing, some shibori dyeing, some kitchen/garden resist dyeing and printing, some collage work–maybe a musical chairs type collage–work ’til the music stops then move on to the next piece!

We have so much fun planned that I want to meet more often! It is so rewarding to work with creative people. The ideas flow and spark so many other ideas. I highly encourage you to find someone in your area to share ideas with, even if it takes more than one try. You will never regret it and you will also never run out of ideas or FUN!

Indulge yourself and refresh your creativity! It’s worth the time and you make great goddess friends.

Sharing a Challenge

Got a little package in the mail today, with some fabric to use in a challenge. I stumbled upon this through a link to a link to a name to a blog…you know how these connections are made nowadays! So…  Karen Musgrave is hosting a challenge to use her vintage fabric and Rayna Gillman’s new book, Free Form Quilts. Sounded like fun even before I saw this fabric. Now it’s a real, true challenge to try and use it.

I’ve been fascinated with Rayna’s book because, of course, that’s the type of work I do and the basic premise of my own book. Couldn’t wait to jump in on this one and we have complete freedom to annihilate…er, experiment on this fabric! I’ll try to remember to take pictures as I go along. That is part of challenge–documentation, but I’m notoriously bad at stopping in the middle of something to take a picture!!

I’m not sure if altering the fabric as a whole will be my first approach. I may try different things on small pieces of fabric at a time. Don’t know for sure…after looking at this fabric, I want to take a bit of time to think!

I Think I’m a Serial Beader!

My waterfall beading project may have started something. One of my artist friends saw it today and in the conversation mentioned that now I had the water, I only needed the earth, wind and fire. It took my brain about 3 seconds to start working on images!!!

I went to a different bead store today, too. And all I could think about was whether I would work on earth or fire next…

These are the beads I bought…I still don’t know if it’s going to be earth or fire!!!