My details–Your opinions

I’ve been painting and playing with the canvases that I want to mount my small pieces on. I’m not sure I’m totally convinced on some of them and nothing is fastened down, yet! I took some quick pics of the pieces as I think they might be finished…well, they’re leaning against stuff and crooked, but you can get the idea.

I’m pretty sure about these first ones, but I always love suggestions!


These 3 are all small…8 x 10 canvas and the next two will be 16 x 20.

I thought I wanted the plain background shown here on this one

but I have more of the cording I used to edge the piece and tried adding it to that background. I kind of like it, but straight lines and glue….whew! I’m not too steady!

Maybe I should make wavy lines…really wavy like the edges inside the piece.

I painted a background that I hated for this one, tried overpainting it and ended up tossing it aside. It may be right for something else someday. Anyway, I thought I might like to adhere this fabric to the canvas as a background and then add the piece. If I paint it on/over with texture medium, I think it will give it a crisp look. Any experienced advice from fabric painters?

And then I took a second look at a piece I thought was long done…like in March, already! I’m not sure I like it the way it is or if I want to expand the background to make the work a little bigger and more important feeling. It’s 16 x 20 right now. What do you think?


All in all, I feel like I’m making good progress. Even if these change a bit, I think I’m close to final decisions. It’s just those finishing details again, then…I am not in love with screw eyes and hanging wire and I’m horrible at the brown paper dust covers in the back. Do these need them? Yeah, probably. Don’t skimp out now. Finish things professionally!


Texture, Color and Details

I looked at the calendar and was horrified at how little time I have to finalize what I will exhibiting in August. I also have a deadline for a project that is only started in my mind. I have two weeks of travel and teaching and then have to help set up for our guild show and then my exhibit 2 days later. I added up the days and it’s really only 13 working days to get everything done. That was enough to make me decide not to even look at a couple of other exhibit entries that I have bookmarked. If I get this stuff done and then look and still have time…maybe!

The first part of finalizing the details is easy…labels

and sleeves…

Boring…but undeniably necessary. And I always ask myself why I just can’t get in the habit of finishing these details as I go. But I’m always jumping into the next project before the last one is done and I figure I can do this boring stuff later. Well, later is NOW!

I’m moving away from the quilter mindset and into the more standard display for gallery art. Frames and mounting on canvas…things that aren’t allowed in quilt show entries. I found, though, that I really don’t like the look of mounting on plain painted canvas. I’m doing some stretcher strips and using plain or quilted fabric for the background. That’s easy enough–I’ve done that off and on for years. My friend Sherry is introducing me to a new product to jazz up that plain canvas. But she’s out of town and then I’ll be out of town, so she gave me just a bit to play with while she’s gone.

I laid the beaded piece on top of the canvas to show you the texture. It’s not straight or fastened on or in focus, because I hope you can see the bumps and waves.

It’s like modeling paste only easier to use. I may add highlights with other paint or something shimmery, but black is the only color acrylic paint I have right now.

So that brings up the question of what to do with the other pieces I want mounted. I don’t know if you’ll be able to see any texture on this next one–it’s there–but my decision making struggles will begin with what color to make the backgrounds.

Suggestions, anyone?

And does this piece need a small canvas

or a large canvas?

These are the kind of details and decisions that drive me nuts! I second guess myself every step of the way and as soon as I make a decision I want to change what I have done. I’m a ditherer…decisions are hard and in the overall scheme, does it matter so much? Probably not, but that doesn’t stop my brain from spinning.

Blogs may be few and far between for the next month or so. I sure wish I could work in the car, since we’ll be spending a lot of time there, but car sickness means books on tape and look at the scenery are about the most I can handle. On the other hand, I don’t miss the signs for many quilt shops along the way…

I Love Dye Days!

I keep shouting out that I love, love, love dyeing and I really do. And now that I have a huge, good space, even on the hottest of days, I love to host dye days with all my friends. It seems to happen with uncanny coincidence that we DO end up working on the hottest day of the year, but it’s still all good!

Looks like the aftermath of a wild party, doesn’t it?

I get caught up with what I’m doing, though and don’t remember to take pictures…but I don’t have to wait forever to rinse these out so I can show you some of my finished products.

Some of my sheer “mystery fabric” that takes dye–it came out beautifully!

This is 3 layers of the sheers–still wet–but I hope to make something layered like this.

When we get together, it’s a group that varies from absolute beginner to could-be-professional. It’s actually a great mix, because when you have to explain something to a beginner, you are reminded of several things: precautions, equipment needs, why we do things a certain way, and also that all of us do things differently and that’s all right, too. The more experienced are always so generous with sharing their knowledge, and we all learn new things.

My style is pretty slapdash. I love to crumple, squish, jam and dump dye for unpredictable results. Some people want results they can repeat, so they take notes about each step and each drop of dye they use. One lady applies her dye a teaspoon at a time until she gets her colors spread all over her fabric. Another uses a squeeze bottle to paint on the dye in more controlled lines and patterns. It’s fun to hang fabric on a line or fence and drip dye on it. Spray bottles create great textured designs. We teach each other so much just by working in the same space.

Something that I have only tried once before is using soy wax resist. I waited until the “cool” of the evening (only 88°) and heated up the wax and applied it to my fabric. I used a sink mat, a sandwich cutter, a paintbrush, and a couple of lids to apply the patterns of wax. My hands got all covered in wax before I thought about my camera, so no process pics. I’m really airheaded when it comes to those pictures!  Anyway, it really makes a mess, but this is what I got.

The wax is still in here, so I don’t know what the final product will be.

This started out as the orange fire fabric from last week. It was a little too orangey-yellow for me, so I decided it would be the perfect candidate for this experiment. Can’t wait to see if looks significantly different after wax removal. Probably will not be able to do that today, but I’ll show you how it turns out when it’s ‘un-waxed.’

All in all, another great dye day. I’m thinking we need another one in August, when my busy-ness will back off a bit. In the meantime, I have no lack of projects and deadlines, so it’s time to get away from the computer and back to work!

Public Art in MY Town!

We have been very fortunate the last few years to be part of a public art program. Our town receives an exhibit that stays here for an entire year and the sculptures are located all through town. This type of exhibit could go unnoticed in a large city, but my town is small. Every piece gets seen by almost everyone who lives here or travels through.

Now many people are unaware of the sculptures, just as they are often unaware of their surroundings in general. Ignore it unless it bites, kinda! But most of us love having art in town.

We get excited when the new exhibit is getting installed every year. We walk with my 3 year year old grandson most every Saturday morning and there is a sculpture on our way downtown. He absolutely loved the ‘car part’ sculpture last year. This year, in that same spot is a horse. Now, he can’t read, but during the installation process he asked a couple of times where the words were for the plaque! Start ’em young!!!

I’m totally in love with this piece, located at City Hall.

It wasn’t obvious at first that the center section turned, but that detail makes it even better! The leaves are beautiful.

And here are the words…

I love having artwork to look at during our walks. It’s not always my taste, I don’t always like all the pieces, but it’s great to have it here. Inspiration for my quilting can come from unexpected sources and sometimes just a detail of one of these sculptures can totally jump into a new creation in my mind. Stay aware…you just never know!

The Results Are In…

Somehow I thought I had done more pieces than this, but I guess I was chatting a bit too much!

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Some vibrancy was lost after final rinsing and washing, but most of it will remain unaltered! I want to try a few things with next weeks dye day on a couple of them. I play with dyes, where some people play with paints. I’ve not been happy with paints, so I don’t play with them enough to get better at them. A vicious cycle of ignoring products and practice that could actually benefit my art! Maybe next time…

Who Loves to Dye?

I do…I do!!! Had a lovely day playing in the dye pots, chatting with my dye-crazy friends, pot-luck lunching and then the excruciatingly long wait time to see what we actually created.

This is all I had to look at at the end of the day and it just kills me to have to wait and let the dye actually process.

My favorite, on the top of a stack of containers!

And then, to add to the torture, I have to be away from home for 2 days before I can rinse out and get to the reward portion of the program! Good thing I’m going to be doing something I love while I’m gone.

And I’m hosting another dye day next week. Woo-hooo! My plan for that day is to explore some of the resists I’ve been studying up on. Can’t wait for that day, too!

All set up and ready for Dye Day 2!

On the road again…

The suitcase looks so big when it’s empty. I start to think everything I want to bring will fit in sooooooo easily.

Then I look at the stack of quilts from which I am choosing. This lecture chronicles my early days to present work….that’s a long, long time and a huge lot of quilts.

There are quite a few quilts that will definitely not see the light of day again. But for an historical perspective on my journey, some of the stuff I no longer love must be shown. And the older I get, the more history there is to show!!!

I’ve tried so many things and have so many pieces still sitting here…

They need to find new homes. If there’s anything you’ve seen that you like, believe me, it’s for sale.

Oh, wait…a little too hasty again. My daughter has claimed a piece or two and a couple have new designated owners already, and some pieces are committed to shows…well, if you love it, talk to me. We’ll see what we can do!

In the meantime, that suitcase is full to the brim again, heavier than gravity and ready to roll again. Off for more guild fun. I really do love doing this!