Priorities

Making time in my studio a priority is not as important as it used to be. In the last couple of months I have started to feel really and finally retired. I am not looking for speaking or teaching jobs, but I wouldn’t turn them down!

I knew so little when I started!

Anyway, I don’t feel like I have to constantly be in production mode and if I miss some time in the studio, it’s no big deal. I’m thinking of projects that have lain dormant in the back of my brain for a long time and I’m trying to create in a more thoughtful manner.

My current project is totally laid out in my brain. I love when that happens—and I hate when that happens. Getting from the brain picture to the actual piece is not always a straight road.

It has grown larger than I thought it would be already.

My brain picture had it about 20″ wide but these projects make their own demands. It is huge and I’m not used to working with silk, so it’s a little daunting to think about quilting this part of it.

Practice pieces are not big in my process, but I thought I’d better try it out for this one. I grabbed several scraps and put them on batting and backing and started stitching.

No issues whatsoever, so off I went on the real thing. Spoiler alert: Nothing fancy was attempted on this piece! Simple straight lines are all that is required on this part.

Know what? Channel quilting is boring, no matter what fabric you are using! That’s all I got done on the project today, but that’s fine.

In my newly retired state of mind, spending the day with my hubby, going out to lunch, stopping at the bead store……….it’s all so good! Having relaxing days like this is what it’s all about!

And the studio will be there tomorrow…after I lunch and chat with a friend…and maybe do some local shop hopping with her…life is good!

 

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This has been my week!

New flooring in my living room has been happening this week. I have furniture piled in my kitchen, my garage and some lamps are even upstairs! Everything is covered in dust so I have to clean it before I can move it back in, but the floor is done!

Before:

Looked good from a distance but it was falling apart. It was glued down so much better than the guys thought…it took them the entire first day to get this removed!

Day two was mostly prep and a start on installation of the new…

I started to get excited when the first few rows went down! And now I have a beautiful new floor in my living room!

Just need to get everything dusted and dusted and dusted…..and dusted and we can sit in here in comfort again!

Beautiful fall……

It seems like in the fall, each tree has that one perfect day of color. Today was the day for the tree in my backyard closest to my house. I walked into my bedroom, looked out the window and was stopped by the beauty.

And it’s raining today and this still takes my breath away.

 

I love fall.

But now it’s time to stop staring out the window and get some work done!

Moving ahead

There was progress made in the studio today, but it did not come easily!

Planned on getting all those canvases wired up and ready to hang today. See that drill with no battery pack? I have TWO batteries for it and both of them were dead as a doornail. Delay number 1.

Thought I would relax and quilt a bit while the battery was charging, but that didn’t work out so well , either.

I finished it later in the day, but I broke two needles in the first 15 minutes of working on the background. Thread was catching on the spool and when I got that adjusted, there was a cut spot in the thread so I had to unroll through that…………..sigh! But at least I did finish it. I’m going to add some small beads to this one.

This is the stack of stuff that needed to get ready to go to an exhibition. I needed to get these ready, at the very least. Time was getting short, so I had to screw on the hanging hardware by hand—-oh, the rigors of manual labor!

See the green and black piece on top? 30 minutes before it was to be picked up, I took it off a hanger and discovered that I had NOT made a sleeve for it! Seriously? How lame is that? Thought it was ready to go. I did a quick search in my scrap basket because I thought I had an unused sleeve there–and I did! Phew! Quickly cut down to size and then I pinned it on. Good enough for this exhibition and if someone wanted to actually buy it, I’d be happy to put a real sleeve on it! And ready before the girls came to pick up the stuff. Hooray!

And as I sighed in frustration from a broken needle, my gaze crossed an older, unfinished piece on the design board and I had a lightbulb moment on how to proceed. Much of the problem I had with it was solved with machine stitching, rather than more of the hand stitching I started with, which you can’t see well in this photo. Sometimes letting things sit in time out is the way to find a solution.

Finally, I was able to really relax and the rest of the planned screws and wires can wait until tomorrow. I made this little piece for an example of fabric manipulation and I’m going to use it without any additional stitching, but I’m going to add beads. It’s only a 6″ piece so I’m hoping I can handle it without any more delays or issues!

Today was another case of the hurrieder I go the farther behind I get. Looking for better results tomorrow!

And every day until Oct. 14, this will be on my mind!

Simply a technique junkie

Since the 1970’s, I have been a constant learner of textile related techniques. Whatever was the latest design fad or invention, I was right in there learning all about it.

A little wacky twist

I bought books and gadgets and took classes constantly. I made quilts and collected fabrics–and embellishment materials–and more recently, beads. I’m learning about stamps and paints and doing embroidery again.

I make textile collages intended to be hung on walls for decorative purposes. Sometimes I can call myself an artist, and even say it with a straight face. However, deep down, I wonder if I’m not simply a technique junkie.

Here–cut it like this, stitch with this thread or add this paper or bead or piece of lace…I know when I make a piece whether it is ‘good’ or ‘nice’, ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful.’

Faultlines

Is it artistic or just a compilation of whatever stream of thought process attracts me at the time?

Or is that what being an artist really is? I don’t make art  to express big ideas, or political statements. I make art because it’s attractive…to me. I like the way the colors and shapes flow together. I like the contrast between the hard and soft of fabric and beads. I like the textures of different fabrics.

Categorizing oneself is not always useful. In this case, does it really matter if I call myself an artist or a technique junkie? I’m not going to stop making. And I’ll probably still tell people that I am a mixed media textile artist. But I DO think about what makes me feel that I can say that…

Taking it easy

Aaah…the smell of lavendar…went to the lavendar labryrinth at Cherry Point Market today after work. Lots of things that I didn’t take pictures of and a few of the things I like, such as shadows and curving paths

and flowers and herbs

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and big, big rocks!!!

Yes, there was a lavendar labyrinth, but it was not huge and overwhelming as I thought it would be. The walkways were small and uneven and I am currently babying an injured knee so I was unable to comfortably walk and inhale the marvelous fragance. I had imagined the plants would be lush and perfectly groomed, but some were good and some were rather untidy. Made me feel better about my few little plants that always look on the brink of extinction!

I was glad that we went and the timing was really pretty good for the blossoms. The lavendar scent was wonderful and the herb garden in the center was marvelous. It was a very pleasant little side trip away from camp and now I can sit lazily watching a movie and sewing, thoroughly relaxed and refreshed!

 

Love this flower!

Hardy hibiscus was a pleasant surprise for me a few years ago. I had no idea that this beautiful flower could withstand Michigan winters, but mine is flourishing. Of course, any plant that thrives on neglect does well at my house! These full blossoms are past their prime, but that adds to the charm for me.

Every year I take a few photos of the beauty I enjoy, fully intending to make an art quilt from them. I have yet to do that!

There is a beautiful orange colored hibiscus at my mother’s house that I would love to have here.

However, that is in Florida and those plants really would not survive that Michigan deep freeze!

The bug-eaten leaves—the potential of the buds and the flowering as it’s opening–inspiration for sure.

But it’s inspiration that stays only in my mind, not committed to fabric. Yet. It could happen. Maybe.