Hmmm…is this what I wanted?

This project—-totally loved where it was when I started. Then I began the actual construction and now I’m not sure.

Okay–this is my concept with fabric choices laid out.

The plan is to use water soluble stabilizer to create these flowers, so I just plunged ahead, following the plan. Sandwich the pieces between two pieces of the stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and stitch all over, making sure that everything is secured.

Trim the excess stabilizer off and then dissolve the stabilizer in water. It really does start to dissolve the moment water gets on it.

You know you’re done rinsing when it doesn’t feel slimy anymore! If you don’t get it all rinsed out, it dries stiff, which some people use to their advantage when making thread lace. So, these are rinsed well and I usually squeeze out most of the moisture in a towel.

Since I am using raw edges, I threw it in the dryer with my clothes, but I decided that I’d rather dry these all flat…just in case my stitching wasn’t as good as I thought!

On the next one, I added some extra yarn embellishment on top of the sandwich, after I had the flower all stitched down. Really, now is a good time to add any other embellishments that you think you’d like, as long as water won’t hurt them in the rinse out.

There are three of them laying out on my work table drying right now. I’m not sure if this is the technique I should have used. I really liked the big fluffiness of the scrap piles when everything was laying around and choices were being made.

I thought they would be way too floppy if I attempted to attach them AND keep them in big piles. Now they are kind of cool, but flat. I’ll go ahead and finish up the other two and then decide how to proceed. I may add some fluff and raggedy on top of the flat…it will be controlled but still slightly wild…I hope…maybe…we’ll have to see as I proceed!

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And moving forward…

The Artisan Showcase has had it’s day and I’m sitting around with my feet up for a bit. But I’m not one to sit around for long…probably a bit of ADD, which didn’t exist as a diagnosis when I was a youngster!

I have projects in various stages of existence and I’m ready to get back to them. This one is screaming at me, not only to finish it, but to make more in this manner.

As I was hanging my items for the showcase, I saw that I have been working in series more and more often. I’m taking more time to explore ideas and executing ideas in different ways. It’s a true luxury to have the time for this.

However, in terms of having something to show you……………well, I think there will be a lot of repetitious looking photos coming up!

And when I look deep inside myself, I hear the ticking of the old age clock and I want to explore as many ideas as I can before the ticking gets any louder.

Today is a day for relaxation, which always includes some introspection. Tomorrow it’s back to work (fun!) in the studio!

Step by step assembly

Yesterday was a guild workshop day with Barb Vedder. We created Liberated Houses, totally in the way I usually work. On my own, I most likely would not have made these with fussy little details, but it’s great to now confidently know how.

That means that these lovely little blue flying geese blocks are completely on the back burner until this house piece is done!

A little warning–I’m going to take you through my assembly process, weird thoughts and all and this post is going to be kind of long!

In class, I got to the point of trying to select my color(s) for pulling all the blocks together into a final product. I really thought I had it narrowed down to turquoise or black and white.

When I got back to my studio, I tried all kinds of blues.

Nothing spoke very loudly to me, so I tried greens.

Really thought I had it with this cross-hatch fabric-

but it wasn’t quite right. Searched the shelves a bit more and came up with this gold fabric and it shouted at me!

Of course, when fabric starts shouting at you, you must listen! But every little step of putting unequally sized blocks together takes quite a bit of thought. You start by figuring out easy-to-balance sections.

And then the question of…gold on both sides of that top section or only one side?

You have to do that section by section and finally get to a point where it’s all assembled!

Except it really needs to have gold all around, no b/w left to drift off the edge.

And now I have to decide if it needs another border…the b/w of the background?

Or maybe another option?

I do have a few other pieces of fabric to audition before I make that final decision and then I have to think about stitching, quilting, embellishment…

You know, while every bit of this process is enjoyable to me, when I write it all out like this it seems exhausting!

But it’s such a good exhaustion, when you know you have created something. Now back to the studio and the rest of those decsions!

No waste!

I always think everyone knows all the cool shortcuts and tricks and then I’m surprised when I talk about something and get those blank looks of whaaaaaat?

Just Pick A Direction, Already!

So it was when I talked about making Flying Geese and heard groans and those “I hate making those blocks and wasting all that fabric when you cut the corners” complaints.

Well, I don’t make FG blocks that way. I make them with the no-waste method, which has been around long enough that there is a ruler for it…of course! There are YouTube videos on how to use the Lazy Girl Flying Geese x 4 Ruler, but I’ll show you my little shortcut even using that. And then there is the old-fashioned math formula method, which is also a no-waste technique and also has lots of info available on the internet. Nobody likes doing the math anyway, do they? I don’t need to repeat everything here, but the math method does exist.

Here are the basics of how it works—to make 4 blocks at once, you need 1 large square and 4 small squares. The large square becomes the ‘goose’ and the small squares are the background.

Shortcut alert–they always tell you to mark a line diagonally across those squares so that you can sew along each side of that line. It’s so much easier to fold the squares and hit ’em with the iron–line made! I usually don’t do more than 2 or 3 squares at a time for a bit more accuracy. And why else would you have a 1/4″ presser foot if not to use it?!

You can chain piece them, up one side and down the other and then cut between the lines.

Press the background (in this case, light) squares up and lay out the next square onto this heart shaped piece.

Sew each side of that fold line again, cut and done! Chain piece, too, so it’s fast!

Tip: always line up the small squares with the outside corners of the large squares. Accuracy is useful with this technique. Sometimes my lines wobble a bit and I don’t rip, I just sew it again!

If you are accurate, you should have a nice, straight line across the top of your goose block, with 1/4″ seam allowance so you don’t cut off the point.

You can cut off the dog ears if you want. I usually don’t bother on a small art quilt piece, but I have done it on full size quilts. Maker’s choice! This method is so fast, it actually took me longer to take the pictures than it did to finish the blocks!

There are so many layout possibilities for the FG block! I just threw these up on the design board while I think about it.

Now all my Flying Geese hating friends, do you think you could show some love to this no waste, fast method of making this block? Four alike at one time, no waste, easy-peasy…could you ask for anything more? Go for it!

 

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…

Lazy and loving it!

This was a decadently delicious lazy day today. We started out with breakfast with my niece, her husband and their daughter and my sister-in-law. Bacon…need I say more?!

All I did for most of the day was play on the computer and a little laundry. Aaaaah…the sweet sound of no responsibilities.

As I passed a pile of “stuff” in the studio, I decided to play a bit. It was a container of spilled and dripped alcohol inks, which I have never played with before. Well, alcohol is easy so I tipped some into the container and started laying down some deli papers.

I am thrilled with the results! The first ones, of course, had the darkest colors.

And it took several times of adding more alcohol to use up all the ink that had spilled.

Of course, I didn’t scrub or mix the colors much. I wanted all the variety I could get.

Even at the end, when I did scrub and mix, the color was beautiful.

Don’t ask me what colors were in that box—I can’t even read the labels on the bottles that were in there! And don’t ask me what I’m going to do with these papers, because I can’t tell you that right now either. All I know is that I need to get a new, full bottle of alcohol and play with everything left in the little treasure box.

Supposedly alcohol inks will stick to anything, and I have a few old tiles that might get a bit of paint thrown their way. Wish one of those ‘famous name’ teachers that know all about this stuff lived in my neighborhood!

There is research to be done, and fun to be had! Hooray!

Blue Lake 2017 Report 2

In addition to the design project, the art majors had to make an art doll. We had them displayed en masse at the final art show, so the pictures don’t single out any dolls.

The students were shown some examples of art dolls and then pretty much turned loose to design and create a doll.

Fabulous!

We also had a class where the students were music majors and took an art class as an extra. We taught them needle felting and there were just a few super-duper spectacular pieces that I have to show you!

Bringing new skills to young people is so very rewarding. It’s what keeps me going back to Blue Lake!

And that’s the end of this year’s Blue Lake Report! Back to reality again…which includes going to the gym first thing in the morning. I eat ALL the desserts when I’m at camp!