Wednesday, December 30, 2009
You can see my quilted signature at the bottom of the lower image. I finally began signing my quilts a couple of months ago, although on some pieces I simply forgot! So it's a habit I'm trying to get into (preposition in the wrong place, notwithstanding).
Off to work today for another 2-day week. My normal work weeks are only 3 days so I have no complaints...an extra day off is always a blessing, though. I'm finishing up 3 yards of rusted silk charmeuse this morning. Will write another post about rusting before the end of the week, as I've learned a few things in making this big piece on commission.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thanks so much for being a part of my collage journey this year. Happy New Year, again!
Monday, December 28, 2009
To enter the Giveaway, leave a comment on this blog by midnight, December 31. Your comment can be to this post, or to any other post I write here before year end. I'll do a random drawing and announce the winner on January 1. Happy New Year!
Another cool anniversary event ~ I started a Textile Sales blog over the weekend, and I've got 17 of my 10x10" pieces from the 2009 Weekly Quilt Series listed there, each one available for just $50 (plus shipping, and sales tax in CA only). That's 60 percent off the original price of these quilts, and considerably less than they are now at Etsy. I think I might be phasing out my Etsy shop, we'll see how the sales blog does. Anyhow, to purchase anything from that blog -- and I'll be listing more items as times goes on -- just email me and I'll send you a PayPal invoice.
Thanks for being part of my creative journey this year!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I hope to get Lake Como 2 finished this week -- it's ready to quilt -- so this year is not completely over yet!
But it's a great time to review what I've accomplished this year, and compare where I am now with where I was a year ago...so here goes!
- I became an Art Quilter in 2009 -- technically I started in late 2008, but it wasn't until this January that I decided to take it seriously.
- I completed 54 10" x 10" weekly quilts (2 this week, 2 in week eight). To see them all, have a look here.
- I had my quilts in six shows this year, two of which used images of my work on their printed brochure or website.
- I completed 10 digital quilts (5 in addition to the 5 included in the weekly series).
- I completed 7 collage quilts (4 in addition to 3 in the weekly series).
- I completed 9 discharge quilts.
- I completed 6 shibori quilts (3 in addition to 3 in the weekly series).
- I completed an additional 8 studio quilts that don't fit in any of the above categories.
- I finished 3 lengths of handwoven art cloth -- when I was still making art cloth earlier this year.
- I downsized my life considerably, moved from a 1700 square foot house in Eureka to sharing a 600 square foot mobile in Fortuna, moved into and set up a new art studio.
- I started working part time, at a job I really love.
- I have an upcoming opportunity to do some writing about my art.
The interesting thing is, I started the year without any concrete goals -- just a vision of what I wanted to create for myself. This was probably the first year that I didn't have a list of stuff I hoped to accomplish, and I probably got more done this year than in several prior years combined.
So I'm not going into 2010 with a laundry list of stuff to accomplish, because I already know I'll be very productive, that I'll grow as an artist, and that life will bring me continuing good opportunities to live my vision. I don't think I need to wish for anything more!
Friday, December 25, 2009
Anyhow, it's called Mother of Pearl, the star of which is that big abalone shell, which in the quilt is a digital image from the original collage, last photo below.
I'm sure there will be more collage quilts in my future -- meaning, based on my daily paper collages. I have a never ending supply of those, enough to keep me quilting just these for the rest of my life! But of course, there will be lots of other quilts as well. I've found my medium, after years of working in numerous other areas creatively. Art quilting is seeming to bring it all together for me.
Hope you're all having a lovely Christmas Day. Soon as I finish up here, I'm off to the studio. Today is just another Friday for me, which is just how I want it to be!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The story behind the making of it (there's always a story, isn't there?) is that I found this cool angel painting in a magazine not long ago and I scanned it into my computer. I'd been wanting to work with sheer fabric for a while and printing these angels was just the thing to get me started. The angel on the left is thin cotton muslin, the middle one is silk organza, and the one on the right is silk habotai.
I fused the images onto the background fabric and added Lumiere with handcut stamps. I particularly like the lotus pod stamp I made a while ago. And then I sewed beads on. I love this little piece, will hang it high in my studio somewhere so the angels can watch over me.
The second piece for this week has one digital image of the angel and I'm looking forward to finishing it off. Working with sheers was wonderful, I'd like to do a lot more with them as my work evolves.
This morning I finished all the quilting on my latest collage quilt. I think I like it best from this series. And I've got the second Lake Como quilt about ready to put together.
Wishing everyone a lovely holiday this weekend -- safe, happy, warm, healthy, full of peace, love and joy!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Meanwhile, a few weeks back I began putting fabrics together for another quilt based on one of my collages from early this year. After originally thinking I would let it go, I decided yesterday that I would do it after all. Largely, because I printed a cool digital image on fabric specifically to use in this piece, and I do want to use it thus. So these two quilts are on my agenda for this week, along with the last of my 2009 weekly quilts.
And it's time for a party, this being the end of my first full year of art quilting! I will be announcing this again in a forthcoming post, but here's advance notice that I'll be having an Anniversary GiveAway on this blog -- one of my weekly quilts, framed and ready to hang. I'll say more soon, so stay tuned if you want a chance to be gifted with one of my quilts!
And speaking of GiveAways, I'll be announcing another one soon on Collage Journey -- since it has also been a year that I've been collaging daily. The gift in this case will be a set of notecards with different collage images on each one. I will likely announce this giveaway here, as well as on Collage Journey, since I have lots more followers here.
It's pouring rain out now, and I'm headed soon for the studio!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
And stitched with the best metallic thread I've found to date -- Gutermann.
It's pouring rain on the North Coast today, hasn't stopped for a minute. Wet and dreary. I worked in the studio this morning but now I'm home. I may just get into bed and read!
Monday, December 14, 2009
My original method of binding the quilt was to wrap the edges of the backing around to the front, turn in an edge, and hand stitch it down. Kind of like doing a facing, but in reverse. That was how I bound all my first quilts because I didn't know any other method. Of course, I've learned tons this year, and I don't use that method any longer. Primarily, because the quilts don't lay flat. So today, I removed the sleeve and the label, undid the hand stitched edge, cut the edges straight all around, and stitched on another piece of handprinted fabric which I turned to the back of the quilt and tacked down.
And now it's hanging in our home and I can enjoy it every day!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Here, instead, is the photo I'm using for my end-of-year one and possibly two quilts based on a digital image. This exercise is a preview of what I'll be doing next year for my personal quilting challenge -- making two different quilts each month based on one digital image. What you see here is the sun reflecting on the water on Lake Como, at Bellagio, Italy, taken two plus years ago. I have one quilt in the works now, to be quilted this week, and I'm quite sure I can complete a second one before year's end.
I'm essentially finished with my Fiberactions "initiative" challenge quilt, just need to put the finishing touches on tomorrow. But it's all quilted, the faced edges are completed, and it's basically ready to go. We'll be revealing our quilts on January 15, on our personal blogs as well as on the Fiberactions blog. If you're interested in musings a few of us have posted recently, about our process on this challenge, you can go to the blog now.
We have a new family member in our home -- new kitty Kirby, and I'm glad to say BeeGee has already taken a shine to him. Thank God, that's what I was hoping for!
As soon as I got real comfortable with my new Singer Confidence Quilter sewing machine, my Bernina came back from the shop. It only took 3 1/2 weeks -- not long considering the hassles I had with the dealer -- and it's running fine now and staying ON! The L-board went bad, that's the electronic gizmo that keeps the machine on instead of shutting itself off. There's definitely no substitute for a Bernina, but in all honesty there are things I like more about the Singer. In short I will say this: if you're a new quilter looking for a good machine with a lot of features and an unbeatable price, definitely check out this model Singer.
That's all the creative news fit to print. I'll be back in a day or two with this week's 10x10" quilt, the penultimate in my yearly series.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I made this entirely today, while I was internally sifting and sorting options for my next set of quilts. For now I'm finished with the collage quilts and am moving on to quilts inspired by digital photos I've taken.
I decided today that my personal challenge for 2010 will be making two 16x12 quilts each month, both inspired by the same photo. This will give me a good opportunity to work out different design solutions for one source of inspiration rather than moving on too quickly to something else. Partly this is influenced by another online group called Digital to Textile, eight artists who use the same photo as inspiration for each different challenge. The range of their work, their completely different take on the same photo, is awesome.
So I'm going to end this year with two quilts based on a photo I took in Italy two plus years ago. This afternoon I worked on the first one.
Work also continues on my Fiberactions challenge quilt. It's being one of those projects where you think you know where you're going when you start, then step by step everything changes and you make different choices. The most important part for me is getting started and just letting it evolve without preconceptions. Each "mistake" I make leads to a better outcome.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
So I added a few small pieces of other deconstructed prints and then strategically embellished the machine appliqued top with Lumiere.
After quilting, I added the border/binding, a piece of shiboried cotton, then applied Shiva Paintstix around the edges to highlight the bronze areas. I actually finished the piece a few days ago but waited until the oil paint was dry before photographing it yesterday.
Have a great weekend! Don't forget the 20% off sale at my Etsy Shop!
Friday, December 4, 2009
If you're looking for original art for your holiday gift list, click on over to the shop ~~ I've got small and medium sized art quilts, handwoven art cloth, textile postcards, and a few handwoven scarves left. And everything is 20% off the listed price.
Make your purchase through Etsy, and as soon as I have been notified of the sale, I will send you a discounted invoice through PayPal. All items will be shipped by the end of next week at the latest.
If you're in Humboldt County, email me to purchase any of the listed items.
Thanks for shopping, and Happy Holidays to all!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This piece feels like a departure from what I've done previously, in several ways...
- it's bolder, more graphic
- the quilting is much looser, doesn't keep to the structure of the design on the fabric as I've tended to do on earlier quilts
- it's more abstract, it feels like an abstract painting
- rather than finishing the quilt with a facing on the back and then glueing that to a frame, I made the top big enough to stretch over a framed canvas, beyond the 10x10" quilted area. I'll just finish off the back with kraft paper and it will be ready to hang.
I'm trying to work more spontaneously now, to not deliberate too long over all those decisions that go into the making of a piece of art. Trusting my gut, my instinct. That sense comes through for me in Departure. I also experienced that spontaneity in the 8x10" study I did a few days ago for Fiberactions' Initiative challenge -- I wish I could show it to you but I won't until January 15 when we post our finished pieces. Anyhow, I worked quickly to make that piece and I love how it turned out -- i.e., I'm happy with the solutions I arrived at to achieve what I wanted.
I've completed three quilts recently based on paper collages, and although I'm putting together a fourth piece in this genre, I've pretty much decided against moving further in this direction. The first piece of the bunch was Snake Eyes, a tiled digital image on linen that was quilted pretty much right along the printed design on the fabric. I enjoyed making this piece and do love the finished product. But doing more of this very same thing feels too representational. Or perhaps it seems too mechanical -- make collage, take photo, manipulate photo, print on fabric, make fabric/batting sandwich, quilt printed design.
The second and third pieces in this series, Morning Prayer and Meditation, although I do like them, gave me the feeling that I was looking backward rather than forward. Making a quilt today based on a collage I created weeks, months, or even a year ago seems like moving in the wrong direction. There was spontaneity in creating each original collage. Translating that into fabric, now, feels contrived.
So stay tuned, to see what's next!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This piece, Meditation, is the next one of my quilts inspired by collages. The original collage is the last photo below. Finished size is 16 x 12.
The background fabric was a piece that had about everything under the sun done to it! Dyed, painted, discharged, and finally deconstructed printed. The orange and black piece in the middle was another old linen napkin -- those things are wonderful to use.
I had a whole bunch of arty things on my mind to write about, but they'll have to wait until my next post -- that is if I can remember any of them!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Each site features a variety of artistic styles and media, each offers original art that is highly affordable, and all three sites are run by the artists represented, which means all proceeds from sales go to the individual artist.
This is a great opportunity to start or build an art collection, bring beauty into your life and share it with others, and support artists -- all at the same time.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The weather was gorgeous today, not a cloud in the sky. Warmish, as well. Looks like it'll be lovely right up until Thanksgiving, when there's a better than 50/50 chance of rain.
After working at my job Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I'll have six days off -- a mini vacation! Hope to get a lot of designing and quilting done over the holiday weekend. You'll most likely hear from me before the end of the week, but in case you don't check in again, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Oh, and speaking of Thanksgiving...I do want to say how grateful I am for all you dear readers and fans of my work. In the last couple of months, my readership has grown nearly 100% over what it was prior, my daily hits are twice what they were, and I am very thankful to have you all on board. My love and hugs to you all!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The foundation fabric for the piece is an old linen damask napkin, dyed at least once and discharged. I never totally liked the piece but it wasn't bad enough to do anything else to, so it sat in my blue/purple stack waiting for just this moment to be used. The vertical and horizontal bars are two of my favorite deconstructed screen prints, the fabric with white in it was a glue screen print, and the alter piece in the middle of that started out as a reject for a textile collage postcard!
I totally enjoyed making this piece -- I used some different, for me, quilting lines, and the new free motion foot worked like a charm!
We went to a wonderful Thanksgiving potluck here at the mobile home park tonight, and I can't remember having had such a delicious turkey supper before! It was really awesome. Unfortunately, I ate too much! But oh well, it was worth it!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Anywho, this piece, Autumn's End (#47.09), is a small section of one of the half yards I dyed not long ago during that Gallon Jar Dye session I attended. And I really just wanted to quilt a piece of it without anything else added.
I like the new Singer Confidence Quilter -- although the free motion embroidery foot that came with it was nearly impossible to quilt with, because I couldn't see where I was going. I had to intuit most of the stitching because the foot itself was in the way of my view of where I wanted to go next. Well, I bought a different foot later today so hopefully my quilting this weekend will be more to my liking. But I can't wait to get my Bernina back!
I've got a few projects to finish up this weekend...I feel like I've fallen behind!
In other news, late last year I participated in a cool multi-artist blog started by painter Tracy Helgeson, and it's all been updated this year with new work by all the artists. Check out The Fine Art Department. We've also got a Facebook Page with links and galleries of all our work. Check them both out, see what wonderful company I'm in!
Have a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving weekend!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This second piece was a lark, really...a silk chiffon scarf that I dyed about a year ago, that I rusted this week. The blue is actually a lot more teal than it looks in the photo. But the rust on top of the dye is really something, isn't it!
Hoping to get back to quilting in the next couple days. I bought a second sewing machine today -- a Singer Confidence Quilter -- since I don't expect to see my Bernina again for close to a month...if I'm lucky, some say :( There's a lesson in here somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is...let's see, could it be "Don't buy foreign made electronic equipment if you live in a small town and there's only one dealer and their regular repair person has retired or is out on extended medical leave"? The next closest dealer is 200 miles away, round trip. I'm certainly not up for two of those trips, seeing that my machine may require parts from Switzerland.
What I think I dislike just as much as having to wait, is the local Janome dealer, who tried to talk me into an off-brand, made in China machine, told me I'd likely have to wait 2-3 months to get my Bernina back from the other dealer, and threw in that he couldn't, or wouldn't work on certain Singer models, so I likely made a mistake in buying that. I detest being on the receiving end of retail fear mongering. Although it is a difficult proposition buying equipment such as a sewing machine in an area where there's no competition to speak of and a lack of qualified repair personnel.
Whatever. I'm counting on my new Singer to work just fine. And it's got everything I need -- drop feed, needle up/down button, and a free motion embroidery foot. If you've got one of these and you're not happy with it, please don't tell me!
Monday, November 16, 2009
The purple piece above is a collage-inspired piece...the pea green/gold piece is something I've had in the works for a few weeks, now ready to quilt...the other green piece is this week's little quilt, a whole cloth piece of fabric I dyed recently...and the neutral colored piece is a texture study I'm doing as an exercise in Lyric Kinard's recent book, Art + Quilt. Since I never had any formal design training, I thought I'd pick up a few books on the subject, and learn some new things. I also got Ann Johnston's Quilter's Book of Design which I'll get into at a later date.
This is another collage piece in development. I've also been spending a lot of time thinking about Fiberactions' first theme, Initiative. I've enjoyed mind mapping and brainstorming with myself, researching the word in several dictionaries and Roget's Thesaurus, and strategizing how I might represent what the word evokes in me, in fabric. I hit on something today that I'll take to the next step of development. Our first project is due January 15.
Some of you may know that I have another blog, Textural Images, where I post photos, of life in Humboldt County, that have been tinkered with in Photoshop Elements. I decided in the last few days to focus my photography on the sky, since it is an everchanging source of awesome imagery. I should start posting the new photos in a week or so, soon as I finish off with the last series I shot.
And now twilight has set in and the trees' silhouettes are stunning against the evening sky!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The sections of the collage that aren't parts of the python are torn pieces from a sheet of paper that I deconstructed printed a while back. This is also a very cool thing to do -- printing off a few pieces of paper with deconstructed screens at the same time you're printing fabric. The kind of kelly green splotches on white backgrounds were Shiva paintstix on paper.
I like how the whole piece translated to fabric, and quilting it was a pleasure. I used four different green threads. The images were printed on linen, and right to the edge of the fabric. I overlapped the sections slightly, then zigzagged with transparent thread. The other way to tile the fabric sections, of course, is to leave a border when printing, then stitch the pieces together right sides together. I wanted to avoid a thick seam, though, which is why I chose to overlap the sections.
I'm working on a few pieces now that are based on or influenced by collages I've done recently. Although the piece here is 16x20, the other ones will be 12x16. I'm planning a whole series of them throughout 2010. I anticipate some will be complete digital images on fabric while others will be machine appliqued collages in their own right, based on the paper collages.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The more aqua pieces here were parts of a larger piece of linen that I deconstructed screen printed very early this year. I had about a quarter yard, fully printed, and I kept pulling it out and looking at it, couldn't decide what to do with it...until I ripped it up yesterday and pulled off all the color areas that I didn't like. It was much easier to work with in smaller sections. And the greener areas had always bothered me. Actually, they look great together by themselves, but didn't go well with the aqua and brown. Another lesson here: Sometimes you have to rip something apart to get it to work!
So, I've been thinking alot about my vision and finding my creative voice. My stated vision for SAQA's Visioning Project IS to find my creative voice, and I've been mulling it over for months, now. A day or two ago on her blog, Leni Wiener had a fantastic post about this very thing ~ I encourage you to read it. I can tell you that it really shifted my thinking, in that it made me realize that I already AM operating from my creative voice...I just need to listen!
And when I say I need to listen, I mean I need to have the courage to exercise my own artistic convictions and not cower away from the multitudes who do things differently or who think differently than I do, or might, about what constitutes studio quilting as an art form.
Being new to this medium, I have tended to take a somewhat dim view of what I've produced in this past year, because it is different from most everything else I see -- and I look at other studio quilters' work all the time. I have thought that with enough time and practice, I could produce work that looked like anybody else's work than my own. But the reality is, I can only produce my own work, it is what comes out of me, it is my voice. And with time and practice, it will be my own work evolved, still not somebody else's work. Really, this is a huge relief!
In her article, Leni said that finding her voice was as much about what she felt she did well as it was about what she wanted to leave behind. This, too, is a huge relief...because there are so many techniques that I don't ever want to have to master, so many tried and true methods that just don't speak to me. So focusing on how I enjoy working is tremendously freeing ~ and also part of my creative voice.
Right from the get go with art quilting, I felt that I wanted to "let the fabric speak for itself." Indeed, I started quilting because I was beginning to create cool fabrics that just wanted to be quilted. But so many folks say you have to tell a story with a quilt, or you've got to be ever so mindful of the proper components of good design, or you've got to have color contrast, or you need to make a political statement, or you have to have the proper amount of quilting on your quilt, or the hanging sleeve needs to be just so, or whatever! Those "shoulds" are just other folks' voices, literally and figuratively.
As with all art, there's so much of it that I just don't get. I see work in all media that just blows my mind...because in my opinion it's just so bad. Like, who in their right mind would pay for something like that, whatever it is, or even consider living with it in their home. And yet this thing is in a prestigious gallery or a museum. It's all so subjective.
So, I'm following my muse, which is my voice, and I'm going to do what pleases me. And if nobody likes my work, then so be it. I know that isn't true, anyway. But I'm just saying. I can't be anybody but myself. And myself loves making fabric, loves designing quilts around the fabric, loves quilting the organic designs on the fabric. And this is where the magic comes in ~ when I put a cool piece of fabric that I've created or a quilt top of numerous fabrics I've created on top of batting and a backing, and I quilt it, the fabric comes alive for me. The fabric tells its own story, like Rainy Day, above.
What else is it, really, that I need to say with my work?
Monday, November 9, 2009
But I didn't want to put them on plain white canvas, so I painted the canvas first with metallic acrylic paint. Mostly I wanted the edges painted, but I covered inside the edge on both the front and rear, so no white canvas would show. After the paint dried, I glued on a piece of heavy butcher paper to seal the back of the frame. In the photo above, the butcher paper has been applied to the painted canvas.
When that was fully dry, I took an X-Acto knife right along the edge to trim off the excess paper. Added a screw eye and picture wire.
These little quilts had already been finished with fabric hanging corners, so I removed those before gluing them on the frames. With Elmer's glue, I adhered the quilt to the frame, covered it with white paper, and laid a dictionary on top for an hour or two. This gluing method I learned from Jeanne Williamson, who had the chutzpah to actually glue a quilt to a frame. Thanks, Jeanne. It worked beautifully! I have two small pieces hanging in my home that I want to frame now.
The fabric-corners-and-dowel method, which I learned from Beth Wheeler, has worked thus far with these small quilts, and is definitely a good option for hanging quilts around my studio. But as my thinking about Quilts as Art is evolving, I'm quite sure framing is a better option for small(er) work -- which to me means 16x20" or under. Incidentally, Dick Blick is having a terrific sale on frames til the end of the year. I just ordered a truck load!