Friday, July 30, 2010

Prep Time

I've declared myself on a bit of a hiatus from quilt making, although just for the time being. I did baste another 12x12 Italy quilt this morning, so I have two in waiting. But other things are requiring my attention these days.

I'll be spending much of this weekend prepping for my acid dyeing workshop next weekend -- I haven't taught the class in two years (possibly three), I have more students this time and a different studio space to work in than before. So there's lots of organization and prep work to be done.

The weekend after next, my plan is to do some mono- and other printing for the next Fiberactions challenge quilt, themed "stretch" and due September 15.

The weekend after that, and primarily on Sunday August 22, I'll be working at the 15th Annual Woofstock & Mutt Strut, Sequoia Humane Society's big pet party fundraiser at Halvorsen Park in Eureka.

The only thing that's continuing unabated now is collage making, both Sketchbook Project and otherwise. The two pieces shown here are from Thursday and Friday this week. I'm parceling these collages out, although part of me wants to just fill in the entire Sketchbook in one sitting!

I made another trip later this week to The Art Center in Eureka, to buy even more stuff at 50% off before they closed that location, today. I got several small sketchpads and journals for really small collages.

I'm imagining an entire library of sketchbooks filled with collages...the daily one I'm working in now -- my regular collage journal -- is already number seven, and I only began early in 2009. It has become somewhat of an addiction.

I've been puttering in my studio a lot lately, too -- moving stuff around, reorganizing, straightening, finding ways to put more things into the same small space. I love doing this, and it's long overdue.

Hope you have a lovely weekend -- I know I will!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two Today

Two collage sketches this morning...what can I say? It's becoming an addiction!

One of these fine days, maybe I'll start designing art quilts again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A splendid time was had by all...

I don't think I've had more fun in my whole life visiting with a friend as I've had this past three days. From start to finish, each day was a delight unto itself, jam packed with artmaking, sharing books and resources, and pouring our hearts out. I feel like I'm the one who's been on vacation!

We did two shibori batches today -- Jan's first experience with shibori -- and she created some awesome fabric. In fact, I learned a few things from her! I think I'll be doing a lot more again soon with a few new ideas and techniques. The pieces below are my work from today -- a few overdyes of previously ugly fabric, and some new pieces.

These collages above are from Monday and Tuesday this week.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two More Collages

Saturday's and Sunday's Sketchbook collages...

Yesterday Jan and I collaged for a bit, then prepped fabric for shibori on Tuesday. We also spent a lot of time looking at the art I've been creating for most of the 20 years since we'd seen each other previously. It was wonderful -- I had forgotten how much we have in common creatively, and it's been a very long time since I've shared my work with a friend in such depth and breadth.

Today I gave Jan a tour of quilt shops on the North Coast and I don't think either of us left any of them emptyhanded. We also stopped at The Art Center, our locally owned art supply store, which, sadly, is closing their Eureka store by the end of this week. Fortunate for us, though, everything in the store was on sale at 50% off. So we got a lot of cool things neither of us would have bought otherwise. There's nothing like a dose of retail therapy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Auditioning Fabric

I spent some time today auditioning fabrics for upcoming quilts featuring digital images. I have no idea yet how big these pieces will be. The first thing is always to select the possible fabrics to use, then see what develops.

There's a fourth piece-to-be in this bunch -- for some unknown reason I couldn't get the image to resize properly. Anyhow, perhaps the group will constitute its own series, or maybe I'll design the four pieces as panels to go together into one larger quilt, or some such arrangement.

It's been a long, lovely day. My friend Jan finally arrived mid-afternoon. After catching up, relaxing a bit and then having supper, we retreated to my office to do some photo work on our computers.

And tomorrow we'll collage and dye!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday thru Friday

My new obsession! After what felt like an iffy start in my Sketchbook, I'm on a roll. I like the small format a lot.

I'm also glad the week's over. It was a busy one, I worked hard. And now I'm ready for a visit with an old (not as in age) girlfriend whom I haven't seen in 20 years, who'll be camping out in my studio until Wednesday morning. We'll be making art -- lots of collage, plus shibori and discharge as well.

Hope you have a splendid weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Three Pages

My first three Sketchbook pages, in reverse order. Number 3 is above, then 2, then 1 at the bottom. My theme is Lines & Grids and obviously I'm making little collages of lined and/or gridded images.

I'm also putting a tiny bit of glitz in each collage, although it's difficult to see in the photos. My biggest challenge has been how, and whether or not to treat the pages after building the collages...because each finished sketchbook will likely be handled by tons of people.

Normally I use rubber cement with my collages, and I'm doing the same in the sketchbook. But the first two days I experimented with varnishing the page, front and back, with a light coat of acrylic. I don't like how the pages curled, even with flattening. So I tore out those two pages, rough finished the edges around the collage, and rubber cemented them to new pages. Today's and subsequent entries will be rubber cemented on the page. Period.

I've decided not to be attached to what the book will look like after being viewed by the multitudes. It's ephemera, for God's sake! It doesn't matter to me how long it lasts. I'm building the sketchbook and putting it out to the world. It's not going to come back to me. In fact, I hope it gets really well worn and maybe begins to fall apart in transit to its next life.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Sketchbook Project

I received my sketchbook yesterday from The Sketchbook Project and recovered it, first thing. With a piece of digitally printed raw silk. I had to email those folks this morning for a replacement barcode label -- which needs to stay on the book. I thought I'd lightly fuse mine to the fabric before stitching it in place, and regardless of the fact that I had baking parchment between the iron and the label, my iron ATE the label.

If you're interested in participating in this cool project, and you have six months from now to create your sketchbook before mailing it in mid-January 2011, definitely go to the website. What a fabulous way to take part in a worldwide art "happening" that will travel around the country for a year or two, AND become part of the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library. And you don't have to be an artist to sign up. It's open to everyone. So check it out and have fun.

Weekends have become big collage-making events in my studio, and yesterday was no different. Since I began my daily practice working in an 8.5x11 spiral bound sketchbook, I've filled a few of those as well as 11x14s...and now I want to work bigger and smaller. I'm feeling moved toward more of a mixed media thing, so we'll see where that takes me. I'm totally enjoying it. So it's off to the studio, again, for another day of joyful artmaking!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another's Memory

Today is the reveal day for Fiberactions' memory-themed quilt...and here's mine. Pretty early on in the creation process I decided I wanted to build a quilt around old photographs...and I found these of my mother and grandmother (and other people I never knew), taken on the beach in Miami in 1935.

The quilt is called You Were A Girl Once, Too, and I meant it as a remembrance, on behalf of my mother, who in her late 80s has Alzheimer's, that she was once young, near the other end of her lifetime, before "life happened" and she became someone she may not have wanted to become.

The foundation fabric is one of my earliest printed heavy cottons that always had a faded look because the dyes weren't strong enough. But I knew eventually I'd find the right quilt for it. The central image is printed on muslin, the other two small photos are actually sewn onto cotton for stitching onto the quilt. The lace, cheesecloth, silk organza and poly sheer fabrics were all tea/coffee stained before digitally printing or stamping. Freshwater pearls, pearl beads and pearl buttons were added after quilting. And this piece was done completely by hand, no machine stitching at all, with running stitches and embroidery floss.

The most interesting part of making this quilt, though, is that I divorced my mother and the rest of my family about 10 years ago -- after my own virtual lifetime of trying to survive "the mother from hell" and all of the ramifications thereof. Although I had forgiven my mother in my heart, admittedly forgiveness is an ongoing process, and making this piece has softened the hard edges around the whole family fiasco and how it impacted my life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Purple Thing

I guess I'm into a purple thing now, everything's comin' up purple! Actually, it's that PolaDroid application that contributes much of the purple cast to a lot of my photos. And if it's not purple, then it's some other old timey aura. I love that app! Check it out here if you're interested.

So this quilt, another 12x12" that will be mounted on a frame, is called Heaven's Gate. Just another one of innumerable old stone stairways at Varenna on Lake Como. Absolutely heavenly!

I'm in a pensive mood tonight, have been thinking about a variety of art and creativity related matters of late...maybe this is a good time to verbalize some of my ruminating...

I've been looking at how I see things, rather intensely lately. Like how my brain processes the input through my eyes -- the individual things themselves, the patterns they create together, shadows, line and shape, depth, areas of color -- the gestalt of a particular view out into the world. I'm not looking at details much these days.

I've been wondering whether each of us has our own way of visually seeing the world, or whether there are certain ways of seeing. Does everybody really see everything differently, or are there categories of perceiving -- like being a big thinker, or a detail person. And how much does our individual emotional complexity influence how and what we see. And perhaps why we see what we see or don't see.

I've been wondering about why this is important to me at all. But I think the internal discussion I'm having might be about giving myself permission to do my own work, for lack of a better way of saying it. Or, validating myself, my process, my own take on things, my artistic vision, what drives my choices in the work I create.

I've always been a contrarian, which generally refers to a person with a preference for taking a position opposed to that of the majority view prevalent in the group of which they are a part. But for me it's been more like, whatever works for other people almost never works for me. And I've pretty much spent my life trying not to be a contrarian, to fit in, when I never have, when I haven't really been able to be any other way than I am.

Goes back to permission. I think perhaps I'm beginning to own myself, or I'm becoming more myself than I've ever been before -- allowing myself to create what I create, to think and see the way I do, without really giving a hoot what anybody else thinks. To put myself out there without being defensive, without qualification or justification, just because it feels authentic to me, and without worrying about whether I or my work meet specifications or expectations (when in fact I secretly hope I don't but I'm not quite comfortable acknowledging that yet).

In a nutshell -- I want to be different (from anybody else), but I'm afraid you (the world) won't like me if I am. And yet I sense that the world is just waiting for me to step off the cliff and learn to fly! So who's standing in my way?

I think I'll save other deep thoughts for another time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Purple Mountain Majesty

What a glorious last couple days I've spent in my studio, tinkering, playing, making a lot of collages...and I completed the next in my series of 12x12" mounted quilts based on images of Italy. The latest is called Purple Mountain Majesty and if it looks familiar, I used the same image in Descent to the Lake, the last photo below.

Same image, same printer, but the one above was printed through Photoshop Elements 7 and the one below through Windows Picture Manager. I liked 'em both, so I quilted both of them. Both images are printed on linen.

The article I wrote this weekend was submitted today, I put materials together today for a show I'm entering (Simply Irresistible at some things looming gallery in Reading, PA), received my new printer today and set it up this evening, and ordered my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project.

All that plus other new ideas brewing!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Keep Moving Forward

Just checking in here as I don't have any visuals of my progress since earlier this week. Actually I spent most of the week finishing up, packing and shipping off a number of quilts and fabrics to be photographed for an upcoming article, managing images on my computer and creating a CD to ship with the other items, and last night started the writing.

I'm in a bit of a 'tween quandry now -- you know, between projects -- and waiting for new inspiration to land. More so, like choosing amongst all the possibilities that lay before me.

I'm planning and getting ready for an upcoming Acid Dyeing Workshop that I'm teaching in early August. I have a dear friend who I haven't seen in 20 years (and who I recently reconnected with on Facebook) coming for a visit in two weeks, and have been planning our art time together.

My new Canon printer has shipped already and I expect to see it late this coming week. It's wireless, to boot.

My "memory" quilt for Fiberactions' latest group challenge was completed a couple weeks ago. Stay tuned for the reveal, on July 15.

Our weather here on the North Coast has been beautiful, albeit foggy most mornings. After the fog burns off, though, the skies are so blue, the clouds so awesome, the breezes so magnificent. And it hasn't been over 70 degrees. Perfect weather, in my book!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I spent nearly all my studio time this weekend working on the latest quilt, just finished this morning. I haven't a clue, yet, what to call this -- if a name jumps out at you, please let me know!

The digital image was printed on muslin, the other fabrics were dyed, deconstructed printed, shiboried and/or discharged. I embellished this piece with beads, after judiciously adding Lumiere. Boy, that took some courage, to add paint to a finished quilt!

The unfortunate news today is that my Canon printed died. Darn, it was doing so well, printing so gloriously, and then about 6 weeks ago started to have one problem after the other. And today the print head just quit. I'd been so happy with this Canon (after numerous Epsons and HPs) that I almost considered driving it to a Canon Service Center somewhere to have it repaired. But the reality is that the nearest Service Center is up to 200 miles from here one way, let alone the price of the repair. They just don't make these things to be fixed anymore. Much less expensive to buy a new one and start over. Oh well!

For some reason these last three quilts made me remember some textile work I did in the late 1970s when I lived on Maui. One piece I did was about the same size as Going in Circles, it had three Yin Yang symbols, or maybe they were Ouroboroses (an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle) batiked onto muslin, then dyed teal blue with Dylon dye, which was about all that was available in that time and place. Then batted and backed and hand quilted.

Another piece was done with textile crayons -- those things you color onto fabric with and heat set with an iron -- it was an image of a lush Maui mountainside, greens and browns, might have been inspired by a photograph I took with my Kodak InstaMatic, also batted, backed and hand quilted. Shortly after finishing these, I hung them in a wannabe cafe in Makawao, adjacent to PuPu's, the little homemade take-out deli where I was a cook, and within a day they'd been stolen off the walls.

Not much more to say about that. But it is interesting that my art quilting vision now is virtually the same as it was back then ~~ Make wonderful fabric and quilt it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beyond Boundaries

That's the name of this new piece, Beyond Boundaries, finished just this morning. The discharged fabric on top was from my very first discharge session. Both the top and bottom pieces are linen, the rest is cotton.

The digital image(s) were printed on Osnaburg again -- I like that stuff for digital imagery. The photo is of a roll of big, heavy landscape mesh -- kinda like construction fencing but much less rigid -- in the corner of my deck at my place in Eureka, looking out through corrugated clear vinyl siding. I've always loved the image.

There were nice fringed edges on the two pieces of linen, so I left the top and bottom edges out over the turned in backing. And covered the edges with backing on the sides. I like letting the fabric dictate the edging just like I prefer to let the fabric dictate what kind of quilting I do on most of my pieces.

The beads aren't too obvious in the big photo above, nor is the copper metallic thread I used on the areas that were subsequently beaded. This all shows up better in the flesh. I've really been enjoying adding beads to the recent's a very meditative process, one tiny bead at a time.

Planning to get the 3rd quilt finished this weekend for my deadline next Tuesday. Plus a few other things that will be part of that package -- I'm writing another article for publication late this year and need to get a bunch of work off to be photographed.

And tomorrow I'll finally be seeing Toy Story 3!