Thursday, September 30, 2010

LIVE from Rose Cottage

Reporting live from the studio this morning on what promises to be another beautiful day in paradise.  So glad to be connected again, from my little corner of cyberspace.  Although I really do love Starbucks' morning buns!  BeeGee is up on the table right next to me and all is well in our world.

This next Italy piece is called Meridiana.  I named it thus because the view is from Meridiana Alpaca Farm just outside of Umbertide, where I stayed for 10 days on my Italian adventure in 2007.

With all my quilted homages to Italy this past year, you'd think this was the trip of a lifetime -- and it was!  I've never had the money to travel much, but in 2007 I did have a bit and Italy had been at the top of my list since I studied Italian in college, back in the days when there was still a foreign language requirement.  I think I must be part Italian -- enough people in my life have assumed I was Italian -- but I'm not really, by birth.  But by soul?  Most definitely!

I've been reading Marlena de Blasi's A Thousand Days in Tuscany, and I feel like I'm right there with her and her Venetian husband, Fernando.  And more books in a similar vein await my consumption.

All this to say that I am planning my next voyage to Italy, although it won't likely be until I'm 70, or thereabouts.  I want to be there for a good while, rent an apartment or a farmhouse in the country somewhere and use that as a base for travel throughout the country.  And I'm definitely going alone, this next time.

Anyhow, it's a long way off yet but it is my long term plan and I know I'll make it happen.  Maybe I'll emigrate there, and never come back.  Who knows?

But back to autumn, 2010, in Fortuna...I'm feeling my creative energy beginning to bubble again.  And after relative fallowness over the last couple months, I'm ready for it.

I have a show opening at this Saturday's Arts Alive! Eureka, at the C Street Hallway Gallery, 208 C Street in Eureka.  Eight pieces, some recent, some older.  If you're on the North Coast, hope you'll drop by and see the show!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Getting A Lot of Play

I got an email this morning with photos from the simply irRESISTible show -- here are my two entries hanging on the wall.  Above is Urban Ikat, below is Going in Circles, as mentioned in yesterday's post, also featured in my article in the current Quilting Arts magazine.

The entire show looks fabulous.  If you're anywhere near Reading, PA, I hope you'll take the opportunity to see it.  The exhibit is mounted until mid-November.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

While I'm Waiting...

While I'm still waiting for a DSL signal at home, I'll share with you from Starbuck's my latest article in the October/November 2010 issue of Quilting Arts.  I haven't received my subscription copy yet -- hopefully some of you will have by the time you read this.  It is such an honor that I've had two articles printed in QA this year!

And while I waited for the AT&T installer yesterday, I finished two of the last four Italy quilts.  Will post them this week.

I had the very same problem last year with DSL, when I set it up at the mobile.  The line is fine, the service going to the line is fine, the modem is fine and transmits a wireless signal, but the port for the DSL at the AT&T hub about a mile from the house probably needs to be replaced as it did last year.  It's looking suspiciously like the same problem again, with this new service in my studio.  Hopefully it won't take the month it took last year to get the problem solved.  I can't afford to buy treats at Starbuck's every time I need or want to go online!

p.s.  the quilt on the left page in the second photo, Going in Circles, is currently showing in the "simply irRESISTible" exhibit at some things looming Fiber Arts Gallery in Reading, PA.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Diamonds on the Lake

This is the last of the quilted Italy pieces, called Diamonds on the Lake, 12x12" mounted on stretched canvas.  Perhaps I'll get quilting on the last four this weekend, but then again, maybe not.  I do know that I want to sleep a lot, and read, and be quiet.

I've had a busy first week living in my studio.  I actually really love small space living, because I have a terrific knack for creatively organizing a lot of stuff into not much space.  Each load of goods I bring over has been digested or assimilated, piece by piece, into the existing scheme.  Or I'll move stuff around to accommodate.  It's challenging and fun.  Note: there's still a lot of household stuff that will stay at the old place until it gets moved into storage next spring.  But I've got everything I need with me now.

BeeGee is loving his new home -- although he keeps looking up at me as if to ask, "Is this all there is?"  Yes, darling boy, this is it, small and sweet.  Check out the video of Beeg, just posted to his blog.

I've been collaging most days, getting my feet wet again, slowly getting back into an artmaking routine.  I had the realization early this week, though, that I no longer need to feel such a compulsion to make art.  I want to just be, more.  Relax, take it easy, read more, breathe easier, let go of the drive I've always had.

I'm experiencing a fundamental shift in my way of being in the world.  Looser, wiser, like I've suddenly become the person I've wanted to be for all my adult life.  Like it's a whole new ballgame.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last Sketchbook Collages

Here are three of the latest and last seven Sketchbook Project collages.  The Page now has every collage I've done for the project.  I'm finishing up glazing the pages -- sure wish I hadn't done that at all, but once I started I had to go all the way through.  I'm glad to be finishing up with this, want it to be done!
I'll have DSL in my studio next week!  Really stoked about that.  The really cool thing is that I'm taking the modem/router I was using previously, there's already a phone line to the studio, and the cost per month will be less than half what I've been paying for the same speed.  Go figure!

In the next few days or week I'll take photos of my new studio/home, which I am now calling Rose Cottage.  It's tight, but sweet.  And that works for me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art Despite It All

Another Italy quilt, this one is Isola Maggiore.  Isola Maggiore is the largest, and the only inhabited, island on Lake Trasimeno, in Umbria, IT.  This piece is definitely one of my very favorites of the series.  Another is finished, I'll post during the week.  And the last four are ready to be quilted.

And maybe this week I'll start on them.  Meanwhile, in the life intervenes department, I've moved house again.  This time into my art studio, which is now my home as well as my art hangout, all 350 square feet of it, and I brought BeeGee with me (read his blog for his take on the change).  I'm solo again and loving it, glad the weather is turning, looking forward to "hunkering down" as I say.  A simple, quiet, art filled life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Collages

Just three of several new collages posted at their Page.  I will be finished making them this weekend and will complete the Sketchbook and send it off to the Brooklyn Art Museum by next week.

I've got another couple quilts to post, as well, so check back over the weekend. 

We're expecting rain this weekend, the first real rain of the fall season...most of us here are still waiting for summer.  Guess we'll be waiting another year.  Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Make Mine Mocha

Today is reveal day for Fiberactions "Stretch" challenge.  Click on the link to see other group members' interpretations of the word.  Since I've been working a lot recently with digital images on fabric, I decided to stretch the boundaries of what I could do with a single digital image.

My challenge quilt is made of small pieces of natural fiber fabrics (cotton, linen, denim, raw silk) that were fused onto sheets of freezer paper and run through my digital printer.  Before printing, the fabric pieces had been soaked/dyed in a coffee/tea blend, dried, then soaked in Bubble Jet Set and dried.  After printing, I tore the pieces off the sheets and rearranged them on the foundation cloth.   

The original printed image is a shot I took of discharged fabric, which I manipulated in Photoshop Elements, including adding a sepia filter.  The foundation and backing fabric were hand dyed recently.  Yesterday I mounted the quilt on a stretched canvas frame that I painted to go with the quilt. 

This is the first of my Fiberactions challenge quilts to be framed, but I'm thinking I'll do likewise with the previous quilts.  Each one is so unique, that I think they'll make a wonderful grouping when they're all finished, early in 2012.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Number 12, Cortona.  Cortona is the town in Tuscany on the outskirts of which Frances Mayes lived at Bramasole, the estate she wrote about in Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany.  The image on this quilt is a view up from the plaza in the center of town.

I'm just running off to my "monthly" Art Quilt Group, our first meeting since June, I think.  I have more to show and tell than I thought I would.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Countdown to Completion

This is number 11 in the series, Perugia.  I'm definitely on a roll -- I finished a second piece today as well as this one, and I have 6 more to be quilted.  Planning to have all the quilting done by the end of the week, and I'm making frames for each one in the order in which they're finished.  So Perugia is next to be framed.

And then there are the sketchbook collages, two new ones from this weekend.  I should be finished with this project around the end of September.  Autumn is always a good time to be starting new things...I'm so ready to be finished with these two ongoing projects.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Atop a Hill

This is number 10 in the series, Anghiari.  Anghiari is the town in Tuscany, at the top of a very long and steep hill, where the world class Busatti Textiles is located.  The factory where these incredible fabrics and linens are woven is downstairs underneath the retail shop.  Not to be missed if you have the good fortune to be in Tuscany.

I posted several more sketchbook collages on their Page, I'm finished glazing the pages for a while, and today I'll return to finishing up the collages.

Like probably everybody else in the western world, I just finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Wow, what a fantastic book.  Now we'll see the movie again (Swedish version).  Does anybody know, is the American version out yet?  I think the only reason I might see that is that I understand Daniel Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist, the book's central character.

Anyhow, the sun is shining this morning, rather a big surprise.  I'm off to the studio shortly -- I have today off work, meaning this is another coveted 5-day weekend for me, aka mini vacation.  Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bag With Backstory

This cool new bag began life as a sweater I knit a few years ago, out of unusual yarn that I had spun out of fine wool with cut up weaving thrums carded in, then plied with rayon thread.  Even though I washed and hung with weights to relax the overspin in the yarn, I wasn't able to get rid of that bias in the knitted fabric.  Well, the sweater, which I did wear once or twice (before deciding, finally, that I hate to wear wool anymore), wasn't good for much any longer besides hanging on a nice hanger.  So my dear friend Jan, from Santa Cruz, suggested I throw it in the washing machine and felt it.  Which I did.

I cut the now-felted sweater into four pieces, removing the seams, and then turned it over to another dear friend, Patty, to do her felted bag magic on them.  And this is what I got back this week, complete with heavy silk lining, two inner pockets and one on the outside back.  Wonderful, isn't it?

This is what the sweater looked like right after I knit it.  It got more biasy when I wore it.  Oh well -- the knit fabric makes a terrific bag!

In other news, I'm on hiatus from making Sketchbook Project collages, because I am coating the 2-page spreads with gloss medium.  I can only do a few pages a day.  After I catch up to where I'm working, nearing the front of the book, I'll finish off the collages.

Have begun to look forward to the end of my Italy series quilts.  So much so, that I miscounted in my last post.  The next one I post, late this week, will be number 10, not number 13 as I thought.  But now I have 4 more ready to quilt, and 4 waiting to be designed.  That will bring me up to 18, most of which I will show next year.  I think I'm going to do a big push and finish this series before moving on.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Beautiful Day

The next Italy quilt, finished last week, called Arched Facade, and part of the growing series...there are 12 of them, now.  I completed the 13th yesterday, will post later in the week.  I'm going for 18, then I'll move on to the next series.  Actually, I'll undoubtedly begin that prior to finishing the Italy series.  I prefer to be working on a few fronts at once.
It's a gorgeous morning here on the North Coast.  That doesn't mean the fog won't roll in sometime during the day, but at present there isn't a cloud in the sky and the sun is beaming in through the east window.

That's all for now...short and sweet.  Have yourself a wonderful Labor Day if you're here in the States, and a wonderful plain ol' Monday if you're elsewhere (or Tuesday, if you're Down Under!).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Weekend...

Two more sketchbook collages, and several additional added to the Page this week.

I'm slowly moving forward on the projects and series I mentioned here recently.  I was engaged with personal business stuff this week, but managed to sandwich in some artmaking between other things.  I think I'll be able to get more done this weekend.  Or at least I'll get reorganized again...everytime I step away from it all for a bit, I have to gather up the loose ends that are raveling away from me.  I know you all know what I mean!

Hope you have a good holiday weekend.  I almost forgot, Monday is Labor's just another Monday to me these days.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And Now, The Fabric

These are the best fabrics from my print session late last week.  The top is my favorite for obvious reasons.  It was a piece of muslin painted with Dynaflow a few months ago.  Last week I printed over it with metallic paint, rolling the paint onto the fabric with a rubbing plate underneath.  Love this technique!

Two fat quarters of muslin, previously printed and/or dyed, now overprinted with metallic paint. 

The last, a piece of raw silk that I'd deconstructed printed over a year ago.  Now it has new life... now I'll use it!

A note about what I use for metallic paint ~ Lumiere, Golden Fluid Acrylics, Createx Pearlescent Colors.  I've actually had these Createx paints since the early 1990s, and they're still good.  I finally got them out of their squeeze bottles, though, so now they're easier to use...and if they're easier to use, then I WILL use them. 

I've come to hate squeeze bottles because of how difficult it is to get paint or glue out of them, how hard it is on the wrists and arms.  Ditto the tiny twist caps on so many things these water bottles!  I end up using my teeth on a lot of stuff, but I'm trying not to.  I just wish everything came in small wide-mouth pots with easily removable airtight lids.