Monday, December 31, 2007

My Great-grandmother used to say

what ever you are doing when the New Year comes in, you will be doing that what-ever all year. Last year I was asleep when 2007 rolled in and I must admit I had more than my share of sleepy days and on most nights I was in bed and asleep before mid-night.
Before I moved to Columbia and for about 5 years I saw the New Year in with my friends, "the Kathie(y)s" We were up late playing board games and so it was for all of the five years that followed. Each Saturday and on some other occasions evenings found us sitting playing board games; keeping a running total of wins verses loses.
This year I plan to be sitting at my sewing machine, working on a new piece, hoping that will fore tell me being more creative in 2008.
I've been floundering around since Christmas, unable to make up my mind about which one of several compositions I was going to start on next. Knowing I didn't want to be flounder all year, I did a sort of mental eenie, meanie and began this one.
What ever you wish for yourself and loved one, here's hoping it comes to pass in 2008

Monday, December 17, 2007

From our house to yours

here's wishing you the best of Holidays.
Yesterday as I was sitting cross legged in the middle of my bed sewing down the sleeve on the fourth of the five pieces that had taken up residence at the foot of my bed when the brightness of the day drew me outside. The sun was shining, the air was still. It was so wonderful and I began to shovel snow from the walkway and the drive way as if I had lost my mind. It was (dare I say FUN) It was a dry snow, about four inches worth on the side walk to the front door that John the youngest grand son didn't think it was necessary to remove on Saturday since, (NO ONE EVER COMES TO OUR DOOR) and why should he have to shovel the drive he pouted after all "Mom can get in she has four wheel drive."
"Because." I said so, I replied, in which case he went out and removed from the drive what had fallen to that point.
What I removed was what fell afterwards which was about an additional inch. I do know that doing something because you want to instead of because you should or have to or was asked to is soooooo much better for your spirit.
After which I reluctantly came inside and sat down to finish putting the sleeves on the fifth and last of the pieces because I needed to. No more sleeves to do for now. All five still need names and labels but that can come later, much later. Today, I am back to quilting. Stay warm and be of good cheer.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From where I sit

I can see out of the window. It is winter here despite the calendar saying it is still Fall. The ice and a light layer of snow from the first of the week is still hanging around waiting for the snow that is suppose to be coming our way by the weekend. I know the east coast is getting creamed and I am thinking of my son and his "girls" which is how I refer in the plural to his wife Mel(who with love I have in the past refer to as Saint Maryellen) and their daughter Joslyn. They live in Providence. RI.
So now there are FIVE.I have finished my latest Poppy piece, which I think is Poppy Number Nine or it could be ten. I have to go back to my list of works to see. I'm loosing count. It too has jointed the roll of quilts at the foot of the bed awaiting sleeves and a label.
Because of the ice, the Poinsettias were not delivered until late yesterday and they are gorgeous. Worth waiting for. I stopped working on my latest piece long enough to make bows for them as I placed them around the living room. Nothing says Christmas to me more than traditional red and green and these flowers.
For most of today and tomorrow and for some time on Saturday, I will be working on this piece. More than likely adding it too to the accumulating works at the foot of the bed because there are still two, maybe three tops that need quilting which I am looking forward to with more excitement than attaching sleeves. Does anyone know of a sleeve attaching service available for those of us who hate this part of the process.
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Just kidding. I am getting movies from Netflix (thanks Miss Mel for the heads up.) My first four selections came yesterday and despite the fact that the television sits less than five feet from my sewing table I found I could not quilt and keep up with the plot of the movie I was watching. It was a thriller. I love thrillers, mysteries, Police drama who done-its and spy flicks; all which require attentiveness. Because I can not just sit down and do nothing, not even for a good movie that I am really into, I plan to do sleeves while viewing. I see all five quilts disappearing from the foot of my bed fairly soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The hall is bedecked

and I be all done in. What a day---- a long day. Lyn was the scout that found this 9' tree at, of all places, Westlake Ace Hardware, one of my favorite places to browse. Like most quilters I love hardware stores and office supply stores, as much if not more than a quilt shop. We have both Lowe's and Home Depot, but I like Westlake's best mainly because it is more compact yet still has everything I need.
As the day went on I began equating decorating for Christmas in the same vein as giving birth. It's a pain!!! But now that it is just about done, I am pooped but happy with the results. I am waiting for the poinsettias and we needs to get some candles and I know there are some pine cones up in the attic that didn't get brought down but where to put them, hummmm.
For now, I am going to forget that it all has to come down and get packed up in January. I usually do this the day after the Feast of Epiphany. Which always ends the Christmas season for me. But this year if the weather hold and I can safely drive to Louisville and back I will be going there to help hang Form Not Function and stay around for the opening reception. Until then I will enjoy our bedecked hall.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Decking the halls

or at least I am trying to do so. Journeyed out on Thursday morning because I needed ribbons and holly and other things to make the place look festive at the urging of my daughter and made it back just as the first snow flakes began to fall. Here are some of the boxes and bins of Christmas stuff the grand boys brought down from the attic. This is the neccesary mess before the charming.
I moved the furniture around to make room for the tree only to find that the tree we had in the attic looks very lost in the room. I and Lyn have always lived in a houses with 8 to 8-1/2' ceilings. Even in my condo with the cathedral ceiling the ceiling started out at 7-1/2 in the place where the tree sat so it was at or near ceiling height. No, not here the ceiling in this living room are 11-1/2' and our 7-1/2'tree once assembled looked lost. Down it came. What to do?
Go buy another tree.

Todays Lesson: I've never lived anywhere with an unheated, not cooled attic before either and you can imagin my surprise when I opened some of the boxes of Christmas stuff only to find that all the candles had melted into unusable mis-shappened lumps and in some boxes hey had melted and re-solidified now that it is colder, entrapping strands of beads and electical wires in their mass.

The poinsettia are coming on Monday. Lyn ordered 5 pots from a charity that sells them during this time of the year as a fund raiser.
This is a picture of the fiber-optic tree in the foyer, I liked the way the lights blurred.
Spend some time today calling around for a 9 foot tree and have located two places that have them. Hobby Lobby and Michael's.
I'm about 3/4 finished quilting the poppy piece. The four pieces needing sleeves are still at the foot of the bed.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Moving right along

in my quest to finish enough work for the gallery and my solo show, I finished quilting and facing two pieces this week. Now the total of rolled up work residing at the foot of the unoccupied side of my king size bed totals four. The reason they are at the foot of the bed instead of in the closet is because they still need sleeves. I hate to make sleeves. I guess I should correctly say, I hate sewing the sleeves to the back of the quilt. Now that I do more facings and linings rather than bindings where at least one edge is attached, leaving only one width to hand sew, facing and linings require the hand stitching for both lengths. GRRRRR!
Come to think of it, I hate to do labels too. Not because the labels need stitching on; I no longer hand stitch. I just Wonder Under then in place and leave it to my free motioned signature in the bottom right corner to be the permanent identifier of my work. But the reluctant to make a label thing is because I can never come up with a title for the pieces I make. Flower 1, 2, 3, 4 etc is a little boring. Orange flower 1, 2, 3 etc is worse. So I only make labels when push comes to shove and that time hasn't arrived for these four yet.
THINKING as your mouth moves Some call it thinking on your feet.
I've been doing a lot of that lately while teaching and lastly while doing a phone interview with an Art Major from the University of Missouri.
Before Thanksgiving, which now seems like a long time ago, two MU art students went to the three quilt stores in the city I am told in search of a quilter to interview for a class paper. The quilt maker needed to be an "artist" who is now doing quilts. In looking at the store samples, they did not find such a person in their opinion until they got to Satin Stitches where I teach on occasion. There they saw two of my class samples. Mind you I don't think of my class samples as examples of what I do. Mainly because while the fabric may be what I selected from the shop's inventory they still are not what I would have used if not influenced by the fact that students tend to duplicate class samples exactly and the shop prefers to have currently available fabric in the store for them to purchase. At any rate, one of them called me the other day, following up to an earlier conversation we'd had during which I told them they could come to the house for a face to face interview or stop in to see some of my work that was now on display at Bluestem . There, the pieces on display or more indicative of what I do and then we could do the interview by phone. Since Bluestem is much closer to campus than my house they took the Bluestem and phone option.
The main focus of the interview was why I decided to use my creative energy to make quilts and why not paintings for example since my work at a distance looks like paintings.
In essence I told her I've been there, done that (back before hubby, kids, job, home and acrylic paint). The there were the periods of painting on canvas, a time of pottery, weaving, and many other things that might be considered fine art even though "quilts" aren't. But I didn't stay with any of the other things once I knew I understood the process and could do it if I really wanted to. Making quilts has been different from the very beginning. First came the understanding and limitation of cloth. Then the understanding and limitation of a sewing machine. Between my beginnings and now the limitation of the machine has expanded. But I am still trying to master the totality of the process and understand the nuances of where the non-traditional contemporary quilt ends and the quilt as art commences and where in the imagination and proverbial sand the line is drawn between what is an art quilt and what is fiber art.
We also talked about the fact that lengths of surface designed cloth holds a higher place in University studies than any quilts made from surface designed cloth does.
She also got around to asking how I refer to myself because in her estimation I am not a quilter at least not a typical one. You know, the Grandmother in a rocking chair variety. Eeeehhhh Gads, I am a grandmother with a rocking chair, and could be a great-grandmother too. I certainly am of that age if circumstances were different. Which I am really glad they are not, but that another story that I will never bore you with.
I know I am doing a lot of rambling this morning, but yesterday after I sandwiched another top and decided not to start quilting on it until today I selected two book from my book stash (Library) by Sandra Meech in them she often refers to works I think of as art quilts as stitched textiles. So I paused to think as I was reading. Am I a stitched textile artist or is this title more apply applied to fiber-artist? Where is that line that separates a quilter from an art quilt maker, from a stitched textile/fiber artist drawn. What do or should we call those like me who create I think with one foot on either side of that line.
Oh well it is very grey here today and windy, not so cold and raining. I am going to my studio and turn on the lights. In there, the sun is always shining.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A fair bit of time has passed

since I last posted and that is because I have been really, really busy and productive. I have been seduced by thickened dye. If you were to see my fingernails you'd know just how much I have been. Despite using gloves and the care that I take, some how it seems to sneak up and attach itself to me. I've been spending a lot of time in the garage in the area I set up for dyeing and printing and have resorted to an electric space heater to ward of the chilly air when layers of clothes, heavy socks and a knit cap on the head isn't quite enough.
I am euphoric, almost dancing with glee. The work is oozing out of me at an alarming rate. Since returning from Louisville about 2 weeks ago. I have finished three silk screened/painted pieces all measuring about 30-33" by 48-50" which was the largest size piece of fabric I could stretch on my print table. With some thought I have figured out how to print in sections on larger pieces of fabric using the same size table but have not done a piece at this time that is wider than 45 inches. I have 5 new pieces batching and waiting to be washed out and two pieces pinned to the design wall waiting to be sandwiched and quilted. One of which is another large pieced flower in my poppy series that I left in parts and pieces months ago.
Yep, got around to finishing the top and plan to sandwich it and begin quilting on it soon.
Well, it is second in line for that step at this moment. There is one ahead of it that is asking to be quilted first. And I will try not to let one of the newest five usurp it. But you never know.
I've been thinking about if I want to do Christmas this year. I know it comes whether I want to do it or not, but I meant do I want to deck the halls etc or do I want to do simple like last year. A small table top tree with simple ornaments and pots of poinsettias placed about. I do love the cheery red colored ones for this time of year when all is grey and cold. Chistmas isn't Christmas without them. Whatever the case I'll have to send one of the Grand boys to the attic to bring it down no matter if I do simple or grand.
We are expecting a few snow flakes to fall from the skies in this area sometimes today which sets the mood for those out shopping and scurrying about looking for bargains. I will not be at the Mall amongst them although I do need to go downtown into the District as they call it here. I was in town last Tuesday to pick up three pieces from the gallery that have not sold in what I consider a reasonable time frame. I took six new pieces to sell and did not wait around for them to remove the others and pack them up. I was having a change of the weather bad body hurting day and returned home with a store brought salad, a stack of art books from the library and took to my bed with hot tea and heavy blankets.
On Wednesday I was better and back in the garage.
On Thursday I ate turkey and too much other stuff and lounged about like the majority of American after the feast. Lyn did all the prep work for our dinner, all I did was slide the pie in the oven and listen for the timer. This is one of the six pieces I took to the gallery I've shown it before. It is my first successful attempt at deconstructed screen printing or breakdown screen printing as some call it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Too much of a good thing really can be too much."

When I was a child several saying that kept popping out of the mouths of the older but wiser folks in my life. Folks like my Grandmother and Mother and on occasion my father when I gave him credit for being wiser than me even though I thought of myself as a pretty wise kid despite my youth, were sayings like, "don't bite off more than you can chew". Or "your eyes are bigger than your stomach". Or "you are spreading yourself too thin". These saying along with several other I swore I would never repeat to another living soul; myself included' for as long as I lived. But yesterday I found I was repeating them over and over like a melody that stays in your head no matter how hard you try to make it go away as I sat down to make a DVD to submit to a juried 3 month exhibit opening in May of '08. The deadline for entries was this coming Friday and if I was going to do it I knew I had better get to it. And even then it would take me going immediately to the post office to get in in the system to assure delivery by the received by date of Nov. 16.
The artist statement in 100 words or less was the easy part. As was listing the materials and techniques I use in my work. The hard part was deciding what to submit and fighting off the voice in my head that kept saying "you are spreading yourself too thin." You've bitten off more than you can chew."
It's not that I don't have more than a few quilts in the closet that are good works. Lord knows there are several hanging on the walls throughout the house that would serve me well. Work that I have no problem claiming as mine if seen in public, but they are not works that exemplify what I am about now or where I want my work to be the middle of next year when this exhibit opens. I'm changing, my work is changing.And I wanted this entry to reflect that change. So what was I going to do?
Several post back I mentioned my solo exhibit that opens next June. Working toward my self set goal of 30 new works, I now have ten pieces that fit the theme I decided upon with the working title of "Pathways and Stepping Stones" toward that end I am doing a variety of screen printing techniques and whole cloth designs that are heavily quilted. The work is moving along very well and I am now quilting on the second piece since returning home last Thursday. I have yet to begin to work up 4-5 pieces for a multi-artist exhibit with the theme of rivers that will hang at the same timein '08 as my solo show. I have the images in my head of what I want these pieces to look like and I see them as a series of pieced works mainly in blue with orange and roughly 50 to 60 inches on the smallest side. They will take some time to complete. I haven't begun to dye the yards and yards of fabric I'll need for them.
And yesterday there I was sitting at the computer contemplating committing to a third possibility that would overlap the other two. Was I nuts? Don't answer that.
I stopped entering short lived quilt contests several years ago when I found myself in a similar situation of me trying to be in more than one place at the same time. Back then I stepped back and asked myself what I wanted for myself as an artist and what I wanted of my art. I decided then that the quilt show contest circuit no longer appealed to me even thought there remained a sense of accomplishment when a work of mine was accepted or honored because essentially what I didn't like was the transitory nature of quilt shows and the time it took to entry one.
A lot of work for very little return. Up today down in three. Several hours of your life and a nice chunk of change spent meeting requirements for entry in a quilt show. Filling out entry forms ,writing artist statements or 75 words or less about how your quilt fits the theme. (lying!) Making slides or a cd, labeling, then when you are accepted, buying boxes, packing quilts and making the trips to UPS or FedX and insuring your work if it is not covered by a blanket policy. MONEY MONEY MONEY AND TIME.
Works displayed in galleries are for longer engagements and in my mind, work seen in those settings elevate the quilt to a status beyond craft and I like that.
So yesterday the question was Should I, do I? And the answer was NO and DON'T once my wiser self took hold with a strong grip. I closed Photoshop and put away the call for entry for this third venue. Too much of a good thing really can be too much.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

No longer HOME

that was the way I felt when I was in Louisville the first of this week. I left Columbia on Sunday listening to 6 Cd's of a 10 Cd book that had my complete attention to the extent that the 400 mile drive seemed to be done in no time. This trip I stayed with my daughter Rene who happened to be home. Her job requires her to travel a lot. We stayed up late chatting every night and that was really nice.
On Sunday evening I stopped in to see my Tuesday Night Ladies, 5 of the six that routinely came to sit at my dining room table to stitch on their quilts. They began as a group I think in late 1998 or 99 because they wanted to learn more about quilting than they were able to absorb in a six week adult education class I had taught at the University of Louisville. I saw them last the week I was moving away over a year ago, but think of them often. They never were a stitch and bitch type of group rather a support group. I believe if it wasn't for this group of women I wouldn't have gotten through some of the hardest times in my life from being critically ill to the death of my husband, my son and other family members who were so dear and dearly loved. After looking at their quilts that they were rightly proud of we went to dinner. And that too was good.
On Monday, I was off to the Carnegie to jury Form Not Function with another group of friends who collectively refer to ourselves as RCFA (River City Fiber Artist) who through the same number of years have supported each other in our growth and efforts as art quilt makers. Because we know each other and have done this jurying together for a number of years we quickly got down to business and got through all the images and I think we ended up with an excellent selection of works for FNF 2008. I had dinner with Marti and her husband and helped her make a print table that she decided she needed after having spent two weeks at Arrowmont taking surface design workshops.
Tuesday morning election day I didn't rush to get up so I piddled around Rene's house, listening to my book on cd and went to see my Mom and took her out to lunch. From Mom's place I went to see my granddaughter Olivia,
gave her several hugs and took her off to Toys R Us. This is her cute face with missing teeth as she chews blue bubble gum. Then on to dinner with another group of friends. From there I went to have birthday pumpkin pie with my bud, Kathy, her daughter Stephanie and her two sons. It was AJ's birthday and he wanted the cheesecake instead of a traditional BD cake, Willie his brother's birthday was on Oct. 29Th the same as mine. So it was a celebration for several of us.
Wednesday I made sticks with screw eyes to fit the six quilts I brought with me for consideration for inclusion in a gallery exhibit of RCFA works that will open in November and hang until January 2008. I used my daughter Rene's electric jig saw and have decided I must have one of my own. Lots of stick making is in my future. Had dinner with the Kathie(y)'s at my favorite oriental restaurant "Lemongrass" they do a shrimp, rice noodle with cucumber and peanuts that is wonderful and a dish I haven't found here in Columbia.
Then it was back to Marti's for the monthly RCFA critique group. These meetings I have missed a lot, the inter change of critique and sharing of information that this group provided me over the years.
I decided to leave for home after the critique group meeting. So I drove through the night getting home in time to be the first customer at McDonald in Columbia at 5:30 am Thursday morning. Another book on CD kept me wake and alert. It took me all of Thursday to get rested, but I was back in the garage on Friday at noon dye painting and screen printing.
Since it has turned a little nippy here in Columbia, finding a 70 degree place in our house is a problem that will only get worse as winter sets in with a purpose. I was happy to discover the perfect warming place to batch fabric before I left. Where? In the Oven which comes on and warms to a lovely low temp of 100 degrees. Perfect! I have 10 yards of PFD soaking in soda ash and three pieces batching in the over now that I will be washing out as soon as I get up from this chair. Despite all the great moments and hugs all around while in Louisville, Louisville is no longer HOME. I am now a visitor. I was happy to get back and into my own bed with my own routine. The next time I plan to be in Louisville weather permitting will be when it is time to hang Form Not Function. I hope hugs await.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Here are the three collage images

I created in the workshop that were to be the inspiration for a work in fabric. NOT. Here is the class example and what the instructor did with her approach to design and composition based on one of her photo images.
The top row is a color copy of her paper collage and the bottom row is how she made it in commercial fabrics. Each piece measures 11" x 17 inches. This is working really too small for me. But I will play with her approach on a larger scale when I get back from Kentucky next week.

Here are the images

that blogger didn't want to share with you all.

Monday, October 29, 2007

When it is all said and done

I guess you have to ask yourself it it was worth it.
That's how I tend to evaluate the workshops I take. In this case I have to say it was. I got to spend the better part of two days with some like minded women. The instructor; a studio artist herself as well as a art professor here in Missouri was very sharing of her knowledge and her techniques.
But then too taking a workshop equates somewhat to why I don't like a sitting down let me think chair in my studio. It is a catchall. Workshops are catchalls in the sense that there is often ssssssssssooooooooooo much info being thrown around that it take several days to sort through what is relevant for you and how you make your art. The same goes for getting all the stuff off the chair that was so easy to toss there in the first place. It takes time to decide what goes where when it is time to clean up your clutter.
Back on the book shelf.
Into a fabric bin.
The trash. 
All of this needs to be put away before I can get started again. And not for long since I will be packing and going to Louisville on Sunday.
Most of the stuff in the chair, I think I will take with me to show to my art girls friends in Kentucky next week. And this is a peek at a part of what I did for two days. Is it me.?????

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just so you know

I haven't fallen down a hole or anything,since the last time I posted but for what it is worth I have been busy, first teaching a class on Monday of this week and then doing a dye workshop here at the house for six ladies and then I had to clean up that mess and get stuff out for the two day workshop I just came home from that I took. It was interesting and just as in any workshop sometime we learn as much what we like and will do in the future as well as what we will never do. This workshop was on designing art quilts and working in a series.
This approach to making art quilts begins by using a digital photo image provided by the instructor, which she had printed in gray scale using Photoshop. From there we painted three pieces of paper all the same size, but varing the look of the painting by being really loose with the painting. The paint color we used was determined by a piece of fabric we brought to the workshop that we would use in all three pieces in order to make the set cohesive.
Then using both the colors and the images found in old magazines we collaged abstractly our digital image. The those paper and painted collages were color copied. That was yesterday.
Today working with the three color copies of the collaged image we were to interpret those images in fabric using what every method we liked in the construction of the three small (11"-17"). Our instructor uses primarily commercial fabric in her work which gaves her a lot of visual texture. And she does raw edge collaging of fabric with free motion zig-zag. Not at all what I would call applique.
I like the process of using Photoshop. A program I have had for some time now without having used it. However, since the workshop wasn't on how to use the program I had to call a friend for him to walk me through the steps to get the gray scale images she had us working with. Of course none of the images she had were flowers and I was hard pressed to find something that spoke to me. But I will be going into my photo album looking at some of the floral images I have collected from my own garden and Marti's garden and the Shelter garden to see what I can now do with them.
But since I really didn't produce anything as a result of the two days. And those of you who know me well know I rarely produce anything in a workshop. Therefore, I am itching to get my hands into doing something productive and creative so I am going to spend some time in the garage making a screen to deconstruct tomorrow. Will let you see what I accomplish.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A day of threes and wonders

that began when I awoke.  
I had to take the grandson to school because his ride didn't come. At first I was a little put out until I looked out the window to check th weather to see the most gorgeous rose colored sky I have ever seen. It didn't don on me to get my camera and neither did I stop, go back into the house to get it when on backing out of the garage I was greeted by a double rainbow the intensity of the colors in the one in the western sky I have never seen before. It was impressive and gave me pause. It was almost a 180 degrees arc since where we live we can almost see the horizon in one direction. WOW! was all I could muster. Only by grace did I not have a accident because it was hard to keep from looking at it as I drove out of the subdivision and onto the main road. All things of wonder come in threes I am convinced because upon getting home and standing in the kitchen with the first cup of coffee of the day the yard was invaded by birds. BIRDS as in Hitchcock's the "Birds" Now that I got a picture of.
I began quilting on one of two tops yesterday, one I created using deconstructed screen printing (Kerr Grabowski style) and the second piece is a combo of soy wax resist and screen printing. Both techniques I plan to explore more. I never saw much point in making screen prints on fat quarter size pieces of fabric,I had the same thought about discharging too, but once I saw how easy it was to make a large screen I was intrigued and since I am so happy with the results, I plan to do more and more and more. I think I am in love.
So here is the deconstructed screen printing piece that measures 50" wide by 26 inches at this point. It still needs a facing applied. The second piece is also about the same size, but it has not been quilted at this point. I have it on the design wall letting it tell me how it wants to be quilted. IN the mean time I have a small piece that needs some hand work to finish the facing and the large piece I left over a week ago. I'm going to finish it, I'm going to finish it, I'm going to finish it. I promise , I promise, I promise.
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Rainy days and Mondays

don't always get me down, not when I am doing something I really like. It's raining here again today and it rained (poured) on Saturday too. Sunday couldn't make up its mind and stayed mostly cloudy all day. (So I made my own sunshine)Spent a great part of Friday at the movies seeing Michael Clayton and Why I Got MArried. Both of which I enjoyed. Had hoped to work in seeing Kingdom as well but around here it is showing as a late movie for adults audiences, by that I mean both moovie complexes in the Columbia are starting all the showings around 9:00 pm. Not that I will turn into a pumpkin if I am out late, but there was nothing to do from the time WIGM ended at 7:30 and Kingdom started at 9ish. Eating dinner was out because I had gorged on popcorn and soda through two movies anfd food was the last thing I wanted. There is something about movie popcorn I can't by pass and Raisinettes and the hotdogs which I still eat even though I can't eat the buns due to my allergy to wheat. So instead of waiting around or coming back I went home and spent time in the studio.
I started working on the two pieces you see on Thursday, They were discharged through a large (I made it myself) silk screen. I used the same screen for both images but used two different black fabrics one of which was Kona Cotton and the other I don't know who's brand, but was purchased from Hobby Lobby. The no name was visibly blacker and less dense than the Kona and discharged to the orange color and shrank more, while the Kona discharged to tan. I worked back into the images with Prismacolor pencils, fabric paint and paint sticks along with machine quilting.
The pieces measure approx 18" x 36" each. The work on them progressed very fast even with my movie going time out of the studio and having a student in for private lessons for three hours on Saturday. I did the facings yesterday while television watching and all that is left is the sleeves and the labels. I will get to them later. Let's say, start to finish, dispite interruptions, 4 days. Not bad.
I'm of two minds right now. Do some more discharged images because it was really fun to see the results turn out like I had visualized or do some deconstructed screen printing because I have an idea that I want to see if it will works out. HMMMMM Although the piece on the design wall is still waiting, it is not calling me to attend to it right now.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ignore the mess

Here is the leg system for the table in the dye area and a picture of the wire baskets unit with wheels. I had lots of those wire baskets in my studio in Louisville, but since moving to Columbia I am using this one in the dye area to be a miscellaneous "catch-all" and two others that are double stacked in a small closet off the foyer.
My fabric was out and visible for as long as I have been making quilts until a year ago. Seeing it was inspiring but now that I have it behind closed doors in this closet and in a rather large guest closet in the foyer that I confiscated and converted into my stash and stuff warehouse by having a handy-man install six rows of wire shelving that are 5 feet wide and 12 inches deep, I have had to make some adjustment in how I select my fabrics for my work.
For one thing I have to totally put away all the fabric from the last project and the project to keep me from being influenced in my color selection.
I had a productive day yesterday doing two pieces of discharge. I didn't go to bed until it was quilted, blocked and squared which meant I was up past my usual bed time. Today I will do some more painting and more thread painting on it and then move on to the second piece if the day permits.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Someone wanted to know

what the tables I like look like. So here are images of the two in my studio space. As I was taking the pictures I realized that the legs are different and I guess it is like everything else in the world. "things change" The tops are made of different materal and although I had wanted the top of the new one to look like the top of the older one, the wood finish was not in stock, so I settled for the white formica type top instead. Which in the long run doesn't matter since it will in most cases be covered with my ironing surface which measures 33" x 64 inches or the large cutting mat you see part of which measures 60" x 32".
The wood looking table sits behind my sewing machine cabinet to hold the weight of larger work and measures 63" x 31.5 inches. The newest table is a little smaller 59" x 29.5 inches. All in all what I like best is the fact that the tables are sturdy and the legs are adjustable from approx 25 inches high to about 38 inches. The one behind the sewing machine is at 29 inches to match the height of the sewing cabinet and the one I will use for cutting and pressing measures 36" which is the right height for me in shoes. Ikea had a variety of different adjustable legs, and in different colors red, black and the metallic grey that I choose. The tops also come in a variety of lengths and widths. For those of you not fortunate enough to life within driving distance of an IKEA they do ship, but I would buy only the legs (they are sold separately in a pick the top, pick the legs, a mix and match thing) and get wood for the top closer to home, because before I realized how close my brother's house was to the IKEA in Woodbridge, VA I was going to have that first table top and leg units shipped. I COULD NOT AFFORD THE FREIGHT. It was more than the cost of the table and legs.
Another good thing, At cutting table height, those wire basket/rack units with wheels fit nicely under the table too if you have fabric storage space issues in your sewing area. I will show you an image of the third table with a different adjustable leg system that is in the dye area in the garage the next time bloggger will let me up load an image. It's being testy again and won't let me do it now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Picking up from yesterday

Here are a few images of the class and just a few of the 47 quilters who attended my class. I remember in the old day when Mary Ellen Hopkins taught to a ballroom full of people. You know, I never aspired to that kind of a situation but found myself in one very close. I still think it was fun but there is no way to teach to that many without a kit and a step by step instructional booklet.
As I said, John and Lyn saw the sites and I want bore you with all the images of tall building that John snapped. He has a thing for buildings. And because he does, we stopped in Springfield, IL on the way home to see the Dana-Thomas House a Frank Lloyd Wright Commissioned residence that was very interesting but reaffirmed my happiness with living in this time period and not some 100 years ago when rooms were poorly lighted and Frank's furniture while interesting fell more in line with austere torture rather than graceful comfort. Sorry, we have no pictures of the house interior and grounds since camera's were forbidden we left the camera in the car.
I am off to teach a class at the quilt shop today and I did get my studio back in order and the dying area in the garage is clean and I ordered dyes this morning since I am running low on some of my favorite ones. I'll place an order for PFD fabric in a short while, to replace what I dyed for the Chicago class kits.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Home again home again jig-it-t-jig

I was away three days and two night and slept in two different beds. One at the Marriott on the south side of Chicago and the other about 30 miles down 55 in a Springhill's near an IKEA store. (SORRY BLOGGER IS NOT HAVING A GGOD DAY AND THERE ARE NO PHOTOS)
When I knew I was going to Chicago where other would make it a point to see some of the sights I on the other hand having seen Chicago, was looking to visit an IKEA store. So while I was teaching, John (the youngest grandson) and his mother, my daughter Lyn went off to see the city. Below are some of what caught John's eye.
I having two IKEA's to choose from was in heaven especially when one happened to be off the road I had to take to get home. HOW NICE OF THEM.
I was going there to buy another table similar to one I already have from them that is sooooooo much better than those rolling foldable tables you get at Joann Fabrics .
If you remember and there is no reason why you should have, I'll tell you now that I have brought three of the Joann Fabric type tables. The first one I gave away after I had purchased my second table from IKEA with adjustable height legs. I got them in the store in Woodrigde, VA when I was visiting my bother who lived just 5 minutes from the store. That was more than six years ago and they are still as sturdy as they day I got them.
When I moved to Columbia, I brought another Joann's folding table to use in the inhouse part of my studio space because one of the IKEA tables was needed for the in garage dye area, only to have one of the wheel break off very shortly after purchase so it too was relegated to the garage dyeing area and I purchased my third table, again to be used inhouse.
As I was working and getting the kits ready for Chicago, the more I cut and pressed and cut the wobblier this thord table got. So I stopped to tighten the screws only to find that they would not tighten and the ones that did preceeded to come through the top of the table. BAD!!!!
So this table is going on the trash heap. I can see no way of salvaging it even for the garage dyeing area at this point. But them, maybe I can use the leg and coaster part and get a core door or piece of plywood. HMMMMMMM!
At any rate, my time in Chicago was great. The ladies and GENTLEMAN of the guild were a delight to meet and teach. What enthusiams. They did my soul GOOD.
So now it is back to what is normal for me around here for a little while. There's the unpacking of luggage and a little necessary clean up of the mess I left waiting my return. The quilt on the design wall is waiting. And ideas in my head are waiting too. AND THERE IS GRASS GROWING IN OUR YARD!!!!!! YEA!!!!!!!
I am home until the first of next month when I will be in Louisville for a few day. Helping to jury Form Not Function at the Carnegie, and meeting with friends and family... ALL.... I miss so very much.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It really isn't the teaching .

that gets me. It is all the prep time you have to put in before the class. For this class in Chicago that I will teach on Friday I have spent most of my waking hours since Monday getting ready. I've dyed yards and yards of fabric which had to be pressed , cut and folded. Drawn patterns,which had to be folded. Written,printed and assembled an instructional booklet etc.
Needless to say I have done nothing for myself in the way of personal creativity.
But after I return from this teaching trip I will be counting down my teaching engagements which are short one day classes and all in Columbia, until I am finished the middle of November for this year(the deadline dates for several shows are looming). Therefore, I have promised myself that I am doing nothing but work, work work in my studio until the Middle of May.
I am so ready to get my hands back on the piece on the design wall and my head into all the ideas I have been putting on hold.
I am not a shutter bug so I will try to remember to take some pictures of my trip to Chicago and the quilters there.
Will check in when I get back which maybe late on Sunday evening if I decide to hang around the city after my lunch/speaker duties on Saturday to see what's up and shaking in Chicago.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Busy teaching and busy finishing up

this smallish piece for the gallery. almost 33 inches square. I know it's another flower, but that is what the gallery wanted and they are selling faster than I can make them. It was delivered on Sunday and the gallery already has an out of town potential buyer.
I taught a class at the quilt shop yesterday. Noon to 6 pm which is sort of strange hours for me in a way. They would be great if I was still not getting up and moving about until 10 AM, but my body clock moved backwards months ago and on most morning without the benifit of an alarm clock I awake at 6:30 and I am ready for the day. Of course the other side of early to rise is early to bed. I am ready to fold up the side walks so to speak by 9 PM any more, but push it to 10:00
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I have a large quilt almost pieced on the design wall for my 2008 exhibit, but will not get back to it until next week and then only in spurts. My two day in the house classes start tomorrow after that. I need to get everything ready for my "I'm going to Chicago" teaching trip too.
I have some errands out of the house this morning and the housekeeper is coming this afternoon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

And I thought it was the deer that did it.

See how much straw was spread over the grass seed a week ago,
see the bare spot, (not just this area, but all over the yard)
see the geese that are eating the straw, and hopefully not the grass seed as well.
GOD, is there any blades of green grass in our future or shall we give up, dig a very large pond, import sand and call it a beach

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sorting myself out

and getting pointed in the right direction. How am I to do this I am wondering this morning. There are so many things I want to do and need to do. The main one being I want a new direction for my art that is more a branching off of what I am currently doing as opposed to a new direction that is totally disconnected from my current work, but maybe the first stepping stone toward something totally different for me that will become evident in the next six months.
I still like my current work even though it is rather predictable, I still love my flowers,and my color choices, and don't see myself leaving either that theme or palete for the forseeable future but on the other hand I want to push a little, stretch a little. So I am trying to figure out how to do that while I am still making current work to meet my gallery commitments and while making class samples and doing lesson plans and assembling kits for my teaching commitments and just generally going about living.
Monday evening as I lay in bed and before I went soundly to sleep way before my usual bed time, I revisited a lesson that I should have learned years ago. The lesson: Dumb-dumb, you dummy. You know your body does not do well when you carbo'd overload it. And why did you do it today. There will be hell to pay tomorrow. And I've been sooooo gooood for sooooo loooong. I should have known better. NO. I had been seduced by fench fries at lunch, because McDonald's was on the way to the quilt store where I had a class. Then there was the BIG baked potato at dinner and the ice cream and corn chips and hot fudge and lots of grapes and a banana and more chips when I got home from teaching was starving and oh yeah a COKE. And to top it off more ice cream as I dragged myself to bed as a snack, a habit I thought I had defeated months ago but came back to haunt me. My only excuse, I get the munchies when one I am pressed for time and when my brain is trying to sort out something like "what's for dinner or where am I going with my work and when will I find the time?" As if eating slows the clock or food into the mouth equals ideas out the brain.
Although I'd slept like the dead on Monday night, when I got up early Tuesday morning, wanting to get a lot accomplished I didn't. The day after consuming too many carbos syndrome kicked in. I knew that was going to be the case shortly after I returned from a "they open at nine and I was there" trip to Barnes and Noble for a book I had ordered, Who am I kidding, I knew it as soon as I sat down with a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in B and N that Tuesday was not going to be one of my best days. Usually, I can browse in B and N for hours but after only a short 2 minutes of sitting with my coffee I was cross eyed sleepy and on the verse of nodding off right there in the middle of thumbing through a very interesting book. So I brought the book as well as the one I ordered and a copy of the latest issue of the AQS Magazine, because my friend and fellow River City Fiber Artist Kathleen (Kathy) Loomis has an article published in it that I wanted to read.
By the way her article is great and details the wonderful way she applies a facing to her art quilts.
All day Tuesday I was draggy and sleepy. I napped a lot in the chair, every time I sat down to read or sketch or plan my eyes closed and my head drooped. I put a meal in the crock pot that I didn't have to watch and went to bed for a proper nap in the afternoon, and to bed shortly after dinner, thus Tuesday was a day shot all to Hell.
Today is better, water - lots of water, no coke, no chips, no ice cream, no droop, no drag. Studio time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Unless the worse that can happen happens

and the worse that can happen is the seed won't germinate. Barring that, you will hear no more about the lack of grass in our half acre back yard. Today in three and 1/2 hours, Carlos and two other men seeded and laid straw that covered what has been just dirt for months on end and a unsightly back yard for a year. We are waiting for the rain that is promised to come on Friday. Otherwise, I will be out turning on the sprinklers.
In the mean time the weather here is so mild I slept with the windows open and under lots of cover. It was in the 50's last night and I was still in need of a sweat shirt and jeans when I went out to do some light marketing this morning before eight A. M. Yes Marti, I was up and out before 8.
I worked in the studio yesterday on a project for a class that I am teaching in a month here in Columbia at one of the local quilt shops. I plan to get it quilted today and then tomorrow as I watch the golf tournament and pull for Tiger I will work some more on the larger piece that is on the design wall that I have almost completely finished piecing.
The weather is so great here that it really is hard to stay out of the garage and away from screen printing for now. Just watch, when the time is right, the weather will turn hot and steamy again.

Friday, September 07, 2007

On the way back to my studio

I detoured through the back yard. I shouldn't have. Because here I am three days later and I still have not sat down to the sewing machine. Not even for five minutes. But take heart, I have thought about my art and I have done several sketches and scale drawings and I brought a piece of fabric in all places WAL-MART that caught my attention, while I was there to purchase an oscillating water sprinkler for the front garden area.
As far as that piece of fabric goes, I have no wish to use it in any of my work, one because it is thematic and two it is yuk. So why did I buy it. it has great lines and patterning which spoke to me and reminded me of water. (Inspiration) I don't think anyone else would look at the fabric and see what I see. But it sent my mind racing in a direction I have been pondering for a while. I am part of an exhibit next year where the working title is "At the River's Edge", so the work has to speak to rivers, water, shorelines or stuff along those lines and I was stuck for ideas. Back when this exhibit was first thought of by my art group (River City Fiber Artist) and proposed to a gallery, I made a series of four small works that have since sold. Being sold is not all bad because I have moved on from them and if I still had them I would be reluctant to show them next year anyway.
Now back to the back yard, and the detour. I spent two days out back putting in plants, this time with the help of the two grandsons and a friend of theirs. The new new garden plot wraps the back porch. I never think small not with my art or my gardens it seems. The area required 50 bags of mulch to cover the ground. Good thing Lowe's rents trucks, which is what it took to get all the mulch and the one flowering pear tree, the 48 pots of assorted perennials, and the 10 containers of assorted shrubs all home in one trip. There is still a lot of bare area that needs filling, but I am stopping with this much planting for now.
I can not tell you how great it feels to finally see something growing out back when for months on end all we have had is a view of dirt.
When I woke to the sound of rain this morning, I wish I had sown grass seed yesterday instead. Several hours of gentle rain would have been wonderful for helping grass seed germinate. But there is promise of more rain over the weekend and into next week so the sowing of seed is next on the list and getting back to the studio may be delayed again for at least one or two more days.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

800 mg of Motrin and I'm good to go

someone just has to tell me when to stop.
As you know it has been a long time (more than a dozen years) since I gardened in dirt that was not contained by walls of a flower pots residing on my balconies.
So the prospect of having nearly an acre of dirt to plant in was overwhelming when I saw the house Lyn had in mind for us a little over a year ago. And it still is overwhelming to a great degree. We still do not have grass in the back yard and the sowing of seed it is still weeks away because the prospect of having to go out every day to water is daunting. It is still very much summer here despite the fact that the gardening centers are filled with Autumn plantings. Having visited several centers over the last week or so for other stuff besides plants, I could put it off no loner my desire for more flowers for the front garden. I was basking in the fact that nearly everything I planted last spring grew and thrived, except a dozen or so Dahlia's.
Just know, they will not be part of the summer garden next year. The petunias did well as did the begonia's and impatiens so they will return next year and there will be more of them, since I will not have to invest in perennials again.
The perennials I planted in the spring are doing well despite the saying that the first year perennials sleep. I am looking forward to year two when they begin to creep (spread) Year three when they leap, I will probably be doing a lot of thinning out and transplanting since I ignored the spacing suggestions. I am impatient. I like the lush full look for the get go and it was this lush full look I was aiming for when I brought home 9 gallon size pots of asters in the most wonderful hues of purple and 30 smaller pots of yellow mums. I picked up this hanging basket of lavender to replace the summer arrangement that the grand boys gave me for Mother's day in the spring. The summer assortment had seen its better days.
Gardening is always quilt related. Flowers are what inspires me. The oldest grandson helped me plant in the Spring, but I thought I would tackle the job of putting in the plants for Fall myself, the Motrin did so well helping the pain of older age, that as I was digging in the dirt and bending over I was thinking of making another trip to the Gardening Center.
I am happy with the look of the garden even thought there are still a few bare spots on the west side of the front door. I think I'll leave them for now But the trip to the garden Center I hope will resolve the problem I have with a large bare area in need of plantings on the east side of the front door. The spring/summer bulbs I thought I planted in that area did not come up.
After the cable guy comes this morning I will be off to see what else I can plant.
I have a quilt on the design wall that is in the piecing stage with two area left where I haven't solved the issue of what piece(s) of fabric needs to go there. But I think by the time I get to those areas of uncertainty I will have solved the problem.
I am also reading, yes reading and not just listening to a book by Brenda Ueland titled "If You Want To Write: A book about Art, Independence and Spirit. Copyright, 1938, it reads a lot like it was the inspiration for the Artist Way by Julia Cameron. There's nothing like going to the source.
Since the weather is taking a turn for the cooler over the next couple of days, I plan to spend some quality time in the garage working through some ideas I have for screen printing.