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.