Saturday, February 26, 2011

I was gone longer than I had planned

but what a wonderful day I've had. 
What makes a good day?  Good food and  good conversations with people who speak your language and fiber art.

As I was looking into the exhibition hours at the Gateway Center in DeBary FL to see what time I should be leaving the house this morning I saw on their site that there was going to be a meeting of Gathering Thread today at the center along with lunch and a speaker.

Last year there were more than 50 fiber artist from across the state who came for the first Gathering Threads meeting and to view the exhibit that was at the Center then.  I did not know about Gathering Thread but I did make the trip to Debary to see the exhibit.  I did a blog entry about it last year.

I must say that Mary McBride did a wonderful job curating the one this year.  What a treat.  I got to see some of my favorite fiber artist.  I have missed the last two "Form Not Function" exhibits at the Carnegie where most of the artist at the Gateway Center have had works on exhibit.  This exhibit was the closest I've seen to the quality of FNF since I left the Louisville area.  There was a piece from Lisa Call that I liked very much.  Sorry no image or title.
It hung in the entry and is the first piece you see when you enter the center.
The work was hung in the main gallery and along three walls in the theater.  61 pieces in all.

When I look at an exhibit I do what my friend Marti Plager said she does when looking at any art exhibit.  Play a game with yourself and ask, "If they would let me have any piece in the show or museum or gallery I wanted and money wasn't the issue, what would I choose."  I did that today but I couldn't narrow it to one.  Here are my two  picks with Elizabeth Barton edging out the Knitted piece. The knitted piece I loved it for its whimsiness.  Elizabeth Bartons despite being non-organic with hard edges,  was in colors I could live with and never tire of and it is visually interesting.  The knitted piece made me smile and that is what I like about art moreso then art that tries to make me think.  As visual as I am I've often wondered why I much prefer words to images for making me pause and think.
As you can see by the giant knitting the exhibit was not limited to fiber in the form of quilts which in my opinion made for a really visually interesting experience.

There was a treasure chest full of small quilts and artist trading cards and other stuff an artist made out of threads and fibers. Sorry there were too many people around the display for me to get the title of the installation and the name of the artist.   There was a house made from cloth with cut outs of people hugging it.  I think the title was "Foreclosure".  There was also an iron covered with fabrics.  Didn't notice the collection of birds created with stiff cloth, an installation suspended from the ceiling in the main entry hallway until I was on my way out.  Did I say it was all just visually wonderful. 

  I got to meet a dozen or so other fiber art.  Quilters to doll makers.  Most of them lived nearer to the Gateway Center  than me, but there was one who came over from the Coco Beach area.
Introductions were made all around an eight foot table.  Show and tell  and technique sharing was the order of the day so I  took the two small pieces I just finished.   No not faced.
My fingers are going to be busy tomorrow.
Instead of ordering in lunch as had been planned, due to the smaller number attending  a lecture on the business of being a fiber artist was cancelled and we all decided to lunch at the Olive Garden where talk of fiber and exhibits and stuff continued.
I passed on the gluten free pasta this time and settled for the salmon, broccoli and salad.
And now, I'm off to the cutting table to cut facing strips... gotta go and get these fingers busy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Okay. Now I can call it a day.

My time table to get this piece and the previously quilt  I posted an image of that will be used as samples for the class I am teaching in the Cincinnati area in April compeleted was today. I'm not on target however. While I have completed the quilting, blocking and squaring there are still facing, sleeves and labels to do. Because of their size I should without feeling pressed finish all that by days end on Saturday.  Failing that  there is still hours to use on Sunday.
I need deadlines. Self imposed  ones however tend to have some "fudge time" factored in.... but not too much.
So my drop dead deadline was to have them competed and in the mail by Monday along with my signed teaching contract.
So with this much done, I am off to bed.
Oh...... There is a fiber exhibit at the Gateway Center in Debary, FL.  The exhibit  opened on Monday or Tuesday of this week and runs through March, maybe into April, but I think if there is no threat of rain tomorrow I will take some time to run up the road to see it.  There are 61 pieces done by both national and international fiber artist.  I have no names to list for you but if cameras are allowed  I will show you what caught my eye and held my interest.
I put a spare battery in the charger so I will be ready to go early; weather permitting.
Now off to bed with the latest issue of the SAQA Journal
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Next time, I'll know

As I was sitting on the balcony yesterday afternoon, reading the last pages of the book I started several days ago I noticed that people were beginning to gather on the 7th level of the parking structure.  As more and more came and all looking eastward I began to wonder what they were looking at.  A fire? or something happening like a hot air balloon launch in the nearby Mall?
Then several of those gathered on the roof began to point and take pictures.  What?  What?  What are you looking at?  I wanted to ask.   Now I wished I had when my ears became attuned to the voice on the television I had left on in the living room was saying quite gleefully "The shuttle has launched"
Yes.  Dang it.
I had planned to drive over to the Cape to see this launch, but a post quilt show meeting was planned for Thursday morning and I felt I needed to attend it and make my report in person.  As soon as I got home  my grandson needed the car to pick up a "going into the Navy too friend" at the airport so off he went.  Sharing a car is not always convenient thing.
I have wanted to see a shuttle launch for a very long time.  A launch had been on my must do list and moved up to near the top once I moved to Florida.  But once I was here it seemed  every time I made plans to do so,  they would cancel the launch due to bad weather or mechanical problems.  If the countdown is on hold; which it often is and if and when the countdown restart sadly,  I am too far away to just hop in the car and go.
But now I know that on a clear day, from the seventh floor of the garage I can see for miles and miles and miles and possibly see the next launch without having to do more than walk down the hall to the elevator, ride up and get off on the seventh floor.  I know it want be like up close and in person, but at a distance is better than never seeing it live.
And another thing.  Justin told me when he got home that he and his friend were  sitting in the Ale House eating some wings, when the launch happened and all they had to do was walk outside and look up and eastward and saw it. "Dang!!!!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Measure twice cut once

Great saying. In this case however it is measure once, cut twice. The first cut down was still too big.
Why? You see I have a problem with entering this piece in a competition that I cut it down the first time so I could enter it. In the case of this piece I should have read the measurements requirements a little more carefully before cutting it down the first time. If I had, I wouldn be comtemplating ripping off the sleeves and the facings to cut it down again. This as shown is what my original screen printed and stamped cloth was originally cropped to, so that it would meet, I thought, the requirements for Sacred Threads. As I was attempting to submit it online I ran into a problem. It was too long by 5.5 inches. In the case of this exhibit, the maximum length is 30". Well shot!!!!

I still wanted to submit it, since I don't know of any other show that it would fit into. As a rule I don't make quilts to fit a specific show and I didn't in this case. So what to do.
When all else fails, CROP. So in Picasa I cropped it to see if it would work proportionately if I cropped it some more and the second image is what it would or will look like. I submitted the second image (cropped image) but will wait to see if it is accepted before actually taking a rotary cutter to it and crop it off to measure 5.5 inches less on the bottom and 5 inches less on the left side.
For most of today I have been quilting and answering e-mail from guilds requesting teaching information.
Had a late lunch on the deck and read quickly through the last SAQA issue.

I hope you all are not tired of my abstract blooms, if seen altogether they really are different compositions and sizes. I really do find them fun to paint. No brainers. They are simple and gives me something to work on as I test paint colors, different brushes, different brands of paint and color mixing which is quite different than understanding and mixing dye colors. This is a small piece that will finish to approximately 17" x 26", when it is faced. Just the right size for a one day class project sample.
I finished the quilting, blocking and squaring before I called it quits for today.
Tomorrow I will be back to quilting the other class sample that I showed you in the last blog post...... maybe.
As my bedtime reading I will be opening the latest book  in the Death series by J. D. Robb.  Got a copy today.  I hope it is a grabber.... well, maybe not... if it is I'll be up all night.
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Monday, February 21, 2011


a day that I took advantage of the balcony, the sun, temperatures in the mid 70's rising into the 80's and a gentle breeze to move my art outside. I've often thought of the balcony as an extension of my studio and today it was just that. Right after breakfast I gathered a few tubes of paints, some brushes and a piece of previously raw soy milk soaked silk broadcloth and went outside to sit with a cup of coffee that went from sipping hot to lukewarm and paint. Before I knew it, it was almost 2 o'clock.
This was the second of two smallish pieces I need as class samples for a 2 day workshop I will be teaching in the Cincinnati, Ohio area April 16 & 17.

I don't know if the class is full, but if you live in that area and might be interested in attending, e-mail me and I will give you the contact information for Carole who is organizing this workshop.
As I waited for one area to dry, I looked about the courtyard, and snapped some images that caught my eye.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

I have returned to Blogggersville

having been away from almost three weeks. But like always there are reasons and thankfully because I blog there is also a story.  Why else would there be a reason for me to be sitting here. If not for a story there would be no reason for me to have this blog.  As some of you know I was trying to organize a retreat for the Orlando area, but for what ever reason there was not enough interest for me to justify the cost of hosting the retreat at a hotel. So instead I invited/accepted four students from those who inquired.
and scheduled a three day workshop instead for them in Apartment 434. Having an in-studio class or in my case in/home/studio space required first that I condense what was in my living space to accommodate four - 4' table and 4 chairs. The condensing was way easier than locating four suitable tables mainly because I do not have a lot of stuff to condense in the first place.   But suitable tables were not an easy thing to come by I found out.  But luckily three days before my students were to arrive I found  just what I wanted.  4ft x 30" wide tables with folding legs.  They were listed on Craig's list. And boy did I get a deal!!!!. Through the major office supply stores, similar but narrower tables were selling for + $59.00, but at a used rental furniture and used office supply store they were $12.99 plus tax. They were nearly new.   I went to buy four and brought five.  Only one was slightly damaged on the top, but with no more visible use than what could have happened at my place after let's say a month of use.  So as you see one table was raised on bed risers for the cutting surface.
Pictured below are images from the three days.  On the right is Jean from Chicago.  On the left Francine also from Chicago. Also pictured is Mary Ann from Winter Garden, FL. Sue lives in the Villages, a little over an hour away from me but is not pictured at her request, however the flowers she painted is pictured in the lower left bottom row in the top collage.
I served lunch on Tues and Wed.  On Thurs. we walked down the hill to the lake and had lunch on the patio of Cafe Merino. For all of you in the cold of the north, it was very nice day to be outside. Mary Ann and Sue drove home each night, but Jean and Francine stayed at the Embassy Suite; a short walk away. Having not been inside the hotel before I suggested they stay there, I was happy to know that they found it to be a good place to stay despite the fact their room did not overlook the lake. . But as I gathered from Jean, and I am not quoting her word for word. but it was something like, "What can be so wrong if all you do is sleep and shower there."
It really was nice having all four of the ladies here. Because of Jean and Francine, I got to eat out at a few of my favorite places without having to eat alone. We had dinner at TooJays a neighborhood eatery on Monday night mainly because it was Valentines Day and all of the major eating places like the Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill had waiting lines spilling outside their doors. But for a second choice place to eat the food was very good. On Tuesday we walked less than a block to my favorite Thai restaurant. On Thursday, we finally got back to the Olive Garden. No waiting line.  I tried their gluten free pasta and was not impressed.
This morning I picked Jean and Francine up at the hotel. We all had a sleep in morning.  ahhhh.....  After a late breakfast at Mimi's Cafe I took them to the airport.
So here I sit.  I think I can get back to my usual life. The tables have been folded up but not taken to my little storage room, which is down the hallway and around the corner.  There were none closer to my front door when I requested one.  But that will be tomorrow's chore. My sewing table and the table I raised for cutting is piled high with stuff that needed to be put back in its proper place.   
The major task for today was to get two quilts rolled, wrapped and ready to be shipped off. One to Paducah for the Lancaster Show and one to Houston for the IQA show in Cincinnati. The it was off to the UPS Store.   

Future teaching:
For those of you in central Florida and have asked for my large flower class. One is scheduled at Queen Anne's Lace Quilt Shop in Kissimmee. So far nine have signed up for it so it will be held. That class due to classroom space is limited to 12, so there are 3 spaces left. It is a 2 session class with the first one scheduled for March 5 and the second session April 2.
I am seriously contemplating  hosting more workshops in Apartment 434. If you are interested in coming to study with me, let me know. I can't guarantee that the sun will be shining  everyday while you are here. But despite cooking not being something I go out of my way to do, I really can put together a pretty good lunch.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The flip side of bad is good

So in the wake of my bad news last week, I'm reporting on my good news, which is  "Morning Glories" one of my latest painted pieces was accepted into "Celebrate Spring, a Judged IQA competition to be held in Cincinnati, OH.  Four show entries since I decided to get back into the quilt show arena and I have had four acceptances. Not bad? 
Not sure about the rules for showing the piece so for now I won't.
I am back working on the large piece I had planned to enter in AQS Paducah, but time got from me and then too I got way-layed with that  coughing episode that kept me down and out for week two months back.  So I started quilting it again last week in an effort to finish it with no real destination for it in mind.  In some ways that it good, I won't rush through it and bad, because I tend to procrastinate.  And it does take some effort and muscle I must say to wrestle it through my sewing machine.  More and more as i work on it, the HQ16 begins to look better and better to me.
I haven't quilted a piece this large 55" x 60+" in a very long time and I can't with  it for long.  So I take frequent breaks.  Unlike smaller pieces that I do, 40" or less I  go into a Zen state and can sit and quilt for hours.
At the rate I'm going it will be the end of Feb. at the earliest before it is ready to be blocked, trued up and faced.  Will let you all see it at that stage.
In a couple of weeks I will have three ladies joining me in my in home/studio space to study with me for three days.  Two are from Chicago and one is nearly local.  I am looking forward to doing this.  If all goes well,  I might be open to doing it again if there is an interest in semi-private less of 2-3  students in the future.
When I am taking a break from the quilting I am trying to teach myself how to work in CorelDraw.  I had CorelDraw 8 for many years, but it wouldn't load on my current laptop so I brought CorelDraw x 5 which seems a little more intuitive.  But I haven't been able to master the parts of the program that will allow me to use some photographs of flowers and manipulate then into compositions. 
If self study fails, all hope is not lost.  Caryl Fallert is offering a 4 day class in this process at her studio that I am seriously considering taking.   
Sorry there are no pictures again for the second blog post in a row. My daughter Lyn in the middle of the storm moving through the middle of Missouri, sent me a picture of the bench in her back garden.  The snow depth is about three inches short of the 18" high seat.  And it is still snowing heavily she said.  So I won't rub salt into the wound by showing you sunshine, palm trees and near 80 degree tempertures.
To all in the path of the storm, stay warm, stay safe and creative.