Sunday, September 23, 2012

Looking back on yesterday

and a day at a quilt show. 
Here's Joyce getting a close look.
This is the second time I have attended the Jacksonville Quiltfest  show in Jacksonville, FL  as part of being the bus trip coordinator for the quilt guild I joined.   There were 18 of us in total on board for the 2 hour trip.  Fewer than last year but a good group non-the-less.  Last year I traveled about the show on my own.  Some times traveling about on your own at your own pace is a good thing.  Last year I looked at the quilts, shopped the vendors a little then spent a good amount of time sitting in the lobby reading and waiting for the others on the bus to be done. 
This year I partnered with Joyce, our guild's quilt show chairman, who I have gotten to know since moving here.  Funny, while she does more traditional work, "a lot of hand applique'" which she does with master level skills I must say. I knew she loves using flowers in her work, but as we moved down each row and from quilt to quilt it became apparent that we had the same reaction to the quilts on exhibit at the show. When we took a break later in the afternoon, we discovered if we both had better recall we would have remembered seeing one another at several of the Vermont Quilt Festival we attended  the same years way back in the early 90's.
It's one thing to see the trends and newest things in quilting at really big national show (Houston - Paducah for example) and be blown over by the bold in your face use of some techniques then step away, visit smaller guild shows and regional show and see how the trends filter down to the "average doing it for the love of it quilter" which is not unlike  how run way fashions filter down to what you see Macy's.
A year maybe two years ago my friend Kathy Loomis wrote about all the sparkly stuff on quilts she saw at a show in Cincinnati, Ohio.  This year at the Jacksonville Quiltfest show, there were sparkles, but they were few and far between and only sprinkled about the surface instead of being an over whelming in your face presence.

What I took note of was the number of pieces made from commercial patterns or influenced by the work and teachings of national teacher and  what may be somewhat of a trend was the quilts constructed with really small pieces.  Big quilts composed of really small 3-4 inch block, or 1-2 inch squares, noticeably done with foundation piecing for precision.  I also noticed the color black was used a lot as well as segmented circles (variations of mariners compasses or Dresden Plate).   
There were a few hand quilted pieces and one I liked that employed the "big stitch"  The machine quilting varied from the all over programed mattress pad look to some really great work which I noticed was done on a piece by someone who had taken a couple of classes with me.... looking good Norma!!! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The good. The bad and Stop You're Killing Me

The good.  The weather here has been really nice of late; lower temps, gentle breezes and low...low for around here humidity, non stormy brief rains  all of which collectively  means I hate to stay inside with the windows and door to the outside closed, blessing the air conditioning.  When it is hot and humid I must admit I get more done by way of my art.  But give me a great out of doors day and bye bye sewing machine... gotta go.  Gonna take a walk in the sunshine.  So I'm back to walking the neighborhood. Remembering always to wear a hat on my head and to take along an umbrella both for  rain showers and for shade when the shade from trees along the way are few and far between.  Now I understand why women of the south in the old days and in the tropics carried parasols.

I walk to the movies, to Barnes and Nobles when I want the latest issue of an art magazine, to local restaurants for lunch or dinner or to the pharmacy for my prescription refill or to the market for a few easy to carry items.  If only I could roll out of bed earlier and get back into walking around the lake in the mornings. Maybe that too will come....
But mostly the good means I read and boy have I been reading a lot of late which brings me to the bad.
The bad.  My Nook.  Yes I know it could also be considered the good.  I do love having it, if not for the fact that getting a new book to read is sssooooo easy.  It's just a matter of reading the last word in the last book no matter what time of the day or the middle of the night and how  easy it is to go online to get another.  The good/easy.  The bad; you should see my bank card statement. 
When it comes to deciding what to read next I use my laptop to find the answer to that.  My first stop has always been the Barnes and Nobles 24/7 website.  Of course they aid my reading addiction  help out by sending me e-mail notices of new releases  and when said releases will be available.  As nice as that is I don't  have a file in the back of my head that keeps these dates and the newest book titles  by my favorite authors available for quick recall.

While browsing their website  I saw  there was a new Lee Childs, Jack Reacher book available and a new release in the Eve Dallas "In Death series by J. D. Robb.  Needless to say I downloaded them post-haste into my Nook and read them. 
My favorite reads/genre  since the first Nancy Drew novel I read in my pre-teens years has been the mystery/thriller/cops sort of stuff that keeps you guessing the who, sometimes the why, the how and features a continuing main character and supporting characters.
The middle of last week as I finished one book and was on the hunt for others I came across a very helpful website that is becoming my go to first website.  That brings me to...
Stop you're killing me :  If you love my favorite genre you will like this website.  I like this  website because it gives me several ways to find  all the books written in chronological order by an author featuring my favorite characters.  While on the SYKM website when you click on a title it will  take you to where you can buy the books or read a brief synopsis of the book.  Since the Nook came into my life it is rare that I will buy a paper versions of a book I want to read for fun.  99% of the time I download them.    I've read, listened to, on tape or CD, so many book that I don't remember titles  but give me a few sentences (clues) and I know instantly if I have or not.  So let me say here and now that I am not promoting or Barnes and Nobles   I am simply telling you what I have discovered and for me having on the Amazon site that brief synopsis available to read is a very good thing

This time last weekend I was being the class angel in one of the two classes Ellen Lindner taught for my Local Quilt Guild.   Between keeping everything running smoothly for her and the participants (the facility/room set-up, students settled in, lunch, etc) I read.
 I plan to take a book along with me on the bus trip to the Jacksonville Quilt Show this coming Saturday too.
Next up on my read list is a "Back Fire" a Dillion Savich/Lucy Sherlock FBI series by Catherine Coulter after I finish "Bad Faith" by Robert Tannenbaum a Butch Karp NYC/DA series. 
So far now and for me today it is back to the balcony with my Nook, butt in one chair, feet propped on the other with a cup of coffee later maybe with a glass of iced tea.  Reading....


Friday, September 07, 2012

I've spent the better part of 2 days

trying to get my quilts to smile pretty for the camera. I take quick shot of my work as it is in progress and  shots of it to show what I am up to  on this blog, but that  kind of photography is what i'd call casual point and shot.
Over the last several months I have finished 6 pieces of which  I didn't have any entry quality images  and or close no up detail shots.  So with several deadlines looming I set up for a photo session on the balcony.  One after another I pinned and straightened each piece and took multiple shots at different camera settings.
But the natural light was too bright and the images looked washed out.  If only I had read my camera manual, I would have learned how to resolve that issue, but there went a few hours of my life.
If I wasn't on a deadline to get the images done (one exhibit has a 9/8 post mark deadline) I would have put it off and  waited for an overcast day, but around here, overcast can also mean, get ready, it's going to rain.  Which is what did happen later that day. And yesterday it not only rained, it poured and the wind blew, really blew.
I tried setting up inside yesterday.  Brought in lights, but that didn't help.  Then I found the manual for my camera, read it and set up again for shooting on my design wall only to look and see that one of the spot lights in the ceiling was burned out causing uneven lighting on every piece. But with added lights I got on with it.

I am still not entirely happy with the colors, mainly because  I have the real pieces to compare to the images I see on my computer screen.  Yes I realize that my unhappiness could be due to my monitor and not the images themselves.

As many times as you look at your work real size with your eyes, there is nothing like looking at it through the eye of a camera or with a reducing glass.  Using a reducing glass was a habit I had when I did pieced work, but have stepped away from now that  I am painting.  - Gotta get back to doing that. -  Now back to the point I was heading toward.  As I was taking pictures of the quilts it gave me a chance to really look at what I thought were finished work.  But to my surprise as I looked through the camera at this piece I became increasingly unhappy with it.  So I grabbed a marker and some ink and fabric paint and had at it.  Here is what I did.


 Now I am happier.