Monday, June 27, 2005

Cleaned out and rearranged

From the entrance

After arriving home from QSDS I was so frustrated with the state of my studio I had to do a thorough cleaning and rearranging. I had only a small area in which to do fabric painting and it kept attracting stuff so that the actual area in which to work kept diminishing. What I really wanted was a space 4x8 that I could walk around and getting that was going to require a lot of furniture moving and organization.

And so here it is, after trips to the dump, GoodWill, Home Depot, and JoAnn's. A lot of stuff has been moved to a closet, out of sight. This is the view as I come down the stairs (my studio is in the basement; the door on the far wall goes to a never used stairwell).

Design wall

And I also wanted a larger area for a design wall and here it is! More than 8 feet wide, wider than I will probably every need.

Looking back

From the other side of the room, looking back towards the stairwell. You can see the door to the closet (on the right) and a very tidy bookcase.

Sewing table

Here is the sewing table, with my thread drawers within easy reach. There was a constraint on the arrangement of the furniture: the water valve cut-off is in the wall just off to the left of my sewing table. It has to be easily accessible for those water emergency events so I couldn't put the table right up against the wall. There's about 12", but it becomes a place to put a few things.

Another bookcase

The view to the right of the closet door, showing another very tidy bookcase and my ironing surface.

Fabric boxes

And underneath the work tables are boxes of fabric. And as you can see, there is still room for more boxes! Now all I have to do is get to work. I almost hate messing up this nice, orderly space.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Finally, as I promised...

Prodded by an inpatient reader, I have finally gotten around to taking pictures and posting some of my pieces from Fran Skiles' class. While I don't plan to forsake fabric and stitching, I do want to incorporate some of these techniques into the surface design that I do. Not exactly sure how that's going to happen. So here are some pictures:

Small, 12" x 12"

This one started off as part of a larger piece that I didn't like so I cut it into several pieces. The cheesecloth is glued down with lots of gloss medium.

Small, 12" x 12"

This one started out as a test piece where I could practice with a technique before using it on the 'real' pieces. Then I began to like what was happening and added more to it.

Large, 24" x 30"

The theme of this one started as windows and gates, but that sort of got lost with all the other stuff added on. The large green circles that span the upper half were done by cutting a stencil out of sticky back contact paper and putting that onto the back of a piece of pellon, then screening through that. Because some of the screened image was onto gloss, which is very slick, the paint tended to smear. But you can only see that up close, and besides, it's not intended to be a perfect circle.

Small, 12" x 15"

The hotel gave the class a large roll of heavy duty, sort of waxed paper that we were using as drop cloths. In an experimental mode, I adhered it to a leftover from the cut apart piece to see if the paper would be transparent. The answer is yes. You can see some background images, and the paint transfer from the cheesecloth. This made a very rubbery surface, and the piece is very stiff.

Large, 24" x 30"

I was getting tired of the gold/yellow/red color, so this one I painted green. It's in a sort of grid pattern, but also had painted swirls done with a syringe.

Small - 15" x 15"

I can't decide if this one is finished or not. It's got alot of the gloss medium on it so it's very stiff and shiny.

After I unpacked all my stuff back into my studio and started feeling very claustrophobic. There was just way too much stuff and no room in which to work. So I have begun a major cleaning out and rearranging. Lots of stuff going to Goodwill, and lots more to the dump. Everything is getting putting away (where I will probably never find it again), and I'm planning on setting 2 tables side by side to get a 60" x 72" work area that I can walk around. Right now the place is all torn up, but I am making progress. Stay tuned for more reports.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Home again

After a very long drive, I'm home again. The boxes and stuff is inside the house, but not unpacked. I took pictures of everybody's work wall except my own, so I don't have any pictures of the final product. I will have to do that tomorrow and then upload some of them, because I've made more changes to some of the ones I already posted.

It was a great class and I worked in a totally different medium, so it was mind expanding. Most of the finished pieces are much too stiff to be stitched through and they're not really intended to be layered like quilts. Not that there aren't already many layers of stuff, especially the gloss medium, which I think I have finally gotten totally off my hands.

Now to begin the unfun task of returning all my stuff to its proper place. I've already signed up for the class I want to take next year, but because everybody else wants to take it also, I'm on the waiting list. I sure hope somebody changes her mind; actually I hope several people change their minds!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lots of color!

Small, about 12" x 12"

Been too busy to post to this blog! We've been painting, smooshing, inking, whatever. I never realized gloss medium had so many uses; it's the glue that holds everything together. It's difficult to get it off your hands after it dries and if you've been using it with paint, your hands take on that color also. My yellow and red hands have been rather alarming.

These pieces are still works in progress. We're really building them up layer upon layer, making ink marks, applying ink stained papers, applying painted/decorated silk, xerox copies, stamp marks. Everything is fair game and nothing gets thrown away. And is it ever messy!

This one is about 2' x 3'.

This one is about 18" x 24".

Monday, June 13, 2005

Monday - Fran Skiles class

The University Plaza Hotel is very accommodating. They set up all the rooms with big tables, cover the floor with plastic, serve pretty decent meals (this year we get a glass of wine with dinner!), and are always looking for ways to help us out. One of the required materials for our class was cotton duck, and if you forgot yours, why, the hotel had some duck just waiting for you :)

Mama Duck

Here is our classroom. You can see we are all quite busy working away, getting our hands into the paint and gel medium. It's sort of like thick Elmer's Glue and you can tell who has been in Fran's class because they're picking dried medium off their fingers all day long.


We took our black duck and made a "construction" out of it, sewing a pleat and inserting some cutouts. These will be providing texture to the piece later on in the week, but that's about all I know about it. I think this picture will be a little hard to see since it's very black and I could have taken a picture of one of the white ones, but this is what was up on the board. The white lines are big embroidery stitches, also to provide texture.

Black construction

We brought oodles of xerox copies both color and black/white. We sewed pieces of the copies together to make a collage, but it's a mystery what this might be for. We'll all have to wait until later in the week to find out.


Sort of finished

Much improved over yesterday, but still not my best work. Teri, those may be coffee cups but they're filled with dirty paint water! Today I start in Fran's class. Gotta get breakfast now and take the rest of my supplies to the room.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Day 1 of class

Table at 9am

Here's my table before I started doing anything. I'm in Leslie Gabrielse's class and we're doing applique the way he does it. Starts with a crinoline backing, puts the batting on top of that, then starts putting down fabric. He cuts away the behind stuff by pulling up the top layers. It's not intuitive for me and a bit frustrating.

Table at 4pm

Here's my table at the end of the day, not too messy, but I've cleaned it off a bit. During the morning we did stenciling from simple paper shapes, then in the afternoon worked with fabric creating a composition. I'm using some simple shapes (paintcan and paintbrush) but making them with some wild prints. I'm not real confident that it's going to pull itself together in the end. You have to use your imagination to turn those blobs of fabric into a paintcan. See for yourself.

Paintcan and brush

Thursday, June 09, 2005

All my bags are packed

This is what I'm taking to QSDS, or at least most of it. Doesn't include my clothes because I haven't packed them yet. Clothes are the least important item. I'm taking my husband's laptop so I can read email and hopefully post pictures and messages to my blog. The hotel has free wireless internet and I promise to try harder to keep my blog up to date than I did when I was in France.

I'm riding with Martha, my partner in crime, and we're picking up Linda in Belgium, who is visiting the area for her son's graduation, the QN opening (her quilt is on the back cover of the catalog!), and QSDS. It's going to be about an 8 hour drive, but with three people talking, the time will fly. The drive through western Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania is beautiful, but it flattens out alot after crossing the Ohio River. Luckily from that point it's only 2 more hours.

My next post will be from Columbus, yeah!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Next week I'm off to Columbus Ohio for the Quilt Surface Design Symposium. I'm taking a 2 day class with Leslie Gabrielese and a 5 day class with Fran Skiles. I love going to QSDS - meeting up with old friends, learning new techniques and skills, and most of all the general atmosphere. It's a constant high from early morning to late at night. I can't wait!

As part of the conference there is a silent auction of small art quilts, 9" x 9". Using the scraps from the previous quilt, I've made a little piece that somehow turned out looking like an abstract eye. I plan to donate this, but it always leaves me with a queasy feeling. Not because I don't want to give up the quilt, but because I'm always fearful that nobody will want it and it will be the lone piece left on the table, pointing out to all the world that I'm a fraud, or something like that. Baring my insecurities for everybody to see here.... So if you're going to QSDS, please put in a bid on my quilt. Or you could email a bid to

They're auctioned off at the end of the 4th session, and I will be home by then, so I won't have to be witness to whatever happens....

I put this directly on the scanner, which seemed to be wide enough, but apparently not because it cut off the sides.

Here's looking at you!