Thursday, November 30, 2006

Upcoming Exhibits

For the coming month and into January I have two exhibits, both invitational. The first is fairly local, at the Carroll County Arts Center, Westminster, Maryland. Entitled Not Quite Quilts, it is a survey of different styles of quilts from traditional to art quilts. There will be quilts by 8 different people. The show runs from December 7 through February 3 and the opening reception is Friday December 8 from 5-7pm. There is also a showing of the movie "How to Make an American Quilt".

These are the pieces on exhibit:

High Noon
25" x 15.5"

On the Edges
37" x 23"

The Ides of March
23" x 46"

The second show came about because the gallery owner was surfing the Internet and came up on my web page. (SCENE) Metrospace Gallery in East Lansing, Michigan, an alternative art gallery. Here is more information:

410 Abbott Road, East Lansing, MI
Opening Friday, December 8, 2006
through Sunday, January 7, 2007
Wednesday through Friday afternoons from 1-4p.m.
Friday evenings from 6-9 p.m., Saturdays from 6-9 p.m.,
Sundays from 1-4 p.m. during scheduled exhibits

Their web page is pretty sparce but their shows have been written up in the local news. I will have four pieces in this show.

Ventanas I
12 3/4" x 10"

Ventanas IV
13" x 10"

Ventanas V
12" x 9"

Ventanas: Reflections
52" x 18"

In other news I received 100 meters of bleached mercerized cotton broadcloth from Testfabrics yesterday. It's 60" wide and weighs a ton. Luckily it only comes from Pennsylvania so I'm not paying an arm and a leg for shipping. Just an arm. It's interesting that they measure the width in inches but the length in meters....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Book Reviews

I purchased two new surface design books and after reading them thought I would share some information. The first one is Holly Brackman's new book The Surface Designer's Handbook .
The subtitle of this book is Dyeing, Printing, Painting, and Creating Resists on Fabric. This is really an excellent book with tons of information. She covers fiber reactive dyes, vat dyes, disperse dyes, and acid dyes. There are chapters on discharging and devore. Other surface design techniques include screen printing, monoprinting, stamping, stenciling, resists, embellishments, and textile paints. This book is a primer for those just beginning who want to get a detailed overview of what's available and yet still has loads of information for those who are more experienced.

The second book is Carolyn Dahl's Transforming Fabric, another book on surface design. The subtitle here is 30 Creativae Ways to Paint, Dye, and Pattern Cloth and she delivers what she has promised. Some of the techniques are leaf printing, sponge and foam printing, resist dyeing, heat transfer dyes, hand cut stamps, wax resists, and silk painting. This book is less technical than Brackman's book, that is, her directions are not quite as specific and the reader has to be willing to try it out without worrying about the precise steps involved. Great for the adventurous and there is enough information for the beginner to get goin.

I can't recommend that one is better than the other but together there is enough information to keep the surface designer busy for a long time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Diversion

I've been remiss in posting here. Lots of stuff has happened and I've thought about posting it. Lots of good intentions but little action. I got two books from Amazon and they're both very good; more about them in a later post. The Patrons Preview Party went well and I sold a small piece. My quilts were spread out onto tables instead of being hung up on the wall and it was an invitation to everybody to lay their hands on them. Next year I will specify that my work must be hung, just like the paintings.

This past weekend I went on a retreat with my local guild. Two days of nothing but sewing. They serve us our (edible but plain) meals and the accommodations are about 2 levels above spartan, but it's lots of fun to be with friends and see what everybody is doing. I owed a baby quilt to my great niece who was born last spring and I was determined to get it done. I finished all but stitching the binding down and I would have managed that also except I didn't plan well and had to do it by hand.

I love these bright colors! It's all commercial fabrics and I just grabbed pieces from the fabric annex more or less randomly. Cut them into 1 1/2" strips and tried to have no duplicated fabrics in a block. I'm thinking about doing something along the same lines for own bed, but it would require 144 blocks instead of just 36. Hmmm...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Beautiful Fall Day

It's mid November and it's warm enough to go outside without a jacket. These days are getting rarer so they have to be appreciated. We had a killing frost last week so I've pulled out all the icky impatiens remains and tossed them into the compost bin. They remind me of cold wet lettuce, another thing I hate to touch. The maple and the chinese elm in my backyard are in glorious color, but it won't last long. The sky is a perfect blue and it all just calls out for picture taking.

In a few days these trees will have lost all their leaves and the winter blues will be just around the corner.

On the up side I just got some bolts of silk, tjaps, an electric tjanting, and some dye from Dharma; I'm waiting for some books from Amazon; I'm going to order some PFD from Testfabrics; and I got a new laptop. Lots of new toys to keep me busy.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Frequently we talk about professionalism in the art quilt world. Many of us are hampered by our backgrounds. What I mean is that we have come to this place through the quilt world and not through the art world, and there is a distinct lack of knowledge about what the art world is and how it functions. The learning process is difficult and painful and not always very nice. We want things to be nice and ladylike and that's not going to be the case. If we stick to exhibiting in quilt shows, we haven't any right to complain that the greater art world isn't accepting fiber with open arms.

I read an article in yesterday's New York Times about the difficulty that foreign athletes have in obtaining visas to the US in order to compete here. Yesterday was the New York Marathon and since there are big money prizes, it attracts athletes from all over the world. But since 9/11, those who need visas are subjected to much more scrutiny, and the process has gone from taking only a few days to six months or longer. Quite a few have missed the opportunity to run because of not getting their applications in in a timely fashion. A quote from the from Mary Wittenberg, the race director: "If you’re a serious athlete, you’ve got a lot to take seriously." That applies to us directly: if we're going to be serious artists, then we have a lot to take seriously.

On Thursday I am delivering six pieces to an exhibit that benefits the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. This is going to be quite an extravagant event. There will be 500 pieces of art for sale. On the postcard is a list of the exhibiting artists and among those names I found Sol LeWitt, Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, and Joyce Scott. And moi. So it really runs the gamut, and I'm thrilled to be included in this event. The patrons' preview party and silent auction on Fridayis only open to those who are willing to pay $500/couple for the opportunity to attend. As a participating artist, I get a complimentary ticket to this event, and in my efforts to be a serious artist, I think that I should be there. I am not the least bit comfortable in a crowd where I don't know anybody and have to make small talk, but this is an opportunity that I shouldn't let pass me by.

And they used an image of one of my pieces (albeit lopped off on one edge) on their web site.