Thursday, December 29, 2005

Various goings on

Santa actually visited us, had to deliver a few presents that had gotten misplaced somewhere on his sled. This was quite an event for the grandchildren. Will (almost 5) knows who Santa is but is pretty hesitant to get close; he overcomes his shyness to get his present and have a picture. Rebecca (almost 3) doesn't quite understand Santa, but does understand presents, and is cautious but daring. Audrey (27 months) is having nothing to do with this guy and actually ran out of the room as he entered. No Santa! No Santa! She finally let her Daddy carry her close enough to get her present, but no picture, no way. Santa didn't have a present for me, but I still got a picture.

I finished the green thing and here it is. Rayna says she never would have guessed that I had made it. Not my usual color scheme, definitely not my usual style. I think it's pretty far off my beaten track and I am undecided as to whether I'm going to continue down this path, abandon it, or bring a few of these techniques into what I already do.

Here is a closeup of the stitching. I love this stitching and similar dense free motion zigzag stitching may show up in other pieces.

This last piece is small, 8x10, and is a sample for a proposal for a commission. The theme behind this piece is that data/information is important in management skills. I've made some thermofax screens using images of the stock listings, names of business management magazines, and some other stuff. I put this little piece together to show an example of the kinds of fabrics and stitching that would comprise the finished piece.

Next task is to look at the list of upcoming show entry deadlines and figure out what I have available to enter and what shows I want to submit them to. And write checks. In 2005 I have already shelled out $360 in entry fees. Yikes.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve Eve

Yesterday just after sunset, 4 deer walked through my back yard. Deer around here are fairly common but it is unusual to actually see them in the yard. My neighborhood is composed of houses with lots around 1/3 to 1/2 acre, but there are lots of trees and we're not far from a heavily wooded area and some parkland. A lot of people consider deer to be pests because they eat the shrubbery and destroy a lot of landscaping, but they don't do that in my yard, so I can enjoy seeing them. Some other wildlife that I've seen around my house are red foxes and barred owls and hummingbirds; some wildlife that has invited itself into my house include mice and squirrels.

Last night for dinner we had Malnotti's Deep Dish Chicago pizza. This is a special treat since it has to be shipped from Chicago packed in dry ice via next day air. I think the shipping costs more than the pizza. Before my husband and I were married and we lived near Chicago, we would go to Pizzeria Uno's for their deep dish pizza. This was long before Uno's became a national chain; the restaurant was a cramped little bar/restaurant where patrons could write on the walls. But I digress. Lou Malnotti was a chef at Uno's who left and started his own place and somewhere along the line figured out that displaced Chicagoans would pay dearly to have their favorite pizza shipped to them. He was right.

We also have been known to bring back pizza in our suitcases when we visit family in Chicago. We actually have a special soft sided suitcase that can be folded up empty, stuffed into another suitcase, and then filled with pizza to take home.

So last night we ate two of the pizzas, and there are two more in the freezer waiting for a special moment.

All my shopping is complete so I don't have to go anywhere today and I will be making bread pudding with caramel sauce. The bread pudding is good, but the caramel sauce is fabulous. It could make cardboard taste good. Tomorrow I'll be making turkey with stuffing, cranberry-orange relish, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a token green vegetable which nobody but me will eat. Just the basics, no fancy stuff. And no deviations from the standard menu either.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cookies etc.

Last night I made my last 2 batches of Christmas cookies using my tried and true recipe for spritz. Unfortunately, I managed to get the scraper wedged between the beaters and now the beaters are severely bent up. Went online to see if I could find somewhere to purchase new beaters and lo and behold I discovered that not only is this mixer not manufactured anymore, its manufacturers have gone out of business and the mixer is now described on eBay as Vintage, probably manufactured in the 50's. It originally belonged to my husband's grandmother, so it has had a long and useful life. Here it is:

The charming little piece of masking tape is there to keep the speed control low. The head vibrates and that causes the speed control to slowly work its way from Speed 1 (Adding Ingredients, Stirring, Folding) up to Speed 10 (Juicing, Power Drive Attachements) and it sounds like it's about ready to lift off. The beaters are still useable but maybe it's time I bought myself a new mixer.

So now the cookie dough is ready to go through the cookie press. I pull out my Vintage Miro Alumilite Cookie Press, which has a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval dated from 1926. I don't know if this one is quite that old, I sort of doubt it, but maybe it's from the 40's or 50's - it belonged to my Mother. It cost $2.50 new. Two fifty in 1940 dollars is $31.80 today; $2.50 in 1950 dollars is $17.76 today. Scary.

There is also a little recipe booklet of fancy cookies along with the instructions on how to use this thing. Believe me, it takes alot more than that delicate little twisting motion to push the cookie dough out.

So my grandchildren will be eating cookies made by their grandmother using their great-grandmother's cookie press and their great-great-grandmother's mixer. However, the ingredients were fresh...

And just to keep some fiber stuff in here, here's a picture of what I'm working on. I put aside the previous piece; I tried some changes and nothing pleased me, so that one is still fermenting. This new one (of which this is only a detail) is smaller, about 18 x 24, and this size is working better for me. Once you start heavily stitching, you are more or less committed to doing that throughout, otherwise you end up with flat spots surrounded by mountains. This has alot of stitching and I like the effect, so far.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Decorating the tree

I read Lisa's blog about what she accomplished yesterday and the goals she has set for just the next week. Makes me feel like a lazy slug. Here's what I did yesterday: went grocery shopping, read email, baked a batch of cookies, read email, ate lunch, took a short nap, read email, went to the grocery store again to get some stuff for dinner because we're decorating the tree and the kids and grandkids are coming over, read email, ate dinner, baked another batch of cookies, decorated the tree, read email, went to bed. I think I need a plan.

So anyhow, this year the grandkids did the tree decorations. Here is the tree:

There are lights on it but it's too bright to see them. Notice the distribution of the ornaments, this is what you get when the decorators are all under 3 feet tall.

And none of this 'one ornament to a branch' rule. More is better, obviously. I laugh everytime I walk by the tree.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Big One

For the past few days I've been down with a cold and have not had the energy to do much more than lie around and read and nap. And whine. The only one around here during the day to listen to my whining is Chuck.

And you can see what an impression I'm making on him. So today I decided to at least pretend I felt well enough to do something. Went back into the studio determined to at least get some fabric composed into something that more or less looks like art. Decided to not even try matching my cartoon by making templates and just put the fabric down and cut it sort of following my design lines. I still needed to sketch some lines and that was difficult and rather than bore you to death with the exact procedure, it's enough to say that it was not a good plan, and the engineering still needs more work.

This is it, size is about 24" x 36". I'm letting it ferment for a while so I can think about what more it needs. Stitching, obviously. But maybe also more pieces of fabric to introduce close-up interest. And I'm not sure I'm going to keep those two pieces of greeny yellow fabric on the top right of the yellow swath. I don't like those shapes very much. Comments?

I've added one of those notification thingies that lets you know when there is a new post. It's from FeedBlitz and it's over in the right hand column below the Archives and above the Cool Places to Visit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Why make postcards?

Annabel wants to know what these fabric postcards are, why everybody is doing them, are they frustrating because they're so small, and what does one do with all these postcards anyhow?

These little postcards are bits of fiber art that can actually be sent through the US Mail as is (after adding a stamp, of course.) The Art2Mail website has lots of information starting with how the Postcard Project got started, how people are making them, and some of the uses for the postcards. Virginia Spiegel's FiberArt for a Cause has raised more than $33,000 for The American Cancer Society through the sale of postcards both from the website and also at the International Quilt Festival. Other uses? Anything you can think of - collecting, trading, selling, whatever.

I feel that the size is a challenge because it's difficult to make a good composition in such a small space. On the other hand, it doesn't take a big time committment to do something that is only 4" x 6", so if one turns out less than spectacular, well, it's easy to just move on to the next one.

The ones that I have been working on are small studies and I've started on a larger (about 24" x 36") piece. I haven't solved all my construction challenges yet, and translating from small to large is not as easy as one would hope. I put a lot of stitching on the postcards, and I like the effect. Will I be putting that much stitching on the large piece? Haven't answered that yet.

I still am hung up on the template thing because I don't want to use them (i.e. I'm lazy). Maybe I will try just cutting big pieces of fabric and putting them together and fill in the holes as needed. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Six from One

More postcards. Taking a tip from a friend, I started with a piece slightly larger than 12" x 12" and did all the stitching at that size. Much more efficient use of time and didn't have to change threads after only a few stitches. This is the whole:

And these are the parts:

I did attempt to lay out the fabric with the final postcards in mind so I could have the lighter colored strips down the center area. I think it worked pretty well for the most part. For the kind of stitching I'm doing here, free motion zig zag, I don't think I can make the piece any bigger because the timtex is so stiff. I wouldn't be able to move it around under the needle and I want to get the zig zags going in different directions.

My episode is coming up on Simply Quilts this week: Wednesday, 8:30AM Eastern/7:30AM Central. First five minutes, so don't blink.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Yesterday we woke up to several inches of heavy, wet snow, the kind that brings branches crashing down. The kind that needs to be shoveled off the driveway before it can freeze because my driveway is a hill. Not real long, but definitely up.

Unfortunately, yesterday was also moving day at my husband's office and I had volunteered to help (what was I thinking?). My job ended up being moving patient files (there had to be at least a million) off the shelves and into boxes and then moving the boxes. I estimate that I loaded and moved 75 boxes, each weighing about 25 pounds (although they seemed to get heavier as the day went on). Good thing I do those workouts at the gym.

Anyhow, I come home, it's after dark, and the temperature has dropped. I park the car at the top of the driveway where the hill is steepest, go down to the street to get the mail, and as I'm coming back up the driveway, the car begins to slide down. This could be a really bad situation, I tell myself. But it stops sliding after about a foot. Got back in and moved it down to a flatter spot. No more sliding.

But because I didn't shovel yesterday and we drove up and down on the slushy snow, there are now tracks of ice 2" thick with frozen snow on either side. So I've pretty much spent today shoveling and spreading salt and I'm down to bare pavement except for where the ice was the thickest. Maybe the sun will take care of that.

Now, before you ask why my husband isn't out there shoveling, he does have the legitimate excuse of having had surgery 3 weeks ago and isn't allowed to pick up heavy things yet. So between yesterday's and today's efforts, he owes me big time. :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A little bigger

Two posts in one day, how productive of me! Here it is, size is 7" x 10".

Haven't made up my mind yet. I think I don't like the white shape coming up from the lower left, needs to be longer or something. Changing thread so much is tiresome but it won't be so often when the whole piece gets bigger. I enjoy using the thread so get more shading but I've realized that if I use dark fabric I don't have much leeway in thread choices except to go lighter.


Last night we had the first significant snow of the season. There is about 4" accumulated on the grassy areas, but the pavements are clear. They were out salting but also it's not been cold enough for the snow to stick to the roads. Anyhow, around here, all we need to have is a forecast of snow for everybody to go into panic mode. People run to the grocery store to hoard white stuff: bread, milk, and toilet paper. I can sort of understand bread and milk, but toilet paper? Doesn't one usually have more than a few days supply of toilet paper??? So yesterday the schools all closed early and today they started 2 hours late, so they still had the opportunity to close if they thought it necessary (i.e. a slick spot on a road somewhere). I grew up in Chicago and we never got off from school because of snow.

This is the view from the picture windows in my living room. As you can see, it's not very much snow, but it's pretty on the trees and bushes.

Another view. By this afternoon it will mostly be gone from the bushes and melted away.

I've enlarged one of the slot canyon views to 8" x 10" and have cut templates and put the fabrics together. Today I plan to put stitching on it. I don't like doing templates but I can't see any way around it if I want to get the effect I'm aiming for. Time to get back to work.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Back to red

I tried doing this one in neutrals, tans, and browns, but it just didn't do anything for me. There was a little pile of reds left over, so I decided to use those again.

Next I'm going to work a little bigger, about 8 x 10. I did a little more filtering in Photoshop and made a cartoon. My friend Elizabeth Poole makes fabulous quilts using photographs from which she makes templates. If you have the latest issue of Quilting Arts, check out her self portrait in red, a full page picture. I've watched her construct her quilts and it's very precise, just like Elizabeth. I don't think that method will work for me, but maybe I can modify it a little so it's not quite so painstaking. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More postcards

It's always easy for me to work in red. So I decided to try a different colorway. So here we have a canyon view in green.

And a second interpretation also in green.

Five more things about me:

11. My favorite class in high school was algebra. It was like doing puzzles all the time. I would save my algebra homework for last, like dessert. Of course, these were pre-calculator days and so we did everything manually. Anybody else remember using a book of tables to do logarithms?

12. I mark my official entry into Art Quilts as June, 1993, when I attended my first Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio. At that time there were very few conferences that concentrated on art quilts and had multi-day classes. I took a 5 day class with Joy Saville on "A Problem Solving Approach to Design". On our materials list it said to bring 5 one yard pieces of fabrics that we found difficult to work with or that we thought were ugly. So that's all the fabric I brought. Everybody else in the class had suitcases full of fabric. I was way out of my comfort zone for sure.

13. I wish I were better at self-promotion.

14. Although I technically not overweight, I wish I there were about 10 pounds less of me. Ten pounds doesn't sound like a lot to lose, but the older one gets, the more entrenched that flesh becomes. I have a difficult time just maintaining my current weight. Losing 10 pounds means serious starvation, and once it's lost, eternal vigilance (and more starvation). I've surrendered to middle age and like Alice in Wonderland, am running as fast as I can just to stay in place.

15. I never read autobiographies. My typical non-fiction genres are crime, suspense, and thriller. Strangely enough, these types of books tend to have black covers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sources for Audio Books

Michele asked about where to download audio books. My local library is part of the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium and also Net Library I think your library has to join with Net Library in order for you to download books. Also, because of licensing, these downloaded audio books won't work on iPods. You can purchase audio books from iTunes, I think. Of course, there are also subscription plans (do a Google search on download audio books). However, I like the free part of getting them from the library.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another postcard

Used another canyon picture today to make a new postcard. I think this one is more successful than yesterday's. I like the white down the center. Placing the stitching so that it overlaps the color is more pleasing also.

Back to the Oct, Nov, and Dec Journals I did several weeks ago, in order to send them (and the rest of the year) off to an arts and crafts show in Connecticut. Not a one sold, really disappointing. Apparently the clientele was more interested in the small jewelry and wearing apparel items, and that's where all the money went. So now I have 2 complete sets of journals January through December, with a few extra Aprils. Buy one or buy the complete set, $150 each. You can see the earlier journals on my web page ; the last three are in earlier blog posts.

I like listening to audio books while I work or work out. As long as I'm doing repetitive tasks like machine quilting or using an elliptical trainer, I can listen and not be distracted by what I'm doing. I borrow them from my library and they have obligingly steadily increased the number of audio books in their collection from a few shelves to an entire section. Then about a month ago I discovered that I can also download audio books and play them on my computer. The idea of sitting in front of the computer and listening wasn't real appealing, but a little more research revealed that the audio book can be transferred to a portable listening device, ie an MP3 player. Now that's cool. It's much easier carrying around a little MP3 player than it is carrying a walkman tape player. Anyhow, it's just like checking out a book - I can play the file for 3 weeks and then it won't play anymore, or I can renew it for another 3 weeks. No overdue fines to pay, no tapes to damage or lose. Now my only problem is making sure my cat doesn't chew apart the earphone wires.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Postcards and more facts

I've been making postcards. First, a bunch of Christmas postcards to add to family gifts. They're all nearly identical - a tree on the front with some decorations and the words Merry Christmas 2005 on the back and a hanger.

Next, I'm working on getting some inspiration by making small versions of pictures that I can hopefully translate into something larger. The original image is a picture I took in Antelope Canyon, Utah while on vacation. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon about 1/4 mile long. It's been carved by flood waters careening down the washes and can be deadly if you're inside when the waters come. The walls are about 50 feet high and never more than about 20 feet apart. At midday when the sun is overhead there are marvelous opportunities for pictures with shafts of sunlight coming down and hitting the floor. We took several hundred pictures, digital is wonderful. I took a few of those images and played around in Photoshop, trying out various filters. I wanted to translate the image into areas of light and dark, not being concerned with the actual picture.

This is the manipulated image.

This is my postcard, first attempt. I used stitching to try to soften the edges between the color blocks.

I need to work on this some more, I think. I have a bunch of other canyon pictures that I have blurred in the same fashion, so there's a lot to play around with.

Five more things about me:

5. I hate touching cold, wet lettuce. But from the popularity of those prewashed, pretorn bags of lettuce at the grocery store, apparently I am not the only one who feels that way.

6. I used to be a runner but after 25,000 miles (I kept track, how compulsive is that) my knees couldn't take it anymore and I had to give it up. Then I tried walking, and eventually my knees protested that also. Now I belong to a gym and work out on an elliptical trainer. So far no problems. I hope I'm not reduced to swimming. Not that I don't like swimming - it's that first shock of getting in the water that stops me.

7. Someday I want to go to Africa, in particular to the Ngorongoro Crater to take pictures of all the animals and scenery.

8. My husband says that he sometimes sees his father when he looks in the mirror these days. I don't yet see my mother in my mirror, but I hear her sometimes when I am talking.

9. When I look at my children I sometimes wonder if they turned out the way they have because of me or inspite of me. I know there are alot of things I would do differently now.

10. I paint and dye all my fabric nowadays. I can't remember the last time I bought commercial fabric. But I still have at least a dozen large boxes of commercial fabric stored in the fabric annex (aka my daughter's old room) and I raid these boxes for quilt backs and baby quilts. I don't seem to be making a dent in them at all. I even went through all the boxes last year and pulled out all the small pieces and gave them away. I gave away several large bags but it only reduced my box count by 3.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Purse, purse, purse

I've spent the last few days making purses. I can never find a purse I like at the price I want to pay (ie not very much). I have specific requirements: shoulder strap, outside pocket to drop my car keys into, inside pockets to organize my stuff, not too big and not too small. So I borrowed a purse from my friend Martha (who also has very specific requirements for her purses) and copied it, with a few refinements. The first one came out well, so I made 2 more. I wrote down my directions so when I want to make another one in a few months, I won't have to totally reinvent the wheel. So here they are:

This is the first one using some Japanese style fabrics that have been sitting in the fabric annex for a while. At first I didn't put the binding around the flap edges but just covered them with a strip of fabric that was wunderundered on. And the strap wasn't right either. After finishing the other two, I re-visited this one and fixed what I didn't like.

I found a piece of yukata (not sure if that's the right word...) that I think I bought from Kasuri Dyeworks in San Francisco a bunch of years ago; also stored in the fabric annex. On this one I quilted around the flower shapes instead of just doing parallel lines. The fortuituous placing of the pink flower was good luck and not good planning.

This is some African design fabric. I was not so lucky on design placement on this one because there is a face mask that ended up upside down on the backside.

I plan to give the pink one to my mother for Christmas, so I hope she's not reading this.

I was tagged by Lisa Call to tell 20 things about me. So here are 5 things to start off:
1. I was born in Chicago in the first half of the last century (doesn't that sound awful?).
2. I dropped out of college after 2 1/2 years to get married. (I eventually finished my degree when I was 40).
3. My children were born in Evanston, Illinois and Towson, Maryland.
4. I have lived in Maryland since 1972. We moved here because my husband is a physician and he interned in Baltimore. After the first winter, where it snowed a total of 1/2", and I was used to 5 months of freezing, snowy, miserable weather in Chicago, I told him I wasn't going back. So we're both still here.
5. One of my first quilts was a Log Cabin Quilt-in-a-Day, tied not quilted, made in Williamsburg blue, cream, and dusky rose. It's looking sort of antique-y now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Journals for November and December

Finished the last two months' journals. November sort of builds on October - using one of the same images but the colors are brown. The trees have lost their leaves and it's starting to look quite dull. There is a little bit of hand stitching; the dark brown pieces are wunderundered down, then stitched along the edges (I just don't trust that stuff...)

December sort of stumped me for a while. It's so grey around here, seems to always be cloudy and of course the sun hardly spends any time above the horizon at all. It's a good thing I don't live further north where the days are even shorter.

So this is composed of several pale grey painted fabrics with a piece of cheesecloth stitched down over top. Sort of swirly, like the chilly winds that go down your neck.

So all of the journals, plus six or seven other pieces have been shipped off to Connecticut for a show next weekend. If I'm lucky, a lot fewer will come home. Somebody might like the idea of having a little quilt for each month of the year.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

October Journal quilt

Two years ago I had quilts in the International Quilt Festival Journal Project. We did journals for the first nine months of the year. It was always in the back of my head to finish out the year, being the kind of person who likes things in order.

Did more sun printing to get this fabric. I wanted to get leaves so that some are fainter than others. Originally I tried to do this by printing some leaves in yellow, then taking off those leaves and putting more down in different positions and printing in orange. The idea was that I would have leaves in white and yellow. Didn't work, the orange just covered up everything else.

Then I figured out that I needed to let the first layer of leaves stay on the fabric even when the second layer is put down. So that's this piece. Fabric painted with pale yellow and maple leaves put down. After it's dry and printed, I put more leaves on. Took a paintbrush and wetted it with the paint and smooshed the leaves down onto the fabric. So those resulted in the paler images. It was pretty tedious placing the leaves and I wouldn't want to make a huge piece of fabric doing this.

Now to putting the flower images onto the fabric. Actually, these are dead flowers because this is October and everything is pretty much spent. The main image is a dead cone flower and the faint images are dead coral bells and dead clematis. I like these images almost better than the flowers at their peak. The petals wither up and curl into very interesting shapes. Anyhow, I combined the images in Photoshop and then printed onto the fabric that had been soaked in Bubble Jet Set. There is some minimal quilting on the flower and some hand stitching in gold thread which doesn't show up very well in the picture.

Now to figure out what to do with November and December. There will not be turkeys nor Christmas trees.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Storytelling Festival

This past weekend I went to Jonesborough, Tennessee for a Storytelling Festival. I went with my friend Martha and we visited with her sister Nancy, who lives in Jonesborough. Anyhow, I had never been to or even heard of a Storytelling Festival, but apparently the one in Jonesborough is the epitome. If you're asked to be a storyteller there, you are at the top of the heap.

So what is storytelling? The tellers stand in front of the group and tell stories (well, duh). But it's more than that - the stories range from Big Lies to folk tales to stories from the tellers' lives (perhaps embellished a bit). The reactions can range from side splitting laughter to tears. To find out more visit the Storytelling Center

There were five or six huge tents set up around the town and each telling would last an hour, with half an hour inbetween to move to the next tent. Except most people picked their tent and stayed put so it was difficult to find a place to sit. Several tellers are so popular that we never did find a seat and stood for the whole hour.

The little town of Jonesborough is quite charming. Lots of old buildings with interesting little doodads on them.

Look at this huge ad painted on the side of the building. Wish I could have gotten an unobstructed view!

Everybody in town gets into the spirit of the event. I loved this stone wall and gate with the pots all along the top.

Martha's sister Nancy has the most wonderful house. She is always finding something to paint, mosaic, bead, stamp, or decorate in some manner. This is a glass mosaic that she did on the back door entrance to her house. It's a pineapple, but I had a bit of trouble seeing that until it was pointed out.

The leaves on the top of the pineapple are sort of underneath the white chair. But check out the planter on the left - legs from the knees down dressed in blue jeans and shoes. Everywhere I looked there was something cool that she had done. Made it difficult to come home to my unembellished house!

So what have I been doing fiber-wise? I'm in a Washington, DC based group called New Image and we're opening our latest show called Hardware at the Target Gallery of The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA in 2 weeks. We each started with the theme of hardware and the requirement that each piece be exactly 15" tall, but as wide as desired. Each of us interpreted hardware in a different way, ranging from quite literal (that would be me) to plays on words to off the wall interpretations. I did a triptych a while back but then made an additional piece just recently. The background is a piece of sun printed cotton onto which I laid actual tools from my husband's toolbox. I also painted some silk a pale yellow/green and cut it into small squares. Next I visited all the drawers in the house to find those little things you toss in there "just in case" you need them someday. However, by the time you need them, you have either forgotten you have some or you can't find them, and end up going out to buy some more anyhow.

I took all those little doodads and arranged them in a grid fashion under the squares of silk, and stitched around the squares. There are fuses, S-hooks, screw eyes, washers, and other things that I cannot identify. The piece is called "What's In Your Junk Drawer?" The show runs from October 26 through December 4 at The Target Gallery The opening reception is Sunday, November 6, from 2-5pm. We also created a postcard packet with 12 images, in a very cool little folded black box with the word Hardware embossed in silver. The images on the postcards on the ones that are on the web page, along with each artist's statement.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sun printing

I've been working on a group project and doing some sun printing to make fabric. With some leftover Setacolor paints I painted a piece of lightweigh silk habatoi and put some leaves and other stuff on it. There's a real trick to getting the paint on the fabric and then getting the leaves placed before the sun dries the fabric, especially something as lightweight as silk. It's fun and the results are usually wonderful.

The piece is actually a little lighter in color than this image shows. I took the picture in natural light without a flash. Those vertical lines are the result of air bubbles between the fabric and what it was laid on, a piece of melamine. I'll have to figure out something else for the substrate, but you have to be careful because the texture will become part of the sunprint. I had used an old cutting board that was white and had darker inch markings on it and the inch markings showed up on the fabric. Worked well with what I was doing but it's not something I would like to have on everything.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Holy cow - where have I been?

The time has sort of slipped away. I didn't realize I had been neglecting my blog so badly. It's not that I haven't been doing anything art-wise because I have a few things to post.

The first piece is a ceramic mask that I covered with fabric to donate to the Johns Hopkins Shriver Hall Concert Series Face the Music benefit. The masks will be auctioned off next Spring to raise money for their new endowment for education. I used fabric, yarn, and beads and stitched them to a batting. I used gloss medium to adhere the fabric face to the mask and it worked quite well.

It's titled "Fiber Girl". Hope somebody pays lots of money for it.

The other piece I worked on is another in the circle series. There are so many variations on circles and it's so interesting to explore them all. This piece is entitled "Inner Circle". The size is 28" L x 38" W. All the fabrics are hand dyed, then covered with more circle type images printed with thermofax screens that I've made.

Inner Circle

And here is a detail shot.

Detail of Inner Circle

We're getting ready to go on vacation in a few weeks and I'm going to try out an SLR digital camera, the Canon EOS 10D. I need to read the manual before we go and get familiar with all the settings. I use an SLR for doing my slides so I'm already familiar with some of the stuff, but this camera is way more complicated.

Monday, July 11, 2005

So much for the neat studio

Last week I dyed some fabric, restraining myself to only one yellow, one red, and one blue. I wanted the results to be varieties of gold, green, brown, so I had alot of yellow, and only a little red and a little blue. Then I printed on some of the pieces with thermofax screens. You can see a sample of one of the pieces in the third photo. But this is what the rest of the table looks like. Boxes of fabric paints, silkscreens, slides and notebooks, entry forms, packing tape, ads from the newspaper, notebook, etc. etc. etc.

I seem to be back to the 2 square feet of working space.

I've got something up on the design wall but it's not ready for public consumption at this point. I'm using these fabrics that I just created and red. What a surprise.

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.