Saturday, February 25, 2006

For Joanie's show

I've done a small piece for Joanie San Chirico's mini show that will be show at the Dallas Quilter's Guild show in March. The official name of the show is International Miniature Textiles Invitational - Dallas.

I had a terrible time trying to get the color right on this picture, and it's still not perfect.

I think the reds are okay - they lean towards fuschia but the yellow just wimped out totally. It's about 12"x13". The color on the detail shot is better, but I got that by putting the quilt right onto the scanner.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Quirk Gallery

Martha and I took a field trip to Richmond to visit the Quirk Gallery, but first we went to Charlottesville to stay with our friend Mary Beth, someone we both admire greatly. Mary Beth loves animals and houses almost the entire food chain on her 50 acres of land. The food chain used to be complete, but Monty the Python died. He's now out in the woods returning to nature.

Here we are, all three together, courtesy of Photoshop cut and paste. Notice our fine mud walking attire, especially the camo jacket with the pink paisley boots.

The three geese were delighted to be let out of their pen and after a quick snack headed to the pond for a refreshing dip. Along with the geese are eight guinea hens, a variety of semi-exotic chickens (who provide a variety of eggs), a dog that wandered by and then just moved in, and the goat girls.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good angle, so here we have goat girl butts. They're almost like dogs, they wag their tails and follow Mary Beth around.

This is only a small section of Mary Beth's fabric stash. Notice that not only are they arranged by color, but also by value within the color. Then there are also the novelty fabrics: animals, whimsical stuff, body parts, etc. My fabric has never ever been store this neatly, and never will.

Mary Beth also has a knack for finding odd junk in out of the way places and recycling it into really cool stuff. This is a caned chair that now has beads where there used to be caning.

Would you have thought of doing this? I wouldn't. There is an entire storage room filled with other objects just waiting for the MB treatment.

Anyhow, after spending the night, we headed off to Richmond to the Quirk Gallery to see the Take Cover show.
The gallery is aptly named as they have a variety of quirky art items. The owners had just returned from the American Craft Council show in Baltimore and the Rosen Show in Philadelphia, and will be visiting their accountant to figure out how to pay for all the new stuff they're going to be displaying.

Anyhow, the Take Cover show is an invitational show of art quilts. We walked into the gallery, and one of the owners greeted us and said she would be happy to share any information about the artists that we wanted to know. When we told her we knew half the artists in the show, she laughed and just invited us to enjoy ourselves.

The show received lots of excellent publicity, even a cover story in the arts section of the local paper. Many non-fiber artists visited and were astounded at what they saw. Totally obliterated their previous conception of "quilt".

The gallery was the site of a former stationary/printing shop and they still have some of the old equipment around as accents.

Notice the "chandelier" hanging from the ceiling right below the skylight. It's from a previous show and is constructed of lampshade frames of various sizes wired together, with bits of lampshade material still clinging in various spots.

Here are Lisa Call's two pieces, accented by a printing press. The one on the right is Structures #1, the first of thousands in the series. Well, not quite, but she sure cranks them out! Several pieces were sold, including this one by Eleanor McCain.

Those are very tiny little pieced squares, about 1/2" on a side. This piece was a smaller version of its partner, which was about 10 times as large as this.

So after our whirlwind tour, I am back home and thinking about getting back to doing my own work, as soon as I finish catching up on email and blogs....

Friday, February 17, 2006

Spring is coming!

The snowdrops are blooming and have been joined by lots of their friends. Five days ago this spot was under 15" inches of snow. Amazing what 60 degree temperatures can do. I can almost see the snow melting.

And a report on the sun's position at noon. It's a little cloudy today so the mark is difficult to see. The shadow is hitting the tape measure at about 18.5". The last time I took a picture (Jan 22), the mark was not quite to 8 inches. More than 10 inches in 4 weeks. Progress!

And the corner of the shadow has moved in line with the tape measure. The sun is now rising before 7am and not setting until around 5:50pm. More sun! More sun!

Soy wax play day

Yesterday Martha and Linda came over for a soy wax play day. My studio space is too small for three people to work without stepping all over each other so I moved a table up to the dining room next to the table that's already there. Covered everything with plastic and rigged up a second hot pot.

Everybody brought tools for dipping. Kitchen implements ruled the day, but there were also wooden tjaps and of course, my drain covers. Anything metal was fair game and it was fun trying to predict what kinds of marks various tools would make.

Here is Linda.

And Martha.

This is still a learning process. I've discovered that painting the fabric and leaving the paint to dry on top of the wax can result in that residual paint transferring to fabric during the ironing process, if I iron on the front side. I experimented to see if wiping the wax off while it's still wet would prevent that. Also, ironing from the back side. It seemed to make a difference. Although it's nice to have the back be so different from the front. The images on the backside are much clearer whereas on the front it's a softer image. I wonder if using dye instead of paint results in the same effect.

This is the back side and the front side.

This is a piece with the wax still on it and painted. The original color is sort of peachy-pink and the paint is red. It's a spatula.

After removing the wax, the image is much less distinct, but it's still pretty cool. I can't tell which side is which from these pictures.

The colors leave something to be desired. This is a drain cover (looks like a sand dollar). The light colored thingie is an old time strainer.

And the dropcloths:

It's been so warm the past few days that the snow is nearly gone. The deck has emerged from beneath its snow cover and the piles of snow left by the snow plow are gone. Amazing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This 'n that

I downloaded this blog editing program for Performancing that was mentioned on someone's blog. I'd like to credit her but now I can't refind that blog. Performancing is an extension for the Firefox browser that lets you edit your blog from within Firefox, then upload the whole thing. This is my trial run. I'm typing, I'm typing. Haven't tried the upload yet. If you're reading this then I must have succeeded.

The snow is melting. The snow plow did our street Sunday evening, but by that time the street was already passable. People further along towards the end had hired contractors to plow their driveways and the contractors had to plow their way in, which left a narrow lane open. So we could get out, and more importantly, the kids and grandkids could get in for our Sunday dinner. We had a sirloin tip roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, and Martha's chocolate pecan pie. This pie has a bazillion calories per slice, most of which come from fat. But it didn't deter those who ate it: three people ate half the pie. Then we moved up to the living room to sit in front of the fire and watch the sugar-hyped grandkids run around.

My quilt arrived in Tubac on Monday. I'm hoping its late arrival didn't disrupt the hanging process too much.

Got an acceptance to the Considering Quilts show in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The piece I'm sending is Ventanas III:

Ventanas is Spanish for windows; this piece is based on an image of a window frame reflected in another window frame. I took the picture while visiting Santa Fe several years ago.

Last night I was the guest speaker at my own local guild Baltimore Heritage Quilters Guild. My talk was about my journey from a beginning traditional quilter to an art quilter. I joined that guild in 1987 (I think that was the year) and at that time had one quilt under my belt: a Quilt-In-A-Day Log Cabin made with little calico prints in Williamsburg blue and off-white, with a dusty rose center square. No picture exists, sorry. I think it was enjoyable for the members, at least they laughed at my jokes. Alot of the members are only familiar with my current work and I think it was a revelation to know that I started out where everybody else starts out. When I first joined the guild, I was under the impression that the President got that position by being the best quilter in the guild. Now I know better: the President is the one who doesn't say No fast enough. Just joking. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Well, it snowed. And it snowed some more, and more, and we have about 15 inches. It's a nor'easter, caused by a cold air mass coming in from the north colliding with a moisture-laden warm air mass from the south. We spent over an hour shoveling the driveway but where it meets the street is a wall of snow 15 inches high. Living on a cul-de-sac with only 20 some houses means we are way, way down on the list of roads to plow. Hopefully, we will see a plow before the day is over.

Looking out the window in the living towards the backyard and the house behind us. The snow makes a nifty pattern on the fence, I think.

The azalea bushes are covered with snow and are looking beaten down.

Check out the snow piled onto the table and benches. Gives you an idea of how deep it is. I walked down the driveway before we shoveled it and it was up to my knees. The top half is light snow but underneath it's wet and heavy. The temperature is above freezing which means the underneath layers will get soggy and then freeze tonight when the temperature drops. After the warmest January on record, one heavy snowfall in the middle of February (on a weekend no less) makes for a manageable winter. As long as they plow the street by tomorrow.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I see a few snow flakes drifting down. There are predictions of up to a foot of snow this weekend. We had no snow in January and it was warmer than usual by a significant amount. So far this month it's been normally cold, and now it looks like we're going to have to use those new shovels that I bought in December. They've held off the snow for quite a while now. So we are just waiting to see what precipitates. In Baltimore, even the mention of the word "snow" sends the hoards to the grocery stores to buy milk, bread, and toilet paper. Now, I can understand why you might need milk and bread, but don't most people keep a supply of toilet paper in stock? I mean, enough for at least a week? It's not like we're going to be trapped for days on end. I grew up in Chicago and we never shut down for snow and it amuses me no end to watch the panic develop here. It's almost like an opportunity for a holiday.

And the other thing I'm waiting for: I dropped the shipment to Tubac off at FedEx on Monday. It was scheduled to be delivered Thursday, one day before the deadline delivery date. On Friday I checked the tracking number on the FedEx web page. The package hadn't even left Baltimore! It was scanned as picked up on Monday. Then it was scanned as picked up again on Thursday. Needless to say, I was more than annoyed. Called FedEx and their explanation was that it must have fallen off the cart at the dropoff place. So it's in the system but won't be delivered until Tuesday. Making the hanging of the show way more difficult. I just hope it arrives safely and hasn't been damaged or something worse in shipment. They refunded my money, but it doesn't give me much confidence. I have never had any problems with UPS; this may persuade me to use them exclusively.

Yesterday Volunteers of America came to tow the old minivan that we donated to them. They came with a flatbed truck and loaded the van and drove off. Sort of sad to see that car go, I've had it since 1995 and it's taken me alot of wonderful places. But it needs new tires and the air conditioning system has a major leek that would cost megabucks to fix. In this climate, air conditioning is a necessity. It still runs well, so maybe somebody will use it to just haul stuff. That's what we've used it for during the past year, but the inspection date came up and the insurance was due for renewal, and all of that added up to more than we wanted to spend.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Wax results

And a Blogaversary...With all the other people mentioning their anniversaries I checked my first posting and it was Feb 3. So I missed it by 2 days. Anyhow...

The waxing and painting and ironing and washing out is complete and I got some cool results.

This is the red-orange piece with wax still on it and before the last layer of wax and red paint. Can't really predict the final results. The paint sits on top of some of the wax so it can be deceptive. After the wax is gone, it's a revelation. Actually it's 2 revelations because the fabric has 2 distinct sides.

I think the above is the back side. The wax went all the way through and really preserved the white areas.

So then this must be the front side. With the build up of wax, less paint can penetrate. Also I did some crinkling which shows more as cracking on this side. Of course, I could have it totally a** backwards and this is the back and the other is the front. Doesn't really matter.

The blue "seashell piece."

And the most interesting piece, as usual, is the fabric I put underneath to catch the extra wax and paint.

These two pictures are the two sides of the same area. The rectangular solid blob on one side becomes the rectangular blob with little circles on the other.

And here's more from another section of the same fabric.

Very cool.

Now to go sew a bottom sleeve on my piece that is going to Changing the World One Thread at a Time at the Tubac Center for the Arts. The piece that will be on display is Grid City.

It's a whole cloth dye painted quilt with painted/stamped organza squares overlaid. Machine and hand stitching hold it together. It needs to go out tomorrow in order to be there on Friday. Which is also my husband's birthday, one of those people on the leading edge of the baby boomers.