Cleaning out as part of getting into new ventures for the new year – resizing, sharpening, rephotographing fabrics – here are some sample fat quarters we have created over the years. We get tremendous joy out of creating – some look similar, but it seems like endless opportunities available to us to play with fabric and paint. Remember, we can customize for you! Let us know what you think….THESE ARE NOT FOR SALE – just pieces we have photos of from the past!
So many iterations of traditional patterns! All from toothpicks, Popsicle sticks, straight pins, t-pins, small hair pics – lots of balsa and a huge amount of time to make the combs and rakes. It’s the prep that takes so long before you can have hours of fun!!
When we did Vermont Open Studios last May with artist Mary Hill, one of the great things about sharing the space was all the time we had to talk about our various art and marketing attempts. Mary had some GREAT ideas for us concerning packaging. We continue to process everything we thought about, with some definite changes in what we are doing. Thanks to Rachel of The Textile and Fiber Art List, we have also been improving photography – both how we shoot items and how we present the finished product.
First, the photography. Our pictures have a “muddy” cast to them, and we are basically rephotographing everything we have. The place we are living now doesn’t allow for much flexibility for setting up good lighting. Hubby experimented with a lot of options – including moving to a rolled fabric presentation rather than each piece in a haphazard manner. Give an overall idea as opposed to every thing about each piece. In this manner we can still send the packages flat and save customers money (on international orders – domestic shipping is free). Some “before and after” ideas –
Getting the overall set-up of the product looking good –
Lighting and color still issues….but against the white background looking better. Also, we discovered that we needed to save pictures at a larger size in order to get more detail in the pictures. Next is better with a good cropping and some adjustments in Photoshop to correct the lighting.
Definitely getting there –
Close-up shot for the Twitter picture, which I am slowly getting back to using…..
This is just for our Charm Pack 2 – ten pieces of hand-marbled pima cotton, assorted patterns and colors, 10 x 10 inches each. Slowly working on others. The pieces need to be appealing, hence all the work on presentation in the pictures. The mailing is easier than a rolled item, which costs more to ship and doesn’t give customers a good look at the fabrics.
This looks better in person when displaying for a show – but not for online sales.
I have a list………….
Don’t we all? I start one every year – but this year seems to be somehow different. I have a small composition book (like we used to use in elementary school, back in the day, and I got myself organized very differently. I have a page for yearly goals, then a page for monthly goals. I have separate pages for each of the weeks of the month. Right now the notebook is set up though March.
I can at a glance see what I’ve accomplished, and I have a way of listing items ahead in the month they’re due, and I can backtrack to begin working on them. This helps me see the bigger picture much better…..and I love crossing things off my lists.
I think the thing that is also different is that I am feeling so much better than probably the last five years. The weight is slowly rearranging itself, clothes are fitting, the knee doesn’t hurt, I’m getting stuff accomplished (more than I thought), and I feel calm, centered, and productive. A great way to start the New Year!
Lots of new pictures, revising items, getting ready to do a “retirement sale” of older items that have been around the country one or two times. We’ve lived in places where we could have better photography set-ups, but we are making do. Lots of great suggestions and tips from Rachel Biel of The Fiber and Textile List – she is amazing when it comes to set-up, marketing, and all-round general encouragement.
I am looking for a royalty-free piece of music for our second marbling video, finishing up pieces that have languished for years, taking apart a major piece from 2003 and modernizing it with my new skills, keeping up with blogging (I WILL hit 1000 blog posts this year…….) and constantly looking for new venues and ideas.
Here’s to 2017! What are you doing to start your year out right?
My dad would have been 89 today. He died at 48 years of age from a massive coronary – lifestyle issues of alcoholism. I still miss him and will every day. He missed my wedding, missed knowing my sweetie, missed seeing me get my masters, missed having the earlier video games to play, missed more traveling. Somewhere I have a picture of him in his Nehru jacket – one of my favorites. It’s time to have some pics out that I can see on a regular basis. Now I have to find the Hawaii pictures. Eugene Robert Lemke – still missed to this day – I’m about the only one left who remembers.
The next are a series of family shots at the cabin of friends from Stratford, NJ, up in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
)(&*%&@*#&$^)(@!&#)$(*& Now I’m gonna cry…….
A load of lessons this year – big, small, in-between – physical, emotional, business, art, political. It’s always interesting to me to reflect on what I’ve learned in times of turmoil.
- I will stand up against hate.
- Knee surgery is a pain, literally, but necessary. Physical therapy is necessary. I am blessed with a great doctor, fabulous physical therapist, and a hospital that helps with financial assistance.
- Losing weight over 60 (…over 40…) is tough, but thanks to The Gabriel Method I might just be able to do it this year. No chocolate in over two weeks, n0 hunger pangs, no snacking – all because of visualization.
- Vermont pushes too many pills – finally found an integrative health doctor, rather than getting a prescription for anything that ails me without even looking at symptoms.
- Survived major surgery with hubby on his aneurysm repair last winter. Great doctor, learned a huge amount – he’s good to go.
- Walking still is my best form of exercise. So glad I can do more walking, much more comfortably, with the new knee.
- I like myself a lot more. Been years in the making, learning to deal with what I can’t change in the past.
- Still madly in love with hubby of 40 years. We always find something new to talk about.
- My mother was a full-blown narcissist, and I lived in fear of her most of my life. I have forgiven her and have moved on. She appears every now and then in dreams, and I find I can tell her off when she shows up – something I couldn’t do in real life. I’m moving on.
- I need to plan for art business this year. We had a great year last year, and my goal for this year is to sell a lot more art and make some good money.
- Newsletter each month for the marbling, more teaching opportunities, retirement sale of older works.
- Continue taking online classes for the pure enjoyment/learning something new. Work on color sense.
- I wrote a teaching manual – all 35,000 words – essentially in five months. It’s a template for teacher manuals, as it works with standards and ways of integrating new curriculum ideas for teachers. Thinking about a mathematics manual for algebra.
- I WILL publish my political novel this year. I am planning a Kickstarter campaign – or something similar. I have to do it in the light of current politics, and I need to get back to book 2.
- Made a lot of art last year. I want to make even more art this year, including a couple of large pieces. I’m keeping track of the process of taking my Pele piece apart and modernizing it with my new skills in free motion quilting.
- Three years ago I realized I only had 200 more b;og posts to do to hit 1000. Then I seemed to take long breaks from blogging. I’m still trying to hit 1000 – 920 and counting…I should be able to get 80 posts done this year……(PS – 921…)
- Politically it’s been a very difficult year for me. As a history/political science major I see trends before they are trends. I’ve been worried the last two years. It is time this year to write, speak out, demonstrate, listen, reach out.
- Be kind and listen, regardless of your own opinion. All of us need kindness and understanding.
- I will be out in nature more, travel more, worry less about finances.
- I will stand up against hate.
There were a lot of other small items completed – some UFO’s and some brand new. The small piece at the left (24 0nches square) was an OLD top from many years ago – part of a pattern kit for customers using marbled fabrics. The quilt top had some serious rolls of fabric where the iron (and the user…) had pressed wrong. So I to0k out all the stitches, fixed it, made the sandwich, and then requilted it with my practiced free motion skills. A lot of new patterns from Lori Kennedy’s The Inbox Jaunt – she has amazing tutorials.
Then there were pieces where I looked through pieces of marbled fabric we had saved and waited for one to speak to me. A lot of them did in the course of the year. “Sonoran Desert” was one of those. this was done on white denim, and it was a pattern I’ve not quilted before – but it spoke to me of the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert.
Didn’t like this binding – too sloppy to control, so did a regular fabric binding. It hung in our library show and now has a new home with a woman who lived in Tucson for a number of years. Added a few semi-precious pieces of turquoise, agates and lava.
A friend keeps us supplied with all sorts of remnants of cottons, polys and silks. We used a couple to see if they would marble – and they did – spectacularly. One of them went immediately to our son in Seattle – he loved the dark colors – said they were “sexy.” The one he received was “Sliver of Moonlight.” First pic is of the plain marbled fabric, second is seeing the stitching. Unfortunely no final pic of it mounted.
This one is same fabric – black poly-silk, and is called “Whispers in the Moonlight.”
There are more pieces, but I need to move on to new projects…..more on an upcoming sale we are having – next blog post!
hitting 1000 b logposts……
Our first solo show was wonderful. We were guest artist the month of August in the Essex Junction Library, a wonderful space in the community room. The fiber pieces hanging on the brick walls softened the room a great deal. Great reception for folks, hosted by our dear friends the Williamsons. Lots of good discussions, and I tried something new – a “completed” piece that I still am not happy with, and I asked for suggestions for re-doing/changing the piece- great ideas, and I will certainly do an interactive piece again for future shows.
April through June, Jericho Town Hall, “Double Exposure” – artwork and a piece of literature/quote that goes with it.
June through September, Unsworth Law Offices, a selection of fiber and digital work.
Phoenix Books with the Essex Art League, 2016, small works.
Old Red Mill Gallery with the Essex Art League, digital work, as well as ongoing fabric sales
October through April 2017, Maltex Building with Burlington City Arts – large works. These are large pieces, and many of them have not shown anywhere before, so it was exciting to visit them in their 6-month home. Third floor, so go visit!
This was a big year for showing our work – many more options and acceptances than most of our time in Arizona. We taught a beginning marbling class at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY, and in the process of chatting, we became part of their arts curriculum grant project. I’m really looking forward to this activity; I miss the days of working with The Kennedy Center to bring integrated arts into the classrooms in the Chittenden East School District in Vermont.A lot of great memories from the conferences, and then great memories from arts work within the district (need to do a blog post and reflect on the work we did….)
A couple of pictures from our Saranac Lake class, followed by an individual machine quilting class I did for a fellow artist who wanted to expand her techniques. Mary Hill is a mixed media artist, with vibrant work.
We spent Vermont Open Studios sharing space with Mary over Memorial Day Weekend. LOTSSof great discussions on marketing!!
Plus, since May I have been working on an interactive teaching manual for the ebook Interactive Edge of the Sea. This takes all I have worked on in curriculum in 40 years of teaching and brings it together for teachers, with a modern update on using all forms of new assessment and social media within the classroom. My hope is that this manual becomes a template for other disciplines, as there are a lot of useful interactive teaching techniques – and everything is correlated to current educational standards. A labor of love with my second mom, Betty Hupp. Here’s the cover:
We are just about done with final edits, and after the first of the year it heads off to coding. I have a lot of links to check to be sure they all work!
Bunches of shows…..here are pictures of our small pieces at Sweet Grass Gallery in Williston, VT for the month of November.
There’s still more…..stay tuned!
I was very involved this year in helping others create some wonderful fiber art. First up was a baby quilt for a teacher at a former school of mine. The teachers all created blocks based on children’s books, and then along with the baby quilt, gave the books to the new mom. It came out so cute!
You can see the machine quilting – “leaves” for the pages of books – the leave of a book……a lot of fun to quilt. Next time….stabilize the pieces before they are sewn into blocks….
How many books can you identify?
LOVE Patricia Pallaco!
Two more baby quilts scheduled for the new year….prolific bunch at Camels Hump Middle School!
A good friend made a “science fiction” quilt for her son – a gamer, doctoral student, and avid reader. It was SO MUCH fun helping in the process, from using spray basting, to zigzagging quotes, to creating the dragon (a “must-have in this quilt). It hangs from a curtain rod that is very “Lord of the Rings” in design. I was responsible for the machine quilting of dozens of galaxies within the quilt. The dragon has a lot of marbled fabric within it, and it works so well! Kathy did an amazing job. Teeth, flame, wings, and horns all crafted from marbled fabrics. Hubby Dave did the design for the pattern, Kathy did the contruction with vinyl and a few other fabrics.
The last heavy sewing/quilting happened when my friend Kathy wanted to recreate a marbled wall hanging of ours that one of her daughters loved. Sure…..to find she wanted it reversible…and a few other changes….
The story of the original piece is here.
I don’t have any finished pics at this point – just an in-progress. Oh, did I forget to mention she wanted one for each daughter? Different colors for reversible? Different quilting patterns? It really was a lot of fun, and it challenged me to revisit a reversible binding….but I made Kathy do all the hand-stitching……
A close-up of in-progress……
The year started with this commission: The Arroyo –
…and we’re not done for the year!!
A lot of smaller work was started, finished, and revised this year – part of the need to create more pieces, and part to experiment with new ideas. We also tried more framing (pretty successful) and mounting on canvas (very successful, and not that all expensive). The biggest issue seemed to be people didn’t know what to do with small wall hangings or table-toppers. By framing them we are leading our customers to see the piece on a wall, looking like artwork. This is also working well for galleries and stores with small spaces.
The “Chocolate Box” piece on the left was done some 18 years ago as part of a challenge on the QuiltArt list to create an 8 x 8 piece with the theme of “brown.” I pulled all kinds of browns from my stash, including some marbled fabrics, and then I zigzagged them together with the idea of creating a “Whitman’s Sampler.” I have always thought it looked very cute. I rediscovered it this summer, adding batting and backing, variegated thread in a more prominent zigzag, put on a binding, and mounted it on fabric. Lots of good feedback on the piece.
Another piece that saw framing was a small piece of marbled poly-satin that a friend (Suzan Drury of Saltwater Systems) added glitter to at least 10 years ago. Loved it, but it didn’t translate into something someone would want to buy – so on a whim I added batting and backing and then quilted it – thus “Pond 3” – a favorite topic. I learned to do sand dollars as part of a tutorial from Lori Kennedy (theinboxjaunt.com), so you will see clam shells, sea urchins, and sand dollars throughout the small piece. It looks quite striking. One thing I learned in the framing process was to move to lighter-colored frames to keep a piece from feeling constrained.
this year saw the debut of a new series – “Leftovers.” The idea for this came about when we would clean the marbling tray after a session. There were wonderful designs of leftover paint as we emptied the carrageenan. We started saving some small pieces to capture to designs – all of which are very organic and “earth strata.” Two pieces made their debut at Phoenix Books in Essex as part of a rotating display of work by the Essex Art League. There are LOTS more to come – all of which need me to stare at a piece for a while to determine how it wants to be stitched. They are all simply framed and look almost like photographs.
Before stitching on From Above:
Ultrasuede marbles wonderfully. Over the past couple of years we have been doing yards of this for Bead My Love to sell at the various bead and gem shows. We get to keep a few pieces for ourselves, and this year I finally attacked quilting one – with some interesting lessons….the fabric feels like suede, but it doesn’t translate to a puffiness when quilting (note to self: use extra batting for the next piece). Also, the various colors didn’t show well, which is why I went with Superior Threads New Brytes yellow – a thicker thread. this is a 12 x 12 piece of ultrasuede. Introducing “Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms.”
One more piece – we also started marbling flowers and leaves from the silk flower sections of the craft stores – another way to use up left-over paint in the marbling tray. Here’s “Autumn,” a collage of some marbled silk leaves. Covered canvas, 8 x 10 inches.
More next time as I continue to review the year. Comments welcome!
It has been a banner year for art – especially in the making of art. When I stopped to reflect, I realized we created more this year than any other year – some big, many small, and all taught us something! I’m doing several blog posts, since I don’t have pics for a bunch of gifts – awaiting the jpgs in the email….
Yesterday was the presentation of a commission for dear friends of ours. It was supposed to be for their anniversary in September, but just didn’t happen….Once knee surgery was over and I could move around fairly easily, I set to work. The marbled fabric had been done since April, and I had been mulling designs since then. It was time….
I started working with the Chinese symbol for “family,” and after just this first littyle bit, I have even more appreciation for the art quilts of Kathy Nida. This involved tracing the symbol, determining which side would be “up” when ironing onto the front of the fabric, adding WonderUnder, and then making sure it actually worked – especially since I had a limited amount of the fabric choice for the symbol. First success.
Next was creating the pattern for the side panels, loosely based on a table runner by Lonnie Rossi and definitely made my own. Same issues with being sure of right and wrong side, since there would be two panels, and the designs would mirror each other. Much angst – especially on the choice of the background – I had a peach silk that worked with the overall colors, but looked terrible with the small pieces actually on it. The fabrics were extra marbled fat quarters that didn’t make the cut in terms of main color, but they were all complementary.
I put off for the longest time doing the zigzag satin stitch and then discovered that the fabric frayed very easily. A lot of adjustment, sharp pointy scissors, and FrayCheck got me through this section.
I had one panel completed and then started on the second panel. It probably would have been easier doing them both at the same time, but I wanted to be sure the idea could be executed before I was completely committer.
The request was for some apple blossoms quilted into the design – originally to be on the border….but it worked out differently. I Googled images of apple blossoms and determined a free motion pattern, and then began. As long as the petals had ragged edges, the pattern worked.
Lots of flowers over both panels – really liked how subtle the patterns are.
Checking to see if the three panels really do work together….
Time to square off and do the binding – the side panels had a LOT of ironing as they were becoming distorted. Note to self – allow more edging next time around…..
Preparing the canvas for mounting the panels. We have started mounting much of our work on canvas frames covered with a complementary fabric. Much sturdier, easier to hang, and people seem to view them more as “art.”
Thinking it’s going to work…….each side panel is three 8 x 8-inch canvases, mounted together and covered.
So I have finished reorganizing my Bridge folders for all the digital work and storage of all things art. About 6 hours total, but it feels good to have it done – serious loose end. Now I need to go through iPhoto and get some folders made to organize photos there – hopefully won’t take as long. Slowly setting up the to-do list for all things business.
The fist item over the next 12 days is to get every piece ready for a major display for Burlington City Arts. We will have 10-12 of our medium and large pieces on display in the Maltex Building on Pine Street for six months. Quite a nice venue, and our first major exposure in a contemporary gallery in the state. Lots to do – Ocean’s Bounty needs some work with the connecting beads and Gaia 2 (Pele) will be making its debut also, and I need to get it on its new hanging system.
LOVE this piece and have since it was completed many years ago. Will post when I have the new hanging system….hopefully cholla wood and braiding to hang each of the points.
Heavy piece with all the beading and layers and stones – but it will be good for it to see the light of a gallery.
(Wow – I just took less than two minutes to get those pictures from the digital folder – nice organization, Linda!)
Hubby is marbling a lot, as we have new ways of marketing our fabrics. We are selling marbled fabrics in the Red Mill in Jericho, which is “coming home” again – his family settled this area and now he’s helping to support the non-profit mill craft and art gallery.
Four weeks today is knee surgery, with a three-six month recovery…I want to be back at the sewing machine within two weeks – too much to do!! I am finding guided meditations that will help prep for before and after surgery. My yoga practice is reviving itself as a way of strengthening the knee and thigh muscles for surgery. I found an integrative medicine doctor through the medical center, and I LOVE her. Looking forward to working with her over the coming year.
On to attaching a piece to a covered canvas with fabric glue….will post when it’s finished and dry…..
A piece I started about 15 years ago and finally finished this summer – will be adding loops to the back to hang on our door for Halloween. I still have plenty more to work on, and slowly,over the winter during knee recovery I plan to work on them – plus lots of new ones.
Speaking of new ones, in organizing Bridge yesterday (some 7000 photos and a lot of saved duplicates, I think I can make sense of some of the new process pictures. This first piece, Chocolate Box, was done YEARS ago, as part of an 8 x 8 challenge from the old QuiltArt list. I think the theme was “brown,” but who knows? Originally I just sewed pieces with a zigzag stitch – and then I realized I needed stabilizer on the back – like I said, a long time ago. This summer I came across it, added backing, re-quilted it in a variegated thread, and added a border. Still love the piece!
This piece was done for us years ago as part of a challenge to use marbled fabric in a traditional pattern. I made a sandwich, added waves to the bottom of each boat, and quilted semi-circles around the sails to represent the sun. If you made this for us, please let me know so I can credit you.
This next was also part of a challenge, and I use it as a sampler for using free motion quilting on a traditional block. One of the sections is plain, the others have a variety of patterns, some following the the pattern, and some walking around. I love how the marbled fabric quilts up.
I like to use my backs to show errors- and then in the blank area I added details about threads and needles.
So I continue with cleaning and organizing, and hubby is busy marbling every fabric we seem to have in the house. He’s having a ball!
So the studio has had quite the workout these last few months since I posted. It certainly doesn’t look this neat right now – and probably won’t for another couple of months. Lots to do before knee surgery on October 20th. In a nutshell, we have done more marketing/business/sales/creating in 8 months than in a decade in Tucson. We have been busy.
So far, we are in a small gallery in the Phoenix Book Store in Essex, a fabulous independent bookstore. Haven’t sold anything, be we are getting recognition as fiber artists. On the wall these two months:
We had a solo show at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont, for the month of August. The fiber looked great on the brick walls. We sold a piece, had 30-plus folks come by, and had a great time.
We spent the month on the wall at Frog Hollow Art and Craft Gallery, as step two of the jurying process – we are awaiting notification if we have been accepted as members. An invitation from Burlington City Arts for 6 months in their city gallery, the month of November in a small gallery in Williston, Vt, and new revisions to packaging and items for sale, as well as joining ArtizanMade. I just can’t find all my pictures, so that becomes a major item for the to-do list. That….and the seriously overdue newsletter……. You’ll find a bunch of pictures on our Facebook page, facebook.com/MarbleTDesign.
My days have an interesting new rhythm to them as I pass my fifth year of retirement from teaching. With hubby’s surgery this winter, art was put on hold in favor of surviving each day of recovery. Now, though, every waking hour is filled with planning, creating, discussing, making, ironing, marketing. The hats change by the hour. I will admit, however, I do not miss the multitude of Sundays filled with grading papers and planning lessons over the 40 years of teaching.
Division of labor is taking a new turn. More of the online work of sales, mailings, and organization is going to hubby so I have time for significant creating and sewing. He is also creating on a more regular basis, as that is something in our partnership that he can do on his own – I get to do the clean-up while he admires the fabulous fabric he has created.
There are a lot of venues I need to handle, from pattern design to new website opportunities to all the sewing and finishing of art pieces. It can get very frustrating at times – at least once a day – as I want to take a break, but then I feel guilty that I’m not dealing with the myriad number of things. Actually I brought this on myself. Since we moved back to Vermont in May last year, we have been searching for marketing opportunities. Despite the time off for medical issues, we have been very successful at creating new opportunities for ourselves, and now we have a new problem – not enough artwork for all the opportunities.
I think the “day’s work” has an additional new meaning, aside from rhythm, as I am even more aware of a fixed income and the need to make funds last four to five weeks, depending on the fluctuating Social Security days. The “second Wednesday” can be anywhere from the 8th to the 14the of the month. This month is a perfect example – today is the 8th…SSI has to go 5 weeks.
Positivity seems to be my key to keeping anxiety attacks at bay. I send positive thoughts to the universe, write my monthly abundance checks, and plug away at the work. I understand art as a driving force, now that I have significant time unencumbered by the demands of the classroom. I create now because I want to, I have to….these pictures arrive in my mind and they need to be born and nurtured. I look at my calendar and smile at the blocks of unstructured time awaiting me and my machine.
What’s interesting is that I still feel guilty about taking time off to relax. When school was in session, I would be too exhausted to do anything for art, except in the summer months. Then it was two weeks to recover, a few weeks on vacation, and by the time I was in creative mode it was three weeks till school started again. I did some of my best work the first summer I didn’t have to work during the vacation, and I often think if I could have continued to create at that pace, I’d be further along in my art-making. It’s hard for me to take time to sit in a chair, enjoy the breezes, and read…or listen to music…or just be quietly by the water.
A friend went to teach in Vienna and at one of the professional development meetings the presenter gave everyone a 100 centimeter strip of paper. Take off the years on the lower end you have been alive. Tear off the years at the other end that represent average life expectancy. What you have remaining are your productive years. She wasn’t happy, as she was the oldest person in the group, and her strip of paper was pretty short. While it seems at times that 40 years of teaching has been forever, at the same time it seems like just yesterday I boarded a plane from Vermont to Maui and my first teaching job. Now I feel like I am just under 20 years to my goal, and I want to be as productive – as guilt-free with no regrets – as I can.
The other piece I’m seeing is that as the years dwindle down and the desire to create gets stronger and more unrelenting, the vision issues become major in my mind – and in reality. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the ‘what-ifs’, regardless of how hard I ry to stay occupied. When honest with myself, this is probably why I started writing again – the technology has improved so much that I will be able to do what I want with fiction without being able to see a keyboard.
I need every day to be productive…and I accept that that can mean I spent several hours enjoying a good book…or putting a computer jigsaw puzzle together…or walking the Charlotte Town Beach with my hubby – after sewing a fiber piece to canvas and adding a hanging system. My day’s work is enjoyable, exciting, and enviable.