This is my blog post for the “carnival” theme for Art Quilts Around the World.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this piece. I made the fabric the beginning of January, and so it sat until two weeks ago. I had an idea of what I wanted to do – free motion along the design. Here’s the initial fabric.
In the past when I have quilted through the design on the marbled fabric, I always have been really pleased with the results. This time not so much. I evidently have learned a huge amount about focal points and movement within a piece. I did two quilting motifs; the first one was a basic outline to enhance the flow of the marbled pattern.
I liked this, bit I realized it needed more definition. It seemed boring. So I tried increasing the quilting around the nonpareil portion of the pattern.
Once that was completed, I was even more dissatisfied, so I tried a bit of a free motion “feather” along side each part of the pattern. DID. NOT. LIKE. IT.
So it sat for a week while I pondered, talked it over with hubby, and tried to think it through. I guess that’s why it’s called a challenge, which I definitely need to push me further. So I decided I would need to cut it up…………..which I’ve never done before…………………….
It automatically started looking a lot more interesting. I finished the pattern pieces and liked the finished result.
I then had to think about how it was going to go together. I had all these separate pieces and had to think how to best connect them and make it an element of the overall design. At this point it seems kind of like a stained glass window, so I auditioned thin fabric strips for the leading. I figured I could use fusible on the back of the strips. Not a single color worked. Every strip looked like it had just been stuck there and wasn’t an integrated part of the design.
I have always liked the effect of satin stitch, so I tried a bit on a piece of left-over quilting. Dark green Superior Brites gave it just what I needed. Fitting the pieces together was a bit of a challenge, but…..all those years of watching This Old House made me realize I could scribe the pieces to get the circle measurement for the center. I outlined all the sating stitch and border with some Superior Razzle Dazzle, trying out some bobbin work for the first time. It definitely sparkles in the sun.
And – best part – the piece now had a story to it. I have always imagined that Mardi Gras was one long assault on color, looking out a hotel window at all the revelers. I thought of my Cousin Barbara Jean, who as a first responder was taking care of others during Katrina and had to start over herself. Two of my cyber friends, Victoria and Anne, have very fond memories of New Orleans, and I thought of them as I finished this off. From these three folks, I hope I have some idea of the carnival aspect of Mardi Gras. Cousin Barb, this is for you.
Thoughts of NOLA – for Cousin Barb, Victoria, and Anne
1. I’ve been tired….really tired, and not quite sure why……
2. I have no energy, which is weird, because I am actually accomplishing some art.
3. Haven’t blogged because it hasn’t interested me, which is strange, because I really like writing.
4. Haven’t kept up with blogs because it hasn’t interested me, which is also strange because I really enjoy following these blogs.
5. Doing lots of reading. Three of four Robin Hobbs books on the Rain Wild Chronicles, a bunch of Patricia Cornwell (until she gets too grim).
6. Spending time trying out new recipes for hubby and me, as we are trying to go gluten-free. Who knew I would be spending one to two hours on a meal?
7. Getting ready for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum. Two boxes left to mail and all the fabric will be on its way.
8. Discovered JigzonePlanet.com, and wiling my time away on puzzles (didn’t say I hadn’t been on the computer…..).
9. Worrying about stuff I have no control over, which is stupid…….
10. Watching a lot of TV: Game sof Thrones, Project Runway, Castle, et al.
Maybe I’ll be back now…………..
I am still behind, but I am thinking all the time…….I love life! I love everything about it – the ups, the downs, the music, the art, nature – everything!I don’t think we always appreciate that simple fact. Even when we have down times, there still is so much beauty around us, we just need to find it – or even something as simple as taking the time to find the beauty. Ever since hubby and I were dating, one of our favorite things to do was take a ride along back roads and go exploring. We found lots of great things: a very small car ferry across the Potomac, a flooded Harper’s Ferry, National Geographic Headquarters, a small sugar shack, sand dunes, an uncovered hulk of a ship off the Diamond Shoals on the Outer Banks. We still go for drives, but it’s a little harder in the desert….not as many options! But one of our favorite spots is Saguaro National Park East, about 6 miles from our house. It’s pretty brown this time of year, and I am looking forward to the first signs of green. But we had snow this week, so there was still some around, and some decaying saguaro cacti, which had incredible texture to them.
What’s left of the snow on the Rincon Mountains. The desert is so brown. You can make out the majestic saguaros at the bottom.
A more panoramic view, with a saguaro in the foreground.
Aside from being under the weather…and seriously behind on the February newsletter….I am confronted with the dilemma most artists face at one time or another: time for making and time for marketing. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time either at the machine or at the marbling tray. When I do that for any length of time, I begin to worry about other aspects of the business. But when I spend too much time on marketing, I worry about not being at the machine. Right now I have three pieces basted, two commissions to design, and about four other ideas begging to get started, and about 50 fat quarters that need to be marbled for StashFest. And…a new machine to learn, so I can expand some of my ideas, as well as finish some Craftsy classes to begin dyeing and wax resist. These are not just for me to play around; I really want to see how I can take the marbling in some totally different directions.
But then I also want to finish the two e-books and three patterns I have started in order to build up the passive income for the business. I haven’t felt the need to do a brain dump…I know exactly what needs to be done and what the deadlines are. And I’ve had requests for an online digital marbling set of sessions, so I want to pursue that.
I compare it to taking breaks for reading. Sometimes I just need to slow down, so I engage in a lot of reading, until I am drawn to something at the machine that tells me it’s time to change gears. I’ve been reading Patricia Cornwell’s series, and it’s getting kind of grim, so it is time to move on to other book genres. Plus, I just want to feel healthy again….after a series of multiple sneeze fits today, I’m not sure I’m totally out of the woods in terms of being sick. Frustrating, but I will persevere.
I finished the instruction book and dvd on my new machine, so now I’m going to splurge and make a stitch sampler as I try out the new baby. Good way to spend a Friday night!
A pretty unproductive week this week in terms of blogging, what with fighting a mild case of the flu. I’m even behind seeing what’s going on the net. But I did find some cool ones…..
50 Places You Can’t Reach Without Climbing – and wow, are these ever gorgeous!!
Again, some helpful hints from 365 Project: 5 Classic Composition Tips To Improve Your Photography.
From Dumb Little Man comes 5 Ways to Overcome Mental Blocks.…timely for me this week! Some good stuff here!
Very disturbing, but necessary to watch – the perils – and death – in plastic……
A collection of video on the meteorite from Russia:
You may have already seen this video of an iceberg calving – this is the LARGEST ever. Nature is absolutely amazing!!
Guess the Spot – how well do you know landmarks? A fun quiz.
Love this commercial for the Lottery, and I am such a dog lover!
Love this next – you have to be very good to make yourself look very bad! An ode to gymnastics……
And finally – this has been making the rounds for a while, but the message is a good one.
I am behind, part of what’s making me so nuts lately. But I do so want to stay up with some of my projects for this year. So far I’m really not doing badly, and I know I need to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself. So….Week 6: When You’re On Top of the World….
I feel giddy, I giggle, I smile, I talk a lot, and my mind goes crazy with ideas. I’ve often commented “It doesn’t take much to make me happy.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not! I’m thinking it’s a good thing – I like the feeling, and I want it to happen more often.
I often get this feeling when I complete a project. I just finished a commission as part of a house-warming, and about half-way through I started grinning from ear to ear. I LOVED the piece!! And then, yesterday, I bought a new sewing machine – with 90 decorative stitches…..I’m still grinning, and I can’t wait till Thursday when life is a little simpler to play with it and make my stitch sampler. I’m still giggling at the prospect.
Nature also makes me feel on top of the world, and not necessarily when I’m on a mountaintop. A favorite spot just south of the Seven Pools on Maui, the lakefront on Champlain, the Pali on Oahu, cactus in bloom during a wet spring in Saguaro National Park……get me outside and I can feel on top of the world.
So here’s my free motion quilting piece for my friend Ali. There are SO many things I love about this piece – the colors worked even better than I thought, and I love how the blues kind of shine. The tension on the back for the most part worked really well. I used Bottom Line in the bobbin, Silk Kimono for the ribbon, Art Studio for some of the blue background, and King Tut for the overall design. The thread colors were great. The ribbon around the center celtic piece was the new FMQ challenge for this first part of the year from SewCalGal, and brought to us by Libby Lehman. I love how the ribbon is created. I’m not happy with how mine turned out – it needed to be larger, and I discovered that I really didn’t need a pattern – next time I will freehand the ribbon and not make the stitching as dense. I was even thrilled with the blocking, squaring off, and binding. Overall – on top of the world……
The Textile and Fiber Art List is nearly 500 members! Three years as an organization this past January, thanks to our founder Rachel Biel, who is just an amazing motivator! Check out a few more profiles of very talented folks.
“I create one-of-a-kind wearable art by re-imagining gently used clothing and re-purposing them into new creations. Driven by my passion for textiles, I choose garments based on their color, texture, and quality. After cleaning and processing my finds, an organic design process occurs while exploring color and textural relationships. Gradually a new garment emerges as I cut and fit pieces together. It’s almost like playing with paints or crayons while anxiously waiting to see the finished result. My former life as a custom dressmaker and my life long love affair with arts and crafts has brought me to this new creative place of free-style sewing. I look forward to making more accessories and perhaps children’s garments.” Brenda Abdullah Designs.
“Caryl Bryer Fallert is internationally recognized for her award winning art quilts. She is best known for her organic, curved seam designs, her scintillating use of color, and her multilevel illusions of light and motion. Her attention to detail has earned her a reputation for fine craftsmanship as well as stunning designs. In 2000 Caryl was selected as one of the 30 most influential quilt makers in the world, and her quilt Corona #2: Solar Eclipse was voted one of the 100 Most Important Quilts of the Twentieth Century. She was chosen for the Bernina Leadership Award in 2003 and in 2004 the readers of American Quilter Magazine voted her “All American Quilter.” She is the 2006 recipient of the International Quilt Festival Silver Star (lifetime achievement) Award. Since 1983, Caryl’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout North America, Europe, Japan, and the Pacific Rim. She has had ninteen solo exhibitions, including a 1992 exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, and a 2000 exhibition in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Caryl is the only three-time winner of the coveted American Quilters Society Best of Show, Purchase Award. She was the 2009 International Quilt Festival Best of Show winner, and her quilts have also been awarded Best of Show in more a dozen other national and international exhibitions. In 1986, Caryl received the Masterpiece Quilt Award from the National Quilting Association. She has received the Master Awards for both Contemporary Artistry (2002 & 2006) and Machine Artistry (1997) from the International Quilt Association and Best Machine Workmanship from the American Quilters Society (2004 & 2009) and the Quilting the Quilt national exhibition (2003). Caryl has authored two books, and numerous workshops on CD-ROM. Her quilts have appeared in hundreds of national and international publications, including the covers of the 1987 and 1991 Quilt National Catalogs. Caryl’s work can be found in public, museum, corporate, and private collections in twenty-two states and seven foreign countries. Collections include: The Museum of Art & Design (NY,NY), Illinois State Museum, National Quilt Museum, International Quilt Study Center, Wilmette (IL) Public Library, Bradley University Library, Glendale (CA) Civic Center, Fidelity Investments Inc., Sprint, and Fritz Gegauf A.G. (Switzerland). In addition to her commission work, Caryl reserves time to create a body of very personal, experimental quilts.” Bryerpatch Studio.
“I started weaving free form sculptural basketry back in the 80′s and 90′s. Along the way I learned paper making, wet felting and explored one of a kind teddy bears, dolls and rabbits.
I learned how to embroider and quilt from my Grandmother and have had the pleasure of taking quilting classes with Jane Sassaman, Carol Doak and Lyric Kinard.
I am currently dyeing fabric with fiber reactive dyes as well as using India Flint’s Eco Dyeing techniques with silk and wool.
I learned to spin art yarn 4 years ago and have studied under Jacey Boggs and Lexi Boeger and have washed, dyed, batted and spun so much yarn that I finally had to learn to knit!
Add all of this up and you have a very eclectic, diverse and multi faceted fiber artist! I hope you will check out my links and share in my current adventures as I use my hand dyed and recycled fabrics to create gorgeous playclothes that make you look and feel creative yourself!” Calamity Kim.
“I am an artist and a tailor. I make eclectic quilted clothing and wall hangings for office/home decor. I have been sewing and quilting for many years and hope to keep the tradition of quilting long into the future. I hope to keep heirloom quilted clothing alive into the future of wearables and hope to maintain quilting techniques for generations to come.” Calico and Old Lace
“Cameron Taylor-Brown has immersed herself in the worlds of fiber, education and commerce since the 1970s. She studied fiber art at the University of California, Berkeley with artist Ed Rossbach and textile design at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. She worked in New York City as a stylist of upholstery and home furnishing fabrics, taught textile design at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science and worked as an exhibition curator. Since 1985, Taylor-Brown has lived in Los Angeles where she maintains a studio and is active in several arts organizations. She was a founding board member of the Textile Group of Los Angeles and a past President of California Fibers and Designing Weavers. She recently founded ARTSgarage, a new textile resource center in Los Angeles.” Cameron Taylor-Brown
Membership is open and is a DEAL for what you receive and for the future potential of this organization. Here is the link for membership.
Why can’t I stay caught up on my blog reading? Which I really enjoy, and I get so many cool ideas, but then other things get in the way, and I get behind, and then I feel bad….of well, just delete the 75 items from Rachel Maddow and the 138 from Al Jazeera and move on from there…….
Marbling in the big tray this morning – and tomorrow morning – first time in over 2 years we’ve done really large pieces. We have orders for some, and when the Martha Stewart article breaks, we will be (hopefully) doing a lot of ribbon pieces. We’ve had to totally reconfigure almost everything in the house to make this work. The studio is changed around, the sewing table was totally cleaned off and reconfigured, so we could move the machine easily and set marbling combs on the table. The ironing board holds all the paint. The set tub in the garage works nicely – hot water on demand (unlike the rest of the house…). We’ve got the drying racks in the garage until we are done, and then the fabric goes into the dryer. The Kitchen counters are cleaned to hold the small table ironing board for quick wrinkly pressing. My table I do my school work on is cleaned off for a cutting boards now…and hubby woke up realizing he needed a LOT more carrageenan for tomorrow’s session. The idea being if we’re going through all this, let’s get the most use out of the session as we can…….But everything is working really well.
I watch Project Runway, and most times I have no idea what I would do with the challenge….except last night as we were watching the unconventional challenge, I had ideas….for the hardware. A really cute metallic vest. Hmmmm…..what does that say about my design sense?
I hate commercials – they’re just so…so….commercial. We don’t need that stuff. Too much conspicuous consumption. That said, I am buying a new sewing machine tomorrow, a Brother, with 90 decorative stitches and a basic alphabet….for less than $200, because I am waiting until it is on special. I started sewing on my mom’s 1000-pound Singer, bought a sewing machine within the first week of landing on Maui for my first teaching gig, left it with the drama department when I moved to Vermont, bought a Singer with “stretch” stitches that I passed to my mother-in-law, who sold loads of doll clothes for the grandkids. I bought a “computerized” Singer machine that had a lot of bells and whistles, and on which I made my husband’s first – and only – leisure suit. Twelve years ago I bought my Bernina workhorse 1008, and a used Bernina serger, and ended up selling the last two machines in a yard sale. I LOVE my Bernina workhorse, but it has extremely limited decorative stitches. My work with the marbled fabrics is taking me in another direction, and this is about all I can afford at this point, so, in the immortal words of Tim Gunn, I will “make it work.” Phew……
I do tend to believe in conspiracy theories – you will never convince me there was not another shooter on the grassy knoll. That said, I’m wondering about the Pope. I think there’s huge amounts of back-stories on him that are just now being hinted at. Dan Brown could have another interesting “Angels and Demons” if he wants. I want to know how the Hitler Youth played into his background. Granted, the church teaches about forgiveness, but inquiring minds….and just what is the Italian government after? The Catholic church will never be able to do enough to wipe away the stain of sexual abuse…..well, maybe making a woman pope would do it…….
I told you I would be rambling. Each time I take a break from the marbling process and sit here, something else is floating through my head…….
I seem to be falling behind on lists and blogs, and yet I am getting stuff accomplished. I finished a whole cloth fmq as a commission for a friend, and it turned out wonderfully. I have three other pieces backed and ready for the machine. The website has the ordering page done for the ribbons, I am staying up with college algebra teaching, and yet I don’t feel organized. I am meeting deadlines – two books in the works with some of our work, for example. But I am bogged down mentally. Part I am sure is not being back at yoga on a regular basis, and not getting the home practice of yoga back to daily. Too much sugar is definitely affecting moods. I want to travel – and I don’t want to have to wait until July to take off. Lately I seem to be really missing Hawaii – and New England, although not the snow and cold. Evidently I just need to “go with the flow,” as I am getting things done…..but the damn Autumn pattern is still not complete……………………………………
Last week I received a post card as a thank you from Alyson Stanfield – who runs the ArtBizBlog – an essential for your marketing information. This was a hand-written thank-you as a result of an article I wrote for Handmadeology that mentioned Alyson as a source for goal-setting information. I felt like I was appreciated.
This is what we have to do for our customers. Make them feel appreciated. I have a postcard that gets included with every order. The front is a piece of artwork, and the back is all the information about Marble-T Design: website, blog, Facebook, and an invitation to sign up for the newsletter, plus, a hand-written “thank you” for their business.
This particular article by Alyson looks at a greeting card business – which I think many artists do, as a way of getting more mileage out of their art. But Alyson has a really neat idea: offer to send a card for a new subscriber to someone. You use one of your cards, the new subscriber provides the recipient’s name, address, and a brief greeting, and you do the rest. Love the idea. I also want you to read the comments on this post, because they mention a couple of caveats if you are going to do this….time limit, etc.
What ideas do you have for a type of give-away for new subscribers to your newsletter? We offer a drawing each month to receive free marbled fabric, but I’m not sure it’s enough to get new subscribers. I’m thinking of combining all my organizing posts into an ebook and offer that free to new subscribers, but I would REALLY like to hear from others as to what you do.
Spending some time getting caught up with blogs….and wondering why Google burps up – on a regular basis – blogs I’ve deleted. There is enough OCD in me to want to keep my list clean. I think I may have discovered a permanent way to fix this….we shall see. But a lot of interesting stuff this week!
From NBC News, the diver who saved the dolphin.
Fractals – built from business cards - what a great student math activity this would be!
A lot of interesting stuff from the 365 Project. First up – tips for winter landscaping photography
Here’s some more amazing photography:
A Muppet spoof on Downton Abbey – LOVE Lady Violet!
Quilling – an amazing technique, and check these out. Gorgeous!! Quilled Paper Anatomy by Lisa Nilsson
Alison Schwabe’s blog has a story about the tent makers of Cairo – absolutely fascinating. I would love to see the finished documentary.
The Textile and Fiber Art List is three years old! Here’s a celebratory video of over 400 artists and a sample of their work. Amazing eye candy!
Art Quilts Around the World just finished their new challenge – Portraits. (and yes, I’m one of them….) Loved looking through all the entries and overflowing with ideas!
And finally, a 360 degree look – from occipital.com. 360Verse. Very interesting.
Have a great week!!
This week of 52 Sparks had a really interesting question that I pondered a bit. The question: How do you appreciate yourself? I had to think long and hard about this one. I think I was confusing appreciation with approval, and it took me the longest time over the years to not worry about family approval. I needed to start appreciating me for me, and what I did and succeeded at because I was pleased, not someone else…..kinda rambling, but I hope it makes sense.
Appreciation: I go for walks to think about what I’m doing, I take time off to read – some times days at a time to just immerse myself in some books. Mostly, though, I appreciate myself by giving myself free rein to make art. And with retirement, I am taking more time to appreciate what I’m learning and creating. In fact, three new commissions over this week. It is just so delightful to quilt away for hours (with the occasional back break) and see the progress.
That said, here’s what happened with art this week. Last time I had the stencil traced on to the green fabric in preparation for my first whole quilt. Now all I need to do is square it off and bind it. I LOVE IT!!!! I NEVER thought I would be able to free motion a whole cloth. Yay me!
So here they are – better pics when the binding is finished.
All are Superior Threads, Bottom Line in bobbin, Silk Kimono in background, and Fantastic variegated in the design.
This was an interesting question this week: How do you feel when you are by yourself?
I spend a huge amount of time time by myself, usually working on something artistic. It seems like I have always been by myself growing up…and yet, you can never be by yourself when you have a good book. And that is still true.
But I never had a lot of friends. I am quite the introvert, so moving to something artistic just seemed a natural. I think my introversion became even stronger, given my position in a family of extroverts, coupled with emotional abuse. So I am accustomed to being by myself. My husband and I do most everything together – we are each other’s best friend. The fact that we can – and do – work at art together is a great plus for us.
I can remember my dad asking me how I was, one time when he came to visit. I said I was lonely. I did a lot of things by myself, and I could always read, but I think it was more a case of seeing friends with others of the opposite sex, and I would wonder what was wrong with me. I finally decided if I was going to be single, then it would not keep my from doing whatever I wanted to do. Alone can be very good – I get a lot of work done on fiber pieces, a lot of planning. Especially with retirement. So when I do have “alone” time, I plan projects or lose myself in a good book.
So since I haven’t started something new, I decided to try a “whole cloth” quilt because of the class I’m taking on Craftsy with Cindy Needham. I had the really great stencil from about 12 years ago…..I finally found where I had “stored” it. I pulled a green piece with some interesting tonal print to see what would happen. Here’s the latest “in progress:”
Of course, most of the yellow marker has already rubbed off…….
Trying to get caught up on all the endless marketing things to do…..I took a look at the Etsy store and updated what was needed, pinned a bunch of fabrics (until Pinterest wouldn’t take them), tweeted them, and renewed a few expired listings. Most of the Etsy work has been turned over to hubby. Now we need to increase our sales!
Also got some pins and tweets up regarding ebay, so we will see the difference in hits and if there are any sales. When I do this on ebay, I usually tweet half the items so I can see the difference in traffic and if it leads directly to sales.
The crunch is on to prepare for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt Museum in April – we are marbling more, and we will soon get into gear for twice a week. We plan to set up our really large tray in mid-February for larger pieces and special orders (we have a couple in the pipeline).
Fabric of the Month of January is up on the website, as well as a special offer for subscribers in the newsletter. We’ll see if this leads to some sales.
With the end of the month on Thursday, I am curious to see just how I did on my list of goals for January. I know there are a couple I won’t get to, but maybe……I will have a lot of time on Wednesday and Thursday, so maybe……
Upcoming: 2 potential book deadlines, where our fabric creations will join others; Martha Stewart Weddings mag to hit the stands with our ribbons spotlighted; possible licensing in the works with some of our patterns…and that’s just through March.
How’s your marketing going?