Archive for the ‘fiber art’ Category

Our First Vermont Show

Yowza – we had such a great time hanging this show – first one in Vermont, and first we’ve hung on our own. Lots of great decisions – hubby and I are so in sync with our thoughts. In and out in an hour so as not to disturb the folks working there. A lot of moving around of items to balance the show. We’re discovering that wainscotting is common in New England, so many of our really long pieces don’t work as well. But – the whole office looks much softer with the fiber on the wall. We’ll adapt!

I was glad to see the Four Seasons played well together, since I was worried one was a different size. Not to worry, so I’m hoping I can go ahead and finish the pattern for the website. Ah, so many things to do!! Open studio is now the next item, end of May, so planning lots of marbling sessions for goodies. A couple new gift baskets if my wrist allows it – too much at Christmas and the ligament is still repairing itself.

Without further ado – some pics of “on the wall” at Unsworth Law Firm, Essex Junction, Vermont.

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons

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Champlain Waters

 

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Misfiring Synapses and two small Digital pieces

 

Works in Progress…

More Geckos

More Geckos

…and there are a lot! Four quilts lined up, including the one you’ll see pictures of here.

We have a really great friend here in Tucson, and several years ago I made her a lap quilt as a birthday present. Trouble was, she can’t get completely covered under it when she wants to take a nap on the couch. So I decided for this year to make her a bigger one…..turns out I processed “66 inches” differently from 5 and a half feet. This is one big quilt! It should easily cover his double bed, which is exactly what she would like.

I am using a pattern I saw from Geta Gamma from Romania – I loved the design, especially the quilting, and am doing it in shades of purples and blues. It’s getting quilted to within an inch of its life! Needless to say, I am getting very good at free motion quilting feathers. The stencil work has been interesting – at one point I forgot about the registration marks and turned the pattern, but I am the only one who knows that.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.26.16 PM

I caused some bleeding with one of the fabrics when I attempted to use a stain remover to get out the rest of the gray chalk marks. I will need to use a little paint to cover that up. I have 8 days to finish – started about three weeks ago, and I should make the Christmas deadline. It is really looking good.

It is a little tough on the shoulders, cramming that quilt around under my trusty Bernina 1008, but I am getting much better at that. Thankfully the remaining three quilts are all much smaller. After this one, though, I am taking a quick break to do some traditional blocks in a Hawaiian theme for a block of the month, making a queen size quilt for my own bed…..then back to the list!

Some progress pics of my version –

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Sweet hubby helped with all the pinning…..

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Wrestling it under the machine….it’s looking gorgeous!SneakPeak10

Back Again….Hopefully Longer….

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It’s been an interesting year. Two years ago this time, I looked at my blog and was 200 posts away from 1000. I thought no problem, I can do that easily. Well, I am still about 185 posts away from 1000. Life really has gotten in the way, with illness, depression, and a sense of disequilibrium. It has taken a while to determine what paths I will be following.

It is also ironic that while I haven’t written many blog posts, I have written 110,000 words in a novel. This has been ongoing since August of 2013. I am nearing the end of what looks to be volume one of a trilogy. It is my way of processing political events in this country and trying to deal with how this country is changing. It has meant some interesting research (what is the saying about a true friend? One who will clean out your browser history after you die?). I’ve delved into some pretty terrible things on human trafficking, read lots of government reports, and overall tried to get up to speed on policy that I haven’t spent much time caring about in the past. It will be interesting to see if I can find a publisher….in the meantime, I have started a webpage for the book: http://the-secession-wars.webnode.com/. This is very much a work in progress, and I want to include writing tips as I finish up the novel.

I’m doing a lot of quilting. I’ve been slowly moving away from the marbling business, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. We still enjoy marbling, but the business end of it is tedious. I have lots of projects using the fabrics I have, but not the energy to do anything. I have been quilting other projects, and I have four commissions for quilts lined up: for a good friend, for a new baby,
for my yoga instructor, and for my great niece. I made the commitment to myself that when each of my eight great nieces and nephews turn 13, I will gift them a quilt. Gracie is the oldest, and she turns 13 this August. I want to have the quilt finished for when we move back east and stop to see them on the way. I found a great fleece in her favorite color for the backing, so that’s in the queue.

I’ve also taken up sketching again, through a couple of Craftsy classes. I did some sketching on the road this summer, but I want to make this a regular habit. Pen and ink has always been my medium (and charcoal, too), which is probably why I took to zentangles so quickly.

I have joined a weekly writing group to make my writing more of a regular practice. We meet for two hours and just write – a brief statement of intentions from each person in the group, and then it is total silence for writing. It’s been great, and I think it will get me back to blogging on a regular basis.

So this is a quick catch-up, more so for myself, as I look back on what has happened over the last years.

Till next time…..

Sunday Stories – The Chakra Commission

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Last September my yoga instructor Susan asked me to do a series of chakras for her home, which is also her yoga studio. She had the idea to have the chakras around three sides of her “great room,” so she would be surrounded by their energies. I had previously done a small 10 x 10 inch thread-painted root chakra, and that one led to this new idea.

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We debated about size, because the wall space is quite tall. Using the floor tiles as an estimate, we decided each would be 24 inches square – wrapped around four 12 by 12 inch canvases that we would put together.

First challenge – choosing the fabrics. I wanted to purchase them all at the same time for consistency. I had thought about the Stonehenge line of fabrics, but the LQS was out of them. Susan found some hand-dyes that were what I call true crayon colors. It was a beautiful vibrant rainbow. This was when I first realized some of the attributes of the chakras. Second challenge – creating the patterns. I wanted the thread-painted chakra to finish at 20 by 20 inches, because that would give me enough fabric for wrapping the canvas. So I worked with a set of patterns from the Net and created a master set for approval. We tweaked some changes with the edges to better increase some of the symmetry. It is now the end of October and I am ready to start – I think.

In trying to explain to the copy folks at Office Depot that I wanted my design blow up to 20 inches by 20 inches, eventually we got a 24-inch-square canvas, with a 20-inch design on it. I had copies made as patterns.

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Once I had the pattern, I traced over it and then pinned the tracing paper onto the fabric sandwich. Speaking of fabric sandwiches, it too close to five hours to get seven sandwiches prepped: ironing the fabric (I cut each yard into a 30-inch square), matched it with low-loft batting, and found some unused fabrics for the backings. Then they all sat over a chair for a while.

Finally around the end of November I started the actual sewing. I pinned the tracing paper carefully to the fabric sandwich and, using washable thread, I outlined the pattern. Tearing off the tracing paper took a very long while….

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For the Root chakra, I decided to do some bobbin work with a gold thread. I was so-so pleased with the results, but not enough that I was going to continue with the bobbin work. Each of the other chakras used satin stitch on the major elements and a lot of free motion patterns for fillers. The chakras got progressively better in their sewing….until the last one – same elements but a much simpler design.

I thought about redoing the Root chakra, since it didn’t seem to fit with the others. But the more Susan and I talked about how these were developing, the more I liked the first and the last. As I worked on them, I added more quilting elements that added to the design. I used colors in the same family as the background fabric, with hopefully enough contrast. Up close they were all looking gorgeous. From a distance, they faded away. That bothered me for a while, but I realized as I was working on them that everything in the design was meant to be meditative. Up close, you could lose yourself in the design. From a distance, the more you looked the more your saw.

Susan summarized it pretty well. The root chakra is our beginning, and it can be very shaky and unsure. We develop from there, with whatever impurities becoming who we truly are. The crown chakra, the seventh, is the Divine, and as such doesn’t need to be ornate. The Divine in us can be very simple and beautiful.

So here they are, in order.

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(Have to find this one – will update……)

Photo: Chakra number 6 now at its new home - one more to go!

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I learned a lot. There are some stitching patterns I would change. I would probably use a much lighter background fabric and have the stitching pattern show more. Yet they move in complexity, much like the chakras do. I one I am missing is the one I think is the best design, yet in viewing it, the design seems very faint. The more you look, the more you see. This is also the chakra that is my weakest, so I find that fascinating. My yoga instructor is extremely pleased. The room is surrounded by color and it just vibrates. And she says she can easily meditate on whichever one she wants or needs. A very happy conclusion.

Day Nine on Road Trip……catching up…..

If you caught my Facebook post yesterday, you heard the story of the horrendous borde crossing at Niagara.

Oy, one for the travel nightmares. Awoke to a beautiful morning on the Upper Peninsula, great views as we went across the Macinac Bridge, lots of green forests…..and then…..yea, verily, on the eighth day it rained…and rained…but we drove out of it. Our plan was to go to Flint and then east through Canada to avoid going through Detroit….same mileage essentially…..but then the border crossing south of Niagra Falls…..three and one-half hours from end to end…and I am NOT exaggerating…..construction on Canadian side, two to one to. two and back again to one lane that hardly moved. Finally could see booths, and that was just the Canadian side…..an absolute crawl over the bridge (and I am ot fond of bridges…freaking out, thinking how I would escape if the bridge broke)…and then more single lane to two lanes to three lanes to four lanes…NONE of which moved. Oy….probably not going too far tomorrow until we recoup…..eating dinner at 8:30 PM, which is unheard of for us…and it’s still light out. Must be karma paying us back for a great yesterday………

Here are a few shots of crossing on the Mackinac Bridge.
Crossing Lake Michigan

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

..and the beginning of the traffic at the border crossing….

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Border crossing

Now  back to the art museum…

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A fabulous sculpture outside the museum…can just see loads of kids climbing on it!

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Another outside sculpture…reminds me of one in Tucson, near the downtown public library.

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There were two coral sculptures inside the exhibit. This is one of them, talking about coral being the indicators of the health of a reef. This is all crochet….. The Branched Anemone Garden, Margaret and Christine Wertheim.

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Kathryn Spence uses “dirty, discarded pieces to indicate the invasion of the natural environment by human-produced garbage.”

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Leonardo Drew – “Number 162 is made from raw materials (wood, metal, paint, thumbtacks, paper, ink, graphite) that are manipulated and aged to suggest the passage of time and the cyclical nature of our existence.”

In Retrospect – Year 2 of Retirement

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I’ve been retired now for two years. Last year on the one-year anniversary I took a look at what I accomplished for the year. I was afraid of looking back on retirement and not seeing anything to show for it. So I tracked everything this year. The last four months have been pretty fallow, as I struggled with some personal issues, but I feel like I am finally reclaiming myself. All in all, I had a pretty productive year.

SAQA quilt submitted to major show

SAQA auction quilt submission

continued blogging

Tried out Tophatter, gave it up after some really obnoxious feedback from an a-hole, who actually burned my quilt

Newsletters for 10 out of 12 months

Wrote a dozen blogs for Handmadeology

Remade hubby’s blue quilt

Participated in the free motion quilting challenge through the end of the year

Yoga instruction throughout the year, including pretty regular daily practice

Completed two more table runners for Momma BettyTableRunner4

Completed Stepping Stones table runner

Completed “Clammin’,” a small art quilt up on Etsy

Completed pattern and two samples for the table runner pattern

Sold “DesertScapes”

Machine-quilted the Forest quilt

Machine-quilted two bed-stand table-toppers and one dresser scarf

Worked at stocking and marketing the Etsy store

Took a Quilt University class with Elizabeth Barton

Finished Spring Wall Hanging

Guest post on Craft Gossip

Finished makeover of small Christmas quilt

Pictures in Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring issueMSWeddings

Quilted Ali’s green picture

Participated in three challenges for Art Quilts Around the World

Took two Craftsy classes

Joined Galleribba online gallery

Potentialgallery  representation starting fall 2013 in Tubac

Participated in StashFest again this year for the La Conner Quilt Museum

Submissions for three books, one accepted, the other as an ebook

Green and purple whole cloth quilts completed

Started commission of 7 quilted chakras, finished Root chakra

Completed two bed-stand table toppers and one long dresses scarf

Accepted into the juried Faculty/Staff art show for The Art Institute of Tucson

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There are probably a couple more, but the mind has been kind of blank. It’s nice to have this list, so I know I accomplished a lot! Now I have to start the new one for year three.

Thoughts of NOLA – for Cousin Barb, Victoria, and Anne

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

TAFA Members – New Profiles to Check Out

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.

Top Ten Tuesday

A long, hard week, but we can always count on the internet to provide something interesting. Enjoy!

A really cool look at some Photoshop work from The Best Article Every Day:

Things maybe you never knew about cleaning and organizing….and might want to – some very clever ideas here!

From the 365 Project, once again some amazing photos:

NYC Has Big Balls by Michael Elliot

This is a dance performed at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. The dance, called the Thousand-Hand Guanyin, is making the rounds across the net. Considering the tight coordination required, their accomplishment is nothing short of amazing, even if they were not all deaf. All 21 of the dancers are complete deaf-mutes. Relying only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring. Its first major international debut was in Athens at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the repertoire of the Chinese Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe and had traveled to more than 40 countries.  Its lead dancer is 29 year old Tai Lihua, who has a BA from the Hubei Fine Arts Institute. The video was recorded in Beijing during the Spring Festival.

From the TED Blog – 100 Websites you should know and use…..when you want to surf……

A great dance video – will make you feel good all over!

From Buzzfeed, 26 images from the year that will make you believe in humanity again:

Some color for your enjoyment….this is one continuous picture, so click and be sure to scroll…..from The Best Article Every Day.

A lace comeback? Really interesting look at a possible resurgence of interest in lace from Surface Design Association.

And for us fiber junkies….3-D fabric with laser printers.…..

Have a great week surfing – let me know what you find!

Even More from The Textile and Fiber Art List!

Oh, for an endless amount of money to spend on art! TAFA is like my own private store, and I WANT WANT WANT everything I see. Enjoy these new artists this week.

From Hana: “Weaving technology is the use of woolen thread on mesh canvas with the aid of a hook. The weaving in itself is accomplished in free flow on a direct path from the “picture in one’s mind” to the canvas, without a previously drawn sketch on paper or canvas. This type of work enables maximum spontaneity and allows for a free flow of mood and color within the framework of the subject on the one hand (desert landscape for example) but on the other hand, enables the carpet to evolve and “breathe” in the process of its creation. In addition to weaving wall carpets I also paint, mostly oil on canvas but I use other techniques as well. My paintings are strictly figurative and very different from my carpets. While the carpets essentially try to convey the mood of a landscape through the free and more abstract use of form and color the paintings are either portraits or still life scenes that emphasize the composition of the scene or the mood of the person in the portrait. The colors I use in the paintings are not as bright as those I use in the carpets and they have a more introvert and subdued nature.” Woolscapes

From Wil Opio Oguta :”Inspiration for the quilts I make comes from a variety of sources. It can be nature, an expression, a color or a material. For most of my quilts I use my own hand dyed fabric. My quilts can be very colorful or simply black and white. I work in a contemporary style, but have no objection at all to incorporating traditional blocks. Often I use raw edge appliqué, but don’t be surprised if I switch techniques for another quilt. I love working with fiber, but if the quilt wants/needs it, I add other materials to it. This can be bark, buttons, lutrador and paint. It all depends on what I feel is needed. For me, making art quilts is a way of expressing what I see, translating the world into fabric and fibers, emphasizing/focusing on what is important to me and to show you how I feel about it.” WilOpioOguta

From Kim Buchheit: “Kim is a designer and artist living and working in Grand Canyon National Park. Her love of felt is rooted in an affection for its understated beauty, a fondness for the old-world craft of felt-making, and the simple earth-and animal-friendly nature of the materials used in the process.” Wildly Woolly

From Wen Redmond: “I am quite passionate about my work. I continue to explore my chosen medium, fabric, to see what it can do, to stretch its perception as art medium. When I work, I encourage a collaborative process with spirit or my higher self, that mind-boggling principle of the universe. This process can also be called ‘flow’. When you are in this state of mind, the intuitive is tapped and the work can become more than the sum of it’s parts. I work out insights, inspirations, feelings and reactions to the outer world. Allowing time for these inspirations to percolate up from my unconscious is a vital part of my process. Each piece is wrought individually and is one of a kind. These include original photographs, artistically manipulated, printed on prepared fabrics and various textile substrates. The works can include painting, dying, stamping screen-printing, mono printing and other means of surface design. Among a variety of presentations, I created an innovative technique, Holographic Images, employing photographs on silk organza to create a unique 3-D effect. Layers peeled back reveal the source, the inspiration, and my mad desire to capture thoughts, dreams and the beauty of nature. ” Wen Redmond

From Salley Mavor: ” have had a life-long fascination with little things and needlework. Toward the end of art school, I rediscovered my childhood delight in sewing and creating miniature scenes. Leaving traditional illustration mediums behind, but still interested in narrative work, I taught myself stitching and fiber art techniques. For me, manipulating materials with my hands with a needle and thread was so much more satisfying than rendering with a pencil or brush. I found that I could communicate my ideas more clearly this way and that my hands would direct me in a compelling way. My early pieces were soft sculpture, and then turned flatter, with raised figures and objects on a fabric background. I came up with the term “fabric relief” in 1982 to better describe my evolving technique. My 3-dimentional pictures resemble miniature, shallow stage sets, with scenery, props and characters telling a story. I embroider, wrap, appliqué and paint different materials and found objects to create scenes in relief, with figures imposed on an embellished fabric background. My work is decorative and detailed, full of patterns from nature, all stitched by hand. For the past 20 years, I’ve been working in the field of illustration, making artwork which is then photographed and printed in children’s books. The original fabric relief pictures have a second life when they are mounted and framed under glass in shadow boxes, ready to display as individual pieces. ” Wee Folk Studio

Using Marbled Fabrics in Quilts

When we started marbling, we were hooked from the very first piece. The problem was…what do we do with the fabric? Each piece was so gorgeous it was hard to cut into it. We knew we had to get over that mindset. Folks consistently asked, “What do you do with the fabric? I don’t know how to use it.” Confession time – I wasn’t quite sure either. I saw a book and thought marbled fabric would look cool. Now it was “put up or shut up.”

I was a beginning quilter with virtually no good color sense…that was hubby’s field. I figured black goes with everything, so my first quilt was an attic window pattern.

This was a nice way to show off smaller pieces of marbling, but I had to stretch further. It took a number of years before I stopped being afraid of any color except black. I started a Block of the Month, using blocks from Judy Martin. I became more daring…this time it was not black…..but other solids. I built the designs on the colors in the marbling. My January block had a definite “coolness,” so I looked for solids with some texture that would work. I started to expand design ideas and felt that traditional blocks could be the key to using these fabrics.

Now another confession…..when I first started doing quilting, I was pretty much “stitch in the ditch”….with metallic threads, no less. The quilt above is 12 years old, and I took it apart (oy) and used my newly acquired FMQ skills. I didn’t stitch the marbled blocks, as I wanted them to stand out.

The completed quilt – marbled fabrics within traditional blocks. You can read more about the actual quilting here.

I was hooked on finding some great traditional blocks that could spotlight marbling and go together harmoniousl. Summer……..I had some great neon orange cotton, a nice piece of Moda Marbles, but I needed additional fabrics so the quilt wasn’t overloaded with green. I stretched with the print fabrics I added to complement the marbled fabrics.

There’s lots of machine quilting throughout, but the marbling has been left on its own. (I also took this quilt apart…. kind of obsessive. But as quilters, we KNOW what we want. More about the quilting here).

At this point, I had a great piece of marbled fabric that said “I want to be fish.” I found a traditional block that could be used as fish. Thus the “fish quilt” was born (you can read about that quilting here). This time I quilted the marbled fabric by following the lines of the pattern and used stitches from my workhorse Bernina.

The completed quilt –

I started getting very bold – it never occurred to me to just quilt the marbled fabric itself. This was a major breakthrough. Traditional is fine, and I still work with traditional patterns, but quilting the marbled pattern gives a completely different look to a quilt. This quilt, “Nature 1: Rock Garden,” became my first quilt accepted into a juried show, “Expressions in Textiles.” It is very zen-like, and the quilting emphasizes the rock garden and sand.

Go traditional or go contemporary. Don’t be afraid of the marbled fabrics. They can be the spark that makes your quilt.

 

TAFA – Textiles and Fibers, Oh My!

As we approach the holiday season, you owe it to yourself to check out the Textile and Fiber Art List – amazing, wonderful handmade items, perfect for gift giving. Most TAFA members have Etsy stores, and you can shop till you drop. You will be astonished at the collection of creativity here.

“I’m drawn to a few subjects in nature that I find perpetually intriguing by themselves and my voice is whispering a tribute to the incredible beauty in both the subtle and violent forces of nature, only touched by the hand of humans on rare occasions. I’m obsessively drawn to trees, rocks, all forms of water, and animals; I portray these subjects as if they were asking to me to reveal their messages to the world. My fiber pieces are dramatic portraits of Earth and I hope to draw the viewers into these scenes to share the exhilaration I feel and to cherish the wonders of the place we call home.” Angel Fire Designs

“I make contemporary art quilts that use color, fabric and the traditions of quiltmaking to create abstract landscapes of the prairies of the Midwest where I grew up, the hills of western Massachusetts where I now live and vistas of my imagination. Each quilt represents a different moment in time and space. Frequently I am exploring the concept of horizons–that place of the potential where the sky and the earth seem to meet. I am constantly pushing the designs of my quilts while maintaining a distinctive style and a simple technique.”  Ann Brauer

“After many years of teaching and advising students on campuses including Stanford and the Universities of Wisconsin and California, budget cuts left me without a classroom. Finally, I could focus full time on my inherent artistic interests – dyeing and weaving yarn.

Today I design and weave one-of-a-kind textiles using traditional looms, respecting and preserving an ancient form of art. I have four looms in my home studio and use only natural fibers: cotton, silk, tencel (fiber made from wood), bamboo and soy.

I have been teaching weaving at Women’s Wisdom Art, a program to help women heal through art, since early 2009. But, alas! the program is closing and going the way of many art programs these days. I had to find a home for the looms and did so at Craftology (http://craftologystore.com/class/weaving-beginner-intermediate/) where I will be able to continue teaching. My goal is to teach as many people as possible the joys of weaving!” Ann Robinson Textiles

“I have been working on several series for the past couple of years and have seen my work progress through the use of more than one medium in a piece. In many ways this has broadened my outlook and led me to new paths and different views. In the ‘Fossil Series’ I have combined textiles and encaustics which has offered me a whole new variety of textures and subtle form. To get the maximum benefit from this medium I use both the wax and the acrylic resin forms of encaustics. On the other hand, in the ‘Moon Shadow Series’ I have chosen a totally different approach. Here, I have combined needle felting and acrylics. The results are very different, but no less pleasing. It is exciting to be able to express myself in these two very different, mixed media approaches to art.” Anni Hunt

“My mother’s Slovenian culture was always an inspiration for me: embroidery, folk costume, woven carpets. After living with indigenous dot paintings I began to create narratives from buttons, which I call assemblies. Button work and woven tapestry are my two modes of self expression. In both, autonomy is important; colour, texture and luminosity are emphasised. During my 30 years of textile work I have been able to express my personal development, images of my family migration to Australia post World War Two, and most recently my consciousness of living on a planet with dwindling, threatened resources.” Anton Veentra Textiles

More next week! Take your time and explore. There is so much to see and learn about!

Amazing Visual Goodies from TAFA!

There is a really wonderful online gathering of artists involved in fiber – worldwide. It’s The Textile and Fiber Arts List – TAFA, for short. I am trying to get to know more of our 400-plus members, and I thought I would share what I’m learning with you, on a more regularly basis. There is such an amazing wealth of talent on this list, and I’m pleased to be a member. Please enjoy these profiles, and don’t hesitate to visit their websites and immerse yourselves in wonderful textile art.

“Always looking for something new and different. Doris Florig has now discovered the plant used for Indigo dye in the Caribbean and will now add this color to her next tapestry. She uses a combination of both natural and synethic dyes to get the exact color needed for each fiber work of art. She weaves day and night, none stop. Currently she is working on a 5′ x 5′ commission piece of the Wind River Range in Wyoming. At the same time she is preparing large body of work to be exhibited by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. She is accomplished creating both contemporary and traditional tapestries, fiber mobiles and sculptures. This summer she will be the guest artist at the National Wildlife Museum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She will be exhibiting her wildlife fiber sculptures and presenting and interactive demonstration. Doris loves to make connections through fiber art and would welcome your email comments and questions. ” 2dmagic

“We are predominently a textile, fibre, quilt, art school, plus other mediums like mixed media and altered books, etc. The aim of the school, is to not only share this beautiful region of Italy with students and tutors, but for you to participate in the unique Abruzzi culture.” Don’tcha just want to fly away? Abruzzo School of Creative Art.

“Affaires Nomades, is a textile brand that transcends cultures, stimulates dreams, and gives you a taste of the nomadic spirit. The inspiration of the “Fragments” collection comes from the nature, the space and the depth, which evokes a sense of travel in the daily life. I want a home that feels organic; it changes as the person who lives in it changes. ” Affaires Nomades

“Afghan Tribal Arts specializes in hand carved natural beads made from semi-precious stones (jade, carnelian, lapis lazuli, etc.). As stated above, we also carry textiles and other crafts, mostly vintage. We have worked hard at getting our Etsy shop stocked with samples of our inventory and will continue to grow the shop there. We also have a website which has examples of past products. As almost everything is one-of-a-kind, it’s a challenge to keep current inventory on the site. We have found that the Etsy shop is the best solution for this right now. I have a bead show route between Wisconsin and Florida and can have textiles on hand for those who are interested. But, as the travel and show costs increase, I would like to do less traveling. I am open to trunk shows and events so get in touch with me if you would like to set something up. Afghan Tribal Arts is basically a wholesale operation. We are selling our products on Etsy just above wholesale. We also have a gallery in South Carolina.” Afghan Tribal Arts

“I’ve been a textile artist for since I was 20. Quilting is my passion and I’ve taught internationally, written 2 books on landscape quilts and exhibited my quilts from Houston to Tokyo. My recent passion has been to develop a fair trade business importing textiles,beads,baskets and dolls from my homeland of South Africa. I’m focused on creating income for women in sewing and craft collectives. I love the work and being connected to Africa through this work.” African Threads

Sunday Stories – Misfiring Synapses

I’ve had a couple of people come by and see my “Misfiring Synapses,” a piece I did on depression. It’s getting mixed reactions. Some people don’t get it because it’s fiber and doesn’t look like their mental picture of fiber – which is a typical quilt. Some don’t get the imagery in the abstraction, and that’s okay. But most people who do get it love it – they say it’s exactly what they figure their mind is going through. Which is what I was aiming for in its creation. I think if you’ve suffered from some form of depression, especially situational, you get the idea that something is ultimately not right in your brain.

When the call for this show came up, I spent a lot of time trying to think 1) how I would interpret it, and 2) how I would do it in marbled fabric. We had done some black satin a while back for a different piece, and it was pretty organic in form. As I was going through fabric, I happened on the piece and thought it looked quite a bit like a nerve ending. Very dendritic. So I went with that piece, and I wish I’d taken a picture of the satin without anything done to it.

I wanted the effect of an irritation, like an itch that just wouldn’t go away. As I was checking through my threads, I saw a Rainbow thread from Superior that was a red/purple/black, and I thought it might work. When you look at the above photo, you can see that the red shows, and then it looks like there isn’t other thread. It looks like an irritated part of a nerve. Just what I wanted.

So I had the center of the piece, but I wasn’t sure how to develop the “looking inside” aspect – I wanted it to feel like you were looking deep into the brain and seeing just this one little piece of irritant. I had two different types of red fabrics, both satins, and both with some freeform designs, again very organic.

I did a lot of the same type of quilting, following the black, this time with a variegated series of reds. Lots of bubbling texture resulted. I did the same thing with the second piece of red. What I seemed to have were two different areas of the brain, both pretty irritated.

I also had some more great black satin, this time in more formal marbled patterns, and I figured this would work really well for the outer shell of the brain, all the “gray matter.” I continued with the curved pieces that overlapped each other, much like I would imagine the parts of the brain does. Each of the curved pieces had serged edges with the idea of the gray matter and all the wrinkles you see in the surface of the brain. There were a lot of issues in connected these pieces. I had to work from the design wall to the flat table, and then to the sewing machine, hoping I could get all the pieces of the puzzle together. My intriguing back of the piece started to look really messy, so before it travels at all, I will add another backing to it, to make it a lot neater.

You can see a lot of the overlaps and edging in the above picture. What I particularly love about the piece is that it works both from a distance and close up. From a distance you see this really interesting organic shape, and the colors are somewhat disconcerting and upsetting. Close up it looks like it is undulating.

I left it nice and big for you so you could examine all the various parts of this.

17 by 20 inches, available for sale.

Comments?

 

 

Crazy? Maybe Yes, Maybe No……

So.

Crossroads.

Had dinner last night with a really good friend to discover she had a rough week, nearly turned upside-down. And her former boss has medical problems (like being the 179th case of an artery problem since 1745). All of a sudden my depression didn’t seem that all important. And I left dinner feeling hugely better and came home to hit the machine for an hour, making good progress on a new small piece.

This was the culmination of about a week of wondering if my art quilt had made it into a fairly prestigious show. Antsy for the whole week, as I knew all the decisions had been made, and I was wondering why we hadn’t heard anything. I was trying to stay positive, as I believe if we send negative thoughts out into the universe, we will be repaid with negativity. Hard to do when I already was 0 for 2 in submitting work this year. I kept thinking “third time’s the charm.”

At 4 PM I had the email. Not good news. Very nice rejection letter – I’ve had loads of those over the years, especially in writing. The very first fiber show I entered I was accepted in, and I think had I been able to keep up creating work without having to worry about a teaching load, I would be in better shape as an artist, with many more shows on the resume. But that was not to be. I looked at the accepted list, and it seemed like it wasn’t the same-ole same-ole list of people who always make it into shows. That was encouraging, at least. Out of 128 entries, 20 were accepted.

Once I heard that, instead of feeling better, I think I got a little angry. Had I known that so few pieces were going to be accepted, I really don’t think I would have entered and saved the 40 bucks. The odds are definitely against you with those numbers.

The thing is, I do think this piece is exceptional. It’s unlike anything I’ve done so far, and it certainly met the theme – I felt it did. Your reaction to the stigma of mental illness. Have suffered from depression and needing drugs to help me through the last years of teaching, I know how the brain can react in stress situations. It’s nothing we can see, but it’s there. So I chose to look at mental illness from a single brain cell that is misfiring. I thought in the overall collection of pieces this would be one very organic “don’t forget the brain’s role in all this” statement.

And let’s face it, no one is working with marbled fabrics like I am. I think I was able to show with this piece that you can a textile that isn’t often used and manipulate it into a statement. It seems like “different” is what art quilt shows are looking for, and this piece was quilted to emphasize the message, not quilted just for the sake of showing off quilting skills (which is what one quilt show seemed like that I attended – and this January show wasn’t an “art quilt” show).

So now it’s a case of really thinking through what I want to focus on for the next couple of years, while I still have the vision (literally) to create pieces. While working toward a specific show and deadline works for me, especially when I have to really think through the creation of a piece from idea to finished product, maybe it isn’t where I need to be. Bottom line, I want our business to make some money. That means more online product and outlets. Smaller quilt pieces are selling in my Etsy store, so I need to create more of those (and three are right now in the works). And I want to continue to learn and take classes, which isn’t possible when I’m trying to meet a lot of deadlines. I want my work in galleries, and I want to be able to travel and do some teaching of marbling. I need to take the time and think through new possibilities.

Which means that karma and the universe may be showing me why the piece was rejected (and maybe not……).

Without further ado, here’s the quilt in its online debut. “Misfiring Synapses,” 17 x 21 inches, unpolished red satin, black satin, Superior Threads, batting, cotton backing.

PS – may just have lined up my first gallery……

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