Archive for the ‘Fish Follies’ Category

Thoughts on Entering Juried Shows……

I’ve written that one of my goals for this first quarter of the year is to create some new artwork to enter into a few select juried shows. Joanne Mattera had a really interesting blog post on Monday about entering shows: When Do You Stop Entering Shows?

Certainly timely for me. Her checklists of questions to ask yourself are excellent. I had success about 10 years ago with a series of shows I entered, especially Expressions in Textiles, which was more an early art-quilt venue. I would consider this my first prestigious show. I have success entering a show in Alaska each year, which is an art show, and fortunately for me they like fiber entries. I stopped entering a lot of shows from about 2006 on for two reasons: I was teaching full time and had  very little time for creating art, and entry fees were expensive (moderately so nbow, but I must say, being able to do online entries is a blessing). The entry fee was groceries. Then I entered an art quilt show two years ago and was rejected. Aside from being P.O.’d, when I looked at the artists selected, they were the “same ole – same ole” quilt artists whose work is very recognizable. That’s when I figured I wasn’t going to play with the “big girls” any more. I needed to make work for me.

Hence my decision to try for Visions and a SAQA show this year….there, I’ve said it. Big time. If I am selected, these will be two huge pieces for my resume. Which brings me back to Joanne’s article. “But at a certain point—a tipping point, let’s think of it—you want to see your exhibition experience evolve into opportunities in which you are invited to participate.”

Yup, that pretty much says what I am aiming for. Joanne goes on to say: “Indeed, most dealers looking at an artist’s resumé want to see that evolution. ‘When I see a string of juried shows on a mid-career artists’s resume, I have to ask, ‘Where’s the progression?’ says a dealer I know.”

I know I’m making progress in creating art, and I want to be mindful of shows that would add value to my resume and future opportunities. Quilt shows aren’t going to do it for me. Some art quilt shows? Visions, SAQA, Tactile Architecture…..probably. I’m not interested in dealing with the “quilt police.” My work is not mainstream quilting, although that’s a skill I use. A number of years ago we had our work in a now-defunct fiber gallery in Scottsdale. At the time I was doing different things with my “bindings.” I was serging or facing the edges of my art quilts because the technique helped enhance the message of the piece. The gallery owner – a fairly traditional quilter who worked with bright fabrics and called them art quilts – was appalled that I didn’t have regular bindings on my quilts, and she wouldn’t take a couple of pieces without regular bindings. Well, to my way of thinking, a binding would have constricted the design in a way I didn’t want.

Those pieces are now all in private collections, and I’m still spreading my wings as an artist, trying all different kinds of techniques.

Some shows I do enter – nonjuried, no-fee art shows, where fiber will be accepted. The Tikkun Olam show was an easy show, a twelve-by-twelve piece dealing with the theme, and it could be any media. I did receive a lot of feedback about the piece and some interesting opportunities – and a lot of interesting lessons (just because you say you’re a curator doesn’t mean you’re especially good at it….). There is another show like that coming up that I plan to create work for.

In retrospect, I am on the right track. My decisions seem based in reality and forward movement for me. We’ll see how everything plays out. I am behind on my piece for the Visions show, but I have a month…..less, when I think about photography, but I’m almost there…..a solid week of sewing (which will have to be next week…) should finish it for me. And then on to the rest of the first quarter list.

Work in Progress Wednesday – Two New Quilts

Awright, so they’re not technically WIPs. But I haven’t shown all of them on here before, and I really do love them. And close observers will recognize the blog heading as the fabric in “Salmon Run.”

“Salmon Run” returned from its several-month engagement in Alaska at the Cordova Historical Museum. I love having it back – I am so fond of the fabric.

Here’s a close-up of the quilting.

You also haven’t seen my latest piece, “Bamboo Grove,” in a full shot.

This piece had so many techniques I hadn’t tried before. I am reconsidering the tops of the bamboo stalks…I may decide to take the leaves off and try another way of attaching them to increase their fullness. So I guess it still is a “work in progress.”

What am I working on now? I am doing an art show on November 20 with the Tucson Art and Craft Association, so I am preparing fabric for that, as well as requilting a few small quilts. I am thinking of revising my still-unfinished “Iceberg” piece from several years ago into a series of Icicles for Road to California – I have till December 15. I can still use all the techniques I had planned, just in some different forms. I am still thinking about the next “large” piece with marbled fabric and don’t quite know what it’s going to be……I have some really great large pieces of fabric lying around.

But…I also have about four other quilts in various stages that I need to get to! Such decisions we all have….what’s waiting on your list of to-do?

Sunday Stories – Entering Fiber Shows

Over the last thirteen years I have been entering fiber shows and the occasional quilt show with some success. The “Fish Follies” show each year at the Cordova Historical Museum in Cordova, Alaska has been very good to me, with acceptance both in fiber and digital categories each time I enter. I really think through the pieces I enter to be sure they fit the theme – I think I’m just not crazy enough in the “Follies” area to place.

In 2004 I took a BIG chance and entered the Expressions in Textiles show in New Haven, CT. My “Rock Garden” piece made it in, much to my delight, and when I saw the list of acceptances, I was kinda stunned. All of a sudden I was in the “big girl” league. I was thrilled. This was essentially a whole cloth quilt, a half yard of a stone marbled pattern that seemed like it was quilted to death.

This is just a small portion, but everything in this quilt came together perfectly. I had initially bordered it in a black satin, thinking of the Japanese laquerwork, but eventually Iplicked out a smooth sand-ish fabric so the stones wouldn’t seem “hemmed in.”

That same time I had my “Mandala 1: Core” accepted into a quilt show, Fabric of Legacies, in Ft. Collins, CO.

This was another whole cloth quilt, but at this point I was thinking that there were going to be a lot of venues that would look at very non-traditional fiber. I have since had my “Low Tide” piece juried into that show.

Most of my quilts were rejected over the next few years, and I pretty much stopped entering shows. I think some was due to poor slide quality, some to the whims of the juror…one piece I did for a show about changing the world’s problems. I chose endangerment/extinction and did a piece on the rain forest and was told it didn’t fit the theme. So I guess the learning from this was to continue, that not everyone interprets things the same way.

When we went through our “dry period” of marbling, when nothing was working, I didn’t even work on pieces, like my bamboo, that had already been started. Now, though, I have started to look ahead to shows, quilt and art, and plan for new pieces, since most of what I have is too old. If my early pieces were accepted, and I’ve improved a hundred fold in my skills since then, then I should be on track for a few more acceptances.

We’ll see…deadline for the bamboo is September 3, with notification around September 15. Time to make a list of new deadlines and what will be entered…and what will be new creations.

Getting Down to Pixels…..


I started a piece last night that I thought really had potential, but I wasn’t having a lot of luck adding color with the brushes. I wanted a much lighter touch, so I thought about stuff over the night and most of today. I figured if I got to the pixel level I should be able to be extremely selective with the color. Unfortunately I didn’t make sure that I had the setting and size for print, so I will need to redo this if I want to print it out – and I’m thinking this could be an interesting entry for Fish Follies in Alaska.

Here’s the original piece of fabric:

This piece was done as part of an order for Australia, but we weren’t totally pleased with it – kind of muddy. I did some work brightening and using the adjustments, so then I ended up with this, which will probably be a card:

Then I did the sharpening and the blur and the invert and got a piece that looked very much like water. So I played with some “sand” to see what would happen, and then almost pixel by pixel I added three different shades of water. I wanted to keep most of the white and just add shades, so I tried different brush sizes, shades, and opacity, with a lot of erasing! I am pleased with the result:

Now I am thinking if I redo this, I can make the “sand” more cliffs, and then really darken the water and have a good strong piece for Alaska.

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