Archive for the ‘patterns’ Category

Art in 2016 – Part 2 Review – Small Works

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.

 

Leftovers 1: Sunrise

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.”

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!

Art in 2016 – Part 1 Review

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.

The satin stitch….forever…..

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.

Starting the apple blossoms

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.”

20-inch square canvas covered in poly-linen.

Thinking it’s going to work…….each side panel is three 8 x 8-inch  canvases, mounted together and covered.

The final product – “Family.”

Playing Catch-Up…..

HalloweenFinishA 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!

Chocolate Box

Chocolate Box

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.

dscn1289

Pinwheel

I like to use my backs to show errors- and then in the blank area I added details about threads and needles.

dscn1290

   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!

Monday Marketing…….Not Really…..

Stones 2

Stones 2

It is Monday, and I sure haven’t been doing much marketing these last few months. Part of it has been illness, part has been writing, part has been making art, and part has been not really caring. I have realized that when I get in the mood for serious marketing, no art gets done. I find that unacceptable these days. There are more art pieces than I will ever have time for. Marketing needs to fit in as it can.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. During our trip we did a lot of talking to artists, sold some fabric, and made some really nice connections. We came home ready to start a new series, Preservation. Both of us are excited about this, and now we need to do some serious planning. But I am still left with a conundrum over marketing. In between being sick and getting physically exhausted (which according to the doctors will continue until maybe the end of September), I finished a seven-piece commission, nearly the rest of my seasons grouping (pattern is next on the list), free-motion quilted a lap quilt for a friend, cleaned the studio (which really was pointless….), and tried to be ambitious. I did write close to 15,000 words on my novel, but I am feeling the need to have art-making take over for a while.

I did partially complete a gallery marketing class, and now I am awaiting to see if I made the first cut to a year’s mentorship with a gallery in Scottsdale. It would require a lot more art-making, and I think we would be good candidates for selection. But what I think and what happens usually are two different things. I am still being positive, and men tally I am feeling good. I still have my lists, and they have every kind of loose end I can think of, including doing some apartment applications for next spring when we move, and organizing all our photos. But each day I look at any “must-do’s” and “want to do’s” and work from there.

And….there’s the marketing book which I haven’t marketed, plus a number of other things I haven’t done. So I need to get off my case, make art, and let other stuff happen when it does.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it………….

 

 

 

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.

 

Passive Income

I first heard about passive income about three years ago when I was reading a lot about monetizing my blog and making money without having to do a whole lot of work. Sounds great, but not as easy in reality. I got turned down by a group to host ads, as I didn’t have enough traffic, and they didn’t see quilters as a big draw – despite the fact that I had done my research and talked about a 4 billion dollar industry.

Rather than spend the time trying to get everything up and running to make money, I was still stuck working in the classroom, and I just didn’t have the energy after work. I started doing what I could. And now…I find I actually am getting some passive income three years later, with more possibilities in the works.

First, I receive a commission when someone buys materials from licensing expert Tara Reed. I’ve bought a number of things from her, and I love her work – all the detail and information is exceptional. Every time I mention her in a blog post, I usually make a sale, and consequently I get a few pennies.

I just uploaded my first pattern to PatternSpot.com, and hopefully I will begin to sell patterns there, through Etsy, and on our website. Every little penny helps! I have digital marbling images on Fine Art America. The work there is to figure out the site and get the photos uploaded. Once work sells, they do everything else.

Amazon and Google Adsense are two other outlets for monies. At one time I was getting regular checks from Amazon for books I recommended, and I need to do more of that. Google Adsense is about to send a check, as the clicks on the site are getting up to the minimum for a payout.Part of my issue with Google Adsense is making sure the ads that show are applicable to the site – Jockey underwear isn’t going to exactly get click-through’s….

Surfing Amazon!

So, it takes a while, but getting notices from Paypal about money in your account are very nice. You just have to be patient!

 

Monday Marketing

I figured I would DO my Monday marketing and THEN write about it, rather than the other way around. So I’ve had a productive hour on line taking care of some loose ends. New goodies up ion the Etsy shop, including our first pattern in a VERY long while.

If you have a small table that needs protection – or just some colorful decoration, then these table runners could be just what you need to add some excitement to a room! You have a variety of choices in design, as well as unlimited fabric choices: use that special hand-dye or marbled fabric, or sort through your stash. You have lots of design possibilities in fabric, batting, and thread choices, so don’t feel limited with these samples. I had some great pattern testers help with the finishing of this; their contributions are also featured.

This pattern is available in our Etsy shop, as well as on PatternSpot.com. The pattern is $9.00 and comes as a PDF file, complete with color photos on construction and layout. Eventually I will figure out the coding and get it on the website.

I must confess I am enjoying Pinterest. I thought it would be a waste of time, and actually it is, but it gives me a place to pin pictures that I really like. I am seeing a lot of marbled fabric getting repinned, so I guess people are really looking.

I’ve got another pattern in the works – Spring, part of the Marbled Seasons series. This is really starting to look good, as I was originally wondering if my fabric choices were going to work. I was hoping to have it finished for testing before the next newsletter, but it isn’t going to happen. But as I did my planning for the holiday season, next month will be custom baskets, as it will give us time to marble the fabric and put baskets together….got a new small art quilt up in Etsy, some new fabrics, a major order to Taiwan, so now we wil be ordering more fabric and paints….and threads – I am so out of threads!

Little by little I am getting things accomplished. Not the fifth gear I was in in May, June, and some of July, but at least it feels like getting into second gear.

Top Ten Tuesday

 

There’s a lot of great pictures and all on line for this week, but I just stumbled on this video that is a MUST SEE for women. It’s an important statement about women in our society. Knowledge is power. “Misrepresentation.”

 

From Cool Hunting, a really interesting photography contest: repurpose a pattern.

Great stuff on JPG Magazine – voting on one of their contests – lots of movement to these pictures.

Mathias Roller

 The 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2012 – from The Best Article Every Day

Here’s a really interesting post from Laura Bray – really unusual – about make “play food” for the kids to use in their “play” kitchens. I loved the pasta, and this ravioli is genius!

thought-provoking from The Creativity Post: The Responsibility of the Audience. thoughts from you?

Also from the Creativity Post: Mozart, Newton and You? Again, very thought-provoking. I love this comment:

“Creativity is essential to particle physics, cosmology, and to mathematics, and to other fields of science, just as it is to its more widely acknowledged beneficiaries — the arts and humanities. Science epitomizes the extra richness that can enhance creative endeavors that take place in constrained settings. The inspiration and imagination involved are easily overlooked amid the logical rules. However, math and technology were themselves discovered and formulated by people who were thinking creatively about how to synthesize ideas — and by those who accidentally came upon an interesting result and had the creative alertness to recognize its value.”  Your comments? For example, were Gates’ opportunities more important than his drive and talent?

From the 365 Project – this week’s top ten:

Microwires by peter/zip

Now this is weird…..Bent Objects by Terry Border, from The Best Article Every Day….

And from SewCal Gal comes a virtual tour of Hoffman Fabrics – really interesting if you’re any kind of a fabric-oholic….really interesting to see the process for producing all those yummy fabrics.

That’s it for this week – let me know what you find that’s unusual on line this coming week!

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