Archive for the ‘studio’ Category

Spring Open Studios in Vermont

This year for Spring Open Studios we traveled ourselves to see what was in the neighborhood, including immediately down the street where I lived when we were dating. Precision Studio and Theresa Somerset made me seriously hyperventilate – she is amazing, the studio is to dye for!

Her dyeing areas and assorted tools:

Pieces of eggs she has decorated – basically no egg is safe!

Mixed media work – this has so many amazing techniques incorporated into it.

Completed Eggs:Theresa’s photography set-up:

More mixed media work – part of a Vermont Arts Council challenge:

More mixed media – the puzzle piece was part of a state-wide challenge.

Who knew you could find an amazing sculpture garden in the heart of Winooski, Vermont? I could have sat there forever! Gorgeous property surrounded on two sides by tall cedars for privacy.

My favorite piece!

Also a visit to in Jericho – GREAT location, wonderful grounds! I loved this shelf for all the shapes and glazes.

Last stop for the weekend was John Churchman and his farm, where the sheep were being fleeced as we watched. She managed 20 sheep in three hours, with lots of skins to feel. It’s a great working farm, but John is also known for his photography and his children’s books about Sweet Pea. Fun fun time!

Art in 2016 – Part 4 Review – Classes and Shows…and a Book!

This was a big year for showing our work – many more options and acceptances than most of our time in Arizona. We taught a beginning marbling class at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY, and in the process of chatting, we became part of their arts curriculum grant project. I’m really looking forward to this activity; I miss the days of working with The Kennedy Center to bring integrated arts into the classrooms in the Chittenden East School District in Vermont.A lot of great memories from the conferences, and then great memories from arts work within the district (need to do a blog post and reflect on the work we did….)

A couple of pictures from our Saranac Lake class, followed by an individual machine quilting class I did for a fellow artist who wanted to expand her techniques. Mary Hill is a mixed media artist, with vibrant work.

We spent Vermont Open Studios sharing space with Mary over Memorial Day Weekend. LOTSSof great discussions on marketing!!

It was a challenge to plan for what could take Mary’s already wonderful art to the next level.

Mary Hill’s “experimenting as a result of our machine quilting class:

Plus, since May I have been working on an interactive teaching manual for the ebook Interactive Edge of the Sea. This takes all I have worked on in curriculum in 40 years of teaching and brings it together for teachers, with a modern update on using all forms of new assessment and social media within the classroom. My hope is that this manual becomes a template for other disciplines, as there are a lot of useful interactive teaching techniques – and everything is correlated to current educational standards. A labor of love with my second mom, Betty Hupp. Here’s the cover:

A snippet of the lesson plan section….

We are just about done with final edits, and after the first of the year it heads off to coding. I have a lot of links to check to be sure they all work!

Bunches of shows…..here are pictures of our small pieces at Sweet Grass Gallery in Williston, VT for the month of November.

There’s still more…..stay tuned!

“Storm Coming” – New Fiber Piece

Asian Fantasy

Asian Fantasy

I’m unearthing a lot of unfinished projects and pieces of fabrics that can be turned into small art quilts for Etsy, and I also came across a couple of digital pieces (like the above) that need reworking for an upcoming show. It is just amazing to me how productive I have been at getting new – and old – projects completed since we set up the new studio. Here’s pics of the new studio – taken right after we unpacked and stored, so things are cleaner than they are now after three weeks of solid work. Good north light, and lots of surface area.

Large marbling tray

Large marbling tray

Stored behind the door, along with mats and combs…..

Cutting table and storage

Cutting table and storage

This can be closed up for an air mattress on the floor for company.

Extra storage

Extra storage

Filled with fabrics and patterns and lots of other goodies….no longer used for clothes!

Bernina 1008 and sewing table

Bernina 1008 and sewing table

Sewing table for the last 15 years, lots of room to the left to support larger quilts….almost impossible to keep clean……

Additional sewing area

Additional sewing area

For the serger and decorative stitches on the Brother machine….

Storage cubbies

Storage cubbies

Happy as a clam, and now to the piece in progress….which is some leftover from another completed piece.

WIP – Storm A’Brewin’

Thread choices –

Thread choices - Storm A'Brewin '

Thread choices – Storm A’Brewin ‘

Didn’t use the blue – too much contrast, and not what I liked – ended up pulling out all the threads…one advantage of not checking the tension – easier to pull out.

Thread work

Thread work

 Finished project, available in Etsy. I needed to simplify the design – got caught up in following the patterns, so I ended up leaving the bottom corner free of stitching, so it looks like everything is approaching from the northwest.

Storm A'Brewin'

Storm A’Brewin’

Serged edges, mounted on wrapped canvas, 12 x 16 inches. Moving right along!!

On Having a Studio Space

there’s been an interesting thread on the Studio Art Quilt yahoo group about studios. Some were talking about dedicated spaces away from home that operated as both gallery and studio, all the way down to a dining room table that gets cleared when company comes. Pretty much everyone agreed that if you are going to improve your work and your quantity of creativity, you need some kind of dedicated space. And most felt that a dedicated room in your home would be sufficient.

I agree. As much as I liked LOVED Mary Fisher’s space in Sedona, Arizona, there’s no point drooling over it with a case of the “I wants” because it isn’t going to happen. You can see the post of her studio here. In the year since I retired, I have made over my studio space twice, once  unplanned because we ended up moving. I’m like many artists – the dining room table was my sewing area for so many years. Supplies were stored in boxes and other forms of makeshift storage. It worked until I got really serious about my work. Then I took over the spare bedroom, like so many. I had two dedicated bookcases and some plastic bins, and a very large closet. But there came a time when I said, ya know, no one ever comes to stay except maybe once a year. Why did we need that bed? Primarily I would sleep in the spare room when I had a cold and would snore. Solved that by hubby getting ear plugs. So the bed went on Craigs List and I had a whole room.

The problem was still one of organization. Lots of plastic bins, all of which had to get dragged out every time I wanted to search for fabric. And a lot of stuff was hidden out of sight in the closet. I had to set up the ironing board every time I wanted to do something. And the design wall didn’t always happen. A year ago, after visiting friends in Sedona who had some GREAT Ikea shelving, I decided I wanted to remake my studio. Here’s a “before” post, with the cubbies I spent my retirement gifts on from Target. At the bottom of this post you can see the remake. It worked pretty well, still small, and I wasn’t happy with the design wall being part of a closet door.

And then we had to move again…..(9 moves in 18 years), but the space was bigger……and there was a garage…….took about a week to get the new studio in shape, and the space has been fabulous. I can leave the ironing board set up, I have two design spaces, and I was able to reclaim the dining room table into the studio. We can both easily work in the space, and there is still room in the one closet.

Here’s the new space:

 

(No it doesn’t always look this clean….)

Plus…the new landlord is going to get a laundry tub in the garage, so I will have a “wet” space for dyeing fabric. It’ll be a couple of months, and that’s not a problem, as it is now over 100 degrees, and it will no doubt stay that way until October. New shelving and a dedicated table for surface design. Can’t wait!

Would I love a work space connected to a gallery? Sure, but we need to work with what we have. The reality is then I can’t work whenever I want in my jammies……

 

A Dream Studio – Mary Fisher

As promised, here’s a look at Mary Fisher‘s studio in Sedona. From her website:

Mary Fisher is celebrated as an artist, activist, poet, and author.Mary Fisher is celebrated as an artist, activist, poet, and author. With bold techniques, intricate movements and splashing colors, Mary brings all the influences of her extraordinary life experiences into a seemingly single stroke. Her award winning fine art quilts, paintings, sculptures, and photographs are internationally collected by presidents, critics and corporations, galleries and museums, as well as commissioned for permanent installations in U.S. embassies and in the UN’s Geneva headquarters. Her quilt fabric and jewelry lines are embraced by wide audiences as being elegant, easy to live with and timeless. “Designed by Mary Fisher” signals an exuberant style that is instantly recognizable, the cause of conversation and joy.

Mary draws from her early studies at Cranbrook, her life in Paris, her continuous work with the village women in Africa, global travels, and the red rock mountains of her home studio in America’s primitive Southwest. Her work combines her passion for the textures of indigenous craft, the finesse of the classics, the spontaneity of primitives, the vibrancy of cultural art with the serenity of minimalist ancients. The result is “Collection Origins”, a timeless look that is both sophisticated and comfortably contemporary.

Because of  the open studios, we got to see up close and personal what this amazing woman does. My mouth was hanging open the whole time, and it suddenly dawned on me to ask if I could take photos. I would never even be able to explain the amount of “stuff” to make art. It’s EVERYWHERE. And she does EVERYTHING. Paper, block printing, painting….you name it. So sit back, enjoy, and drool…..

The “wet” side of the studio….paints, papers, dye stuffs – you name it!

Transitioning between spaces – a quilt hanging system.

Huge wet area.

Block printing, brushes, paint…at this point I so want to try everything!

I snapped some pictures just to see her journals and what she was reading.

Large sinks…and a huge in-the-floor drainage area.

Artwork abounds – this was paper.

I loved all the different artist license plates.

More  books.

Aren’t you just curious as to all the titles? And there were MANY more books.

Luscious yarns and embellishments all over!

Part of the retail end of the studio. All proceeds go back to Africa.

Beads and findings and more.

Looking toward the back, with her fabric lines,

I thought the way to display the jewelry was extremely clever.

One of several very large work spaces.

WALLS of thread….

And a long arm….

More wonderful artwork. The hanging system was ingenious.

Somehow I missed the three shelves of sewing machines……my parting comment to hubby was to NEVER complain again about how much stuff I have.

Truly inspirational. In fact, a small piece I am working on today for the SAQA auction had me digging through the yarns and ribbons I have to see about an unusual binding. MOre on that later. For now, just enjoy.

Gallery Walks and Artists…Oh My!

When we were on our trip to Seattle, we didn’t have a lot of time (coming or going) to do our favorite activity – browse galleries and talk to artists. When we went to Sedona this past weekend, it was high on our list, and we were not disappointed. First up was the Native American artists at the lookout at the top of Oak Creek Canyon. These artists are all certified by the Native Americans for Community Action, and the work is wonderful. We enjoy seeing the contemporary designs in jewelry that have a rich heritage behind them.

Overlook Program: A significant development for NACA was the establishment of a partnership with the United States Forest Service, Coconino National Forest for a project called the Oak Creek Vista Overlook project. Beginning in 1988, the Overlook Project is an economic development program that allows Native Americans artisans to sell their arts, crafts and jewelry at the prime tourist location. This program has grown in popularity and reputation each year. To date this year, 280 vendors have registered to sell their crafts. For many of the vendor, money made through the Overlook is their major source of income.

We bought a plate by a Navaho artist that depicts a wolf, one of hubby’s protective animals. While I love all the jewelry, I really don’t wear much – but I do so enjoy looking. And it was a gorgeous day on the rim, with a light breeze and absolutely gorgeous views.

From Stock Photo, Scott Prokop

We strolled the Hyatt galleries in Sedona, especially our favorite, Visions Art Gallery. The glass chandeliers are always spectacular.

www.ulladarni.com

One of my favorite artists is Alexei Butirskiy. You feel like you are in his paintings.

I also like Eyvind Earle. This is Crimson Eucalyptus.

The Lou DeSerio Gallery has wonderful photographs by both father and son. You need to spend some time looking at their work, especially of amazing Sedona.

We also spent some time at a small art fair in West Sedona. Gabriel and Jennifer Ayala had some really great copper sculptures. The copper weavings are quite interesting, and all completed by hand.

All-a-Glow Jewelry has some great wire work.

This was also Open Studios weekend in Sedona. On Sunday morning we visited two fiber artists, Margaret Anderson and Mary Fisher. Margaret’s work is luminous. She uses silk and cotton as a surface for paint, rather than canvas. She’s been in Visions, Dairy Barn, and Linda Seward’s book on art quilts.

Wildfire, Margaret Anderson

I’m saving the best for last…Mary Fisher’s studio. Check her amazing studio on tomorrow’s blog.

On Moving – Part 3

  So we’ve been in our new place for nearly two weeks, sleeping through the night, and hubby is about to start cutting back on his insulin, since his sugars are coming more under control. What is it about a place to live that appeals? I think I can kind of speak from experience, as I’ve lived a lot of places. When we bought our first home, that’s what young people did. The American Dream – you own a home. We were not employed regularly – I was substituting, and hubby was working on commission for an employment agency, but we qualified, and our first house payment for $325. Ten yeas later we were trying to sell in a depressed market….we’ve done that twice, now.

This home was about 1500 square feet. We couldn’t afford furniture for the whole place. We had three bedrooms…because that’s what everyone did. One was an office, and one was a spare room, even though we rarely had visitors. But it was a great open floor plan, and something we have looked for ever since. Of course we also had the autumn harvest gold appliances and green sculptured carpet…….

Our town home in Maryland also had a nice layout, open, good kitchen. We had a downstairs that we used for caning and sewing, as I was just getting in to quilting. The only thing we wished we had was an outdoor patio. We like sitting outside. Plus, nice walking in the area. One of the things we will always treasure about that place is that my in-laws spent six weeks with us there, with my father-in-law walking around most of Ellicott City.

The house we bought in Tucson also had an open floor plan, nearly 1300 square feet. We had a small backyard, and we were actually able to do some nice landscaping. Turned out quite lush, and with the spa, we really enjoyed being outside. But again, the neighborhood went down, and we were stuck in a slow market trying to sell.

After this house, we kind of got out of owning a home. Too much work and upkeep, so we looked at renting. We rented a house  that was HUGE – space for a wet marbling studio, a dyeing area, and a separate sewing room, plus a designated office. Old house in need of a lot of work. The rent was beyond us, for just having left the learning center and going back to teaching full time. That pretty much told us we needed to look at rents that were around $750, maybe a little more as my salary increased. Back yard here was worthless; pool had been filled in, no trees left, and just not comfortable.

What makes this new place so nice is what we decided we actually needed to be comfortable: a good studio space, in a second bedroom. We don’t have company a lot, and if our good Vermont friends come out, we’ll close up the cutting table and rent a double fold-away. Good light is critical, especially since we both have some decreasing vision issues. A kitchen that we can work in together: we just came from a galley kitchen where one person couldn’t get past the other. Open floor space, and a good outside area. We don’t need the upkeep of a yard, just a nice place to sit out. And – good wall space for our variety of art work. We actually have some space left over right now, and now we can look to buy some larger art work when we’re traveling.

A garage!!! More storage!

Our first breakfast nook - with tulips from our Cornville friends!

 

The Studio

A separate ironing area - no more setting up and taking down....

I have reclaimed my sewing table!

The energy feels just great – lots of light, good nights’ sleep, and room to move around. I’m going to start some vegetables when we get back from Seattle in our backyard, and if it works, we’ve got room for a compost container. Love this place!!

Work in Progress Wednesday

Busy week in the studio! I’ve been slowly adding little goodies to the wall, as I want to feel like this is a real working studio every time I walk in to it. This wall is some samples, my color wheel, and some of the fabric cubbies. This is of the poster for the Tikkun Olam show, and other goodies, like the holiday gift list….

Some of the certificates and exhibits we’ve attended. I really enjoy looking at all of them. In the past we usually just tuck things away and never have a chance to revisit them often enough. That is definitely changing.

New shelf hubby put up to keep all the notions from getting in the way and having to be moved each time we marble – or I lay out a quilt to sandwich. Don’t know why we didn’t think of that sooner….

The three large table runners in progress. There is a HUGE amount of work in finishing these up. First, I have 17 Hawaiian motifs, all of which have had satin stitch done around them. The black and white is the predominant color, with just hints of color in the satin stitching. I am now in the process of echo-quilting each motif around the outside, like is traditional in Hawaiian quilting. This is a lot of start, stop, raise the presser foot, lift and turn, and repeat. I’m having to take a lot of breaks because it’s rough on the shoulders.

Each of the joining pieces has free motion quilting, black on black. I’m trying out some new motifs on each of those two-inch strips.

Now about a year ago I asked for suggestions for changing the quilting on a “fish quilt” I had done MANY years ago. I took all the quilting out, and there it sat, along with other “needing to be finished” projects. Well, I’m at a point where I need a serious break from the table runners, plus I want to have a couple of “basic” quilts ready for the guild presentation the beginning of November. It seems that all this time I have been percolating possible quilting ideas.

The thing about this quilt that is so great is the marbled fabric that makes up each of the “fish.” This is a case of when the fabric came out of the tray, it said “fish” to me. I always knew I would like something that accented the fish. I started with the borders of fish, and I ended up using one of the decorative stitches on my workhorse Bernina. Then I used another decorative stitch for the first of the waves, and I added some “bubbles” in free motion to the center block.

Then it was change the foot, change the thread, and start in on the fish.

It’s perfect. It is exactly as I wanted and what I had envisioned before I even knew I could do it.

Oh yeah,that’s what I’m talkin’ about! And my quilting stitch is getting MUCH better!

Working on Goals – Revisited

  Retirement is amazing – all the time to create art and work on the art business.I’m very busy, one one of the things I let go was the notion of substitute teaching during retirement. Nope, don’t want to lose a day to the classroom and grief when I can be making art.

Spending the money to redo the studio was an excellent investment. It means we’re serious, plus the studio is so inviting – we WANT to be in there all the time. And once I started adding fresh flowers to the studio – well, the feng shui has been very conducive to creating.

I am certainly getting things done, but what I am finding is that I need to move to getting larger chunks of a goal done within a few days, rather than dragging it out over a couple of weeks, with just doing a piece here and there. I need to get it off my list, and I think this will work.

That said, one of my goals for this 100 days is three of the action plans in Alyson Stanfield‘s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! So as I was looking over Action Plan 1, I realized I have done pieces of this before, but not with these particular questions. I’ve looked at my target audience, my ideal customer, I’ve looked at overall goals, but never really defined success itself.

So that’s my task today. Alyson lists 20 areas to ruminate on concerning how you visualize success.

* Production of art: I want to make at least three major pieces (Gaia weavings) a year; spend time each week in the studio revising, finishing, working on at least a dozen smaller pieces. So far for this second half of the year, I think I am on track – I already have three smaller pieces just about completed, and one new major weaving sketched out.

* Quality of artwork: It’s very important to me, now that I have the time, to take some art classes, primarily studio art as opposed to art history (which I still would like to do). I want my work to be excellent and gallery-ready. I may still pursue a couple of show venues, but that’s not as important to me as it was. I want to continue to learn new techniques to include in new artwork. Both hubby and I are really looking to improve our marbling skills.

* Exhibition venues: As I said, not as important to me to enter juried shows. I want to find a couple of galleries to carry my work, beyond the website. I am entering a local show (not juried) for the possible connections, as well as seeing if I can make what is in my mind actually happen in the piece.

* Teaching venues and opportunities: hmmm, possibly, but not at this moment. I’ve done a number of local gigs over the years, but never really went prepared with stuff to sell. Maybe something to consider after I have all the other business pieces in place.

* Travel: oh, yeah, and not necessarily for business (but we always visit galleries). I want to get at least one big trip in each year. We always visit museums and galleries, so outlets for our work, as well as new ideas, are always part of our travel. We even have promo literature to take with us.

* Home, Studio, Environment: The studio makeover was critical, and it will more than pay for itself in productivity. We’re happy with our apartment and locale, although eventually we will move East again.

* Spirituality: I am practicing the principles of the Laws of Attraction and Abundance and I have been extremely pleased with my whole attitude change. I am reading Native Wisdom for White Minds by Anne Wilson Shaef, as I love the saying of our indigenous people around the world. And nothing beats standing and wondering at some amazing site in nature.

 * Health: major goal here, as I want to be around for a long time. I am taking steps to do what I need to, and hopefully with this 100 days I will see some good success.

* Leadership Roles: kinda done with this. That’s why I retired. I’m leading myself to success.

* Published Work: hmmmm. Something to think about, just not sure how I can turn the marbling into a successful book. Seems like the books that have been written about marbling and projects haven’t lasted long. And I’m not sure I want the pressure and deadlines of a book contract. Been there, done that.

* Visits to the website and blog: Numbers for the blog have been steadily increasing since I got back to blogging. The website has stayed pretty static, but I am not doing significant marketing on that yet. I’ve done some small revisions on the website, I still need to add new work, and I need to think through the purpose of the website. I want to see the blog traffic translate into sales.

* Subscribers to the newsletter: I am so lacking in this. I thought I had it under control last summer, but school hit and my time was no longer my own. I have signed up with Mail Chimp and am busy importing the addresses of subscribers so far. I want a schedule of every three weeks, but I need to spend time seriously looking at the content for the newsletter, plus be VERY prepared for this year’s holiday season.

* Social Media  connections: you can read about this progress on tomorrow’s blog. The only thing I haven’t seemed to master dealing with is Twitter.

* Sales of my book: Nope, but I’m going to change “book” to “patterns.” This is an area for long-term development. Two quilt patterns art in progress, and I need to refine my Polynomial Quilt pattern.

* Sales of my art: Definitely a big goal. I want our art business to help provide for travel in retirement. My immediate two-year goal is $1000 a month from the business.

* Grants received: another hmmm. Something to think about on down the future. I do have experience writing grants, so on down the road I will look at this.

* Articles by me: I did get paid abut 4 years ago for a series of articles on a quilting site. This will go on the long-term list of things to explore, as I do enjoy writing.

* Commissions: just finished my first big one, and I certainly want more. To this end I need to develop and promote my contacts and collectors lists. I need to put on the long-term list to check with the local and state  arts council for both grants and commissions.

* Public or private collections: not quite sure about this – something to think about.

* Licensing: this is a major one, and I have already identified some collections. I need to begin fleshing these out till I have at least 10 developed, and then I’m going looking for an agent.

* Volunteer work: I added this one, as I want to donate time and art to a local organization called Ben’s Bells. Very worthy, and I want to help. Also, I want to continue the work for Art from the Heart (see top right of this page) to help promote peace.

If all of this intrigues you, you can pick up Alyson‘s book. WELL WORTH the investment in yourself and your art.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Marketing – Getting Organized

Wow, it has been an amazing week! So much of what I worked on in June and July is coming to fruition. Etsy is beginning to sell, and I have a marketing plan developed for just Etsy that seems like it is going to be easy to implement. The marbling is going very well; we purchased a metal tray just for doing fat quarters, and all we needed to do was waterproof it – which worked well. We’ll use the new tray the end of the week. Along with this good vibe has been the studio remodeling – what a difference with everything in its place, and room for both of us to work at the same time and share ideas.

We’ve begun to brainstorm other products for the company, as ten years ago we had a lot more than we do now. We have started preparing the guidelines for our gift baskets. WE NEED COUPONS: if you have a business related to fiber and textiles and would like to put together a coupon that could lead to some added publicity, all we are asking is for you to make some coupons that we can include in our gift baskets. You can email us for more information. We did this about 10 years ago, and we had great participation from other businesses, so folks got a goodie basket with lots of other opportunities in it.

Ebay business is picking up, and we’ve had to raise our prices, due to the serious increase in the cost of cotton. Ebay will continue to be an outlet for smaller, cheaper pieces of marbled fabric, mostly remnants. We have a good, steady business here. Etsy looks to be the place to sell larger, more expensive pieces of fabric, which is good.

Facebook is also bringing in lots of comments, but the best thing I’ve done has been the Linked In profile and joining a few fiber and art groups: Art Business, Art Marketing, Manhattan Arts (check this one out), and a few other groups – lots of comments and interest, and all this should add to business down the road.

The biggest concern with all the work over the last two months was would I be able to actually continue making new artwork. I pleased to say the answer is a definite yes. I finished two small studies this past week, both of which will end up on Etsy in the next two weeks, and I started a large piece with my Quilt University class. I have two small pieces to do for two art shows coming up, and I should be able to take care of those within the next two weeks.

One of the classes I took from Laura Bray was on Multiple Sources of Income. She spent a lesson on getting organized and goal setting. A great part of this class was seeing how I could distinguish the actual marketing of the business with making art. As a result, yesterday I spent the day getting everything into a notebook, organized by sections, long-term goals and lists, places for business cards as I develop my contacts list – it feels SO good to have it 1) all in one place; 2) a section for everything I need; and 3) a way to see my progress in all aspects of the business.

I think one thing that will help me (and I don’t know it it will work for others) is that I am going to include within my binder other projects I am working on outside of Marble-T Design, so I can easily keep track of deadlines and goals all around.

So it’s taken me a couple of months to figure out a system that will work, and now I just have to “work it.” I start each day with the notebook and make my list for the day, being sure I handle both marketing tasks and art tasks. What have you found that works for you?

The Start of a Commission…..

This past April I was asked to do a commission for a friend of a friend, based on three things: 1) she loves our marbled fabrics; 2) she wants a fiber piece for a small area in her bathroom; and 3) she would like it to draw on the colors from the new granite counter tops. So for 6 weeks I’ve been mulling over possible designs, knowing that the final one would be based on what happened with the marbling session.

We marbled yesterday, and I worked with the colors I thought would go with the granite – gray, black, brown, russet, copper. I tried a couple of different patterns, and what follows are the pieces I came up with. Warming – they’re pretty blah in the pictures….

Marbled patterns

Marbled patterns

I chose the stone pattern to begin, for two reasons. One, I like quilting that pattern, and two, I figured this would give me some ideas. Well…..it sure did. I started snapping pictures as I was quilting. I used a Rainbow thread from Superior (of course) in a rust shade to bring out the rusts in the painting on the opposite wall of the bathroom. It was just what it needed.

Quilted marbling pattern

The texture is incredible and no longer flat. The piece also now has a title, “Hiking,” as its future owner hikes the mountains and canyons of Arizona – and especially Sedona – often.

This is so totally different from what I had originally been thinking. I know that this will act as the center medallion of the piece, so I went looking for coordinating fabrics – in my newly organized studio, so selecting was a breeze.

Lots more ideas, as the white area is probably going to become a small bubbly stream, and I pretty much know what’s happening with the borders, but that’s for another post.

Ideas???

The Studio Reveal……

As of yesterday I was finally able to finish the studio remake by actually cleaning off my sewing table, which had become the repository for all the loose ends. I can finally start working again. Hubby marbled on Thursday and enjoyed having a more organized and larger space. Here’s the “before” pictures….

We have (well, had – it’s gone the way of Craig’s List) lots of storage shelves that could be configured in a variety of ways. This is most of the marbling stuff, just kind of packed into various boxes, and not really easy to find anything. The shelves continue next to it, with more cloths, plastic, and trays. We had more of this shelving in the closet.

So much storage in the closet – lots of different containers and boxes collected over the years – fabric is kind of organized by color, but it’s a pain to get to. To the left is an old baker’s rack (like about 36 years old – from before I got married, and it has a new home).

The small chest of drawers belonged to my dad – it is now in the closet, with all the cloths and plastic and towels. Much easier to get to things and it’s now keeping everything more organized.

This was the worst part of the studio – my actual sewing area. I felt enclosed and couldn’t really move around. It was not a comfortable area, and this was the main reason for re-doing the studio.

And now……

This is where all the marbling supplies were – in storage that is more efficient and actually takes up less floor space. I have fabric out by color, files from school, art supplies in one of the canvas storage bags, and patterns all sorted.

My sewing table is now under the window with much better light and room to move around. I am now right next to the cutting board and ironing board. Art books and lots more storage.

You can see more of the sewing area here.

Hubby in his new space, organizing the latest marbled fabrics. Lots of stuff is stored under that cutting table! You’ll see some of the fabric up on eBay this week……

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Seasons: Ice

I am enjoying not feeling pressure to finish or make something under deadline. So I started another new quilt that I would like to make into a pattern. That’s one thing that’s been appealing to me…ever since I sold off the rights to several early quilt patterns. This one just seems to be happening.

It started with my Desert Heat Quilt.I really like how this came together, and everything I wanted it to do (especially radiate heat), I was able to get it to do. Once it was up on the wall, I decided I needed a companion piece, called Winter Ice. So since the move happened, and I had to rearrange and clean the studio, I pulled all the fabrics that spoke to me of “cold.”

A beginning selection to work with. The center white one is full of glitter.

Except for the bottom right, ones that didn’t make it into the selection. I try to match a light and a dark, a light with a medium, a medium with a dark. I make waaayyyy more triangles than I need, because I like to have a variety to choose from.  My center block with be eight by eight in triangles. You can work in groups of fours to keep a square: 4 by 4, 8 by 8, 12 by 12, and so on. I like the 8 by 8.

I like using the Triangles on a Roll, because you can do some mindless sewing. I cut pieces the long length of the fat quarter, about 6 inches wide. Put the right sides together. I tend to carefully pin, but if you don’t iron well first, you can get lumps in the back that may not come out with ironing, and may cause some stretching.

But the great thing about sewing these triangles is that you can just follow the lines. Use a small stitch, because you will be tearing the paper off each smaller triangle when you are done.

What’s nice about this also is that you can have several stages going at the same time…..sewing on the paper, cutting the triangles apart,  tearing off the paper, pressing, cutting off little ears. Some at different times, or all at once. I like doing the stages.

I iron to the dark piece. I tried on Desert Heat to iron all the seams open, and I ended up with major lumpy bumps, so this time through I am ironing everything to one side. I use a small container to keep my triangles, ironed and un. I just slowly work through the ironing. Once I have them all cut, I play around with a design. Below you can see how the initial triangles worked out.

First part of a layout, just playing around…..

The last is the potential final layout.

Then I strip-piece the rows together. This can be a bit tricky, as you are matching the seams on top of each other.

At this point you need to make some decisions again about ironing.

Here’s two rows pieced together, waiting for ironing. One row I press seams in one direction, the other row the seams in the other direction. Then you can “butt” each of the seams together for virtually perfect points.

And that’s where we are at this point. I now have a draft of the beginning of the pattern, and I know all the places where I want to add more hints. So we’ll see where I am this time next Wednesday.

Any pattern-writing hints you want to share? Let me know – I’m interested in any and all ideas!

Other Work-in-Progress Wednesdays:

October

September

August

A Very Busy Saturday…..

What a busy Saturday, and it’s not even over! Awoke late (like 8-ish) as Hubby was finishing marbling fabric in our small tray (cookie size). Decided to finish the rearranging in the living room, moving the desks, trying to get the printer to fit in a small area, dusting and eliminating the armies of dust bunnies hiding in all the computer cords. The move opened up the living room dramatically, and we’re still pretty organized. And then…I marbled my papers for today…very productive day!
Two of the bookcases went into the studio – no longer a spare room, sold the guest bed because we need dedicated studio space. And right before dinner I finished up organizing the studio, so now I can attack the many projects, especially the ones needing to be done for the March show.
This first is my sewing table, in  a remarkably clean moment. The best purchase I ever made (actually hubby did for me for a present) was the acrylic table extension. The design wall is to the right, and when needed, the card table serves as additional table space. Left storage is all fabrics, right storage is thread, beads and stones, assorted yarns, and other miscellaneous stuff. You can see my needle-point tiger, who needs a new roost.

This first bookcase is by the arcadia door to the back yard. You can’t see all the bears on the top shelf – presents from hubby, since I never got stuffed animals growing up. A whole shelf to store current projects, plus assorted books and scrapbooks.

This next is the cutting table, open to use for work, with all the marbling trays and paints and combs on the shelving. It is amazing how much use we get out of this table. It was well worth the purchase…and you can’t see what’s stored underneath – stool, rubber floor mats for standing, more fabric (of course), racks for drying, and so on. The sheet is up because this serves as our wet space, and we tend to splatter when marbling.

This was the first rack that got moved in here. This rack is older than our marriage; it even survived our house fire. It has been inside, outside, and repainted, and it still is useful. CD player, semi-precious stones and beads, fabrics, clothesline for fabric bowls, trays of rulers, and probably lots more stuff. I have actually gone through every container and sorted the stuff.

Inside the closet – our easel for displays, the large marbling tray, large ironing board, and containers of more fabric, all sorted by color, so I know what to look for.

The other side of the closet has my beginning dye supplies, more fabric, boxes of patterns, and caning supplies – hubby still canes chairs and does repairs – the guy’s been working with fiber for 40 years without even realizing it!

And the last bookcase – with more bears – all art books, marbling, books, current projects, and the like. You can see the other tiger – lots of spirit protectors around for us. The shredder and the ceramic vegetables, which will hang back outside when I know the wind is done with its gusts. Now that I know where everything is, there are no more exucses – it’s work time for me!

The Month Got Away….


…and what a month it was. Busy with moving, opening the museum, entering shows, creative festival, daily plans and kid issues – there are 13 school days left- not that I am counting….

The art of moving – oh, yes, it is an art. I figured out that in the almost 32 years that we have been married, we have moved…Vermont to Camelback in Phoenix, changed apartments in Phoenix, moved into a house, moved to Maryland, moved to Vermont on Pine Street, then into a motel because of the fire, then to Ledgewood, then Raceway, then Sleepy Hollow, then back to Tucson in an apartment, changed apartments, bought a house, sold the house, moved to a rental, moved back into an apartment, and this move – just changed a new apartment location. Not to mention the moves when I was in Hawaii – teacher cottage, house, apartment, second apartment, house, then back to Vermont to home, old crummy apartment, new apartment, and then the first move to Phoenix.

So I think I’m probably good at this. But this time – ai…I used to be able to set the place up in a weekend – in four years I have really slowed down! Two weeks later and we still have boxes, but I got the spare bed set up, the closet set, the bathrooms, finally found the iron…but still need to work on setting up the studio.

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