Archive for the ‘texture’ Category

Quilting Marbled Fabric – A Tutorial

Ever since we started marbling in 1993, people have asked us “What do you do with the fabric? It’s too gorgeous to cut in to.”

We’ve made lots of quilts, both traditional and art-quilts so that folks can see how marbled fabric can fit into a quilt or wearable garment. That got us started, but there was always the feeling that we could be doing more with the fabric itself. A friend took a fat quarter to “play with,” and the following week she came back with a gorgeous piece of completely quilted marbled fabric….simply by following the line of the pattern.

Well, that was truly the beginning of taking marbled fabric and really working with it in a quilt. My first attempt was to work with a freeform pattern, just following the lines of the pattern. This uses the stone pattern, as well as a beginning chevron pattern, both of which are easy to follow.

This piece, “Gaia 1: Interdependence,” used a free motion foot, as well as a regular basic stitching foot. Because the strips are relatively narrow, and the batting was thin, I chose not to use a walking foot. Your mileage may vary; if you are comfortable with a walking foot, by all means use one. I find I almost exclusively use my regular foot and my free motion foot.

Here is an example of quilting a line using a regular foot. I like having the even stitches, which I don’t always get with my free motion quilting (and no stitch regulator….).

You can have a great piece of marbled fabric, but sometimes it just needs something. I’m finding that more and more…it is an addiction…..

Getting Started

You need a piece of marbled fabric. We’re starting with a freeform pattern, made by creating the stones by dropping paint on the carrageenan bath. Then using a stylus, we swirl the paint around the whole piece. This gives us the effect you see here. This also involves the first very basic marbling pattern, the very organic-looking stone. From this pattern, using a variety of different combs and rakes, you can get very complex patterns. But let’s start with this pretty basic pattern.

When you have a marbled pattern, look at it closely for lines that lead to other sections of the pattern. This is a different type of free motion quilting. You aren’t deciding the whole quilting schema, like in most regular quilting; you are just analyzing and deciding where you want to go with your thread.  A pattern like this one has gentle curves to it, unlike more complex marbling patterns. This is a good one to start with.

Using this next picture, see how you can travel from one end of the pattern to another. Once you’ve studied a pattern, you can decide if you will do individual sections or travel across some pattern lines to do a new section. With this first marbled pattern, you have several possibilities. You can outline the little stones. You can follow most of the curved lines. You can do a combination.

Some marbled patterns are pretty intense, and you end up doing a lot of quilting in very small areas. These take more control, but the results are fabulous.

You have some decisions to make at this point: backing, batting, thread choices. I chose a green cotton for the backing so it would play off the green in the marbling. I used a left-over piece of Fairfield cotton low-loft batting, and Superior Thread’s Bottom Line in the bobbin. I chose a white thread, because for the purposes of this tutorial I wanted you to see the design aspect on the back. You get some very interesting quilting effects on your backs.

When I put my pieces together, especially if they are small, I spray baste top and bottom to the batting. For larger pieces I also use safety pins.

All of these are various threads from Superior. I am a bit of a thread snob, as I only use Superior Thread and needles (their titanium needles are pretty amazing). Ever since I did the School of Threadology in St. George, Utah, I have been hooked on their threads…and I NEVER have thread break. The threads above are Rainbows, Brytes, and Art Colors.

I thought this bottom thread, Bryte, would work the best, so that’s what I started with. I thought the dark green would emphasize, but not be obvious.

I checked my tension, according to Dr. Bob’s thread guide for Superior Threads. Then I picked a place to start the free motion, did about an inch, and checked my tension again.

You can see how I just followed the basic line of this first swirl. I usually pull my threads to the back and tie them off or bury them, depending on how the piece is going to be used.  With the next photo, you can see how I chose another swirl and followed that particular curve.

You can move around the fabric and pick different areas to quilt, but if you are going to quilt the whole piece, continue quilting out from the area where you started.

I also decided to change colors of thread, as I wanted something lighter to accent the pattern. Don’t hesitate to do this if you feel it will add to your design.

In this next example, I have changed thread color again, and this time I am outlining the smaller circles. The circles are part of the “stone” pattern, which is the first layer of paint in developing a marbling pattern. The circles take more control in your free motion, but you get great results in texture. You will want to plan your “traveling” stitch as you move from small circle to small circle.

Every now and then take a look at your back. Check for tension, secure your knots, and just admire the developing design. I used white in my bobbin because I wanted you to see the actual stitching on the back. You may choose something else, but the backs of marbled quilting can look spectacular.

Hopefully you will enjoy this technique. Email us with questions, and we are always interested in seeing your finished projects. To get you started, you can order fat quarters in this swirl pattern at a discount from us. Just email deanm@marbledfab.com, and tell us you want the quilting special fat quarter for this tutorial, and give us an idea of the three or four colors you would like. Cost is $6.00 per fat quarter, plus $2.00 shipping and handling, up to three fat quarters.

Keep in mind that this marbled quilting works best if you have some definite contrast with your color choices.

Copyright 2012 by Linda Moran and Marble-T Design, LLC. You may NOT reproduce this handout/post in any format without express permission from the author or Marble-T Design, LLC.

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!

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……

Road 2 California – Part 1 – VENDORS!!!!!

Wow. Wow. Aisle upon aisle of vendors. Talk about hyperventilating……..so many things, so little time……so we make a plan. One row at a time, make a note of booths to come back to, after the rush of “I want” passes, and I still really do want that gadget. I like to collect cards of interesting things, so here are some goodies.

Little Windows – photo jewelry form resin. I like this better than what I saw at the gem show a year ago, with kind of yucky backings. These are much classier, and – for me – a good way to showcase some marbled fabric snippits.

Honey Run Quilters – not a lot really to the website, but they had some absolutely gorgeous cotton-silk colored fabrics that we were itching to marble. We’ll go back and visit them.

Kai Scissors – Jim was able to give me an exact recommendation for the scissors I needed – very small pointy ones for close clipping of threads – plus a very cool suggestion of using different fingers to get even closer to the fabric.

Stitch in Time – Thai textiles. Talk about drool – this stuff was amazing!!! And the trims……

Kasuri Dyeworks – oh my goodness, I could have fondled the silks there for hours. Each more gorgeous than the one I just looked at. They are working on getting a new website up and running, which will be wonderful. This was such beauty.

Dutch Quilter – Lennie Honcoop was working on a quilt as we stopped. She works with “hot ribbon.”  “Hot Ribbon Art is an iron-on, no sew, 1/8″ wide ribbon that can be used to finish the raw edges of appliqué. Imported from Japan, Hot Ribbon is gaining in popularity with quilters who like to finish off their projects quickly and have a dramatic look. Each package of Hot Ribbon contains 2 yards (four 18 inch strands).” (from the website). Plus, she uses  Copic markers to do shading on both the b=fabric and the ribbon. It was fascinating to watch this piece come together.

Superior Threads – by far my choice for thread – they really are “no ka oi.” (Hawaiian for “the best”) Got to talk to Mother Superior, Dr. Bob, Cindy Needham, Annie – all the people who have really changed how I quilt. I picked up their thread color cards, since I want to get more King Tut, and I really need to see the thread itself beyond a catalog picture. You can get these at their cost.

More next time!! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter – see the button on the right – and enter to win free marbled fabric!!

Getting an Art Critique

  I am really fortunate to have a couple of good friends who can help me with a critique when I am working on a new piece. Sometimes the piece flows, and sometimes I’m blocked in making decisions and moving ahead. It is made more complicated by the fact that I am trying to use our marbled fabrics to create unique art pieces. In surfing the web on a regular basis, I don’t see anyone else doing what I’m attempting to do with marbled fabric in the art quilt movement.

There are a lot of things to consider in developing these pieces of fiber art. Are my sewing skills strong enough? Are my quilting skills advanced enough? Does the fabric speak to us? Can the design tell an interesting story? Can I work with the principles of design?

In looking at all these questions, there are two that I am the weakest in, and this is where my group of friends can really help. Quilting skills and design principles.

Momcat is my first voice. She is a digital artist in her own right, and a self-taught expert in Greek pottery, among all the other skills in being a Renaissance woman. Suzan is my overall digital partner and a superb, published quilter and designer in her own right. Karin is a water color artist with a very strong sense of color and overall design organization. Hubby is the marbler and can see things in the designs that the rest of us miss.

I am at a point in this new piece where I needed advice. Which way should the piece hang, for one – vertical or horizontal. Usually that’s one of the last questions for me, because by the time I’m done, the piece has usually told me what it wants. With this piece, I need to decide this now, as I will need to work on the shading with a light source from the “northwest,” which is how scientific illustration is done. I was leaning in one way, and my group confirmed that. They pointed out that I already had a lot of the “shadows” developing on their own from the new orientation.

The second was size and pattern. I am fine with all the quilting on half of the piece, but the other half seems naked of color and looks like it would require some serious thread work that wouldn’t necessarily add to the overall effect. I had been thinking about potentially cutting away half of the piece. We looked at that possibility, and once we folded back some of the fabric (which had never occurred to me), we knew it needed to be tall and narrow, not wide and thick.

Now, Momcat had sent me some of her photos of rocks and lichen that Dali had painted, and I LOVED the lichen. I was initially thinking of marbling some very small silk flowers and then attaching them with some thread painting. The group didn’t like that idea – felt they were not “tough” enough for the texture of lichen. Momcat disappeared, only to come back with a small vial of green stuff that she proceeded to spread on the one or two rocks that are already green. Perfect! Upon closer look – they are very fine chopped-up pieces of old money from the Denver Mint. Who knew? I guess now this is a “mixed media” piece…..We are also thinking about using some coconut Husk or actual moss from a pet store – need to think that through.

Next question: facing vs. binding vs. frame. How do I want to finish this? I don’t see a basic binding. We talked about fabric as an inner mat and as a frame. We looked at serging the edges – which I have done with pieces in the past, much to one gallery owner’s chagrin – “wasn’t finished properly” was her verdict. But I always let the piece tell me what it wants. I am thinking this piece is telling me it doesn’t want anything more to constrain it beyond a facing that wraps to the back.

The final discussion revolved around light, medium, and dark. I know if I were to take a picture of this and turn it to black and white, everything would pretty much be medium values. I know it needs more dark, so I need to think through how to do that with thread…..or moss…..or coconut husk…..or…….actual small stones…….

I left energized, ready to complete the piece. Amazing how being with a great group of like-minded visual people can  make a difference!

Work in Progress Wednesday

If you remember last week, I was about finished with my little autumn quilt/table runner. You can see the process here. I finished it this weekend, and today we marbled a piece for the winter piece. “Marbled Seasons” will shortly be available as a kit – all the seasons, or just one of them. I am writing the pattern now, and by the end of December should have all the quilts completed. They would also work as table runners. So here it is….

There are plenty of variations in this pattern. “Autumn Marbles” will have hand-marbled silk leaves in the kit, as well as directions for the “windy” free motion quilting. There is enough marbled fabric to add another set of log cabin blocks to make the quilt a little longer. The strips in this block all start out at one inch. the two different browns in this, as well as the backing, were from my stash, so you can “shop” at home for extra fabric.

I have started my next major art piece, from a piece of fabric we marbled over ten years ago. It’s time to do something with it. Here you see the marbled unpolished satin with its backing. I was auditioning threads.

The piece itself looks very flat and pretty uninteresting. It will be a challenge of my new skills to make this do what my mind wants.

This piece is a little over 18 inches by 54 inches. We did it when we still worked in the big tray. The additional years make it very difficult for us to work longer hours and do larger pieces of fabric. So I am hoarding those pieces I still have.

A closeup showing some very interesting veining within the piece. That needs to become a focus point.

I have started the basic “first level” quilting. All the stones are getting outlines. Already a lot more interest.  Those two upper right beige ovals have been taken out, requilted, and lay a whole lot flatter.  And, you won’t see more pictures until finished and entered……..

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Under the category of food art comes these really interesting images, found on the Cool Hunting site. Caren Alpert goes through a lot of prep to get these amazing photos. The one below is a pineapple leaf……

From Cool Hunting is a look at an eclectic furniture collection form a hotel in San Francisco. Some pretty cool stuff – but I’m not sure I’d sit in it!

Under the category of “Remember When” comes some “pre-internet” reminders……(are we really that old?)……..from The Best article Every Day. (This is in honor of Sheldon of BBT)…..


A very cool tutorial on making initials….color, glitter, easy instructions. From Lisa Engelbrecht.

If you are not a Twilight fan (don’t even get me started on lack of correct punctuation….) you will appreciate the poster from Mad Magazine…Breaking Wind, Fart 1. I don’t want to spoil it by putting it here……

From The Best Article Every Day comes a little bonus piece at the end….

I can’t find really good attribution, (I think chromestory.com), but I SO LOVE Explorer – kind of sums up what I, as a MAC person, think of IE.

And from The Best Article Every Day comes the “origin” of Angry Birds…..since I got hooked earlier this fall, I found this really funny….it’s the bonus piece at the end of protecting your Facebook account (which is also interesting….).

A new site discovered from Kathy NidaThat is Priceless. Art – with captions….how did I miss this all this time?

Admiring Herman Cain's "Thanks for not coming forward" Bouquet

And thanks to Kathy, again, for The Bitchy Stitcher. I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. sarcasm. I am fairly fluent in the language, and I am always practicing in order to hone my skills. I practice often with my sarcasm twin Michelle.

And…another wonderful new blog, courtesy of Kathy – great rant on IQF!

Great week behind me, another great one to come! Life is AWESOME!


 

Wednesday Work in Progress

Yay! Three of the eight table runners are complete and at their new home, in time for the holiday festivities for which they were made. There are five smaller ones still to be done, but they should be finished by the beginning of June. I learned a lot doing these, and I have a few ideas for keeping them straighter during quilting when I get to the smaller ones. But that’s after a few more current projects.

I put the first one on the main table, and then we arranged the other two around them. The visual appeal of the three is really stunning – I was quite amazed. Betty, my second mom, cut them all out in the winter of 1991 when she was in Vermont. They have lain dormant in a box since then. I first attacked the project last fall and completed the first sample block in January. It’s only been since May that I have really worked on the project.

Now I have a deer quilt to finish for our bedroom, and then on to my first major art piece, with a deadline in mid-February. I am taking pics of the whole process, in preparation for writing an article about the process. I have a list on the wall of the studio with all the projects – unfinished and “to be made” – I want to work on. It did feel good to cross off the first three table runners today!

Each block is a white design, some original Hawaiian patterns and some that are unique designs by Betty. Once we started thinking about layout, we decided black and white would be very dramatic. Each block is done in color for the satin stitch. I wanted to have some subtle color to the overall effect.

Each block is attached to another with a small divider, which has been free-motion quilted. It helps to set off the design even further.

To stay in the spirit of Hawaiian applique, since the family was stationed in Hawaii for a number of years, I echo-quilted each block with two rounds of stitching. This accented the design, as well as anchored the runner together so nothing would slip and slide.

Another 20 blocks await!

Top Ten Tuesday – Eye Candy from Houston

Someday I’ll get to the Houston Festival again, but in the meantime, I can live vicariously through blogs! Here’s some great eye candy, plus a few other goodies….and Jack Nicholson……

From Frieda Anderson comes a look at some spectacular quilts from The International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Autumn Beauty by Barbara Shapel

Gloria Hansen– first place!!

Refracted Lily - Gloria Hansen

From the folks at C&T Publishing comes a wrap of market with some vendors that look so wonderful!

From Susan Brubaker Knapp comes another look at Houston Market.

A cool discovery on YouTube…I’m not one for music videos, but this reminds me of something the kids on Glee would have done. From Panic At The Disco comes “Ready to Go.”

From JPG Magazine comes pics from their latest – “Smokin'”. As usual, great stuff!!

Space Flower by Greg Byer

From Mad Magazine comes a very different offering – a look at a USO tour. From someone who ALWAYS watched Bob Hope, this article gives good insight to life overseas serving our country.

And also from Mad comes a send-up of the Family Circus….great cartoons by Bill Spleen…..

From The Best Article Every Day comes great ways to maintain your learning. As someone who will probably never stop taking classes, there’s some great stuff here to explore.

And now this….is really wrong – and oh so funny……suppose The Shining had been a romantic comedy…….someone with waaayyyy too much time on their hands……

Introducing….Holiday Gift Baskets!

Well, actually….they’re fabric bowls, but somehow “introducing fabric bowls” doesn’t have the same ring. So this has got all the goodies of a holiday basket, but it comes in a fabric bowl that you can use throughout the year, rather than trying to figure out what to do with another straw basket. Which I must admit I thought was waaayyyy better.

Here she is! This holiday treat starts with a hand-crafted fabric bowl, in a subdued color that makes the bowl perfect for year-round use. Then it’s filled with goodies from the marbling tray: a fat quarter (18 by 22 inches) of 100% hand-marbled cotton; 4 pieces of hand-marbled Offray ribbon, in assorted sizes and width, all 18 inches in length; a 10% off coupon for our Etsy store (fabrics and small art quilts and table runners); coupons from other artists with offers for their websites; a Smapler Package of eight 6 by 9 inch hand-marbled pieces; a selection of hand-marbled silk leaves and flowers, perfect for embellishments; a set of four Digital Marbling (TN) note cards; and…a small mystery gift.

I want the fabric bowls to be in a rather subdued set of colors, as I want them to 1) fit just about any decor, and 2) be useful all year round. A “red” bowl tends to limit use. The actual bowl in this package is a nice mellow green.

The “basket” comes wrapped in plastic and fits in a priority box, surrounded by shipping peanuts. You can have it sent to yourself, o4 let us know the address and we will ship it.


This is a $50 retail value, special available for the holidays for $35.00. Want one? Head to our Etsy store and buy the one there. We’ll add additional ones as they sell, so you can see exactly what you will be getting for colors and fabrics.

These have been really fun to put together, especially choosing fabrics for the bowls. And if you haven’t tried making these fabric bowls, they are incredibly soothing….wrapping fabric while you’re watching television, or in the car, or waiting in the doctor’s office…..There are a couple of good books available if your LQS doesn’t offer a class:

We are affiliates for Amazon, so if you order through our blog, we do receive a commission (keeping the FTC happy….).

Visions Art Museum

   “Visions” is a major quilt art exhibit usually held in Oceanside, CA, every two years. It’s like the Holy Grail for art quilters. The Visions Art Museum has now opened in San Diego, at the old Naval Training Center, and will now host its own show. Just to be able to finally get to the museum this last trip to San Diego was a delight. The docents were wonderful and took their time showing us quilts, as well as asking us about our work. It is SO NICE to be with other artists who GET your work! One of the disadvantages to being an artist in the Southwest is unless you’re a painter or sculptor who “does” the southwest, no one is really interested in your work.

The major exhibit was Urban Landscapes and Soft City, with a special collection by Marilyn Henrion. Pictures were allowed in the outer area and in the gift Gallery. You can view a gallery of work by Marilyn here.

Here’s one of the really intriguing quilts from Urban Landscapes by K. Vellis Turan:

I purposely left this large so you could see details.

The challenge had some really interesting small quilts – 12 by 12 inches, which is a size I have just started to work with. These are all by members of the Visions Museum. Sorry I don’t have names….

Here is an example of Marilyn’s work. Her Photoshop skills are superb.

There were a couple of quilts by members in the gift Gallery – really superb work – and again, sorry for no names.

An interesting take on the “log cabin” traditional pattern, with lots of details.

Love this one. Those are definitely my colors!

We bacame members, and I am looking forward to our November trip to see the new exhibit on “Interpretations.” LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing fiber!!

San Diego – Water and Texture!!

This trip to San Deigo has been postponed twice, so we were REALLY glad to finally get there and see water again. Anything with water was our main destination. That and the fact that I am fascinated with texture. I’m thinking that is probably because I have no depth perception, and the vision just keep getting worse. So when I see texture I am absolutely fascinated by it.

As in this picture of water lilies in the reflecting pool at Balboa Park. I have never seen the pads with such striations to them. They were really gorgeous, and the only lily pads in the whole pond that had the multi-colored leaves. This would make a great quilt….

Water was the most important element to this trip, and we had a motel right across from one of the MANY marinas. Plus, as soon as we checked in, we headed to the point of land where Cabrillo landed, Point Loma.

I did not adjust any of these photos – my camera really captured the wonderful colors and weather. This is looking southeast from Point Loma, with the naval base on Coronado in the foreground and the skyline of San Diego barely visible. That water had some of the best shades of blue I’ve seen since floating back from Lanai in 1996.

Love the different colors of all the various flora and fauna.

The wonderful beaches of Coronado.

Look at these trees! This is at Embarcadero Park, at the base of the aircraft carrier Midway.

The memorial to the work of Bob Hope and all his USO tours – quite moving, especially at sunset and in this setting.

At the park at Seaport Village, looking south towards the Coronado Bridge, just at sunset.

Looking west to Coronado as the sun starts down below the persistent cloud bank.

I waited two years to get these pictures of these palms at the Prado Restaurant in Balboa Park – the first time we were there – no camera with us!The only touch-up in this photo was removing the security camera – the detail is just too gorgeous – this is part of the facade for the San Diego Museum of art.

Which leaves us ready for…

The Mingei and Visions Museums……

It All Started with the Yucca…..Wednesday Work in Progress

Albuquerque Outdoors - http://outdoors.itsatrip.org/

This new piece has had an interesting origin…..we were in Cornville , AZ visiting friends, and our driver wanted to stop in the high desert and see about getting some yucca stalks for walking sticks. If you look at the picture, the stalks are what’s left after the gorgeous blooms are done. They are evidently extremely strong and hold a lot of weight. So we have two collected stalks in the car, and I’m thinking, hmmmmm – these could make interesting wall hanging “hangers.” Turns out we got as a gift two really strong, perfect-height-for-hiking sticks from another friend we were off to visit, so I decided to keep these two, one as a walking stick for me (I just need it for balance) and one for a potential hanger for a wall piece.

I was looking at it today, as I was kicking around another weaving piece. It would make a good “topper” for a new piece. I had in mind a set of seasons pieces, and then suddenly I got the thought to create the fabric and weave them all together for a year of seasons.

Here are two samples of some of the weavings I have done with marbled fabrics. The first is my very beginning one, Gaia 1: Interdependence. The second is  Gaia 3: Autumn.

All of a sudden the design was in my head, and I sketched it out, something I don’t normally do. Here it is:

Creating the fabric will take some time, and I know with other projects in the pipeline, I won’t get to this until mid-September. Hubby is the main marbler, so he will have his work cut out for him. I will need to also watch the proportions in this piece – ever mindful of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia from Project Runway…..

Stay tuned for progress. In the meantime, here’s a few stories for past weavings in the Gaia series.

Sunday Stories: Autumn

Sunday Stories: Gaia 2

Sunday Stories: Gaia 1

Work in Progress – Creating Rhythm

I’ve been practicing a lot of techniques with free motion quilting. With marbled fabrics, it’s almost like your pattern is decided for you – and I love being able to work with that. I discovered a few new things with this piece of green silk. I knew I wanted to see if I could accent the movement that already existed with the marbled pattern, and I wanted to accent the water effect in the piece.

Here’s the piece without anything done to it. I decided to flip the design, so the wave effect would be more prominent. Then it was a case of deciding threads. There are some very light areas in the pattern that I wanted to emphasize, so I figured a lighter thread. I pulled four threads (Superior, of course) and started with the lightest one – and I thought it was jarring – too bright.

I ended up going with a Rainbow multi-colored green thread that I think worked very well. I used that in the very light areas, and then I turned to a dark green silk for the background. The thought here was to heavily quilt the darker background to make the lighter areas come forward even more. So here’s the piece…

I do think the wave motion is more prominent. This was also a departure for me, in that normally I have quilted this pattern a great deal, but this time I didn’t do every single swirl. I think you get more drawn into the pattern that way.

I am contemplating some beads, but that’s just in the thinking stage at this point. I am open to suggestions, so please leave me a comment with what else I could do with the piece. The biggest success in this piece is a definite improvement in the machine quilting – the stitches are far more consistent, so that’s a great goal for me.

Leave me some comments – what would you do with this piece if it were yours……

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?

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