Archive for the ‘artist’ Category

Second Design Photo Analysis

I worked with another photo last night, and I didn’t have nearly the success with adjustments and filters as I did with the first photo. Now I need to think through why that is so. Here’s the new photo – driftwood from Vashon Island in Puget Sound.

Well, crap….seems like I did it again in saving…or not saving. I need to remember to save everything as a psd file first to preserve the layers, and then save each piece individually. Okay, bottom line, nothing really spoke to me with the different adjustments, so I need to think through why that is so.

Is it because this is a fairly abstract image to begin with, mostly line and color? Perhaps that is why I am so fascinated with tree bark to begin with. The lines, shadows, differing colors to create the texture. And this picture, knowing it is driftwood, also reeks of a hidden history after being tossed in the water and then left high and dry. But how would I create some of that mystery?

What initially prompted me to take a picture of this? Probably all the smooth curved lines and the knot.

Looks like all kinds of interesting lichen within all those folds. The colors are so subtle, but at the same time I see a nice interplay of line and shadow.

I look at that knot and see a captured sea spirit. The more I look at this one, the more I am intrigued by it. The curves are so soft amidst all that hardness.

Now that I look at a couple of additional questions, I am stumped. Main idea? I like the thought of a captured sea spirit. Areas worth keeping? I can see leaving out everything else from these two crops. Other elements to add? No clue. But as I ponder, the first thought that comes to mind is to carry the lichen out into a border, and maybe the overall piece doesn’t need to be square or rectangular, maybe more oval so that the spirit seems encased and surrounded but is really still there. Don’t know if that is making sense….

How and where can more pizazz be added? Again, no clue. But…perhaps a lot of thread painting would be needed for surface texture.

I can see this going to sketches as the next step and seeing what develops from there. Comments?

Crazy? Maybe Yes, Maybe No……

So.

Crossroads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work in Progress Wednesday – Learning Lots!!

Well, this has been a week of learning experiences, including running the machine needle through the tip of my finger. I’m somewhat frazzled deciding on a project, since I don’t have any looming deadlines. I do, however, have a list of projects that need doing, so I picked one from that list and then added another.

First, from the UFO list. Several years ago (going on three?) I took a class with a friend on a Judy Niemeyer pattern, Stepping Stones. You can see the pattern here. Originally it was going to be a king-sized bed quilt, but I was still teaching, so that got put on hold. When I reorganized the studio (twice), the blocks made it into the UFO pile, and when I made my list in May of projects, I listed these. But….I listed them as a potential table runner, figuring that way they would be done, and I could actually use the table runner, as we have a new dining room set (new to us – we’re babysitting it for a friend). I would also have enough for 6 placemats, too.

Well, there were loads of problems. Could I find the black fabric I was using for connector strips (three searches)? Could I do all the matching, since it had been about 3 years? How would I quilt it? What would I use for backing? I got the four completed blocks into one runner, and then I spent the next three hours taking out all the paper….note to self: you still need to vacuum. The blue I thought to use for backing was a stretchy polyester that wasn’t long enough, so plan B was leftover dark blue from another quilt back. Then I had to buy batting.

Finally everything is together and ready for quilting…..and I had no idea what to do for the quilting. Didn’t seem like feathers would work. Didn’t want to do a stitch-in-the-ditch. Tried some outlining, but I didn’t like it. Then I thought about the overall loopy pattern from the May challenge, but ended up picking all that out. I realized I would need to go with monopoly thread, so the stitching wasn’t obvious. And I was playing around with tension, including two more ripping sessions.

I tried doing some partial circles on each block, so it would look like rippled water. And then I discovered the settings on my machine were set for the decorative stitch I used in the black borders. Seems like I still had the setting on one of the decorative stitches, and I was trying to free motion and there was a lot of drag. I also discovered that I could use a variation of a zigzag stitch and still have the feed dogs up. Turns out I liked the ripple effect, and that’s what I went with for the rest of the runner. Here’s a pic:

Here’s the finished table runner, which is absolutely perfect on the table. It will work with any of the leaves when we put them in.

Then I was feeling somewhat at loose ends. I had been watching The Quilt Show and following the color lessons from Michelle Jackson. I decided to do the first color study, and again I learned a huge amount. The first lesson was really interesting, especially since I have a lot of trouble choosing and working with color. This was to take  a monochromatic color and determine dark, medium, and light. I chose greens, because I have a lot in the stash. I discovered that when I’m choosing, I really need to analyze tones and hues. I also need to be sure there is definite contrast. The first study I did was the one where you had a light, medium, and dark, with not a huge amount of contrast. I did not have enough contrast within those three colors.

I also was working with fusing for like the second time ever, and my pattern pieces were not always meeting up. I spent a lot of time trying to make this piece look like something – going back to linear me and not being able to just work without it having to be “something.”

I finally got all the pieces ironed down, and I felt I was moderately successful. Mostly because I learned a great deal about choosing the colors. I was still trying to figure out what to do with the piece. Yes, it’s just an exercise, but the linear part of me needs it to be “something.” Ideally I want to be able to work with light, medium, and dark marbled fabric, but I can see I have a long way to go.

Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do with quilting it. I tried out one decorative stitch and didn’t like it. I reverted back to the satin stitch I was doing two table runners ago. All of a sudden I began to like the piece more. It began to look more “painterly,” and pretty abstract in a pleasing way. I ended up binding in, and the piece would work as a nice little runner or table mat for a vase. It’s going up in my Etsy store.

Who knows where I’m headed next? There are 6 placemats to finish…..

Monday Marketing – Keep Your Chickens Flying

Love the headline. This article comes from Fine Art Views blog, and the message for me is very timely, and hopefully it will resonate with many of you. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Keeping the chickens flying means you will find a way to make it. The old farmer took the risk to haul double the amount his truck would carry. He knew he would have to keep half of the chickens in the air. It’s sorta like us juggling our budget to make ends meet. You are facing two choices, give up or find a way to keep your chickens flying.”

I think so many of us are trying to figure out new ways of working and diversifying so we can make it as artists. Lower prices, develop new products, try something completely different, double down our marketing efforts…..we will find ways to make it.

Sometimes you need to look at networking with others. I’ve written about The Textile and Fiber Arts List before. This is an amazing group of textile and fiber folk from around the world. $75 membership, one time only, no renewals. Lots of marketing opportunities. We are not alone in our work, even though it seems that way as we work on our art, stitch by stitch.  We need community, and TAFA is a great way to begin. Consider it your professional organization for your resume.

And while we’re at the motivation stage, here’s an article from Dumb Little Man. Everything just kind of goes together.

Here’s hoping to a productive art-making week – and art-selling week – for all of us.

Ps – any spelling errors are from one-fingered typing – put the needle through my finger……

 

 

 

 

Thoughts for a Friday…..

Ack…..where did the week go? For the first time in three weeks, my list has sat unopened on the table. This started last Saturday night, I think as a result of staring at the computer for my first Tophatter auction, and consequently really wrenching my neck. Two chiropractic visits later on Monday, life was better, but it wasn’t until Wednesday after yoga that I really started to feel better. Three days of no work on my deadlines for fiber pieces, and I was beginning to panic.

Yet at the same time, I wasn’t worried about everything else on my full-page list, because there was really only one deadline that had to be made. And thanks to a lot of concentration on Wednesday afternoon and all day yesterday, my depression piece, “Misfiring Synapses,” is ready for photography and submission.

Am I pleased? Yes. It pretty much came out as I was picturing it in my mind. It has good depth, lots of layers, and definitely tells a story.  Here’s a close-up, with no full reveal until I know something about acceptance or not. I took a leap of faith with my entry to Visions. This one, however, is HUGE for me – very unlike anything I’ve done yet, and the whole process was very different. And…I’m looking to play with the “big girls” now, so we shall see what happens.

Lots of layers, lots of decisions as to thread. If you look at the center of the close-up, the red thread looks like it just breaks off – the idea of a misfired synapse in the brain. This is actually a Rainbow thread from Superior Threads. It has red, black, and purple, which works perfectly for this center neuron. I stayed with red unpolished satin for the rings, wanting the interior inflammation of the brain as we struggle with depression. The red fabrics are slightly different shades, with different patterns and quilting within them. I cut and layered each piece, finishing each edge with serging – again with a Superior Thread, this time a King Tut, as I didn’t want a shiny effect. I gotta tell ya, I never really paid much attention before to the effect thread would have on a fiber piece. The multi-toned gray was to look at the outer layer of the brain, with all its folds and ripples.

This probably should have been next Wednesday’s entry, for my work-in-progress, but it’s on my mind today as I think about photography and submission.

I have a couple of other self-imposed deadlines. I was going to enter another show, but I’ve decided to wait and see about these two current pieces making the rounds. One, I want to know where I stand, and two, entering shows is expensive, especially with shipping. So I will continue with the next mandala, and then that piece will be finished and in “the wings,” so to speak, if something else later summer looks good. Two, I want to do some simpler sewing/designing for myself, especially practicing the free motion quilting lessons. Two weekends ago I took apart one of the first quilts I actually finished and machine-quilted so that I can practice this month’s patterns. I don’t have to worry about hubby missing his quilt right now because it’s in the low 100s for temps already – and it’s not even summer in the desert.

I’m reading Dune by Frank Herbert. Never read it, and I am enjoying it. Then I have two Robin Hobbs to read, plus an ebook and a tutoring book to work on. My scheduling still seems overall to be working, as I am making progress on the many projects I have (not accounting for the lost days this week).

And…we’re in the midst of a local election in Tucson to replace Gabrielle Giffords’ seat, since she resigned. It’s ugly and annoying, with misleading adds on both sides. I’ve read about the “Fair Tax,” and I think in it’s purest form, it’s a good idea. But that’s not what is being presented by the Democrats. And the Republican challenger is trying to back away furiously from everything he said in 2010 in that nasty election. I’m at the point where protecting Social Security and Medicare are crucial to me. Saying you’ll protect them after you’ve called them “the biggest ponzi scheme in history” really makes me nervous.

Even on line it’s getting hard to get unbiased, well-researched and reported news. I keep looking back at various points in our history and wonder about the directions we are moving. A someone who is a baby boomer, who loves history and reads about it all the time, has been a union member for protection (and walked a picket line), and has a sense of service to this nation, I am appalled by what is happening in this country. We are Americans, and as such, we should be a leader in all things – health, welfare of our citizens, concern for the planet, and true proponents of the Bill of Rights for all. We should be better than water boarding, regardless of the claims of national security. We should be better than cutting education. We need to look at our programs systemically. If there’s medicare fraud, then go after the ones defrauding the system. Don’t do away, willy nilly, with the program.

So….my thoughts for the day…..from sewing to politics. Quite the rambling mind……

Have a great weekend!

Work in Progress Wednesday…..a Bump in the Road

….well, probably not a real bump, more like a slight detour in the development of this new piece. I am trying to represent depression as something that is hidden in the brain. I have a great center piece that looks like dendrites. I want to build around it in reds for the angst that comes with depression, and I was running into some issues with how to quilt the third piece. So I looked at the rest of the fabric pieces I had to see if anything looked like it would work better. Found a piece that will be fabulous, and it’s going to take a lot of quilting to make this piece really happen.

As I’m auditioning threads, hubby comes in for his opinion, and as I’m trying to explain what I want to attempt, he brings up some legitimate questions on construction. While this is an art quilt, it still needs to hang like a quilt in a gallery setting, so I have to keep that in mind. I’ve had issues when trying to construct “unusual” fiber pieces in the hanging, so I have learned to keep that more in mind.

We’re drawing back and forth on the ideas, and it finally occurs to me that I need to do a mock-up to see if this design is really going to work. If I can get it together, it should be pretty amazing. So that’s the task ahead of me tomorrow morning after marbling. It’ll set back the actual quilting a day or so, but next week looks pretty darn clear for work…..

With that in mind, it has been a productive week. I finished my commission for my yoga instructor. Did some minor beading to represent the little bits of water we have in the desert, hence the name “Desert Stream.” This is a smaller version, with a number of changes, from “The Shallows” piece. I’m quite partial to how the lichen looks in this piece….a lot of use of the reverse button on the sewing machine! My yoga lady LOVES it.

 

Along with this has been my auction piece for SAQA. It’s along the lines of the depression piece, but a whole lot more positive. It’s called “Hotwired.” It’s simple in execution, but I think pretty effective.

"Hotwired" 12 x 12 inches for the SAQA auction

Because there’s not enough deadline sin my life right now, I decided to take apart one of my first quilts to requilt for the May Free motion challenge. I love the pattern, and I think it would look good on this pretty masculine quilt for hubby. Boy, you can tell how old it is (15 years?) by the really lousy batting I used – what was CHEAP at the time. I’ll post pictures as it get finished. This is it with the binding already gone, and I am starting to take out the really awful straight-line quilting in the ditch…with invisible thread, no less, back when I didn’t really have a clue. Should look considerably better when finished.

NOw fort he other piece in progress, my piece on depression. I spent some time today actually trying a pattern from some old white fabric, pinning it up on the wall. It was an interesting process, as I usually just try things as I go along. This time I just wasn’t sure that was going to work, as there were a lot of issues I wanted addressed in this piece. Here’s the finished pattern – and now I have pattern pieces to use – a bonus I never considered.

 

 If I’d thought about it, it would have been in different colors……but I really like the shape – very organic, very like a brain. Here’s a reject piece of fabric, now available for another piece.

 It just wasn’t playing nicely with the other fabrics. Here’s one of the reds with the thread to remind you of the colors of a PET scan. The problem with this piece is going to be the photography – the red is showing pink, the black is showing red….not quite sure what I’m going to do, so I need to get it finished with time to spare for the final shots.

THis is a little better, but you can’t really make out the sheen of the thread.

So it’s been a busy week, and hopefully it will continue!

Top Ten Tuesday

Got caught up on some blogs I do not read regularly, mining them for bits of wisdom. Here’s what I’ve found this week:

From the Blurberati blog, designing e-book covers. Very interesting article about e-books and regular books and their covers. There’s a lot to think about here in terms of presentation and encouragement to buy.

Interesting look at the death of Thomas Kinkade from Fine Art Views blog:

“The death of artist Thomas Kinkade has triggered a ‘barrage of arrows’ from specific circles of the mainstream art world. Notable art critics, ranging from Jerry Saltz  to Paddy Johnson, have taken it upon themselves to offer one last ‘jab’ while, as the saying goes, the corpse is still warm. Their critical hostility, if you will, has revealed a number of contradictions when compared to the usual rhetoric spewed in support of artwork favored by their circles — those ‘power structures’ they adamantly support. In that sense, the passing of Kinkade has offered insight into the mentality of the mainstream art world in general.”

With Dick Clark now gone, it seems a part of my childhood is gone forever. Every afternoon I watched American Bandstand faithfully, read the teen magazines, and wondered at this whole new world out there. These teens were so different from my life, and I so just wanted to dance all the time. Mamacita (Jane Goodwin) has a nice tribute to the man, the icon, and the institution.

In the spirit of trying to change our world and wondering if we ever make a difference comes this amazing story of the savior of 30,000 lives during the Holocaust. Read through and see what we have in descendants of the people saved by Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

And another article for Holocaust Remembrance Day, the life of a 92-year-old who survived the camps and is still a witness. From  the Huff Blog, lest we forget…..

From Generation Q comes “Now Touring: How to Spend Your Summer Vacation.” Loads of quilt museums!!! I’ve been to three of them over the years.

I love flash mobs, and there are some really cool videos on line, but this one is so different……

From Letters of Note comes this letter about the burning of a Maurice Sendak children’s book. “It is Only Adults Who Ever Feel Threatened.”

from Lyric Kinard comes copyright-free images to use in your work. A very handy site….

Here’s a cool tutorial on making bookmarks from See How We Sew, something I intend to do…..after a few other projects…..

Have a great week – let me know what you find on your web surfing excursions!

Top Ten Tuesday

I found a bunch of new, interesting art sites this week, plus the Free Motion Quilting Challenge started – you can see the badge on the right side, and it’s not too late to sign up. I’m looking forward to practicing a new pattern each month.

A new blog – The Creativity Post – looks to be very interesting, and I love the stuff on brain research.

The Creativity Post is a non-profit web platform committed to sharing the very best content on creativity, in all of its forms: from scientific discovery to philosophical debate, from entrepreneurial ventures to educational reform, from artistic expression to technological innovation – in short, to all the varieties of the human experience that creativity brings to life.”

Here’s a screen shot of some of their most popular entries:

From DesignBoom comes a spray-painted-skate-boarded-swimming-pool-design, complete with video…..really cool!

From PSD FanExtra comes a tutorial on designing t-shirts. This is very step-by-step – I think even I could do it (but maybe with a dog instead….).

Another MAD Magazine countdown of great blog covers…..Jerry and Joe and their new gig….

If you love dogs….well, even if you don’t, this is an adorable video of two dogs in a “restaurant,” waiting to order…..

And…MAD Magazine’s #1 blog cover – has been my favorite since I first saw it. Boehner vs. Obama and the DEBT…….Think Harry Potter……

A new blog I discovered by an Australian quilter, Emma at Sampaguita Quilts, with her finished quilts for 2011 – some luscious ones for eye candy! I love this one –

Another new blog – 365 Project – amazing photography! This is their official Top 20 post.

And from Alyson Stanfield and the Art Biz Blog comes some interesting resolutions for the new year: 12 Artist Resolutions to Steal for 2012.

Love this one: RESOLVE to stop fiddle-farting around on the Internet or with the TV remote control and start dedicating myself 100% to my life’s work.

And finally, a selection of Happy New Year’s from The Best Article Every Day.

Let me know what you find that’s really cool!

Reflections

It’s been an interesting time for reflection this last month, as it’s been an emotional roller coaster of a year. This time last year I was excited because I had decided to retire a year early, in May of 2012. Three semesters left felt do-able. However, I was also still stuck doing lesson plans every Sunday for most of the day. Yet I told myself it was better than the previous year, because I wasn’t spending as much time week nights marking papers, since I had an additional prep period each week.

Then came January 8 and the Tucson shootings. I had almost convinced hubby to go to the Congress on Your Corner, but by the time we were finished with his chiropractic appointment, it was too late to head over. There but for the grace of God…..Like most Tucsonans, we were glued to the television all day, through the NPR reports that Gabrielle Giffords had died to all the aftermath.

By Sunday afternoon I was working on the Art From the Heart website as a way of dealing with this tragedy. To date we’ve had artwork from 14 states, and some amazing artwork it is. President Obama came on Wednesday, and hubby and I sat transfixed in our living room, listening to his speech. On Friday I faced another challenge as a teacher – the Westboro Baptist Church had said it would boycott Christina Taylor-Green’s funeral, and then decided to boycott my high school instead for their ethnic studies program.

Here’s where I realized how much teachers are also first responders. It had been a hellish week, trying to get teenagers to understand what was going on, and how to respond in a nonviolent manner to a group like WBC. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

Events like this make you really question so much about your life, especially when it appears to you to be a close call. The depression began to sneak up, slowly, and everything at school just became more intense. I began to think about leaving the classroom in May. After all, it had been 40 years. The end of February we attended some meetings with state retirement and made the decision that May 27 would be my last day as a teacher. That made me smile.

March and April are blurs pretty much, just existing and coping with the depression. I was reading on a blog by Dale Anne Potter about how positive she was and how many great things were happening to her. I emailed and got the information about Cocreating Our Reality and practicing the Law of Attraction. On May 1 I was determined to enter my first 100 days of this challenge being positive. You can read about that here. This really was the beginning of the turn-around for me. I finished school grinning from ear to ear during that last month, driving teachers I worked with crazy.

I wrote my Abundance checks with faith that everything would work. And it did. These seven months of retirement have been wonderful. Some health challenges, but hey, who hasn’t? The marbling business has picked up, great things are happening, and I’ve been able to create some new art. Two successful seasons of 100 days and working on the business – doing things – and creating art  that I hadn’t been able to do while teaching full time.

But December was a melancholy month for me, which was a change after the past six months. Some things weren’t right. The vision had gone in one eye, I had started a new set of 100-days, but the motivation wasn’t there. The weight issues got me down almost immediately. In retrospect I think it was the consumerism and blatant conspicuous consumption (yes, I know….redundancy….) that weighed on me. This led to some decisions to go a very different route next year with gifts – making donations in family’s names to nonprofits they support. Giving back, rather than giving to.

Along with that, the continued violence around us….it seemed like no matter where you turned or what you watched, there was violence all around. I can’t watch the news anymore, as I just get too upset. Movies and television shows are full of gratuitous violence. People are unkind, peace seems so far away, and our politicians – and those who are supposed to lead us – aren’t doing their jobs. I find everything about this country – and the world – to be so topsy-turvy. Nothing is right, we can’t seem to learn from our mistakes, and our country is lost in its original path. Part of me wishes to withdraw completely, and the other part of me wants to make the changes. I look ahead and see no hope…and 10 months of a VERY LONG election season.

So now it’s New Year’s Eve. I need to look ahead, as we are having some great things happen for us. We are making fabric like crazy, heading for an overnight at a king suite in a local hotel so we can do planning for the first quarter of 2012. Tutoring clients are coming in, finances seem to be assured, and we’re both feeling positive. I know there will be decisions ahead, as I think 2012 is going to be a pivotal year. But right now all I can do is all I can do.

Here’s wishing you and yours peace, happiness, and prosperity for this coming year – and whatever else you would like. Life is good, and we need to embrace it!

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!

I Won a Book – C&T Publishing!

I never win anything, even those hope springs eternal (and yes, lottery ticket is bought for this Saturday night…). And I am fairly compulsive about entering give-aways on line, even though I never see my name as a winner. So imagine my absolute delight at an email from Tristan at C&T Publishing that I won a copy of Cindy Walter’s book, Fabric Painting with Cindy Walter. Aside from the fact that I won, this is an area I really want to try. I’ve watched videos and done some reading, but I have been seriously intimidated in getting started.

So on Wednesday, with a balmy 81 on the porch, I read the book cover to cover – something I don’t usually do with an art process book. But I gotta say, this was very different. From the beginning I was hooked. This is billed as a Beginner’s Guide, with 11 techniques. I was dubious, as many of the previous books had left me in the dust by the second page. Not so with this one. By the time I had finished the book, I knew I would be able to do every single technique without a problem. Cindy’s writing is clear, the diagrams are excellent, and the instructions are top-notch. And this is from a writer herself, who always struggles with pattern instructions to be sure they are crystal clear.

For example, I have struggled with what kind of paints to buy. I had no clue about transparent and opaque, and in between. I no doubt would have bought the wrong ones and gotten discouraged with the whole process (much like my adventures trying to follow dye recipes in a “beginner’s” book).  Same thing with brushes. After all these years of working on my marbling and quilting, I know the importance of top-notch supplies, and I appreciated the recommendations. I really liked the lists of supplies, the do’s and don’ts, and all the helpful tips spread throughout the book.

Dry or Wet? is the first technique – and I like that it gives you a feel for the process. I’m pretty certain I will like the wet process more, especially since I wanna do scrunching and salt – I love those effects – I’ve always admired them in fabrics, and I want to be able to do it myself. I am especially interested in seeing how marbling works after the fabric has been painted – my ultimate goal.

At dinner last night, rather than throw away the mushroom container, my little artistic voice said “NO – this will be a water container.” Hubby is now under strict instructions to save all the styrofoam for me now.
It’s a good thing I picked up another set of storage for the studio, since I was running out of space (I just needed a few “empty” cubbies for ongoing projects…), because now I have a place to store styrofoam, my soon-to-be-purchased brushes and paints, and salt….and anything else I could use (and as artists we know just how long that list can be).

 

PS. In the interests of FTC regulations, should you order this book from the Amazon link above, I receive some small change. Or you cna click on the other link in the first paragraph and go right to the C&T Publishing site to order.

 

Monday Marketing: The Artist Statment

Action 4 in Alyson Stanfield’s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! talks about the artist statement. So I pulled out my really old one and held it up to the checklist for scrutiny. By golly, except for the first person narrative it still works. I am deciding to keep it third person as it applies to the both of us, and I think it sounds silly in first person – it’s like hubby is an afterthought. Kind of amazing that after four or five years it still says what we are about and what direction our work is moving.

So here it is – send me your slings and arrows – I want to know what’cha think….

Dean and Linda Moran

Marble-T Design, LLC.

6770 East Carondelet Drive #223

Tucson, Arizona 85710

520-747-3857

The Art of Marbled Fabric

 Dean and Linda Moran took an interest in a new hobby and turned it into a new passion. Linda wanted to marble fabric for quilts. After doing research, Dean created the tools they needed. With their first piece, they knew they had a vision for a new art form using traditional marbling designs. Over nearly twenty years of practice, they created a personal art form using traditional marbling designs, as well as contemporary variations, to enhance their creative spirits.

Fascinated by the whims and mysteries of nature, their art incorporates dimensional form as they continue to explore the marriage of marbling and fabric. All of their commissioned pieces have celebrated the magic of the Earth. One unique piece represents a wave cresting the shore, drawing the viewer into a vortex of energy.

Starting with basic white cotton, Dean and Linda soon developed a “no fabric is safe from marbling” attitude. Using silk, satin, corduroy, denim, velveteen and whatever else may cross their paths, they have broadened their artistic horizons. The fabric may dictate a theme; other times the magic of the marbling will dictate the focus of the finished piece.

Dean and Linda have expanded their work into a number of series. “Gaia” celebrates the abstract of Earth, using a weaving design. “Nature” takes a specific look at the little wonders around us, like a quiet pond or an unexpected rock garden. “Mandalas” pay tribute to the dynamic energy of the universe.

Each marbling session is a new experience, exploring the infinite designs and colors possible, both in the art form and in our world. Current work involves embellishment and thread painting/quilting. The work evolves with their experience and excitement.

http://www.marbledfab.com – website

https://www.marbledmusings.com – blog

http://facebook/com/MarbleTDesign

http://etsy.com/shop/marbledfabrics76

http://twitter.com/ArtsyLindaMoran

 

Wha? Where? Huh?

So the week has been so busy – and so amazing – that I’m almost stunned as to what to do next……I’ve been sewing up a storm on a commission that I would like to finish by Thanksgiving, making lists, and not seeming to check anything off of them. I’m as busy as during the school year, but what’s SO wonderful is that it is all of my own making, and ALL things I want to do.

Jury duty on Tuesday, and I need to be sure I have plenty with me, as I will be the day without a computer (no iPad yet….). I can probably spend time doing lesson plans for my first class a week from now, and then I will just need to spend time doing the presentations at home on the computer. I don’t have any hand sewing yet – saving that for a trip to Sedona in mid-October. I can only do so much listing…. Got a couple of thank-you notes to write, so that’s for Tuesday.

While I’m at jury duty, hubby will do the alum, and then we’ll start marbling for several large projects over the next month. I’m going to post the holiday basket this week and start marketing those. Speaking of the baskets, we did a lot of marbling of silk flowers and leaves last week – some of the look superb!

The two items on the lower right are experiments: one is  clay ornament – curious to see if it marbles (and it does…), and the other is a small piece of wood – could do some interesting things with that…..Both were successful, and the leaves look spectacular.

These will all be part of the gift baskets going up on Etsy and soon to be available here. The next two months will be crazy – which is good, because for the last two years we haven’t taken advantage of the main holiday season. Not so this year!

So get busy and make art!!

P.S. I LOVE my new Mac!!

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