Archive for the ‘marbled fabric’ Category

Work in Progress Wednesday

Not a whole lot of pictures today, but a whole lotta work going on.  We are in the process of marbling 400 fat quarters for StashFest the end of March. This is a fund raiser for the La Conner Quilt Museum, and we have been invited to participate and sell our marbled fabric. Yay! So needless to day, there are a LOT of marbling sessions ahead of us. With hubby’s health, we are being very careful about scheduling the sessions. And…we are planning ahead. Counted the number of weeks we have, allowed for vacations, and started ordering LOTS of pima cotton. Hubby is really in the groove, and the fats are looking fabulous. We pulled out one of the marbling books and are going to try some new patterns as we work. Pretreat, alum one day, then marble the next….all our mornings are set aside for this. Plus, I can’t wait to get to the Northwest. It’s been on our bucket list for a number of years. and now it’s actually going to happen. So send me suggestions for things to see and do – and eat – in the Seattle and Portland areas. We’re going to save the ocean spots for another trip. We’ll be happy, us desert rats, with rain and fog and humidity!

Those of you in the Seattle area, mark your calendars for March 31 and April 1. There should be publicity hitting any time now in your area. You can check the Stashfest website for more information. Also, we are taking small quilts with us for display purposes at StashFest, so if any of you in guilds would like us to give a talk (and perhaps a demo), please let us know.

Now, along with that are several shows I have decided to enter. Some I have recent work for, but most of them will require the creation of new work. And I am so up to the challenge. The piece I am working on now, for a show deadline in February, is teaching me – and speaking to me – a great deal. I am thrilled with how it is turning out, and even if it doesn’t get accepted to this show, I know I have created something different, meaningful, and beautiful

Here’s what I’m looking at:

Visions – 2/13 (If I’m going back out there, go big….last acceptance for a major show – Expressions in Fiber – was in 2004. And if accepted, I’ll let you in on what prompted me to go for this.).

Art Pin-Up – 3/2 (12 x 12, very do-able, and no jurying….)

Fish Follies – 4/20 (?) (great acceptance rate over the last 6 years for fiber. This year I have a really wacky fiber idea…..it is Follies, after all….)

Tactile Architecture, Hands All Around – 4/27 (one piece is already completed….)

I’m Not Crazy – 5/5 (idea is sketched)

Pushing the Limits – 5/16

Pattern Base – book inclusion, June 12

And this is just the first 6 months. So I guess a goal for this year is to get out there and enter my work! Along with trying to set up two individual shows.

It is going to be an awesome year of taking chances!

Work in Progress

I’m looking at this coleus, which is from a picture I took several years ago at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and I wish I could remember how I did it…..I need to find the original psd file and see if I can backtrack on it. I am enjoying getting back into playing with Photoshop at least once a week. And I have loads more pics, as we spent yesterday morning strolling the gardens. I have a show in mind called Digital Desert, where I use all local pictures of the desert that have been manipulated in Photoshop. I think that will become a “work in Progress” for the new year. I even have the name of the person to contact about a possible show. As I think about it now, I could put a small pic of the original shot on the intro card, and then display the newly manipulated image. Hmmmm……

There’s been lots happening here. The major work in progress is a business piece – we have been invited to participate in Stash Fest, a fund raiser for the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington, on March 31 and April 1. We will be bring a LOT of marbled cotton and silk with us, so we have started already to make fabric…and run into a couple of road blocks. One, the BOLT of fabric we bought at a wholesale price, after trying a sample to see if it would work – doesn’t. Between getting the sample, trying it, ordering and waiting for the bolt, and then trying two marbling sessions, we’ve ended up with a lot of remnants and nothing for the northwest. So we kind of lost December for production. We have ordered our usual pima cotton and are awaiting its arrival. We will probably get one marbling session in this month to finish off a custom order and hopefully begin to create what we are going to need for La Conner. In the meantime, lists are made, labels done and ready to go, folding organized, bins for storage and traveling set up. So we are slowly getting ready.

I promised a reveal of the small log cabin winter quilt. Really enjoyed making this one, and I’m looking for what I can do for the spring quilt – need to get the fabric made, and I need to get at least one of the two big art projects completed and ready for photography. So here’s the little wall hanging:

The other big stuff I’ve been working on are two entries to a major art show. I am progressing, and I’m pleased with what’s happening. I just started a new shading on the bigger rocks yesterday, after trying some ideas. No question that the shading has really added to the depth of the piece, as well as add needed dark values. I noticed that I was being too controlled in doing the shadowing, and nature isn’t perfectly symmetrical. I need to “rough up” those shadows, as well as bring in some additional other “shadow” colors. I also realized I want to get a foot with a larger plastic opening, so it’s easier for me to see where I’m going. I went to the local Bernina dealer (there are several in town), and once again this particular store just manages to make me feel so stupid when I go in. I was told “that’s not how you thread paint.” Well, that’s how I’m doing it, and I like the effect, so spplttttt……(how do you show a raspberry emoticon?)

There is still a long way to go, and I have another piece ready to go, so I have to get busy!

 

Work in Progress – Continued….

Yesterday I started the “winter” quilt for the group of Seasons, and I made quite a bit of progress. It was an interesting day, as design decisions kept sneaking around as I was working. Now, a while ago I realized I had some “branch” left over from some silk flowers that I thought I could use on this piece. I got a bunch of pieces cut, and then I  realized that about 3 years ago I bought some snowflake glitter for just such a reason as this. And what follows is proof you need to be a little crazy to attempt mixed media….

After spreading some of the glitter on the quilt top itself, I liked it…and realized I had to do some massive clean-up of my “trial and error.” Then I wondered if I could coat the small branches with the snow glitter. Once I was able to finally get the glue bottle open, the fun began. I put part of the branch in the glue bottle, tried to shake off excess (not successful), and then dunk the branch in the bottle of glitter. Messy, and lots of snowflake glitter that would shed constantly.

Time for a new plan…dip the top part of the branch in the glue, and then using fingers, distribute the glue down the rest of the branch, and then roll the branch on the pile of glitter on the paper. Shake well and let dry. Clean off very sticky fingers, covered with glitter, and repeat….

I did about nine branches and worried about them drying and sticking to the mat board. I did about 8 small branches, and I love the effect….but I still have to figure out how to attach them. this is certainly a first for me. I’m not one to mix these different media together, and I can see why people get hooked on mixed media collage. In the meantime my idea to add a small piece of blue fabric before the binding changed – I ended up wrapping it to be the binding itself – a lot more subdued that way. I also did some stippling in the gray area – it gave it more texture and lightened the gray slightly.

After a lot of pondering, I took some of my beading processes to attach the branches to the top and bottom of the quilt. The reveal will be next Wednesday.

This last is the truer picture of colors – very icy, which is my complete intent.

 

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!

Photoshop Friday – It’s 600 TIme!

Wow, I’ve written 60o blog posts! This from someone who could never keep a diary. I guess I just didn’t have the technology waaaayyyy back when. I have new work for this Photoshop Friday, but I thought it would be fun to view some of the first posts.

My first entry:

I finally did it! I set up a blog so I can write about our marbling and related art thoughts. I’ll be posting photos of the new Photoshop class I am starting. Be kind – I am learning how to take criticism!! This has been something I have been meaning to do as a way of recording process and product, and at the same time motivate me to do more fiber work. And…I can tell my students I am finally “almost” as technologically savvy as they are! (January 26, 2007…..)

I probably wasn’t convinced this would go beyond the Photoshop classes I was starting at the time. You can see my very first Photoshop drawing here. I have since changed blogging platforms, and I don’t have my backup close at hand, so the link will have to do.

Today my work is based either on photographic images I have taken or some of the marbled fabrics we have created. The piece I’m working on today is from fabric. Hubby was downloading pictures for ebay this week, and I saw this picture of fabric from a distance, and I said, hmmmm……

So here’s the original fabric.

Then I started working with some shapes from each section of the fabric.

Then I felt I needed to change the background for more ocntrast.

I’m not sure this background color is going to stay…I have also been playing around with gradients, and I think one of those might work.

Yup, definitely like this one the best.

 

Comments? What do you think? What else does it need?

 

Day One, Season 3

  I chose my “Explosion” piece for today because that’s the kind of excitement I feel starting this new season three. Seasons one and two of Cocreating Our Reality were eye-opening and exciting, and for the last few days I have been building up to starting a new journey today. First, I am so blessed to be retired and able to work on art when and where I want to, for as long as I want to. I get to spend every day with my hubby, and life is pretty much wonderful. Health problems – of course, who doesn’t have them at our age. But – that’s not stopping me from living a great life.

I discovered over the last two seasons when it was time to evaluate my goals, that I hadn’t really stretched myself – or thought big enough. So I have been pondering that for the last week or so. What is it I actually want to do?

First and foremost, kind of came to me last night in the moments before sleep, is probably the one most on my mind. I need to take this season and concentrate on me. It sounds selfish, but it isn’t. I have health issues that really need to be addressed, and for so many years they went to the side as other things – students, work, hubby – took their place. If I expect to be as creative for as long as I want, and get out and be politically active, and write – do all the things I want to – than I need to focus on my health. So that is goal number one for this season: take the cholesterol medicine, take my vitamins, watch what I eat, get out regularly and exercise, track my food intake, get some yoga teachings, get my blood readings where they need to be. I actually started thinking this way a few days ago, and I’m pleased to say the exercise has already increased, as well as having a bit more control over appetite.

A second goal is tied in to all this. I am getting a second opinion on my vision issues and will work to find strategies to help with the depth perception and balance issues. A new doctor’s appointment is scheduled for next week Thursday, and I have a teacher friend to talk to about some basic yoga stretches. I always knew this day was coming, and now that it’s here, I need to learn to work with the new limitations.

Overall, for the first time, these two goals seem very positive. One hundred days from now, March 10, I expect that I will have been enormously successful at these first two. That statement alone is a major change for me. It’s very positive, rather than using the word “try.”

Business-wise I have some very specific goals.

Number three in my list is to solve the newsletter/collectors’ information issue. I am, as was said to a friend of mine, “leaving money on the table.” This has to be a regular business goal. I am considering taking Alyson Stanfield’s “Cultivating Your Collectors” class in February. That will depend on a number of things, primarily finances. I am good at reading and implementing, and since I accomplished four of Alyson’s goals in I’d Rather Be in the Studio!, I should be able to accomplish at least three this new season. So: newsletter, portfolio (which we will need for a major event the end of March), and I will look through the list for at least one other. Newsletter once a month should be definitely do-able. A collectors’ newsletter once a quarter should be reasonable. I’m sure there will be others to add here.

Number four is searching out wholesale suppliers for cutting back basic costs of making marbled fabric. As of yesterday I have a new wholesale account with Kona Bay fabrics, as we use their colored cotton quite successfully. We are looking for wholesale sources for premium white cotton, silk/satin ribbon (like Offray), and probably some other materials.

Number five is ramping up our Etsy shop, our Fine Art America galleries, Cafe Press, and looking in to Red Bubble, Three Sisters, and at least one other online selling site. My overall goal in all this is to be able to update these sites once a week, as well as include items from these sites in our soon-to-happen newsletters. I’ve tried setting monetary goals for Etsy and Ebay, and they are very fickle, depending on the economy. I do tweet my Etsy and Ebay offerings once a week, which certainly drives traffic to the site, but I don’t see it converting. However, I know that it is only a matter of time, as is the case with this blog. I am about to hit 1500 viewers per month, so I know it is consistency. (Concerning the blog…when Facebook changed its latest set of operating, my blog numbers dropped. Turns out, on exploration, Networked Blogs was a casualty and needed to be reactivated. Once that happened, I saw numbers increase again…..I am amazed at how net-savvy we need to be these days!)

Art-wise I also have some very specific goals.

Number six is to enter a major show with new work. The deadline for this is mid-February, and I am already hard at work on the first of two pieces. The fabric has been created, and the ideas are flowing. Here’s just some of the fabric…..

Unpolished red satin

If I get accepted, great. If not, I will have two new lovely large art pieces for our body of work. But I am putting out to the Universe that this will be show-worthy art.

Number seven is to create the kit for Marbled Seasons. Yesterday’s blog post showed the first of the four small quilts/table runners. I used to have several patterns, all of which I sold the rights to. So I just need to make more. For this goal I want this set of kits completed, and two new ideas for pattern kits, plus a rewrite of my Polynomial Quilt pattern – which I used the quilts for that very successfully in an adult algebra class to teach multiplying, and it was highly successful.

Number eight is to be completely prepared – except for minor loose ends – by March 10, for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington. We have been invited to participate, and it means marbling about 400 fat quarters in the next three months…..another reason for looking carefully at wholesale outlets! This is an interesting goal, because after our last guild presentation, I put out to the universe that it would be fun to travel and do demos in the Southern Arizona, southern New Mexico area. Well, two days later I had this email…..as Dale Anne Potter, my muse with Law of Attraction said, I was open to the possibilities.

Number nine will build on the previous. Develop a letter/sample to go to local guilds for demos and classes. I think just the development at this stage, because we will be focused on making fabric for Washington.

Number ten, under the category of Miscellaneous, comes continuing to work on Art From the Heart, a site devoted to spreading peace and nonviolence in the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. We had two new entries this last month, and I am hopeful for more.

Now that I have these written, I have to chuckle in that I was concerned about trying to get my goals coherent for this season. These are more detailed than the past two seasons, and they will certainly stretch me.

So Day One – I’m going to sew, work on some lists, and get ready for a small craft event on Saturday. Plus, it’s the holidays, and I want to “do more good” this year on a daily basis. May you have a really awesome day!

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……..

Work in Progress Wednesday

Wow, being retired has given me a whole new appreciation for preparing for the holidays. In the past, if I was lucky, I managed to get some things done during the Thanksgiving weekend, but everything else depended on just how tired I was at the end of each school day. Not this year – my cards are designed and ordered – the pic at the left is of a great piece of red silk that I took into Photoshop. Really pleased with them.

Before I go in to the latest project, an update on the deer quilt from last week. We finally got it hung in our bedroom, its designated spot for the last ten-plus years. It looked awful…..there was absolutely nothing redeeming in it at all. Even hubby, who has loved the quilt since I first saw the pic realized it was pretty bad. So Karen S is the winner of the give-away of border trees, and some lucky child is going to get a “huggy” quilt. In the bedroom now hangs our Desert Heat quilt, and it looks perfect.

Now for the new stuff…..Hubby created a really great fat quarter of cotton that reminded me of a New England autumn. We had marbled some silk leaves earlier this fall, and I had in the back of my mind to make an autumn quilt and use the leaves. Well, now I had all the fabric, pulled a couple of browns from the stash, and was ready to go.

The start of the log cabin….this is the fourth restart….for some reason I wasn’t able to follow my own directions…..

First tentative layout…..

Another tentative layout…sorry for the lousy pic….

The three finished blocks – reminds me of walking through woods carpeted in falling leaves.

Playing around with the marbled leaves….have probably decided on this layout. Love the border fabric, which was very serendipitous. That fabric would not have worked had I gone with a different layout.

I love the leaves!

Ready for batting and quilting……more next week. Suggestions on a quilting design?

Something I’ve Never Done Before……

Okay, so on Wednesday I cleaned the studio in preparation for new work, got rid of lots of lint and threads….nice and clean. I cross off thee of the eight table runners and looked at my list of projects. Well, says I, why don’t I finish one UFO before starting on these two new ones? I figure, let’s go with the deer quilt, which has been hanging around unfinished for about 13 years. How bad could it be?

Well…………….bad. Nothing seemed straight, I still had a lot of free motion to do, and the quilt was fighting me. I got one side row of free motion done, but I wasn’t happy. We decided to measure the bedroom space to make sure the quilt would fit…and it would, but barely. I noticed as we held it up that it was so wavy…..much like a beginner’s quilt, which this kind of was……So I figured I would try a basting stitch to see if I could bring some kind of straightness to that one side.

Nope. Nada. Nothing. No way.

Now, hubby has always loved this quilt. Me, not so much anymore, especially since my skills have improved dramatically.

What to do?

I grabbed the scissors.

Now, I’ve read about people cutting up quilts, and every time I read that, I would be horrified. What would cause someone, after all that time, to cut up a quilt?

Now I understand…..something had to give if I was going to finish this, and it had to be the tree borders. So I cut them off.

Amazing. The quilt is now pretty straight, and I sewed on the binding.

Now, keep in mind that given the large table runners I just finished, that’s over 16 yards of binding I’ve sewn this week (and no, I didn’t hand stitch the back down….I didn’t want another 3 years to go by before I delivered them….). And…it’s a good thing I cut off the borders, because I just had enough binding – which I put together some 13 years ago…………

I also sewed this down front and back. And it’s done, ready to be hung on the wall, and I don’t need a third hangar….

I am reminded of Ami Simms’s Ugly Quilt Contest, where the winner had a brown paper bag over her head…….This is from the time period where I was doing lots of rotary cutting and piecing – this is probably from Pam Bono’s Rotary Cut Quilts book.

Hubby’s happy, I keep thinking “what was I doing?” at various stages, like choosing the mountain fabrics…….

Now, there is a good point to all this – I am giving away the tree borders. I know a lot of quilters recycle pieces from quilts. I just don’t think I’ll do that. Here’s a snippet:

There are four rows, and the blue fabric varies from side to side and top to bottom. Some have no quilting, some quilting only in the “ground” areas. Leave me a comment, tell me what you’d do with them, and I’ll draw a winner on Monday, November 21. Each row has a marbled fabric tree, if that is any appeal……

Have fun!

Random Thoughts

It’s a relatively early Saturday morning, and we are marbling. I’ve learned to leave the color and pattern decisions to hubby, as his skill with those far exceeds mine. We have begun working on a new major fiber piece, after a huge amount of deliberation for design and what-not. I’m documenting the process, but it will be months before I can really show the finished piece and talk about it. I am excited about it, ordered lots of new threads, and hopefully I can get some more pieces of lava before the gem show for embellishment. All in all, a  great way to start the Saturday.

Then last night we attended a wedding of a co-worker and amazing math teacher. What a joyful life! Met up with some teachers I hadn’t seen in a while, and experienced my first orthodox Jewish wedding, The rabbi was amazing, and the ceremony was just beautiful. I was so happy for them. Actually had a chance to dance with hubby and we both realized that the spring that used to be in our steps was extremely rusty. We used to spend hours on the weekends out dancing – last night I couldn’t seem to get the feet to want to follow him. Getting old sucks!

But it was such a wonderful five hours! There was such joy all around. We just had an amazing time, and we kept reminiscing about our 35 years together.

But I need to temper that with news that an internet friend is facing ovarian cancer. Now, I’m the kind of person who has always had a hard time making friends, and so I love the internet because it has allowed me to reach out in an easy manner. We have exchanged art work, commiserated on the political scene, and worked on Art from the Heart together. This shouldn’t be happening to someone in the prime of life. I am really working at sending positive thoughts to her whenever I think of her each day. Positivity is working for me, so I want to see if I can put it out there into the universe and extend its reach. Many blessings, much healing light my friend. You will be back to share your humor and photos and warped sense of humor! You are too precious to leave us too soon.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I finished the fish quilt, and I absolutely LOVE it! No question the machine quilting is getting much much better. Amazing how a good amount of practice will do wonders!

First of all, what it looked like last October….when I had plans to redo it for the arts and crafts show…..not…..well, evidently I don’t have a photograph. Suffice to say it was straight line quilting in the ditch – nothing fancy, because I didn’t know anything else. I took it apart….all the quilting stitches,,,,last fall, because I knew I had learned way more and wanted to see if I could improve on it.

I think I succeeded……

Marbled Fishes

I did so many things I never have before. I used two different decorative stitches on my machine. I did a lot of free motion bubbles, and I added a few beads, a la Lyric Kinard (whose video on beading is fabulous!). The story behind this quilt goes back to creating the marbled fabric. It “read” fish to me as it came out of the tray, and I looked for a traditional block that looked like a fish. I threw in some batik, some Moda, and a lime green backing and border. It was okay…..

I just knew I could do more with those fish. A lot of Superior thread later…….

Marbled Fishes

I am loving it. What’s great about this is as we embark on guild presentations, I want to have a variety of small quilts so that beginners can see that marbled fabric really isn’t any different from any other specialty fabric. That was the motivation behind this series of quilts. Now it’s off to look through my stash of patterns to see what’s next.

…and yes, I know I still have three table runners to finish in three weeks…..

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!

Monday Marketing – Update

I’m going to just think as I write for this post. After four full months of almost non-stop marketing – and a whole lot of sewing in there also – the business is very busy. We have some things coming up, some things we’ve dropped, and it’s time to evaluate where we have come and where we need to go.

We have dropped a potential art show for a variety of reasons, none of which are really positive in the long run for both us and the business. That was a hard decision to make, and I learned a couple of things. One, we don’t have to jump at everything and say yes to a possibility if it doesn’t feel right. When we were first starting out, I wanted to go after every possibility, even if it was unrealistic. Two, if we have to “push” to make it work, then chances are it isn’t for us. Three, I really like being able to take things at our speed. Even though we have limited years to build our art business, it is more important for us to enjoy each other, take opportunities to be together, and be able to actually create art when we want to. Those were some good lessons on which to ponder (for my English-language friends, no “ending with a preposition”….).

I have started working again on publicizing Art from the Heart, something I really want to do. I am behind on it, but I am slowly seeing progress. I am working on a major commission and learning lots, and I’m nearly half-way through. We are marbling a lot, which we are enjoying, and it seems like we are back to where we were before water and paint and so on became issues. And….we have a guild workshop to do the beginning of November.

Now, we used to do a lot of workshops, and we – not realizing it at the time – blew lots of opportunities to sell fabric. We would go and demonstrate, but never have fabric for folks to buy. Nothing like violating one of the basic rules of marketing – always have product because you never know when someone will want to buy. When I went to the School of Threadology  at Superior Threads a year this past April, I took some fabric and sold out in 10 minutes – I could have sold a LOT more. Lesson learned.

So for this workshop we are doing things very differently. We will go with fat quarters and a couple of gift baskets. We will have hand-out of all our contact information, supplies connections, order forms, and class sign-ups. We need to get back to dealing with all the guilds (and there are a lot more in the city since we were doing this), especially since we have more to offer than when we were originally doing this. And….since we are talking about going east again next year, I need to put the word out and see if we can book a few gigs.

We will do a demonstration in our cookie sheet, so we can create a lot of small pieces to demonstrate patterns, and everything will be easy to transport. Then I have a lot of quilts (as opposed to art pieces) to show a group of beginners. The first quilt I show is my small Attic Window, where I felt the only color I could use with the marbled fabric was black. We’ll come forward to the fish quilt, which I am in the process of re-quilting, since those skills have tremendously improved. Hopefully people will feel inspired to buy/order fabric, and we’ll be busy for the bulk of November.

I need to take pictures of those quilts and get them online to document the journey. October and November hopefully will be extremely busy making and selling fabric!!

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….).

Right Out of the Marbling Tray

Work in progress Wednesday was marbling, so it makes sense to show pictures of the process….I never seem to get my camera ready to capture the creativity! Hubby sets up the day before, alums all the fabric, and covers the studio (AKA the second room) with sheets to protect all the sewing projects), and then all the fun happens the next day. He also has cut, serged, and pretreated the fabric, in addition to all of the above. So there’s a lot that goes into the process before we can have any “fun.”

Here’s our new metal tray, which allows us to do fat quarters a whole lot easier than having to set up the big plexiglass tray. Who knew we just needed to visit a feed store and could get what we wanted? There for the longest time I was trying restaurant supply stores, looking for the largest cookie tray I could find…….We’ve already marbled two pieces, and hubby is just starting to lay the paint for the next piece. The paint you see is on the bottom of th e tray and won’t affect the new pieces.

More paint – you can see the initial concentration of the drops and then how it spreads.

The green is going on either side of the yellow and copper – hubby is experimenting with some new ideas.

More layers of color. Notice how the new colors are making the initial paint “condense” as it spreads and moves closer together. Hubby has what I call an “innate color sense.” He just picks colors and goes ahead. I’m the “planner,” and my stuff always comes out looking “muddy.”

A few more drops of new colors.

Starting the combing. This is the first “comb through” with the popsicle rake we use. You can see how the pattern is beginning to take shape over the next few process pictures.

Notice the pattern moving from “chevron” to a “nonpareil,” one of the most traditional patterns in marbling.

Sorry for the fuzzies….movement got in the way.

And now….some of the new creations drying in the wind before heat-setting and packaging….expect to see some of these babies up on eBay this week! This time’s session was just Kaufman cotton – silk and chiffon and broadcloth coming in the next session early next week.

I SO LOVE this art form! It’s a lot of “what you see isn’t necessarily what you get,” but the results are always gorgeous! Who among you has tried this, and what have you noticed?

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