Monday, December 07, 2009

Treme' Gumbo Festival

Anne and I have a booth at the Treme' festival this weekend in New Orleans and I'm doing recycled, painted clothing. These are some of the pieces I did at the studio today. The pink with the purple design on it is a suit and the design on the pockets is repeated around the hemline. The denim is a skort and the big Fleur de Lis are all over the black blouse, not just on the front.
The khaki colored blouse is an absolutely gorgeous Liz Claiborne with metallic paints. All clothing is either linen or cotton or a blend of the two.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Good News/Bad News

My husband goes into triple bypass open heart surgery at noon today. That's the bad news. The good news is that we had no idea he had heart problems and it was caught during a doctor visit for a totally unrelated complaint.

We are very happy with his team of doctors and optimistic about the outcome. His biggest worry is if the Saints can go 11-0 tonight (he should be just about coming out of anesthesia for kick-off) and my biggest worry is how the hell I'm going to learn to cook without frying anything, or smothering everything in gravy, or tossing out the bacon grease as seasoning. 50 years of cooking style down the drain!

The best thing is knowing that I still literally make his heart skip a beat, even after 26 years of marriage, when I walk in the room. I saw the ekg that proves it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's a wrap!

The show is over, the quilts are back with their owners and the building is empty once again! All in all, it was a wonderful show and we had some incredible quilts on display. The workmanship just blew the judge away and renting the pipe and drape hanging system showcased the work beautifully. The last 2 of us were out of the building less than 2 hours after the show closed. We were amazed at how quickly and smoothly the take down went this year. Good thing too, since I got home Sunday evening with a 102 fever and I'm not sure I could have lasted much longer than that. We had an incredible response to the opportunity quilts and did very well with the quilt sale. Lots of good comments on the width of the aisles and the quilts not looking crowded. I think 150 was a good number for the exhibit and I'm glad we cut off entries at the actual cut-off date. The weather was warm and humid, with a couple of very light showers so using the patio area worked well also. At least people had a place to sit down for a few minutes. The Craft Center seemed pleased with the Saturday sales in the gallery and our general stewardship of the facilities. That's always a good thing, since we love having the show in their building and don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. If you'd like to see the building check it out at It's absolutely gorgeous and really showed off the quilts with lots of natural light and open space.

When I was asked to take over as director of the show, I was scared to death to step in, and spent weeks feeling like I was in over my head, but I had a tremendous amount of help from everyone, especially a core group of committee chairmen who never once failed to offer suggestions, support, advice, opinions, and on a couple of occasions (well, maybe more than a couple) a shoulder to cry on or an ear for me to rant into. There is no way in this world that I would have been able to pull this off without the help of everyone involved, from the people who entered the quilts to hang, to Myra, Lucy and Ann T. who got us from point A to point B.

Again, a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this show such a success. You should all be very proud of yourselves.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More clothing

My stress level must be higher than I realized, since I'm still sewing clothing. This one is for my sweet Madeline, Ben and Kaylee's first born. She's the closest thing I have to a grandchild yet.
I started out with some vintage embroidered organza and went from there. I had one long thin piece of it with a finished edge and one shorter, wider piece with a selvage. The long piece with the lace edging became the bodice and bottom overlays and the sleeves, and the selvage piece became the crown of the bonnet. The original intention was to use a classic Vogue pattern, but I wound up only using the sleeve pattern and even re-drafted that to get what I wanted. #40 satin ribbon was pleated for the brim of the bonnet and candlelight satin ribbon used throughout the rest of the dress. White cotton lawn for the dress with the candlelight embroidered organza over it. Candlelight sparkle organza for the collar overlay. Fully lined with a white cotton slip.
Ben's family gown is "too fragile" to be used any more and Kaylee's family lost everything in the storm, so we're starting over with Madeline. I did the basic construction on the dress, Ben's mother is doing all the hand work on the lining and contributed the organza from her own mother's stash, and Kaylee's grandmother will embroider the name on the slip, so all of us will have had a hand in making it. Nick will be coming home from Okinawa around Christmas to be the godfather.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Back to my roots

Woke up this morning with an idea for a jacket made out of a vintage pulled threadwork linen tablecloth in my head. So of course, since I have nothing else to do I made it. It probably would have gone a bit faster if I'd actually made a pattern for it first, but I'm happy with it anyway. I hate I had to seam the center back, but there was no way to get the pulled thread design symmetrical without doing it. I might have made the arm scythe a bit deeper had I started with a sloper, but maybe not. Ignore my son's blue shirt under it. It didn't photograph well without the contrast and that's just what was closest at hand to use. Hey, I was just glad I got photos of it at all.
It's funny, but I was thinking earlier that even after all these years, sewing is my release and relaxation. After all the details and minutia of dealing with the quilt show stuff this past week I think my brain just needed a break. I have several quilts here that need to be worked on, but none of them struck my fancy so I went back to my own "comfort food" of sewing, which is clothing. It surprises me at times that I don't do more wearables because I love to sew clothing. Maybe I know myself well enough to know I don't want to over-do it and burn myself out on something I love.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Festivalgirl's shirt

My friend Chrissa's "Lily Flower (Fleur de Lis) Bouquet" shirt.

Friday, August 14, 2009

guild commission

This is the quilt I'm working on right now for the Craftsmen's guild. It will hang on the back of the piano to hide the "guts" of it when it's in use. Morrison Brothers Music donated the piano and I used colors to pick up the stained concrete floors in the guild hall. The background is fabric that was rust stained on the piano sound board in my front yard, so the striped effect of the rust is from the actual strings in a piano. The walking people are an adaptation of the Craftsmen's Guild of MS logo, but the crafts they are usually carrying have been replaced with musical instruments. The outlines are couched pearle cotton and each one took about 2 hours! That much handwork from someone who doesn't even sew buttons on by hand is pretty strange, but it seemed to be the best technique for the effect I wanted. The piece is about 54"x36" and will be bound in black. Some quilting with gold metallic along the rusted string lines is next. The walking people are a little more apparent in the real thing than they are in the picture.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Satchmo Art Show

Whooo hooo! Second place in the Satchmo show in New Orleans the other day! The show will be up through the end of August so maybe it will sell too. It was a real thrill to win, not only because it was a New Orleans show, in New Orleans, honoring a New Orleans icon, competing against New Orleans artists, but also because I won with a quilt! It's sometimes a struggle to get fiber and textiles accepted to art shows, although the biggest hurdle seems to be having a category to enter them in. I've never been rejected for an art show, (rejected for several quilt shows though) but there have been art shows I never entered because the work didn't fit into any of the categories.

The reception and show were at Crescent City Brewhouse on Decatur in the French Quarter and they did a nice job with the food and drink. Half a dozen of my local friends in NOLA showed up and we had a crowd at the table. Of course, I was off at the bar when they announced my name as a winner! My cousin went up and got the certificate and prize for me and I sort of hated missing out on hearing my name, but I'd have probably passed out from the excitement anyway and I had on a dress (YES! Me in a dress!) so that could have been embarrassing. When I got back to the table and they told me I'd won, I blew it off assuming they were referring to the fancy participation certificate. It took a minute to sink in that it was an actual prize with a ribbon and everything. I floated on air the rest of the night. Well, maybe longer than just the night, even though it was a long night.

My studio mate Anne had one of her shrines accepted also, and we were both down for the reception. It meant a lot to me that she was there to share the win with me. It has been a terrific learning experience for me to be working with another artist to bounce ideas off of and get good (honest!) feedback from, and I've grown as a result of working with her. Not only from her specific input, but just being exposed to the way she works and watching her decision-making as she creates her own art. The whole studio thing has worked out beautifully for all 3 of us I think. I'm producing more, and getting better exposure, and refining my work. I've accomplished as much in 6 months at the studio as I would have in 3 years still working for home, both in volume and quality of work. Even hanging the joint show at the Craft Center last month was a lot of fun once I decided on WTH I was going to do for it. Apparently, I picked the right thing though, since I sold 2 pieces right off the bat.

Without further ado, here is the piece. It now has a red ribbon hanging on it too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

more non-traditional surface design stuff

Of course, after posting the last list, more things come to mind. Maybe if I made a list before beginning to type it would be easier. As it is, I'm just winging it with whatever comes to mind after I start writing.

  • Political signs - Those corrugated political signs make great work surfaces. They're sturdy, a good size to work with, free, and have a plastic surface that makes them reusable many times. You just have to remember to collect some after an election.
  • Fingernail polish remover - Does good copier transfers and bleeds Sharpies to either remove the marks altogether or make them sort of watercolor-y looking.
  • Alcohol - Plain rubbing alcohol also bleeds and blends Sharpies for a sort of tie-dye effect.
  • Aloe Vera gel - Thickens inks and thins acrylics. This usually needs to be washed out after drying.
  • Instant grits, mashed potato flakes and oatmeal - Mixed thick, spread on fabric and dried, these make good crackle textures for surface design.
  • Vinegar - Wet fabric with vinegar, wrap around rusty items, cover with black plastic and you get rust stained fabric. Also removes odors if fabrics are washed in it.
  • Bleach, bleach pens, Soft Scrub or Sunlight gel with bleach - Used to discharge fabrics. Each one works with different fabrics, but the experimenting is part of the fun! Always remember to neutralize the chlorine with Anti-Chlor or a similar product afterwards. Any fish tank chlorine remover (available at the grocery or dollar store) works to neutralize the fabric.
  • Tea bags - The most common use is probably for tea-staining but you can also use wet tea bags or strong tea when rust staining to get a grey/black with the orange. Loose tea can kill some odors in fabrics too. Place the tea in a closed container with the fabric for a few days.
  • Spaghetti, string, yarn, wire - Cooked spaghetti arranged on one of the aforementioned political signs (weigh it down so it dries perfectly flat) or string/yarn saturated with thinned Elmer's or thick wire make good rubbing plates, as does dimensional fabric paint just by making your shapes on the surface and letting them dry. They can all be mounted on a piece of cardboard or wood block to make stamps with.
  • Bar soap - Slivers of left-over soap can be used for markings on fabric that will be washed. A bar of Irish Spring (get them free at the St Paddy's parade in New Orleans!) in a closed container will kill odors on fabric. Ivory soap can be used to spot clean delicate textiles.

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, and I'll continue to add things as I think of them. Again, please feel free to add any others you think of in the comments.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

non-traditional and economical quilting supplies

Many of the supplies and tools that I use in my own work come from the grocery, hardware or office supply store. I'm a firm believer in never looking at only one way to use something. Please feel free to add any other suggestions for non-traditional supplies or uses in the comments. I'm always looking for easier/faster/better ways to do something.

  • Freezer paper - Applique patterns and stencils. Most of us already know of and use this one.
  • Glad Press-N-Seal - Quilting patterns and beading uses. Draw your quilting pattern on the wrap with a water-soluble marker, stick it to the quilt and you have a pattern to follow. You can also stick a piece of the wrap over a beading project. Just put the beads where you want them and stick the wrap over it. You can roll the wrap back a few inches at the time, attaching the beads as you go. Great for just rolling the work up with the beads already in place without losing your placement.
  • Elmer's glue - More uses than I'll be able to remember. A thin line around an applique pattern drawn onto the back of the fabric before cutting keeps the edges from fraying, similar to Fray Chek, but can be washed out. Use instead of Wonder Under to attach appliques until they are stitched down, then wash it out and you won't have the change of hand you get with WU or the bleed-through you see with thinner fabrics. Make your own silk screens by coating a piece of fine tulle with glue in every area where you don't want the paint/dye to show. Use as a resist for dying and batik. A thin wash can preserve colored pencil work on fabric. Elmer's can pretty much be substituted for any use of gel medium or Modge Podge. Add paint or dye to Elmer's and it remains after the glue is washed out.
  • Reynold's Release Non-Stick foil - NOTHING sticks to this stuff! It makes a great palette for paints, protective surface for fusibles, base layer for Elmer's glue silk screens, and "parking place" for adhesive labels.
  • Bamboo skewers - As a pusher when sewing small pieces. No metal flying if you accidentally get it under the needle. Point turner. Paint mixer. I've even used them as hanging mechanisms and surface embellishments for small art quilts.
  • Placemats - Bamboo placemats have a ton of bamboo sticks or slats in each one that can be used as hanging bars for art quilts and embellishments. Fabric placemats can be used as a base for art quilts. They come in a huge assortment of fabrics, weaves and colors. Check out kitchen towels and napkins too.
  • Laser Level - Great for squaring up a large quilt without a long ruler or hanging a quilt straight.
  • Carpenter's chalk line - Another way to square up a large quilt. Also makes straight quilting lines (I only ever use the yellow chalk, red and blue stain some fabrics.) I've seen the suggestion of replacing the chalk with Corn Starch but have never tried it.
  • Sheet rock ruler - 4 foot long ruler that is WAY cheaper than a 4 foot long quilting ruler!
  • Full-sheet adhesive labels - Useful as a carrier sheet to print fabric in your printer.
  • Graph paper - Useful for designing or enlarging patterns.
  • Spring hair clips - Used when hand-turning a binding. Cute decorated ones are 12/$1 at the dollar store or plain silver ones are 18/$5 at the quilt shop. You decide!
  • Spray baste - Of course the intended use of sandwiching quilts, but I also use it for tacking stencils down, tacking patterns to paper/mylar to cut stencils, and to place applique pieces on the background before stitching.
  • Make-up sponges - These make great stencil brushes.
  • Salvation Army store - Clothing, curtains, tablecloths, wedding dresses, etc. have lots of fabric, buttons, and trims for next to nothing in cost. Check out the purses while you're there to use for leather scraps.
  • Plain safety pins - Beyond the obvious uses, you can tie bright scraps of fabric to a handful of safety pins and use them as "look-at-me"s to mark places on your work that need to have thread tails buried, mending, repairs, or anything else that you might tend to forget.

I'm sure there is bunch of stuff that I've left off, but this is a good start on some of the things I use almost on a daily basis that are more cost effective and useful than having a studio full of specialized tools.

Monday, June 08, 2009

MQA June gathering

Another June gathering under our belts, and it seemed to go smoothly. It was nice to be a participant rather than in charge of anything this year and I enjoyed being able to visit and chat rather than have stuff to do. A few minor changes this year but nothing huge. They moved the meeting part to the auditorium, which didn't work for me at all considering my claustrophobia of sitting in a long row of seats surrounded by others,rather than having it in the big room. But they did have the vendors in the area where the stage in the big room usually is. I managed to get out of there with only a few yards of fabric, but that's not really surprising considering I'm buying much less commercial fabric nowadays. White pdf and muslin....that's another story....I was sort of surprised there was no coffee Saturday morning, but that was quickly corrected when Cheryl hunted down "the little maintenance guy" and had him make a pot.

We unveiled the "River Runs Through It" challenge at show and tell on Saturday afternoon and I was amazed at the variety of techniques and looks for the pieces. This photo by Myra Hester shows 7 of the 8 pieces (Linda McInnis has piece #1 but she didn't make it to the gathering....we'll see it at the quilt show in Sept though) all lined up in order. I am always happy and proud to see the results of the challenges.

Each participant was given a piece of muslin with 2 lines across the bottom that had to be water between the lines. The lines connected up from one piece to the next so there is a river running across the entire assembly of pieces. We used facings, rather than bindings, so there would be no breaks between the pieces. I'm very pleased with the final result.

Friday, June 05, 2009

another trunk show post

Way back on Feb 9th I posted a photo taken at the February MQA gathering and I neglected to give proper attribution to Myra Hester for taking the photo and then emailing it to me! I have no excuse for not doing that. She takes beautiful pictures and I was thrilled she got that one and then took the time to email it to me. Her great eye for framing shots is second only to her great eye for color in her quilts!

Monday, June 01, 2009

full week coming up

We had a great art group yesterday even though the gel plates were too soft. I need to figure out an alternate way to pour them at the studio when it's not feasible to do it at home. Even so, I think most everyone got the idea of how it's done, and I offered to pour some more for the meeting next month in case anyone wants to pursue it a bit further. Someone was taking pictures yesterday but I'm not sure who it was. I saw the flash but I was looking down while demonstrating and then forgot to ask, so no pics of our playtime.

I'm liking this idea of working on journals during the meetings also. Not only will we have a physical journal at the end, we're also "journaling" our techniques on the covers.

The Craft Center is offering a kid's art camp this month also, so I'll be working with a group of kids for a couple of hours each day. First up is Sharpie tie dyed quilt squares today. I drew off some simple shapes (we're working with 5-9 year olds) onto white fabric squares with paint pen. They color the squares however they want with the Sharpies, I'll hit them with alcohol to bleed the ink, then let them go back in tomorrow with crayons and colored pencils to finish them off. Stitch them all together with some bright sashing and a quick-and-dirty in the ditch quilting and we'll have something to show the parents on Friday. Or maybe they'll be individual quiltlets....we'll see. I'm also in charge of decorating the little invitation bags. Foam stick-ons and maybe stamping their names. That comes later in the week.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on my own stuff that is under deadline. The challenge piece needs to be finished by Friday and ready for the reveal at MQA. Mostly finished with it, and it's small, but I'll feel better when it hits the "all done" pile. Another class lesson from Graffiti Chic comes out today too. I still have 3 of those to finish for the show and 2 to bind.

Worked as a volunteer at the Renaissance Arts Festival in Ridgeland this weekend and had a lot of fun. I hate we weren't aware of the call to artists in time to apply, but there's always next year. Not a single textile exhibitor! 3 fiber artists but they were all paper I think. People from all over the country and there was some beautiful art. Some crap also, but that's true of any large arts fair I think.

The best part of that morning (other than meeting some of the artists) was getting word that I've been asked to produce a piece for the back of a piano that's been donated to the Craft Center! Every time they roll the piano out to use it, my piece will be seen! I know that doesn't sound like a big huge honking deal to anyone but me, but I'm excited about it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

more class stuff

Elvis is in the house! This is the background (last one in the previous post) after I've "done stuff" to it. Painted (brush, roller and spray) stenciled, stamped, and paint penned. The entire lyrics for "In the Ghetto" were written on the first layer, then the piece was stenciled and stamped and some other stuff, then I printed off the small Elvii on an old sewing pattern and added those. Echo quilting around the crowns and the word "Elvis" in the middle. I'll add more gold glitter fabric paint tomorrow after I get it trimmed and bound. Simple diagonal grid quilting for the rest of it.

This is the second to last background shown in the previous post that I have stenciled, stamped, yadda, yadda, yadda, and added a gel transfer of a photo of Pinetop Perkins.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Alisa Burke's fabric graffiti class

WOW! What a blast! Lots and lots of the same techniques I already use but she puts them in a coherent order and uses them all together. What a blast.

Here are 5 backgrounds I worked on yesterday. All are in varying stages of completion with each having at least 3 layers already. More layers to come on all of them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A little bit of work

But not much. I finished up this piece yesterday and then spent the rest of the day with Ann and Molly bouncing around an idea for an "installation" piece at the guild. Have I mentioned how much I love the studio and people I work with out there? We got the green light to do a couch-shaped bench and 2 cubes. After MUCH discussion and idea bouncing, it looks like we'll be doing slumped glass mosaic pieces. We got so far as to draw up a sketch for the shape/size and some good ideas for the design. Of course, that's all liable (likely?) to change a hundred times between now and completion too. I'm sort of excited about it though!

Anyway, the piece I finished yesterday is commercial batiks, beads and doo-dads, pieced, appliqued and hung on bamboo. Each piece is finished independently and then attached. Another shaped piece, but using a felt batting rather than Peltex so I could pillowcase finish the edges instead of a satin stitch.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day and my kids!

What can I say? These are my kids.

antique/vintage quilt

A woman brought this quilt into the guild looking for information on it. I had no idea what to tell her so I'll just throw it out here. Almost every single one of the polka dots on the red fabric are missing so I'm assuming it used some sort of mordant that degraded, and the binding was maybe 1/8" wide and a self-binding, where the backing fabric (just one layer of it too) was just brought to the front and stitched. The only inkling of info the owner had was that it might have been a wedding gift in 1913, and it was found in North Carolina. Any information at all concerning block pattern, possible age, value, anything like that would be much appreciated.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Scatter shots

A whole bunch of not-so-much to talk about. An update on the Shamarr quilt, some new work, and some random bits about nothing in particular.

The Shamarr quilt "Homage to Shamarr" from the Threadheads raffle was won by Jenn Rooney, who promptly turned around and handed it to Shamarr to give to his mother on Mother's Day. If there is a higher honor for an artist I'm not sure what it might be. Melissa Lewis (who wrote the poem I used on it) and her mother both contacted me to say how pleased they were that I used the poem and they both gave their approval for how I used it. The poem is so beautiful it almost brings me to tears every time I read it so I was glad they were happy with my treatment of it in my own work.

Recent work has been sort of scattered and I can't seem to decide on a "style" to work on. I seem to have 2 very disparate styles that are warring with each other right now. Makes me feel sort of schizo and unfocused, but I can't seem to get past it. I've been through this before and it seems to pass eventually, but it's a bear to work through while it's happening. Yuck. The work I seem to be actually turning out is bright, almost whimsical stuff, but the work in my head that I want to produce is more natural fibers and darker colors and batiks. Heading in a new direction by working smaller seems to be getting some of the pieces out of my system without struggling with it so much. I've reached a point where I HAVE to do some of the quilting on the finished tops and stop just turning out tops. Here is a small piece I did the other day that's completely finished and ready to hang. The quilt part is cut out from behind the agate slice (which is very transparent) and the whole thing is mounted on the glass in the frame. The frame itself is covered with rust-stained cotton sateen. Commercial batik, silk yarn, agate, beading and small glass leaves. Machine quilted and hand beaded.

The fleur de lis was just for fun and it's next up for quilting after I attach the treble clef to it. Commercial prints, gold cotton lame' and my almost-trademark Peltex based individually finished treble clef. I have one more almost-finished piece ready for trimming and binding, that was a challenge of sorts from my friend Dorinda. She did a fused wall quilt using an oak leaf pattern and passed along the fused scraps to me to "put together" and I further challenged myself to only use fabrics that were within reach of my ironing board. I have it hanging on the design wall at the studio and it gets tons of positive comments so I should probably get it finished and down to the gallery, huh?

Codecutter and I took off to Belzoni, MS yesterday for the Pinetop Perkins blues fest and had a blast. I always look forward to the summer blues fest circuit since the majority of them are quick up-and-back day trips for us. Our kids think we're "cute" and "weird" (depending on which kid it is) for festing most every weekend. I think they're just jealous. Listening to an Alphonso Sanders CD we bought yesterday and that alone was enough to make the trip worth it! I also had a "small world" moment with him. During the performance (he was playing with a band, not by himself) Big Steve introduced the players and when I heard his name I turned to Codecutter and said "I get emails with his name on them!" The emails are from another man but are frequently forwarded with other names visible so I recognized his. After the set I went and introduced myself and asked if he was the same person. He is, and told me that the photo on the CD was taken by our mutual friend and even remembered seeing my work a year or so ago at Hoover's Kitchen in Clarksdale! I'm beginning to believe that working in a non-traditional media in the art world is paying off. People tend to remember the work a little more since it's usually the only example of fiber. I also connected with the CEO of MS Delta Blues, Inc who also remembered seeing my work. See what I mean about being memorable? Maybe one day I'll have the confidence to say they remember it because of the art, but for now I'm satisfied if they remember it for the media.

The deciding factor for going to the Pinetop fest instead of the Robert Johnson fest yesterday was the fact that the Pinetop-inspired quilt accepted for the corporate art program that hung at the casino in Vicksburg is one of only two pieces over there that had sold. Everything else was evenly divided and that seemed as good a reason as any to make the decision to head north instead of south. I'm glad we did!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Just for Stax!

Here's your post Tom!

This is my studio space, although I've added (and added and added) stuff to it the last couple of months, and rearranged it a bit to have more table space. Also, it's not nearly this neat now that I'm actually working in it. I've always worked in the middle of a cyclone of fabrics and supplies and that seems to be where a lot of my ideas come from. Just seeing an accidental jumble of color seems to trigger ideas a lot of times. I've been working on a lot of rust stained quilts for the gallery (which I thought I had pictures of but can't find) and some brighter stuff that might go in the show. I still don't have a clear idea of what I want to do for that, but it will come. I've also done 3 bottle tree/pink flamingo/ Christmas lights things that are very bright and happy and getting good comments from people visiting the studio while I'm working on them. We'll see if I ever get around to finishing them. For right now, they're hanging on the design board as "decoration" for the studio. We also hung a bunch of finished pieces on the walls the other day. I should probably get more pictures of the current studio, huh?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Long time no see!

And lots to catch up on too. I'm going into my second month in studio space at the MS Craft Center and it's absolutely wonderful. I have the best view from my 'office' window anyone could ever ask for. My fear of hitting a mental block hasn't materialized so far, and it's a wonderful experience to be around other artists to bounce ideas off of.
A few weeks ago I got an email asking me to be one of 15 local artists who have been invited to decorate a heart for the American Cancer Society's silent auction during the Heart and Soul Gala. I gladly accepted and immediately began trying to think of something to do with it. I knew I wanted it mounted on a quilt but I wasn't sure about the size or weight of it until after I actually had it in my hands. They are specially designed unfinished porcelain hearts and only 15 were poured. To be honest, I made 3 iterations of it before going back to my original design. I had initially resisted that one because it meant I had to paint the heart black and I wasn't sure how well that would go over, but I am happy with the result, especially after learning that only 2 of us had done anything with the heart besides just painting them. Ann (my studio mate) caged hers in some of her wire work and mine is mounted on an art quilt. As far as I know, ours are the only ones that hang. I have been assured they will figure out some way to hang them for the auction though, and not just have them lying on the table. The picture I took is of it lying on the table but that's because I forgot to get a picture of it before I delivered it. I frequently forget to take pictures of my work, and even had to run down to the gallery the other day to get photos of the stuff I have hanging there.

Our 3-woman show is still on for June and July at the Craft Center although I've done less than nothing as far as producing work for it. I'm still waiting on inspiration to strike, and if that doesn't happen I have no idea what I'll do, but one thing I'm sure of is that there will be SOMETHING hanging on the walls! I keep thinking if I can just get past this week I'll have the time (and room in my brain) to really think it through and get stuff made. I'm still leaning towards the rust stuff but that's about as far as I've gotten with the thought process. Good thing I work so fast!
The heart itself is about 7" wide. I forgot to measure the finished art quilt though. Maybe 24' wide?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mardi Bra

As requested, and appropriate for just returning from New Orleans....Mardi Bra!
I can't find a picture of "C Food" with the fish net and seafood, but this is "See Cup", which I had forgotten about.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shamarr Allen

Finished! 35x29, commercial batiks, organza and rust-stained muslin. Photo printing (all photos and text used by permission) stenciled, stamped, pieced, appliqued, echo quilted and faced. Assorted ribbon and embellishments.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Trunk Show - literally!

We had our Spring gathering for the MQA this past weekend (it went beautifully!) and after it was all over JJ Foley asked to see some of my work since I had neglected to bring anything for show and tell. JJ was our speaker Saturday morning and those of you who are unfamiliar with her work are really missing out on some beautiful stuff! She brought "9 Pages" with her and it's even better up close than it is in photos. Isn't that always the case though? At any rate, after the gathering was over we walked out to my car so she could see some of my own work. We literally had a "trunk show" on the trunk of my car! Or maybe that would be a "trunk turning" perhaps?

Marilyn Dedeaux did a great presentation on her self-portrait quilts she's been doing since taking a Yvonne Porcella class and it was all I could do not to make her an offer on the blue and orange one! Shelley Taylor did a presentation on her memory/signature quilts and I noticed several people who have family weddings coming up gathered around her asking questions after her talk. She may turn into our resident signature quilt expert!

All in all, a great weekend. Good to see the people from around the state that I only see at the gatherings, lots of catching up and shopping and chatting. Very relaxed and no big crises cropped up so I call it a success!

And in other news, as of the first load this morning, I'll be moving into shared studio space at the craft center to be up and working in the studio by Feb 21. I'm excited and nervous. Excited at the opportunity offered, but nervous that I'll hit a complete mental block about what to do once I get there. I love talking about my work and explaining how I do what I do, and I have no problem with people watching me work, I'm just worried about every design idea I've ever had flying out of my head with no new ones to take their place. I'm also excited at the idea of a real studio with things where they're supposed to be and enforced work time with no phones ringing or people needing something. I can just sit down and concentrate on what I'm doing without the distractions. I'm really looking forward to that aspect of it. Maybe I'll get my crap quota out of the way faster!

That's JJ Foley on the left and her daughter's mother-in-law in the middle. My mind is drawing a total blank on her name and the name of the other woman.

This photo was snapped by Myra Hester, and I should be flogged for neglecting to attribute it to her when I published it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quilt Tsushin magazine

The issue of Quilt Tsushin that we're featured in has finally arrived! Well, not arrived at MY house, but everyone else seems to have received their copy. I took pictures of "my" pages yesterday when I got to see Dorinda's copy. My fingers are crossed that mine will arrive shortly. We can't wait to find out what the article actually says either, but for now it's plenty exciting to just see photos of our work in an international magazine. I can't believe it's been so long since they were here doing the interview and photos either. Time flies and all that. It's a huge honor to be included in the same issue as Gwen Magee and I'm still sort of in a fog about that. Maybe after I have my own copy in my hot little hands it will seem more real to me. The colors are way off on a couple of the quilts, but I don't even care!!!
When I get my copy, I'll be able to scan the pages instead of photograph them so the pictures won't have the flash reflection.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year

Yesterday was our 25th wedding anniversary. Over half my life! We had a great, relaxing day, my horrible cold and general yuckiness notwithstanding, then out to eat and home in time to watch LSU in a complete blow-out over GA Tech. Nice way to end the evening. I woke up cold about 12:30 this morning, grabbed a quilt and rolled over to go back to sleep, then I realized it was completely silent and dark. No streetlights, no red numbers from the alarm clock, no music, no heat, no power. Also, no corded phone anywhere close to call Entergy with and I wasn't getting out of bed to go get it. My solution of course was to grab another quilt and move closer to my hub and cat pile to get warm and hope the power came back on soon. We finally gave up about 6:30 and decided to go out for breakfast after Entergy told us power would be back on by 7:30. Not. It finally came back on about 9:00 and the house isn't warm yet. I'm still in my coat and my toes and fingers are like icicles. We have a restaurant style Bunn coffee maker that has a reservoir of water that stays hot all the time, and of course the water in the reservoir had cooled overnight so we had a pot of cold coffee when the power did come back on. At least the microwave came back on too.

The way I see it is we're getting the bad luck out of the way first thing and the rest of the year is going to be great!!! Corned beef and cabbage with black-eyed peas and sausage on the menu for later to guarantee it!