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?