Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow Dyeing Underway

Except for a moment of panic, my snow dyeing experiment is underway! After waiting for ages for enough snow to do this, when I went to start I found that I had no urea.  I did think of peeing into the mixture, which my friend Emily suggested.  You do wear gloves after all, but then after some advice from a friend (thanks Kathy) I decided I probably didn't need it for this application and moved ahead with my plans urine free.

I had no urea because someone I know was trying to be helpful one day and used a gallon of mixed urea to water my tomoato plants and basil.....ugh!  I couldn't imagine why my plants had suddenly shrivelled up and turned brown!  Then when I went to look fo my urea, I deduced enough to inquire further to see what happened....mmmm hmmmm!  Now, mind you, I had drawn a skull and crossbone on it but we didn't know each other very well at that time.  His sight is not what it should be.  I better go and mark my soda ash water with neon markers!  I'll be ordering some more asap, but Pro Chem is on vacation right now.

We'll find out tomorrow how it looks, but this is what it looks like right now in my garage fabric all scrunched up with snow piled over it and dye squirted all over in 3 colors on the left, deep yellow, Chinese red and cerulean blue.  On the right are 2 colors, yellow and blue. 


I used a couple of old dish pans that are dedicated to dyeing and a couple of dish racks that are now also dedicated to this art form to allow the dye to penetrate the fabric and drip through without pooling on the bottom of the pan with my fabric in it.  It should sit for at least 3 hours...I'll watch it to determine when to take it out. 

I consulted primarily with 3 good tutes on these sites:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"The Bird"

Tis' the season of giving so I'll share the second quilt I made for a Christmas gift this year - this one's for Andy, one of my oldest friends, ex-husband and still a friend. I gave the Sissix Big Shot tumbler die cut a shot to cut out the shapes for this baby.

I've named it "The Bird" because he's a jazz afficiano, a guitar and sax player...guess who his favorite musician is. 
Details:  can you see the "bird?"
The back of the quilt - a fab ikat fabric.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Walk, Don't Run

For those of you who do artwork, you know there's a lot of tedious work to be done besides the exciting stuff.  This may be especially so for is certainly so for me.  And frustrating times in the process as well. 

First off, after almost finishing the piecing,  I took my machine down to the store where I purchased it to have them look at it because I was having a problem.  The presser foot was not holding onto the fabric as I was stitching it.  I'm trying to complete this piece for Christmas, so I really didn't want to surrender my machine if I didn't need to.   Since I was midway on this project, the person who was working there suggested that I use a walking foot to proceed until I could bring it back in for repair. Indeed that seemed to work, although I was really and truly struggling with this monster in my little machine to the point where I've  stopped a number of times to apply Capzasin cream to my hands that hurt so much I had to give them a rest.

I've been at it all week - laying in the quilting on a good sized quilt on my little machine can be a major feat!  About three quarters of the way through it my walking foot broke.  Just broke off while I was sewing!  Grrrr!  I also noticed that the first line (the entire row of stitching from top to bottom, over which I had already stitched umteen times in the other direction already, was a very bad stitch that had to be ripped out. You can't see the bottom of your work while you're stitching on the top.  And once the whole quilt is adequately stuffed in there, you don't pull it out to look at the underside unless you have some inkling that something is wrong.  I had no idea that it was a mess on the underside.  I did see that the stitch was too small so I lengthened the stitch for the next rows and most of them were just fine - whew! So, I'm now slowly and tediously ripping out the bad row of stitching one by one!

And what next, you say?  The tip broke off of my good seam ripper as I was working!  See how long the tip on the blue one is?  See how small the tip is now on the red one?  Ah huh!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Let Them Be Wild

"Let Them Be Wild" was named after a verse in the poem Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins. 
This quilt was born as a political statement,  a desire to inspire others to contemplate and honor
 the wet and the wild, to preserve our oceans and the life within them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet Tree

Finally, I finished this quilt!   Started it months ago and it sat on the back burner while I completed all the ones that went to Lowell Quilt Festival.  This will be a Christmas gift for one of Bill's granddaughters. She's ten years old now. 

I improvised my Free Motion Stitching as I went along. This is the quilt I broke a few needles on before I took my machine in for a tune up. I had some dings in the needle plate that I never even saw but they certainly did make a difference. It didn't help that one of those broken needles was stuck inside my machine somewhere! Of course, all of this threw the timing off as well. FMS on a domestic machine is about all the challenge I need for this century!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Work Table

Hello there!  I haven't dropped off the face of the earth...just messing around with a variety of things.  Here's the evidence for those of you who think I'm a neat freak:

I've been working on a new art quilt - so much of my recent work has been finishing up projects that began some time ago:  Here's the new WIP (work in progress) and more evidence that life exists inside my little bubble:

While I was making some fishies to embellish my quilt with, I stumbled upon a new fiber art earring design.  Here's a peek as the design evolves:

These are made from remnants of antique silk kimonos - precious little pieces of silk that seem so perfect for these.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another WIP

Here's another WIP art quilt, about 5 " X 7".  I've appliqued the inkjet printed on fabric images onto some fabulous old silk remnants, the botton piece is Japanese kimono remnant.  The silk doesn't scan well, so I took pictures:

Not sure where this one's going to go.  I'm thinking maybe some stencilling...taking suggestions!

And here's a first proof of my new print.  Also unsure where it's going and am way open to suggestions.  I'm thinking that I could be brave enough for a reduction print but I dunno....also it may be too late for that.  What do you think?

Thanks for looking.  And feel free to leave your comments here.  I made it easier for you to do. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Own Coffee Obsession

It seems to be a phenom for me to get back into the flow, after some hiatus, with a rush of different pursuits.  But this time, I've at least stayed, more or less, with the same subject in a few different mediums, instigated by Quilting Arts most recent Reader Challenge, "Coffee or Tea?"in the October/November Issue.

So first I set up a still life and took a photo of it:

Then I did a watercolor:

Next, I made an art quilt using this image:
And now, I'm working on carving a linoleum block:

And I've started some small projects that I'll elaborate on in the next post.  And I'll leave you with an appropriate quote:
"The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections (or mistakes, if you’re feeling particularly depressed about them today) are your guides -- valuable, reliable, objective, non-judgemental guides -- to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.”  David Bayles and Ted Orland


Friday, September 28, 2012

New Printing Area

Ok, now I'm finished!  I came upon some good sized crates that I used to move and reorganized my printing area and store quite a bit of stuff in 8 new cubbies!
It's nice and high so I can easily use a baren to transfer my inked plate onto paper or my little "Big Shot" that you see all the way to the right with pretty pink handles.  This is a recent addition to my tool chest and have been experimenting quite a bit with...more to come about that in an upcoming post.  Or I can use my very old Speedball Press, all the way to the left, that I hope to replace with a newer version sometime soon.

And this is behind me in the same little area where I now have a nice clean spot to store flat (just under the table) and cut paper!  I was really surprised at how much paper I actually have on hand - I just had it in so many different places that I forgot I had some of it!
It won't make it in any of Interweave's Studio magazines but it works for me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Heaven To Me!

Been cleaning never ends, does it?  But this time I've really done it!  I cannot tell you how happy this makes me!  And no, I'm not really quite finished, BUT...I unearthed some supplies that have been missing for a couple of years now and have been searching for because I need them about now. I knew I had a bunch of dye and discharge paste and GAC somewhere but I was beginning to believe I had lost a box in the move here, so I'm thrilled to find them before I broke down and bought them again! So, I thought I'd share!

Starting with the art studio which is located above a 2 car garage in an unfinished space, perhaps a bit "inelegant," but it serves it's purpose quite well! As you can see, there is now a place for everything and it's heaven to me!

This table is so old I bought it when I still lived in SF at Flax when I was a University of Berkeley student in the Interior Design/Interior Architecture Program in SF.  Although I don't use it for a drafting table anymore, I still love it and it's the most used table in the room:
Same area from the side showing the great light (a precious commodity up here) that pores in from beside my drawing table:
Scooting over now to the left is my laptop, my coil binder, my Dremel drill in a drill press I rigged up years ago when I was routinely drilling holes in polymer clay beads and I now use for many tasks:
And walking back again to this area, on the left is storage for all of my carvings which I keep organized in boxes, mostly pizza boxes:
When we cleaned out my brother's apartment I got back a desk that I painted years ago and set my lightbox on it and it's now a dedicated calligraphy area - maybe I'll actually do more of it now:
Just to the right of that area is more storage of art supplies and books:
And more....mostly paper storage:
I dug out all of my old photos and scrapbooking supplies, organized the pics into categories and set up a separate desk (another great Freecycle find!) and storage areas for all of them, so that I can scrapbook or scan in and collage with them at any time I want to! 
From here, we're trekking on down the stairs to the opposite end of the house.  Did some desk and table shuffling in the sewing room too. Hmmm - it looks like night and day by the light of these pics but they were mostly all taken in the day.  Unfortunately it highlights the lack of direct sunlight in the art rooms. 

Yes, it's quite a bit fuller than the last pic you may have seen of it!
The little sewing table that I have simply doesn't work well with my particular sewing machine, an Elna 2600, because of the shape of it. It just doesn't fit well and it makes free-motion stitching very difficult.  It's this one in the foreground to the right and I think it'll work better with this old Singer but I haven't quite found the trick to positioning it to the right level.  I wonder if I'm missing a part?  I can move it up and down easily enough, but can't fix it to the place I want it.  Anyone know?

So, I went back to the foam insulation "table top" that I rigged a couple of years ago.  I cut out the exact shape of my sewing machine into the foam and sandwiched together 2 layers of foam to make the exact 3 inches thick that I needed to fit my machine very tightly into it. Covered that with some sale priced vinyl from Joann's and, viola! - it looks like a new table!  And I can't wait to do some free-motion stitching on it!
Here's a few more views of the sewing room...lots of fabric storage:
 ...probably the view I see most of at the cutting board:
 And last, but not least, my design wall - ready for the next project:
*Stay tuned - you never know what you're going to see next time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Here's a peek at what happened in my studio in the past few days:

My response to Quilting Arts "Staycation" Challenge - a 4 x 6" postcard.  It's going in the mail in the morning!

When I was at the New England Quilt Museum a few weeks ago, Sylvia pointed out an interesting publication among the "yard sale" items.  It was fascinating so I picked it up for $5, Fabric Post Cards by Judi Warren put out by American Quilter's Society.

With this subject in mind, I then read about the QA Postcard Challenge and away I went!  Really a challenge to do something like this so small!  But it was fun!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Maybe I'm a M 'Kmaq...

This print is in a page of another book. The theme was "Native American and Canadian Cultures." As a kid, I remember my grandmother, who was originally from Nova Scotia, telling me that we were of Native Canadian heritage.  I 'm pretty sure she said her grandmother lived on a reservation and she married a Scot.  We have no documentation of this.  The records seem to end with my grandmother's mother.  Nevertheless, I grew up believing and identifying with Native Americans and Canadians, along with the French Canadian ancestors that we do know about.

So, I chose to explore the Mi'Kmac culture for this project because it's most likely that we emanate from this tribe, whose tribal lands stretched from Nova Scotia and PEI to New Brunswick and southward into northern Maine.  It' a carving of an authentic Mi' Kmaq women's shirt.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bridging The Mixed Media

For the past year I've been hosting an artist book exchange.  Actually, it's a round robin and there have been 2 of them. One is finished - a paper arts exchange, called Book Arts Round Robin (BARR); the  current one is a fiber art book, called Book Arts Round Robin 2 (BARR 2).

This is the one I thought I'd begin to share a little with you because it bridges the mediums of carving and printmaking with fiber art.

This is the cover page for my own book.  Each person will make 2 pages for my book, the theme is "Pattern and Design." It is being sent off to 9 other artists and when each of them is finished adding to it, it will return to me and I will then bind all of the pages into a book.  Of course, all 9 of us are doing this and so we will each end up with one book, our own, with 18 pages of fiber art executed according to the parameters that we set out for our own theme and size, to bind together for their own unique artist book!

 In this first page, you can see that the edges of the pages are loose so that I can bind them into a book when they are all gathered together at the end of the round robin.

First, I took some muslin and painted on the blue, brown and black loose stripes with fabric paints, heat set that and cut it into the sizes and shapes I needed.  I don't plan these steps in advance.  I do it as I go along.  Of course, I sometimes screw it up royally and rip out scads of stuff, but that's what happens in my little domain!

Then I took another piece of painted muslin and transferred a clip art tree design onto it using Leslie Riley's TAP (Transfer Artist Paper).  I made a pocket out of that and sewed it on to the bottom half of the page.

For the tree branches I sewed up some fabric scraps as you would do to make a binding and I wrapped that around and around and quickly stitched it as I held onto one end by my teeth. I shoved the other end and dropped it  under the presser foot of my machine  freeing up my other hand to hand to guide it through the stitching process.  Then I just sewed it by hand onto the upper half of the page and attached a print of my crow carving on muslin and covered that with a bit of organza, so it's a little shimmery and exciting ( of course some of these things just don't read as well on the computer as they do close up and in person. For the finishing touch I added hand embroidery and beads.

To continue on with the subject of trees, I dived into my first effort at gelatin printing on fabric.  I made leaf shapes out of tag board and rolled some fabric ink over them - I had a blast doing this!  I love gel printing! Again, I added more twisted up fabric for seam binding, hand embroidery and beads

Then I made a card stock tag to go into the pocket with an artist statement. It was so much fun to get started and mail it off to wait for the first arrival of someone else's pages!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This is the last batch of pics I'll be posting from the LQF and are from either The Whistler Museum of the Brush Gallery and are among my own faves of the show.

I didn't get the title of this but it is a
Wen Redman, whose work I love
...anyone know the title?
Don't know who did this or the or below
but I think they're wonderful!

Carrie Hedstrom did this,
"The Woman With The Tattooed Hands."
This is Peggy Brown's "Duet III."

Susan McCraw, "Fascinatin' Rythm."
Mary Durda of Needham, MA did this bold geometric
called "Woman In A Man's World."
Nancy Crasco's "Lost In A Fog" is a fine example of a transfer printed quilt.
It's brilliant in execution, especially in its' minimalist construction.
This "Nocturne Dupont Plant" and the one below, "Nocturne Bewers Mills Lock"
are by the talented Pamela Allen of Ontario, Canada.

This was the smallest quilt but it left a large impression on me:
"Backyard Owl" by Cheri Wilkins of  Kittery Point, ME.
Again, I don't know who did these, top and bottom, but I remember that they're by different artists and thought they were both striking!

There were many more, of course, than you have seen here.  Some I simply got terrible pics so I can only blame myself, but some of the most well known quilter's don't allow you to photograph their work and there were some extraordinary pieces among these!  What can I say - take it in yourself next year!

Now, I'm going out to enjoy some of this very fine weather!