Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Finish of 2013

Last finish of the year - winding down 2013 attempting to finish so many things!
  I've been at this one for over a month and it's finally finished and bound with a facing on the back.  Full size is 41.5" X 32.5", but these are smaller detail shots.
Hand dyed shibori on cotton. Machine quilted and hand embroidered with running stitches.

Hand dyed and batik.

Sections hand painted with Jacquard fabric paint, embellished with hand carved designs.
Goodbye to a year that had its fill of grief and sorrow, but also had many good times and a lot of persistent labor on and progress in my art!
I started off the year with a carving that foretold the focus of the rest of the year.
This year I entered my first submissions to a SAQA quilt show and was accepted by the curator !
We've wound down a group of book artists who finished our second collaborative book, this year was a fiber art book.  You can see my finished book here, although I still can't publish all of the pages just yet.
I've submitted a small art quilt that will travel with the SAQA Trunk Show during 2014.
I finished a quilt for my grandson Jack that I still haven't taken a finished picture of!  And for Josh.
I started a new small, private group of local art quilters which has turned out to be a fabulous collection of talented women, all doing their own unique fiber art. Collectively we have some high hopes for our future!
I HAVE BEEN BUSY!  And that's just some of the highlights and I've been sitting around on this computer still in my bathrobe for waaayyy too long. 
I better start preparing my New Year's Eve Dinner.  On the menu: Ceasar Salad,  Onion Soup, Beef Empanadas, and Fruit Salad with Gingerbread Cookies for dessert! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"The Lake"

I keep thinking I need to find some new places to photograph but I  find myself drawn back to "The Lake" over and over again.   It never loses its appeal.  It's always ready to smile for the camera - not shy at all.  It just stands there looking back at me.  Why do I think I need to go somewhere else when this place always has the ability to capture your imagination, to make you stand there gaping at its natural beauty and aura despite all of its commonplaceness. I'm on my way to somewhere and suddenly the place calls to me, "Stop!" and I park and pull out my camera. Gotchya!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Rippling Quilt

I've been working on an abstract piece that has a lot of quilting going on in  straight lines across the width of the quilt, both handwork and machine stitching.  There's also a variety of fabrics into the mix on this one, some are pretty thick pieces of hand painted fabric, some burlap and white cotton are commercial fabrics, the rest are hand dyed fabrics I made months ago.

When I finished I noticed that there was enough rippling happening to disturb me because it would keep it from hanging flat.  So, I went onto the SAQA list group and asked for some advice.  It turned out there's one way to avoid it that I learned - stitch only in one direction!  Allright!  For the next time.  But there were a few good options to straighten it out after the fact as well.  I tried the path of least resistance first - the simplest method was to "block" it.  And it worked  - hooray!  Easy, too.  Just took a lot of time to put that many pins into it.  If I hadn't just picked up a new box of pins, I would have had to run out to get them - lucky me and my impulse to buy these little accoutrements to the quilting habit.

Here it is all pinned up and drying:

I still have to bind or face it and I may have to do it again afterwards but that's not a problem - it will lay flat when it's finished.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Serendipity Study One

Believe it or not, it took me the entire day yesterday to make this little 10" X 7" art quilt.  I started with a gelatin print I made a few months ago. First, I made the stencil and it went from there.

Gelatin Print
 I traced my stencil onto parchment paper, reversed it, went over the image again in pencil, adhered it to fabric that was adhered to Misty Fuse, cut it out after it cooled down. Same technique for each of the shapes.  Ironed each piece onto white cotton then free motion quilted it between batting and backing. I then "faced" it to finish:  facing tutorial.

Art Quilt - fused raw edge.
Close Up of art quilt.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pineapple Drawing

After  a nap yesterday, I finished my pineapple drawing.  Now, I'm trying to figure out how to use Photoshop to select just the image and place the top on top of the bottom - Grrrrr.... I figured out how to select the pixels with the quick lasso wand but not how to save it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

At the Drawing Board

So many things on my To Do List! I've been working on 3 different quilts and starting another in my head now.  All I've done so far on it is to begin a drawing.  My attention span for drawing seems so limited these days.  I used to spend hours on a drawing with no problem, but I have to do it in stages now.  Here's a pic of what I accomplished today so far...out of practice!  But good enough to turn into a template for a quilt element.

I guess that's why zentangling has been my favored form of drawing in the past few months. I often do my zentangles in bed and find myself sitting up in bed sound asleep, pen in hand, with ink on my sheets!


This might explain my nightmare!
Other times I sketch possible free motion quilting designs:
Then again, they may become more zentangles:


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Multi-block Acorn and Oak Leaf Print

This is a multi-block print I made a short while ago.  All of the stages are here except the acorn which was the last to be added.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Seeking order out of the chaos.

I've been feeling my way through my life one foot in front of the other, sometimes dragging myself into the next moment.  I thank the gods and goddesses for my art that focuses me on making some semblance of order out of the chaos.  Here's a detail of a piece I've been working on -
 It needs a hawk or two.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quilt As You Go - The Process

I started this quilt out with blocks squared to 12 ".

Laid out on the table is a row being quilted, complete with top, batting and back.  More rows hang on the design wall behind it. When the quilting is completed on all rows, you can begin to assemble the rows into a whole quilt.

Below, 2 rows have been joined together and flipped to the backside:
Next, I trimmed back the layers on the left side.

Next I pulled out the batting and flattened it out.
 Then I used my long cutting edge to feel for the underlying edge and mark it by turning it on it's edge to mark out a line that's slightly perceptible. 
 Below, if you look closely you can see the line left behind to use as a cutting line.
Cut along that entire row. 
Sigh...this is not a perfect world we live in.  We need to be flexible to overcome some of the difficulties we encounter and in quilting, I think it’s key to success.  I’m sharing with you some pictures of what can go wrong in the Quilt As You Go process and one example of how I adjusted for my flaws.

It all seemed so right until I got to the end of the row and realized I had trimmed it too short on the left side!  Well what could I do?  I couldn’t add onto the piece I’d cut  - it would not look very good at all.  So I added another length on that side.

After that seam is sewn, I flipped it over and folded it together with the seam of the right side and sewed along the entire edge for another seam on that side.

You can put as many lines in as you want.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Hawk - God Of The Sky

A hawk that landed in a tree right outside our window and waited long enough for me to get  find my camera and capture this extraordinary event.
Saturday morning I lost my youngest and last surviving brother to suicide. Like so many of us, my relationship with both my brothers was difficult in so many ways, yet, we had deep familial bonds that always survived the painful struggles.

My sister, SIL and I were standing under trees across the street when the ME van carried him off'  We were so focused on the van that we did not see what was taking place above us all.  But after I was settled in at home, many hours later, my partner Bill, who was standing alone at the time, told me what he saw.  Flying above the "shed" that was my brother's man cave where he was found, was a very large red hawk circling around and around.  It took my breath away to hear this.  A bird has always made itself present when other relatives have passed on.  But never a hawk.  I was immediately struck with the thought that it was either my father come to lead his soul onward, or it was Larry's spirit finally freed from this earth and flying around in the sheer wonder of it.
I shared this with my sister-in-law, who then told me that when my brother, a mason, was building a wall beside his house, a monster of a hawk flew in and landed on the wall beside him. 

The hawk is a spiritual messenger, and upon a Google search, I just learned that according to Spirit Animals & Animal Totems ,  "In Ancient Egypt, the belief was that a hawk-headed spirit called “ba” would fly off a mummy to come back among the living as a hawk or swallow. The hawk symbolized a part of the soul that would be freed up after death and come back to the world of the living in the shape of a bird. It was also the animal of choice for the god Horus, god of the sky, who was represented with a hieroglyph depicting a falcon or hawk."

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was parking my car in the local supermarket when I nearly jumped out of my skin.  Something large and red caught my peripheral vision and I turned to see this huge hawk barrel into the wooded area beside the parking lot and disappear into a tree.  I was astounded to see this in such a busy place...who would think of a hawk hanging around the parking lot of the busiest place in town!  No one else seemed to notice it, though.  I appeared to be the only one standing outside my car with a jaw dropped to my knees dumbstruck.
This bird symbolizes a divine connection and acute observational and intuitive powers.  I'm going to be thinking about my newfound relationship with the hawk.  Perhaps the hawk is my new spirit totem who is trying to teach me something. 
 I'd very much like to think of my father and my brothers circling above with large strong wings reveling in their free and joyful nature! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn Cheer!

I'm delighted that my Montauk Daisies are in bloom!  It's their first year here and quite a lot of flowers for a first timer! Such a cheerful addition to the autumn garden.
Perennial bloomer Nipponanthemum nipponicum, a cousin of the chrysanthemum.
Just for a good chuckle, I had to share this little humerous tidbit - scroll down to the bottom of this site to see these incredible Mammo Grahms .

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumn is here....

Autumn is here waving it's magic color wand over our landscape. 

Birch Leaves at Ipswich River Sanctuary

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Turtle Moon Impressions: Another Share and a word about ego.

Turtle Moon Impressions: Another Share and a word about ego.: I subscribe to an artist's newsletter that I often get too busy to read but today I opened it up and it was so good I wanted to share it...

Another Share and a word about ego.

I subscribe to an artist's newsletter that I often get too busy to read but today I opened it up and it was so good I wanted to share it with other artists out there and those who love an artist too!  It's about what he calls the  "ego force" of an artist."  Here's the post from Robert Genn.

Another share from this summer's LQF, a fabulous art quilt by Betsy Abbott of Andover, MA (please forgive that it's not my best photo but I thought it was still a great quilt to show).  I so love birds in art and this is a very powerful looking old bird!

Wild Ravenworld by Betsy Abbott


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quilt Highlights

Barbara Barbara Barrick McKie is the artist who created these two exquisite quilts from her own photographs.  These were among the highlights for me at The Lowell Quilt Festival in August. When viewed in person, these pretty much take your breath away!  She has been a computer specialist in graphic arts and has been leading the way with this genre of quilt arts for some time now. 

Feeder Defeater by Barbara Barrick McKie

My Buddy and Me by Barbara Barrick McKie

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sweet Red and White

What a great example of taking a commercial pattern and giving yourself to it.  Luscious reds and white combine with cotton, silk, velvet and wool - pieced to perfection! 

You Make My Heart Go Pitty Pat by Eileen Thurston, Hyde Park, MA
 (The pattern from "Vivacious Curvy Quilts" by Dianne S. Hire.)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stand And Sew!

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has trouble sitting for long periods of time.  There was recently a discussion on the SAQA group that involved quite a bit of discussion about this common problem. For me, that's a dual problem.  With my arthritis, it hurts to stay in any position for long. 

With my Restless Leg Syndrome sometimes I can't sit at all.  So, I've come up with a situation that works for me.  I raised the table on some 2 X 4s.  It's not too pretty and not quite finished off yet - it needs to be more secure so it doesn't fall off the 2 X 4s -  but it works and does the job! 

I can stand for hours and it makes my free motion stitching so much easier! My design wall is just behind me here so I can simply reach the next piece off the wall and sew!

I still have an older machine set up on the far side of this table if I want to sit and sew for awhile. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Heirolglyphics Interrupted by Patricia Washburn

Today, I want to share a pieced quilt by Patricia Washburn from Taunton, MA titled "Heiroglyphics Interrupted #1.  This is such a well executed piece of art and a showcase for a fabric collage.  The FMQ design is perfectly chosen to add another dimension to the piece, so much so that it seems equal to each of the other elements of this quilt. The black and white shapes make a great foundation structure that also leads your eye all the way through it and perks up the color choices.  This wins an award in my mind for exceptional design in the abstract art category!  I aspire to this quality of work.

At the Lowell Quilt Festival, 2013


Friday, September 13, 2013

I Saw The Light

On my way home this afternoon, as I approached Lake Quannapowett I saw this incredible light on the water.  Stopped at a red light, I watched it start to wane and rushed to catch the last glimpse of it!

Rain Clouds Over Lake Quannapowett

Shimmering Lake

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Music of the Night

Throughout the next few months I'll continue to share with you more quilts from the Lowell Quilt Festival.  They are all from the main exhibit space at the Lowell Auditorium.  Without further ado:

Music of the Night by Pamela Arsenault, Southborough, MA

Close Up, Music of the Night

Wednesday, September 4, 2013