Friday, July 25, 2014

For Someone Special

Some of you may remember that about a year and a half ago, I asked my friends to send a get well card to our granddaughter, who had been in the hospital for an extended period. Friends from my guild and Quiltart Digest along with FB friends responded as only quilters do.

She not only received many cards but small pieces of quilt art as well. After five weeks in the hospital she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. With medication she responded well and was symptom free for a little over a year. In March she had another attack and it was determined that she would need to go on a medication that is done at the hospital by infusion. This has to be administered every eight weeks.

She is a tiny little thing and gets cold easily, so I decided to make her a flannel snuggle quilt to take with her. I am going to make her a bag in which to carry it easily. We are excited that she and her family will be visiting us from CA. in a few weeks, so I will get to see her open the package. She loves hand made items so it will be fun watching her reaction.

This is the first quilt I've made in years, and plan to make all the grands one. It will take awhile but I will eventually get it done.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

On Entering Shows

I just spent about an hour in a thoughtful post about entering shows. Being accepted or not and lost the whole post. My piece "The Waterboy" was accepted in IQA Houston this year. I'm a very happy camper.

I don't have time to regurgitate my lost post so I will just add this, if you didn't make it this year don't take it personal. Enter that piece in another show. Don't give up. I've seen a piece  win in one show, and be rejected from another. It's happened to me. Maybe I'm naive but I always have hope. Sometimes that's enough.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Working this weekend

Hi all from Blacksburg, VA. Yesterday I taught, "Fabricating Faces" at the Blue Ridge Quilt Festival. What a class. We had 21 students, and six hours to create a portrait. Technical difficulty with my printer, overcome with help from my new assistant, AKA dear hubby. It was a busy but fruitful day. I am going to share a few photos with you of nearly finished projects. Enjoy!

I'm teaching again today, the class if Mini Nature. There is still time to come see the exhibit of quilts, beautiful.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Performing Surgery on "Following the Sun"

If you follow my blog, you know by now that I am not a planner. I know what I want to accomplish with a piece of art work but, I don't always know how to get there before I start. I am learning. After completing, two very large thread paintings, I now know that I must thread paint the image before I attach it to the background.

I worked on both pieces simultaneously so I didn't learn from one before working on the other. The Water Boy, had only one small area that bulged. However, I found early on that I needed to work on the boy's image separately from the background. I added him to the background after both were finished.

   Area before repair
Area after repair                                                                                                                                                                                       
I found this to be a very successful repair and was quite happy with the results. It does not, however, take place of doing it right in the first place. I can attest to the fact that it is heart stopping to cut into a piece you have spent months working on.
The Water Boy
Following the Sun
32" X 38"
Following the Sun is a project for my fiber art group. HiFiber, issued a challenge to it's members to do a piece using monochromatic colors. Since one of my passions is flowers, I decided to follow my muse and make yet, one more sunflower. Because I wanted to step out of my box a little, I decided that after I finished the applique I would heavily thread paint/quilt the piece.
I didn't intend to quilt quite so heavily, but I got carried away. Once you do that, you have to carry the density of quilting through the whole piece.
After I finished quilting the flower, the background was very warped, as was the flower, itself. I knew that quilting the background would help but I knew it won't take care of the majority of warping. At this point I placed it on my design wall and left it for months. 
 We now have a venue, The Art's Center in Clemson, SC, for an exhibit in August. I needed to get this fixed. I finished the background quilting and the center of the flower. I then decided that the only possible way to salvage this was to cut into the petals and cut away some of the bulk.
I chose areas that I felt would make a good place for a repair. In this section the edge of one petal looked like a good place to start. I cut the area with a very sharp E-Acto knife. I then overlay the edges to see how much needs to be cut out. I mark it with chalk and begin to cut away. I did this in steps as I do not want to cut away too much.  I then butt the edges together. On the back of the piece I fuse a piece of fabric that will cover the cut edge. I then come back to the top and thread paint to cover the mended piece.
finished repair.
I have learned a lot from working on these two pieces. I could have made two large floral wall hangings in the time it has taken me to create this one. However, I do find that I learn better by making mistakes and repairing them, than I do by planning ahead. Don't flame me for not planning ahead, I have learned such a good lesson from this project. I do know what to do next time I want to heavily thread painted/quilted a piece.
I hope this information might help the beginner thread painter. Stopping the heart to often can be bad for your health. 
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Story Behind, "It's a Beautiful Day"

It began with this photograph of one hydrangea bloom in my garden. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite shrubs. We have over forty varieties in our garden. Yes, I have a husband who also loves to garden.

I've always enjoyed isolating a blossom and photographing it until I get an image that makes me happy.

I decided to crop the left side of  the photo for my final composition.

I enlarged the photo to the size I wanted my finished image to be and then traced the outline onto a piece of light weight interfacing. I auditioned my fabric and attached Misty Fuse to the back. I then traced the pattern, beginning at the back of the flower and began cutting out the pieces. I work one piece at a time. Some people like to create all their pattern pieces and cut out all their fabric before they begin putting the design together. I like the instant gratification of seeing the design develop. It also gives me an idea that I'm headed in the right direction with color, etc.       
The bloom is beginning develop well. I seem to remember that there were a few places, that I wanted to watch, and decide later if I wanted to change a piece of fabric here or there. 
I've finished the bloom and added a few leaves. I see in this photo the problem I mentioned the paragraph above.  Note the bright turquoise in the above photo just to the left of the bright blue petal. It's missing in this version. It was just a bit to bright. The next stage is to fuse this down but, only after I give it a once over to make sure everything is in the right place. With that done I begin to add paint in areas to give depth of the design.
I use many different types of pigments to create the depth in my flowers. I like watercolor pencils, inks, acrylic paints, anything that works for the effect I want.
I knew when I began this piece that I wanted to use a confetti background. I had used that technique in the two pieces I had just finished and I really liked the effect. I had discovered that I didn't like to add the confetti pieces to the batting. Many quilters who use the confetti technique crate directly on the batting. I wanted to have some fabric showing between the little pieces of fabric. I decided that I would find a piece of fabric similar in color to my background. I then added Misty Fuse to the front of the fabric. he Misty Fuse also helps keep the pieces in place. I placed the fabric on top of the batting and backing. I then began to add the little pieces of fabric. I made a blend of greens, etc. until I had the design I was looking for. I had traced out the design of the bloom so that I didn't place the pieces in that area. Once I am happy with the design I lay a piece of tulle over the confetti and pin the layers together.
"A Beautiful Day"
My friend and fellow art quilter, Gail Sexton and I collaborated on this piece. she crated the beautiful quilting.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

It's Been a Month

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Time is flying. I wish I had a way to slow it down a bit. This past month has been a very busy one. We are remodeling our kitchen which is taking time that I would rather be using in the studio. However, I know I will be happy I spent that time when the kitchen is finished.

I had a bug that kept me down for a while. Don't know what it was but I had NO energy for about three weeks. Fortunately, it disappeared before I left for Wilmington, NC to teach at the NCQS.

Now on to creating. The time I had in May was spent creating class material. No real creating of art but ways to teach. I enjoy teaching, meeting new people, seeing the light bulb go off, and the smile on their face when they have creating something of their own. These photos are from  my Mini Fabricating Nature class.

May is doing a wonderful job on this colorful bird.

This is one of my patterns that I make available for those who just want to learn the process.

A great job is being done on this iris.

If you missed the symposium and are interested in this class, I am teaching Mini Fabricating Nature on July 11, and Fabricating Faces, July 12, 2014 at the Blue Ridge Quilt Festival, Blacksburg, VA. classes are almost full but if you're interested you can sign up at
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Friday, May 9, 2014

A Little Creating This Week

Moat of my week has been spent manipulating photos and printing the fabric for my upcoming "Fabricating Faces with Thread " class at the NCQS. I enjoy this process but not quite as much as I do creating my own work. Soooo, toward the end of this week I decided that I needed to play just a little.

I've been trying to get the time to create my SAQA donation 12 X12 piece. I already had the background made so worked on thread painting a luna moth to add.

I printed the moth on organza and backed with Misty Fuse, then I triple layered Solvy under that and put it in a hoop. I don't normally use a hoop, but I wanted the thread painted moth to be a thin. The background is all silk and very light so the moth needed to be light as well.

This was my first arrangement using dark limbs entering the piece from the left. I had a meeting of my HiFiber Art Group yesterday and tool this piece to ask for suggestions on improvement. Laurie felt that her eye was pulled first, to the dark limbs and wanted to linger there. Since the Luna Moth was suppose to be the focus, I decided to tray two things, a lighter fabric for the limb and a lower entry of the limb into the image. I believe it works better.
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Friday, May 2, 2014

Another Thread Painting Finished

12 X 12  
Before I go into my thoughts on working on this piece, I'm in a bind on what to name it. One of the things that attracted me to this gentleman, enough to ask his permission to take his photo, was his smile and the twinkle in his eyes.

That lead me to think of titles like, Sparkling, Twinkle, etc. I'm at a standstill, anyone have a good suggestion?

Sometimes, make that often, when I am working on a piece it takes me a while to get it finished. That doesn't mean I'm physically working on that piece the whole time.  I often will put a piece on my design wall that I am having trouble with.  That keeps it in view, which keeps it fresh in my mind.  I can then mull it over until I'm ready tackle the problem.

This doesn't happen with every piece I work but generally it does with more detailed work. I began working on this gentleman months ago and finally decided last week that I WAS GOING TO FINISH HIM this week.  So here he is.
 The biggest problem I had when starting out on this piece was finding the colors of thread that I felt represented the beautiful copper colors of his skin tone. I began a piece and discarded it because of this reason. Every where I went I shopped for brown tone threads. I finally found enough that worked to my satisfaction.

I usually begin a portrait with the eyes and then work out from there. In the piece I discarded, the color of thread wasn't the only problem I encountered. I was very unhappy with the eyes.

( Bad photo lighting shows his skin darker here.)

My second start worked for me, and as I began to work on the piece I could see where changes, or details, needed to be added
I wait until I have the piece all but finished to go back and create the details.

As I move forward I realize that the background is not working. In order to thread paint the hair you must finish the background first. This allows you to create the hair in the foreground. At this point I had to make a major decision. I had to fix this background, and I didn't have a clue as to how, or I had to cut his head out and attach him to another background. I had never done this and it was one of those heart stopping moments.

 After I cut his head out of the original background I auditioned different fabrics until I found one that I felt worked. Once I decided on the fabric I zigzagged the head to the background using a thread color that I would be using in his hair and beard.

I forgot to mention that I quilted the background before I added the head. I then finished his hair.

Notice his eyes, nose, teeth,  mouth and beard  here.

After carefully studying his eyes, nose, mouth and teeth, I added details that made those features look more like him.

One of the things that I feel is really important when you are working on a portrait is the high-lights and, of course, shadows that show on the face. This really shows off the nostrils, creases, and curves of the body. Last but far from least is the catch light in the eyes.
Without that the person, animal or insect will show no life.

I will be teaching Fabricating Faces with Thread  at the NCQS  in Wilmington, NC the weekend of May 29-June 1.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Need to Create

 Abstract Sunshine
19"X 19"
 It's been about two weeks since I've been in the studio to create and I am missing it. I've been busy creating and assembling patterns for two classes coming up this Summer.

15" X 18"

 May 29-June 1, I will be teaching at the NCQS in Wilmington, NC. I am teaching Fabricating Faces with Thread, and Mini Nature. 

July 9-12, I will be teaching Fabricating Faces and Mini Nature at the Blue Ridge Quilt Festival in Blacksburg, VA.

 Field of Flowers
12" X 12"

 While I much prefer my students create from their own mind, or photo, I always have patterns available for those students who don't have something or those last minute sign-ups. The photos seen here are the patterns available for sale.

20" X 30"

This week has been devoted to creating patterns, printing photos and packaging.

Hey, Look at Me
 19" X 21"

I often think that I over prepare for these classes, but it is my goal to present a good class. For me, that means having everything that I, or my student needs during the class.

Pink Perfection
23" X 38"

 I love to teach. When I see the "light" go off in someones mind, or the smile of satisfaction on their face with a finished piece, I am truly well paid for my efforts.

Orange on Blue
18" X 20"

So, this week while I have moaned and complained, that I haven't had time to create my own work, in reality what I am creating is joy and satisfaction for someone else. That makes me pretty happy.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Wall Art: A Retrospective at Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum

I was asked, year before last year, if I would hang an exhibit of my work, at the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA. in 2014. Time has a way of flying by, and while I planned for the exhibit, I didn't decide until early this year, how I wanted my work represened. I finally decided that I have been making fiber art long enough, to do a retrospective.

My schedule this year is pretty full, so I wasn't able to deliver my work and have a hand in hanging the exhibit. The staff at the museum did a great job. Had I given them input, which I did not, I might have hung each of my series together. This was my fault not the museums. I did not verbalize this message to the.

The staff, I know many are volunteers, has done a wonderful job, and I want to thank them for asking me to exhibit there. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see the exhibit while it is up. I asked my friend, Beverly to take photos for me and I send her my thanks.

I was a bit concerned whether I would have enough pieces to fill their space. Years ago, before the actual museum building was remodeled, I was asked to teach my "Fabricating Nature" class through the auspices of the museum. Because of that, I suggested that they might ask some of my students to display their work along with mine. The photos below are from that group.

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