Thursday, July 29, 2010

Background for Uncle Dave

This is the beginning of the background for Uncle Dave. I am adding more to the bookcase and Uncle Dave will be sitting in front of it with his banjo as he is in the photo in the bookcase.

Uncle Dave, is not my Uncle, I interviewed him in 1990 for an article I wrote on him for "Bluegrass Unlimited" magazine. I found the photo in my files a while back and made a portrait of him. Since then I have become interested in making a large quilt of him for my "Personal Places:Portraits in the Landscape" series.

Uncle Dave was quite a character and that was intentional. He told the story of when he first went to a show to sell his musical instruments and found that his booth wasn't visited as often as people who were "characters". He told me that he told his son that he was going to grow a beard and become a "character", and he did.

Stay tuned for more story and more progress on the quilt.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Working on New Piece; Uncle Dave

I've spent the last three days working, almost obsessively, on this portrait of Uncle Dave. I am working on one of my "Personal Places: Portraits in the Landscape" series. This face is the beginning, there is much more to come.

I decided to try a new technique that my friend, Marge Edie taught in a class a year or so ago. She was using this technique for teaching a class in how to achieve the correct color when one fabric overlays another.

I am going to be teaching "Personal Places", at J. C. Campbell in Nov. of 2011 and am trying to develop a technique that will be easier for a beginning student. This has worked quite well and I have learned a lot during the process that will help when I teach this class.

I've also decided to keep track of the hours it takes me to get this project to the quilting stage. This should be interesting, I've never done this before.

I'd like to make a few comments about the portrait. As you can see from the photos I start with the eyes. When you have a light fabric it should be laid down first. I have used gray fabric, although it looks white, for the eyes. They tend to stand out and I may still go back in and change that color. Uncle Dave's eyes were very blue and they were the first thing you noticed when you looked at him, so I may leave it as is. Will decide as I move forward.

You might notice in photo #4, that I have a white/white fabric at the top of his hair as well as on the left side. I decided that it was too white in relation to the grays of his face. His hair was very white but the first fabric I used was too white.

I have a few other small things I want to do to the portrait before I call it finish. Any comments would be appreciated.

Oh, I forgot to mention this whole quilt will be in white, gray and black.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Husband the Volunteer

My Husband has been interested in gardening for as long as I can remember. When he was in college at NC State University he worked for an English professor who hybridized day lilies. Professor Wynn was well know in the Day Lily world. When he had my husband dig up lilies to dispose of Kermit would bring them home.

That was before we had a permanent home so he would keep them alive and we would drive them up to Walkertown, NC where his Mother lives and plant them there. She still has some of the original day lilies. Through the years as we purchased homes we would move some of the day lilies with us. They are scattered around NC, AL, PA and SC. We still have a few at our home.

So, When Kermit retired he became a volunteer at the SC Botanical Gardens in Clemson, SC. He started off working in the Hosta garden. Because he was one of the younger volunteers he often got the job of digging holes for planting.

After a while he met Joe Smith, a volunteer who is an expert on Camellias. Kermit decided that he would like to learn about Camellias so he started working with Joe. As the years passed he noticed that the Hydrangea garden looked a little neglected and inquired about working there. James Arnold, one of the directors at garden, idea was to plant many different species of hydrangeas. He wanted South Carolinians to be able to visit and get an idea of what type of hydrangea they might want to plant in their gardens.

After a while everyone became acquainted with Kermit and found out that he was also a great handyman. When the need for a garden gate arrived last year, James asked Kermit if he would design and build the gate. He did.

This is the results. It's hard to tell the size by the photos but each side of the gate is 5ft. wide. The gate is beautiful and the plan is to plant a climbing vine beside the arbor and have it wind its way across the top. Maybe next year I can post a photo with the gate covered in blooms.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finally Finished

Well it's finally finish. Well almost, I don't have a sleeve on this piece yet because I don't know exactly what to do. I'm thinking I will put a sleeve at the top and another one across the widest center part. Anyone have a suggestion?

It seems that I have been working on this piece forever. I've had at least three week trips away from home since I began and I know that added to the time. However, it does seem that it's taken a long time to get it finished.

The other reason may be that I had a deadline and that always makes me feel that I am being pushed. I have enjoyed the project from start to finished. Come to think of it I've only done one piece that I haven't enjoy making the whole piece.

This idea started out for a challenge that Focus and the Thread Heads art group took on for The Arts Company. The Arts Company is a gallery in downtown Seneca, SC. Warren Carpenter has been very supportive of the arts community in our area and fiber art in particular. We wanted to honor him in this challenge.

Warren is an excellent wood turner, architect, carpenter and his last name happens to be Carpenter. How else would we honor him except to use wood as our theme?

I had several ideas when I started this project and they all started with a tree. The first one I wanted to do I didn't have the knowledge to carry through. I wanted to merge Warren with a whole tree so that Warren appeared to be a ghost shadow behind or within the tree foliage. After the class I took at Arrowmont last week I now know how to accomplish this.

A few years back we had an owl nesting in a hole in one of our trees. That image came to me and I decided that I would do a portrait of Warren and place it in a tree hole. We then made a trip to our friends house on Harbor Island and Ann took me to this beautiful, huge oak with a large hole in the bottom. We took lots of photos and I decided that this would be my tree stump.

My original idea for Warrens portrait was to make his face out of wood grain fabrics. I did so but, I wanted his face to fade into the hole and this portrait was too obvious. I made a second portrait and it was also to obvious. I finally decided to make a portrait with little value between the layers and this worked.

I wanted the tree stump to maintain it's organic shape so chose not to apply it to a background fabric. I also wanted the edges of the tree to keep its rough appearance. I zig zaged the three layers together forming a finished edge.

I've learned a lot making this piece, had fun making it, most of the time, and am fairly happy with the finished product. I guess that's why I do what I do.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

LMQG Show and Tell

Just a few photos from the meeting of Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild last Monday night.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

I spent last week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School in TN taking a Surface Design class from Pat Mink. Pat is an Associate Professor in the Art and Design Dept at East Tennessee State, located in Johnson City, TN. Pat is probably the premiere fiber artist working and researching printing on fiber using the computer.

Pat brought books and books of samples where she had tested fabrics using chemicals, not using chemicals, using an array of different fabrics. Pat has experimented with many fabrics and is very sharing with her findings.

I am not a big computer person but have managed through the years to be able to use the computer for my needs. My present work has expanded so that I now need to know more about Photo Shop Elements however, I did not wish to take a class where I had to learn everything the teacher wanted me to learn. I wanted to pick and choose the things I needed to know. Pat's class provided this for me along with the knowledge I need to print on fabric.

One of the books that Pat recommended highly for this class is "Digital Essentials" by Gloria Hanson. Pat felt that this book is excellent for the lay person, easy to understand. I agree.

This was my first time at Arrowmont and I found it to be an inspiring school. The school is located just one block off the main street in Gatlinburg, TN. However, you would never know that a busy street is just a block away. The environment is tranquil, the grounds lovely, the facilities wonderful the food good, the teachers well qualified and the students open to learning. It is with pleasure that I share the photos and comments below about this experience.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

These are some of the many samples that Pat brought to the class. Pat has spent many hours testing fabrics, chemicals, etc. so when she tells you something you know that it is tried and true. She brought many books of samples to class.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

Pat really didn't like having her photo taken so she posed as we snapped away. She is demonstrating the correct way to feed the paper into the printer.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

My piece as it looks on the computer screen.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

The first strip of my banner was the first printed in the class so there was a big TA-DA and picture taking.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

I've just returned from a week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School in Gatlinburg, TN. What a week. A friend of mine Judy Simmons, fiber artist, took a class from Pat Mink several years ago. The class is listed as Surface Design, but it has lots to do with Photo Shop and printing on fabric. I know a little about Photo Shop elements but by the end of the week I felt like my brain was fried.

Pat did a good job of demonstrating and gave us great notes but for someone my age who hasn't worked on computers very much this class was challenging. However, I felt when I left the class on Friday that I could indeed go home and do the work on my own.

Pat liked to call herself our helicopter, as she hovered over us. I have so much more to talk about from this class so will post again tomorrow. Hope you enjoy seeing some of the samples below from the class.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

This is my finished banner. I blended together a photo of my granddaughter, Aubrey that I had altered in photo shop elements along with a photo of a hosta. The two blended beautifully together. One of the leaves of the hosta actually makes contour lines on her face.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

These are a few of my samples for the class. One is a two page print that I will sew together, one is a selection that I blew up 400% and the others are just printed 8 1/2 x 10 on different types of fabric. All of these process are leading up to enlarging a banner.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School lov

My friend, Ann Hanewald stands before some of her samples. When I took photos of the other students samples they had not printed their banner sample yet so this is the first look at the banners. Ann did an amazing job in paring these two photos. The woman looks as if she is a ghost coming out of the archway at the end of the hall. I love this piece.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

Kathryn Robinson's samples

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

Brooke Fullington was the baby of our class. It was so much fun to have her youthful exuberance in the class. Brooke was by far the most experienced computer student and was very helpful to us beginners.
Brooke had taken classes from Pat what in college and decided that she wanted to know more about the printing process for fabric.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

These are samples from Brigit Manning-Hamilton.

A Week at Arrowmont Art and Craft School

These are some of Barbara Factor's samples she made during the beginning of the week.