Thursday, July 26, 2012

Playing with PhotoShop Elements: New design ready

I have had the best time this week work with computer generated images.  I'm trying to expand my limited knowledge of PhotoShop Elements so this week I have just played on the computer.

My family starts arriving Friday and I have my studio all cleaned up with quilts, usually kept on a spare bed,  piled on my work table.   So the logical thing to do, when I had a few minutes, was to work on the computer.  This is one of the images I've come up with.

This is my, now 13 year old, grandson Connor.   He is watering geraniums in a quilt I made several years ago titled Through the Window.

This is the photo I started out with.  I used the Magic Extractor in the drop down menu under Image in PhotoShop to delete the background.
This is what the image looks like after using Magic Extractor.  Save this image as a PNG file so it will be a transparency.

I then down loaded my image of  Through my Window.  I clicked on Image in the drop down menu I chose Resize and then Canvas size and added two inches to the left side of the canvas.

I then down loaded both the photos of the new canvas size quilt and the transparency of Connor.  I minimized Connor, when to my tool box and clicked on my move tool.  I then clicked on the image of Connor, in my project bin, and moved him to the image of the quilt.   I moved him around on the image until I was satisfied with his position.   Can't want to get this printed and start working on the actual quilt.

This is possibly my last post for about ten days as I will be enjoying having my family here.  Well maybe a few family photos.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Anniversay Quilt

Some times it takes me a while to finish a project.  Two years ago we celebrated our 50th anniversary.   This quilt was finished except for the sleeve that you sew on the back for a hanging rod.

It has laid in my spare bedroom waiting to be hung.  Guess what we did it today, yep the quilt is hung.

I started this piece at J. C. Campbell in a class taught by Mary Lou Weidman.  Mary Lou teaches how to make really fun story quilts.

This one has all our children, grandchildren and in-laws represented.  Our nineteen year old dog, Holly is in the quilt though not with us anymore.

If you look closely you will see one of my quilts hanging from the porch on the house.  Kermit and I spent a year, every weekend, finishing the inside of our log home.  It has a prominent place in the story.

Our family, fifteen strong, will be here next week.  One will be missing, my son-in-law has to work and can't come, but everyone else will be here.  We will be meeting a future daughter-in-law and grandson as well.  Sometimes I just need this kind of  occasions to get things done.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Selvage: New Works by Jim Arendt

Several years ago during an opening of a SC juried art show at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History.  I saw two fiber works of art by Jim Arendt.  Fiber art always catches my eye.   My eye wasn't the only one caught by Jim's work.  Allen Coleman, director and curator for the museum, gave Yvette & Ansley the Director's Choice Award and a one man show.

Yvette & Ansley

The show is located at the Picken's County Museum of Art & History, 307 Johnson Street, Picken, SC  The show opened June 23 and closed August 16.

Mike & Mackenzie

This is the wall as you enter the gallery and I must say that I almost gasp as I first saw this unit.  The cutout of the child from the body of the father or as I found out grandfather, said to me that this piece was about loss.

When I asked Jim about this he said that when the idea for Mike & Mackenzie was conceived  he was watching his brother struggle to hold onto daughters rapidly progressing towards adulthood.  Mackenzie supplies the "absent" figure.

Jim says,"Sometime loss is a tangible thing, but often it's more of a slow erosion of our memories regarding how things were and are; and because we remember both states of a thing I think we feel it more. These things are taken from us, and time is often the culprit."


Although I really liked all the work, this piece may have been my favoriteI can't really tell you why, it just spoke to me.

Before I go any further I need to tell you that Jim uses recycled jeans as his medium.  Jim is a painter but was looking for a greater connection between his content and materials.  He says, " paint is a medium that is fabulous for creating artifice, but as I reflected more on how I could build meaning into my work in various ways, I began looking for material with embedded meaning that reflect the people and content in a sincere manner.  Jeans contain a bit of work and sweat and wear of the wearers lifespan.  Beginning with the dust of the cotton fields until they are donated to me, the entire cycle just seemed right.  I've learned to listen to these little gifts of intuition and not question them overly in fear that they will fade away". 


This piece actually brought tears to my eyes.  I hope that this photo will show the anguish that I could see in this face.  It is as if she was caught in the moment of hearing some tragic news.

Jim says, "My family  has been stalked by a fair measure of all things tragic, and while I have little trouble speaking to it in general, I think weighty things can be diminished by words".


Take a good look at this woman's shirt.

Yep!  It is made up of jean snaps.


Allan Coleman told me that he sent Jim the measurements of the walls in the gallery so that he would know how much space he would be working with.

All these figures are life size.  The background is denim fabric and is draped.  The lighting caused shadows to fall which really added to the depth of the background.

Jim's subjects are all family members.


There are many more pieces to take in.  If you are any where near Pickens, SC or interested  in a road trip I highly recommend this exhibit.

Jim is Director of the Randall Bryan Gallery at Coastal Carolina University.  More of his work can be seen at

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

HiFiber July Meeting

This year we have been having one or two members give a demo or prepare something that is easy for us to make at our meeting place.  This month Judy Rapelje showed us some samples for taking traditional quilting blocks and using them as design elements in an art quilt.

Judy made a lot of samples to show us some techniques she had experimented with using paint.  She also showed us an example of a modern bear paw pattern.

 This is another sample of a traditional block used in a more modern quilt.  Judy is making this for a grand niece.

Judy, made this baby quilt for a soon to be grand niece.

Ann Hanewald's The Dog Who almost Disappeared. 

This piece and the one below was made for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. 

 Yoko and John by Ann

Ann's notan piece.  She gave the program to us on notans.  Ann lives at the beach half the year so she had lots to share with us.

One of the quilts Marge Edie's been making from a friends stash who passed away.

Heidi Woko brought two pieces that she made for out strip challenge.  We liked both but thought this one was just outstanding.

Unfortunately the gallery in which we were going to have our exhibit in Sept. has closed and we are looking for another place to display The Strip challenge.

This was Heidi's other piece.  She has such a wonderful way with color.

Dianne Gjelsvik also brought her strip piece,  can't remember the name but it has to do with strips of wall paper.

Been there done that, want to keep my husband so won't go there again.  He does not like hanging wall paper.

Sandra Risvold brought this piece that she was working on the strip challenge as well.  It was going to be titled Strip T"s
how creative is that?

However, Sandra wasn't liking this piece so she changed her mind and started working on this.  Venus made out of tiny T shapes.  How cleaver.   Last month Marge Edie showed us how to make bas relief in fabric.  Sandra is planning to do Venus in that method.,

I wrote about The Stripper on my last post you know the story behind it.

There have already been strip pieces shown and there are more to come.  What a cleaver group we have.  Can't wait to see this exhibit hanging.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Stripper

The Stripper as you last saw it.

When I finished putting this piece together I proudly sent a photo to my son, Michael.   Michael is Vice President of Exhibits and Programs at the Natural History Museum in San Diego.  He came to that job as curator of Entomology at the same museum.  Therefore he knows his insects.

I got an email back from him saying "Mom, you do know the caterpillar in your piece is not a Monarch, don't you?  It's an Annis Swallowtail." 

Well no, Duh! I didn't know that or I would have used the Annis Swallowtail cocoon and adult butterfly.  Well color me embarrassed.

The Stripper as it is now.

I was telling a group of my friends about my mistake and my friend Sharon told me to just change the name and title it Mutation. 

That would have worked but for the fact that I made this piece for a strip challenge.  I also plan on giving it to Michael at some point.  Some how I don't think it would do to hang a misleading piece of art in a natural history museum even in his office.

So I fixed it. Now I need to add the antennas and I will be ready to quilt it and get it off my list.

I was so happy with the first Caterpillar that I just might enlarge it and make it as a stand-alone piece.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Working in the Studio

I've been really busy for the past week doing a lot of work at the sewing machine.  I've finished the quilting of my new piece, it was quite tedious work and I am in need of a neck and shoulder massage. 

I know the reason my muscles react when I do this kind of work is tension.  I try to relax but it just doesn't happen.  In spite of the sore neck and headaches I'm really excited about this piece.  Can't wait share the whole picture.

I also finished quilting Sanctuary and when I get a decent photo of it will post it in it's finished state.  I've also been working on The Stripper.  I have a really funny story about this piece, well not to me, but to my son.  When I get it finished and photographed I will post that story as well.

My friend Ann and I are going to The Pickens County Museum of Art and History on Thursday to see a one-man show titled Selvage: New Works by Jim Arendt.  I saw two of his pieces in the juried show last year and they really spoke to me.  I hope to get permission to post photos and share the exhibit on my blog. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Day in the Studio

I've spent the day working in my studio.  Except for having family or friends over I can't think of a better way to spend the holiday.

Quilting is a slooooo process for me.  I had to pick out and redo a lot but it wasn't discouraging.  Often this causes me to give up.  Don't know what the difference is with this piece, could be as simple as, I like it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Believe it or Not

What little time I've had recently to work in my studio has been spent on quilting.  If you read my blog you, no doubt you know that this is not my favorite part of the process.

Well believe it or not I enjoyed myself today.  I'm working on a piece that I haven't posted on this blog  yet because I plan on entering it in Quilt National.  Yes, I am going to take the big step.  I may get rejected but I'll never know unless I try. 

One of the issues I'm dealing with today is how to make the white fog/mist look as if it's coming out of the light behind the figure.

I  am also trying to decide what kind of thread to use to best represent the mood I want to depict.   Perhaps Sliver, or a glossy white.  It will be a while before I can share the whole piece but I will keep you posted on its progress.