Friday, December 20, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the river and through the woods to grandchilren's house we go.  They don't come to us so we go to them. therefore this week has been devoted to making two sweatshirts for my teenage granddaughters.

Fourteen years ago when our first granddaughter was two and her Mother was pregnant with a second child I made them matching sweatshirts for Christmas. Of course, my granddaughter has outgrown her shirt but she is now wearing her Mother's shirt as is the granddaughter with whom my daughter was pregnant.. I love this!

Soooooo, this year I decided to make new one's for the girls. I've added a few things since these photos were taken like, catch lights in the eyes and berries to the holly but these photos will give you the idea. \

Wouldn't it be nice to think that these will last and my great granddaughters will wear them?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Background for Hydrangea Finished

I have had a little time this week to work in my studio and was able to finish the background for my hydrangea. I still have high-lights and shadows to add the large flower but otherwise the top is finished. Now to the hard part, quilting.

I took a little time this week to make this little 3 x 5 piece in memory of Lisa Quintana. Kathy Loomis posted a gentle reminder on the SAQA Yahoo list that friends of Lisa's were putting together a presentation to give to Lisa's family. I knew about this and had planned to make something but, as often happens, I hadn't gotten to it yet. Yesterday I had a few minutes and decided that I wanted to do this and if I didn't do it now it might not happen.

Many of my readers knew Lisa, if not in person then via the internet. The internet was my only connection to Lisa yet I feel that I can call her my friend. I never posted a question on the Art Digest Yahoo List that Lisa didn't respond to. She was so helpful, talented and a beautiful writer. Lisa lost her battle with breast cancer in October. If you knew her, even just as a friend on the internet, honor her memory with a little piece of art. You can send it to:
Chris Landis
2110 Germantown Liberty Rd.
New Lebanon, OH 45345

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Friday, December 6, 2013

It's A Busy Time of the Year

 My new web site is up, please check it out.

This isn't exactly the post that I had in mind creating today but when your email server is the pits and won't allow you to get into an email that has photos you need then you ad-lib.  I really did do a little work in the studio this week and that was the photo and post I wanted to write but.......

 I made this Pere de Noel years ago when we lived in AL. Two friends and I got together and created an armature for the body. My friend had ordered the faces and we each dressed our Santa in our own style.

Let me tell you the story behind the quilt that I used to make Santa's coat. Our guild in Tuscaloosa was very active and we always had some kind of auction or raffle going on to raise money. One meeting this old quilt came up for auction. It wasn't in too bad shape but for some reason someone hadn't cut a 12" square  out of the middle of the quilt.

I didn't mind the hole as I thought I might make a jacket out of the quilt. I was outbid by another member.  This member was an older lady and she attended the meeting with her DIL. Later that year the DIL created an art quilt in memory of a niece who had died in an automobile accident.

I thought it worth a magazine article so I talked to her about the girl and the quilt. I wrote the article, took photos of the quilt and sent it to a quilt magazine that is no longer published, I believe it was called something like Quilter's Gallery. They liked the article and published it. My friend was very excited and pleased when it appeared in the magazine. At the next guild meeting she shows up with this quilt and gives it to me as a gift. She remembered me bidding against her MIL and she talked her into letting her give it to me.

When I were going through my fabric stash looking for just the right fabric for Santa's Coat  a light bulb went off and I remembered this old quilt. What more appropriate to make the garment of one of the biggest giver on earth?
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Hydrangea in Progress

Wow how did it get to be Friday already? Because we are home without family this week I thought I was going to get lots done in the studio.

I guess I didn't count on no work in the studio on Thursday and then decorating for Christmas today. Well that's almost over and I did accomplish a little studio work as well. I've been working on a rather large piece with this photograph as my inspiration.

I was able to finish the first phase of this piece on Wed. I need to make sure everything is in place and then press well. The next phase calls for hi-lights and shadows but I haven't decided yet whether I am going to use paint or fabric. Then again I might use both. I'm really hoping to get that started tomorrow.

I am going to add a confetti background, I think, but then again I might decide on a solid. When I get to that point I will audition fabric before I decide. Maybe I will even get to that point tomorrow. Do I sound a little wishy-washy here. Yes, buy that's just the way I work.
I'm excited with how this piece is developing.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Butterfly Mythology and Fast Friday Fabric Challenge

I am the host this week for Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. Because I am interested in insects, butterflies in particular, and mythology of insects I chose Butterfly Mythology as my challenge. I have created several butterfly quilts in my series Fabricating Nature but the latest have been associated with mythology.

The Circle of Life
30" x 40"

The circle is representative of life's never ending cycle (birth, death, rebirth). The butterfly lays its eggs on a plant that nourishes the egg. The caterpillar eats and grows, it then turns into a chrysalis and emerges as a beautiful butterfly. It's sole purpose is to breed and start the cycle/circle all over. 

While I did not chose to represent this in a circular form it is none the less representative of the circle of life. 

The Return of the Monarch
30.5" x 39"

The local people of Angangueo, Mexico have long believed that monarchs are the returning spirits of their deceased relatives, mysteriously arriving at the same time each year, coinciding with the Day of the Dead. Aztec tradition holds that the souls of the departed will return as hummingbirds and butterflies. This link between myth and the monarchs’ annual return spans centuries.

24" x 33"

You may notice a resemblance between the first panel in The Circle of Life and Ravishing. I actually used the same photograph to create both of these pieces. The technique is different which makes for a very different looking piece. I used the caterpillar for the Spice Bush Swallowtail in this piece while I used the Monarch caterpillar for The Circle of Life.

This piece is not related to a myth. 

Mama's Butterflies
 Several years ago when I went to an AQS show in Paducah, I found this piece of marbled fabric. I immediately saw a tree and actually willed a woman who was looking at the fabric to put it down. As soon as she did, I grabbed it. It took me a while to decide what to do with this piece but I finally decided to create this piece titled Mama's Butterflies. My Mother was quite accomplished in art of crochet.  She knew of my love of butterflies so she found a pattern and created quite a few. She gave me about ten but when she passed away I found more in her crochet left overs. This was my way to honor her work combined with mine.  


31" x 42"

Flowerfly is one of my older pieces and the first time I created a butterfly in my work. The forward wings are loose and have wire sewn into the edges so that the wings can actually be moved a bit. The spots on the wings are painted with paint sticks.

It is not related to a myth.

Blue Atlas
62" x 50" 

Blue Atlas is quite a large piece and is hand quilted with hand-dyed pearl cotton. The spots or decorations on the wings are fussy cut and fused to the wings. This seems to be a popular piece of mine and I think it might be the impact of the beautiful blue/purple hand-dyed fabric on the black background.

It is not associated with a myth.

 I wish that I had been able to find more examples of butterfly art in mythology on the internet. I know they're out there as I found many examples in the book The Spirit of Butterfies: myth, magic and art, by Maraleen Manos-Jones.  I hope the participants of Fast Friday Fabric Challenge find this to be an interesting challenge. Good luck?

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Road to California

Spirit of the Kiva


Just found out both of these works were juried into The Road to California show. Excited.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

A Little of This and a Little of That

I thought I might have a post this week on the progression of my newest piece in my Fabricating Nature Series. However, I've had a few other things that have taken my attention for most of the week.

I am in the process of redoing my web site and that I have found to be very time consuming. I also drove to GA. to do a lecture for the Early Bird Quilt Guild in  Conyers.
What a busy group of ladies. This is a fairly small guild but a very active one. This photo shows them displaying squares that will end up in Quilt's of Valor. The lady to the left in white, I apologize for not having her name, is one of the GA organizers for Quilts of Valor. She told the group how many request she had for quilts just in GA. and it was a large amount. Quilts of Valor is such a wonderful organization and the recipients appreciate the quilts so much. I still hope to get one made for our area group.
These ladies are showing off the many pillow cases they made for the kids cancer unit in their area. Another great project.

I just wanted to add my thanks to this group for their assistance helping me get things out of my car and setting up my trunk show. I don't always get this kind of help and it is very much appreciated. Thanks ladies.

Yesterday I went to our HiFiber Art Group meeting. Laurie Crino, one of our members gave us a presentation on mixed media. Laurie came to our group as a paper artist. Well, she's still a paper artist but she now also works in fiber.
 Laurie showed us many products that work both for paper and fiber. She gave us lots of tips on inexpensive and sometimes recycled items to use. One of those being old slide holders. Now how many of these things have I thrown away.

I really loved these pieces she used for her demo. Just my colors. As her presentation evolved we all decided that what we really needed was for Laurie to have a workshop. Before the meeting ended Laurie had agreed and we have set up a time in late Jan. after the busy holiday season.

More of the interesting things Laurie showed us today. I'll be sure to post about that workshop.

Hopefully I will have some time this weekend and next week to do a little more work on my new piece.

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Friday, November 8, 2013


It's been a couple of years since I've been to IQA's World of Beauty Show in Houston. I've forgotten how large and over powering it can be. Don't get me wrong I loved being there seeing the show, vendors, meeting people I've only met on line, vendors, meeting up with artist I've met in the past, vendors, well you get the idea.
 didn't get to go to the get to gather at the Hilton on Friday night of the Art Digest Group.  I had a reaction on Friday to something and just couldn't drag my body out of my room.

This photo shows me standing beside my entry, A is for Aubrey. I was right proud of her, she hang well. 

This year I met Jennie Greaves, this picture shows her the night of the awards. I met Jennie on line years ago and have followed her work for a long time. She is a friend of Denny Webster with whom I traveled to Houston. I finally met Jennie before the award ceremony as we waited in line.

It was so nice to talk to her and get to know her a little better. She was excited about winning something in the people category, but at the time we saw her she didn't know what. When they announced her as a blue ribbon winner we were ecstatic for her.

I worked in the SAQA booth on Saturday and met a lot of the artist who belong to that organization. I was a bit surprised at how many people stopped and chatted. They were also purchasing 12 x 12 art works that had been donated by the members of SAQA. I had a great chat with a few of the members who were working.

Then I went shopping. In previous paragraphs I mentioned vendors. Well, there are lots. I really hadn't had time to shop. I took a two day workshop with June Colburn on dyeing silk fabric. A good class. I now have my PHD in Threadology from Dr. Bob of Superior Threads. A good lecture. A day of taking in the show, and still didn't see it all. Now it's time to shop.

I live in the boonies and the nearest fabric shop is at least an hour plus away so buying little things is a pain. I have been making list for months. Nothing big nothing expensive just stuff I need. Well almost need. It took me all day to get from the first isle to the last isle of the vendors. I did stop and talk to a few of the vendors.

All in all it was a good trip. Extremely tiring and it has taken me several days to recuperate. I think I am back to normal. I spent yesterday in my studio beginning a new project. Hope to have enough of it done to post next week.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

A New Beginning

I've been AWOL for the past couple of weeks. Been on the road again. Right before I left I began working on a new confetti piece. This photo shows the first days work. Mind you I already had a lot of these little pieces of fabric already cut out.

A bit more added. I work on these pieces on top of my cutting table. I'm used to working on the design wall and it's hard for me to see how the design is progressing. 

I finally covered all the space and felt that the piece was complete. In order to move the top to the design wall I pressed the pieces with a hot iron. You can see in the photo above that I had adhered Misty Fuse to the top of the fabric. This enabled me to attach a lot of the small confetti pieces before adding the tulle.

There are always pieces that do not touch the fuse so those are caught by the tulle. I then heavily pinned the tulle to the backing, batting and top fabric.

Now I can stand back and look at the piece. I'm not happy here and can't quite decide what the problem is. So I decide to take a breather and wait until the next day to come back and look with new eyes.

 New eyes told me that the bottom right flowers was not pleasing. It looked too much like a blob instead of a combination of colors that the other two share. So I fixed that, I'm happier but there is still something.

You know the rule of threes, right. Well those two little flowers at the bottom just needed another tone to make it complete. Remember here is more to come.

Now it's time for quilting the top.

Today I had time to place the butterflies that I've been working on as I travel. They aren't thread painted yet but that shouldn't take long. Then I will attach them to the quilted top then face the piece and another one is finished.

October has been almost non existent in my studio and I've really missed working. September was very productive for me and I feel that I'm on a roll, however, I'm leaving again on Tuesday.

Houston here I come. Even if I weren't on a roll, going to this fabulous show would surely get me moving. I hope you will follow me on face book  at during the Houston Festival. I won't have my computer but plan to post often on my Face Book page using my Ipad. 

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Friday, October 11, 2013

An Apology to The Warm Co and Steam A Steam

 I'm at the coast this week having a wonderful relaxing visit with friends. I decided this was a good time for me to issue an apology to the Warm Co.

I recently received a new package of Steam A Seam made by The Warm Company. I ordered the new and improved product because I noticed that the packaging was not like the package I THOUGHT was their new product. That's because it wasn't.

A month or so ago I wrote a rant about the new Steam A Seam lite. Because I use a product needing a sticky back in one of my classes I have been investigating this type of product that is available on the market. While browsing the internet I noticed that the bags of Steam A Steam that were posted did not look like the bag that I had so much trouble with. Upon further investigating of the package I realized that the product was made by Pellon. In defense of myself I did not purchase that product. During one of my classes the facilitator shopped for Steam A Seam. This product was brought back for our use. The name was similar but different. Since Steam A Seam had redesigned their product I didn't pay that much attention. It diffidently was not Steam A Seam. I only realized this when I went on line to look up the new Steam A Seam.

I ordered the new product and find it to be as good if not better for my use. The paper covering the fusible releases better than the old product. So my apologies to Steam A Steam and Warm & Co. From now on I promise to know what I'm talking about before I open my mouth or post a rant.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Connor and the Watering Can

Another busy week in the study. I am really stoked. The main project for this week has been thread painting on my piece titled Connor and the Watering Can.

The last two days have been devoted to painting the hat. Yes two days. This is a slow process but I am loving it. As I look at that this photo I can see that I need to do some more work on the hat bill. It's amazing to me how I can see things wrong in a photo that I can't see when I'm looking at the piece in my studio.

I have always been a big advocate of taking photos of my work as it progresses. Looking at this photo just reinforces that view.

Can you see the problem that I see?

All that is left to thread paint on Connor is his arm and feet. Can't wait to see this part finished.  Hopefully I can get the majority of it done tomorrow.

While I've gotten a lot done this week I've been frustrated because things like Doctor's appointment, grocery shopping, cooking, etc., etc. have cut down on the time that I wanted to spend quilting.

I do have a face pattern ready as well as an enlargement of the new piece that I want to do. I have a new confetti piece almost ready to quilt. I'm saving photos of it until I have it finished. 

Last week I showed a practice patch of thread painting water drops. This photo shows them almost finished. I am saving a little detail for the finished process.

It's been another great week in the studio.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Good Week in the Studio

 A note about last weeks post. I asked for possible names for the piece to the left. Ravishing was the one I like the most and felt fit his piece. Thanks to Irena Teal.

I've had a productive week in the studio. It's not often that I have a whole day to dedicate to just creating. Wednesday was one of those days. I was also able to work several hours on Monday and Tuesday as well. I began a new confetti piece this week but I will save those photos for another time.

You may remember from months back that I was working on a thread painting of my grandson watering our garden.
For various reason I put it aside to work on other projects. I decided this week to get it out and hopefully get it finished before long. I had this much finished at that time.

I was quite happy with this part of the bib and metal clasp.

I'm also pretty happy with this part.

I took a photo of how I set my print up behind my sewing machine so that I can get good light and access to the image as I thread paint.

The area below the watering can is where I began this week. While it is mostly done that is some fine tuning I need to do to join areas of color together. The other thing that had me puzzled was how to represent the water drops that are coming out of the can. They are also dripping off the bottom of the can.

I sent and email to the SAQA Yahoo blog group asking for suggestions. This group of talented artists are so helpful and free with their information. This group would be worth the membership fee to the organization even if it had no other benefits. Below is the results of some of the suggestions.


Today, after spending quite a few hours on my feet working on a new piece, I pulled out a sample fabric sandwich to practice on.

I first made some drops on a dark piece of fabric but decided that I really needed to thread paint it similar to the jeans. I then made different shapes, used different threads as well as different colors. It's still hard for me to decided if this is going to look right in context. However, I think I'm on the right tract.

Looking forward to more time in the studio.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Confetti Piece Finished

I finished my confetti piece this week and am really happy with the results. I wrote about this earlier asking for suggestions as to how I might attach the small pieces on fabric as opposed to batting.

The solution I came up with was to apply Misty Fuse to the front of the fabric and lay the pieces on top. I then covered with parchment paper to press. After this was completed I covered with tulle. I used different color tulle over some of the flower areas and a green tulle over the entire piece.

I felt the the green tulle helped push the flowers into the background and that was what I wanted.

I fussy cut the flower shapes and placed them over the quilted background. I then quilted the flowers.

I have been using Steam A Steam light for one of my classes.  I found out a while back that they had changed manufactures and were putting out a similar new improved SAS.  Not Good!

I decided that I was going to try the produce on the flowers in this piece before I purchased a lot of the product for my Fabricating Faces class. This photo shows the problem that I had with the product. The one on the left shows the paper coming off in spots leaving paper and taking the sticky off in other places.  The piece on the top right shows where some sticky was left and other spots where it was totally removed.  The one on the bottom right all the sticky came off. All the paper was very difficult to remove. Don't yet know what I will use for my class.  I need something that has a sticky backing after it is ironed onto the fabric. I'm going to have to do a bit of experimenting with this one.  To get the pieces that worked I just ironed Misty Fuse to the back and cut out. This is my preferred fusible but I haven't quite figured out how to make it work for my other class. Any suggestions?

I'm also looking for a name for this piece. I know there is a great one out there somewhere. Would love to have suggestions.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vacation & More

I've been away from my blog for a while. My teaching schedule has kept me busy and last week we were at the beach. Had a wonderful, lazy, restorative week.
 I love the beach. There is something so calming about walking in the sand.

Love that lime green umbrella.

Isn't nature amazing. This beautiful flower grows under the harshest conditions.

Beach birds lined in a row.

Everywhere I go I look for artist. We were lucky to meet Michael Smalls demonstrating the making of a SC lowcounty tradition, Sweetgrass Basket making.

Traditionally the women make the baskets while the men and boys harvest the sweetgrass and pineneedles. I said as much to Michael when we were talking. His answer was yes, that's true but I don't like rattle snakes and alligators.  Can't say as I blame him.

One of Michael's beautiful creations.

Well vacation is over, it's time to get back to the studio. As much as I enjoyed the week I am ready to create again. I wish I could come close to what Mother Nature creates and while I know she is far more talented than I am I will do my best.

Friday, September 6, 2013

SAQA Auction Begins Sept. 9

I'm on the road this week teaching in Charlotte, NC.  The workshop yesterday went really well and there were some ah-moments. I love those.We start work again this morning and will be finishing the project we started yesterday as well and learning the process of making the pattern for our portraits.

I want my main post today to be about the SAQA Art Auction. This auction is the main support for the cost of running this wonderful organization so it's very important that word gets out to the public. It also give the public an opportunity to purchase some wonderful art work. If you are a member of Pinterest
you can search SAQA Auction and see a photo of all the artwork that will be coming up for sale.

This piece A Study in Green is my contribution to the auction. It is my understanding that they put up X number for a set number of days at a beginning price and each day the price goes down. Of course, if you want a piece bad enough you best bid early.

Green Mansions by Annie Helmericks-Loder

There are lots of pieces featuring crow. I've often wondered the attraction to crows for artist. While ready a wonderful book recently, Eternaon on the Water I began to realize the why. They are quite intriguing. By the way this is a wonderful book.


Another interesting crow.

Natures Energy Drink by: Eileen Wintemute

Free by:Carolyn Sharkey

Northern Cardinal by:Ruth Powers

One of my favorites.

That's all I have time for this morning. I'm  off to teach.

I hope you will take a look at the art work and bid.

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