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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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Visit to the NeedleChasers Quilt Guild

Last week I had the privilege of presenting a lecture and workshop to the NeedleChasers Quilt Guild of Chevy Chase, MD. This is one busy guild. I always use our local guild, as a measure for guilds I visit. This is the first one that, not only came close, but surpassed our guild. They have a little over fifty members, fifty very active members.

Their biannual guild show is this Fall. The show and boutique provides the funds for programming and workshops for two years. I didn't get photos of the boutique items, but what I saw were wonderful and beautifully made.

If show and tell was any indicator of what will be in the show, I urge you to go. Following are photos of few of the piece that were shown. I apologize for not having names but it just wasn't possible.

I could post more but I just don't have the space.

While I am always treated well when I visit a guild, the people in this guild went out of the way to entertain and feed me well. I was treated to a trip into DC to view the cherry blossoms. Thanks Jim and Linda.

More to come on the workshop.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

It's finished: The Water Boy

It's Finished

The Water Boy        36" X 38"

 I began working on this piece almost two years ago. Often my large pieces take a while to mature. I start with an idea, work, look, wait, work some more and, if all is going well I finish within a reasonable time. All did not go well with this piece.

If I run into a snag I might put the piece up for a while. Sometimes, that is a matter of weeks and sometimes it's months. This one took many months.

I decided to share my thoughts and photos of this piece as it progressed, from an idea, to the finished piece.

Our son, Michael and his family have always lived a good distance from us. When they come home for a visit, my camera and I work overtime. On one of those occasions, I took this photo. It really spoke to me. I've kept it in my files, waiting until I came up with just the right way to interpret the image. 

A few years ago I became interested in using Photo Shop Elements as a means to manipulate photos as inspiration for my work.  One of my favorite techniques is to blend or overlay photos that share something in common. A few of the pieces that I've used this technique in is, Spirit of the Kive and Ohm.

While the photo of Connor was cute the background held little appeal, so I used PSE 11, to dropout the background. One of my favorite tools to erase images in a photo, is found under Image in the upper tool bar. I click on image, and a drop down bar appears. Magic Extractor is at the bottom of the list.  I usually have to use the eraser to do a little clean up around the edges, but this technique works well for me.

Then I began looking, in my flower file, for a photo that I felt would be a good companion for Connor. I actually found three or four images that I liked, but after superimposing Connor's image over them, none really spoke to me. As I continued to search my photo files I cam across a photo of a quilt I made several years ago. The title of the quilt is Through My Window. This is actually an image of my great-room looking through a window.

While I'm not able to grown geraniums in my window boxes, not enough sun, I do grown flowers there each year. I adapted a fabric origami pattern to to fit my rendition of geraniums and filled the pots.

My poor husband ends up watering these boxes all Summer. Even though it's only in a piece of art, I decided to give him a water boy, to do that for him.

After I was satisfied with the manipulated images. I sent a copy to Spoonflower. to have it printed on fabric. I had had 5 " samples made, with this image, on different fabrics and chose the cotton-linen. I felt it gave a truer color.

This was by far the largest piece I had ever thread painting. I knew I wanted to thread paint Connor very closely. My plan then was to quilt the rest of the piece, just not as densely. I often start a project not knowing what I'm doing. It often gets me in trouble as it did here. This is the time to stop, think, look, plan, read, and mull it over.

Notice the puckering near the dark blue at the pocket. It's quite heavy, though hard to see here. My choices, as I saw them, were (1) to plunge ahead and hope that after the thread painting was finished, I could make corrections in the background. or (2) decide now, that I would cut Connor off and threat it as two separate pieces. I chose two. It actually became easier, to thread paint, as I had less material to guide through the machine. I decided to send the image of Through my Window to Spoonflower to have it printed separately. This would solve my problems, or at least I hoped so.

 If you have ever thread painted, you know that distortion is inevitable. You can get a bulge or volcano as it is sometimes called in quilting. This happened to the water can. Thanks goodness for artist like Carol Shinn. She wrote Freestyle Machine Embroidery, and that book has saved my butt several time in this process. She recommends cutting through the thread painting, yes it is heart stopping, overlapping the image and trim out the overlap. You can then place a piece of fabric on the back and thread paint over the trimmed image.

The repaired image. Can you see where I cut? I bet not.  Okay I'm on my way to the finish.

Last year my friend and fellow fiber artist, Gail Sexton and I collaborated on Spirit of the Kiva. Gail is a wonderful machine quilter. I asked her if she would once again collaborate with me on this piece. She finished the quilting, beautifully, I might add, several weeks ago.

I have since been facing the background and attaching the thread painting. This was also no little matter in it's self.  The thread painting had to have the backing fabric attached.  Woe, enough already. I think you get the idea. It's finished and I'm happy, happy, happy.
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