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Posts from the ‘Artwork’ Category

Its Friday and time to shop

Many attendees spend most of their time in the vendor section.

There is always new fabric lines, new thread, new irons or ironing boards and of course sewing machines and quilting machines.

Festival or similar shows are ideal for looking at machines and any hardware—ie expensive…item you need to upgrade or just because. New machines don’t make better quilts just like new paint and paintbrushes do not make masterpieces—but they are fun and can be incredibly inspiring.

I took the time to look at a replacement for my current workhorse of a Pfaff 7570. It is nearly forty years old and its computer screen is failing. I did not buy a new machine but I did get some lighting for these ‘getting older’ eyes that have difficulty seeing the menu in one of those atmospheric restaurants that do minimize the wrinkles that go along with the ‘older eyes’.

I tried to write down teh names of quilters and the quilts but next time I will take my brochure and a stack of post-it notes to do a better job of notation.

So here are a few of my thoughts.

This was a fun project, so bright and cheerful—and look how the not easily divisible number of letters was handled. The title is “Unscripted”…a clever play on words.

then there was this Cherry Basket—with equal values of the lime green and red and purple—and buttons to match.

I like to work with a lot of thread—and this piece with some of the design defined by black thread and some by the goldy-orange thread popping out the black circles. This one is titled ‘Golden Pathways”

Using a block called sunflower to create sunflowers—not a new idea but skewing them to suggest the movement of the sunflowers through the day—-

This one is titled ‘Troubador”

finally—this very simple concept—but exquisitely executed—Mobius Circle. Looking back through my notes on a retrospective of Escher—perhaps the artist had been to that very same exhbit.

Again, now I have some better ideas of how to notate….there will be next year—

A Foggy Thursday

In my past life, I made many trips to Houston, discovered the tunnel system and went to meetings in one of those high rise buildings. They sway in the wind—just like being on a ship at sea—and then there is the fog. It is odd to look out the windows and see tiny people and cars on the streets below—but even odder to look out and see nothing at all due to the fog. Perhaps Jack and the Beanstalk odd.

Thursday was supposed to be a gorgious sunshiney day perfect for being outside.

It was chilly, drippy, and foggy.

After a lecture by Jilly Kertulla on Friday ..notes on that are coming… I realized that I did indeed look for various things during a museum or art gallery opening.

Quilt Festival usuall has several themed exhibits in addition to the juried/judged show.

In the far back on the right was the Cherrywood Challenge of ‘Grafitti’. Each year, a challenge is issued; packets of their fabric are sold and contestants produce artwork of their own design. Bob Ross, Diana, Lion King are some of the past challenges—all immensely popular and fascinating.

This was my favorite piece of the group,

There were two color quilts–all seemed to use just two fabrics with some very odd and interesting color choices, some more successful than others.

Traditional quilts are based on blocks, repeated in various ways—perhaps different colors or sizes.

Here one shape is repeated but off-set.

This is Tamalpais by Rhonda Rosales

Repetition can be dimensional in this next piece by Naomi Velasquez called Blood Knot

Those are hundreds of ‘tongues’ with a pink edging sewin in a pattern—we all tried to figure out how it was created as there were no raw edges. This piece is in the Frank Klein collection.

There were traditional patterns made with intricate piecing in what I would have cut a single piece,…such as this variation of a sunflower block

A book was available offering the pattern–called Lost Star by Sheila Bishop. One of my friends bought the pattern—it would definitely be a construction challenge.

This next piece was fascinating…ut was a tradutuibak vert large clamshell but each clamshell was broken up into intricate pieces. I did not notate the artist—my apologies.

This last piece today took my breath away. It is Cherry Blossoms and includes 640 girls—all different—, my detail photos are a bit blurry—

I have searched my catalog and notes but cannot find the artist’s name. I know she is from Japan—and I am in awe of this incredible work.

Tomorrow—a few more photos

He Must Have Been Fond of Pink

A trip to Houston usually is due to healthcare appointments. I have been fortunate in the past to double up on several; but then I stay overnight in a nearby hotel.

This time I planned to attend the Houston Quilt Festival. This is the first time I’ve been back since the pandemic. The show is much smaller—and I’ll talk about that later this week after I process my photos and review my notes.

However, I did have time to visit the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday afternoon.

The primary exhibit was a retrospective of Philip Guston.

I was not familiar with his work but found it interesting.

The first formal piece was a very large Mother and Child painted when Guston was still a teenager. He had just discovered Renaissance paintings and the piece does imply a significant influence.

The ‘mother’ is very masculine in appearance–almost with a five o clock shadow: the baby quite chubby.

Many of the next pieces have a soft pink background with shoe soles and red sticks with bristly hairs suggesting legs or arms.

I think this one was something about early morning looking out his window.

He progressed to some strictly abstract pieces with layers of colors reflecting differenct season.

His philosophy was that his work was all about the process not the end result.

That may be the only connonality between us—-I enjoy the process but rarely have a problem letting a piece go.

Every visit to the museum I try to find a section I have not spent time in. This time it was the Western Art section. There are several Remingtons there–on loan from the Stark Museum in Orange Texas—-but then i spied this piece.

Technically this is a piece of grafitti.

When Indians were moved from tipis to log cabins, some of the walls were covered with muslin—to keep the cold wind—and bugs out. This was painted on one of the walls and features a successful battle. The victors are on horseback, the opponents on the ground—known for shouting out insults along with arrows—see the top horse second from right—bad words coming from his mouth. The victor is portrayed several times–each time with more feathers.

The horses are stylized but each one has his hooves and legs in different positions—this is so charming and much more intriguing than shoe soles on a lovely pink background.

re-imagining the Self Portrait

Self Portraits are a time-honored artistic activity. It might be because the model is available and cheap.

I’ve done several—but most of them are with my back to the viewer—or from my much younger years—age 1 or 19.

During Covid, I had some time to think about trying something a bit different.

We are more than just our physical Prescence; we have likes and dislikes, things we do, common speech patterns and more.

I decided to present a self-portrait in a book format—one of my childhood ambitions was to read every book in our local library—I thought the librarian had the best job in the entire world.

I worked away at different aspects—name, birthday, favorite food/drink, hobbies, animals or pets, holidays.

I settled on a size large enough to be workable, yet not so large as to become cumbersome, selected some fabrics that I would work from–along with a common background quilt block.

Here are my panels before putting them together.

I stalled after completing them—how to put them together but I have a plan.

And if you are wondering, there will be a booklet available detailing my work and offering suggestions to make your own self portrait—that is not your face.

Winds and perhaps a Gentle Breeze

I’ve decided to be more aggresive in promoting my artwork. That also means I will have to produce.

I’m working on getting myself organized (Again!).

I don’t mind sorting, filing, looking through art supplies…In fact, playing with those materials–and I have a lot–I really don’t need to buy much of anything for a long time.

Organizing my digital files and photos—that is another thing. I’ve taken the photos but my labeling is haphazard and I can’t find things—maybe I just don’t know how to work the search part of the photo site—so I end up taking repeat photos.

But I think I have come up with a plan to get those organized so I can find things.

Today I entered a call regarding ‘Wind’. I have in mind two other pieces that will be fun and not so serious.

Here are the three pieces I submitted.

This was a challenge to portray the Wizard of Oz in such a way the viewer would want to read the book.

with a birthday in March, I have always been fascinated by the imagery of kites. One of my husband’s early adventures with my brothers was driving his LandCruiser over a hayfiled to generate enough win to fly a huge box kite with a brother hanging on for dear life out the back window.

Sometimes a gentle breeze is all we want–and this piece of silk with ink splattered and leaves from some young trees falling on the sidewalk in Houston functioned as templates and stamps.

It’s hard to predict what will happen. There are usually a lot of entries, the competition is quite stiff. But no-one will come looking for my artwork unless I enter. Even if rejected, it has been seen by jurors who might just remember my work.

At last!

For the past three months I’ve had an art piece on my design wall—in progress.

I don’t work fast.

I’m always experimenting with a different way to accomplish my end goal.

I’ve started making part of the piece off the finished piece. This is something I learned from some traditional applique classes. I also put a foundation under the top. doing a lot of stitching on it first and then putting on the backing and quilting.

This time I also experimented with a different way of finishing the sleeve and the bottom. I add washers to the bottom to ensure it hangs straight. This is a home decorator device for curtains–a chain is put in the bottom hem—I put washers in a sleeve at the bottom. The guys at the hardware store are surprised to hear my end purpose……In the past I sought out sand paper to sand cardboard…!!!

My workspace is always a mess while I work on a piece. I save every little bit of fabric until the piece is finished. I use a variety of threads, pulling them from my substantial collection of thread–sorted by color. Usually I use an old deli tray–the one with a central round depression for the dip with sections around it for the various vegetables—I sort the threads by color into those sections. But sometimes there isn’t enough room and I resort to a lid like this.

While a lot of folks scoff at my use of Coats and Clark–I really like the consistency, the colors–there is a purple that no-one else has….and now there is a purely poly thread with incredibly low lint production.

That piece is now quilted, photo’ed, and entered into a show—I can’t show it until I hear if it has been accepted—I don’t have a great deal of hope that it will be—but you never know.

Here is a small section.

Note the sittching goes both horizontally as the stabilizing stitches to a piece of corduroy and the vertical stitches as the quilting.

Typically I work on a pieced background of some sort–choosing the block pattern as part of the piece–this background is composed of ‘crumb’ blocks. These blocks are my leader-ender pieces sewn while working on a more traditional quilt or garment. It doesn’t take long before I have a huge stack ready to iron, trim up and add the next piece.

I’ve been asked to present a program on these blocks—and I may just do that. They are easy and appeal to those of us who enjoy using up what we have.

Flying High with a Lotus Blossom

One of my least favorite parts of being an artist is taking the formal portraits and then remembering where I stored the digital images. I haven’t figured out a good process for that yet; it’s probably because I’d rather move on to the next project.

Here are the last two art pieces I have finished. They are not re-sized or cropped or stored anywhere except on a SD card—but then I still have the pieces and can re-take photos. Alas, that is typically what I end up doing as my photo site is rather a mess.

Flying High will be one of my entries for ‘wind’

and this piece was supposed to be a guild challenge. I did not read the rules properly–it is the wrong size and not done in time—it was due January 2022. I’m planning to mount it on stretcher bars—but as of now it is still hanging in my photo studio setup next to Flying High until I process the photos.

Frying Eggs

When newspaper reporters were interested in news, one decided to see if it was really hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

It was–but it took most of the day as I recall.

I’m not eager to be outside long enough to try it again–in true scientific fashion….an experiment should be reproducible to believe the outcome.

It is hot here, very hot. Our mini-splits are struggling even though I prefer much warmer temps than most people…rheumatoid arthritis will do that.

Our life has been busy with garden duties, lawn-mowing, tending to a very ill dog—who is now back to her usual naughty self, house improvement projects—garage roof was sagging–had foundation work and then the roof repaired. The RV parked outside the shop is now gone—gone to a new home to be refurbished. The new owner seems eager to take on what looks like a huge piece of junk.

I’ve been working away at projects in my sewing room.

For several years I’ve compiled a list of UFO’s from 1 to 12 with the idea of completing one each month based on a random number drawn. A group I am in is doing the same but allowing 2 months to complete a project. That makes 18 projects!

Instead of sorting through boxes I had stuffed multiple projects in, I put down the number of the box. 1 through 4, two months are binding months–I seem to get behind on that.

This month’s draw was from Box No. 4.

I found these roughly cut diamonds left-over from my mother’s quilting days; I’ve sewn them together and trimmed to even edges—she was accurate in piecing but not in cutting. Although I think maybe my dad might have cut out some for her. She had trouble with her hands after chemo; and he did a lot of marking for her.

I also dragged out an old Art project. I pieced the top together with the idea of a portrait of my maternal aunt along with some photos from her life. Crumb blocks surrounding the main figure are supposed to suggest a lifetime of memories—she made my wedding dress along as well as one of my sister-in-law’s and a niece and her wedding party.

I have two photographs nearly done; on to the main character and a few more memories.

The white is cotton organdy; I use it as a stabilizer to build the applique; it looks rather cruel to have those pins stuck in the middle of their faces—and I’ve since redone the coat on the left and added a tie on my uncle.

I am not expert in applique; this has proven challenging.

Flying High

Yesterday I claimed I had not been working on any art pieces—sort of true but I was still mulling over this particular piece.

The background had been done for some time. A piece of ice-dyed fabric for the sky pieced with some others to suggest sunset and a field.

Rather plain!

I thought I might add a kite flier to the piece; How big should that kite flier be? And did I have a model?

My model was myself blowing bubbles.

Here are the mock-ups.

I worked away and came up with this. Note the pink in the hair–it was the second fabric I tried–and the first piece was too small. The image I was working from was from the front–and I wanted this figure to face the kite. After a couple of unsuccesses, I built it from the back forward.

looked at if for two weeks and did not like it. Took off the pants and substituted this;

I hand-stitched on part of the sleeve, the backing is a sturdy duck cloth fabric; gave up on the hand-part and machine stitched the top of the sleeve. Frequently for a piece I know is destined to be a wall piece, I add a smaller sleeve filled with washers to weigh down the bottom.

It is now destined for its formal portrait maybe next week.

Procrastination with a Capital C

Stowed out of sight in my workroom are 8 stretched canvases destined to be my new series of work illustrating the Miracles of Jesus. Perhaps I am in the contemplation stage of just exactly how I will do these—and not the way others have rendered their ideas. Sometimes I spend a lot of time looking at what others have done, but this time I have decided to make it strictly from my impressions as a bystander.

But instead of working on them, I have been procrastinating with crumb blocks.

Crumb blocks or mile a minute blocks have been my leader-enders for several years. Those unfamiliar with the term need to know they are bits of fabric sewn together at the end of stitching part of a quilt block or perhaps even a garment as a way of making sure the top thread does not get sucked down into that vast hole on the needle plate of a sewing machine to create a nest of thread—and so you don’t have to keep picking up the scissors–hidden somewhere on your work-table to snip the threads at the beginning and ending of a seam.

I prep the pieces while watching something really educational on television at night; sew them, press them when there is a big stack, trim them, and add on more fabric pieces while again watching those educational programs. Sometimes there is a section left-over from a quilt top–four patches or half square triangles. The final block size is 6.5 inches. It doesn’t take long to accumulate a lot of them…..I have a document box that was full.

I pulled out blocks that had pink in them to make a large star quilt. I pulled out pieces to add to an art piece—yes, procrastinating on that one too. But instead of working on any art project, I chose to sew these together.

Here is that box and how I set them up–two together, then twelve sets of two; the final piece begin 74 by 90.

here is my setup on my work table.. a few squares from somewhere that weren’t large enough to do anything with–but too pretty to discard

and here the top is—not quite completed–it is too big for my small’ish design wall. It is now in the stack to be quilted—three others are ahead of it.