I’m not always the fastest at completing projects.
Three bis of leftovers have been waiting patiently on a small tray. They are the bits from a meticuluously pieced triagnle quilt of gray, pink, white and smudges of blue that I have made into a nice jacket with matching purse, an auction donation piece and now three smallish pieces; one destined for the new owner of the auction piece, one for me, and destined for the SAQA’s Spotlilght auction held at their annual conference.
Here are the two completed thus far;
The edges are grey lace seam tape; twisted and sewn down around the edges.
I haven’t quite figured out how to present the one destined for the Spotlight Auction yet—I have enough seam lace to edge it but it needs to be 6inches by 8 inches and it is just a bit smaller. perhaps mounted on a piece of black felt would work—something to ponder–it is not due for several months.
While there is a great deal of charm in a hundred year old house–built solidly to withstand hurricanes—there are also challenges.
The wall are thick–double brick, metal lath, plaster—a very quiet house—but no walls to move at a whim to accommodate access for large appliances or re-modetling.
Then there is the question of electrical outlets. Built in an era with few electrical appliances, an outlet or two in a room was an extravagance. And lights? When you went to bed with the chickens and got up when they did—not much need for more than one light in a room.
But then there comes the time in your life when you might want to sew during a rainstorm…..or early evening…and you don’t want to trip over electrical extension cords.
It is odd having an electrician not related to you in any fashion but yet feeling like an old family friend who likes old houses and the challenge of making things work.
I’ve been on his to-do list for several months—and yesterday was the day his son and helper appeared to put in outlets and overhead lights.
That necesitated moving a few things—and here is what I had to do to prep for the installation.
and perhaps the most important outlet of all—-I had been running my sewing machine, lamp, Alexa, laptop from an extension cord from the master bedroom.
And if you are thinking what a grand mess this is–and was before the outlet and lighting project–you are quite right. I had been trying to clear out projects needing just a bit more to complete====and happy to say much has been processed—but more remains—and it did not help to take on a new hobby with new supplies and now partially done projects.
I had planned to schedule ‘messy days’ at my shop as part of an art group.
But then Covid-19 delta variant came along—and that was just too risky for me.
But I did play a bit.
I bought a turkey roaster from Walmart—specifically for eco-dyeing.
I picked up a few leaves around the shop; layered them on water-color paper, turned on the roaster, let it cook for about an hour and a half; turned it off–and then waited—impatiently!!!
I took the paper out–removed the leaves, and let the paper dry over my clothes drying rack—found at Treasure House—my church’s resale shop—for $1 again impatiently waiting for the paper to dry.
And here is the result.
The roaster comes with a rack with handles—so you can lift out your turkey or other roasted item easily. However it left lines on the paper—I’ll have to look for some flat ceramic tiles to layer the paper on so as to avoid those lines.
Still a fun project–and I’m ready to try some more…..trees and shrubs and plants beware!
Grackles are a common bird, the males of the bird world being both more showy and more vocal than the females. We have three nesting pairs of cardinals in our backyard–all spaced as to not overlap territory–and I can hear them whistling from early morning to late afternoon. Grackles, do not have an attractive song o whistle—being more of a croak. But Still they posed for me on that rail at Cat-Tail Marsh.
This piece is on its way to the SAQA trunk show, SAQA being short hand for Studio Art Quilt Association. I have been a member for many years although recently I have had concerns regarding their foray into politics. Artists have always expressed their political views in their creations, ranging from Picasso’s “Guernica’ to Steinback’s Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat to Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Woman’. Early in Hitler’s regime, artists were sanctioned or fled or were imprisoned. However, artists were always free to express their own views—especially in opposition to any organization.
SAQA has aligned itself to two groups espousing a particular viewpoint—and I suppose thinking they are encouraging protest against the mainstream. Unfortunately, no other viewpoints are allowed—the idea being that everyone thinks as they do. They have fallen prey to a certain social media slant that does not represent my viewpoint.
Reluctantly I sent in an auction donation and now a trunk show piece. It will be mounted nicely and be part of box of artwork sent to various places. I thought about this for a very long time; if sending in these items meant supporting their narrow-minded way of viewing the world?
Recently I tried to enter three of my fiber pieces in a local art show. They were rejected because the acceptance committee did not understand ‘gallery-wrapped’ frames.
The options for showing my work are therefore so limited, I want my work to be seen—-and maybe this group will re-consider its thoughtless.
On the other hand, I use these ‘opportunities’ to try out a new technique or way of working. This particular piece used a fusible interfacing—eliminating all the stray threads on the edges of the bird.
And I am so eager to have it printed and the final copy in my hands.
And speaking of hands—and mine in particular—they are the star/s of this piece.
All of that sounds a bit presumptuous—however…..
Earlier this year, a call from Webster Presbyterian went out for Stations of the Cross as part of the observation of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. In the midst of the pandemic with vaccinations being meagerly doled out, this provided an opportunity for something creative and a way to escape the dreariness of limited social contacts.
Within six weeks, I completed the artwork, wrote a small paragraph about each, took the final photos and then struggled to put it into a booklet format.
One of my dear friends took on the formatting for me—and with a few final touches it is nearly done and ready for final printing. She is a perfectionist and her similar booklets are exquisite—but for me, this time—it will be complete.
I don’t want to spoil the ‘ta-da’ of the final piece—but here are a few notes about it.
I typically do several in process photos—and here is how I mark for lettering–all hand embroidered.
There are always a few ‘oops’ such as misspellings—how could I not notice this.
Fortunately it was an easy fix—just peeled off that ‘i’ and replaced it with an ‘e’.
Having a printed proof in hand makes the entire project seem more real–although I have a box full of the completed artwork–all 11 by 14 on gallery strectched canvases.
The background fabric is dyed with walnut husks, the hands were constructed of various wood dyed fabrics ranging from humble corduroy to silk. I used my hands as reference photos–a bit of a challenge taking photos of my right hand. I used a piece of packing styrofoam as a backdrop and a desk lamp as the light.
I asked two family members to take a look—and several others picked it up—and were all impressed—-
And so now I must wait just a bit longer for the final product.
A mid afternoon doctor’s appointment at the Medical Center in Houston on a Friday afternoon is not preferable given the propensity of early weekend traffic—and traffic through and around Houston seems to have tripled in past months.
However, I wanted to try another viewing of Monet to Matisse at the MFA. I toured the exhibit several weeks ago—another doctor appointment—but I did not realize I could take photographs as there was no show catalog. I was determined to get some nice photos of some of my favorite paintings in the exhibit.
Happily I spied a Berthe Morisot—a garden painting—maybe during her honeymoon
; and this Renoir of a girl resting her chin on a chair—
and then a Gaugin of a small boy in blue—not the voluptuous mostly naked women usually associated with his name.
A Matisse—with its incredibly flat rendition of a water -harborscene—suggestive of wall-paper–no brushstrokes evident—the Monet also of a water -harbor scene–with the glimmerings of the beginning of expressionism
Then there was a Toulouse-LaTrec–on a special kind of cardboard used in billboards—and he did a lot of those—the head of a supercilious woman looking down at the viewer—and a Degas of two ballerinas head and shoulders in sepia tones.
The final gallery was 30 some paintings by Bonnard—-perhaps his work needs to be seen repeatedly to begin to enjoy—I don’t recall seeing any of his paintings before–they all seemed rather dark and dreary and mostly dark green and dark red landscapes.
I was so enjoying the paintings and taking photos until I was poked by a woman in a blue sweater who hissed ‘no flash photography allowed in here’.
Hmm—those flash cubes in the past had a theoretical potential of sparks—although why that should be a concern with all the water sprinklers everywhere—–and no-one has demonstrated the tiny automated flashes from a camera–not the huge ‘lights-camera-action’ lights faded paintings.
So I switched to my phone–which might have a flash feature but I haven’t figured how to work that yet—or how to transfer those photos to my laptop.
But I did manage to visit one of my favorite sculptures—Matisse’s Backs in the Cullen Sculpture Garden—deserted on that hot Friday afternoon with brilliant blue skies.
I always wondered what his model thought of how she was represented and how did all those really fancy frames get put on those paintings–did the artists choose them—or were they traditional ‘standard’ frames.
One of the challenges in managing artwork or even just projects is giving them a name and them remembering what that name is—so you (I) can find it again.
I’ve tried several different methods of labeling things but as always if it is in a box/bag/folded up and labeled something I may not remember what it is. That means a nice surprise when I open up a box/sort through a tote—and that is nice.
But then, how to keep track of inventory? Particularly when I am contemplating doing vendor events?
I am visually oriented but I also don’t like a lot of things open—that goes for my laptop as well as my work areas—-although right now no-one looking at these spaces would agree.
However, I have come up with a method to try over then next few months to see if it works for me.
Since my hand-writing is not elegant–although more legible than some; I create labels for my pieces using a nice font, print them out, copy them onto the prepared labels—and that is a story for another time—and now I am printing them each on their own piece of paper and then printing a photo of the piece at the bottom of the paper. I also include the dimension of the piece and any other information I find pertinent.
The label is the last thing that goes on the piece—and although I may take process photos, the final photo is with binding and label attached.
I’ve experimented a bit with my photo site—-the latest is with a clothesline hung over the front porch—using clothespins I don’t have to pin on a sleeve. And these pieces are for fun—not for entering into show.
Here are my latest two completed pieces.
Poky Puppy was constructed while I was recuperating from back surgery and as part of Ricky Tims’ Gridified Art Quilt. It has a lot of novelty fabrics in it—and thankfully was able to use up a lot of the cat fabric I had bought to make a friend a gift.
The other piece is called We Three Kings—it was part of a round robin I participated in via internet many years ago. The central piece is a batik panel I bought in Africa; it is surround by some other African prints. I don’t really have a good place to hang seasonal quilts–but this would be my Christmas quilt.
Over the past few weeks I have been taking a class—via Zoom—from Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts on Complex Curves. I had signed up for her class in March 2020 and then Covid happened. And I had hoped her class in Wisconsin would occur—but then Covid still was around. So I was pleased when she offered the class via Zoom.
Our first assignment wasn’t hard–draw three curved lines in a squarish type area and make four blocks. I used a batik and a lot of orange in that one—and it was fun. (I”ll post photos of it when it is qullted)
Our next assignment was to include some curves—I used a feedsack and an embroidered dish towel as focus fabrics—and I’ll post photos of that after it is quilted.
But then our next assignment was to make a focal piece, add curved connectrors and some curved borders/extensions.
She had shown us a quilt she had made for a girl called Nora–and I was entranced. Her name was short–just four letters and it was done in bold graphic letters. Could I do it with a more lyrical sense?
It was not easy to piece some of the small areas; nor easy to do the larger curves. But it is pieced and ready to quilt.
And I”m sure you are waiting with bated breath to see how I lined up those curves.
It would have been far easier to applique this whole thing—but once started, I was reluctant to toss the whole project–I was determined to finish it.
Blogging is a natural progression for someone who enjoys the written word and beautiful imagery. My photographs are hosted at sylviaweir.smugmug.com. I am slowly transitioning all my photographs to this site and will hopefully edit them to a manageable number. In the meantime, I have organized my blog photos by year and so you may wish to merely sample the blog photos
Feel free to contact me for any questions. My website here has not been fully populated but as I work on my smugmug site, I will update these pages.
My work begins with a word, a thought, an idea, or a bit of a poem. I search through my library of images mostly on Smugmug or sometimes I go out and photograph new images. A pieced quilt pattern is sometimes chosen, sometimes I use a piece of fabric I have altered in the past. The imagery is added on using hand applique and then thread is used to add details.
Each piece is meant to draw the viewer inward providing them with ample opportunities to add their own story to the piece. If the piece evokes the emotion or thought I wished conveyed, then I consider the piece successful.
Sometimes I play 'what if' with fabric and paint and imagery. These might be considered equivalent to scale work in music--something I always enjoyed.