15 Jan

Sounds like Daunting

But it’s a “Tjanting” tool. With this, a toothbrush and a spray bottle, I spent Saturday morning painting in the basement.

Tjanting, spray bottle and non-skid mat

I first used this tool at AQT in Tahoe, where I combined the drawing with stamps and patchwork to make this piece:

It’s fun to write with!

I used the toothbrush (masking the shapes with yarn) to make these “roots:”

The spray bottle was for bleach:

Normally, the tjanting is used with wax for batik, but you can also use it with slightly thinned acrylic paint (or variations thereof) and use it like a pencil. Cover your workspace with an old towel and then an old sheet or piece of muslin (all taped down taught). Then you can smooth your fabric on top and paint away. The tjanting glides wonderfully across the fabric to make lines with wonderful character.

13 Jan

Trying to Think

Sometimes it’s a major effort just to keep a train of thought on track. (In fact, I hear a derailer coming up the stairs right now, so forgive me if I become incoherent.)

Sometimes it would be nice to be an accountant. I could go to work, open my books, match up the numbers, go home, and put on my mommy hat. But noooooooooo, I have to be an artist, where I can have a few hours to myself, but only manage to read blogs or tidy my space; and then another day, I can be struck by an idea, yet have to schlep the kids to an activity, or know that by the time I get all my supplies set up and I’m ready to work, the rest of the household will be clamoring for my attention (just because it’s been an hour since I gave them any). It can be very difficult to think deep thoughts and problem-solve while someone is orbiting you asking how to draw a P or if you could make the baby doll diapers, all the while rambling on in some stream of consciousness monologue.

I’ve been holding onto a general idea for a little while now, and I was begining to think that I wasn’t up to the task of bringing it to fruition. Then, yesterday, someone said something which sparked an idea, and now I’m dying to work it out. I’ve got a couple of directions I want to go, and a deadline I could impose if I wanted to keep this on track. As luck would have it though, I need to go make some breakfast and play a game of dominoes. I’d love at least a week completely alone to really get this started (art making, not breakfast), but realisticly I need to focus my thoughts and make some smart decisions and be efficient in the few hours I have (not necessarily when I need them). I find that this is not always conducive to the artistic train of thought, or manner of working.

I also know I am not the only one who wrestles with this.

09 Jan

Quilt Shows

I’m looking at the things on my list of goals for 2007 and organizing a list of all the possible art quilt shows I could enter this year. I don’t want to just throw out a bunch of entries (and money) and see where it lands. I’d rather just enter a few, appropriate shows (and see what happens). I was thinking this morning that I don’t even have clear goals as to why I want to enter shows — it just seems like the thing to do.

Do I want to get my name out there to garner more teaching jobs? That’s not my priority. I enjoy the little bit of teaching that I do, but I don’t think I have found that thing which is uniquely me that I have to offer the world as a teacher.

Do I want the big prize money? Sure, who doesn’t? But it’s not a realistic goal. My quilts don’t have the meticulous piecing, teeny pieces, or over-the-top quilting to win in traditional shows, nor do they have enough grey and orange to get into the art shows.

Do I want to flesh out my resumé? That’s probably it. That would help next time I decide to shop around for a gallery, would add value to quilts for sale, and couldn’t hurt on the teaching front.

OK, so now I need some help choosing resumé-building shows to try to get accepted into. The obvious ones would be Quilt Visions and Quilt National. Those are at least a year off, and quite lofty goals. Something to tackle a little later.

On my list of posiblities now are:

Tactile Architecture (if I finish any AQT-inspired house quilt)s))

From The Heart European Quilts

Festival of Quilts, England (I had issues with their process last year, but I’d stay more on top of it this time around and my quilts would be in interesting company)

AQS Nashville’s On The Wall Contest

Art Quilts Lowell (I don’t know much about this one, but it’s call for entries was in Quilting Arts, if that means anything?)

Art Quilts at the Sedgwick I think I’ve heard good things about this show

European Art Quilts V I was impressed with the entries in the last show, and flattered that I was sent preliminary info–this would be another lofty goal…

European Quilt Triennial I wasn’t confident this time around, but after seeing the show, I think it is within my grasp. Of course, I’d have to still be here in Germany in three years!

Pacific International Quilt Fest As a Californian at heart, I find myself drawn to this show

World Quilt Show I did well last year, and I’ve connected to a few German quilt artists through this, so I think I’d be willing to do it again

Form Not Function obviously not this year, but maybe next time around?

So, any sage advice from other artist/quilters out there? Anyone think that any of the shows here are obvious wastes of time/money? Am I missing something good somewhere else? So far, I am not really feeling excited about any of them. Probably because I have nothing new on my walls here, and I want to make something with depth, so that’s scaring me a bit. I’m at kind of a loss as to where to start. But that’s a conversation for another day.

08 Jan

Uh, wow!

I donated this quilt to the Kim Family Benefit Auction, and man if it didn’t perform! Gerrie, Stephanie and Lisa are doing a great job coordinating all the artists who contributed, and the final count was triple their expectations! I am humbled to be a part of this effort, and honored that people would value my work enough to bid on it.

05 Jan

File this one under “Say What?”

Or more to the point, file it under Microsoft Sucks! Recently I’ve had a few people point out that my web sight (not my blog) is not loading on their computers. Things seem to be OK on my end when I look at the site using Firefox or Safari (both on my Mac), but I’ve asked my Tech Support Department (my most patient and accommodating husband) to look into it. He built the web site on his PC using Front Page, Microsoft’s software that comes with the whole Microsoft Office package (or did). While he was away this summer his computer died and he’s had to rebuild it since he got home. Well, lo and behold, my website won’t load on his PC either — at least when he uses the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. It is just fine on his PC with Firefox.

I am sorry that I don’t have an answer or quick fix for this discovery (other than suggesting everyone go download Firefox and use it as your internet browser). I do plan on rebuilding the site using an Adobe product, but that could take a while as I aught to learn the program first. In the meantime, it appears that one Microsoft product doesn’t want to play nice with another Microsoft product. I’m sure in their quest for world domination this makes sense, but here in my little basement I just don’t get it.

05 Jan

Today’s Project

When Zavi was a baby, I bought a meter of tan flannel with snowflakes on it. I had dreams of making cute toddler clothes for him. Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. Nor did the cute toddler clothes for Katja (and there’s a TON of ideas out there!). A few months ago, I got a pattern at our guild meeting for 50¢ which was definitely Katja.

I’m trying to use up fabric in my stash, so instead of buying adorable orange fleece with pink chenille flowers on it (for about 20€ per meter — yikes!), I decided to use the snowflake flannel. There wasn’t quite enough, so I pulled out some pink linen or lawn which I got years ago from a neighbor who made a lot of dresses. It’s a lot lighter than the flannel, but I think it worked out OK anyways.

I had a fat quarter of cute Japanese cotton that was too cutsie for my quilts, but perfect for a girl’s dress. I used it to line the pink hood, and for a “Musicians of Bremen” patch on the kangaroo pocket on the front of the jumper.

05 Jan

Another Pin Cushion

I’ve participated in all four of the Pin Cushion Challenges so far, so I can’t stop now. The theme for December/January is Winter Wonderland, so here’s my winter tree.

As you can see, I’m really making the most of these stuffed cones. It was my first idea a month ago, and I never came up with anything I liked better. It’s made out of the same wool pants that I used on my crêche figures. I also got to use some fringe I’ve had for a while and loved, but hadn’t had a good use for.


The pins are supposed to be abstract little birds flitting around the tree. They also have on their holiday finery 🙂

02 Jan

Crêche Craft Details

Here’s the details of the aforementioned Crêche; all of the players have embroidered wool felt faces and hair (with a few fused cotton details):

The Holy Family

Mary is made from white felted wool pants and a scraps of blue homespun. Josef is Bolivian fabric and another pair of felted wool pants. Jesus is felted wool and red felt embroidered and beaded a lá Russian icons.
The first attendees of The birth

The shepherd is linen and burlap. The angel and sheep are felted wool. Her wings have crocheted, ribbon, and embroidered embellishments.
Three Kings

Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar are corduroy and a felted wool scarf, ultra suede scraps, and a South American woven respectively. All are embellished with various buttons, beads, trims and yarn made of silk sari bits.
The fabric gods have smiled on me. By allowing the double knit house dresses into my fabric stash, my Karma was such that my sister sent me wonderful South American wovens and other tasty bits for Christmas. This nativity set benefited greatly from her gift, although a lot was from my stash as well. Somehow, no Northern German blaudruck fabric made it into the mix.