12 Jul

Texies Sliced Quilt

You may notice in my sidebar a link to the Texies blog. And if your own blog requires that comenters have a Yahoo or Blogger account, my profile will link to the Texies. Texies are a small internet group with experimentation with fiber, particularly art quilting, in common. We are open to new techniques, materials and ideas. I have not been a very active member, and I don’t think I’ve posted anything on the blog since last summer’s fun with sun printing. I did participate in an Artist Trading Card round robin, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. So, now I’m finally stepping up and organizing a “Sliced Quilt” project. I’ve seen other groups do this and thought it would be fun and interesting. The organizer takes a photo or piece of art and divides it up into as many parts as there are participants. Then, each person gets a “cartoon,” or outline of their section, in the final size, and essentially makes an art quilt of it, using any technique they want, only staying true to the size and shape and possibly the color. When everyone is done with their part, the pieces are collected and assembled to recreate the original picture. I love the idea of seeing everyone’s style and take on the same image. We were tied between Paul Klee’s “Ad Parnassum” (I admit to being drawn in by the possibilities with stitch) and “Still Life with Fruit Dish and Mandolin” by Juan Gris as our inspiration. I had Katja flip a coin and Juan Gris won. In looking for a good color image of this I ran across another painting, “Pears and Grapes on a Table,” which I actually think will divide up better. I hope the ladies don’t kill me for changing the painting. As soon as I make and mail out the cartoon, we can get started. I’m looking forward to seeing how all the participants interpret this.

11 Jul

Scraps

I spent a bit of time yesterday sorting scraps.

One pile makes sense:

Green Scraps

One doesn’t. Yet:

They match the rug though.

I’m actually kind of excited about the nonsensical pile.

Katja took a big handful from what was left and convinced me that she needed to sew a quilt. I helped her to fit the pieces together (like a puzzle) and to guide the fabric while she sewed. She did most everything else. To finish it up quickly, we used a pillowcase finish and loopy free motion quilting. I put the stitch regulator on, but after 1 1/2 hours working on the quilt, Katja’s attention span was waning and I ended up doing most of the quilting after all. She was quite pleased about sewing the turning hole closed all by herself though.

Katja's Doll Quilt

10 Jul

Healing Garden

I finished this embroidery today and hope to send it to it’s new home before the week is over. It’s my interpretation of a lush Florida garden. I think there’s probably more green in a Floridian garden, but my association with the recipient is more purple and turquoise.

Healing Garden

Healing Garden”   6″ x 4 1/4″  2007

Based on a year of pieced forests, fields and houses, where is all this embroidery coming from? It’s been moving under the surface for a long time. I don’t remember any specific projects I completed, but I know that I was fascinated with Erica Wilson‘s work when I was a young teenager. Her 1973 Embroidery Book, was practically our family craft bible. A few years ago, I tried my hand at marbling fabric and one piece in particular called out to be “encrusted” with embroidery. An article from the Embroiderers Guild which I had found while researching chatelaine ideas offered the perfect solution. “Seaweed?” was the result of that experiment. More recently, I’ve been attracted to Anne Lange‘s work, as well as the paintings of Jen Garrido, which led to the layers of raw edge appliqué and embroidery in recent projects.

Healing Garden detail

In working small (for various reasons), I’ve found that the entire scale of my work changes. That sounds obvious, but what I mean is that I’m not just making the same things in a smaller size. Piecing wants to be broader strokes and a bigger end product, while smaller works beg to get lost in the details. Hence my need to pile on the French knots, picots, beads, etc. which I would not do on something bed sized (or at least not to the same extent).

Here’s how this one came together:

09 Jul

Goals and the Business Side (not necessarily related)

First off, I have to say that this post made much more sense and flowed better in my head this afternoon while I cooked lunch. It seems to have lost something in the translation to actual words. I hate it when that happens.

I spent the morning today reconciling the checkbook, paying a few bills, and doing a bit of quilt-related business. One of my goals early this year was to enter one (inter-) national, art quilt oriented show. To that end I have actually entered quite a few shows. My track record to date (one of the things I did this morning was make sure I was up to date on the location of all my quilts) is thus — just in case anyone was wondering:

Sacred Threads: Didn’t enter (lack of appropriate work).

Patchwork Treff in Berlin: “My Dreamhouse Has Roots” was accepted into the Dream House competition, but won nothing. Unfortunately, the report is that the show was very disappointing (not that that has anything to do with my quilt not winning anything). Bad location and too many small quilts. I was also not terribly impressed with the few quilts I saw on the web. The Fairy Tale World competition at last year’s Main Quilt Festival had more impressive work, IMHO.

From The Heart (European Quilts): Missed the deadline.

Festival Of Quilts: I got my official notification today that “Quiltstadt” was not accepted into their Quilts 2007 competition. However, it will hang, along with “Fliegenpilz II,” in the main exhibition (really, anyone willing to go through their multi-step application process and fork over a bunch of money, will have their work hung). It actually surprises me that the main show is completely open given the high quality of the work I’ve seen published on the web.
AQS Nashville: Didn’t enter. I’m having a hard time visualizing where my work belongs. It’s too traditional compared to what makes it into the art quilt shows and too messy/artsy-fartsy for the traditional shows. I wasn’t getting excited about this show, so I decided not to throw money at it.

Art Quilts Lowell: “Village Series #2” was accepted; “Village Series #1” was not. That works for me.

SAQA’s Creative Force 2007: “My Dream House Has Roots” was officially rejected about a week ago. I wasn’t surprised, and it was for the better anyways since I had tried to pull the quilt out of the running after finding out that the Berlin Guild wanted to take the quilts from their show and display them at the Main Quilt Festival in September, which conflicted with SAQA’s deadlines and show.
World Quilt Show: “Traumwald” has been accepted into the show, representing Germany. No word yet on any winnings, or lack thereof.
I’m not seeing Quilt Visions or Quilt National in my future at this point. I need to work and grow more.
As an aside, looking at my goals again, I see that I haven’t made much progress. I did not learn GoLive. But, in my defense, I did find a way to update my website, and I’ve learned a bit about Contribute.

I did teach an art quilt class at Patch & Work in Halle, and here in Heidelberg as well, with a third class canceled, but two more scheduled in the fall. I have yet to create and teach beginner level classes for the Arts & Crafts Center on post, and may not get around to it.

I have made no progress on pushing my paper pieced patterns.

I have pretty much decided not to enroll in the City & Guilds patchwork diploma program. I realized that it was a lot of money and work for essentially something I did (and my parents already paid for) in art school. I just need to tap into what I already know and apply it to art quilts.

I have not taken advantage of the longarm quilting opportunity. But I have done lots of little crafty projects which have been fun for me and appreciated by their recipients.

Back to the business side of things, I have been invited to participate in a fine craft fair in the fall, so there will be more info on that to come. Today, I filled out the paperwork to officially copyright 10 of my quilts from my Impressions of Germany show. As a group, I can copyright them together for one fee. I seriously doubt that anyone is going to take a picture of “Raps,” or any of my other quilts, and do something like print it on T-shirts without crediting me, and make a mint on it. However, there’s been a lot of talk around the quilt world regarding safeguarding your work, and although I’m not willing at this juncture to individually copyright the quilts to the tune of $450, I can certainly afford to invest $45.

Speaking of money, I have sold one quilt this year and have another sale in progress, both of which go a long way towards paying for this hobby of mine. Show related costs have now been covered, although neither sale has resulted from any quilts having made it into any shows. I am always amazed at those people who can enter shows with the confidence that they will win prizes and therefore recoup their money. For me, contests are much more like going to Vegas: You have to decide up front how much money you’re willing to loose and then the game becomes how long can you make it last. Ah, validation by slot machine.

I guess I’ll call this my half-yearly progress report. Not great if my life depended on it, but not half bad for a hobby.

07 Jul

7/6/07

I’m a day late posting, but I at long last I at least have something to post. My machine came back from it’s annual check-up on the 4th, so I had to push everything aside and do a needle doodle. Not having done any in almost two weeks, I really felt rusty. Never having free-motion-quilted on such a regular basis before, I had no idea what a difference it made. I sewed for a half hour before I felt “warmed up.” I was filling in spaces on large scale floral fabric and tried a spiral or two. That led me to trying spirals in different sizes. I’m not a very accurate spiral-maker, but when they become an overall pattern with a variety of sizes, I don’t think that accuracy is as important anymore. Of course, I had to see what the spirals look like next to bubble/pebbles. Not bad. Then I tried a flower based on a drawing in my current calendar — just because I’ve been doing mostly all-over patterns lately and needed to “draw.”

7/6/07

Here’s a close-up because I tried doing the spirals with a thick, shiny, rayon thread I have. It frays way too easily and so I’ve been trying it on lots of stuff to see what I can do with it. (I think it just wants to be used for simple embroidery on a loose cloth.) Anyways, it broke too much, so I switched to normal rayon thread and away I went.

7/6/07 detail

Speaking of thread, I ordered a sampling from Red Rock Threads, which arrived on the 5th. I was eager to try out the 100 weight silk like I had used at Nadine‘s. I filled a bobbin with the entire roll!! I’ll have to remember next time to order two spools of each color: one for the top thread and one for the bobbin. They will last forever though. Nadine, did we use Bottom Line or something else in the bobbin? I forgot.

The spirals reminded me of artist Jacqueline Heinz, who does wonderful things with free-motion quilting. Recently, Angela brought up the idea of a “modern whole-cloth” quilt and I think that Jacqueline does just about that. She adds in more fibers, which takes it away from whole-cloth, but her patterning with free motion quilting is definitely what I thought of when I considered the idea of a modern whole-cloth.

04 Jul

Independence

Thank you all for the kind support of art over housework. I especially appreciate that my moms are so supportive of my creative ventures. I’m very fortunate that way.

The point I was trying to make yesterday was that not all creative/crafty gals have picture perfect homes with coordinating linens and seasonally appropriate decor (or even the blogland impression of such). Many of us are messy. Probably a great deal more of us are messy. And that’s OK. That’s just the way it is. We make choices each day to clean up, or to make art. We hope to create a balance between a home that is hygienic enough for our families and time enough to stare at our navels and create wonderful things out of that introspection.

So, there will be no lovely still lives of cherished possessions or tidy corners on this blog. However, it appears from your comments that that’s not what you’re looking for on my blog anyways. You came here to see art quilts! And quilts there will be.

In honor of American Independence Day, I’ll share what is shaping up to be my longest work in progress. (The first quilt I started took eight years to finish. This one has been in the works since 2002.) This is the last quilt in the last five years in which I relied on traditional patterns and drafting, although it’s probably not the last essentialy traditional quilt I will ever make.

Service Star quilt detail

I made this in the fervor of patriotism after Sept 11, 2001, but it is more a response to my husband’s deployments and the sacrifices all service members make and have made throughout the history of the United States. It’s a little bit about the connection my husband and my grandfather had as well, both being officers in the army. It is a big Service Flag. It seemed appropriate to make when all the soldiers around spent the better part of 2002 with very long days and nights trying to balance their training with guarding their units and families. I had already made a very small service flag quilt when TS&WGH went to Kosovo three years previous. It became all the more poignant when my husband and his unit deployed to Kuwait and eventually Iraq at the end of the year. I made great progress on the quilt in the first half of 2003, but then hubby returned and it was the hottest summer in Europe since who knows when (though we got no sympathy from our troops returning from the desert!). Needless to say, it was too hot to hand quilt and my King-sized Service Flag got put away, and then got shoved aside for “the great gallery show preparation of 2006.” I now bring it every other week to the hand work group I belong to and manage to quilt in the ditch of one log cabin border block each session.

Service Star quilt WIP

The quit is made of 50 paper pieced “white” stars making the background of the service star. On top of that is appliquéd one large blue star, embellished with trapunto and a broderie perse garland with embroidery. The red border is log cabin blocks representing the home fires. In the centers of 25 log cabins are US flags divided into two groups of 7 and 18, representing the month and day TS&WGH went off to basic training. Many of the fabrics have stars, stripes, or the Pledge of Allegiance. The back of the quilt has a large panel with the Pledge of Allegiance printed on it. Did I mention I’m hand quilting the whole thing? I’m not sure how, or if, I’ll add fringe to the bottom. I suspect I have a year or so to mull over the options. You may note in the background is a WWII-era service flag, though not my grandfather’s, and a WWII-era Fifth War Bond/Victory poster by my favorite poster artist Ludwig Hohlwein. Yes, my American is showing.

03 Jul

Connundrum of a Housewife/Artist

What’s your tipping point? I think mine comes in two to three week cycles. I ignore the housework/bill paying/business side of things because I don’t like doing them. But then I can’t do the navel-staring, creative, art making either because I’m distracted by the crumbs on the floor and whatever that is growing in the sink. Besides, there’s always a looming activity for someone to be shuttled to, an appointment to be met, or an unexpected urgency of some sort or another. So, the fires get put out, the boring stuff gets put off, and the fun stuff still waits for the perfect timing. This week looks pretty good for me, so the conundrum is “put off the housework and get into art-making?” or “clean up really well so I can concentrate on fun projects without distraction?” I was leaning towards fun stuff, but I needed to renew my car registration sooner rather than later. That ate up my whole morning, so instead of my intended late-morning navel staring, I got home just in time to pick up and feed kids. So then I vacuumed. And cleaned behind the fridge and stove (not in front though). A good vacuuming can do wonders for me, so I almost thought I could postpone any more cleaning for another week. But no, I did the music class taxi thing and now it’s time to make dinner. Maybe this IS the week for heavy cleaning (the bathrooms are calling and the front of the kitchen appliances and cabinets want to match the backs). Next week is looking good for art.

01 Jul

Cuteness

Katja’s friends’ double birthday party was finally today. Katja was so excited to give her friends their gym bags and skirts. By the time I picked her up, all three girls had their skirts on!

Girl Skirts

On the way back, I stopped in a field I have been admiring for a few weeks. the light wasn’t perfect, but I got at least one nice picture of the wonderful blue/purple and yellow color scheme.

Cornflowers and Sunflowers

I like these wierd little pink flowers too:

Wierd pink flowers