15 Mar

“Hobble the arts and you hobble innovation.*”

I don’t proclaim to know anything about the economy. In fact, I don’t understand why we’re giving money to people who lost it (would you hand your kid replacement allowance if they flat out lost theirs or spent it on candy instead of the trading cards or lunch they should have spent it on?). I don’t understand why it’s a crisis right now when layoffs and foreclosures have been happening for years (except attention to it began as a political ploy). I don’t understand why the supposed experts appear to be complete idiots and why those we elect to represent us act like petulant children who will only play the game if it’s played their way. We seem to live in a society that is all or nothing. Being the best or biggest at any cost gains one praise, and being rock bottom or a victim gains one sympathy and aid, but working hard and acting responsibly gets one no kudos and possibly even makes life harder. Nope, I just don’t get it.

OK, got that out of my system. Tangentially, I read this interesting¬† article in Psychology Today (via Susie Monday’s blog) about what we should be spending our tax dollars on. There’s more than one way to skin a cat and although in the short term training for “viable” jobs with the basics of math, reading, grammar, and science are all important, in the long run, well rounded education including all the arts will reach more students and nourish the intellect — making us all richer for the effort.

I also heard this on “All Things Considered” a week or so ago. It made me chuckle. Ah, the irony of being able to make money off one’s art when you’ve got nothing of value to say versus having all kinds of visceral messages to convey yet no patrons to afford it.

*By Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein on February 11, 2009 – Imagine That!

10 Mar

It’s Beautiful!

18 days ago, our caterpillar shed it’s skin and became a chrysalis. The next day, the chrysalis had smoothed out to look like this:

The weather turned cool and rainy and I read that caterpillars/butterflies can overwinter in pupa or chrysalis stage, so I resigned myself for a possible long wait. But then the last two days have been warm. After my walk this morning, I went out to look at the chrysalis and it had changed color.

I wasn’t sure if this was because it was camouflaging itself against the now fuller coleus plant, if it was a dud, or if it was about to hatch. I’d heard the hatching happens relatively quickly, but figured on an hour or two. I went in the house to read my email and when I returned a half hour later, look who had emerged:

I’m sad to have missed the actual “birth” of the butterfly, but I am overjoyed that it made it through it’s complete cycle and once again, nature has worked her magic. I sat impatiently for the butterfly to warm up it’s wings — which was infinitely longer than it took to emerge from it’s cocoon. It flitted to a few sunny spots to warm up some more (not helped by me chasing it with the camera) and then flew off.

Now all that’s left is the empty shell:

09 Mar

What Do You Think?

This is a low priority project that I’ve kept setting aside and I finally decided to just do. Ultimately, it should be a quilt for the guest bed we don’t have.

Funny aside: the extra bed we’ve previously had was on loan from the Army as you can borrow basic furniture when living overseas. They don’t loan furniture here in Hawai’i since it is part of the US. However, being stationed in Hawai’i is considered an overseas tour (technically one must go over a sea to get here) and we did what’s called a Consecutive Overseas Tour to get from Germany to here. Go figure.

Anyway, my intention above was to make scrappy mushrooms and piece them as a fairy ring into a scrappy, strippy background. Everything was to be from my stash. Looking at it now, I’m thinking that maybe the ‘shrooms get a little lost and I fully accept that I may have gone overboard on the scrappy background. My solution would be to continue piecing the background strips and then overdye the whole quilt top in a dark green to knock everything back a bit and even out the color. Then I’d add in the fairy ring. This is the same construction I was originally planning, just with the addition of a trip through a bucket of dye before adding the ‘shrooms. My concern with the dye is that the seams will hold more dye and call attention to themselves. I’d be doing a scrunchy type dyeing so complete uniformity is not necessary though.

Before I laid the strips out on my bed, I was concerned that I didn’t have enough strips to finish the top (now unfounded), so I went back to one of my first sketches. What if the ‘shrooms were in a line and the strips were only on one side? I’d have to go buy new fabric for the other side (white blanket in the photo), but maybe then I wouldn’t need to dye the strips — especially if I used them for only about 1/3 of the top instead of the half that it looks like here.

Does anyone have a preference or two cents to add?

09 Mar

Cloud House

Cloud House 18″x18″ ¬©2009 Kristin La Flamme

A gifted piece of fabric with a sun-shiny face in it called to look upon a house nestled in the surrounding clouds. Gardens grow a bit wonky here, but all is soft and inviting. Textile collage of stamped and commercial fabrics, embroidery, felted wool, crochet and quilting. Mounted on an unprimed, stretched linen canvas.

08 Mar

A Pair of Pretty Projects

I promised to show how I display Jude‘s spirit cloth on a pillow. In keeping with her style, I stitched it, raw edge, with embroidery floss, to a linen/cotton pillow form with a damask-like floral pattern. I was happy to find a dusky pink crocheted trim from my sister in my box of goodies and sewed that along the edge of the pillow. The finished piece sits on a glider in my bedroom, often accompanied by our cat who always finds the most comfortable place in the house.

I’ve also finished the scrappy, wonky, stars quilt and it is now on it’s way to my hubby who will see that it gets to a wounded soldier. I’ve named it, thanks to Claire‘s Grace‘s (sorry, my bad — didn’t bother to check) comment, “Stars at Dusk.”

Here’s another view.

06 Mar

Pre-Swap Swappiness

Deborah found a cute mushroom swap she thought I’d like. I convinced her that she should participate too (mwahaha!). To add to the fun, we decided to do a little private swap as well. I sent her a mushroom man, mushroom chocolates, and a pincushion, of course.

She sent me a beautiful mixed media mushroom and a wonderful package of cool papers, tags, ribbon, cards and vintage hankies — all in red and white! I’m liking this swap thing.

Mixed Media Mushroom by Deborah Boschert (photo by Deborah too)

Oh, and speaking of swaps, I sent Anika a pincushion, since she asked so nicely and is a fellow islander, and she returned the favor with this cute watercolor which is now hanging in my daughter’s room with her fairy collection.

“Tapio” by Anika Nui (photo by Anika too)

Remember the wonderful ribbons Nic sent? I returned that favor with chocolate covered macadamia nuts (which her hubby nearly absconded with) and a silky, spotty, sequined, and beaded Bali-inspired ‘shroom.

I’m enjoying all this creative art sharing. I can’t wait to see which mushrooms I receive in my official mushroom swap package.

04 Mar

What’s That, A Pot Holder?

The smaller I work, the more desire I have to find ways to give the art the presence it deserves. I think quilts of all types look great as-is in lap or larger sizes. Doll quilts look great in context. But I find that many of my art quilts that are 24″x 24″ -ish or smaller just lack a “finished” look. The quilts for 12 x 12 have a sort of built in presence as they should always be displayed in groups, either by individual artist or as a group by theme. But what about all those other little pieces we make as tokens or experiments?

Creating the artwork for a specific frame is an option (scroll to the bottom of this post to see them hanging):

Many quilt/fiber artists are mounting their small works to matching sized painted canvas to give a nice depth and easy way to hang the art, or they are painting larger canvases to coordinate. I decided with my “Fairytale Forest” that since stretched canvas is just stretched fabric, then why not stretch my (dyed, stitched, beaded, and collaged) fabric directly onto stretcher bars as if it were the canvas.

This week, I finally hung some small art gifts from friends and noticed that they showcase a few more display options. Clockwise from the upper left:

Bird by Terry Grant. This one’s easy. 3-D art sits well on a shelf — even if that shelf is a shadow box. I used some museum tack to hold the little feet in place so it wouldn’t get knocked off with every breeze.

House Upon a Rock” by Deborah Boschert. This one is just a little larger than your typical fabric postcard. I bought an unprimed linen canvas and just stitched the art to it from the back in a few places. The natural linen complements so well the little pebble she’s sewn on below the house, and fits right in with the current decor aesthetic.

Art quilt by Esther Parkhurst. This one isn’t the actual piece, but a digital print of it sent to us as a holiday card by Esther’s husband and friend of my dad’s. Why not take a printed postcard, greeting card, calendar page, business card, or whatever with a favorite textile image and mat and frame it? Easy peasey lemon squeezey, as they say.

What If #9” by Jude Hill. Being nearly square, this one fit well into a square shadow box. I poked two holes in the mat where each corner of the artwork would be, and sewed it on from the back. I have one of my own pieces (Village Series #3) in a deep frame where I’ve sewn velcro to the back of the quilt and then glued the counterpart to the mat. I also have a Bundle by Sonji Hunt which arrived mounted to black foam core — perfect for popping into a shadow box (a great option for dimensional art which tends to collect a bit more dust).

It occurs to me that I also have another piece by Jude which I’ve sewn to a larger linen pillow cover (I’ll have to photograph that and share). I’m loving the decorative pillow as display venue because it’s not too far removed from the comfort of a quilt, which is, of course, the media of this art. Similarly, my mom has sewn a small bird quilt I commissioned for her from from Terry (similar to this one) to a pillow, which now resides in a place of honor on her upholstered window seat.

What do you do with your small quilt art?

04 Mar

Local Inspiration

I’ve been very busy lately. It came after a bit of a slump, but I decided to make some new clothes, which led to riffling through fabrics, which led to unearthing old projects, which led to inspiration for new projects, which led to… You get the idea. When people say “just do something, anything” to get out of a slump, they are right.

I’ve been posting more crafty than arty things lately, partly because that’s who I am, but also because working on the crafty has lit a fire under the arty. No art to show yet, but it’s coming.

I love the way one thing leads to another, especially in conversations and with inspiration. I take a walk around our housing development most school mornings after I see the kids off at the bus stop. One of the first things I pass is a row of Naupaka bushes. Looking at these half flowers, I was inspired to make simple postcards for the Hawai’i Quilt Guild’s annual show (they’ve invited everyone to make postcards). The Naupaka postcards led to Ilima postcards, and the whole process (along with another train of thought related to using kid’s drawings as fabric for something completely different) has me now thinking about local plants as inspiration for custom fabric. These sketches are far from fully realized, but I love the idea of the patterns being pretty graphic and not looking like typical “Hawaiian” fabric.

I’m not sure if I’m going anywhere with this, but the path and where it intersects others is a lot of fun.