31 Jul

Passion

tiki-torch

Starting the morning of 1 August, California time, we reveal our 12×12 “Passion” quilts. I know I’ll be checking in all day to see each one and to see everyone’s reactions. Interestingly, the hints I’ve seen so far are not at all what probably first comes to mind, so I’m excited to see where we’ve each gone with this theme. As for my photo it’s only tangentially related to my quilt; the rest of it is just a little gloating because tiki torches are a regular thing around here in my back yard.

30 Jul

Heart House

I put this collage up on Flickr, so I figured I should share it here too. When I re-mounted “Pink House,” I consoled myself by immediately starting in on another collage stitched directly to the canvas. It was a complete coincidence that the only appropriate house I had left was pink-ish too.

heart-house-sm

This was also a great opportunity to work with my new screen printed house fabric from Ink & Spindle. It’s a bit more sparse than my usual, but it didn’t want or need any more. I like it.

Heart House, 12″x12″ Painted fabric house by me and hand printed house fabric from Ink & Spindle, further colored by me, stitched to gallery wrapped unprimed linen canvas, with a few other fabrics and fibers too.

27 Jul

Canvas is fabric too

As I was making “Fairytale Forest” it seemed less like a quilt and more like a painting that happened to be of fabric, yarn, and beads. It called out to be mounted on stretcher bars like a painting. I’ve also been seeing lots of small quilts mounted on gallery wrapped canvas of late. I’ve done it as well, to give postcard sized work more of the presence it deserves. That got me to thinking about using the canvas as less of an afterthought, and more of an integral part of the artwork (again, like a painting). “Cloud House” was my first foray, with the canvas more like a mat, but the fabric collage really worked for me. After making “Pink House,” I considered writing an article about stitching fabric collages directly onto stretched canvas (even though it’s now mounted on another canvas). pink-housesm   I gathered up a variety of canvases and have tried more collages — experimenting with primed canvas, unprimed linen, and plain bars (I even found round canvas, but have yet to make anything with it). canvases As I was working on the latest piece I realized that I wasn’t ready to let go of this. Obviously I don’t have the market on fabric collages on stretched canvas — and I do think everyone with the inclination should try something like this. But try it with birds, mushrooms, abstracts, figures, flowers, trees, and yes, houses. I’m afraid that if I write an article (and it’s published) with only houses as samples, it will limit how others see the technique. I’m enjoying the houses too much to branch out into other imagery, so I’ve decided for now to share what I’ve been working on, but not to write any sort of how-to.  rooted-canvases2 Enjoy and stitch amongst yourselves.

24 Jul

Happy Birthday Dad

The zig zag quilt started out on a whim, but as I worked on it, the taupe and scraps told me that it would be a nice gift for my dad. The timing couldn’t have been better — I finished it in time to get it to him for his birthday.

In my mind, the quilting was to be a lush forest of free form critters and odd forms.

What came out of my hands was a sampler of sorts of the overall patterns I am comfortable with. The scale compliments the echo quilting on the zigzags themselves and it all looks good, so I’m not complaining.

I used various colored threads in the zigzag section. From afar you wouldn’t notice, but up close it’s a nice detail. The free form in the solid areas is taupe to match the fabric.

The repurposed duvet cover I used for the backing had a hole in it. I “darned” a patch over it and it’s one of my favorite parts of the quilt — besides the zigzags, of course!

23 Jul

Shout Out

I got a card in the mail from my hubby today. He emails pretty regularly, but occasionally he sends a card just for fun. I had to stop everything and blog this one though.

Hero Card

 

Obviously the person who made it spent a lot of time, energy and love on it. It shows. Even if it’s not necessarily my style, I know that it was made with care. My man got it from Cards For Heroes. It was a quick “I love you” from him, but it also said so much more to me about support on the home front. It said that someone was thinking about him and all the other deployed service members too. Thank you Cards for Heroes! My soldier appreciates your work and so do I.

22 Jul

Tears don’t email well

IMG_2704, originally uploaded by Umzavi.

The good news first: these two lovelies were both accepted into the Blurred Boundaries exhibit at the Fabrications Retreat in Kalamazoo Michigan (August 31 — September 4, 2009)!

The call for entries stated:

Fiber artists are incorporating more mediums into their work, creating unique art that reaches across previously defined boundaries. Artists from other mediums are discovering the infinite possibilities that fiber can offer, also creating hybrids that are eye catching and moving. 

… and I knew that these combinations of quilting, collage, embroidery and embellishment, presented on stretcher bars like a painting fit the bill.

Now the reality. Even at a modest 32″ square, “Fairytale Forest” requires an oversize box by mailing standards. It will cost me literally hundreds of dollars to mail it to and from the exhibit. I’m taking a deep breath and chalking it up to the cost of doing business.

But, it got me thinking about future artworks. Do I edit myself by not mounting large works in this manner, even though, in my mind, it called for it? Do I not try to exhibit large works that can’t be folded? Do I stick to small work? As an artist, I don’t want to limit my creative options so I will pay up — but I can sure see why so many painters want to live within driving distance of NY where the galleries are!

Little “Pink House” was not without her hurdles either. I needed to decide how to sign the piece since a quilty label on the back wasn’t necessarily the only option. I opted to sign and title the front like a limited edition print, but once done, it looked awful! I just couldn’t live with the distraction on the bottom of the canvas. So, in a fit I cut the canvas out of it’s frame, leaving the offending name and title behind. I then sewed the art back onto another canvas. It looks much better, but in a way it defeats my purpose of the collage being an integrated part of it’s canvas ground. It is what it is and the imagery is still just as pretty as the original version, so I emailed a photo to the event coordinator (knowing that they reserved the right to reject any art that did not live up to it’s entry photo). She wrote back saying I was much calmer than she would be, and that, of course, the art was still welcome in the show. Relieved, I replied that I only seemed fine because tears of frustration don’t email well! Then, I grabbed another canvas and a pile of bits and got sewing on a new composition.

I’m feeling better already.

21 Jul

Illuminated Aspens

illuminated-aspens

Lookie what I got in the mail yesterday!! Several years ago Gerrie and I decided to swap art: I made her a creche set and she’d make me indigo aspens. Every time Gerrie would post anything with aspens I’d wonder if they’d be mine. My heart skipped a beat when she showed this one — I knew this was IT!

 

As soon as I opened the box, I looked around for a wall to put it on. Although most of my blue art is in the bedroom, the orange on this really wanted to be in the living room. I took down one of my pieces and held the aspens up… and then I realized that just below it were my pair of custom mod birds made by Gerrie’s talented daughter, Lisa!  Ah, perfect.

19 Jul

The Caterpillar Files

metamorphosis-7

In the ongoing caterpillar saga (chapters one, two, three,  four, five, and six, if anyone is interested) we learned yet another interesting metamorphosis fact. To get from poopy to green, our Chinese Swallowtails don’t change colors, they shed. Cool, huh?!

metamorphosis-8

Since the butterfly in March (chapter six) our little mandarin orange tree has hosted at least a half dozen “babies,” one of which made it all the way to butterfly in June– although, once again, I missed the actual emergence. As of last week, we’ve had two more caterpillars which made it to instar status and then disappeared. We found one on the ground, and with the help of a leaf, gently replaced it on the tree. Later, we found it on a chair leg. Again, we helped it back to the tree. The next day it was back on the chair, so I let it be, thinking it might like that location for it’s next transformation. But then it moved to the architectural column at the corner of our lanai. By now it hadn’t eaten in nearly three days and was still a day or two short of time to change into a chrysalis (according to the other two we watched). I decided that this caterpillar must have a death wish and with lizards and ants all around, I figured it had just as much of a chance in our new bug box as it did on it’s own on the lanai.

Later in the day, the other escapee reappeared on the lawn, mortally wounded. Could have been a lizard, I could have stepped on it, or maybe the kids did , or even the gardener who was here today. The caterpillar to butterfly ratio is not in the butterfly’s favor, but it does appear that they try year round, so that’s got to count for something. Already, there’s another bitty caterpillar giving life a try in the tree.