06 May

Children’s Day

The Japanese influence here in Hawai’i is strong. In addition to American holidays, and Hawaiian ones (like Kamehameha Day and Prince Kuhio Day), we also learn about Japanese ones. In school the kids do special things on Girl’s Day and on Boy’s Day. I completely forgot to do anything for my daughter on Girl’s Day, so when I saw these adorable candy filled handkerchief carp on a local blog and learned that Boy’s Day is now a more generic Children’s Day, I jumped right on the bandwagon and found an excuse to go check out Shop Toast to buy a pair. Cute, cute, cute, cute! Or, as they say in Japanese (and therefore, here) “kawaii!”

The kids love their carp and the Tomoe Ame candy inside (thanks Robin for introducing us to that). My daughter is having great fun wearing the eye button. She had me put it on the back of her shirt yesterday so she could “always be watching us.”

02 May

Hawai’i Quilt Guild Annual Show

It’s been a big week or so. Twelve by Twelve has an exhibit at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne right now. All I had to do was mail my quilts to the appropriate place and Brenda took care of the rest, but it’s been great fun to hear her and Kirsty’s reports from the scene!

Closer to home, I have been working on the Hawai’i Quilt Guild’s annual show. I’m the show chairperson this year, though the real work has been done by all my great committee volunteers. The show is from April 30th until May 9th, so if you’re on Oahu, please take the time to go see it. The show has been getting rave reviews from guild members and others alike. Last Thursday was the opening reception which is always nice since one of our members always makes sure there’s a good spread of food and wine and entertainment. The challenge quilts are judged and ribbons placed, and everyone gets a first look at all the quilts.

This is not a juried show — it is a celebration of all levels and all types of quilts made by guild members. This year we had more quilts entered than ever, which we take to mean that members appreciate the venue and the opportunity, which is a good thing. Besides, we’ve got plenty of quilts to be proud of.

Me in front of the Art Center’s Linekona gallery.

A peek at the yummy food on the lanai from the first photo.

This year’s Featured Artist, Patricia Lei Murray, and I welcoming everyone.

The info table and the opportunity quilt (someone will win this at the end of the show).

Hawaiian style entertainment from the Murray ohana.

Local students played their music for the second hour.

Signing teh guest book and reading our quilter bio book.

Lots of quilts to look at.

And even more to see.

01 May

Lava (in summation)

For anyone who might not already know, I belong to a wonderful online group of 12 quilt artists who challenge each other every two months to create a 12″x12″ quilt interpreting a new theme each time. This time, it was my turn to choose the theme. I knew I wanted to do something that related to my being in Hawai’i, and with the current twelve challenges, we’re focusing on color. So I chose the volcano Kilauea and gave a few photos and a palette as a jumping off point.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to interpret the theme myself, though I did know I wanted to go abstract as opposed to literal, and I always strive to connect my interpretation to works in cloth, if not quilts specifically.

Serendipitously, about a third of the way into our 12×12 timeline, I taught a class to my quilt guild on how to marble fabric. Bam! There it was — the undulating lines of cooled lava in a classically textile media.

For my first attempt I used the red, orange, black and two greys from my palette (and snuck in a yellow). Although the patterning was fantastic — looking both like classic european book papers and swirling, oozing lava at the same time, it didn’t have the richness I was hoping for. In my mind the fabric should have been black and grey with veins of red and orange running through in cracks as if it was just below the surface. I also found that after washing, the painted surface looked scuffed and faded and I didn’t like that.

I realized that I should have started with hot lava colored fabric and then marbled the cooled lava blacks and greys over it. Rather than start from scratch, I decided to try over dying my marbled fabrics as I had nothing to loose (they were pretty, but not what I envisioned for my Kilauea quilt). Great! Here was the rich color I needed, but it was too bloody looking and not lava-like yet.

To get more variation in my color, I tried discharging it. With hand dyed fabric, discharge can often uncover surprising hues. Not this time. Now my fabrics looked tired and washed out.

Starting from scratch now, I changed tactics and experimented with marbling using discharge dyes. The long story is here and here; the short story is that I made interesting fabrics, but none were quite what I wanted to use.

In the end, I went back to traditional marbling and used red-orange fabric s my base. Nearly perfect. I’d still like to go back some day and experiment more with dyes and marbling, but for now I have just decided to rinse, but not wash my painted fabric.

For the quilt itself, I used a simple traditional squares and let the fabrics speak to the types of lava and hawaiian setting. Onto that base, I added chartreuse triangles edged with french knots to represent the uluhe (false staghorn) fern so predominant at the Kilauea Caldera, and a few beads around the edge to symbolize Pele’s Tears often found near eruptions.

To see the whole quilt, and everyone else’s interpretations of my color theme, Kilauea, check out the 12×12 blog!