19 May

The Gloaming

My wonderful circle of friends and I will be exhibiting together in June for the first time! I won’t be able to attend the reception, but I highly encourage anyone in the NY area to go. We created work based on the evocative colors of the gloaming, and it should be wonderful!

The Gloaming is a presentation of contemporary art, inspired by the magical time betwixt day and night, eliciting myriad transitions. The art is manifested in fiber-based media, from cloth to paper and plastic, in sizes large and small.

The five artists in this group show hail from across the United States. They initially came to know one another through artist groups on the internet; later, more personal conversations ensued and friendships were born. This is the group’s first collaborative exhibition though individually, each artist has shown work in juried art exhibitions and been published.

Gloaming Flyer web
18 May

Goals

Never satisfied with where I’m at artistically, I like to set some goals every now and then to keep me accountable in one way or another. I usually do this at the beginning of the year when the mood is in the air, but we’re moving from Virginia to Oregon in the next few months and that seems like a good time to make a plan so I don’t lose my way.

When we moved to Virginia, I decided that was the time to find a life drawing group and refresh some art school basic skills. I also made the decision to connect to a general art community rather than a quilt guild community. It worked out wonderfully, and now I’m looking forward to continuing that lesson in our move to Oregon.

I will definitely seek to continue with regular life drawing sessions. I am also going to try to find a community like the one I found in McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville. I’m not sure if that will be a co-op gallery, or an extension of the drawing sessions, or an informal gather of like-minded people, but I will look for something. And I want to up the ante as well. One of the ways many artists support their work is via grants for projects and education. Now is the time for me to put on my big girl panties and do the planning and the writing to seek these opportunities. I don’t foresee ever being the kind of artist that can break even with sales alone, nor am I one for much schtick or marketing, so I think grants are a good pursuit. I also need to stop waiting for invitations to exhibit, and again, make those kind of opportunities myself by writing proposals and searching out venues. It’s not half as fun as just going in the studio and making art, but it’s what I’m going to need to do if I want to move beyond this as a hobby. And, I think I spend far too much time and effort on my work to get away with categorizing it as a hobby.

So, here’s to our first house, what should be our last move for a good long time, a new beginning in Portland, and a solid set of goals for when I get there!

16 May

And So It Begins

We have officially bought our first house. Unfortunately, I won’t move in until nearly August, as the kids need to finish the school year and I have some east coast commitments. But, Team Decorate/Renovate is already on the job! (see my inspirations on this previous post.) Let the house transformation posts begin!

Facebook friends were introduced to the house with our entryway. There’s a real commitment to wallpaper in the whole house. Note the racing stripe on the door, wallpaper on the molding, on the baseboards — and even on the heater!

Entry before

 

There’s even wallpaper between the ceiling joists in the basement work/storage room!

Storage before

Team Deco/Reno made quick work of it though.

Entry removal

That said, they tell me real work doesn’t happen without coffee, their union rep insists they can’t work past 6pm, and they charge by the layer not the wall.

Layers

Luckily for us though, they are amenable to payment in tacos. And they do a great job!

BR Removal

 

Meanwhile, I found the perfect sink in Alabama via eBay and it has arrived safe and sound. I am inexplicably excited about this sink.

The sink

 

I’m doing what I can from afar — looking at materials and sketching possibilities for the sad downstairs bathroom. I realized the quartz or recycled glass countertop I loved was more expensive than I thought — boo. Then I did some calculations and realized that bathroom counters are pretty small. Yay! Also, my tile aspirations are quite modest. Now to decide if I want contrasting tile color on the floor of the shower, and if I want it on the bathroom walls or not (there’s a mysterious panel that may actually be important access to plumbing which may determine the extent of tiling). At sometime there will be a trip to the Re-Store to see what we can find in an interesting cabinet. Not sure if that will happen in person or via text. :-)

Downstairs bath reno sketch

 

08 May

Figure Friday

Caryatids

 

Robert, who hosts our weekly figure drawing sessions in his studio, thought we were drawing caryatids this week. As far as I’m concerned, these are more Femmes and they are carrying moving boxes. Thanks also to fellow draw-er Michael who gave me the Oregon map to draw on!

05 May

Quilting

I sat down to quilt this morning and realized that in the last few weeks I have used all three main methods of quilting.

 

Hand Quilt

Currently, my evening knitting has been supplanted by hand quilting on a scrappy, somewhat traditional quilt in the works. I’m using a heavy-ish thread and big stitches for a rustic look. I’m even using my big PVC quilting frame! It all feels so old school, but appropriate for this particular piece.

 

 

Longarm Quilt

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also been renting time at a sort of local long arm quilting machine shop. I warmed up on some scrappy quilts, but my main purpose is to test out options for a custom quilt idea I have. I’ve decided that what I like best about the long arm machines are the “channel lock” option and the digitally guided designs — these are both things that I just can’t do on my domestic machine and they give a completely different look than what I can do at home.

 

 

Machine Quilt 2

And then there’s the quilting I can do at home on my domestic machine. Sometimes it’s frustrating to cram a big quilt into the machine, but it’s always there, ready when I am, and at no cost other than my original purchase of the machine. I can do free motion, I can choose straight(ish) lines. I can quilt quilts, or I can stitch up Kitchen Superheroes. I can use a wide variety of threads.

There is a time and a place for all types of quilting. In the last month I’ve worked on all the projects shown here, varied as they are. I am glad that I have taken the time over the years to become at least a little proficient at all these approaches, as it allows me to choose the appropriate one for whatever my project is.

 

01 May

Figure Friday

Untitled

Our new favorite male model. Maybe we can convince him to use The Cube next time…

Untitled

I don’t know if I’ve written about it here or not, but one of the things I really enjoy about typical figure drawing sessions is the variety of models we get to draw. Every size, shape, gender and age presents it’s own challenges and excitement. One week it’s angles and litheness, the next it’s all round curves, and then it’s monumental weight, or coiled up potential energy. I feel different approaching each personality, whether it shows in the drawings or not. Often it even affects which drawing tools I use. I definitely didn’t do this particular model justice this week, but trying is part of the reason I go week after week. My friend Terry has found me a figure drawing group in Portland for after our move. I am looking forward to a whole new range of characters to discover!

29 Apr

Knit Night

In contrast to last week’s knitting fail, this scarf may be my all time favorite knit. I’m making a second one right now.

Leftie

I made this scarf for my mom. She accompanied me to Art Quilt Elements last year, and on the way back I made her hang out at the Maryland Homespun Yarn Party while I worked for my friend “Wolle” selling her color changing yarn. As a reward I told my mom I’d make her whatever she wanted from Wolle’s offerings.

Leftie

This is what she chose: the pattern is Leftie, by Martina Behm, and it’s knit up in Wolle’s Adobe color way. In the original, the leaves are the part that changes colors, and the background is solid. I much prefer this variation where the background is a gradient yarn and the leaves are solid color accents. I think all Lefties should be knit in Wolle’s yarn.

22 Apr

Knit Night

Not all my knits turn out well. The really bad ones get “frogged,” and no one is the wiser as the yarn gets a second (or third) chance at becoming something I’ll wear or can be happy gifting to someone else. However, my attempt at Purl Soho’s White Caps Cowl falls somewhere in between. I finished it, and I’ll probably wear it, but I just don’t love it.

 

Untitled

I didn’t want to spend the big bucks for the kit, so I looked around for suitable substitution yarns. My mom gave me a lovely shiny yarn and super soft alpaca, but together they lacked the subtle undulation that a thick-thin yarn gives.

 

Untitled

I also received this pretty teal yarn from my kids, and while it’s also got the shiny/soft contrast I liked, since both are thick-thin, the cowl again lacked contrast. (My Blue Waves cowl on Ravelry)

 

White Caps Cowl, variation

I finally made the cowl with the shiny yarn from my mom and the recommended slubby cotton from the original pattern, but the shiny yarn is just too heavy and the whole project hangs limply. It lacks the frothy lightness of Purl’s version. (My White Caps cowl on Ravelry) Sometimes you can substitute yarns and sometimes you just can’t. This was one of those times.