01 Jan

Ode to 2009

2009 was the year of the deployment. It was also the first full year in Hawaii for the kids and I. As I looked through my photos, I can see that we’ve settled in here pretty well. Counting all the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen would probably be worse than uncle George’s slide show from his summer vacation. And we made it through what seemed to be the longest year ever just fine.

At this point last year I was pretty angsty about my goals and accomplishments, but this year I’ve settled in to my lack of focus. I’m much more comfortable with it today. As for my conundrum of which path(s) to follow, I’ve started down each one. Perhaps 2010 will be the year in which one makes itself clear — through the fog I think I’m seeing art quilts.

The last month has been supremely unproductive for me in terms of my artistic life, so I made a mosaic of all the projects I’ve done in 2009 to reassure myself that I’m doing just fine. And a fine year it was:

2009 Projects

In summation:

Twelve by Twelve: 8 pieces (and a book in progress)
Classes: 2 taught, one taken
Mushroom pin cushions: 4
Other crafty things: 16 (including designing my own fabric)
Clothing: 6
Yarn projects: 1
Crafting/Quilting for charity: 3
Quilts: 7 for beds (a personal record) 8 for the wall (16 if you include 12×12 quilts)
Pieces sold! 2

2009, you weren’t so bad after all.

2010, I’m going to keep on going, so I’m expecting you to be even better.

06 Dec

Nifty Art Swap

A few weeks ago, my blog friend Tia invited me to join an art swap. It works like a chain letter where I send a piece of art to the person who invited Tia and then invite six more creative friends to participate. They each send a piece of art to Tia, and their friends in turn, each send a piece to me. Participants are supposed to receive 36 small pieces of art in all. I knew I wouldn’t be quite that that lucky, but it did look like a fun way to meet other crafty people, and with each person only needing to make one small gift, it seemed very do-able.

Here’s what I sent out:

Lilikoi Mushroom

A mushroom pin cushion made with my Lilikoi fabric in yellow.

And here’s what I’ve received:

Nifty Art Swap

Well worth participating, I thought. Up front is a gouache painting (postcard) from mixed media artist and author  Melanie Testa, and a stitched and presumably monoprinted fabric artist’s trading card (ACEO) from textile artist Marlis Egger. These two will definitely be worked into my wall of blue art. The middle row is, left to right, a quilted “paper cloth” bookmark from  Cindy Green (who was very perceptive in thinking that I might be missing a bit of fall color here in the tropics), a mixed media angel from Connie Akers, a wool and ric rac pincushion from Tonya Littman (who creates some pretty amazing pictorial art quilts), and a mini, mini art quilt from Susan Schrott (who I think is very clever for using images of her large artwork to make little pieces to trade and gift). Finally, in the back is a textile “sketch” from Natalya Aikens, who wasn’t supposed to send me anything, but got carried away!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated. It’s been great fun to make these creative introductions.

21 Aug

Grimur Roeriksson says “Save the Date (aaaarghh!)”

I know it’s not officially “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” but I got his wonderful paper Viking from Sandra and I just had to show him off.

Grimur Roereksson

I also have a few events coming up worth mentioning.

August 30th — September 4th: see two of my fiber collages (“Pink House” and “Fairytale Forest“) at the Blurred Boundaries exhibit at the Fabrications Retreat in Kalamazoo, MI.

September 7th: This is the last day to put your Iraqi Bundles of Love in the mail. Purge your stash, contribute to a good cause, and make the world a smaller more pieceful place all at the same time.

September 10th: First day of the annual SAQA Auction. I didn’t make the deadline for submitting a piece this year but that shouldn’t stop anyone from checking out all the other wonderful and affordable textile art and supporting a great organization.

September 25th — 27th: Breaking Traditions benefit exhibit at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI. This year’s theme is Home and I’ve donated one of my house/chair/roots pieces. If you go to the show, vote for my art and I might win a prize.

October 15th — 18th: Tactile Architecture at International Quilt Festival Houston. My art quilt “Aquifer” will be there and then travel with TA to IQF in Chicago, IL and Long Beach, CA in 2010.

31 Jul



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.

12 Apr

On Creativity, Productivity and a Ripple Afghan

I like to have several projects going at once. Preferably, different types of projects: something on the sewing machine, something to do by hand, something that requires deep thought, something totally brainless. I can’t move linearly from start to finish on one thing and then go to the next. I suspect most people are like this. That way, I have something creative to do no matter what the circumstances. That’s also why I don’t feel too bad when I drop one thing to pick up something new and shiny.

My mom was just here for a visit, and to help me out, and my dad spent time with us during the winter break. I did not do any art quilting during either of their visits. I did very little crafting as well. My head just wasn’t into it. That’s not to say that it wasn’t worth having them here to “help me out.” Other things get done. My dad fixed a furniture problem that I though was going to be big, but he made it small. He fixed a broken sprinkler too. Those count for peace of mind. My mom was in my corner versus the kids. I hadn’t really realized how nice it is to have someone on my side when it comes to chores and homework, but it makes a huge difference.

So, with Spring Break, my mom’s visit, and a long weekend, there hasn’t been much deep thinking art around here. No worries — the kids will be back in school Monday and I will have lots of alone time. Meanwhile, the Ripple Afghan is the perfect mindless thing to work on with kids and guests around. In fact, it’s downright addictive. As soon as I’m done with this post, Ripple and I are going out to the lanai.

Some Ripple details:

Jan pointed me to Attic24’s perfectly timed Neat Ripple Pattern. It is exactly the waves I wanted, and it comes with great step by step photos, perfect for people like me who haven’t picked up a crochet hook in 30 years! My specific yarn needs were that it come in lots of browns and a good orangey orange, that it be washable, and that it be cheap. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the Baby Cashmerino yarn that seems so popular for this project on sale and I wasn’t prepared to pay full price.

I visited one yarn store on the island, but they just didn’t have the selection I needed. In the end, I ordered online from Kaleidescope Yarns and was very happy with their customer service. This will probably make yarn purists cringe, but I ended up buying Plymouth Yarns’ Encore, a worsted weight 75% Acrylic/25% wool blend. It came in a good range of colors, is washable, and costs half as much as the other yarns I was looking at. I chose worsted weight over DK because I hoped it’s thickness would make the project go faster (not having crocheted in 30 years, I wasn’t sure how committed I’d be). I may regret this heavier yarn when the blanket is done, but as Gerrie said, I’ll have the blanket much longer than I expect to be living in Hawai’i. Funny thing is, the cream color is back ordered, but as I’ve been working away, I feel like I need to add cream and soon. I checked Plymouth Yarns’ site to see if there were any local retailers and sure enough, the other yarn shop on the island carries it. Should have gone there first. I can’t go until Tuesday though, so I’ll have to pace my crocheting until then.

I didn’t really believe other Ripple bloggers when they said they just couldn’t stop, but it’s true! You just have to keep going to see what the next stripe will add. One hiccup was a crisis of confidence last night. The blanket was looking more 70s and less contemporary and I suspect it’s because some of my yarns are a little heathered (or maybe it’s all the brown). I considered removing the heathered yarns, and making all my lights the cream, but then I thought about all the blankets in the Flickr pool that I like and I definitely think more color is better. So, I’ll keep going. If I get to the cream and it doesn’t help, then I’m prepared to rip out lots of stripes. This afghan really does go easily enough that I don’t think I’ll mind.

01 Feb

Have a Seat

The theme for 12×12’s seventh challenge was “Chair.”

The week the challenge was announced, I had just bought four new dining room chairs. I still had eight miss-matched ones at home, four of which were slated to GO, but hadn’t gone yet. Having so many chairs in the house was bugging me and thus this quilt was born. Gerrie kindly made me a thermofax screen so I could print a bunch of chairs. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I got another idea.

“Too Many Chairs” �2009 Kristin La Flamme

Did you know that Iolani Palace in Hawai’i was the only royal residence in the United States? It was built by King Kalakaua and was also home to his sister and successor Queen Lili’uokalani who was the last ruling monarch of Hawai’i. Seeing that I now live in Hawai’i and the palace thrones are the only royal seats in America, I decided they were worthy of commemoration.

Red and gold are the colors of Hawaiian royalty, so redwork thrones made sense to me. Lauhala weaving is a traditional fiber art used to make baskets, hats and mats to sit and sleep on. I got very excited and pulled these elements together to create a formal redwork version of the royal thrones of King Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapiolani on a background woven lauhala style.

“The Thrones of King Kalakaua & Queen Kapiolani” �2009 Kristin La Flamme

As I was putting the finishing touches on the thrones, I was watching a TV program that featured various birthing methods. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about what could be the most important chair of all: the birthing stool. I can’t begin to explain how powerful I felt birthing my daughter on one of these, with my husband behind me for support and the midwife and doctor below me — actually sitting on the floor. It didn’t hurt that my nephew was also due any day and the plan was for his to be a natural birth at home. I was going for monumental status with a simple, centered composition, but I wonder if I went too vulgar with the background. I almost re-did it, but decided that risk taking is part of the challenge and my own personal growth.

“The Birthing Stool” �2009 Kristin La Flamme

So which one did I choose? Go check out 12×12 to see…

10 Nov

SAQA Reverse Auction

I almost forgot — Studio Art Quilt Associates is starting their annual Art Auction today! The piece I donated is on page one and is available starting today.

Last year’s auction was wildly successful. I am happy to support SAQA, and even though I have not maximized my opportunities this year, I’ve still gained much as a member through their quarterly Journal, an online discussion group, exhibition opportunities, and even a critique group. Monies from the auction go towards exhibitions, catalogs (many artists enter only those shows that publish a catalog), and outreach programs for the following year.

Go, check it out, and if you see something you like — bid on it! The piece I donated last year was bought pretty quick, so don’t hold your breath waiting for a piece to get down to the $50 price.