27 Jan

Hale’aina

I finished another one! This one started as one idea about four years ago, got abandoned, and then came back to life last year in this form:

Haleainasm

Hale’aina (ha-lay aye-nah) is hawaiian. Hale means house and aina means “of the land.” In the old days, the hale’aina was the house where the women ate. Today, it usually refers to a restaurant. But as most hawaiian language also contains a “secret” meaning, it could be interpreted as “the house that nourishes.” Hale’aina also happens to be the name of the street we live on.

Women, home, nourishment, where we live — how could I not do something inspired by this? I already had the houses (appliqued to a duvet cover — more comforts of home) with collaged floral roots, so I decided to just take it further. I added food themed fabrics, and once I found one with a spam musubi the whole thing shifted into whimsical and allowed me to add other things like a pizza button, a pumpkin bead, two flounder, and a cocktail olive. It’s a house chock full of food, love, hope, fun, and dreams.

On the technical, or construction side, this is all about the contrast between the plain corduroy areas and the richly embellished house and roots area. I had fun laying it on. Every time I thought I could stop, I found another place to add something. This one is very rewarding up close, and I dare anyone not to be tempted to touch it.

The quilt is 25″x37.” Hale’aina is the working title. I’m going to ask a hawaiian speaking acquaintance if it calls for something more poetic. It’s obviously not a hawaiian quilt, so maybe I’m pushing the boundaries already, but that’s at least where the inspiration came from.

26 Jan

Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly

I think it’s done.

Rooots to growsm

“Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly” 2009 by Kristin La Flamme 22″x40″

I actually finished the stitching in November or December, but it’s taken me this long to get stretcher bars to mount it on and get a feel for the finished piece. I hung it on the wall to let it sink in, and it’s still there — which I take as a good sign since the last thing I hung up I took down the next day.

This one’s been a long time in the making. I first heard the saying “Wenn die Kinder klein sind, gib ihnen Wurzeln, wenn Sie gross sind, gib ihnen Flügel” when my daughter entered German kindergarten. It resonated with me. I later remembered it when I started adding roots to houses in my work. It translates to “When the children are young, give them roots; when they are older give them wings.” Somehow in my brain it tied in with my dream of a home with roots. The house may not exactly represent the children, but for them to have those roots, I think they need to have a home. And, what grown child hasn’t taken some piece of home with them when they’ve flown the coop?

The dishtowel that is the ground for this is one I’ve had for many years, having first bought it at a flea market thinking I’d use it in my kitchen. I later decided it would make a perfect fabric to sew or embroider on. It speaks to the homeyness of what I’m trying to communicate. (I don’t know who ET is, but I’m comfortable with them adding “history” to my art.) Added to that is random fabric, old lace from an ancestor, and a little bit of knitting. Holding it all together and blending the pieces, is quite a bit of stitch, which I seem to be incorporating more and more into my work. You may notice that the dishtowel is hand quilted onto the background fabric. I first sewed it by machine, but the voice was wrong. The piece didn’t speak to me, it YELLED that it needed to be done by hand. I think it’s important to listen to one’s media.

16 Nov

New Pets

Every now and then you run across a blog, a Flickr page, or Etsy shop that grabs you a little bit. When you run across it again, you say “yeah, I like that!” And by the third stumble, if you haven’t already, you bookmark it. I’ve been lurking at Melissa Stanley’s blog for a few months now, in love with her crocheted creatures, and her little houses with legs! What goes better with roots than legs?

Free Range Studio Monster

Then Melissa went and added this little free range studio monster to the shop and put me over the edge. He’s so cute I had to have him. He’s not in my studio though. Hubby and son thought he belonged in the living room — where he’s terrorizing the Baba Yaga House I also purchased, and two mod birds who happen to have legs too.

baba-yaga-house

31 Aug

Blurred Boundaries Show

Blurred Boundaries started today and runs through September 4th.

It is a Mixed Media Fiber Art exhibit Juried by Virginia Spiegel and curated by  Lynn Krawczyk.

The definition of Fiber Art has evolved greatly over the past few years, opening up a new range of possibilities to artists working in various disciplines. 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. Blurred Boundaries seeks these arttworks for a week long exhibition honoring the ingenuity of mixed media fiber art.

I have two pieces on display:

“Fairytale Forest (click to enlarge) ©2009  32″ x 32”

Pink House

Pink House ©2009  18″ x 18″

The exhibit will be open to the public during the following hours: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Exhibit Location: Fabrications Retreat, Raddison Plaza Hotel Kalamazoo, Michigan

Show dates: August 31 – September 4, 2009

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.

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.