Sunday, May 29, 2016

Like I need another project...

Okay, so here's the story...
Recently I showed you the mesh bags I wash scraps in when I get them from friends. I don't have to wash mine again as I know I wash all fabric before putting it away.
(Chemicals, shrinkage, bleeding all valid reasons to do that. Easy to do y'all and then you don't inhale chemicals when you press seams)
In the bag of scraps were these tiny little marked triangles and the finished bit of them pieced together in a line. This would make a straight line of red and green triangles hand stitched. I looked at this bag of carefully marked tiny pieces and almost threw it away. 

Then I thought about the maker. She passed away leaving this project... okay, that unfortunately happens and I have so many personal projects to make. Still, I couldn't quite just throw them away so I pulled them out this Sunday, and quickly hand stitched them not into a line, but into a circle...
 Just to test an idea. I like it actually. A little Christmas candy, with a little Christmas button in the center. I don't know how to finish those outside edges, or if I'll continue but even making three or five for a table runner will honor the woman who so carefully marked a sewing line... for me.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lean Green Sewing Machine

 This is my green gardens sewing machine block.
Continuing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, Green!
Out came the green pieces with nature or gardening themes. 
 What fun to find scraps with nature themes. I lay out the bits in a general shape, then start sewing them together. As before (click here for tutorial) I faced the scraps with interfacing to turn the edges. 
 I didn't want to smell the fusible, so I just pinned the machine to a background and sewed around the applique. Mistake. It shifted some and looks uneven. 

Don't look at that, look at the bee, the colorful dots, my own hand dyed picasso face fabric.
The lime flowers, the bird, the piece of dragonfly, the mary engelbreit gardener, and you can't see it but the fabric strip next to her is tiny white daisies on green.

There are palm trees of course, I was born in Florida...
 And to go with them, a turtle.

  I used rayon green thread to satin stitch around the applique. I do not love this look, so don't know if I'll try it again on the others or give each one a different look. I want a bold edge, so maybe a thick couched thread around it in the quilting stage... maybe black... Next time I'll be able to go outside to press the fusible so it will lay straighter for stitching as well.
linking to among other fine parties

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Scraps... a breeding ground

no dents in the number of strings here 
plenty to use for paper piecing
lots of watercolor squares

It's a phenomenon... I pull out a bin, use lots of fabric, and it won't close after.
They must be  breathing in! 

Then again, I just washed a bag of scraps some friends gave me yesterday... lots of new green strips to push into an already overflowing bin.
A non-ending overflowing container.
A font of fabric!

The fountain of youth...Fabric edition!

When I open it to use, pull out lots of fabrics, it  inflates like a life raft!

My life is an I Love Lucy episode!
Stored by color
 I might not view scraps like other people. To me they are pattern, color, texture. When you see a bolt of fabric you see the whole design. It colors how you decide to use it but quilters usually cut it up. 

Designs change when you cut them into smaller pieces, like cropping a picture. When I dig through my scrap bins, the cropping has been done, and I view fabric differently. Luckily my friends see little value in scraps and happily pass them on to me. 
More posts under the label organization and Studio

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cole's Capers.... running the gauntlet

Cole here to tell you how very brave I am!
Every day just to take a walk around the 'hood I have to run the gauntlet.

A new dog moved into the neighborhood and boy does she have a lot to say. She's not the only one.

On our way out to the main street, we must pass lots of dogs.
First it's Lily and Chloe, a lab and a tiny beagle both friends of Mine. I trust them with my favorite toy.
 Next is a new rescue Lab who watches from the door. He seems fine.  Then Tyler, a golden/chow I've been running mates with for many years. We're done with puppy games so we nod as I pass by.

Across the street from Tyler is an older lab and some little white fluffy dog. I don't even know them enough to leave a pee-pee calling card on the mailbox. Next to them is a scary pit who's owner thinks he can be left off leash. So far the man at least holds his collar when we pass.

I hold my breath each passing. Momma asked them to always leash him but they don't.

Next corner is the real deal.

On the right are two pugs and a griffon brussels, the three of them bark so much they attack each other. No problem but it stirs up my my instincts so I  bark  and claw at their fence. All in good fun but once I hurt a foot

Across the street is the latest addition. An enormous pyranese.
She sees us in the street, because we are all three nervous to walk on the sidewalk near her fence. I know I felt her hot breath on me while she was barking me away. She leaps from the deck, runs full speed for the little vinyl white picket fence that miraculously holds her bulk. She flings herself against it repeatedly, causing it to bow.

She did that to Momma while her person was right there, saying how friendly she was.
Momma put her hand near the fence for her to smell, and she curled her lip and growled in front of her person who said, now gracie...

NOW GRACIE!?? Are you kidding me?
So  we have to walk down the middle of the street, equi-distance from all fences just to get to the main road!

I feel like I have to  prove myself and hold my dog breath each day y'all. My heart is old, I can't take it! Pray for me!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Scrap Blocks in green

The new color this month in the Rainbow Scrap challenge is evergreen. I rooted through the green scraps and strings to find a set of darks at least 15" long
a set of lights same length
What fun!

The mary engelbreit print, the big flowers, the vintage dots!

Right near the middle is a scrap of yardage I painted for a border, and it's much more vibrant in person.

Something has gone awry with my camera...

I've told you how I make these in previous posts but you start with two blocks, one light one dark.

And here are the five 20" blocks so far.

I figure I will quilt them then join with black strips.

That should make a great size quilt.
linking to parties on my links page plus trying this one http://cathquilts

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Art as Inspiration

Persephine 1844 by Hiram Powers 
Let's discuss Art shall we? And art as inspiration?
I've been doing a series of small work in fabric in the style of well known painters. Inspired by their art. At my recent visit to the BMA I saw many works by artists also inspired by other artists.

Inspiration! It's all around us.
Inspired by, is not the same as copying. We see quilts in shows that are almost direct copies of someone else's quilt. They are not inspiring. It's when you study a style and then take it in a new direction that it's personal and interesting and respectful.

I took pics of the statue from many angles and plan to learn shadows and highlights from it. 
Rembrandt Peale
The Romanticism movement (excerpt)
"both emotion and the mind of the artist were deemed authentic sources of authentic experience...might draw upon to create meaningful works of art"

Lovely. Delicate. Almost photo like in it's realism.
The shading and highlights of the pearls.

Luminous skin, gold fabric. It was framed in an ornate gold carved frame... this one. Of someone's mother...

Now that's a way to respect your painting.
You can click on any image to see more detail.

Next up is the Tiffany glass exhibit. The use of color and luminosity in everyday objects as well as art... imagine all the quilt designs you can make from this column...

How about this vanity from the 1920's?

I really love the Art Deco and Art Nouveau period.

Living with gracious lines. (another selfie there)

What do you think inspired the maker? And what inspired Tiffany?

The following pic is a reading chair with lamp on wheels from the 1800's. The modern artist used this as inspiration to design their reading chair on "wheels"

Severini  1912  Dancer at Pigalles
Behold this painting done in the style of the Futurists.
Their catchword was Simultaneity. "All perceptions of reality are shaped by the dynamic effects of time perceivable only through intuition"

This small work resonated with the flamingo lover in me.

Can't you see flamingos? I love the idea of abstracting flamingo lines into something like this... in my style of course, in fabric of course. He was inspired by those who came before him, and by his own perceptions.

click on the image to read the card.
Paul Klee 1937

Klee is one of my favorite artists and I made a fabric piece in the STAT collection based on his work.

 This seemingly whimsical piece titled Traveling Circus was made the same year the Nazi's gathered up 102 of his paintings and called them Degenerate Art, then destroyed them.

I love his cube like art and didn't realize til I saw this in person, that he also worked in the pointillism style.

Many colored dots leading your eye to see one color. Rich, varied, painstakingly applied with brush tip.

The emotions, and the interpretation of humans...
Despite the censorship and horrors that followed soon after this was made.

Lucky for us, for me as an artist, some paintings survived one person's judgement of what art was 'acceptable' and what must be destroyed.

 I fear censorship.

My hope is that we continue to allow each other to have different opinions.

I just watched the movie "Monuments Men" and am still heavily effected by the scope of what I saw. I thank the brave souls who worked to save art. Art is our humanity, and it speaks to our souls differently.
Viva la difference.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cole's Capers.... eating out

"let's go out to eat" said my peeps last weekend. 
I knew my Momma had a birthday and so did I so I thought, finally they will buy me dinner! Nothing special, what they are having is fine. 

We had just settled onto the patio of Brio and told the server what we wanted. I am slightly hard of hearing so when I heard them say two meals I thought surely I had missed something. 

Here she comes back with a bowl of water for me, and the peeps plunk down a bowl of food.
Man the food here tasted just like that slop they feed me at home! 
Mmmph... still edible so I had a bite or two while they ate...then Yea! 
A shrimp appeared! Yum! Server??? I'll have a bowl of shrimp please. 
 Oy vey. They paid the bill already? Time to go for a walk? 
Without my bowl of shrimp? 
(put it in a doggie bag will ya? thanks so much)

disclaimer: no poodles were harmed in the above scenario. Cole is allergic to a lot of food so we just gave him one shrimp to try on his own kibble. He did okay! 
Other Cole's capers under the label on the side ==>
Linking to some fun parties on my links page

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quilts in an Art Museum means they are ART

Made by Adrien Rothschild a better shot is seen here at BMA site
The surprise on my birthday visit to BMA was an art quilt exhibit. The quilts were made in different eras, and there were only four of them but they are really interesting. (Click on any image to see details)

This installation was enormous, painted wood with painted quilts inserted.
 Being a painter, I was intrigued with this painted with dyes. Subtle shading in neutral colors it was peaceful but set into the wood structure so boldly painted was dynamic. Look at a close up
 Seed stitch for filler. Note the delicate shadows, and the deep shadows we're often reluctant to add.
Michael James
Michael James gained notoriety working with fabric in the '70's when fabric wasn't considered an art medium. He used repetition and color to design interlocking images. 
I've seen his work for years in books but was excited to see one in person. Note his not quite matching line to the left proving a very successful piece of art isn't held to the same standards a quilt show judge would use. 

It is very sparsely quilted as well. How different our current standards are. I don't always like to see a quilt so heavily quilted it buckles from all the extra threads. 

Like any art form, we get used to certain looks and cling to them. I just wanted to point out for the newer quilters, people did not always consider such close quilting necessary to design. Art forms change, and people view them differently over time. 

I am glad to see Art Museums acceptance of fiber art as a valid art form as this hasn't always been the case. 
This quilt is large and hung on point,  requiring a different kind of support for display. It looks like a wooden frame was covered in batting and fabric, and the quilt was stitched to it. 

Last winter I visited the Walter's art museum in Baltimore and commented on a patron's lovely scarf. We began to share, and he asked, "since you are an art quilter, do you know Michael James?" 

I sputtered and said I knew of the famous James. Turns out the gentleman is a family friend and shared a few anecdotes with me.One degree of separation lol. 
gratuitous selfie in the reflection

 Click on that image to see the extreme detail Pamela Studstill used in designing this quilt on graph paper. It would suck all the fun out of the process for me, to design to this degree.

 I would feel done with the whole thing as most of the fun is seeing how a quilt develops as I add blocks. 

That's just me though, how about you? 
 What do you think?


Sunday, May 15, 2016

What's a birthday without a few pressies?

A gratuitous birthday "spousie" (selfie of us) taken at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
I had a fun adventure on my birthday! It will turn into about four posts, so there's your warning!
We usually try to go somewhere for my birthday weekend but conditions were not good for that this year so DH took the day off and we took off for Baltimore. "A world away, and right next door"

That's a radio for the 1920's, and isn't it gorgeous? Wish they made stuff like this nowadays.
(More on the museum including quilt exhibit later in the week)
What's better on a birthday than ART plus HISTORY??
On the way to the museum, DH asks if I might like to go to Dick Blick (art supplies)?

(Note the rain... it's rained for over two weeks. When it's not raining it's about to rain, or just done raining for a moment and still cloudy)

I said, "Absolutely!"
My enabler husband wanted to make me happy.
I walked up and down every aisle, considering all the possibilities to fiber art. I chose four sheets of this fibrous paper
And I am excited to use it with fabric. I've done that many times and it works great. I considered all the pens, the papers, the tools and the sparkly bits but in the end, I chose just these two items to go with the papers...
The thing on the left is an "Earaser" for when I make sketching errors. The wireform is to experiment with fabric and three-D. I felt like a queen knowing he would have purchased anything I wanted. If that studio of mine weren't overcrowded I might have gotten a bit more. I covet a flat file for instance.
We visited the museum and there are several inspiration posts to come from that, but for now, we went to Little Italy for lunch at our place, Amicci's
Where we shared the decadent garlicky shrimp bowl
CHEERS! Clink clink of the shrimp!
and a slightly healthier salad
 I interviewed our young server, and what a story! I'll tell that later too, but it was perfect for a birthday lunch. I'm sure my husband is amazed that I can talk to anybody anytime anywhere about anything. I think he secretly enjoys it.
Then not visit to Little Italy is complete without a visit to Vaccaros for dessert. Chocolate cannoli cake for later, and some amaretto gelato for now.
It's just these kinds of sprees that cause me not to look like that statue...

When I got home, in the mailbox was a surprise from my good friend Nancy (post here) of three special bags. Each one inside the other like Russian dolls, each one holding a treasure. The little poodle zipper pulls and that fabric! See that card? If we don't eat cupcakes the supermodels win?

More to come. I didn't jump out of a plane, I didn't cure cancer, but I had an extraordinary kind of ordinary day. And I want to share it with you all.