Friday, December 31, 2004

MWFUN, this is for you...(an inside thang, don't ask if you don't know)

Damn, I'm sitting here reeling with joy, laughing and crying, from Dee's email.  She sent 2 responses to the question I posed to her about defining moments in her life that helped her in letting go of drawing conclusions based on "demographic packaging " (a phrase I just made up that describes all the check boxes we assign ourselves to for whatever reasons).  of other people.  This was sparked by an entry in Jimi Izrael's blog that I emailed her the link to.



As always, her response was raw, real, and funny! She has such a talent for story telling.  Its what I love about her.  Her craft and mastery with words is like warm butter on toast.  I still think she should consider a double major and obtain an mfa in creative writing.  She is really off the hook with her sense of perception of experiences.  I can't wait until her career begins to roll because she is going to be a lightening bolt to contend with!



Anyways, her response broke my heart wide open and it was greatly needed after the banter with Peter this morning over Bill Cosby's diatribe.  I casually commented aloud to Peter what I've been wondering about Mr. Cosby since he first started this back in May...whether or not he is having an emotional breakdown over the loss of his son.  I know it has been many years, but really, does grief know how it should occur for any one person?  Peter took my remark as being totally dismissive of Mr. Cosby's assessment.  Because I've only heard what he has said through reading it on MSNBC, it sounds like he is venting to me.  Not that venting can't serve a purpose, but that just sounds like what he is doing and I've wondered where the controversy is other than venting makes a good news story by getting people's attention and boosting ratings.  And venting can be a personal release of frustration that aids in healing.  Maybe if I heard Cos speak in person to get the full gist of what his message is, I would have more of an informed opinion.   Other than that, it just seems more like Sunday morning at any Black Baptist church...I ask, would it not be a Sunday without stylized venting and a dose of group-induced shame?  I really needed Dee's skills at wit and words to have prevented the shouting match that Peter and I had this morning all over what Cos' is saying or not saying.



I'm at work and it is exceptionally quiet today...many are off for the holiday.  I'm going to wait and use my holiday to hopefully take Melody Johnson's workshop in 2 weeks. 





Thursday, December 30, 2004

Quilt, not draw

Card_by_kel This is the front of a handmade card by Kel, (Goddess of Raku and Fire)Card_by_kel3_copy.



I scanned it and altered it in Adobe Photoshop. Not that I really know what I'm doing, but I enjoy playing around so I have not a clue what I really did to do this.  My plan, (always working with a plan, right?) is to print them onto fabric and embellish with thread painting or thread work and beads for postcards or either journal size or hey, maybe both. 



The one below is a postcard that Dee did with watercolor pencils or crayons. Postcard_from_dee_1 I will transfer it to fabric also.  For a minute I was considering taking drawing lessons and working through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain to improve my "seeing" and compositions in quilting.  I really like the pictorial quilts...but after a few sketches I really decided I wanted to quilt and NOT draw and would take creative liberties with putting images on cloth.  Plus I told Dee, heck, I have friends that can draw :).  Too little time...I just want to make quilts!



I wanted to submit a request to the state's art council for a small grant to attend a surface design workshop this coming summer and really resented having to learn to take quality slides to submit with the application.  I mean that places a financial and skill burden on visual artists and crafts persons if their medium is not photography. Does the decision boil down to who has the best slides OR which project/artist is worth developing?   I missed the deadline anyways...but hopefully in the years to come my talents will all be aligned and in sync at just the right moments.



I just received a call from work....but I will not lament here because I promised myself this blog was going to be about my thoughts and experiences with quilting and other supporting evidence for my creative self and very little of anything else.  So with that said..Susan shared this link on the Oasis , Susan Sontag essay on writing and literature.  I've been reading about her life a little since I read that she passed either yesterday or the day before.  I'm only familiar with Sontag's writing on the periphery of my reading, but her works came across as something I would be intrigued by.  If I didn't spend so much time here on this box, I could get back to voraciously reading books.   



Oh, before I run, I got this brainstorm idea from listening to a writer being interviewed on public radio when I was coming home this evening.  But I wondered if Dee and Pam would want to write a fiction piece together...one would start and do a chapter, send it to the other without any instructions but the freedom to create and develop the plot. That person would send it to the next and so on...I guess it would be a round robin novel.  I think Mud Man has tried this on his poetry board with other poets.  (I don't know the show I was listening to or the writer's name, otherwise I would credit him with giving me this little light bulb idea).



Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Quilter's Access

I found the link to Quilter's Access at the C&T Publishing web site.  From the looks of the forum I would guess the site is less than 2 months old...not much happening yet.



Scale and Proportion

Johnston's book on design is really helpful in helping me critique my own work. I made this woman after I received Lura Schwarz Smith's video from Jukebox Quilts (see quilting links).  I've been stewing on what kind of background to place her on.  First I thought about a realistic looking fall scene of a road ahead surrounded by trees as if she is walking down the road but someone has called her and she is looking at them over her shoulder.  Then I thought about a watercolor backgroud. I want to keep her as the main focal point and it would seem to me that the scale and proportion (Chap. 5) would be the crucial considerations.  I would like to have the background show variety in colors but not overwhelm her.  I want simplicity without the background being boring. 



After the discussion at the Oasis about crows being misunderstood birds and bullies, I thought she would look real good next to a raven or to have one on the road before her.  Will keep working on it in my head.



Monday, December 27, 2004

Lunch Break

1. How long have you been quilting? on and off since my mid 20s but continuously this time for about 2 years.
2. What methods of quilting do you prefer to use? I really do prefer to hand piece and quilt, but in light of my goals to create visually dynamic contemporary style quilts, I machine piece and machine quilt.  I'm more focused on finishing pieces so I work small scale.
3. What kinds of things do you like to quilt? Postcards, Journal size, and wall hangings that are about the length of a yardstick is large for me.
4. What projects are you working on now? making postcards, binding a wall hanging.
5. What kind of sewing machine do you use? Janome 6500...just got it in September...now I'm wanting a quilt studio to go with it (longing sigh)
6. Have you been to any good quilting websites lately? of late, quilting blogs are my obsession
7. What kind of fabrics do you like? hand dyes and batiks
8. Who taught you to quilt, or did you teach yourself? First attempt was my great grandmother when I was in my early 20s--this was brief due to her being a sense of perfectionism around the size of my stitches--later I purchased 2 books on quilting and connected with some quilters via Prodigy back in the mid 80s.  Last year and some this year, I took lessons from J.Y. an art quilter.
9. Do you quilt mostly for yourself or for gifts? I guess for myself since I still have most of what I've completed...I have separation anxiety...I think because I don't have enough completed projects to feel secure as a quilter.  Kinda like I still need to have proof in my possession that I do this.
10. Do you buy fabric as you see it, or for projects?  I buy as I see it...I wish my sister, D.B., would bestow some of her excess fabric upon before it dry rots on her. 



Sunday, December 26, 2004

Boredom, Sewing, Carrot Cake, First Wives Club, Shiraz, & SistahFriends

I'm bored outta my skin!  I've visited all my usual online places and I guess everyone is busy with after holiday commitments or either have way more interesting things going on than I...which wouldn't take much considering I'm such a home body.



See, if I had dedicated space to sew I could have used all this time on my hands to quilt...but nooooo, since I sew on the kitchen table and we've been using it to of all things, eat on.  The set  up and take down for an hour of sewing is not worth it at the moment.  Actually, I'm beat from all the cooking I did yesterday.  And to my credit, everything turned out except the carrot cake...the 3 layers kept sliding around. Mo suggested putting the frosting in the fridge before putting it on the cake...it helps to stablize the layers. But I was ready to be finished with everything and just go with the flow. I haven't tasted it yet...next time I'm craving for carrot cake I'll just splurge and buy a whole one from Helen's.  They are simply delicious and the best!



I'm watching the First Wives Club...wishing I had some Shiraz and my sistah-girlfriends to watch it with.  I wish I could find some local quilter girlfriends to get together and work with.  Maybe I'll pursue this with intent once we are in our own home. 









The Origins of Kwanzaa

  • Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrated from December 26-January 1.


  • It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga.


  • Kwanzaa is based on the agricultural celebrations that take place throughout Africa...these are times of harvest, reverence for the earth and ancestors, commemoration, recommitment and celebration.


  • Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase 'matunda ya kwanza' which means first fruits.


  • Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one, making it available to all Africans throughout the world of all religous beliefs.


The greeting during Kwanzaa is "habari gani?" which translates to "what's going on?". The response is the principle for that day.  Today is the first day of Kwanzaa and so the response would be "umoja" which means unity.  I suspect that Dr. Karenga selected Swahili (a creole language) because it is the one language on the continent that crosses borders and ethnic groups and unites the largest body of African people to communicate.



Mo put Seven Principles by Steve Cobb & Chavunduka in the cd player.  I've had this cd at least 10 years so my kids have pretty much grown up with this cd marking the beginning of Kwanzaa.  I play it sometimes during the year to give me a lift as the music and the lyrics are awesome!!!!!!!!



I love Christmas music and its just not Christmas without hearing the bluesy "Merry Christmas, Baby" or the Temptations singing Silent Night or Louis Armstrong's reading of The Night Before Christmas.  But when I want to get my Christmas groove going I pop in The Sounds of Blackness' The Night Before Christmas: A Musical Fantasy.  The songs on this cd are not the sappy sentimental type but more along the lines of keeping it real.  From the woman who catches Santa in the middle of the night in her house and how dangerous it is to be sneaking into people's homes in the middle of the night to the reindeer who didn't get chosen to guide the sleigh and just what they think of Rudolph.



This is the first year we didn't buy a new Christmas cd...I don't think we have Diane Reeves' Handel's Messiah-A Soulful Christmas.  I'll plan on picking this up in the next few days...maybe this will give me the needed incentive to return to the dreaded mall for the returns we have to make.



word for today is "umoja"...have a discussion with your friends and family about what you do that strives for or helps to maintain unity in your family, community, and/or nation.  Read a speech or a brief bio of an African American that you believe whose contributions helped to bring about unity...have fun and enjoy!



Friday, December 24, 2004

What I'm Reading

The Quilter's Book of Design by Ann Johnston is my current quilt reading.  I feel like writing the new vocabulary words 10 times, using them in a sentence, and being tested on Fridays.  But instead I'm working on using the language of design to describe what I like about the pieces I've completed in order to help me absorb the meaning.  Let me take this piece as an example,



Dscn0222_1



Ancient Keys.  It is my attempt to experiment with Hawaiian applique.  The visual weight is carried by the gray/multi-colored fabric because it appears closer to the eye and in the curved lines. It has formal balance in that all four quarters when divided horizontally and vertically, have the same pattern, color, and shape. The quilting lines give it some texture but not much because the pink 40wt. thread is minimal in the overall appearance of the quilt. 



Looking at this piece by Ann Johnston, One Tree, the balance is informal and created by placing the 3 different shapes at the bottom edge compared to the rest of the quilt which by choice of color value recedes or is the background of the quilt. The design supports the title of the quilt...the quilting lines are minimal, shapes are not repeated...there is power in "one".



I think I'm beginning to grasp this after a year of trying to understand the elements of design.  Okay, I can't resist doing this. Vocab words from chapter 1-



1. Balance-used to describe the distribution of visual weight in a design.



2. Visual weight refers to the parts of the design that appear larger, that appear to come forward, or that appear to have more importance.



3. Horizontal and vertical balance...the weight above the assumed lines that divide a quilt.



4. Formal balance-repetition of shapes, colors, values, lines or other elements on both halves of the composition.



5. Informal balance-the intention of using dissimilar shapes with unequal visual weight to attract the eye.  Juanita helped me to understand this...with the L shape, reverse L shape, etc...for example looking at a square, elements can be placed to create the flow of an L, or any other letter for that matter.



6. Circular or radial balance-the one I'm least attracted to personally.  There is a center focal point and all elements radiate from it or around it.



7. Crystallographic balance-I have 2 squares on my wall that reflect this-- Dscn0179_1 the design elements are carried to the edge of the quilt and are evenly dispersed across the surface.  Also, unity (chap. 2) is achieved by placing the pieces in close proximity and repetition of shapes to create patterns.  My goal was to work with complementary colors.  After reading about unity in a design, I discovered that I also achieved a good use of negative (background) and positive (foreground) space in that it is hard to distinguish between the two. Not only because of the closeness of the shapes, but because the two complement colors are similar in value that account for the unity/balance between background and foreground.  Yeaaa, me!



My challenge is to make the concepts carry my intent of a finished piece.  Even though I love working intuitively, when I can incorporate the knowledge of design into pre-planning and putting pieces together, I can call myself a Quilt Artist.  At this point in time, I'm just enjoying the process.





Surviving and Thriving

Made it back! It wasn't too bad...having Peter to shop with eased my desposition which is unusual because he gets dizzy from spending large sums of cash...couple that with my dislike for enduring shopping and we argue.  But today was nice.  The car only got stuck in the snow twice today...yesterday Peter dug and pushed, dug and pushed, and dug and pushed up to four times yesterday.  I thought he was going to be sore from head to toe today...but he is fine.



I really wish I had the entire year to make quilts for holiday gifts...especially Kwanzaa since the theme of gifts are either handmade or items that reflect the African American experience, heritage, and values.  My family knows that I give books typically for Kwanzaa, but this year I haven't thought about what to buy.  I have another week to decide, but this year's celebration will be quiet again like last year, the four of us reflecting on the seven principles and Peter talking about his father or some other aspect of growing up in West Africa, and myself talking about my grandmothers or some cultural ancestor and their contribution to the American landscape.  One year at Mary's, not sure if it was during Kwanzaa or not, she and I went into a spontaneous recitation of Sojourner Truth's Ain't I A Woman, ad libbing and improvising the pieces we both had forgotten...incorporating emphasis and breast beating and fist raising in the spirit of Ms Sojourner herself...hehehehee...crazy times...(we were girls together surviving and thriving) After that whenever we where together and became indignant about something we would go into this speech...of course most of the time it was an inside joke that would make us howl.  I really miss her...I don't know anyone else who was so passionate and intuitive and knowledgeable of the Pan African experience as she and she fueled my own intuitive search and creative vibes.  Will have to at least give her a call to catch up.



and  I wonder where the Kinara is? ummmmmm



The Mall

I'm going out to the mall, if we can get the car out of the parking space due to the ice and snow.  This is about 8 inches and the temps are in the teens. Dscn0298_1



Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Mary Anne Radmacher

Cathe wanted to know the author of the quote that went on the wallhanging for Darlene (2 posts below)...Jeni didn't know, but Cathe being Cathe searched it out and sent the info today to us. 



Mary Anne Radmacher is the author of the quote. She has a line of original art and posters, cards with other quotes to inspire. 



just an fyi...



Sunday, December 19, 2004

Om Mani Padme Hum

Dscn0295_1Dee sent this ring to the M8 crew:



The writing is Tibetan (I think, and not Sanskrit).  Dee, if you know for sure...leave a comment here.  It reads Om Mani Padme Hum  (ohm mah nee pahd mah hum). Make sure you pronounce it correctly to avoid wishing upon a vibe that you will prosper in elephant dung.  But I guess spiritually speaking prosperity in elephant dung would be okay. One just never knows, do one?!



The chant cannot be translated neatl y into English.  But the power in it is such that just reading it, seeing it, will invoke the attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.  Becoming one with the chant brings Enlightenment from drawing upon the compassion that lies within us.



Well, my thought was to create the writing on a quilt...preferrably a bed quilt that I could sleep under and while sleeping dreams of Enlightenment can be visited upon me and in turn change how I awake in the morning.  Instead of with doom and gloom of having to get ready for work and yet another day that I'm not counted among the mega lottery winners.  *~*~sigh~*~*





It turned bitter cold last night and the hawk is flying low today.  Cold weather is not my forte...and the older I get the harder it is on my body.  I don't think I do a good job of conveying how miserable I am physically to my doctors and the cold weather intensifies the pain in my joints, muscles, and lungs. Here we are facing the purchase of our first home...it really needs to be a retirement condo in Florida.  Look what we woke up to this morning. And it never rose above the mid 30s.  Dscn0296



Saturday, December 18, 2004

TA DA!

Dscn0286_1 The wallhanging is finished!!!  It was presented this morning at the monthly get together, and she loved it! Last night, I had a moment around the possibility that she didn't even like quilts...but she does...not quilts in general but quilts that have meaning to her personally.



I call it A Community of Strength.  If you can relate to this quote, you can relate well to Darlene---it is on the label on the back.



“She danced. She sang. She took. She gave. She served. She loved. She created. She dissented. She enlivened. She saw. She grew. She sweated. She changed. She learned. She laughed. She shed her skin, She bled on the pages of her days, She walked through walls, She lived with intention.”







The unveiling-  Dscn0283



Pam, told me she promoted my postcards at a local upscale gallery...the woman was very interested and Pam provided the woman with the site address for Postmark'd Art.  I'm thinking I should follow up with her next week in person.  Pam has been exceptional in her enthusiasm and support for the postcards.  She is why I taught the workshop at the conference and had a vending booth...I plan to make her a card and one for Dale who bought me a piece of fabric back from Australia.  Lets see, I have about 20 cards to make for friends and family in the next 2 weeks...groovy! We all know how well I love deadlines.



Pam, not the Pam above, but Memphis Pam, and Kel are interested in a M8 website.  I've emailed David Walker (see his link under Quilt Artist) to inquire with him his fees, etc.  I love the pages he has created.  Beautiful color, but easy on the eyes and great navigation on his sites.  Even though none of us are selling our work at mega bucks (yet), I think if we get a presence on the internet, it should present our work in equal fashion of the heart and soul and integrity and sacrifice we go through to create it.  So a well designed, well presented representation of our work online, as a collective is central. 
     



Friday, December 17, 2004

A line to the dead

Deadline...a line to the dead. Thats what I feel like when I have to meet them.  Note the time of this entry...yeap! I have just NEARLY completed Darlene's wallhanging.  I still have to add a binding (possibly), a sleeve, the back label, some beading, and embellishments.  I zigzagged the edges.  Could stay like that...not sure yet.  But I'm going to present it to her in the morning (6 hours) to give me some closure around it. 





Postmark'd Art Web Site

More about the postcards...my items went up in the gallery 2 days ago! The "For Sale" page will go up today!  My excitement stems from working collectively with others in making this happen. Somehow, I don't see that I would be happier if it was just my site solo...collective creativity, group projects, I find so much more exciting. It increases the dynamics, keeps the juices flowing, energies high, ya know?!  Poetry and quilting, although can be solo endeavors, for me it is as much about building community and creating relationships, connections as it is self-exploration and self-definition. 



From where I sit, Franki and Carol where the catalyst that funneled our energies together to create the site.  Franki is in California and Carol in Alabama and here I sit in Kentucky and the other artists are spread all around the U.S.  They are some really incredibly talented women.  The cards that I have received from them are on my Webshots album in a private album. If you are interested in seeing them, email me and I'll send you an invitation to view it. 



Margaret Mead has a quote about not underestimating the power of a small group of people to make change.  The creation of the website for Postmark'd Art demonstrates this quote in action.  Back in late summer I was thinking about how to increase my visibility as a contemporary quilter and connect with others with shared interests and using the internet as a tool to do it...after weeks of pondering this it was too daunting and I decided that I would focus on making small works, photographing and documenting my journey, learning, and submitting my work in appropriate venues for the next year.  When the chance presented itself on the QuiltArt list that I lurk on to join the postcard exchange, I took the chance thinking it would be a good ground to play, condition me with meeting deadlines (which I resent), get feedback, and hopefully make a friend or two around quilt art.  This is happening, and maybe it doesn't take much to thrill me, but I find the coming together to create the website is phenonmenal.  I'm having fun just promoting it.  This experience falls under the heading of "trusting the process" to bring you where you need to be.



From this, I've been wondering if the M8 would be interested in a similiar site for us?





Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Altered Living

No surprise that Altered Art appeals to me since I was born and reside still in an Altered State of Mind...I mean if you see me, I look like I'm paying attention and am fairly coherent, but upon closer examination (and if one's heart and eye is aligned just right with the rotation of the planets) I can be seen moving slowly through acreages of discarded letters, words, colors, textures..holding up eggplant to the light trying to decipher if its burgundy or purple and just what is the difference. I can be found nailing rusted words up against the back board of my soul, trying to express something more felt than spoken.  You can find me under the scraps diving deep under the fiber of living to find that elusive thread that keeps us from unraveling completely...after all, rummaging through discards to alter something into art...is about discovering connections with others where none seem to appear.  Altered living.



Dscn0259 Dscn0260 Pam made this altered piece for me...it is personalized with M8 which stands for Magnificent 8, a group of soulful women who through cyberhood have become soul sistahs in each other's journey that has grown beyond the internet over the last five years. 



The JtQ stands for a self-imposed nick name that reflects my lack of enthusiasm for taking on a royal name when I joined another site based on a book written by author Rebecca Wells...the initials stand for Just the Queen. 



I love the vintage imagery and in this piece the woman standing on top of the rock with her hand on her hip looking back over her shoulders as if she is saying "why don't they come on!?" to those who are lagging behind her. The back is an affirmation from Pam and a quote of something I said to her that was affirming...always nice to know that the meditations of my mDscn0261_1outh had a meaningful impact on another.





But I looked around my office at work, where I took this piece to show the art therapist at work, and noticed other altered pieces that surrounded me...some I made, some made by others.  Here take a look at this shoe I made in a workshop at my work place a few years ago...



this was originally a sandal...selected for its openness and east of getting on and off...my dreamDscn0271_1  of the way life should be...







Dscn0270



The next piece, I purchased A Place To Create, the gallery/studio owned by Rauch Rehabilitation Svcs. , an agency that serves people with Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Its been well over Dscn027212 years since I worked there.  Rauch was well known for weaving on the floor looms and producing rugs. The Director, Sandy, was so incredibly inspiring and soulful, we connected immediately, and I bloomed there...she encouraged me to dive into laying the foundation for a fine arts program to serve the people who utilized the services...so for me to return many years after my departure to visit and see the gallery/studio in the heart of downtown New Albany was so incredible. The emphasis on creating is not on individual artists but the process of creating in a collective.  The wider community donates discarded pieces and the artists at Rauch refashion them and sell them back out to the wider community.  Altered livinDscn0267g at its finest!Dscn0266



Sunday, December 12, 2004

Grandma, you want me to bring over a live chicken?

Yesterday I was at my mother's when Adrian called from the flea market and asked my mother if she wanted him to buy a live chicken so that she could wring it up and fry it.  A vendor there had them which was intriguing in and of itself. 



Adrian was bragging to his friends while on the phone about his grandmother doing it up ole' school style because she was from the country.  Now, lets overlook the fact that my mother left the country when she was 18 running away from all things "country" and the limitations for an African woman during that period in history. She ran to the city fully embracing urban life and a chance to re-fashion her dreams and at 70+ she ain't looked back and has no plans to even retire back to "the country" as a brother and sister did after living in Chicago.  Did he really think my mother was going to wring the neck of the chicken while it ran around in her back yard and we waited for it to kill over in order to prepare it for Sunday's Fried Chicken dinner????????????? 



He got a big kick out of her response...I so wish my farming uncles where still living so that he could have had a chance to really get a taste of living in the country.  Maybe, he too, is just a misplaced soul trying to find his tribe.



Here he is on the left with the other future patriarchs of this family:Dscn0233



















Also, yesterday, Ade, (on the right) sung with his choir at The Brown Theatre . It was their major annual fundraiser and the honoree, Martha Dawson, gave a moving acceptance speech that was a call for every single segment of life to respond to the call of developing our city's youth.  She announced the partnerships with Spalding University and Sullivan University in joining University of Louisville in offering partial and full scholarships for each and every child who stays in the choir for all four years of high school, maintains 2.5, and stays out of trouble.  The first recipient of this arrangement was introduced. A pianist who started with the choir when he was 10 and is now 22. 



Here is a link to a local news article and photos of them rehearsing with the Girls Choir which is only 2 years old: West Louisville Choirs Plan Holiday Show  .  Ade is way in the back on the photo and I never would have found him but in true Ade fashion he was proud of his picture in the paper and pointed himself out to me.  I do not have any current photos of them but here is an older photo before Ade joined that gives an idea of how they appear in concert: WLBC  The girls wear simple black satin formals with a single strand pearl necklace and earrings and black low heel pumps. 



This was the 3rd year that an honoree was given an award. The award is always designed by a different fine artist...last year's award was given to basketball coach Rick Pitino and was a sculpture designed by William M. Duffy.   This year's award was a blown glass piece that was made by one of the master glass blowers at GlassWorks . The program is out in the car so I cannot name the artist. Will do so later.



How are these related to my quilting journey?  ...well, I got a brainstorm to do a pictorial quilt of a chicken from the yard to the dinner table and then I thought about taking the logo for the Boys Choir and placing it on a quilt with the words "hope, love, and freedom" and use the quilt as a raffle to raise money for the choir.



Half way there...YES!!!!!

Dscn00011 Well here are the 12 blocks I finished Saturday morning at 3:00 am.  Since then, I've sewn 2 rows and the 3rd is on top of the sewing machine.  I'm going to use the left over fabrics for a pieced backing. Then I'll add a layer of pellon for stiffness, topped with a batting, then the top.  I'm not yet sure if I'll do a traditional binding or close zig zag stitch the edge.  The label, the sleeve, beads and charms will be the last steps.    Dscn0252 Here is my block--The medium blue (mountains in all the blocks), the dark blue that makes up the roof and the light green eaves section and purple and orange that make up the front of the house are my own hand-dyes. 



At first, I was really having a hard time seeing how the fabrics where going to work in one piece.  I added my own fabrics to make the sky, peaks, roof, eaves, and foundation to each piece.  I thought the sky would be the unifying factor, so all the fabric is identical. I went for diversity in each blocks...some, I think 3, of the blocks share the same white fabric that makes up the doors and windows. Other than this, no fabrics are repeated for the eaves and foundation and of course the body of the house.



I feel so much better that this step is complete.  Here are a few more blocks up-close: Dscn0249_3 Dscn0246















To get an even closer look, right click on top of image and select open in new window.



Just keep on stitchin'...





Thursday, December 9, 2004

7 Blocks, 5 Blocks More

I knocked out 7 blocks on the wallhanging for Darlene and 5 left to go.  I stayed home today due to waking with an awful headache and I had an appointment scheduled with a new physician to replace the one that left her practice in August, but it had to be re-scheduled due to the doctor being on jury duty.  After my 2nd cup of coffee my headache diminished and I took full advantage of the cancellation and being home to make a dent in this piece.  I'll get pics up later on.  The wall hanging is a scrappy look of row houses.  Putting all the fabrics together that 11 other people selected has been a challenge but all the elements of working with color, scale, hue, and value have come into play.  Using color to balance the busyness of the fabrics has been central in picking other fabrics to complete each block.  Overall, I'm learning a great deal from the hands on work.







Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Know Thyself

Well, I always say that the only people who do not have stress are dead.  My enthusiasm and love for quilting has taken me to stress city.  Once this wallhanging is complete for Darlene, I know this feeling will be a vague memory in light of the joy I'll receive from presenting it to her...on the 18th...in 10 days!!!!!!!!!   I'm thinking of some short cuts I can take...but at the moment I'm regretting ever opening my mouth.  I'm interviewing to fill a position at work, working out the logistics of HMIS, staying on top of the CoC process, plus supervising 2 folks and managing 16 units of the long term housing...the last thing I need is another deadline. 



Quilting provides me a sense of peace, communion with God, a sense of freedom and flow and playfulness, and clarity in mind and body...quilting under duress just negates all of that!  Does this mean I could never make a living with this?  More than likely, the answer is yes, I can't make a living with this because discipline, or discipline as capitalism requires, is antithetical to my meandering mind.



Subconscious talking to ego: Karoda, always know thyself and behave accordingly.



Mystery

Mystery is behaving and living toward your dreams with expectation.  Very much like quilting.  Very much like creating a poem.  Very much like justice advocacy. If this is so, I live in mystery every single moment. 



Pam sent me a guided journal by Philip Simmons (not the same Phillip Simmons that is the iron gate maker from Charleston, SC) but an author from New Hampshire.  In the opening letter from the author he speaks to falling as living richly in the face of the losses we inevitably suffer...from this alone I can see why she has sent this to me.  The early part of November was filled with so much loss of life that I was angry and fighting hopelessness down like a bear protecting its young.  The first guided topic in the journal is about mystery. I've been thinking about it since Monday night...about the sense of mystery in my own living. 



This morning Dee called excited about a program in IUP that combines the Masters/Ph.D in five years...she is gonna go for it.  Thinking about her journal after we hung up...I thought this is mystery...when one acts and behaves forward toward the vision of their dreams with expectations.



Monday, December 6, 2004

Teaching the next generation

While in the quilt shop this evening a young girl of about 10 wondered in and wanted to learn to quilt...she didn't own a machine and kept asking the owner "can I learn to make this one without a machine?"  The owner showed her a hand appliqued quilt that she could do but then the cost of the class was a hindrance...she went out of the store and came back saying her 15 year old sister wanted to learn to.  My heart was touched by the young girl's earnest inquiry and desire...I almost volunteered to bring in my old machine for her to use.  After she left I spoke with the owner about programs that would provide support for working with youth...with a perk in her eye, she asked me if I would teach it...I offered to see what info and funding was available for young people to learn.  I would enjoy teaching them, (I think), or I might just be feeling all sentimental about each one reach one.   I do have that knack for allowing my enthusiasm to write a check my behind can't cash.



Friday, December 3, 2004

Form, Not Function

I really have missed Sunday afternoon's with Juanita.  In all reality I probably will not see her until next month, (God willing and the creek don't rise) (I've always loved that cliche I often heard while growing up).  The Form, Not Function exhibit will kick off January 14.  I'm aiming to take the workshop lead by Melody Johnson and will see Juanita then.  I'm going to send her the link to my postcards.



I sold five postcards at the conference! That was such a great feeling and I realized how much I missed selling. Darlene purchased my favorite one and I had a little seperation anxiety over letting it go but I know Darlene will provide a good space for it.  She said she would not be mailing it but displaying it in her office.  Also, I received so much incredible encouragement from people and was informed of several major art and craft festivals in Lexington and Berea that I plan to check out. 



This leads me to ponder getting a business license and tax id and all that jazz.  I charged a flat fee of 20 dollars for the postcards.  But that was really undercutting it. Even the most simple constructed ones should start at nothing short of 25.00.  But if I do this on a circuit, I will probably need to charge tax and be able to take credit cards, etc.



Working the circuit would be so cool to do with Deborah. Maybe target about 3-4 venues annually and just take our wares and see what happens. 





Sunday, November 28, 2004

Aminah Robinson

Thanks to Layers of Meaning, a blog by Serena Fenton, I have been introduced to this artist, Aminah Robinson.  Reading about the way in which she works gave me goosebumps...would love to meet her in person, but will patiently wait for her piece to be at the Freedom Center next year.



Saturday, November 27, 2004

Postcard Marathon

In spite of sewing all day I'm still behind on my projects.  I simply cannot wait to get my own studio space where I can spread out and work more fluidly.  My main focus was the postcards and I'm now working on the wall hanging for Darlene.  I hope she can forgive me for skipping out on Parrot Bay tonight, but a day like this is such a precious rarity and I never can predict how my energy will hold up from morning til night. 





Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More Fiber Postcards

Midnight_bloom I almost scrapped this postcard. First due to the fragility of working with the dried flowers. The flowers tear very easily.  The blue flower in the center is an altered digital photo of the Morning Glory I photographed at The Mary Anderson Center during the Mag8 Art Retreat.  There is a layer of green tulle on top of the post card which helps to protect the dried flowers.  My second frustration was putting on the binding and backing. My first attempt was with the pillow case method which was a disaster and broke up the dried flower. I cut that binding off and the one seen is a pre-cut bias strip.  I'm going to let it be a done deal since it took me 3 hours to complete.



Here is the second card which I really like...Icarus the human figure is a rendition of Matisse's figure of Icarus.  I guess my image is before he decided to see how close he could fly toward the sun with wax wings.



I'm sewing the fabric directly onto the timtex at the fabric seams and no longer add the batting.  The cards appear thinner and stiffer.



I would like to have 30 postcards for sale at the conference next week. Not sure if that will happen. The cards I'm making now, are to complete the postcard exchange with the Postmark'd Art group.



Monday, November 22, 2004

Loosing Focus

Lost focus has resulted in a missed deadline. My aim was to prepare slides for submission to the Kentucky Arts Council Artist Development Grant by December 1st.  The work isn't finished for me to even photograph.  I'm behind on all my quilting projects and if the truth be spoken aloud, I hardly have come near needle and thread or my sewing machine since Key'vonne's tragic death. The postcard, Deep Blue Sea, Sea, Sea was the one exception. I've not been able to sleep, even less than normal, since I attended the community meeting on Friday. It was so incredibly intense. I'm almost thankful that my aunt didn't come.  That night I had a dream that Michael Newby, Key'vonne, and Janette where in dark waters trying to pull themselves out by grabbing onto my bed.  I woke up just as I extended out my hands to them.  Nothing was spoken.  Since then I've not slept but about 3 hours a night. Last night was a bit longer but it was not a restful sleep.



Penny Sisto would take the dream image and hauntingly immortalize it in a quilt.  Penny made a quilt for Theresa's family when the children died in the fire.  She said they haunted her and she reflected that very well in the quilt.  The five children's faces embraced by the outstretched hands of Jesus. I thought about calling her but I'm going to sit still on the dream until I have more clarity as to what I'm suppose to do.



Saturday was somewhat of a break.  Mama, Aunt Shirley, and myself went to Franklin for the auction of Aunt Margareed's home, land and household goods.  Symbolically the land represented the last tie we have to a farming history even though my aunt and uncle had sold off majority of the arable acreages many years ago due to their age and health. I've inherited some of her quilts and some blocks of 2 unfinished quilts and 2 pieces of her crochet work.  I would love to do something funky with the crochet work...a slip and a table runner...I thought about dyeing them and using them somehow in a quilt.  The traditional blocks I do not have a clue what to do with yet. I will post pictures later.  At the auction I won the bid on a book case that she kept her cookbooks in and my mother won the bid on a clock that belonged to her father.  We are going to see what is involved in repairing it.  It is beautiful and I fell in love with it.  I lost the bid on an antique library table.  Jackie said, Aunt Margareed did all her writing, paying bills, organizing of recipes, etc. at that table. 



I'm going to do my best to work on at least the postcards tomorrow.  But even now, I feel like I'm about to crawl out of my skin. 



Friday, November 19, 2004

Fiber Postcards II

Franki's card came this week and it had 2 bird feathers with rich but subtle colors on the front that I asked her if she had used dye on them.  They actually came from her bird!  Since reading her post about 90 minutes ago, I've had 3 moments around thinking about these feathers and her use of them on the postcard.



First, I thought about the first time I saw Martha Stewart's show...she opened the show introducing the topic as planting bulbs then followed by "but before we do that we're going to make our own flower pots".  She had a "master" cement mixer, let me say that again, A MASTER CEMENT MIXER! on the show to mix the cement then she made a mold for him to pour the pot...I was so blown away because the topic was "planting bulbs".  I'm having the same reaction to Franki's card.  In the flow of my thoughts I imagined the feathers being a signature piece in her quilt art but who has her own bird sanctuary in order to collect the feathers.



Then the second moment made me think about something I'd read by Alice Walker from an essay on the rape of the environment...she submits that the gifts and resources we are suppose to have by design of nature are the things within our hand's reach...sea shells, leaves (and I'll add feathers) etc. 



Then the third moment I had thinking about how awesome and rich the colors are in the feathers...lead me to quip that God is the Greatest Artist of all time and how we just attempt to manifest (and not necessarily at a conscious level) a glimpse of such divine wit, vision, and spirit when we actively create and express.



So from something as light as a feather, literally, this is where my mind rambled to. Untitled1 Here is an image of the postcard.



                         Fly With Me 5 (c) Franki Kohler 2004





Thursday, November 18, 2004

Fiber Postcards

I made a postcard tonight.  It has been weeks since I've worked on my sewing machine.  I made another postcard some weeks ago but that was an attempt to do a no-sew card for the purpose of the workshop I'll teach on fiber postcards week after next at the statewide conference for ending sexual assault and domestic violence . Fran, the art therapist at work, and I will co-facilitate the 90 minute workshop designated as one of the self-care sessions.  I will teach the postcards and Fran will do affirmation dolls. 



But here is the card I made tonight  - 



Deep_blue_sea_sea_sea_3





Deep Blue Sea, Sea, Sea by Karoda





Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sometimes, I need to keep my mouth shut

Yesterday I finally received the last of the fabric from Coordinators at work to begin on Darlene's quilts.  They have had 3 weeks to get fabric...most of it I received last week leaving me 2 weeks to make this wallhanging.  I've been up since 4am looking at free patterns online to get some ideas.  With just 2 weeks to go I do not want to attempt to make an original pattern and the fabrics are very scrappy...(lesson learned: next group project, give more directives and I don't create well with everybody).  A lot of large scale novelty prints which are my least favorite to work with. A lot of black and red (how will that work for Darlene in UofK territory!?). Take a look at the working stashDscn0216 below:



The few pattern books I have are geared toward art quilting and I just don't think these fabrics would work. I thought about a Chinese Coin pattern (quick and scrappy) but settled on a pattern called Row Houses from Quilts, Quilts, and More Quilts by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes.  There will be eleven houses to represent each Coordinator and Director. One house will represent a shelter and the others will be homes in Kentucky.  Possible titles Shelter from the Storms or to borrow a slogan from the state domestic violence agency, Let There Be Peace in Kentucky Homes.



Of course, I get so damn excited about quilts and quilting that I just dive right in without thinking about anything else.



Monday, November 15, 2004

Contemplating Yellow

Maybe its the urban landscape, but yellow is used in a lot of commercial/retail signage. In nature, the leaves are a shaded or toned yellows.



Knowing that it is a color prefered in signage, makes me reluctant to use it.  Personally, I like a mustard yellow but that would be considered a shaded yellow.  Pure yellow would make an impact if used in small amounts in an overall design.  It is a color to be handled carefully.



Color

I'm reading Color Play by Joen Wolfrom to get a hold on working with colors with intent and vision versus working intuitively.  Although, I do the latter much better, I don't think without a deeper understanding of how color works that I am going to be able to create the quilt designs that I'm so attracted to such as Carol Taylor's or that have the impact I desire.   Dispersion_small I want more control over why and how I select colors.



Dispersion (c) by Carol Taylor



In Color Play, Wolfrom works with the Ives Color Wheel identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary colors as pure and refers to colors has having personalities.  There are four scales of color...pure, which are the primary, secondary and tertiary colors on the wheel; tints, which includes all colors between white and the pure color combined; shades, which includes all colors between black and the pure color; and tones, a color that has a grayed or subdued quality. 



I'm attracted to intense shades and pure colors and am challenged to work with tints and tones.  The piece I have up on the design wall now consists of 2 pure colors, yellow-orange and cerulean blue in sharp geometric shapes.  I have 2 blocks finished and am wondering if I need to work with tints and and tones in the same color if I'm going to make it as large as I imagine it to be when finished.  If I stay with pure colors it could be overwhelming and harsh to look at in the size I want.



Today's colors for observing is Yellow. 



Sunday, November 14, 2004

Origin of this Blog Title

Naomi Shihab Nye's poetry softly stirs my spirit and lingers inside.  I'm drawn to poetry that speaks to the soul of geographical locations tied to ancestry and that gives voice to the heart of the people. 



The title of my blog comes from a phrase in Shihab Nye's poem A Single Slice Reveals Them found in her book 19 Varieties of Gazelle . A portion of the proceeds from this book go to Seeds of Peace . I could not find a link to this very short poem, but the opening stanza reads:



An apple on the table



hides its seeds



so neatly



under seamless skin.

This is the way I think of my quilting, my poetry and writing, and my interest in the creative and artistic desires of others...as seamless skin...connecting me and protecting me and holding me together in this world. The seeds representing the essence of how I came to be and encoded with who I will become.



The second and ending stanza submits to me that we open up and let what is in us out as a way of allowing others to see and know our essence.

But we talk and talk and talk



to let somebody



in.

For me, this is the way I think of blogging...a way to talk and talk and talk to open up and reveal what is inside and to let others see.



Another Beginning

Welcome to my blog, another beginning in my online adventures, created to document my quilting journey and other supporting representations of my life. 



My interest in learning to quilt began twenty-something years ago shortly after I graduated from college.  I had asked my great grandmother, Willie Pearl, to teach me to quilt. She was a hand and machine quilter who made functional quilts solely for the purpose of keeping family warm.  At first she was shocked to learn that all through my education that included college I had not learned to quilt. It was evidence for her that I had wasted her grandson's money and my time if college did not include something as basic as quilting. She finally conceded and we started hand piecing a bow tie pattern. Repeatedly, she had me undo my stitches because they did not suit her in size or closeness. She finally quipped at the end of the 2nd lesson that her quilt would be on the bed and worn out before I finished my one block. I resigned that day.



A few years later she had a stroke and passed away. Shortly after her passing, I lost my grandmother, Lizzie Pearl, from brain cancer. As a way to honor them both, their presence and shaping of my sensibilities and life, I began again. This time, without any advice or mentor. I purchased Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! The Complete Guide To Quiltmaking by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes.  Using African Fabrics as a focal point I made a variation of Roman Squares. It is all hand pieced and quilted.  Just last year I machine attatched the binding.   



Dscn0220



Dscn0217African Delights, (c) by Karen Davis 2003 



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