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 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.


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 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


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.   


Dscn0217African Delights, (c) by Karen Davis 2003 

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