Saturday, December 31, 2005

Surrendering to the flow

Thats what I've been short, in addition to the holidays which includes Kwanzaa that has been low key this year but will aim to cook for and reflect on the last day tomorrow.  We also have lots of family birthdays in December and January and I'm a first time grandmother to a baby boy, Adrian II.  He is struggling to breath on his on so we've been back and forth to the hospital.  He was born on my mother's birthday, the 27th and I'm celebrating my 45th today...I love it that my birthday is on the day of Creativity (Kuumba in Swahili) for Kwanzaa and of course New Year's Eve...after running a few errands in a bit I'm going to come back home and prepare the Mexican Soup that Gerrie at Crazy for Fiber shared some months ago along with Jamaican meat patties, Zuchinni Fritters with Horseradish sauce, a salad, and hopefully I can stand on my feet long enough to make my favorite recipe for pound cake.  Peter is taking care of any libations for the day, but I had wanted to do a Martini buffet...but let it go...these days I can barely get through one glass of anything without falling asleep.  :) 

I'll be back on track with Color and Composition soon...but for at least a few more days, I'll surrender to the flow.  Peace!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is it destined to become a still life masterpiece?????

Dscn1145 I decided to work with this one.  I pulled off the pieces I placed on the back of it (2nd post down). It will be a good opportunity to practice my fmq without worry.

Debra asked me how I liked contour cutting.  I had no problem with it, but I had decided beforehand that I wasn't going to cut individual pieces for lights and shadows, so I made it easy.  I had more difficulty using the pencil but I think doing the pencil contour first prepared me for doing it with the biggest problem was slowing down my eyes to grasp the direction of a line.  If I kept this up daily I do see how it could become a meditative practice...the slowing of the eye was challenging but eventually calming.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kathy Loomis and Her Alphabets!

Loomis_1 This is the postcard that was mailed for her solo quilt exhibit and this quilt happens to be one of my favorites using a technique that includes sewing lines of selvage scraps...very thin scraps.  She had 3 done in this fashion. One for the letter I and one for J which can been seen here.  She gave a very interesting gallery talk yesterday that I and my daughter attended.  Her love for letters came from being raised in a household that was in love and serious about typography as it was her father's profession.  She covered how she progressed from using type by other designers to creating her own type...the various methods she used.  Another quilt that I fell in love with was the letter Z, entitled Remembering Zorro...she had dyed a heavy canvas and cut the Zorro Z in it and it was all ravelly looking as if it had been made with a burning sword.  It gave me the inspiration to go ahead and buy an attachment for my sewing machine that I had been putting off, so after we left there I picked up the circular sewing attachment.  I left there thinking time's a'wastin' and I need to get with it! Thanks Kathy for such a wonderful afternoon!!!!!

If you live anywhere in the viccinity (2 hour drive at least) of New Albany, Indiana located across the river from Louisville, KY, it is worth the trek to view the exhibit of 26 quilts!

Color and Composition, pages 20-22

Dscn1129 Dscn1135                                                                  

Dscn1137 The first photo is the still life (minus the iron) that I worked with.  Before I even started I knew that I would not attempt cutting out light and shadows from fabric but would use coloured pencils and watercolour crayons (plug for Gabrielle's DVDs) to achieve as this would be similiar to what I would do if making a piece all my own.  It still seemed a way to get to the point of the exercise.  I really like the way the apple and orange turned out with the crayons and pencils.  I didn't bother with light and shadow on the 2nd part of this exercise but its obvious I went with a diagonal composition...the red half circle on the bottom of the last photo is actually the flip side from of the second photo.  Its called being frugal.  The apple fabric started out as white and I coloured it in layers with the watercoloured crayons.

The purple bottle is a wine bottle that I've had for years.  I purchased this simply on the colour and shape of the bottle. The wine was very good but I have no idea what the brand was other than it began with a V as evidenced by the letter on the silver part.  I haven't seen the bottle since. 

Mary Beth at Orientation Quilter had an entry about selecting wine based on the label and at the beginning of the week I did just that and selected this because of the colours and the mola-like design: Dscn1141

Sorry for the fuzzy picture.  The next exercise provides 2 options for thread contour drawing with the sewing machine.  For those working through this, feel free to post between now and the week after Christmas...thats almost 2 weeks...I feel I need that much time to practice this one before coming up with a recognizable image.  Hangeth in!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wasabi Peas and a beer.

My friend Dee introduced me to the wasabi peas this past summer and I bumped into them at the grocer recently and 2 small cans came home with me.  I'm crunching on the peas and sipping a beer (a very rare treat for me) and reading some blogs and I'm curious now if other blog readers do this: when leaving comments on blogs with word verification, do you attempt to pronunciate the mix of letters?  I've noticed its an entertaining little activity I do when leaving comments with this feature.

I will post my Color and Composition exercises tomorrow. Peace.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Letter

This is a letter written in 2003 from one friend to another on the verge of the invasion into Iraq.  It is from the site Poets Against the War.  The letter isn't easy to read because its written rather informally but the writer asks the questions that I ponder often.  An unfathomable amount of money is invested in war and its industries and I've argued that very very little is invested in the study and production of Peace.  Peace is allusive in definition and actuality because so little has been invested in studying what it is.  So, thus, we are given, still, in the 21st century phrases about tree huggers or hippies and the like, as if Peace is not something that all human beings could benefit from and know and want.  Maybe, there is no room for such a thing until someone, somewhere can figure how to make a profit from it and market it similiar to XBoxes.

Decisions, decisions, are some design elements I'm considering:

Dscn1119 The photos where transferred using transfer paper and are my 3 children. The script is one of the poems that is finding its way into the piece, in my own handwriting.Dscn1122   This is one of the stamps I used in the focal panel. I stamped it on paper then enlarged it and I want to use it as a quilted motif in the blue panel. I'll need to turn this into a stencil and I think I'm going to either stitch in the negative space to form the motif...not sure yet.  The photos and the poem will either be attached to peltex and backed and then attached to an already quilted top OR I might use batting instead of the peltex to keep the attachments soft...not sure yet. 

Here is the layout I'm leaning towards:

Dscn1124 The bottom half of the rosary is missing. I didn't take it off intentionally but it fell off twice many years ago and I put it up from myself and cannot find it.  I'm leaning toward not attaching it at all because I think I'm mixing up spiritually ideologies in the symbols too much for the viewer and it may not come across as my belief that all good things come back to the power of one.

Yesterday I was leaning toward concentric circles in a satin stitch or straight stitch to signify continuity in life and passage of time.  There are hash marks at the very top of the focal panel to imply counting days and I thought the circles would duplicate that in meaning.  But this morning I thought it would be better to duplicate the stamped motif above which is an Adinkra symbol for faith.  And I'm actually leaning toward hand quilting it but I'm worried how much placing it in a hoop would distort it.  I have to make a run for threads though before I actually put in under the needle and its cold and well, its cold, so it'll be awhile, maybe Saturday when I actually work up the gumption to go out.

Friday, December 9, 2005

oh, oh, there was 1 other thing

I wanted to share...I watched a great movie yesterday called Monsieur Ibrahim. It is a French movie with subtitles but a very moving story along the lines of Finding Forrester with Sean Connery and Jamal Wallace.  Its a coming of age story of a poor Jewish boy in Paris and his evolving friendship with the neighborhood Muslim store keeper.  The dialogue is sparse so the subtitles where not cumbersome to read. A movie for a quiet winter afternoon.

Color and Compositon, pages 16-19

Three drawing exercises called for blind contour drawing, semi-blind contour drawing and detailed contour drawing. Here are my three drawings and the still life I used:   Dscn1115_1                                                                                                         Dscn1117Dscn1118

Dscn1112 I didn't spend 25 minutes on each one as she suggested...maybe 15 tops.  After doing these I spent some time looking at prelimenary line drawings by Willam H. Johnson which helped me appreciate this step as a process toward creating an end piece. 

The next group of excercises involve contour "cutting"...instead of a pencil and paper you use scissors and fabric. 

Others in the ring who expressed an interest in working through this book together are: DebR, Teri, Vikki, Caity, Geri, Mary, Cathy, Nikki, and Julie.  The next deadline for the next group of exercises is the weekend of the 16th. This is a very loose group, so no  one will be called on the carpet for being late or moving in another direction if you're not feeling Color and Compostition at the moment but I'll be checking your blogs for any C&C activity :)


The story of (a) creation.

The weather outside is frightful, the fire inside is delightful, let it snow, let is snow, let it snow...okay, so I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but it doesn't matter because I'm feeling too good to care. I woke up today feeling very much like the Karen that I am, ya know, the self you hold in your heart of hearts, the self that you like the best as opposed to my bitch self that enjoys a pigfoot and a bottle a beer and would prefer to cuss ya than say hello (yes, I do have those days and if you say you don't, then you're missing out ;)). 

Its been a tremendous week of blessings and conversations and creating.  I woke up with additional ideas for the quilt in progress whose working title is A Black Mother's Prayer.  The title will change if the new ideas for the piece fly.  This work means a great deal to me as I'm creating it from an emotional space that is typically intimate and personal and yet needs to open in order to convey my intent to connect with others if it will be exhibited.  So there is this questioning I have with myself around balancing the cryptic (personal) and the blatant (connection with others) when looking at what is happening with it.  I like to keep my artist statements succint and let the quilt carry the message which is as an African American woman I must walk in faith, literally and figuratively, to move through life.

To elaborate a little bit more on the space I'm in with this quilt can be described from a print by Brian Andreas called Bittersweet and the story on it reads "She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short".  Another quote from Wynton Marsalis also comes to mind, "there is no price to pay for life except to live it. and if somebody wants to make you pay a price for how you live, fuck 'em. and with the blue-edged blade of love, him cut sharp both ways. sweet and bitter. and when it cuts you to the bone. and you can still make love as if the bite of that razor is what opened your heart for the the first time and set your blood on fire and your soul free...then you gon' find jazz in the bittersweet blues of life".

Twice this morning that the word bittersweet has popped up while I sat looking at this quilt contemplating the new ideas.  I pay attention to things like this when I'm working because I want to increase my self-awareness around the process. 

When I sat down to write this post, it was not this post that I was going to write. I was going to share my drawings from the exercises from Color and Compostion.  I'll make another entry later on.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

I've got the blues

In the last few days I was inspired by Rayna's and Mary's fabric play that led me to pull a poorly rust-dyed 1/2 yard from my stash to see what it could become.  I wanted to recreate a panel similar to Cilium 2 before I couched it heavily (on the left).  Dscn0001



The new piece I've layered it with paints, foil, stamps, and transfers over the last 2 days but it still needed something and this morning I knew it was a new comes Jacquard Textile Paint in Sky Blue which brightened the piece perfectly, reminded me of looking through stained glass.  But guess what, it needs more Sky Blue and I'm out!  I knew it earlier but the cold temps intimidate me and I just couldn't stand the thought of braving the weather to go pick up another bottle.  I will pick up the textile paint tomorrow because I'm also too impatient to wait for a delivery from Dharma Trading plus I would end up buying more stuff if I ordered online. Why didn't I just do it today and it would be behind me right now. (should a period or question mark go behind the preceding sentence?)

I moved on to re-selecting another colour for the side panel for the umpteenth time...with the introduction of the blue, I have another option and decided on a darker blue that I dyed last year and guess what? I don't have enough for the length without creating a seam where I do not want one!  For me to dye more fabric means I have to call Mary Anderson Center for the Arts and ask about available studio space and then drive 20 minutes...which means braving the cold to work for an hour in what I imagine to be a low heated space because afterall they are non-profit and heating costs have increased, and this holds no appeal for me! I've just got to work out a solution that will not compromise the design and message with this quilt, called A Black Mother's Prayer which is very important to me because the inspiration comes from a poem I wrote for my oldest son when he was 12 (now 24) and is intended for an exhibit that Sonji made me aware of that will go up in January or February that addresses some aspect of gender and/or ethnicity. This piece has to be everything I want it to be. I am speaking to it and through it.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Color and Composition

Several in the AQ ring have recently purchased Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter by Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker.  Debra at A Stitch In Time and Teri at Fiber and Thread and myself will be working through the exercises together and posting the outcomes on our respective blogs.  Exercises 1-3 on pages 16-19 we will post on Friday, Dec. 9th.  Anyone, everyone is welcome to join us.

I'm gonna make it!

For a full 24 hours my temp has remained normal! (hallelujah!) The light sensitivity has stopped.  The right lung has opened and I'm breathing deeper.  I'm a feeling a little more stronger today. 

The art quilt group is meeting today at the Carnegie in New Albany but I don't think I'm going to push myself to attend especially since I have that "oh, have you been ill" look going on in my face.  We only meet quarterly so I wait in anticipation for these meetings and just hate not to not go.  Kathy Loomis' alphabet quilts are hanging and that was going to be a double treat.  There will be another opportunity in the month to hear her give a gallery talk so I will console myself with that and a shout out today: Hi Juanita!!!!!! Hi Valeri!!!!! Hi Micki!!!!! Hi other Carnegie group attendees!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2005

No Creative Energy Yet.

A few weeks ago, I just felt deflated and thought I would just let it roll and enjoy Thanksgiving which I did...but last Sunday my left lung tightened up and my fever rose and that feeling of being deflated is now one of being depleted.  I started an anti-biotic which has helped loosen the tightness but my energy just can't be summoned, found, called upon, or called out, plus due to the anti-biotic (I think) I now have a sensitivity to light, so not only is my energy zapped and I'm squinting even to look at this computer, its looks like a cave in here.  I've tried doodling this morning, flipping through art books to lift my spirit, and nothing even stirred.  I pulled out my sketch books from last year and the beginning of this year trying to find some spark. It was a nice trip to revisit what I was interested in 6 months ago but most of what I doodled will never see life in a quilt form. Here are some of the idyll sketchesDscn1081 from over the last 12 months: Dscn1078 Dscn1080

Dscn1083 The one on the right, 2nd row, actually became the Cilium 1 in the Liberation Series.


In the last few days I've been dreaming about doors, all sizes, shapes and various colours.  In the dreams I didn't feel that I was suppose to open any of them, no anxiety about them, but just completely surrounded by them, over my head, under my feet, in the front of me, behind and on the sides.  One I even had to kneel down to peep through but that was the only one that was open in all the dreams. 

My appetite has returned, so I'm going to go appreciate this. Peace.