Monday, February 28, 2005

oh, what a pheeling!

Blogging is educational...thanks to Dangling by a Thread I have been introduced to Gustav Klimt (or is it Klimpt, I saw it spelled both ways). Of course when I saw his work, especially The Kiss, I realized I too loved Klimpt without knowing he was Klimpt (or is it Klimt?).  But googling him lead me to this software which I now want...Lucis Art. I love altering photos as a way to entertain myself and although I haven't nearly come close to knowing what I'm doing in Photoshop 7.0, I do believe this software program would compliment Photoshop.  So it is on my ever growing wish list.

Last year, early last year, I thought it was necessary for me to have at least one bed quilt made by with my Marcus Brother Batiks, I cut and pieced an Attic window...well like most of my projects it sat and sat...I pulled it out this weekend and although the colours are fun to work on, I also got a dose of why I will never become a good traditional quilt maker...PRECISION! I know the seams will never match up.  But c'est la vie.

After sewing the blocks together for the bed quilt I was inspired to go back and revisit this piece created in the workshop last month with Melody Johnson.  This is what I did and I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! It is named the Mermaids' Playground.  TDscn0448he loose threads in the middle is not waste but having purchased my first silk skein and not knowing how to work with a skein, I ended up with a tangled mess! I HAD to salvage I ended up with strands long enough to hand stitch with after winding what I could around a bobbin for machine stitching.  I got the idea to tie the threads and leave them loose from a quilt at the Form Not Function exhibit...then I tried my hand at french knots and the beads came from Chameleon Quilts. She has such fabulous bead stews. 

here are 2 close up shots-Dscn0451


Okay, the other thing is I'm getting pissed off with myself...I'm going to learn to master this damn digital camera to the max! Dammit!  That will be my goal for the days off in April!

But I really LOVE this piece now!  Its a great pheeling :)  But the last couple of days creating texture has been important to me...running my hand and eye over the top and feeling/seeing the textures changing is so cool. Its the kind of art that we focused on when I worked with adults with mental retardation.  Tactile stimulation is the way to go when working with visually impaired or with folks who are are highly tactile oriented as a way of expanding their experiences and hopefully their enjoyment.

But thats it for now...I really need to turn my attention to making a surplus of postcards.  Hangeth in good people.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Last Friday in February

Untitled2 Golden Leaf...and below are the altered images of a morning glory that I mentioned 2 posts down.Dscn0432  They're a little scary to me.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ohhh, a question...

for the art quilters who read my blog...what would I use to "mold" fabric into a shape that would hold after its dry.  Melody, Cheryl, if you see this, there was a piece in the Form, Not Function exhibt that I think had chicken wire behind it but I believe there was something actually applied to the fabric so that it held its either of you or anyone know what I could use? Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas.

Recuperation quilting

After 9 hours in the ER yesterday I'm home recouperating from some virus that left me weak and dehydrated...for weeks now, I'm been yo-yoing from feeling okay to feeling my flesh was going to just fall off my bones if I move another inch and have been wheezing like a train...and yesterday I ended up in the ER mostly doing a lot of waiting and getting depressed from all the other people who where waiting and seeking care.  Other than one poor soul who I was sure was going to wipe the entire place out with whatever contagiouos infection I was sure he had, a woman came in via ambulance and police that sucked all the energy from the place with what was obviously a psychiatric admittance.  She was one whirling dervish, I tell ya!

But I woke up this morning and attempted to design something based on colour wheel patterns after being inspired by Michelle David on Simply Quilts but started feeling weak again so I laid back down and got up an hour ago and made this little ditty.  Its about the size of a dinner plate. I will duplicate the leaf motif in the quilting and its important for me to outline the image of the leaf and extend it into the organge border on the left.  I tend to think of quilting designs being confined by seams and I want to break that way of thinking.   Dscn0427_3

I was going to bump the orange up against the purple but I think they are too close in value and the image seemed flat.  The black and white strips add motion and make the orange and purple more interesting and then the orange square on the right was added because my purple was too short...but I like it because by duplicating the colour from the inside border it creates another focal point.  I might consider adding another orange square in the upper left hand corner.  I was tempted to add this square into a larger piece with these altered photos of a Morning Glory. 

I have more of them but all I thought of about was that I've taken a beautiful, tranquil flower and gave it LSD...btw, I wanted to try flower pounding but the thought of taking flower petals, a symbol of quiet and gentleness, and beating them to death seemed so, so, so violent and wrong.  (okay, typepad isn't cooperating with the upload of my images so I'll have to post the photos of my drug addicted Morning Glories later.)

I hope to finish it today. But for now I'm going to go read a few stories from Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros and drink some craving a cup of java but I think it would upset my I'm going for something light called Honey Vanilla from my tea stash.

hangeth in good people.

Monday, February 21, 2005

chop wood carry water sing the blues

Every single morning Mo and Ade manage to leave every light on in the house and the closet doors standing open.  My fussing and complaining all these years only serves as an outlet because it sure hasn't impacted their behavior to change. But its one of those things that makes me sound just like my mother. 

This morning I feel the full weight of it being Monday.  Five days ahead of waking up each morning wonderingf if I should call in sick.  The birds are chirping and my sewing machine is set up on the kitchen table, the place is quiet, and I organized my humble stash and related "stuff" yesterday and its tempting to stay home.  But one day never satisfies me but makes it more aggravating to return the day afterwards.  So I will go ahead and chop wood carry water and sing the blues.

I made this postcard last night as a thank you for a co-worker who gave me a piece of fabric from Australia from her vacation.  Scan006_february_20_2005 The picture was drawn by my sistahfriend, Dee. I scanned it onto muslin and hand stitched for some texture and a little pop as the scanned image alone was lifeless. The only thing I added since is thick fuzzy thread in jewel tones couched around the edge.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

It Is What It Is...move on.

I finally said 'stop'.  The constant requirement I give myself when I start a journal quilt is that I have to salvage it no matter what. 

These were my goals with this particular journal quilt:

1. try the June Tailor fabric sheets

2. layer photo images, at least 3

3. it had to reflect my mood when January rolled in

I ran the sheet through the printer 4 times. I wasn't impressed.  Added 7 skeleton leaves in 4 colours. I wasn't impressed. Stitched around the leaves to add emphasis. Its was a little better.  Stitched over the bare tree to give it least it was a chance to practice free motion stitching.  I thought about beads...naw. I settled on foil stamping...silver first, to mimick snow and cold...thats quite shiny...maybe another colour of foil. needs to be toned down.  Since the poem printed has a line about the earth's wedding garland decaying as it awaits the kiss of about torn pieces of tulle in spots to tone the foil down somewhat.  Oh, I need to tell ya that the foil came about as a cover up of black thread that showed through to the top (I was free motioning with the silvery thread in the bobbin and black on the top with the quiltlet facing the bobbin and didn't see the black thread until I turned it over).  That was another reminder to 'pay ah-tension'.

I looked at it and said no doesn't move me, but it is what it is. Move on. I call it The Waiting Bride.Awaiting_bride

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Sojourner Truth Knitted

Mo, Ade, and I trekked to the Speed Museum today. I was feeling the need to be immersed in colour and forms today and the museum was a good fit.  Mo is such a control freak though...she wants to command the "how" of moving through the museum...Ade is more leisurely and enjoys actually reading about the works.  There was a painting of Sojourner Truth of the photo that is seen so often of her sitting and I swear she had knitting needles in her hand.  I kept asking others viewing "do those look like knitting needles to you?"  and of the 5 people I surveyed, no one had noticed until I asked but all agreed that "yeap, they look like knitting needles".  One woman said she must have needed something to abate the stress of being an abolitionist.  But I started my mantra..."I'm not going to take up knitting, no way, nope, I'm not gonna do it"

Here is a poster of the original painting which is way larger than life and was very towering.  Sojourner Truth.  Flack's early works was described as photo realism...the painting had the look of a photograph that had been painted over.  I should have taken a notebook...I can never depend on my memory.  But doesn't that look like knitting in her left hand?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Another Gift

Dscn0424 Dscn0423

Brown Beauty

Brown_beauty This is the postcard from Sidnee!  A Brown Beauty who can still shop at Victoria's Secret...I remember having curves just like this circa  1989. 


Dscn0412 This is a postcard going out to Sistahfriend Mary J.


Dscn0413 This is going to Bev, The Queen Bee.



Dscn0415 I took this pic on the same background as the ones above...I took it several times...why is the background yellow?

This is for Goddess of Raku&Fire, aka. Kel.


I'm heading to the grocery with the mister, but just wait until you see the postcard he just handed me that arrived in today's mail! AWESOME!

Remedial School for Machine Quilting

Dscn0410 This is the beginning.

Dscn0406 think, Karen, think...speed on the machine, move hands slower.

Dscn0408 ah-tension, ah-tension, ah-tension, pay ah-tension

Dscn0409 i'm certain that one day my signature will sell for mega-thousands of dollars on ebay...and you can say 'you knew me when' :) 

Dscn0402 i traced this from Sue Nickels' book on machine quilting onto a tissue paper made for quilting that I picked up in Paducah last year.  the crunch of the paper while stitching annoyed me but it was nice to have the guide to remind me to look ahead versus looking at the needle.  scrapping the paper made a mess too but it came off just fine. 

Dscn0395 i like the size stitches at the top half of the picture...this is a question for those who submit to juried shows-when quilting a large piece how important is it to have stitch length of equal size throughout the quilt? 

Dscn0394_1 I like the size on these stitches.  And I can see where practicing daily would help me with designs.  I'm so challenged to keep a pattern in mind's eye long enough to keep repeating it.  I start out with small loops and then they get bigger and bigger...start out with curves that end as wonky lines...i guess its all about control and focus, eh? 

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Nothing much going on here


See the previous entry.  This is finished.  I started out calling it broken, but I'm not sure if I'll keep that name unless I do a companion piece with it. 


I took this picture on the 25th of January...the cloud of white, orange and red was fascinating and I don't recall ever seeing color like these surrounding the moon. 

After checking out Contemporary Quilting by Sandra Meech from the library and not being able to renew it because some other person is waiting for it I went ahead and ordered it from for less than 20 bucks...they only charge 1.40 for shipping!  So I plan to use them when I want to actually purchase books.

The coming week I plan to do nothing but practice machine quilting.  I'll post samples next weekend...the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I think I've been reluctant to actually just sit for hours and do it due to me being frugal...the thread, the fabric, the batting.  I read somewhere that 2 felt squares where a good equal to use instead of the basic quilt sandwich.  I'll try both.

My parents are feeding the flock today! woohoooo!  In addition to my crew, Donya, Chris, Eric, Tasha, Darius, Adrian, and Mudman will be there.  My mother is 73 and she exhibits more energy in a day then I do all week.  I'm really in need of a overhaul of my life.  Isn't there a reality show for just this sort of thing?

It will hit the 60 degree mark today and the gray sky has lifted!

Friday, February 4, 2005

What Baby Suggs taught me

Baby Suggs is a character in the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison. After a particular hurt she experienced in the world she took to being bed ridden and the comtemplation of the color pink (I think it was pink) in her bed quilt was one of the few things that held her attention and focus.  Years ago I never understood what the significance of that was suppose to be, but if I can infer my own recent understanding of this from my personal experiences, I can say I understand now.

It seems to me that social ills have always been with us and will continue to be with us and the intensity of those ills will rise and fall, but will always be with us and will remain yo-yos with political strings, always. During the course of the day while I'm at work there are times I hear Marvin Gaye singing real low in my inner ear, 'makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands'. That is a cue for me to go to lunch, take a break and run to the nearest quilt shop and just bask in the color.  Thankfully I have 2 shops close to my work place.  Even when I don't have a bone to spend just going there and running my eyes over the lines of color until something catches my eye and for a few seconds of meditation all seems in order and right with the world.  I can breath and the social and political schizophrenic life of the world seem insignificant and sometimes laughable.

I've also taken to carrying a few of the fabric postcards in my purse...talismans.  Just seeing them when I'm rummaging through the bottom of my bag for change reminds me that no amount of daily grind can take my salt from me because there is something inside so strong. (referencing the previous entry about my musical tastes) 

So it is the comtemplation of color that can be what one needs to sustain oneself in spite of what spins around us. That is what Baby Suggs taught me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005


Gabrielle at Handmaiden described me as hip so how could I not do this???? (Mud Man stop laughing!)

1. Total amount of music files on your computer?
I have little less than 3000 and that is after I cleaned them up and deleted 2000.
2. Last CD you bought was: Lizz Wright’s freshman cd SALT. I love every single cut on it!!!!
3. What was the last song you listened to before reading this message?
Amazing Grace sung by jazz vocalist/pianist Cassandra Wilson until Mo, my 15yo daughter jumped in the car and hit the radio button which changed the entire vibe I had going…sorry, but I can’t wait to feel your butt is not my idea of romantic lyrics…this lead to a discussion on sex, biology, emotional maturity, self-respect, and democracy all in the 5 minute ride to Kroger’s.
4.Write down 5 songs that you often listen to or that mean a lot to you?
1. You Bring Me Joy by Anita Baker 2. Something Inside So Strong by Labi Safir 3. I’m A Woman by Koko Taylor (my adopted blues Mama
) 4. Endangered Species by Dianne Reeves 5. You Gotta Be by Des’ree
5. What three people are you going to pass this baton to and why?  because she goes by one name on her blog, she looks kind, and i like the message thingy in her sidebar.

Cheryl at  because I always look forward to seeing her work. 

And Cheryl at  for oh so many reasons...she was in Melody's workshop and drove from WV to attend, she is a librarian with a poet for a husband, and she recommended a poet to me that I'm going to the library to hopefully check out.