Friday, January 27, 2006

Franciscan Friars, Blue Apple, Scraps, and Scrabble

Dscn1230 Dscn1233 Before and after. I like the before better and thought about doing a larger version.  I'm not very fond of the scrapbook like quilts but wanted to see if I could make one I liked.  I'll give this one a C-.  It is about 9"x14" I guess.  The photo image was printed on cotton, bubble jet treated, and ran through the printer with freezer paper backing.  The photos where taken at Mt. Saint Francis, 400 acres and a handful of Franciscan friars that tend the grounds.  This is where I go to reflect, recenter, refocus, and drink wine.  On the grounds is the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts (MACA). The picture of the house at the top right is MACA.  It has 6 bedrooms for artists stays.  Behind the house slopes down a hill to a lake which I can no longer walk back up :(. But it can be seen from the huge windows of the bedrooms on the backside.  A little walk from the house are several barns that have been converted into artist studios and the lower right image is the Calving Barn that houses 4 studios and a loft that runs the length of the barn.  This is where I go dye fabrics.  This place has had a major role in my creative life, my manna, and it is a blessing that it is so close to me.

Dscn1236 Dscn1242 Another before and after.  Blue Apple, journal size, top, quilted, close-up, back. This is from the exercise on monochromatic colour from C&C.  I see more monochromatic work in my future.  I also used this quilt to practice fmq.  Dscn1245 Dscn1252 I tried the suggestion that Melody gave about using one hand to drive with and the other to hold and when I do that I have more control and like my stitches better. The problems I have are that I spontaneously revert back to being a 2 handed driver AND I can't hold a design in my mind. Yesterday I unquilted 84,000 (metaphorically speaking to say it was a heck of a lot) stitches on a quilt for a girlfriend.  This quilt begs for circles and curves so I can't take the easy route out but going straight or jagged. 

Also, an idea came to me while looking at the back of the Blue Apple of quilting a whole cloth and then using paints, inks, pencils, etc to colour it.  One I'll have to try soon...but for now I've got to go prepare for today's Scrabble match.  But before I go, let me leave you with a yummy bag of scraps picture, courtesy of Mary at QuiltStudio 77!  I told her that another quilter's scraps is another's yardage! I couldn't believe the size of her scraps! Thank you Mary!  Dscn1237

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Form, Not Function Exhibit at the Carnegie Museum for Art & History

This is the 3rd year for this exhibit and it keeps getting better!!!  The curators did a wonderful job of hanging the show that allows for viewers to move through gently with smooth transitions of colour from piece to piece. For me that means I linger longer in front of each piece.  I made my 2nd visit yesterday and was there 2 hours each visit viewing the 50 quilts that make up the show. 

The most experimental piece was Homeless by Judy Zoelzer Levine.  The quilt was mounted on a metal grid and incorporated barb wire across the surface with the most recognizable shape from a distance being a female figure.  Closer up the images of fire and military force reinforce the message of this quilt and I became teary eyed while thinking of women I've known who have fled violence both from war, poverty, and intimate violence. 

My personal favorite (and I had many but this stood out for me) was Danny's Turtles by Diane Bielak.  I loved the colours, the ribbons floating above the surface, the embellishments.

Since photos weren't allowed I've searched online to provide images of some of the quilts that spoke to me in the exhibit:  Crumblling Walls 4 by Cathy Shanahan ; Grid by Tricia McKellar ; Drawing the Line Somewhere by Deidre C. Adams (2nd thumbnail at the top of the page) ; Opening #5 by Marina Kamenskaya .  The best of show went to Cascading Boxes by Lesley Riley.

Kudos to 3 of the bloggers in the AQ ring who are in this exhibit: Tommy Fitzsimmons' Pickets #13 selected as the Juror's Choice Award and Lisa Call's Structures #45 was selected for Award of Merit and Cathy Kleeman's Sun Days.  I'm throwing rose petals your way. :)

One quilt that I wish I could have found online to share here is another one that had me in awe for its beauty was Moon Set by Bob Adams.  It was a whole cloth lunar image that had intense rich jewel tones. 

I noticed that most of the quilts did not have the dense quilting lines that I recall from the past 2 years and it seemed like a lot of the quilts in this exhibit emphasized linear/grid/square/rectangular patterns versus circular/curvaceous lines and shapes.  I really don't know what that means but it was something I noticed. 

While I was there yesterday I noticed a steady stream of visitors there to see the show just as it was last week when I went.  I hope in future exhibits there will be catalogs.  This show definitely deserves one!

One week after this exhibit ends in March, a solo show of quilts will go up entitled: Threads of Strength and Fortitude: Penny Sisto's Slavery Series.  She captures haunting images of women and children in her quilts like none other! Its like she has captured the actual ghost (Elle you would probably love them) in the quilt...not the image of ghost, but the actual ghost itself.  I do love her work but don't know if I would want one hanging in my house.  Its like the eyes in the painting that follow you around the room...but with her art, I always get a sense of having a presence just over my shoulder, softly, gently lingering and wanting something.  A link to her website is in my side bar under Quilt Artists.

Monday, January 23, 2006


BUT I STILL REIGN QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (maniacal laughter in YOUR face!)

I would think that after all this time of proving myself worthy to reign on this throne that the peasants would become complacent and resign themselves to my destiny....buttttt ohhhhh no, they grow even more rebellious with each rotation of the sun. Those too cowardly (my partner and my children) to attempt a match with me can be heard from their sooted corners cheering for whatever jester attempts to sit before me!

Now I will concede that my reign has been a difficult one for them to live under but all the poking and proding I've given them toward improving their lot in life has been miscontrued as braggadocios.  I admit I am not a humble Queen, for the joys of wearing the royal robe and just the site of my welcoming throne sends rushing waves from my toes to the top of my crown.  But I tire sometimes of the lonliness of it all and dream of a worthy opponent to rise from the ashes.  Alas, it has yet to happen, although one comes close, he still has a long road ahead and has spurned my offer at tutelage. Ah, the suffering of the lowly does break my heart so.  And to think he got whupped on his birthday, so sad he must be.

WIP (whupping in progress) followed by WC (whupping completed):Dscn1218 


Upfromsumdirt, my brother, and I had another marathon day at Scrabble this past Saturday.  We have scheduled for another such ass whupping marathon day this coming Thursday. 

Here he is at my computer.  He eschews the chair, any chair, for a preference for this position while he surfs.  This doesn't appear remotely comfortable to me but reminds me of a classical pianist from Ghana I saw in concert decades ago who sat on a Ashanti stool at the piano...a very low Ashanti stool that aligned the area between his chest and chin with the keyboard.

Dscn1207 Dscn1209                               Upfromsumdirt is such a prolific poet and here he is in deep thought summoning his muse and out came the line "will you get that damn camera out of my face".  Such energy and drive in that line alone, don'cha think?

Friday, January 20, 2006

No Risk, January JQ2006

January_journal_2006_8 Back_of_january_journal_2006 Dscn1200

(Photo sequence, l-r: front, back, close-up)

There was absolutely no risk involved in this piece. No emotional attachment. I didn't even take the leap to practice free motion quilting.  The only point was to place the lines and shapes against the white background in a manner that pleased me.  Easy.  This was a piece I salvaged (I like salvaging) from the C&C exercises.  The closest I came to being creatively invested was deciding on what colour was a choice between purple, even considered a hot pink, a metallic red or blue. After the thread was selected and the piece quilted, I was bored looking at it, so I posed the question, what could I do to make it just a little bit interesting?  Remember I do love to salvage.  I thought of couching but I wanted to keep the high contrast and couching would have reduced the contrast.  So this is where the beading came in. 

The completed quilt reminds me of nothing, absolutely nothing and I had to resist the cliche to name it, so I call it No Risk instead of...nope, I will not even say. 

The lines/shapes are fused and the binding is fused.  My favorite element is the largest 3 squares at the top with the red beads.

I did get practice with squaring up. It lays very very flat.  I love to bead so I think a good beading book for quilts is in order.  I don't tie off very good or at least not in a way that I feel my beads are secure.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

My morning coffee

I haven't had coffee yet. Instead I had a cup of abstract fabric play to shake off the mental sluggishness!  Can't say it worked just like coffee but it gave me a little pick me up.  Here is my morning perk work: Dscn1205 Dscn1206   

I used the solids I purchased for the exercises in C&C which I've yet to do the next batch.  Look for those over the weekend along with my January JQ2006 which I completed last night. 

Also, I went to see the Form, Not Function exhibit and all I can say is WOW! This is the 3rd year for this show and it just keeps getting better and better.  I'll write more about it over the weekend as well.  I'll be making several trips over to see it in attempts to drag my non-quilting family and friends to see it. Peace.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Artist Grants for Development

I wanted to help spread attention to Cheryl's entry on writing artist statements for grant proposals.  One of the things that surprised me with the art quilters community was lack of application and discussion on application for project support and artistic development from arts organizations.  I have always viewed them as life savers and serious support for development and I know they have given me the space and time to develop projects that would not have been completed otherwise.  I have received 4 of them...1 from the state arts agency and 3 from a feminist organization...the end result was a manuscript of poems based on family mythology/geneaology.  I'm trying to get back in the loop and I appreciated Cheryl sharing her statement.

Grants are also great for taking your art into a wider exposure via community...most non-profit community service organizations welcome artists to enhance their programming. 

Here is Cheryl's link:

I'll be throwing out good vibes (maybe some chicken bones or tea leaves) in your favor Cheryl. 

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Today's loot and run off thoughts

It rained here all day yesterday.  Of all the things I can consistently notice is that rain and extreme cold temps aggravate my fatigue and muscle burning and I run a low grade temp.  Last Thursday the rhuemotologist added the diagnosis of really didn't upset me or anything because I've lived with the symptoms for so long that it pretty much seems normal to me.  The only time I complain is when the pain is so bad that I stay on the verge of tears. It really is a horrid habit to have developed and my very first pulmonary doc cautioned me about becoming accustomed to the pain. My enthusiasm for life, my youth, and thinking that if only I practiced postitive thinking well enough that the physical discomfort wouldn't hinder me from doing anything I wanted badly enough.  Pretty much I think I was able to pull it off until the last 6 or 7 years. 

But back to was not a real good day for me physically but my perk for the day was my brother, Upfromsumdirt, coming over and us running a 10 game Scrabble marathon from about 9am until about 4 at which time I took a nap and then got up to play a last game around 8:00.  I still remain the reigning Queen with yesterday's tally being 6-5. (He has been praticing.)  I should have taken pictures of the winning word strategies!

This morning it was cold but warmed up and the sun was shining and the rain had stopped just in the nick of time for me to make a run to the 1 buck/fat quarter sale.  It was easy...I got there when they opened as many others where waiting for the door to open...but since I do not prefer to buy prints or florals (although I tried to make myself purchase them but ended up putting them back except for the few you see in the picture).  It was easy to go through the bins that where set up and just pick and go.  After an hour this is what I left with:


The grays are for the C&C exercise in value.  I think I have enough colours already for the monochromatic exercise. 

My family has been gracious to allow my sewing machine and supplies to remain on the kitchen table without complaining but I have not been up to doing much besides the design exercises in the previous of which will become my JQ for January.  I did attempt to take one of the b&w samples and sew circular stitches on it using the circular attachment for Janome 6500.  After fiddling with it for about an hour 2 days ago I couldn't get it attached.  Come to find out its not for my machine...kinda pissed me off since I called ahead to make sure they had the one for my machine in stock and then once again double questioning when I went to pick it up and it turns out to NOT be the one I need.  It will take about a week she said before it comes in.

I have 2 book recommendations...Collage Sourcebook and Handpainting Fabric.  The first one I've had for about 2 weeks and its wonderful...I really try not to have a lot of quilting-technique books on the same topic/technique and just get the one good definitive one that speaks to me and with these 2, I seriously scored!  After reading and re-reading Collage Sourcebook, I think I really need to have a printing machine to run fabric through.  I think there is an open teaching studio in a arts and entertainment complex here that use to be a meat processing center that has a drop in schedule and one of the weekly topics is print techniques...I hope to be able to check this out before I get hasty, but I'm seriously thinking I need a printing machine. Don't you think I need one? :) If you say yes, I'll let you come over and play.


Okay, I just came from Ebay checking the price of printing presses and maybe I don't need one afterall. 

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Finally finished it!

Have you ever read a book where none of the characters held any appeal for you?  Well I just finished that type of book for me.  The title is You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon. 

A friend sent me this book because I shared that I don't like novels that move in a linear fashion but bend time with flashbacks.  I started it months ago and first kept reading out of obligation because I admire this friend and her literary sensibilities.  Then I kept thinking 'maybe if I just get to the middle of the book' the characters will undergo some major developmental change...didn't happen...then when I was 2/3rds of the way through, I kept thinking that all the adults should just vanish to save the only child present in the book from a generational curse. I finished it because I couldn't stand the thought of not knowing how these characters turned out since they didn't seem to have the ability to learn from their experiences. 

At the end of the book, I figured out that it was a story of how mental illness and the environment surrounding our births can be passed on from one generation to the next and never be recognized as such.  Overall, it was a dull (sometimes interesting) story about dull people living ordinary lives and their unresolved issues.

I will definitely bookcross this one...if anyone wants the book, let me know...first one who says so, I'll gladly mail it to you...otherwise I'll do a book drop at one of the coffee shops I frequent.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Now that I've turned the tv off,

I can carry on with my thoughts. 

The gray-scale and monochromatic exercises from C&C I do plan to do but I'm going to wait until after Saturday when a local quilt shop is doing their buck a fat quarter sale this Saturday.  I really love monochromatics so I want to make sure I get this exercise. 

Here are the Shapes...

from Color and Composition:

Dscn1192 I did one yesterday and the other today without remembering the one I did yesterday and they both are asymetrical. 

And now the 4 things meme:

Four Jobs You've Had: Clerk at the Census Bureau, Sales Clerk at Stewart's Dry Goods, Teacher of African American Literature at a Bible College, Mary Kay Consultant

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over: Daughters of the Dust, Beaches, Waiting to Exhale, Toy Story

Four Places You've Lived: Shively, Germantown, Shawnee, St. Matthews-all neighborhoods here in Da'Ville.

Four TV Shows you love to Watch: LOST, Boston Legal, Commander In Chief, Democracy Now

Four Places You've Been on Vacation:  Martha's Vineyard, Edisto Island, Atlanta, Memphis

Four Websites You Visit Every Day: the local newspaper, AQ blogs, Democracy Now, Blogs of friends.

Four Of Your Favorite Foods: Dill pickles, Penn Station's Italian Sub, home-made rolls with butter, Greens (mustard, kale, collards) with hotsauce.

Four Places You'd Rather Be:  Nothing really comes to mind right now.

Four Albums You Can't Live Without: Paganini After a Dream (Regina Carter), Salt (Lizz Wright), Beautifully Human (Jill Scott), The Earthshaker (Koko Taylor)


Monday, January 9, 2006

Lines, from Color and Composition.

Dscn1190 Dscn1191 The first 3 are 8.5x11 and I ran out of white fabric on the last one.  Juanita had me do these exercises in a workshop 2 years ago. I couldn't tell then but I know now that horizontal is my favorite orientation to work in followed my mixed horizontal and vertical, followed by asymetrical, framed border, grid, symetrical.  Circulating and radiating I like the least in my own work. The last one I named My Little House and Boat Down By The River. I'm going to run out and pick up some more white fabric and I hope to get to the exercise on shape this evening after dinner or tomorrow afternoon.

I'll get to my meme later too.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Doodling with fabric

Dscn1188 This is what I did today. I really have a hard time throwing away even the smallest of scraps.  My goal was not to cut any fresh fabric but use up the scraps.  I just sat at the kitchen table and cut and fused. The first one I cut wonky triangles and just laid them where they seem to fit the best.  The second one is are wonky rectangles some as narrow as 1/8 inch but none wider than 1.5 inches and none longer than 3 inches.  I think the rectangles will grow pretty large as my scraps increased. The only reason I stopped was for lack of darker greens and a wider range of blues.  Dscn1187_1

Introducing Adrian II, my first grandchild.

Dscn1180 Hey, I'm so happy to be here!Dscn1181_1 And here I am with my great grandmama. I was born on her birthday. She turned 77.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Color and Composition continues

In the previous post are my exercises from pages 24-25.  For those who remain interested in working through this book, lets post results from Line and Shape, pages 26-29 this weekend.  The exercises on Value and Color, pages 31-33 and Monochromatic and Achromatic Color Schemes, pages 35-40 will be due to post the weekend after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Holiday which gives you 2 weeks. For those who are outside the U.S. that is the weekend beginning 01/20.  How does that sound? Who's still hanging in with this?

I already know I'm going to skip doing the color wheel in fabric...for some reason I have an aversion to making a color wheel in fabric...any arguments in favor of why I should I'm open to hearing.  It just seems a waste of time to me when I have a printed one...I don't get the point made in the book.   

Also, Gabrielle Swain has a quilt, Autumn Improv, on page 30.  I would like to see Nest I by Sue Benner and Forest Floor by Jan Myers-Newbury (page 28) in person. 

from 10 til noon-Color and Compostion continued

Dscn1164 Dscn1168_1 Dscn1169 Dscn1170 Dscn1171 Dscn1172 Dscn1174

this morning's work (ignore the dates on some of the photos because its not correct, i've been fooling with this camera to fix it for some time now, i think i've finally corrected it and am now in the right time zone w/ daylight savings time) and now its lunch time. the menu: fried okra with horseradish sauce and a glass of sherry. the music: Strange Fruit, an orchestrated jazz movement that combines story telling and choral ensemble.

lesson learned from the above exercises: patience is required to do thread painting.  after lunch, i'll do the apple and orange and the border. also, its annoying to me to stop to change thread colors, (try working monochromatically) but once i do, i quickly forget the annoyance (but this hasn't been tested on a quilt requiring a lot of thread changes either).

A Return to Routine

It is quiet with the return to school and work for my family and I once again will need to establish a routine.  I'm dressed for the day, coffee is brewing, Simply Quilts just ended, and I've cleared off the table for machine quilting.  Its been awhile and I can feel the adrenalin rushing as I think about where to begin. I've got a new still life set up for thread drawing and 2 pieces to quilt that are warm-ups more than "my" work.  Nothing percolating artistically of late other than being drawn to blues and grays and bluish grays.

Adrian II has been breathing on his own for the last 2 days and might come home tomorrow and I get to begin figuring out how I want to grandmother...I found myself in children's literature at Border's yesterday and I thought about my sister who started building her stash of movies for children long before she became a grandmother and laughed at myself.   

To everyone who sent well wishes, prayers, good thoughts, and birthday greetings, thank you very much.  I'm sure there will be a few forthcoming entries on grandmotherhood.

The turn of the year found me in a run of Scrabble competition with my family.  We started on the 31st and stopped on the afternoon of the 1st (with a few hours of sleep in-between).  I am the Queen of Scrabble but did make a little room for my brother, Upfromsumdirt (aka Ron), at the foot of the throne.  I love the game and even thought about joining a Scrabble club so I could play weekly.  The only time we play as a family like this is when everyone in on vacation and I always go through withdrawals after routine returns to a schedule (like today).  I had the online version but the disc became damaged and I decided not to replace it since it was feeding my insomnia and was the cause of dinners being burned.  I'm really not that great of a player if I consider serious competitive play, I'm just better than most of my friends and family who enjoy the game but not as much as I do, thus I get to declare myself Queen and request they address me as such (been having a little rebellion about this from the peasants though). 

My goals for the new year are summed up by checking out the new list in my sidebar entitled "Stay Focused".  There is an upcoming deadline of January 10 for Quilt Visions and I'm not sure I'll meet it but we'll see, nothing like waiting to the last minute, eh?!

I had thought I would have 4 or 5 pieces hanging in a local yarn shop this month but it didn't pan out.  After I met with the owner some months ago and sent her a thank you fabric postcard I didn't hear from her and because I had felt lukewarm about the meeting I decided not to pursue it any further with any follow-up calls.  It was good practice though for me to show and talk about my work with a stranger. Maybe I need to cultivate the show of enthusiasm in my presentation...I'm more a laid back and quiet, observant person and I have to work at it to project enthusiasm outwardly.  For 7 years I was an enthusiastic consultant with Mary Kay Skin Care and Cosmetics, so I know I can do it but it does use a lot of energy which is why I've thought twice, trice, about doing booths at art/craft fairs.  I'm more suited to a storefront where customers can come in and sip wine or tea and hear some low funk jazz and ask me questions about what motivated me to create a piece or join me in experimenting.  Since my goals are to enter juried shows, along with this will come learning to write about my pieces in statements, exercises that will lead to strengthening my creative vision in cloth, and discipline in a work schedule.  I will attend AQS in Paducah and aim to take at least 1 intensive major workshop which in turn will mean keeping my budget on the narrow to do.

Now is time for me to begin post will be pictures (of something).