Saturday, May 31, 2008

Still Resting

Fibromyalgia has gotten the best of me in the last couple of days but I wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather today so on a last minute fluke I made it to the Farmer's Market and stocked up on buffalo. I purchased some purple African Daisies and red Trailing Verbena (I think that was the name of the trailing plant) for the balcony.  My grandson was given a tomato plant to start in exchange for a promise to take a picture of him with the plant once it starts to bear fruit and return it to the booth.  Not sure what kind of green thumb his mother has but if she doesn't want it then we'll plant it with the cherry tomato plant that Peter started.  I'm growing dill also in the same first herb to grow.  Dill is my spice of late...I put it in everything from macaroni salad, scrambled eggs/omelets, vegetables, grits...I picked up some dill seeds two weeks ago at another Farmer's Market and he told me how easy they are to grow so I said what the heck.

The AT&T tech made it on Thursday and I can now get online from my workshop, but since I got the dinosaur of a computer from home, I will not be online much from moves at a snail's crawl...AT&T's fastest DSL is not available in my parent's neighborhood...this has made me curious as to what neighborhoods can only access the older version of AT&T's dsl...I wonder if there was some redlining going on...the telephone lines are older but I suspect certain neighborhoods haven't been and are not a priority for upgrading either.


Ron snapped this shot on Thursday. He and Crystal sat with me for a spell (do you know what spell means in this context? Wondering if its a regional/southern phrase) in the workshop.  I finished writing on the second focal panel and almost completed the third one.

Until I return on Monday, I'll be resting and enjoying my grandson and grandfriend.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Somthing(s) went missing

Even though Wednesdays are not my scheduled days to be in my workshop I found myself there to wait on the AT&T tech who was scheduled to come between 1-5 to figure out the problem with the phone lines and what is preventing me from getting online.  Well after several call between 5-6 we were told that he was running behind and would be there first thing in the morning.  Nope! not going to work for me and I'm not rearranging my life today to accomodate what may or may not happen with the technician.  I'll get there around elevenish after an appointment. 

Mo did notice that I wasn't too upset about the missing technician because I had a fairly productive day compared to the day before.  My muscles and joints still ache and burn and I'm feeling slightly fatigued but instead of just shutting down completely, my preference is to move slower and be forgiving of myself.  

Yesterday I returned to working on the 2nd top in the Poetry Series.  After sewing on some strips to one of the focal panels I kept saying to myself, "something is missing" took me a few minutes to figure it out but I had yet to write the excerpt from the poem on the panel.  My mother was ironing while I was writing and stopped to check out what I was doing.  She asked me what I was going to do with the piece of fabric and I showed her the first panel and she let out a sing songy "ahhhhh" sound.  A sound of approval coming from her.  I really like that she can observe what I do. 





(auditioning of choices)

The titles of each quilt will take a line from the poem written on it.  This one is African ghosts cry in sunset hours.  I'm using TeeJuice Fine Line Markers to write on the fabric and I think they are the best! 








Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Putting Something Together

I heard the voice from deep within say "don't go today, stay in bed", but I ignored it and went to my workshop today.  The more I moved the more I ached but I told myself "once I get to the workshop and put my hands on fabric I'll forget about the pain".  Sometimes this works. Yesterday was not one of those sometimes.  My sewing chair was empty and the sewing machines sat turned off for most of the time I was there.  Most of my time was spent in the comfy chair trying to relax enough to focus.  I was irritable and the pain increased and I just couldn't think clear no matter how hard I tried. 


I did sew 4 straight seams but then stopped before I messed something up.  I then tried dyeing using the new iDye by Jacquard.  I overdyed the stamping I did last week with the method of rice paste resist dyeing that I learned in Juanita's class.  This is Gun Metal grey which I like: DSCN3149

The fabric is laying on my lap because after dyeing this yard of fabric in the washing machine and drying it I was back in the comfy chair.  But I learned by error that the packaging that the dye is in is water soluble.  Even after reading and re-reading the directions I didn't pick that hands where wet while cutting the packet with scissors to pour it out, the packet started to desolve.  I had to make the mistake in order to understand.  I returned to the comfy chair. 

I then thought a stroll outside would help clear my head.  I took some photos of the roses in my mother's back yard (i started a new blog for photos only. go here).  After I returned back to the workshop I still didn't feel like doing anything but guess who did?  Ade did! This is a first!  He asked if he could "put something together".  Although I do not have a photo of the finished piece, here he is in action!  He is my most artistically inclined child but artistically undeveloped.  I had him in a touring boy's choir for 3 years.  He enjoyed the travel and the performances but hated the long hours of practice.  He still sings ALL THE TIME!!  He has tried drawing and painting and still dabbles and we're thinking about piano lessons but our main focus is getting him out of high school.  He really and has always struggled academically due to auditory processing disorder.  He is clever and funny and sometimes surprising...I would have never guessed that he would want to try "putting something together" with fabric.

















Saturday, May 24, 2008

Knocked out by Joy

Fridays are typically set aside to spend with my man since he is off from work that day but after Thursday's class with Juanita Yeager at the Carnegie in New Albany, Indiana I was over the top eager to return to my workshop and get down and dirty with what I had learned...a quicker and more comfortable method of dye painting that I had previously been introduced to by Hollis Chatelain last year in Berea.

The armless spirit women I did in class (not sure why I drew them.  I didn't overthink or think much about it at all, but just started drawing them out of the blue):

DSCN3133This image is prior to washing out the rice paste that the dye is mixed into.  The 2nd yard was started on Thursday with stamping the numbers but the class ended before I could do the background.  This could have easily been a week long class but in grand Juanita style, she always manages to give lots of info and instruction when needed into any amount of time spent and Thursday was no exception!

DSCN3131The 3rd piece I started from scratch on my own but will wait to share it after its completed.

Meanwhile I'm truly digging these numbers and the blending of the background. 

Oh, but prior to getting to my workshop I took my mother to see Juanita's solo exhibit Friday morning and when I left my workshop in the evening, (I changed clothes first but still had blue hands), I picked up a friend and returned to the Carnegie for the artist's reception! 31, no make that 31! gorgeous quilts!!  Most of them produced since her move to Missouri...and her quilts hang sooooo beautifully...I prolly should have taken the finishing class over again.  I could kick myself for not taking pictures at the reception.  The Carnegie holds the best receptions with delicious food and a live jazz band.  The exhibit is up til July so if you're not from this area and plan on passing through...put it on your agenda to stop and if you're in the region, its worth the cost of gas (no really it is) to make a planned trip to see the show.

Today will be spent resting and refueling and doing what I'm suppose to do health-wise and recovering from so much Joy! peace...





Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rolling Over Myself with Joy!

Ever get those days when you think your heart is just going to explode from all the joy squeezed into one day!!!!????????????  I couldn't get out of bed quick enough this morning...not just because I was looking forward to voting in our state's primary but on top of that, my daughter voted for the first time!!!! And what a memorable election to mark such a monumental threshold!  I told her that she voted today on the shoulders of ancestors and in the not so long distant past, our people where loosing their lives, being bombed out of their homes, being beaten to death (HELLO FANNIE LOU HAMMER!) just to do what she did today...Mo in turn needled me for always turning everything into a history lesson and quickly thanked me for reminding her...which in turn caused me to stir some more...history is living and not a dead, the ancestors are looking at us right this moment and discussing amongst themselves what we do in their name.  Now don't get me wrong, you don't have to disturb those "no-count" ancestors that need to stay rested but those who personally inspire you, be it in your blood line or not, can be evoked and called up.  Those that are about love and justice, ya know what I mean? 

I'm on a roll today...right after voting with Mo and Ade hanging out with me, we picked up Petra and went for breakfast at Toast where we met Valerie and Juanita who had her son and 7 year-old grand-daughter with her...Obama and Quilting are the words for the day!!!!  Mo said we where speaking another language when we spoke of deadlines, hanging shows, workshops, techniques...all I know is that I was even more eager to get to my workshop today to start on my second quilt in the Poetry Series.  This series was inspired by these (click and click again) pieces no bigger than 10 inches square.  All the quilts in this series will use an original poem written on it in my own handwriting, have a circle motif, use fabric that I dyed, and greens, yellows, and reds will be the focal colours.  Each one will become larger than the previous one.  Here is a peek:









The discovery I made yesterday about how I prefer to work is this...instead of making the top then getting it quilted, I want to make all the tops first, then quilt them all, them square them, bind them all, etc.  I like having the single focus.  This seems to intensify my concentration, my skill development, and my creativity.  But this is only when I'm working on something that speaks my name.  Sometimes I work on pieces just to keep my hands moving and my discipline going.  But today! Ha! I thought I needed a dance floor in my workshop just for times when I'm working it like Katherine Dunham. Here I am considering my next move: DSCN3127








If I keep to my schedule I will not get back into the workshop until next week.  On Thursday I'm going to take the Meaningful Marks and Images workshop with Juanita Yeager which I know will be another day filled with joy! 

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ms Z and me

Dscn3087 I took a workshop from the noted teacher Ms Z and here she is making a critique.

Dscn3088 It was tough but I came away with the distinct impression that she was very pleased with my work.  If you get the chance to take a workshop from her, be prepared to hear the hard truth and don't let her cuteness fool you.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Supporting Evidence

At what point does being intrigued with oneself become vanity?   Being in my own space to work has me studying myself...the discovery today is that I really love auditioning fabrics...having a focal point and placing fabrics around it to imagine the finished piece gets intense...let the images stew, the ideas shape and shift around in my head gets in my body physically, not just in thought.  When I'm stuck I pick up something else that involves my hands moving and giving my mind another focus. 

Today I was working on the piece in the previous post below...(the fertility doll was taken out of the equation, just didn't command enough attention with the fabrics surrounding it)...but when I reached a point that I liked what was up but not yet ready to commit (letting it stew), I moved onto beading on a study (the blue grid), then back to the design wall, sorted fabric looking for "perfect pieces" to compliment the focal point...the sorting of fabric generates new ideas for a totally different piece (set aside for later), then relax in the comfy chair while staring at the design wall. Moving from one thing to another creating a cohesion and order and chaos at the same time.

I'm so intrigued with how I work in the space and how I move around.  I'm using the desk much more than I thought I would...I bead on it, I read at it, I paint on it, I sketch at mother's ironing board is too low and it hurts my back...I have an ironing cover on the cutting table but the mats are on top of it and I don't like moving them to the side to iron.  When I'm relaxing I replay back in my mind what I've done and how I'm utilizing the space...I work unhurriedly but steady.

I missed a deadline to submit to a juried show.  I'm giving myself permission to concentrate on working at creating quilts this year and will hold the goal of learning to submit to shows in a timely fashion  for next year.  It seems too overwhelming to me right now to jungle both aspects of creating and submitting.

I went to Artist & Craftsman Supply today to pick up an acid dye (will need to order silk soon) and right beside them was a new Jacquard product (packaged very well) that caught my eye.  These little dye packs for a cleaner and simpler process.  One for cotton, silk, linen, rayon and wool and one for poly and poly blends.  According to the packet directions each one will dye 2-3 pounds of fabric...the iDye Poly requires simmering for 30-60 minutes in a pot with just enough water to cover the fabric. There were about 8 colours for poly and about 20-30 colours for the natural fabrics.  I picked up about 10 packets and will give them a try sometime next month.  If anyone uses them before I do I sure would like to hear from you on how they perform.  There is even a colour can click on the image to enlarge-   Product_alert_2

My mother has asked me three times in less than a month, if I sell anything.  I think this means that she like what she is seeing.  My mother is short on words and although she is much more mellow these days, while growing up, she advocated strongly to me that a woman needs to generate and have her own cash.  That is what I thought about when she stands staring at my design wall followed by the question of selling.  My mother is near 80 and I don't have half of her stamina or good health.  She is a blessing in my life.


Communicating with the Sacred

Dscn3069 Red is finished.  What is the best way to photograph a quilt with uneven edges? 

I began sorting the beads for Blue and thought I would dye the silk for it yesterday but I'm out of silk...this put me in a tail spin to go through my fabric to see what I did have for dyeing which then led to a beginning attempt to organize (kinda, just enough) the stash by colour and value.  After a bit, I thought, colour would suffice and I'd worry about value as I work on future quilts.  I've waited too late in life to get anal now.

Dscn3072  After the (kinda) organizing the stash, I threw some fabrics up for audition.  The African fertility doll and the two rainsticks sit in the corner behind my front door. This photo is printed on silk and I've been wanting to use it for a while now...if it goes in this piece I'm seeing it would become the main focal point and the fabric with my poetry written on it would become a secondary focal point.  I'm thinking the other panels that I'm going to write on will have to be the same poem with the circles over stamped.  The poem is a tribute to timelessness of African movements and rhythms and music and dance as communicative elements with sacred energy.  I wrote it as a teen-ager and even though it is not a poem I would read aloud at a reading, the sentiment and words seem more interesting as part of a quilt where they would become central to supporting evidence of designing with print and making quilts as communicative element with sacred energy.

Ancient African Music Makers, your rhythm flows through time reaching days that the sun has not touched. your rhythm, waiting there for the winds to catch up, moving sofastsofast.

Ancient African Ones, making musice that pulls us into memories of ceremonial movements where the gods recognized the dance by the design stepped out of the earth by dust black feet.

Ancient African Music, of a people that never will die because souls and soul live forever.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Beat the Blues and Take A Workshop!

Juanita Yeager's solo show is going up very soon at the Carnegie Center in New Albany, Indiana!

Pathways and Stepping Stones

May 23 to July 19, 2008

Opening reception May 23, 2008, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

        Gallery Talk by artist, Saturday, May 24, 10:00 am

The Carnegie has the best receptions filled with music and food and people!  I'm really looking forward also to hearing Juanita give her gallery talk...having been known for her flowers, her work has taken off in a new direction, sorta like giving new soil for the flowers to grow in I guess.  She has teased us a little with showing some of her new work on her blog so I can't wait to view the new work in its entirety at the exhibit. 

Her workshops are also being offered in conjunction with the exhibit at super fantastic prices! 

q  Flowers on a Grand Scale                      $50.00

q  Singing the Blues                                  $25.00

q  Great Finishes                                       $25.00

q  Meaningful Marks and Images                $50.00

To get descriptions and lists of supplies and dates, go here.  I'm not sure which I'm going to take...would love to take them all but Meaningful Marks and Images is at the top of my list followed by Great Finishes.  Singing the Blues really put me over the edge in understanding how to work with value. I'm really looking forward to her being in the city for a week!

Also, if you ever get the chance to hear quilt journalist Kyra Hicks speak on the history and development of African American quilting, DO NO PASS IT UP!!!! I MEAN IT!!! Her information and presentation is of the caliber that causes my head to spin with new ideas and my heart to swell up with love for my people and culture.  And I'd bet that is a common feeling among those in any audience!  I had the blessed chance to hear Kyra back in March at the Speed Musuem and share lunch with her prior to presentation.  The connection between Kyra and I go back to when Prodigy ruled the net! So is was a huge gift to meet her finally in person!

I'm off like a prom dress!



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Will it be blue or yellow come next?

Dscn3046_3 I'm beading right along on Red. Dscn3052

I need to pick up 2 more odd shaped beads for one section and place red foil in small spots and it will be finished tomorrow.  Here it is on the left waiting for the glue to dry.  So far this has been the best photo image I've taken of this piece.

The electrician came yesterday to give me an estimate on another wall outlet and overhead light that will prevent me from running extension cords. 

For next week I have to set aside some time to dye some silk...will use MX dyes and the microwave and also introduce myself to using acid dyes.  I hope I have enough silk.

Here are some close-ups of Red.



And to end this post, how about another shot at the current state of affairs from The Basement Workshop.Dscn3050