Thursday, May 31, 2012

SAQA Trunk Show Coming to the Ville!!!!

Thanks to the vision and work of SAQA member Nysha Nelson, THIS IS A QUILT Trunk Show will be held at Gallery M at Mellwood Art Center Saturday, June 9th, from 10-4.  It is FREE and open to the public.  In addition to the trunk show there will be a panel of artists discussing their work followed by a Q&A.  I'm one of the panelists along with along with Joanne Weiss.  There will be a 1 hour break for lunch (on your own, but Mellwood Cafe is right across the courtyard) and the panel discussion will follow.  Afterwards, a general meeting for members and guests on regional SAQA activities will be held.  Mark the date and time and plan to join us!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A hard day's night (and some Praise)

 and my body is telling me so but I wouldn't trade it for anything because look what I've been up to...
My loot from Tickled Pink Memorabilia Mall, the best vintage-y store in the city!
The welcome sign, the young boy day-dreaming, a floral table cloth, and 9 linen napkins

improved the presentation of this 6"x12" is glued to a canvas and then recessed down in a frame

reference images for the drawings and transfer below

I'm drawing him everyday until the quilt is made.
ink drawing over the top of transfer image.  front/back.  I like the back the best.

And in between I'm hand quilting.  Tomorrow I plan to sleep in and head over to Mellwood in the evening for Trolley Hop Night.  

And let me close by raising my hands as a witness to the Grace of God!!!!  The challenges seem to never cease, but through it all...yes, through it all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Expending Creative Energies

The last 2 days I've been zoning at the studio!  I've been showing up and doing what I do even if the muse has been playing hookey.  I did get the un-sewing and re-sewing done on "docked", the piece shown in the previous post below.  There is still something about it that is not quite right...Michael Alexander, the painter in the studio behind mine gave me a critique and he suggested the yellow was two strong and that depth around the boats could improve the atmosphere that is going on at the bottom and the top.  The depth was an "aha" for me and the other thing that I woke up with this morning is not liking the vertical orientation.  The first "boats" piece is horizontal (and larger).  I can't walk into this small piece the way I can with the larger one.  I don't think "docked" should be trashed and it is worthy of saving as it is...but the points are duly noted for future reference.

Is it an unrealistic expectation to hold that a piece will go from my head right down to being completed in a smooth process?  Sometimes I just wish it would happen, but for me it is still necessary to live with a piece over time and even after I declare "finished", sometimes it isn't and not to mention the bumps in-between.

I made changes to Stanza.  After seeing it hang in 2 exhibits it just didn't hang right.  It had that "oh what a creative placemat" feel.  It is such a challenge to display small pieces.  They lack weight.  Stanza is now wrapped around a frame and I'm loving it again.  
Top: Stanza; Bottom: OX or XO depending on orientation
The other piece will become a 6x12, a series of pieces that I attach to a 6"x12" frame.  In addition to being fun to make, these have been the pieces that sale for me.  

Wednesday is typically my rest day and I have a mild fibro-flare in my upper arms, but I'm feeling eager to get going so I'll show up and see what happens.  Peace.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Crystal Ball isn't needed...

to tell me there will be some un-sewing in my future.  My sewing table is now out of storage and in the studio, so this evening I gave my chops a work-out by quilting "docked".  It was small enough to not intimidate me, yet large enough to warm me up.  The circles are my favorite to quilt so I started with those, but then attempted a free-form cruciform shape that did nothing for the boats...I left them in for tonight and will take another look at it tomorrow but I'm almost certain I'm going to take them out and do the circles all over between the boats.

the full size is the middle of the bottom row
When I sat back and did the critique...this is what I works for me:  The colours, the suggested movement, yet stalled as if in a traffic jam.  I like the choice of blue thread around the boats.  The orange thread works and the circles make the boats stand out (maybe any background motif would do the same).  I was uncertain about doing the circles all over between the boats which is why I did the loose cruciform.  

Previously, I was excited about the hand embroidered knots...3 styles of knots in 3 sections, but today, I felt neutral about them.  I considered seed beads  to meander from the bottom to the top, but if I go with the quilted circles all over, the seeds might be unnecessary.   I quilted "boats of" "humanity" and "docked" in 3 different sections.  I will not be so literal with the other 2 quilts.  

For finishing the edges I'd like to trim in cord or a yarn.  If I go this route, having wavy edges is my concern.  I know there is a way to do it...if I recall correctly, Juanita showed me how to do this with tear-a-way stabilizer.  I have enough practice pieces in my scrap can to see if it works.  

I also spent some time sketching and laminating, but I'm too tired to scan what I did.  I arrived at the studio today around 2pm and didn't leave until 9pm...time flew by.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


the shelf above my work table
Peter was on vacation last week so I was too...8 days away from the studio exchanged for hanging out with my man.  We didn't go anywhere but ran errands together which was fun to have conversations throughout the day while out and about in a relaxed laid back manner.  We discovered Starview, a greenhouse in Henry County were we purchased some flowers for the pots on the balcony and Fox Hollow Farms in Oldham County were we purchased grass-fed beef products.  The breakfast sausage was wonderful...low in fat with a full meaty taste.  I have some beef pieces for stew that I'm going to use in a Nigerian stew.
This is orderly!
The 8 days away, however, felt like a ocean-size gap in my creative processes.  When I walked in yesterday I felt lost.  What I did was to rearrange a little...placing my hands on stuff like I was discovering, an adventurer, helped me reconnect my thoughts and purpose with the space.  After rearranging, I attempted to paint, but I didn't feel right, and I knew the day was to be about stitching.  I sat down at the table and worked on "abandoned", the piece that I'm hand quilting, and my spirit calmed down and I took a deep sigh of relief knowing that I was back.
I love this thimble!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitchen Table Studio

For five years my studio was the kitchen table and hallway in our apartment...I would have to stop everyday around 3ish and put it away before Mo and Ade came home from high school and middle schoo so we could eat and also to avoid my sewing machine being a victim to careless teen eating habits.  Every morning after they left for school I would set the machine and design wall and fabrics  back up so I could sew.

When I left the studio on Friday I prepared to do some sewing here at home...first, Saturday was Derby Day and much of Louisville is deserted, as the place to be is at the track in south Louisville and Mellwood is not high on the Derby celebration radar...I mean literally the streets and stores outside of south Louisville are ghost towns.  Second, Peter will be on vacation this week and I wanted to have the option of hanging out with him without loosing progress.  

Even though now I am not conditioned to create here at home, I had Ade pull my machine from the shelf and I got busy baby!  A return to my roots...right at the kitchen table. Carter, my grandson came in and him being naturally destructive curious about how things work immediately started bombarding me with questions about the sewing machine even before he said hello. Nana, what are you doing with this? how does it work? did you bring this from your studio? I've never seen this before...I re-directed him quickly after answering a few of his questions but I know I will not be able to blink once without him trying to "make it go" only to blame it on his sister when he is caught...I'm going to put it back up on Tuesday so I will not have to disown him over my sewing machine...yeap, just like old times at the kitchen table creating texture on cloth.

Adding texture...and in this case I think more is more and more is needed.  I'm just getting started so this is just a tad of what I have planned.  Oh, and I forgot how smooth sewing goes with Isacord threads!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stephanie Brown @ Tenth Post Handwovens

Stephanie is a hand weaver.  Her studio, Tenth Post Handwovens, is around the corner from me at Mellwood.  I've always been mesmerized by floor looms begining from the time I worked at an adult day facilty where there were about 7 of them.  Sadly, I could never (and still can't) wrap my mind around setting them up. I am content being hypnotized by the click-clack rhythms they make when a weaver has her hands on the plow.

Tell us what you do and why?

Stephanie Brown:  I am a handweaver focusing on small batch production. I am drawn to the weaving craft because of its inter-lacement of creative design and technical skill. 

I love the slow (yes, sometimes tedious) process of preparing the loom for a new project; if done well, the weaving is quick and smooth. Once I am weaving, I work into a rhythm that allows my mind to fly wherever it wants to. This is when I do most of my design work.

What other art forms do you do or have done?

SB:  I have dabbled in knitting, sewing, quilting, basket weaving, felting, dyeing, and spinning. Finally, I realized that a jack of all trades I will never be. A master I hope to be some day.

What challenges do you face in your craft?

SB:  My biggest challenge is in trusting enough to try something new. The craft of weaving offers so many pathways and I find that I get very comfortable in what I know well. Being around all of the amazing creatives here at Mellwood has helped me to start seeing over the wall of comfort.

How has having a studio at Mellwood impacted your work?

SB:  First off, when I break a number of warp threads in a short period of time and want to cut off every last thread, I find great solace in the smiling faces of people in the midst of their own creative and technical battles around me. Perhaps more importantly, it is the stirring of the pot that artists can offer each other. I think we are all intrigued by the visions and processes of other artists and taking time to witness these is inspiring on even the most droll, discouraging day.

What suggestions can you offer to make Mellwood an even better place for artists?

SB:  Mellwood is such an amazing venue to work and to see work. That being said, I do think we could foster a stronger sense of community, both for the artists and for Louisville. Some of us use the space for public display and some of us use it for practical work space alone, many are in between. When it comes down to it, art is for the artist and it is also meant to be seen so we need to foster a healthy space for both. Artists getting to know each other, finding support within. Mellwood reaching out to the public more actively to invite them in. More art on the walls!

What exciting things are going on with you as an artist?

SB:  My work is at the Kentucky Arts Council right now to be juried for Kentucky Crafted. Fingers crossed! Also, I am starting a position as Educational Coordinator for the Little Loomhouse on Kenwood Hill which is an excellent opportunity for introducing the art of weaving to a broader base. I firmly believe that handweaving is ready for a revival!