Saturday, March 23, 2013

Niddly Piddly and Willy Nilly, The Crazy Days of March

How has your March been?  Quite a few folks in my immediate surroundings have had crazy making days back to back to back, including myself. I have 1 week left to be out of the old studio which is for the most part empty except I need to pick up niddly piddly type stuff and sweep the floor.  The new space is crammed with boxes and today me and my men went to the storage unit to unload even more boxes which came to almost 1/2 of a nearly full 5'x15' unit.  It felt good though to see my fabrics which I haven't seen in nearly 2 years...and my art books as well.  For the rest, I'm done being the keeper of stuff out of sentimentality.  However, realizing that everything has value, I do not want to dispose of things willy nilly but would love for them to move on to another place of appreciation.  I need to exercise patience with the belief that the destiny of old stuff will find it's new place.

I did take time out to attend LAFTA on Thursday as I was needing the uplift the meetings provide.  Sarah Fredericks did a presentation of her handmade papers and books along with other book/paper makers...ooooo and ahhhhh.  Our grab bag had loads of wonderful fabrics from a woman who retired from making custom purses and a designer who donated sample books...I got some really good quality fabric!  But the exceptionally great affirmation for me was finding Sunshine Joe at the meeting.  All the while when my children, all 3 of them, ages 22-32, were in elementary school, they were exposed to the art embroidery of Sunshine Joe.  I had not thought about him much at all since then, but in the last 10 years of me being on this journey of visual art with textiles, he crosses my mind at times, especially when I am hand embroidering.  He is from Mississippi and tells the story that he became enamored with stitching at the hand of his great great grandmother who had been enslaved.  Sunshine Joe is much older than his youthful appearance suggests.   It was a jolt to hear someone in 2013 having contact with a person who was born in slavery.  But in thinking it over, I am 52 and knew my great great grandmother who had been born shortly after Emancipation.  

The quilt he shared at the meeting was 4 years in the making and documents news events.  The base of the quilt is made up of neckties.  The other gentleman in the picture is Robert Hartley who is known for color all the time everywhere all day long...this was a black and white challenge he participated in.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Purge, Pack, Prepare

Friday before last I put in a request to relocate my studio 2 doors down the hall and felt myself being anxious over the weekend and at the start of the week waiting to hear that the request was okay'ed.  Skipping the details, it wasn't until I took Richard Pryor's advice and just said "phuck it" let what come, may, that on Wednesday it was approved.  Lesson (re)learned...don't sweat the small stuff and keep company with integrity.

I somehow managed to finish binding the flowery quilt and the setting the layout for the Kore gallery website (hasn't gone live yet).  On Saturday, Don, one of the gallery members, showed up with the idea to paint my new space...and he even located free paint in a calming light green and he was ready to get it done.  He and I, mostly he, got the first coat on and he and Robin, his partner, applied the 2nd coat on Sunday!  I thank them with my whole heart for such a gracious gift!!!!!

On April 6th I am teaching a 4 hour workshop on Art Going Postal at The Little Loomhouse.  Between now and until then purging and packing and preparing for the class and the move will be most of my focus.

one of my favorite pieces by Donald A. Cartwright

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sometimes I just have to leave it alone

for awhile and come back to it when I can see something new.  A lot went into this quilt...dyeing, breakdown screen printing, stamping, building up colour with watercolour crayons, going back over with medium, then quilting.  My first challenge after all of that was not having a table large enough to square it up...I did my best with what I had and then zig-zagged the edges for a finish...this is where it went wrong. 

Wanting not to be defeated by my own creation...I comtemplated cutting it down in size and sacrificing the flowers on the end...but my inner 2 year old kept whining and asking why?  I left it alone for months and last Sunday while gallery sitting I used Don's large table to recut the edges.  This week's time in the studio has been dedicated to sewing a binding on it. 

While looking for a fabric long enough to cover the 160 inches of edge, I begin to rummage and everything I liked I didn't have enough fabric...didn't want to dye or paint any, so it hit me to piece together the binding from all the fabrics I had selected...I've never tried this before but it is really working for this quilt...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Just doing what I do...

The binding on XX is being sewn down. The fabric was designed some time last year but the quilt I started in January and if this is any takes me about 2 months to finish a quilt  Yeah, I've been working on other quilts and haven't been singly focused on just the one.  But it is typical of the way I create.  Last week I was in the studio for about 15 hours.  I'll finish XX on Sunday when I'm at the gallery.  But it looks like I'll finish out this week with about 10 hours of studio time.

I'm already thinking about my next portrait quilt.  A newly discovered photograph of a great-great grandmother was shared last August at our family reunion. Her name was America Shannon.  I'm really puzzled and curious what it meant to her parents to have given her the name America in her birth year of 1860 (or 1863) at the start of the Civil War.  We have a marriage certificate of her 3rd marriage at age 40 to William Burnside. in 1900 having her age listed as 40.  Of course her portrait will be the focal point but I'm challenging myself to come up with a background which reflects my curiosity about her.
 America Shannon

The fabrics hanging around "Home" (working title) are being auditioned for 2 borders that I want to go around the passage way.  I have a vision of how I want to quilt the center with bronze metallic thread but I'm not sure my skill level can pull off the design.
 The fabrics at the top and the yellow-orange fabrics on the sides come from Southern Africa but I cannot recall what country specifically.  They are Jacquard and were made by a women's collective.  The backing fabric is a tie-dye that came from Nigeria.  Is my passage way a "door of return"?

Tomorrow, I'm heading to the Kentucky Crafted Market...a prestigious exhibit opportunity for artisans and craft persons in the state and region.  It started today but it is not open to the general public the first day, only to galleries and corporate buyers. I have a few studio neighbors who have been juried into it.  I hope they do exceptionally well! It gives us all hope to focus on the possibilities!