Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Father's Day to some wonderful men in my life....my dad (left pict, left side)...right my dad's high school graduation and..

 and his wedding picture of him and my mom...
 Myself with my dad at the airport...we had not seen each other for 32 years...
And my stepdad Frank Baluch who was a good dad and a wonderful grandpa! 
And of course, my wonderful husband John who's been such a great husband and a wonderful dad also
Happy Father's Day to all the dads who have been part of our lives.







Sunday, June 14, 2020

Recycling

Over the years I did a lot of teaching, first in public school and then at quilt guilds and conferences.....Having been a Home Economics teacher, it was the most natural thing to go into wearable art which I've always loved...which led to art quilts....which led to surface design.

I loved machine work, free motion especially and bobbin work. I have oodles of samples and I don't know where they all came from and why I have so many...think I was trying out different threads on hand dyed silk, getting different color combos. I liked to use Candlelight which is a heavier metallic thread and must be used in the bobbin...even too thick for the biggest needle which is the top stitch needle with its oversized eye.
 During my studio purge the other day, I had a pile of samples, ready to toss them...what else could I possibly do with them since I'm not really teaching anymore...The lightbulb went off and I thought CARDS. I do share a gallery space with my girlfriend Mary Stori at Woolworth in downtown Asheville. Woolworth is on the National Register for Historical buildings in Asheville and still has the original bones. They have even reconstructed the old soda fountain ...it looks and feels like you're going back in time.....well back on track...

 One of the things I sell are cards. They are all handmade and involve some surface design or machine process. The fabrics are hand painted and even some beading can appear on some.
 I have lots of card blanks but think my favorite is the "photograph" style which allows you to  insert a photo...in this case a little piece of art. On the top left, a "needlelace" sample and on the right another variation of lace.
 Below left are some needlelace and applique cards along with crewel embroidery by machine using Lana thread by Madeira. On the right is "lace fabric...just lots of left over thread and yarn, sandwiched between Solvy (water soluble stabilizer) and machine lace stitched on top to hold it together. The Solvy is then dissolved away.

 On top is Confetti and below the confetti card are 2 samples using hand dyed silk and bobbin couching. On the right is bobbin stumpwork...where there is a build up of threads along the edge, sporatically placed. This is based on the original version of stumpwork done by hand on embroidered pieces. Bobbin work is always done on the wrong side so you are sewing blind.
Below on left, more bobbinwork and stumpwork and on the right is lace and a sample using
Paintsticks (leaves on lower left)

Above, more bobbin work with negative space which highlights the beauty of the silk. All in all, it's been fun and even better, I feel like these interesting samples will find another home if only for a little while. Please come by our gallery space if you're ever in Asheville, NC. We are in Woolworth, lower level, space  #235
Have a fun, productive and peaceful week. I like to say to please remember to wear your masks....As Smokey the Bear used to say in his commercials..."The life you save, may be your own".

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

VooDoo Lily

 My friend Gary and Barbara have a marvelous garden...their garden has been used for many garden tours. One of the very magical plants in their garden is the Voo-Doo lily which blooms once a year and only for one day.

It is quite beautiful and quite big...


You can get some perspective with Gary sitting in back of it. It just bloomed...and because of social distancing, we didn't have a chance to see it this time....but luckily I had some amazing pics from last year and since it just bloomed, I decided I needed to share this......It was amazing in person! 
And here are a few of my own lilies...not quite the Voo-Doo but still pretty.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Shiny and Shinier + Found Treasures

Well there are pros and cons to cleaning your studio......During this pandemic, I read about many artists who were purging, cleaning out...what a great time to do this. Meanwhile I was doing nothing...I couldn't get myself motivated and felt like a big slug. I don't know what bug got hold of me but I woke up one morning and said....this is the day! I'm tackling my studio. 
 It's a large area and requires a lot of moving around which is probably why I don't do it that often.
 I have to move tables, bins etc to one end, wash floors and let dry .....
and then finish off with Mop and Glo - a product I used many years ago for hard wood floors. It's a lot of work...
But the shine is so worth it...
I Like to have a "before and after"...Not very often that I have the "after"....

Well and here's the best part...while waiting for each part to dry so I could wax, I decided to clean out bins and fabric stashes....Like every quilter I know, they're not just in one place...so it actually turned into a 3 day job...
 

I found treasures I didn't know I had....lots of Wow moments.
 I found this with extra fabric rolled up inside...I looked at it like "where did this come from and why is it in my house...." It was a total surprise...and then found another project...
 with these cut out flowers that worked great on the project I just found..
 The colors work well together ..... I couldn't believe my luck..
  Well, my retreat project from March....something I had put away and forgot about...not too much of a surprise but will be fun to work with.

Now this was a surprise - I found this in my stack of Indigos - this old bag to hold pistachios that I dyed with Indigo and apparently started to match up with fabrics. I love the bag and think it will be a fun piece.
And this last piece I made in an Eco Printing workshop with Vicki Bennett. I loved the piece but not the shape so much so I might be able to divide it into 3s and make it into a tryptche 
 It actually divides into 3 good sizes which I can mount over pre-stretched canvas's. So with all my purging, I was able to free up 2 big drawers and 2 shelves...one of which will be designated for projects in progress....so I'll always be able to find them...no more surprises for me! Is that a good thing or a bad thing...? hmmmmmmm.....
Have a great week.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.....

we honor the brave men and women from our past and present who fought hard to protect our country - to keep it safe from harm and allow us the freedom we so passionately embrace. I would like to personally honor my family, most have passed on, some I've never met but all give me such a sense of pride in knowing what they have done for our country. I am honored to have had them in my life...to call them uncle, grandpa, dad and friend. 
   My great grandfather - Frank Sandell was in the 2nd N.Y. Calvary Regiment Harris Light Calvary. He fought in major engagements of war including the Battle of Gettysburg. From what I gather, he was quite a character and Oh...how I wish I could have met him.


My wonderful uncles above - Uncle Ted on left who was in the army during WWII and my Uncle John who served in the Navy during WWII also. They were such fun uncles and honorable men.
My dad Edward Sandell (last in front row on left) was a Navy man and fought in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. He was a wonderful dad who always took me for Carvel ice cream.
My sister-in-laws hubby Joe Neill was in the Army during Viet Nam - won a Bronze star.....and I might add makes a wicked chocolate martini.
And our heros today who are fighting a very different but equally dangerous battle...a battle that knows no bounderies and does not discriminate...a battle that is dangerous and scary and when all is said and done, will have changed our lives as we know it...forever. To the wonderful and brilliant Dr. Anthony Fauci and
............ all the heroes and front line workers and everyone in between who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and the best country on earth.
 Thank you.....

And....God Bless America - may we always fly free.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Corona and Woolworth

 The Corona virus has taken its toll on the world and the new "normal" will most likely never be the same. Our gallery space at Woolworth in downtown Asheville, NC has been closed for over a month and no telling when it will re-open. Last week artists were allowed to come in (by appointment) to freshen up and restock their gallery space.

 The staff were cleaning places I don't think they knew existed and everything was sparkling as well as germ free.....Besides heavy cleaning, painting and general rejunvenating was going on. I had removed most of my things to do an updated inventory and just put everything back.  I know everyone in Asheville is taking things slow which I'm so thankful for but when they do limited opening here is what our booth will look like.

 I share a space with Mary Stori whose beautiful work you see above and below...
 We work very differently and have a large variety of fiber art for sale...(below - mine on left and Mary's on right)
I hope you'll drop by when the time is right and you feel comfortable to do so. We are in space # 235 on the lower level.
 My son Mikey Simmons also has a space on the lower level with beautiful paintings and drawings..
I think you will enjoy seeing his work also....
As the new norm....Stay safe, wash your hands, be happy...Hope to see you from 6' away sometime soon...