Saturday, March 28, 2009

PTA Gathering

Yesterday we met at the home of Georgia Bonesteel for our PTA meeting (Piecers, Talkers and Appliquers). We are working on a group project for a house which will display recycled items. Several artforms will be represented. Georgia thought of recycled jeans. Jeans were pieced together, making sure to mix up the colors and also utilize the pockets. A bandana was placed randomly in pockets adding more color to the surface. We added decorative stitching to each block.
One of the worker bees - Barbara -  sewing away.
One of the gals - Cathy had the best socks - just had to include them here!

A close-up of the blocks.  I think it really looks good and I like the touch of red.
Some of the strips which will be sewn together - almost done and looking good!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marbled Jacket

I have been marbling on fabric for about 15 years. I first learned to marble while attending the Southern Highland Craft Guild Fair in NC. I would stand for hours watching the marbling artists demo this very old and fascinating technique.  It grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I went home to Georgia and attempted to teach myself. It took some time to master the technique, many flops along the way, but the  process - always magical.
I love to use marbled fabric in both quilts and clothing. When I make clothing, I create a muslin shell first, even for very simple patterns. I realize that designs look good on the cover, but not always on me. Making shells saves time and fabric in the long run. I make a "shell" out of any light to medium weight fabric - old fabric I'm ready to get rid of. I often use more than one fabric in a muslin shell.
I do sleeves, backs to fronts and collars. I omit the facings, hems and buttonholes etc. I'm interested in the fit and how it hangs. I make adjustments on the shell and pattern before cutting into precious fabric. I also make a copy of the pattern cover to pin on the shell - lets me know instantly what pattern it it.
I'm working with a cotton homespun which clings to any top I might wear underneath, so I decided to add a lining. I dyed a very lightweight silk in navy and green.

To marble on homespun, I used navy and green paint along with a "colorless extender" as one of the paints. Using this extender allows the background fabric to show through in places, giving it more dimension.
I cut out appliques using more marbled fabric and green linen to add a little solid color.
We had a rainy day today - a good excuse to spend the day in my studio!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gulf States Quilting Association

The Gulf States Quilting Association has their annual symposium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It's a wonderful event with good vendors, excellent workshops and the most enthusiastic, lovely students on the planet. From an instructors point of view, it runs as smooth as silk and is always a joy to be part of. The second evening is the instructors opportunity to show their work and talk about their upcoming workshops. Ann Johnston showed her beautiful work and the "coming out" of her newest, self-published book - The Quilters Book of Design!
Dorothy Williams created one of my favorite pieces - a jacket made from a vintage tablecloth. I love how she used the patterning in the back pleat.
Wendy Butler Berns showed several of her wonderful quilts but this one really took my fancy! I loved the background - so many different fabrics that seem to melt together to make an interesting and textured backdrop for the tree. This is a close-up of her quilt - a great piece!

One of my workshops was Luscious Landscapes; it incorporates lots of texture techniques to create realistic looking landscapes. Here is one of the gals, busy at work.

And my Dimensional and Off the Edge Applique workshop - way to go Judith, Mary Nell, Joan and CJ.
One night we went to dinner at Mike Andersons, known for its Cajun Food. I ordered "Crawfish - 7 Different Ways" I had never eaten crawfish and it was really quite good, except for the "pulling off the head" part - couldn't, wouldn't do that!

In the evening, time to relax, talk about the day and just have fun - Wendy, Judy, Daphne and Frieda.
It was a wonderful conference - with something for everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Inspiration and Fun Stuff

The Asheville Quilt Guild met this morning, always lots of fun and great ideas. Connie Brown snapped a picture of her cute little 6 pound dog - Roxie whose fur was standing on end due to static. The photo was manipulated it in her photo editing program which resulted in this adorable mini quilt. The tiara, Connie assured us, is not part of Roxies daily wardrobe; it was added to the photo.
Rusting is all the rage and this fabric certainly illustrates the wonderful patterning one can get with this easy technique. This fabric shown by Anita Heady was actually made by her husband. He loves to rust fabric and has found many unusual things for rusting. I really love the grid and wonder what he used. It will be interesting to see how it works into an art quilt.
Our own talented member, Meg Manderson gave the program this morning and talked about her progression into art quilts. Meg has a wonderful technique for framing her work.

Monday, March 9, 2009

On the Road Again

I'm off to Baton Rouge on Wednesday to teach at the Gulf States Quilting Association. I taught at this conference 2 years ago and it was wonderful. The students were great and the conference itself was as smooth as silk. It was such fun and of course I look forward to being there again. It's also nice to be going to warmer weather if only for a short time. In the meantime, check out my 2 furry studio assistants - Scooter and Molly. They always seem to know when I'm heading out. They have to check out my suitcases and make sure all is good. They sure do miss me when I'm gone - Yeah - Right!
Yup "Suitcase is in good working order - alright for you to go".

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Making Books with an Artist

Some days are so perfect, it's hard to stop smiling. This was one of those days. I'm a member of LINT (Ladies in New Textiles) - a wonderful and talented group of ladies who meet once a month to share ideas, work on projects, brainstorm, plan shows and just have fun. This month we went to the Grovewood Gallery in back of the Grove Park Hotel in Asheville, NC. Next to the gallery is the entrance to Daniel Essigs studio; Daniel is a book artist who creates art books and book based sculptures. He is also married to one of our members - Vicki (a wonderful weaver and cook extraordinaire!) Upon entering Daniels studio, the first thing we see are some of his amazing works.
A case full of his art books, all sizes and each one so unique with such interesting details, you could pour over them for hours.
This is one of Daniels larger books, displayed on a pedestal.
And one of Daniels sculptures which features a book in the center. How amazing is that! I asked him if he rusted his own nails - no, he buys them like that!

Getting started - the first thing was back to the paper cutter to trim papers. I was fascinated by this cutter, over a hundred years old, never been sharpened and actually used to cut bolts of fabric.
There's a foot mechanism on the floor which releases a piece of wood on top to hold your paper in place - kind of like "rubbing your tummy and patting your head" at the same time.

Daniel helping Suzanne and Sondra - not only is he an amazing artist but an excellent teacher.

It was a perfect day to eat outside, kind of pre-spring weather.  We had lunch amongst the beautiful sculptures.
And cooked by Vicki Essig (to the right of Daniel), did I mention she is a fabulous cook!
And the best part, we all finished our books and learned how to do a neat binding

and the end to a great day - on the way out, we passed the Grovewood Gallery. Even the animal sculptures were friendly
Thank you Daniel and Vicki.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Big Snow and Little Studies

Well, I've been in Florida and just got back a couple of days ago to this beautiful Winter Wonderland. I hated to miss the snowfall itself - that part is magical especially if I can squirrel up in my studio with hot tea, a fire in the fireplace and just watch it while I work.
This was a good excuse to stay in my studio and play. There are other things I need to be doing, like getting ready for a conference next week but this was too tempting to let go.
I've been so busy with non-related art stuff, it's hard to get involved with a big project so I thought maybe I'll try some small pieces. It keeps the creative juices alive and will use up some fabrics I've created over the years.
All of these are works in progress; when finished, they will be quilted and matted. I try not to dwell on any one too long and keep the process spontaneous.
For the 2 below, I took a picture of a tree, manipulated it in Photoshop and made it into a silkscreen. I then screened with discharge paste. The size mesh I use with my Thermofax is not as fine as I would like; discharge paste is not very thick and tends to migrate once it's through the screen, making the edges blurry. I was able to doctor it up with a Pigma pen but would like a crisper image.
This one below also used the same screen but I used textile paint which is thicker and will not migrate once it's through the screen. I cut out a sheer silhouette of a tree to layer on top of the screened image.

I do love using the Thermofax. I was told to use plastic frames to hold the screen, but they are expensive and limiting for a variety of sizes. My friend Barbara showed me how to finish the edge using Duck tape. It comes in outrageous colors, so of course I have it in every color - makes the process more fun.
I store them flat in a file folder and do a screen of that particular image on the outside for easy identification.
And voila! - an easy way to store your screens. Stay tuned for more small works and further happenings from the studio on the hill.