Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Artful Bra Challenge

The Fiber Arts Alliance along with Kitsch Fabrics invite you to the Artful Bra Challenge reception being held this Saturday, April 30 starting a 6: pm at Kitsch Fabrics, 742 Haywood Road in West Asheville. This event is being held to benefit the group - Ladies Night Out - a program offering free physicals, mammograms and health education for qualifying uninsured and underinsured women in the Asheville area.
Artists have created the most amazing, fun and interesting bras which are on display at Kitsch Fabrics. The whole idea is to view each one, pick your favorite and then vote for $1 a vote. You can do this by going to the store or online.
All proceeds will go to Ladies Night Out, a very worthwhile cause.
At the last count, there were close to 40 bras and every one different and unique. Some will have you laughing out loud, some will have you oohing and ahhing, some will tug at your heartstrings. You need to see them in person - they're wonderful!
The reception on Saturday evening proves to be a lot of fun with refreshments, an auction and door prizes plus the chance to visit with so many fiber-lovin friends. There has been a lot effort putting together this fund raiser along with many generous donations from local businesses and individual artists.
Hope you can stop by... it will be a great evening!

Friday, April 22, 2011


I recently had the opportunity to participate in an upcoming show at the Biltmore Estate. The Deerpark restaurant on the grounds of the estate has a wonderful space often used for exhibits. This piece was almost finished when I heard about the show and it fit the theme. All I had to do was add a back to it.  I did lots of threadwork using rayon and metallic threads but....
my friend Mary always says "everything is better with beads". Since the back was still open, I could add some beads - might make it prettier. So I searched through my very small stash of beads and as luck would have it, I found 2 different purples and green. It looks like this was meant to be. I used a size 12 quilting needle which fit most of the seed beads, a special beading thread and worked from the back of the piece.
Mary warned me this was addictive, okay - just one more row and then maybe I'll stop....and maybe not.

And then some green beads on the leaves.
Now that the beading is done, time to finish the back. Many of my pieces are "museum wrapped" using wide stretcher bars. These wooden bars are most often used for stretching canvas for paintings. The fabric is brought around to the back and stapled using an electric or heavy duty stapler.
Staples are placed around 1" apart to insure a nice tight wrap. The back needs to be covered to hide everything and give a nice clean finish. You can see how the open back allowed me to do beadwork.I cut a piece of muslin the size of the back plus seam allowances. I usually machine sew a long line of stitching along the fold line. This line of stitching allows me to see "where to turn" under. I also prepare a label and sew it on by machine using a zig-zag stitch before attaching the back to the piece.
I pin like crazy, usually 1 side at a time. And now for the tedious part - I hand sew the back piece to the edge. Sewing on a hard edge like this using a straight needle is difficult and very slow going but I like the results.
To hang, I use an awl and poke small holes through the fabric and into the wood frame, twist in an eye hook and run picture frame wire through the eyes.

And here's the finished piece!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Waynesville Outing

Our fiber group - PTA went to Waynesville yesterday to see the new exhibit by LINT (Ladies in New Textiles). We had lunch first and then entered mainstreet from a lot behind. The first thing we saw were these huge metal sculptures and of course it became "picture taking time". Here's Connie....and Mary.
And "Oh no" we didn't see this til after the fact - really, truly, honestly, we didn't!
We headed on over to the exhibit which is at the Haywood County Arts Council on Main Street in Waynesville, NC. It runs through April 30.
Here are my 3 pieces - part of a series on trees. I might add that this is national poetry month so a poem accompanied each artists work - a poem we liked or worked with our art. I chose Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - a poem I really like but also works well with my particular pieces.

Jude Stuecker created a very unique piece, a lifesize figure filled with her favorite things. Her poem of choice is printed on the piece - Change of Season by Audre Lorde. It's a wonderful piece to see upclose and personal.
Susan Lee created this wonderful, colorful abstract piece.

Mary Stori did this series featuring the four seasons. At one point I commented on the sparkle the thread gave in the "winter" piece - turns out to be beads and not thread - wonderful!

Janice Maddox created this next piece actually started at one of our PTA retreats. We had no idea where she was going with this, it turned out great!
Peggy DeBell is a quilt artist and also writes poety so she wrote the poem for this piece along with poems for several other pieces. Peggy works with recycled materials to create these wonderful collage pieces.
A great show and this is just a small sampling...hope you stop by. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More Funky Houses

While at our PTA retreat, I worked on my "Funky Houses" quilt; it's been a lot of fun. The more I do, the more I want to do - keep thinking of new ideas. It's the type of quilt that lets your imagination go crazy and be as silly as possible. This little house used commercial fabric, 3 different roofs before I found the perfect one, a cement stovepipe-like chimney and an opening in a building (kind of spooky with no end to it) that became a mysterious door. I was debating as to whether or not to put a "pair of eyes" at the end.
I loved this brick wall which also became a roof, but didn't work on this particular house.
This grating became the roof I used and worked well with the endless door. I realized I posted the wrong "final picture" of this house so will post the one I'm using with next set of houses.
This is one of my favorite houses and uses a picture of icicles taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway along with mushrooms and cement for the chimney.
The door was from a rock building I photographed years ago.

The icicles and moss made a perfect roof.

and mushrooms photographed on a morning walk look almost fake they are so "perfect". You can't beat Mother Nature.
Will post more houses as they come's been big fun.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PTA Retreat Part 2

Linda Cantrell has been known for years for both her "humorous" quilts and her beautiful hand appliqued quilts. This is a new direction for her which is also quite wonderful.
Linda does a lot of fusing but then treats the edge with an additional seam sealer type product and sews a straight stitch around the edge which produces a very clean finish.

One of the fun things this year was having other fiber groups (Fiber Fanatics and members of the Asheville Quilt Guild) sharing the grounds and dining hall with us. They used a different room for sewing which was a good excuse for us to visit our other quilting buddies. One quilt I saw and found interesting was based on a 9-patch -  always using the same fabric in the center.
Then cut into 4 equal parts so the center color is in each block.
and put together in this formation. I thought this was very clever and I can't wait to see it finished.

Kate gave us a mini lesson in rusting fabric. Kate brought bottles, wire, steel wool, fabric and everything we needed to do this. It was great fun.
We sprayed the fabric with water, sprinkled it with salt, laid steel wool and rusted little bits on top and wrapped it around a bottle. We secured both ends with a rubber band and then put copper wire around the middle to create a banding effect.
Kate got her copper wire from a broken appliance. It was a little bit of work to get to it, but it yielded lots and lots of wire for us to play with. Here are some of Kates wonderful pieces.

Depending on how much steel wool you use, determines the depth of color.
Think we'll have to do something as a group with these wonderful fabrics - I'm very tickled at how they all came out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

3rd Annual PTA Retreat

We were welcomed to Lake Logan and our 3rd annual retreat with our fiber group PTA. Nine of us quilting buddies emerged upon these beautiful grounds for 3 days of fun, sewing, sipping, laughing, eating, you get the idea. We originally planned on going in January but the snow prevented us. At the time, we were disappointed but March turned out to be so much prettier and less iffy weather wise. The view of the lake is everywhere.

We rent a house for sipping and sleeping along with the community center for sewing. We are very diligent in making sure we have a "well stocked" refrigerator.
We have our meals prepared for us in the dining hall and they do a fabulous job!
We sew during the day and get very silly with games and other stuff at night.
We had many lovely projects in progress during the day. Here is a quilt that Lynne made. Her and Kate made a backing while there; they plan to send it as a "comfort quilt" to Japan.
Barbara worked on this easy scrap quilt of purples. While she was out of the room, having her massage (yes, we have a masseuse come in), we all decided it needed a zinger so we added touches of orange - think it looks great and Barb liked it too.
Mary B was working on this Flower Garden quilt, all hand done and so many wonderful prints.
I love, love the piece Gen was working on - what a great use of plaids.
Janice was working on this striking piece done with Batiks and bright solids.

And Mary S was doing string piecing which she plans to use as a throw for TV watching!
Georgia was doing a wonderful piece that will be used as a CD cover for a childrens album. I'll let her share that with you - it's just adorable! And I was continuing with my funky houses - coming out cute and will share them with you a little later on.
More on our retreat to come...