Saturday, March 23, 2013

FABric Collages: Curves, Infinity, Whirling Dervish

Left:  Curves
Mid:  Infinity
Right:  Whirling Dervish

These are three Fabric Collages that I finished just before the Artist Book Show (which is still up for another week or so). I combined a dozen collages to make up one of my books this year. The "central part" of the image begins with a paper collage that has been printed on white fabric. If you look at "Infinity" you can see the rectangle easily.  The other two pieces I have "hidden" the rectangle a bit. Then I compose the rest of the design around that.  Once it is all sewn down I embellish the piece with fancy machine stitches and possibly a little bit of beads.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Three details of deconstructed cloth

Deconstructed Fabrics

I love the way the dye in a piece of deconstructed cloth is so unpredictable!  Each technique I use to get the thickened dye onto a blank silk screen reveals a different result. The swirly lines on the left were made by drawing onto the silk screen with a syringe similar to what quilter's call stippling and these shapes are what printed!  The middle dark spiral was from a stencil that I cut (crazy I know)!  The third image was created by a thermofax screen.  

Once you develop your technique vocabulary then you get to really play.  Each "pass" of releasing the dye from the silk screen to the cloth changes as well- that's the deconstructed part - the thickened dye releases unpredictably so that each print changes until there is no dye left on the screen.

Believe me, this is a very labor intensive process.  Right now I am loving it.  I am amassing a collection that I will bring to Quilting By the Lake and sell the cloth at the mini-mall to all the students that attend this "quilt camp" I go to every year.  Last year - there was a locust frenzy at my table!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Woodsie" and "Don't Bug Me"

I'm getting the "Spring Time Bug"
Left     Don't Bug Me
Right   Woodsie (sold)

The world is stirring and the creatures are coming to life - slowly, but I can feel it.  I am so drawn to bugs. They are so little, but when they mass together I bet they could rule the world and surely will inherit it after we blow our selves up!  Plus - their beauty is amazing!  

The Woodsie quilt on your right was made for a friend for their 25th anniversary.  It is a large queen size - so approx 100"x100".  He had asked for "woodsie" colors. For the applique pieces I used my own "Arts and Craft" and "Art Nouveau" designs and the surround pattern was the good old kaleidoscope - one of my favorites. I had plenty of "woodsie" colored wedges left - so I came up with my "Don't Bug Me" quilt.  This was much smaller - poster size so it worked up quickly.  OK - the applique isn't quick, but I'm talking relatively here!  

Apparently I haven't had enough of the bugs - I'm working on a bigger block now - but nothing to show except 24 legs!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thank you "Dear Jane"

My Dear "Jane Blocks"

For 25 years I refused to embrace the sewing technique called hand applique.  It was just too labor intensive. That is until Judy Doenius and Diane Rhode Schneck invited me to Judy's Studio and showed me their Dear Jane quilt. It was amazing.  

Jane Stickle made a quilt right at the end of the civil war - using left over scraps of dress material.  It was extremely complicated - which was partly why the obsession/attraction!  Then Brenda Papadakis - a retired math teacher drafted all 221 blocks, so crazy folks like me could make our own version.

After making all of the machine pieced blocks (which taught me amazing techniques), to finish the quilt I had to gather my strength and start learning applique.  I really got going and made most of her designs, but then I got bored and wanted to design my own.  

I found a gorgeous iris design on some elevator in NYC, the tree came from a gift catalog, and the 3rd one - is from a Motowi Tile my significant other had purchased for me.  So - the quilt isn't an exact replica - but I surely earned the right to call myself a "Janiac"!

The King Saves Lives

The King Saves Lives
We found a litter of kitties in the backyard under some ferns 9 years ago.  We called around to a dozen animal shelters looking for help. Every one of them said that they did not want to see the creatures, that there are too many feral cats around "and the inn is full"!  Repeatedly everyone told me on the phone that they should be euthanized because they would be full of diseases and rabies.

The last call I made was to a local vet named Dr. Brenda King to make an appointment to have her "do the deed".  She opened the cardboard box I had trapped them in and informed me that she refused to put them to sleep because clearly they were healthy.  We struck a deal. She would take all 5 kitties for 2 weeks. by then she would be able to assess their health and socialize them.  I agreed to pay for all of their shots.  After the 2 weeks she would send me home with 2 of them and the rest she would find homes for.  

Yesterday my significant other brought them for their yearly shots - They are happy and healthy.  We even trapped Mama and had her "fixed" and released her to live in the neighborhood. We still feed her 3 times a day (at least)!

So now you know the story of The King Saves Lives. I made this for Dr. King.  you can see the 5 fireflies and the another big one outside of the moon for Mama. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Beauty in Gray

Beech Trees 
I was brought up under a beech tree and even now live in a beech grove.  (Maybe that is why I love elephants)! These days all the copper beeches that were planted in the early 1900's have gotten to the end of their life span and one by one are being cut down.  Soon they will be all gone.  No one is planting BIG trees these days in suburbia.  Where will the kids read in summer without their broad branches to climb into and hide.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I've about had it with winter

Dreaming About Summer

I have about had it with the winter.  We had a lovely snow storm on Saturday.  Not much accumulation, we woke up to a powdered sugar world and I saw it with the rosy glow of sunrise, but still, just saying, I have had enough!  So I am dreaming of going back to work.  As a professional gardener, I get paid to go to some gorgeous estates and make their gardens "glow".  It's a  great little gig that I have going.

One thing I do like about gardening is that every day is different.  I never know what is in store because it is all controlled by Mother Nature. It is hard work, but it is sooooooooo rewarding.  Of course, I never get to sit and enjoy it all, since there is another stop I have to make before I get home.  But gardening isn't about sitting on a chaise lounge, drinking a glass of wine and admiring the moment, that's the owner's job.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rose Applique

Rose Applique - 6" x 6" 

I finished the practice applique piece last night.  I haven't done this for awhile, and I felt I needed to practice before Sandra Leichner's workshop next week.  I have never really worked with embroidery, so I am tickled at the stamens - the details make the piece more interesting - don't cha think?

I like the way the deconstructed fabrics adds interest to the background without taking away the emphasis on the flower.  Of course, I started with the background, which forced me to really use punchy colors for the flowers. Elin Noble once told me that even a dot on a piece of paper "effects" what you do next.  Isn't that like life, there are no mistakes, you just have to make the best of what you've got.