October 14, 2010

New Work

Moonlight on the Snow

Moonlight on the Snow(detail)

I made this piece for the Fast Friday Challenge group. The challenge was to make a piece using Chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and dark to create depth. I really like this new piece and it was fun to make. I used fabric paints to achieve the light.

October 13, 2010

Old Work Revisited

I have been studying how to improve the piece below. I knew there was something missing that I just couldn't figure out. I decided it needed more depth. Since it was already quilted, I decided to use fabric paints to achieve the result I wanted. Although not a stark difference, it is improved to my satisfaction. I have other work I have completed this summer and will post it here on my blog in the next few days. I have been awfully absent this Summer due to travel, family visits and home improvement projects.

Ocean scene (Before)
Ocean scene (After)
Sometimes you have to look at old work with a new eye. Today, I painted lots of fabric and used Dynaflo to paint cotton pads and pull them apart. There is a new series in the works.

July 3, 2010

Another Landscape...

Ocean Scene 2

I just finished this one...well, almost...it still needs a facing. I am also deciding that I may crop some of the sky to make it a more balanced composition but the verdict is still out on that one. This piece has some "thread painting" that I added for the crest of the waves. I also did a bit of painting on this one. I like to keep the painting subtle so it blends with the fabrics. Since it's Summer, I must be thinking of the beach (as you can see in the previous post) ...I have a few unfinished pieces on my design wall that are trees that need to be finished. But, the ocean and beach have captured my creative muse at the moment.

June 10, 2010

Machine Stitching...new work

I have been remiss in posting my new work. I'm hoping to get back on track. This is one of my latest ocean scenes. I have been dreaming of going back to the beach lately, but it seems to be a busy time for us. I have my memories of the ocean and this art piece is composed of those memories. I always feel so refreshed after a trip to the beach. I love to watch the tide roll in and wash away the footprints in the sand.

This art quilt is raw edge applique and machine quilted. I painted the sky fabric using SetaColor paint.
I recently attended QSDS in Columbus, Ohio where I took a class taught by Rosalie Dace. She is an excellent teacher and I came away with lots of new ideas for creating texture. I don't usually use embellishments such as buttons, beads and hand embroidery in my art, but Rosalie also showed us how to use the sewing machine to get texture. We learned to use a twin needle for quilting and many more useful skills. I got to take the class with my good friend, Susan, who is so talented with her hand stitching and embellishments. Susan recently posted on her blog about staying true to your heart in creating our art. I must say that I have found that machine stitching and machine quilting is what I love. I did try to do hand stitching while at QSDS and knew I was going "against the grain". It just didn't feel right! I say if it doesn't feel right, then your heart isn't in it. It made me think of learning to sew when I was a little girl. My mother taught me and it wasn't hand stitching, she set me at the machine and taught me to sew. And when I think about it, I never saw her do any handwork...only machine work. She made her living by using the machine. It makes me feel good to realize that I am my mother's daughter after all.

May 4, 2010

More Trees! I see Trees!

Late Winter

Early Fall
More trees! I actually finished these on March 8, 2010. (I love that adobe photoshop elements includes the dates in the properties of each photo...helps me to remember!) But I didn't get them posted to my blog until today. I made these immediately after I made Autumn Woods. I needed to do a bit more uncomplicated creations for a rest. I have plans and fabric for Spring and Summer but haven't started on them. These are also based on my photos of the woods in Ohio and Virginia. I did have to paint some of the fabrics as the original colors didn't suit my palette. I think the thing I enjoyed most was the machine quilting. When I quilt, I put my ipod nano on the speaker dock and listen to a BOT...usually a murder mystery...keeps me on my toes. I download them free from our library and I'm currently listening to the author Mariah Stewart.
After my stay in Ohio, I had difficulty getting back to the studio. I plan to spend the rest of the day there, today. I just read an article in the new issue of Art Calendar magazine that addresses the issue of being persistent in making art. Also, I received the new article by Alyson Stanfield about getting back in the studio. Both excellent reading for motivation.

Early Fall Detail

Late Winter detail

Quilting on Late Winter

Thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments,

April 8, 2010

New Work, New Direction

Autumn Woods I (Work-In-Progress)
It's been a while since I updated my blog. One reason is that I have been spending most days working in my studio on new designs. The new piece above is the new direction my art is taking me these days. I haven't quilted it, yet, but hopefully that will be soon. I have more designs of this type ready to create. These are all based on the photographs I took while hiking in the woods.
I just got home after three weeks in Ohio. I was babysitting our son's dog and house sitting while he was on military duty. I am still unpacking and doing laundry. I had to do yard work right away, it's like Summer here in Virginia and the grass was out of control.
I hope to post more soon.

February 12, 2010

Snow Dyeing & The Blizzard of 2010

Snow Dyed Fabric
After pouring the dye over the fabrics

As you know, we got blasted with the Blizzard of 2010 as they are calling it here in the DC area. I spent a lot of time just watching it snow, watching movies and snow dyeing (not to mention shoveling). I have posted some pictures of some of my fabrics. It was so much fun! The neighbors probably think I'm crazy, for sure...running out on the deck and scooping up snow in buckets. Here is how I did it: I soaked fabric in soda ash water (about 20 minutes) and then squeezed the liquid out as much as possible. I placed them in little white tubs, packed snow on top and poured the dye over the top. I just guessed on dye amounts...usually 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water. Then I placed a clear garbage bag on top (so I could watch it) and set them aside until the next day...about 24 hours. Then, I rinsed, washed, dried and ironed. No salt involved in the dye because I didn't want to use up the dye the first day so I could make another batch the next day. It was fun and if I want to try it again, I think the snow will be here for a while.

Emma looking out the garage and wondering how she can go out in that. This is after shoveling 3 times that day!

Vern shoveling snow below and a view of our street during the blizzard.

February 5, 2010

New work finished

Landscape #4
I've been fortunate enough to spend some time in the studio lately. This little landscape started with a small handful of fabric scraps given to each of us in my art group. The challenge was to create something using all the fabrics. We were allowed to add 1 or 2 fabrics. I had some of the blue which I used for the border, so that was one and then I added the dark blue water strip. It was tons of fun to create this. There was even a bit of blue lace which I added to the top of the mountains. A bit of green silk is in the foreground. This is just a quick snapshot of it while I propped it up on my fireplace mantle. I like it on the mantle, so it will probably stay there.
Landscape #4 (8" x 10")

Now, I'm thinking this would be such a fun idea to make sandwich baggie size bits of scraps to save for trips or those times when the creative muse is still sleeping.
I quilted the tops and bottom of the blue fabric with curving lines to emulate a feeling of a breeze. This piece is mounted on painted stretched canvas.
I so appreciate your comments!

January 12, 2010

Beach Landscape #2

#2 in the series

While landscape #1 is brewing on the design wall after being quilted, I am starting to think how I want to quilt landscape #2. At this point, I think I will quilt all three first and then add the shading by painting or extra applique. These three maintain the same value in color so I think it will be easier that way. My creative muse is reeling in my brain with new ideas but I must finish these before moving to the next quilt idea. I had a little setback in finishing these...sick family members consumed a lot of my time. But I'm so glad at least a couple of them are feeling better. I think the nurturing part of me takes over when someone is sick and my creative muse keeps peaking out to see if she can come out, yet. I keep pushing her back and saying, "not yet". I'm also behind in updating my SAQA Visioning project, so I will also try to work on that update today. I am keeping up with my Artbizcoach.com class with Alyson Stanfield. It is a fantastic class called "Blastoff". It gives you the necessary kick to get your art business off to a good start. Thanks for reading! Thank you for the comments!

January 5, 2010

The Process...Part II

Part II
A view of my Design Wall

This is part II of how I create my art quilts. As you read in yesterday's post, I now have it pinned to the wall. Since my iron is close to my design wall, I can gently fuse any of the fusible pieces while it is still on the design wall. (My design wall is insulation foam covered with cotton batting.) I only "touch lightly" with the iron as I don't know if it will melt or not. I pin the rest of the pieces. I don't want it fused too much as I am still tweaking as I go.

pinned and ready to begin quilting

tracing paper over sketch

The next part is the fun part...quilting it! I begin thinking of how I want to quilt it. One of the tools I use is tracing paper. Since it's a small quilt, I can easily place it over the pattern and sketch desired quilting lines. I never mark the quilt, so this is only giving me a sense of how I want to quilt it when I sit at the machine. (There are many ways to find the perfect quilting lines and I hope to blog about that soon. )

The thread I chose for this particular series of quilts is Mettler No. 60 and Sulky invisible polyester. Both are thin and blend easily into the fabric. I use a combination of free motion and regular machine stitching.
I also have wonderful light in my studio both from the windows and the energy efficient bulbs in my lamps. (I will have to blog about these daylight bulbs that are magnificent!) Then I quilt happily until I like it. As you can see below, the quilting is mostly finished. Now I will pin it back on the design wall and tweak it some more. If I don't like the quilting in a certain part I will remove it and quilt it again. I will probably add some shading, shadows and highlights using thread, paint and/or chalks. These will most likely be matted and framed. I would love to hear your comments about your creative process or a link to your tutorial.

My Process...Part I

Below is a description of how I usually create my art quilts. I will try to do this in two parts.

Original photo

I like to start with one of my own photos. This one is a bit dark, but for creating an art quilt, it will do just fine. I print it out on plain paper and pin it to my design wall. (See the photo in yesterday's blog post.) I then think about size. Since these quilts are relatively small, 12" x 16", I first dig through my fabric scraps. I like to use a mix of my hand dyed fabric and commercial fabric. I'm not trying to match the colors to the photos, but rather for me, a feeling of beach and ocean colors. This could mean brighter colors to some artists. This is where you have to go with the "wow, I like this color" feelings. I then pin the fabric pieces to my design wall. I add or throw out some of the pieces as I go. Sometimes they start to fall off the wall but at least they are in one pile.


I cut the backing and batting larger than my finished art piece and layer them and pin to the design wall. Then, I make a sketch by just looking at the photo. When I like the general sketch, I trace over my pencil lines with a Sharpie pen. If I want to keep it this size, then I use this for a pattern. If I want to make it larger, I trace it to transparency film and use my overhead projector. I would then have to trace it to a larger size paper. Now that I have the pattern sheet to the size I want, I place it on a light box. At this point, some of my pieces will have Wonder-Under applied and some will not. I place the Wonder-Under (lite) over the pattern and trace. I then iron it to the fabric and cut it out. Then, I pin to the wall and keep tweaking until I have the "first draft" of my art piece. Everything is pinned in place.

First Draft pinned to design wall

At this point, I let it sit for a bit while I do other things (like laundry, ugh!). I keep taking a peek at it though and may tweak it more for composition. Tomorrow, I will describe the quilting and more of the tweaking process, so stay tuned!

January 4, 2010

Work in Progress...a new series

Happy New Year to all!! I have a new resolution to make more art and blog about it! Thanks to all of you who do read my blog. I recently joined the SAQA Visioning project which I think will be a great learning experience for me. It's time to quit procrastinating and make more art and enter more shows. The two works-in-progress above are beginnings from two sketches I did inspired by my photographs of the beach. It's a new series! I actually have a third one on the design wall which isn't in this picture. I'm still tweaking them before any quilting begins. As you can see, there are fabric "guts" stuck to the design wall waiting to be used or tossed. Tomorrow, I will post about my process. Just wanted to get started on the blog posting today.