Friday, June 29, 2007

Steamin' and Sweatin'!!!!

It's humid here! Yes, I knew it would be, but it has been at least ten years since I've been in the South in the summer. And, actually, it doesn't feel as thick here as I remember it being in South Carolina in July.

I left home without two essential pieces of techno gear- my charger for my cell phone, and the cable for my camera. I bought a transfer device for my camera, but Sean and Marly's computers won't read it. So, no pictures until I get home.

Yesterday Marly and I went to Venice, about an hour and a half south of Tampa. There was a fiber exhibit at the art center in Venice, including the 'Metrotextural' from the New York City artists. It was worth the drive, and Venice was a delightful beach town. We lunched in an old fashioned soda fountain, walked the main street lined with stores, and finished off with ice cream before coming back to Tampa. Monday, we'll hit another fiber exhibit in Dunedin west of here, and also visit the largest quilting store in Florida.

Tomorrow I'm shopping with Marly, looking for bargains, while Sean finishes some yard work and anything else on his honeydo list.

Today was my job interview. They will be talking to more candidates next week, so I don't expect to hear anything one way or another until I'm back in Utah.

Florida feels like a different world from where I have been living for the past sixteen years. All the green is balm for my eyes and soul, and it felt like I was driving down a tunnel of green going to Venice. There are no mountains to interrupt the sky, but when you are closed in by tall trees as far as you can see, the horizon just doesn't feel as expansive.

The trees are amazing. There are huge 'oaks' on Sean's street- they call them oaks, but they don't look like any oak I have seen before. And, just like a picture out of Gone with the Wind, they have Spanish moss hanging from the branches. The flowers here are almost all giant,unlike our tiny desert flowers, so I have new material for fiber pieces.

So far it has been a wonderful trip. Sean is off until I leave, so the three of us will have fun working in his front yard and continuing to explore Tampa- for my benefit!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Only one more day. . .

until I am on my way to Florida!! At least I am getting accustomed to heat, it has been in the 90's and 100's here for the past week. Yes, I know the Florida heat will be humid-

I now have my journal quilt surface design stuff done- the paintstiks just need to cure. I wanted to get it done so it could cure for a week while I am gone, and I made it for a change. Once I get back, it is on to quilting and then a few more design elements, and then off to Houston!

Nothing much else to report, I put in long hours at work last week trying to prepare for the week gone. Now I need to pack. I'm taking my camera, I have already got the inside scoop on fiber stuff to see. I'll also be helping Sean and Marly with some design work on their yard. But mostly, I'm looking forward to spending time with them. And, with two computers in the house, I'll be able to post about our adventures.

So, next time you hear from me it will be from steamy, tropical Tampa.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Music, and then some--

It has been a full weekend. I spent most of yesterday morning working on my journal quilt- so no pictures. But, I have gotten pretty good at solvent transfers.

Then yesterday afternoon DJ and I went to Genola Jam. Genola is a small farming town a few miles southwest of us, and every summer for the past few years they have had an outdoor concert of old-time, classic country singers- DJ's favorite kind of music. It was 100 degrees, we were out in the sun from 2 pm on in a field- but we had good seats, the bring your own type.

I wasn't real familiar with the singers, since I am an unrepentant rock and roller (with some other eclectic tastes in music). But, we saw Janie Fricke, TJ Shepherd, John Conlee, and my favorite, Sylvia. I'd never heard of her, I did not recognize any of her music, but I loved her voice. Apparently she toured in the 1980's, now she does the occasional CD, but works as a life coach for aspiring musicians. Her voice is clear, her music reminded me some of Joni Mitchell- she even did one of her early songs. We bought her CD, and DJ, who actually saw her when she was touring, got his picture taken with her. Clearly, she came of better in this shot, hard to make it look good with a table between the two!

Today we had a picnic in a Provo park with Lance, Tiff, and the kids. Not nearly as hot today, and we've had a nice breeze.

I do have one quilty bit to post- I got my Art Share Meme piece a week or so ago from Ferrett, and I am thrilled. Loved being able to see her marvelous quilting up close and personal.

Here's a closeup of the quilting--

Next is to figure a good hanging system so I can have it up in my studio--

One last exciting piece of news. I will be flying to Tampa on June 26 for a week. I'll be staying with Sean and Marly, but also interviewing for a possible job. I will be counting the days down, and have loads to post about.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Flowers, and then some. . .

I was fortunate to be able to attend a two day workshop in Salt Lake on Expressive Arts in Psychotherapy. I'm clinically licensed, so I can do independent practice, but I haven't. Up until a year or so ago, my administrative jobs kept me too busy and tired to even want to think about doing more. And, during my time in social work, I've become increasingly disenchanted with talk therapy- I doubt if it does much good most of the time.

But art with therapy, now that's a different story. I know what my art meant to me that transitional year from the fall of 2004 until probably the end of 2005. I know what it continues to mean, so the idea of private practice incorporating art is intriguing. And I learned lots here to put to use. We played with paints, did a mask-- it was all wonderful. I got some resources to follow up on, and a connection for when I'm ready to get serious.

Tuesday night I was able to go to Red Butte Gardens, which is up above the University of Utah. While I mostly missed the spring bulb spectacular, there is still plenty there. I got loads of flower pictures. It also pointed up something I've known for awhile- that desert flowers, with the possible exception of cactus flowers, aren't that big. I know it has a lot to do with the scarcity of water- but if you are into re-creating flowers in fabric, it's not easy to do when the flowers are smaller than your fingernail. Witness these--

Or these--

Beautiful, but hard to do except in an impressionistic kind of way.

The gardens are large, and you can get quite a walk in. This pond is in an Oriental themed area--

It was full of koi, happily swimming with the ducks.

This one just fascinated me- a rose grown not for its flowers, but for the thorns. I think it is called a red wing thorned rose.

As I was leaving, I saw these gloriously colored coleus- at least, that's what I think they are. There are signs posted, but not on every planting bed- so sometimes I had to guess.

This weekend, I got Marly's birthday present done. It's a larger version of the bird of paradise that I did on the postcards. I was told by both Sean and Shannon that the background should be yellow, so that's what I ran with; it's one of the yellow hand-dyes I did last weekend. It is done, mounted on foam core, and ready to mail. I'll also order a shadowbox frame for it. My thanks to Pat Dolan, who posted on her blog how she mounts fabric pieces to foam core and then frames them. She even mentioned the Dakota frames, which I was able to find with Google. Anyway, here's the finished product. I drew outlines of bird of paradise leaves and used those for my quilting designs.

Now I can get back to my journal quilt.
Enough for now, need to figure out what last minute chores should get done before the work week starts again.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Summer Dyefest

I don't completely stop dyeing fabric during the winter, but I'd forgotten how much fun it is when you can set your pots and containers out in the sun, and watch them bake!! I started off dyeing a length of pima cotton to make a shirt for me, and then I had leftover dye concentrates- I couldn't let them go to waste, now, could I??

I posted a few weeks ago on the dyer's list, asking about the difference in results when you soda soak the fabric, versus adding the soda ash during the process. I got some good answers, the best being from Cynthia St. Charles. I decided to do all this fabric by adding the soda ash during the process, and used "recipes" from Ann Johnston's Color by Accident book. I did two value parfaits, and one color parfait. I love the results. You still get the crystalline mottling, but it is softer, more subtle. Almost every piece had some luminous sparkles in places. It was also a lesson in how fast the fuschia dye strikes, when compared to other colors.

Here is a violet value parfait--

In fact, only the dark piece, the one that goes into the dyepot first, is violet- the lighter values are blue. Just waiting 15-20 minutes to add the second fabric piece, and then another 15-20 minutes before adding the third, makes the difference. All the fuschia dye has bonded with the first fabric, but there is still blue left to dye the other pieces.

The same thing happened with this orange value parfait--

And here's a closer look at some of the pieces--

Some days I think I like the fabric dyeing more than the sewing and quilting part- it is just magical.

Shannon now has her Swiss visa, and is packed and ready to leave Monday morning. She will arrive in Zurich Tuesday morning their time, but ready for bed I am sure her time! She will be spending part of the summer in Barcelona and on the Costa Brava, and biking along the Danube in Germany. Everyone in the family is both happy for her and jealous!!