Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March is bowing out like a lion here-

we had snow earlier today, and it is cold and windy now.  The forecast is for more snow, and I think it is supposed to be in the 40's all weekend.

Oh, well, that's a good excuse to stay in the studio.  I want to work on my 'Green' piece, using some fabric I printed in Rayna's class last year in Grand Junction.  And the photo for the next Interpret This! challenge will be posted tomorrow, too.  Can't wait to see that, it's Nellie's month.

I am tired and ready for bed- and it's only a little after 8.  Thank goodness tomorrow will be a short day, since I worked extra hours last week.  Maybe I'll manage to spend a couple hours with fabric before I head off to spinning class.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tetes au Dessus  (or, Heads Above)

Here's what I've been working on this month for my Interpret This! group.

Overall, I'm happy with how this came out.  I like the simplicity of the composition, I like the way the colors of the dolls vibrate against the black.  If I were to make one change, it would be to change the quilting to a simpler design, rather than using the other elements in the photo.  I do think I am learning what constitutes my 'voice'- and simpler is definitely part of it.

I've also decided I need to challenge myself  further in the coming months.  I will be looking to take elements of the photos rather than the entire photo.  I want to bring more of me into it.

And, I'm glad I got some handwork into this.  I do enjoy the process of hand embroidery- I just hope the arthritis I seem to be developing in my hands doesn't make that difficult or impossible to do in the coming years.

If you haven't already, click over to the Interpret This! blog to see what the others are doing with the photo.  It has been fascinating to watch the different interpretations unfold!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Reveals Begin (and other assorted ephemera)

The March reveals for Interpret This! began today- and it looks like it is going to be an interesting group of interpretations already.  Mine is set to go tomorrow around noon- no last minute panic this month! Go take a look here, you'll enjoy the show.

I met with my WAQ group yesterday.  Suzanne shared what she'd learned during her recent workshop at Asilomar, and we saw some works in progress.  I got a mini-critique of my piece for Interpret This, and confirmation that one part wouldn't work.  Fortunately, I also had an aha! moment that provided the solution.

I also made a minor change on my February piece- but I think it improves it.  I changed the chopsticks so they look more like they are resting on the plates, and aren't just lined up together.  

Now I'd like to find some sort of bamboo hanger for it- I think it would look great on my studio door!

Hopefully my brain will kick into gear quck enough that I can come up with a piece for my 12 by 12 group- this time, the theme is green.  I'm going beyond the color to other meanings that word has acquired- and I know a piece of fabric I printed that I want to use.  We'll see.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Is It Really SPRING????

Sure felt like it today!  We took Shiloh for a walk on the Spanish Fork river trail, someplace we haven't been since last year.  There's still plenty of snow on the mountains,

but the grass is definitely starting to green up.  There's grass peeking out from last fall's leaves.

The trees in this area are still bare- unless maybe you get right up close, but it was sunny and warm.  I was walking in my beloved hiking sandals that my feet haven't felt in months.  My toes were loving it!!

Shiloh got lots of practice at doggie manners around strangers and their dogs, plenty of people were out enjoying the weather although the trail never felt crowded.

The loop we walked was probably a mile and a half- Shiloh was worn out by the time we got back to the car.  Me, I was happy to finally get an up close look at some spring buds on a tree with branches down to ground level.

As for quilty stuff, my challenge piece is quilted, and the binding almost done.  There's just a bit of handwork to do, and that will get done this week while I'm on a two night business trip up to Ogden.  No last minute sprint to make my reveal time this month!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Work

Which of course I can't show, since it's my Interpret This! piece.  I dyed a bunch of cheesecloth yesterday, trying to get some specific shades just using the dyes I have already mixed in the frig. I think I got the shades I need.

I also spent a good half hour rummaging through every bit of storage I have last night, looking for something I just bought at Superior Threads.  I wanted to try transferring my quilting design using Transdoodle.  I went through every drawer and closet cranny, looking for a flat package.  It finally dawned on me that it came in a long, skinny tube- so I'd put it in my tall metal container, where I keep rolled up pieces of interfacing and fusible.    I must have walked past it a dozen times in that half hour!!

The Transdoodle worked great!!  I have the design transferred, and I'm planning to get it quilted today.  I have one more storage solution I'm hoping to get into the studio, in the wet area.

So, that's my plan for today.  Hope you are having a creative weekend!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Clean and Organized!

I told you I was reading the latest Studios magazine, looking for ways I can organize my space better.  Today I got it done (with some help from DJ), and I can't remember the last time my table was this clean.

I can't believe what a difference it makes having all my rulers and cutting implements hanging on the wall.  I can see them easily, and I'm hoping that with a place to put them now, I won't waste time looking for scissors.  You can see my three 12 by 12 quilts, I'm waiting for the ink on the labels I printed to dry so I can sew them on before my surface design meeting Wednesday night.  They're going to be part of a special exhibit at HMQS in Salt Lake in May.

I'm thinking of making a window covering with this fabric I dyed, discharged, then printed at a workshop with Judith Traeger a few years ago.  Shannon thinks it is way too bright, I rather like it.  My studio is in the basement, so it's not like I have a magnificent view or anything.  I just need to enlarge the piece a bit with black.  What do you think?

I'm on a media-dictated respite from my Interpret This! piece- can't do anything else on it til Tuesday.  I'm hoping to start quilting it next weekend.  It will be nice to do that with a sparkling clean work area!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snow, Taxes and other Miscellaneous 

I'm glad the weather decided to cooperate yesterday when I was traveling to Park City and Salt Lake.  Yesterday, we were running around in the afternoon without a jacket- today, it is snowing again.  Sheesh!!!

I did some work on my Interpret This! piece for March-the teaser is on the blog.  Then I actually sat down and started taxes.  Can I just say I hate doing taxes?  Beyond that, not a lot going on here- laundry, some cleaning- just the sort of thing to be doing on a dreary Saturday.

I did get a couple of new books- Karen Britto's book on Shibori, and the new 500 Art Quilts Book.  There is definitely a lot of beautiful and interesting work in the latter book.  The shibori  book I've only skimmed through- I hope I can learn some stuff from it, even though she uses acid dyes on silk, not the fiber reactives I use.

It's now after 9- 10, if you've already turned your clock ahead.  Hope your weekend is a creative one!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Good Ones

Yesterday I posted the just ok snow dyes I got this weekend.  Today you get to see the three pieces that I thought were a cut above the others.  

This piece was on top of fire red dyed snow, with snow and ecru dye on top.  It looked like it was going to have a lot of white showing on it, so I dumped more ecru on it after the snow was half melted.


This looks really deserty to me- the greens are a pale sage, and the oranges are a bit less intense than they look- on my monitor, anyway.  It has lots of patterning on it.  This one was the Kona muslin.

The second Kona muslin is really springy- blue, lilac, and green- without looking muddy at all.

I think this one was in a jar with four fabrics and dye colors- blue, turquoise, yellow, and grape.   I think blue was on the bottom, then yellow, then turquoise, and last the grape dye.  Whatever it was, I like it.

The last piece is pima cotton, that was in a jar with cerulean blue, turquoise, and grape.  I see a cloudy sky, or a stormy sea.

Shannon and I drove to Ikea this afternoon- she got a comforter and fabric to make a duvet, I got a couple storage items for the studio.  I keep looking to see if there are ways to make the space more functional that are still within a relatively small budget.  I can dream, can't I??

Saturday, March 06, 2010

More Snow Dyes!

I washed out the snow dyes I did yesterday- some are in the pile for more surface design others came out pretty interesting.  I've been reading lots of debate on blogs and on the Quiltart list about this process, what makes it do what it does, yada yada.  I don't think anyone has the skinny on it yet.

I used two different fabrics, the Kona muslin and some pima cotton I've been hoarding since I got it at Dharma almost five years ago.  The differences between the two were striking- the Kona is more subdued, the pima is bright and vibrant, even the turquoise.  And remember, all these dyes  are months old!

Here's some of the Kona--



 And here's the pima--

Quite the difference!  I did get three pieces that were absolutely unique and beautiful- two were Kona, and one is pima.  That's for tomorrow, folks!
I think I know how I'm going to do my March challenge.  It's more surface design than sewing- there's your tease for the month.

Good thing I jumped on that snow when we got it, because it's pretty much gone today.  Love those spring storms that just melt away in a few hours!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Procrastinating (or not!)

I can be a procrastinator, especially when I'm feeling anxious.  And, I will be the first to admit that the March photo has raised my anxiety level.

I had plans to jump in and try one idea, see if I could pull it off.  My studio was a disaster this morning- I'd never cleaned up from the snow dyeing I did a couple of weeks ago.  So I had to clean the wet studio so I'd have a place to work.

We woke up to a good six-plus inches of snow this morning.  I still had dyes in the frig, couldn't let this go to waste!  So I hurried and soda soaked some fabric, and got five containers of fabric batching.  It warmed up quickly today, the snow was melted and I had them under the lights by afternoon.  I dumped dyes on these- parfait snow dyeing!


The'll spend the night under the heat lamps, then I'll wash them out in the morning.
I really did try my first idea- or at least the first idea that's made it as far as fabric.  The first couple were ok, although not thrilling.  The third was laughable- so I decided this idea just wasn't going to fly.

So, following another muse- I cut some black fabric from the stash and started some discharging tests.  It is unreal how different results can be from one bolt to the next, there is no predictability whatsoever!

This is all the same fabric, black sateen.  The top one is discharge paste- it looks green.  The bottom left is bleach, with the top at full strength and the bottom 50% diluted with water.  The bottom right is dishwasher gel with bleach.  None of those gave me the results I wanted.
I was thinking of hitting the fabric store to get a different black, then decided to cut a piece off another length of sateen that I'd bought-different time, different bolt.  The two little pieces in the middle are from that and what a difference!  The left is full strength bleach, the right is the dishwasher gel.  I've discharged a lot of black, but I've never gotten this color before.  I could have stopped the bleaching action sooner, and it looks red.  It looks fabulous!

So now I'm going off in a totally different direction- but I think it will be much more 'me'.  Maybe later in the month I'll show you the reject!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Gift in the Mail

Last week I was able to check my personal emails at the hotels after we were done for the day.  Imagine my surprise to read on one blog I follow regularly that I'd won something!  Constance Rose does wonderful fabric collage with her hand dyed and shibori fabrics, and she gave away a small piece as a prize for the 50,000 visitor to her blog.  Wow!

This is what I found in m mailbox on Saturday--


There's a bit of a story that makes it even more special, beyond me being happy to have an addition to my fiber art collection.  Constance lives in Fortuna, in Humboldt County, California.  It's on the coast, almost up to the Oregon border.  I'm familiar with the area, because I lived there while completing the last two years of my bachelor's degree at Humboldt State.

I grew up in southern California, but after doing two years of college close to home, and then spending a year traveling in Europe and northern Africa, I knew  I wanted to finish my college education away from home.  Far, far, away from home!  So I picked Humboldt, because it was as far away from home as I could get, and still stay in California for our then-ridiculously cheap college tuition.

I never regretted the decision.  Humboldt county is out of the way, with gorgeous mountains and beaches.  It had a bit of a counter-culture flavor in the early seventies-big enough to have fun, small enough so you didn't feel lost in the crowd.  It was my first exposure to the environmental movement, with logging being a major industry in the area, and fights about the spotted owl.  When we weren't studying, we'd hit the beaches- long, deserted beaches with plenty of room to explore.  The beaches were a someplace to celebrate the return of warm weather, and the end of the long, dreary, gray winter- we didn't call it the Humboldt blues for nothing!  I especially remember Patrick's Point, a state beach north of Arcata, with wonderful rocky beaches and cliffs. 

I've only been back once since I graduated in 1973, and that was with my kids in 1990.  The freeway was expanded, but that bit of counterculture still lingered.  Logging and fishing were no longer the big industries they had been, and the economy wasn't all that hot.  It was fun showing my children a bit of my past, and seeing how the area had changed.

So how does all this relate to this little piece of fiber art?  The digital picture on fabric is from another beach in the area, framed by some of Constance's gorgeous shibori.  So now I have a lovely reminder of a past era of my life hanging in my studio.  It just feels like this was fated to come home to me!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

March Photo

Kay provided out photo for March, and it is a doozy.  I am still studying it, trying to figure out what I am going to do.  It definitely will not be a realistic recreation!!

I like the teal blue in the background, and the red hat certainly got my attention.  I've also been reading up on different ways to transfer images to fabric.  Beyond that, I am at a standstill.  I've printed out the picture, and maybe moving a frame around it will spark something.

Let's hope Ms. Muse makes an appearance rather quickly!!