Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trip to Illinois

I have been out of town for several days visiting my parents in Illinois. I left last Thursday and came back yesterday. I had found out online that the Quilt National 2009 show was going to be in St. Charles, MO. and that was part of the reason I wanted to visit (My parents live across the border from St. Louis.) We decided to go to the show on Friday because we thought it would be less crowded.

When we arrived at the Foundry Art Center in which the show was being held, the parking lot was very empty. When we went in, we discovered why. The lady at the front desk said the show wasn't suppose to open until the preview that night at 7 p.m. But she said we could go talk to the quilt lady that was in charge. The lady in charge was kind enough to let us see the show even though they were still putting the finishing touches on it and getting ready for the preview opening that night. She also said if we wanted to buy the book (which I had planned on buying anyway), then she would just include the admission price in that. So basically, we got in free.

All three parts of the traveling exhibit of the show were there. After this venue, the show would split up and travel separately. I have several books from the past Quilt National shows (it's a biennial event). But now having actually seen it in person, you miss some things in the book. There was wonderful artwork there. I loved being able to look up close and see the stitching and figure out the different techniques the artists used and how they were put together. We were not allowed to take any pictures.

But I did take some pictures of the Foundry Art Center. It is a big building with gallery spaces on the bottom floor and artist studios upstairs. You can go into the studios if anyone is working or just look in the windows. It also looks like a nice space to hold events.

After viewing the show, we had lunch in the quaint town of St. Charles. Outside the restaurant were these beautiful flowers that the butterflies loved. I love the polka dotted body of this butterfly. When finished with our lunch we enjoyed going into some of the small shops nearby.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gee's Bend

Right now at the Boise Art Museum, we have been taking down an exhibition and getting ready to put up an exhibit of quilts from Gee's Bend. If you haven't heard of these, it is a great story. A group of ladies in the small, poor, town of Alabama make these quilts. A guy "discovered" them and started promoting them as art. The ladies use whatever fabrics they can find and do most of the stitching by hand, I think. They don't seem to consider them art, just something they do. I am very excited to have this exhibit here and to be able to see the quilts up close. It won't be open for another week or two as the quilts have not yet arrived in Boise.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Last Friday night, I had the rare occasion of finding myself alone. Frank was in Nevada shooting off big rockets. Anna was invited to spend the night at a friend's house (also somewhat rare). I decided to go see a movie at our local, indie flicks movie theater. It was called Seraphine. It is a French movie based on the true story of a french artist living in the early twentieth century.

It was a very good movie. I recommend it if you are interested in art or independent films. It had English subtitles.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Color Forms #3

I did manage to finish most of the quilting and binding on this piece yesterday. There is a little more space at the top and bottom that didn't show up because I just put it on my scanner.

This piece marks the beginning of the change from non-objective in the previous pieces to more objective. This one reminded me of an outdoor theater at night, after having put it together. After about halfway through stitching the french knots in the "sky", I thought to myself that night stars would not be in an orange sky. That lasted half a second when the next thought was, "Well, they are now." That's the great thing about art! It can be whatever you want it to be.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Color Forms #2

I managed to do the quilting and binding on the second Color Forms piece today. I'm not sure I will be able to keep up the one-a-day finishing process. The next few are not quite as abstract as these first two.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Color Forms #1

First I want to thank you for all the comments on Indian Summer. After finishing that piece, I was ready for something smaller that I could finish quickly. I enjoy reading Melody Johnson's blog and really like her work (I own one piece.) I thought I would try her fusing technique.

I began buy fusing some strips together then cut it lengthwise. That strip was my starting point and I started adding other shapes until I came up with the piece below called Color Forms #1. Fortunately (since I don't want to copy), it doesn't look like Melody's pieces. I did it a bit differently by using one piece of fabric for the background and working on that.

For the hand stitching, I used some thread that I had dyed when I did my first batch of fabrics. It is a matte finish, so not as smooth as DMC perle cotton. But it was nice to have the matching color.

The piece looks a bit Calder-esque to me. It also reminds me of the Colorform sets that children play with (original seen below). I don't think we had the Colorform set when I was little, but we did have a magnetic set with colored shapes which was basically the same thing.

I had such fun playing with the fused pieces of fabric, I ended up making five pieces. I managed to do the quilting, hand stitching and binding on this first one today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Indian Summer Revisited (process)

I wanted to talk a little bit about the process of this piece. I only had a vague idea in my head and no sketches when I started it. Below is what I started with. After moving the blue pieces around many times, something was bothering me. My husband, Frank, came in and I asked his opinion. I'm not sure exactly what he said, but he didn't like the blue.

Getting feedback from people, even if they don't know much about art, is still helpful. I left it alone and thought about what he said. I thought maybe since I was using complimentary colors that they were fighting with each other too much. So I decided to work with the more neutral color, brown, and some muted green and went in a different direction.

I ended up with what you see in the first picture. When I finally finished the dense quilting and stepped back to look at it, I thought it was better. However, it really didn't do much for me. It was just o.k.

I brought Frank back in and he immediately said he liked it. What I interpreted that to mean was that it was better than with the blue. He also said, "trees." That was my intent, but didn't want it to be too literal.

As I looked at it more, I wanted to cut a section out and turn it sideways. I didn't want to do it physically, and I didn't want to spend several hours with it on the computer in Photoshop. So I printed out several pictures of the piece and got out my old fashioned scissors and glue. Much quicker for me and more fun to handle physical pieces of paper.

I tried several different arrangements and glued them in my sketchbook. Below are some of them.

You can see which one I decided to do. I cut it apart and sewed it back together again. Personally, I like it much better now. It has some more movement in it which makes it a little more exciting. What do you think?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Circle Stamps

Here is an idea I think I read somewhere on the internet and decided to give it a try. You can make easy circle stamps with craft foam that looks like marshmallows. I bought a package thinking Anna would like to do it, too.

Here are some of the stamps below. Some things you can do are carve them (image will be positive), draw on them with a pencil (image will be negative), glue stuff on top (I used a craft foam sticker for the flower or try to impress something in it (I used a spiral paper clip that worked pretty well.) You can also do both ends of the marshmallow to have two designs.

Anna couldn't figure out what to do on the circle format and abandoned the project, but I had lots of fun playing with designs and used up my 12 marshmallows very quickly. They work fine with regular ink, but the design lines are so fine when using the pencil that I'm not sure they would work with paint on fabric. I'll have to try sometime. I guess if you had a bunch of real marshmallows that were stale you could try using those.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. So far our weekend has been a bit laborious with doing some overdue tasks around the house and necessary shopping. I have not had any time to work on art, but I did finish the quilting on this piece last week.

It's called Indian Summer and is fairly large (for me). The quilting is very dense as you can see from the detail photo. I would appreciate any comments you might have, as I am still mulling it over before I finish the edges.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Knit Wit

For the past couple of days I have been working on the quilting for a larger piece of art. I hope to be able to show you soon. In the meantime, I can show you some of the knitting I have done.

The first scarf is the very first human-sized thing I knitted. It a nice sage green color and pretty soft. I finished this a couple of months ago.

Below is a neck warmer I finished last week. It was a free pattern from the internet. The yarn is wool, so it is a little too warm to wear it just yet. I followed the stitching directions, as written, but it was suppose to be knitted with two or three strands of yarn at the same time. Since I didn't have that much yarn, I only used one strand. It turned out fine and was not quite as bulky as the original.

The flower is a separate piece so you can also wear it without the flower.