Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We had the most beautiful sunset here last night.  The colors were so amazing and it kept getting better and better.  My point and shoot camera does not do it justice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tis the Season

Yes, tis the season to be generous and I have another fundraising event to announce.  This year I was asked to curate the artwork for the Trey McIntyre Project's fundraiser event.  I installed the artwork the same week as I did the Double Take show.

For those who don't know, the Trey McIntyre Project is a contemporary dance group based in Boise.  They perform all over the world.  In the past few years, they have held this fundraiser where they invite visual artists to come in and be inspired by the dancers and Trey and then to create artworks from that inspiration.  The artworks are sold with proceeds split between the artists and the company.

The exhibition is being held at the TMP offices downtown.  The dance studio has been transformed into a gallery.  There will also be a market area in the offices that will have more affordable items by artists.  You can go here to see a video about the event and some of the artwork.

Although I have been helping out with installations at the Boise Art Museum for over fifteen years and have co-curated the TVAA exhibitions, this is my first solo curating experience.  After about a 10 minute period of panic after seeing all the works in the space and asking myself, "What have I got myself into?" I set to work and didn't need to worry. And now that it is all up (almost - a couple of artworks did not get dropped off by the deadline), I am proud of how the shows looks.

And since TMP shows some of it on their video, I think it is o.k. for me to post a few photos, too.  The artworks have not been lit in these pictures and extra stuff was still around.  The labels have not been put up either.

Bradford Shaw artwork down the entry hall.

Prints by Amy Westover.

In this last one you can see a black pedestal.  I used some black fabric they had to cover it up, since it was not a pedestal at all.  The fabric is just pinned on (you can't see the pins).  I did two pedestals with black fabric.

The piece on top of this pedestal is by Christine Raymond.  It is a gorgeous piece made from a cast of one of the dancers' body.  There are little pieces that look like scales, each one is covered with 24 carat gold leaf.  She hand tied each one to the form.  It took her months and months of work.

I was so intrigued by the details, I forgot to take a good full picture of the front.  You will just have to go see it if you live in Boise.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Auction

Also on Friday, I stopped by the Basement Gallery to drop off an ornament I made for their auction. Artists are creating tree ornaments and the money raised will be donated to Life's Kitchen.  You can read about the auction and bid online here.

I just realized that I forgot to take a picture of my ornament before I dropped it off.  Oh well, you will eventually be able to see it on the Basement Gallery site.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Are the Americans tired of turkey leftovers yet?  I had a double helping of leftovers on Friday.  One was turkey and the other was of Leftovers II from the print exchange hosted by Amy Nack of Wingtip press.  I talked about it earlier in the year here.

One set of prints has been traveling around to different venues (I believe it is in New Zealand now).  Another set Amy kept to be auctioned off to raise money for a charity.  I got up somewhat early on Friday to help Amy hang the prints.  It was more fun than shopping.

So come get your Leftovers at the Sockeye Grill and Brewery, which is hosting the silent auction.  The bidding starts at $10 for each print.  While you are there, have a brew to go with your Leftovers.  Amy put in a lot of work to make this happen.  Please support the cause.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Double Take

There are lots of things going on right now (partly why I have been so busy).  Last week I helped install Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance's new show, Double Take.  It is located at the Boise State Public Radio offices on Park Center Boulevard.

The exhibition consists of original artworks and also a gicleé print of the same artwork.  The print may be the exact same size or different.  What is a gicleé print?  I wrote an entire page of information about that for the exhibit (it's there right as you walk in the door).  But the short answer is it is a high quality, archival ink jet print.

As I was hanging the pieces, it was interesting to see the differences between the originals and prints.  In some cases, I had to ask the artist which was which.  It's a good opportunity to see these together, which I don't think you would be able to see anywhere else. You can decide if you like the original or print better.

I do not have a piece in this show as I did not want to get involved with gicleé prints at this time.  The show runs through January 5 and the office hours are Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

The holiday season has sneaked up and ambushed me this year.  I have had a busy month and although I am feeling unprepared for the season and have been a bit stressed, I am thankful for the opportunities that have kept me so busy.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  And since the holiday begins with "Thanks", I will start mine with some.  I am thankful for:

- family and friends that support me in my artistic endeavors, especially those that have to live in the disaster zone and put up with my cranky moods when I'm stressed.
- patrons who have purchased my artworks or those who have even just enjoyed viewing them.
- you blog readers who come back here again and again to see what I'm up to.
- blog writers whose blogs I enjoy reading and seeing art I might otherwise not.
- for my computer that allows me to connect to people I have not even met yet and makes it so easy for me to express my thanks to the world.
- my Nia and Yoga teachers who make exercise fun and keep me healthy.
- a warm home, clothes on my back, food on my plate.

These are just a few of the so many things I have to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Windows Part 2

I painted my second window today.  Although the thermometer showed a much warmer temperature than Sunday, it felt much colder.  It was cloudy and the wind was blowing.  I started in the afternoon.

I thought since it took me so long I would enlist Anna's help, since I needed to start after the Zen Bento lunch rush.
Here's Anna working for a few minutes, before she got too cold and had to go inside to have miso soup.

I chose to paint winter fortune cats to go along with the oriental restaurant.  They even had a couple of the cats sitting by the register (I didn't know this when I came up with the design).  I painted five cats all together.

Four cats are painted on this side above (you can only see three) and one is painted around the corner on the other side.

To make it easy for myself, I drew the cat outline on a piece of paper that I could tape to the inside of the window and trace on the outside.  Then I rolled in the white body.  After that it was free handing the black outlines and everything else.

You can see they have different colored attire, themes and characters on their tummies.  As it was starting to get dark and I was quite cold (do you know how hard it is to paint outlines when your hand is shaking?), I was hurrying at the end to fill in the rest of the colors.

We packed up, got some dinner and went home.  I was looking through the pictures and realized one of the mittens that was suppose to be red, didn't get painted.  So I went back in the evening and painted it and took these pictures, which turned out better with the flash when it was dark (except for the last one which I did earlier).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter Windows

Yesterday, I wasn't the only one working on their window.  A gal was working on window next to mine. I thought it was already done, when I arrived.  She had worked on it the previous weekend but came back to do more because the owners wanted more color. (I thought it was fine the way it was).

Here is her window.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter Windows Part I

I painted my first of two Winter Windows today.  I left around 9:30 a.m. with the temperature around 26 degrees.  Somehow I managed to get a good parking spot right next to my business.  But when I got our ladder out, I realized it would not be tall enough for me to reach the top of the window.  The owner said they were 13' high.

Since I got no answers at home to my phone calls, I drove back to get the bigger ladder.  Fortunately, my parking spot was still there when I returned.  I hauled out my stuff and got to work.

Phase 1: Tape the windows

Phase 2: After 2-1/2 hours of taping, color in between the lines.

Phase 3: Remove the tape.

Phase 4: Add ornaments.

Front doors.

After four more hours, call it a day.  I originally had more ambitious plans with some animals, too.  But the signage got in the way and the owner didn't want me to cover up some of her displays that were inside.  There are five big trees.  They kind of blend in with the surroundings from the view above.   Even though it looks simple, it took all day to do it.  I hope people enjoy it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Traffic Box Design

Some of you that may have seen my Facebook page already know that I have finally visited "my" traffic box to see how the design turned out.  I took some pictures and was pleased at how well the stitching shows up.  You can even see the texture of the fabric if you are very close.  However, they didn't orient it the way I requested, but it is fine.

The bicycles were hand stitched and I really like the hand stitches in the river.  They stand out more than the machine stitching.  But you can still see the machine stitching.

Each traffic box is a little bit different in structure.  They are not all exactly same.  This one had some parts that stick out.  I liked the mini design this rectangle created.

The colorful rectangles are an abstraction of buildings.  They don't really represent specific buildings downtown.  But I did hand stitch some initials on different blocks to represent many of the art organizations and supporters based downtown.  This one has BCT, representing Boise Contemporary Theatre, stitched at the top of the blue rectangle.

Other initials: BW = Boise Weekly, ICA = Idaho Commission on the Arts, TMP = Trey McIntyre Project, BCAH = Boise City Department of Arts and History.  I also did the little symbol that looks like a dancer that is on the Esther Simplot Performing Arts building. You really have to search for them.

I had BAM for the Boise Art Museum, but unfortunately the letters ended up on one of the cracks of the box and you can't really see it.  I also had BSU and IDT, which is Idaho Dance Theatre, but I think those got cropped off.

Here is the original again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Motion Stitching Prep

My last post was a little long.  But I wanted to continue a little bit more about how I free motion stitch.  Before I actually start stitching on a piece, I often try out design ideas in my sketchbook.

Sometimes I just practice drawing the design in the sketchbook to get the idea of how to do direction changes. Or I practice on a small piece of sandwiched fabric I have near my machine before starting in on the real thing.  Sometimes I just start right on the piece.

I haven't stitched the above design on anything yet.  I must have changed my mind.  But I have recently decided to keep one small sketchbook to use just for drawing stitching designs.  I can do my practice runs in it or if I have extra time, I can doodle new designs and variations to have on hand.

I mentioned before that Melody Johnson had posted on her blog about signing your name with free motion stitching on the machine.  I do not do this, as the way I sign my name on paper isn't continuous and I just don't think it looks right stitched.  Plus, if I did my entire name, it is long.

I decided that I would hand stitch my initials (which is how I sign my paper works) and the year with thread after all the quilting is finished.  It looks something like this.

Dyeing some thread while hand dyeing fabrics makes it easier to match the fabric for this purpose.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Do I Do? Part II

Today's post might be more like how do I do what I do.  I'm answering some more of Dianne's questions.
Here's what she asked (referring to Color Fields #14):
"Lisa, how do you do it!? You say you haven't free motion quilted in a while, but this is BEAUTIFUL. I wish you had posted more pictures of the stitching close up on this. Do you go REALLY slow or something? Your stitching isn't as wiggly as most free motion quilting I see (even with professionals). What kind of a machine do you free motion quilt on?"

Another view of the quilting with the piece laying down and sunlight across it.

First, I'll say, "thanks" for thinking my stitching is beautiful.  I can guarantee that as I'm working on it, I am noticing every flaw and bobble I make.  But it is a good exercise in letting go of perfection and just hoping that overall it looks good.

My machine is a regular home sewing machine; a Pfaff 7550 which I bought used on Ebay years ago.  It is holding up pretty well.  They no longer make this machine.  I think Lisa Call uses a similar machine that is no longer made and I think she bought an extra used one to have on hand in case something ever happens to the other.

While working on the Color Fields series, I was doing mostly just straight stitching for the quilting in the majority of the pieces.  That is why when I decided to do some free motion stitching, I said I hadn't done it in a while.

I guess at this point, I have been doing free motion stitching for years and it is a little like riding a bike once you know how to do it.  When I first started, my stitching did not look that great.  But this is something you really do need to practice at to get better, just like drawing.  And it is just drawing with a machine.

Of course as I was learning, I read books and absorbed information on the internet.  I can't recall that I have taken any classes specifically relating to how to free motion stitch.  I think I tried it and then asked a lot of questions online.  I did do a workshop that was about how to chose what kind of designs to quilt on your piece.

When I free motion stitch, I try to remember to put the feed dogs down.  Sometimes I forget and it still works with them up.  Sometimes that even helps give you some control (depends on the design).  On my machine I lower the top tension to almost zero.

I also set my machine to half speed (that way if I accidentally put my pedal to the metal, then it doesn't zoom ahead of me and stays at the set limited top speed).  This is recommended in general.  Some people like to go faster than that speed and therefore do not use that.

I stitch fairly slowly.  So I really never even reach that top half speed limit.  I'm probably cruising at about half of that half speed.  Most of what I have read says that it is easier to create smooth curves at a faster speed, and in fact, Melody Johnson just wrote a post on her blog about this in regards to free motion stitching your signature (more about this later).  This makes sense to me.

However, I have a really hard time going fast.  I've tried to go faster, thinking, "Wow, maybe it wouldn't take me so many hours to free motion this whole piece if I could go a little faster." But it doesn't work for me.  I need to go slow since I am really figuring out where to go next as I'm stitching.  At this point, I can tell when I get the right speed of moving the fabric, coordinated with the right pressure of my foot on the pedal.  I don't always get that right at the start.

I also hold my fabric a little differently.  I like to grab both the edges and move the piece around.  Even with a large piece, I try to find some way to hold it like this. It is the easiest way for me.  I can generally just move my hands without big arm movements.  Although I think this method is what causes me to get tense in the shoulders.

Maybe it would be easier if I just showed you.  Disclaimer: This is my first attempt at a video.  I just sewed some scraps together to show you how I do free motion stitching.  This stitching isn't as nice, because the fabric is a little looser than the dyed fabrics.

The first video shows a design similar to the one I did in Color Fields #14.  The second video is closer to the design I did in Color Fields #13.

Now you can see how slow I stitch and why it takes hours and hours to do a large artwork that has that stitching over the entire piece.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What do I do? Part I

Dianne M. from Oklahoma asked me some questions in a comment and I thought I would just answer them here in case anybody else is curious about how I do things.  I really appreciate your comments, suggestions, honest opinions and support.

The first set of questions in regards to Color Fields #14:
"It's a pretty large piece. Is it a wall hanging? Do you ever make quilts that are actually quilts, like lap quilts or bed quilts? "

Yes, Color Fields #14 is a wall hanging, as are most all my artworks. There is a sleeve attached to the back that you can put a rod through to hang it on the wall.  

It is really tricky trying to explain to people about what I do because the word "quilt" comes up and brings up lots of different associations for people.  I am an artist that creates artworks that just happen to use quilting techniques in the process.

I have tried different media over the years and didn't come to fabric until my friend invited me to take a quilting class with her.  We made a traditional bed size quilt (although I picked some pretty untraditional colors and fabrics).  I took a couple of classes and made a couple of quilts.

Then, one day I discovered The Art Quilt book by Robert Shaw. 

I was amazed and a light bulb went off inside my head and I thought I could do my art this way.  That was in 2001. So I started creating original designs in fabric.  I also took a sewing class because my basic knowledge was from middle school home-economics class.  I still feel like I don't know that much about sewing in general.

Over the years, I've read books, taken a few workshops, read other art quilters blogs and other sites on the internet and tried to absorb information on different techniques.  I started dyeing my own fabrics and have also learned from practice.

In the beginning, I made a few baby quilts and bed quilts for family and friends.  They were regular patterns and it was years ago.  I have not made an original design bed quilt.  I now concentrate on making my own original wall art.

I will answer more of Dianne's questions in my next post: What do I do? Part II

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Market Recovery

I wish I could talk about an exciting stock market recovery, but it is just me recovering from a weekend at the Wintry Market.

I think I was well prepared for the event.  (I would hope so after taking a couple of weeks to get ready for it.)  The only thing I didn't bring, and I have put this on the market to-bring list (if I decide to do another) is medicine.  I had a terrible headache on the second day and asked my husband and daughter to bring me some Excedrin, which they did.  And it helped.

Here is what my "booth" looked like all set up.  Each vendor had a 6' x 6' space, which I found to be pretty small when I did a trial set-up in my living room.  Fortunately, I know one of the organizers and asked if there was any wiggle room.  She switched me to the end of a row so I could have a little extra space.  I think that worked out better.

The long table is one I rented, but I did put the risers under the legs so it would be easier for people to look at the stuff on the table.  The design wall is the one I built.  The wood pieces all come apart to make for easier transport.  I have a piece of felt hanging from curtain rods, that are also removable.

If I built another one, I would do it a little differently.  But this one stood up and worked fine.  Plus, I got the wood for free.

The little table on the right is a rolling butcher block that I keep my paper cutter on at home.  It ended up being perfect because it has a couple of shelves underneath to keep things.  I was also able to load it up to wheel in most of my stuff. I also brought my own chair.

Here's a general view of the event from just inside the entrance to the auditorium.  My booth is in the middle of the picture at the back corner of the auditorium.  It was fairly packed in there as each of those tables are 6' wide.

They had a little area where kids could make ornaments and a few tables to sit at and have a snack or rest.

And speaking of snack,  I'm so glad my booth was not anywhere near these goodies so I would have had to stare at them all day.  They all looked wonderful and at the end of the last day, Big City Coffee divvied up what was leftover and passed them out to us vendors.  Yum! I thought that was very nice of them.

This was my first time at any kind of event like this.  It was a good learning experience.  I did a few small sales, got to talk to some people about my artwork and got some new names on my mailing list.

And a big bonus is that I spent some time beforehand attaching labels and sleeves or some kind of hanging unit on the backs of pieces, and getting things put in the clear bags.  So, they can all be stored just like that.

My friend, Kathleen, was nice enough to take this picture for me.  I was so glad that she was just "around the corner" and not too far away so we could talk when things were a little slow.

One major project down and several more to go this month.  I have some button necklaces still and will try to get those in my Etsy shop along with some of these smaller artworks.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

To Market, To Market . . .

that is where I am today and Sunday (10-5 p.m. at 8th and Idaho).  I will try to take pictures of my booth and post them here next week. There will be about 30 vendors and lots to see.

Thursday night I decided to make some button pendant necklaces to sell as well. I made one for myself earlier this year (mentioned it here) and thought they might be nice to sell.  I have about 20, so you can come down and take a look at the rest (unless they are all gone by then).  Here are a couple.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wintry Market

I've been working hard the last couple of weeks to get ready for the Wintry Market which is tomorrow, Sat., and Sun. from 10 .am. - 5 p.m. at Ballet Idaho (8th and Myrtle).  To make it easy for you, they have posted a little map of vendors on the blog. I hope to see you there.  Here is another preview of one of the artworks that will be available.

hand dyed and mono-printed fabrics,
machine pieced and quilted
matted image size: 7-1/2" x 4-3/4"
©2011 Lisa Flowers Ross 

This piece was cut from a larger artwork that I made years ago and decided it wasn't working for me.  I added some more stitching and it is matted.  I have several more cut from the same artwork.

Some of my friends will also be at the market this weekend:
Kathleen Probst
Rachel Linquist
Reham Aarti
Amy Pence-Brown

Thursday, November 3, 2011

First Thursday

It's First Thursday here in Boise today.  Time to go out and view some art.  It is your last chance to view Complements: Inspirations in Blue and Orange at the BSU Radio offices on Park Center.  The show will be open until 7 p.m. tonight.

I'm going to help you with your art viewing pleasure, right here.  Below is my latest acquisition of  art from the Studio Art Quilt Association's auction this year.  There were several pieces I would have liked to have and I was fortunate to get this one.

Nancy Dobson
High Desert Splendor
approx. 12" x 12"
(image posted with permission of artist)

Look at all the wonderful colors in this piece and I like how Nancy did the all-over stitching. It gives the artwork lots of energy.  It seems appropriate that I live in a high desert, although we don't have much red rock.  

You can visit Nancy's website to see more of her work.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Print Preview

Here is a preview of one of the pieces I will have available for sale at the Wintry Market this Sat. and Sun. at Ballet Idaho (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.).  It's November and a good time to think about holiday shopping.

This is a mono print I did fairly recently at Wingtip Press' Monotype Monday.  It is the Akua ink and I went back into it afterward with some acrylic ink.  I will have just a few mono prints for sale at the market.

House and Tree
monoprint on paper with acrylic ink
image size: 6" x 8"
©2011 Lisa Flowers Ross

Also, First Thursday is coming up and you can do a drive-by viewing of my traffic box design and three others. Read the news release here.  I noticed it, myself, the other day when I drove by the museum, but I have not had a chance to take a good look at it to see how it turned out.