Saturday, January 7, 2012

Various and sundry . . .

I'm finally in my studio again! I've been working on two challenge quilts. I'll just give you a sneak peak here. The first is for the Cotton Patch Quilters:

And the second is for Fiber Frenzy:

I've joined the Sketchbook Challenge. This month's assignment is doodling, which I haven't done yet, but sounds like a non-threatening way to start.

And I just signed up for a challenge with Karen Musgrave AND a class with Elizabeth Barton at Quilt University. I've taken dozens of classes from Quilt University and have been happy with the teachers and the quality of the classes. I'm really looking forward to learning from Elizabeth. This is my first time responding to a challenge, and I couldn't just do one!

I've got my hands full, but I think that's what I need to get myself moving. Deadlines are a great motivator!

Now, a treat for the soul (at least it was for me)--a December morning from my back deck:

And last but not least, this is from June Underwood (reprinted by permission) who summed up my feelings about trying to be a superwoman very well:

Let's see: why do I suddenly want to curl up in my closet -- let me count the ways:

1. I should keep a journal, an orderly journal, one which starts at the first page of the handmade book (that I made, of course) and finishes at the last page. Each page should have text and at least one drawing and perhaps some photos and fabric as memorabilia.

2. I should blog every day, incorporating both text and photos, inspirational sayings, links to other great blogs, and links to Amazon for books I think others should read. I should also read books.

3. I should list my hopes, aspirations, and goals for the year, break them down into daily, weekly, monthly segments, make up an excel sheet, and write every day (in my computer, not in my journal) what I've accomplished in these areas.

4. I definitely should do strengthening exercises so I can lift my carry-ons into the overhead compartments, should I ever want to carry on luggage again. Or use the airlines, for that matter.

5. I should walk at least 4 times a week, alternating days with swimming or biking through Portland's streets in order to sharpen my defensive skills against open doors and crazed drivers and to keep my hair straw-dry and my feet mud-wet.

6. I should vacuum the studio once a week. I should vacuum the kitchen twice a day. I should be sure to get the dust mites up before they get up me.

7. I should eat a good breakfast with protein and blueberries. I should have only 1/2 cup of coffee if I think I can't live without it, which I can't.

8. I should eat a good lunch with whole grains and citrus. No coffee. 16 oz of water.

9. I should eat a very very light dinner with no wine, no dessert, and lots of fish. No coffee. 32 oz of water.

10. I should go to the studio every day, even if it's only to vacuum.

11. I should blog on two blogs, one personal and one artsy. Both should contain photos of my recent trips (walking around the neighborhood counts) and my recent art (drawings in the dust mites is OK).

12. I should be on Facebook at least 5 times a day, posting about my art as well as my vacuuming.

13. I should be on Google Plus at least twice a day discussing the nature of post-modernism and whether Titian used holographic devices and allowing Google to send these posts to all the email folks in my gmail accounts (this in addition to my Google Plus Circle friends).

14. I should grow my own vegetables, particularly as I am fortunate enough to live in a climate where year-round gardening is almost possible, if one has greenhouses and cold frames and doesn't mind hoeing when it's 35 degrees and raining.

15. I should prune my own fruit trees, when I'm not painting the parlor and/or fixing the roof.

16. I should learn all the options on Facebook and set them according to a complex set of rules about who should and who should not read about the inability of my toilet to flush.

17. I should buy an iPhone so I can learn how to use cell phones in the most sophisticated manner and thus be ready to join in conversations about how wonderful the iPhone is.

18. I should buy an iPad so I can learn how it doesn't like PCs, which then would lead me to buying a MAC and starting all over with all my documents, photos and email addresses, transferring these via the unusable cable from PC to MAC as well as buying programs that I already have for the PC that don't transfer on the unusable cable to the MAC. Then I can write blogs and post to FB and Google Plus about how wonderful the iPad is.

19.  I should apply for grants, for residencies, for group exhibits, for solo exhibits, and to be allowed to wrap the Sellwood Bridge in silk so it doesn't fall down before the new one is built.

20. I should learn musical composition, video recording and editing, woodworking, encaustics, and the chemical makeup of dyes in order that I can enhance my art. I should also buy a full set of drawers for beads and feathers and bling-bling, which I can then buy and put away in color-coded, size-delimited containers, and vacuum every day. Then I can learn all about watercolor -- brands as well as pigments -- and oils paints, which I should use.

22. I should subscribe to all the appropriate professional journals, on and off the computer, and make up a marketing plan, having in place a portfolio (fully up to date, and updated every day to account for what I did the day before), a resume (see last parenthesis), and an artist's statement for each piece of art I do (see parenthesis before the last parenthesis). The marketing plan should be separate from goals, aspirations, and hopes, because it's marketing, which must take into account customers, fads, colors of the year, and venues that would actually sell any art I made. These should be placed on an excel sheet so the marketable elements can be checked off; this will save Medicare a lot of money.

22. Oh, and I should make some art.

But before any of that, I think I'll go lie down with a wet washrag on my forehead.

Sorry. I couldn't resist. I should be more humble, more laconic, and more earnest.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy creating!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome, 2012!

Many on my Quilt Art list choose a word to live by for the new year. Last year I could never decide on a word, and that's about how my year went--indecision all over the place. So, over the last few weeks, I've thought and thought about it, and I've chosen my word for 2012: OPEN.

This year I want to be open to the possibilities, opportunities, serendipitous moments, to love and laughter and friendship, to new ideas, new directions, to unexplored paths and to revisiting things left undone, to God, to the universe, and most of all, to my wonderful family.

2011 was a difficult year, but left me with an everlasting thankfulness for my family and friends, my health, my work and my creativity.

I hope each and every one of you have a blessed and happy 2012!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I WON!!!

I haven't done much creating lately, but I've been reaping!

I was wonderfully surprised to find that I'd won the Judge's Choice Award at the Misty Mountain Quilt Fest in Blairsville, GA this past weekend. My second quilt show and my first ribbon! Nothing like starting at the top--I don't know that I'll ever surpass this or even come close again, but what a thrill!

It's so funny, the ribbon is almost as big as the quilt!

And even funnier, I had a whole wall to myself--and my little quilt was surrounded by black.

I'm laughing, because it is funny, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel a sense of honor and wonder for having been selected for this award. Thank you, Judge, and Misty Mountain Quilt Guild.

I also had a piece selected in the Small Works exhibition at the Oconee County Art Foundation in Watkinsville, GA.

It's been a successful fall harvest. Next stop is the Lickskillet Artist's Market . . .

And then in November, I'll be teaching "Not Your Grandmother's Embroidery" at the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild at the Lyndon House in Athens, GA on November 9th and "Carry It All Folio" at Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville, GA on the 19th. It's turning into a great season for fiber art!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Experiment in Ice Dyeing . . .

turned out better than I thought it would. Let me say again that the instructions for this came from the August/September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine in an article by Lynda Heines. First of all, here's my set up. I found enough pie pans, racks, etc to do 6 pieces, so I did 6 half-yard pieces:

I used what I had--pie plates with holes punched in them on top of foil pans. I've found that the dye does something to the foil, and they leak. So I had to double up on the foil pan that "caught" the liquid dye as the ice melted.

Since I'm out of my very favorite colors of dye, the hardest part was trying to come up with color combinations that I might like. Some worked better than others. I also tried to keep records with my camera (I'm not so great at writing things down as I work!). But this is what they looked like after soaking the fabric in soda ash, scrunching up the fabric, loading on the ice and sprinkling on the dye:

Not very appetizing is it?

I was worried that I had mixed the colors too much, and had mixed some complementary colors that would turn to mud. But things turned out better than I hoped:

It was fun, but I'm not sure I'll do it again. What do you think?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's Fiber Frenzy

Today was such a treat! Jodie did the program on painting on fabric--her work is beautiful!

She explained first, how she took the photo, then talked about each step in painting the fabric--branches first, then leaves, then adding the shading to the tree branches (first medium, then dark, then light). At least I hope I got that right.

The she showed us some more of her work, talking about the details. For example, in this photo, she talked about painting the sky:

She showed us the various steps she took when painting the cafe scene below:

And explained how she got the feeling of an "old" painting on this work in progress:

This was the work that got her started, a class with Susan Brubaker Knapp

It was fun to see Jodie's work and learn about her process. A great meeting!

And then we had some eye candy to feast on!

Frances brought her thread painting of a kitty looking into a mirror:

She always does such wonderful and unique work! She also brought a work in progress that she's trying to make a decision about what to do next:

Anita brought some of her hand-made silk paper (more on that in another blog):

And finally, the supreme of eye candy, Cleo showed us some of her ice-dyed fabrics. Too yummy to even describe!

Cleo got her directions from the latest (August/September 2011) issue of Quilting Arts Magazine in an article written by Lynda Heines.

I couldn't wait to try it, so as soon as I got home, I got everything together and went to work. I'm afraid of what it's going to look like though. I think I may have mixed my colors too much, and forgetting that mixing complementary colors makes mud, I may have some done of that too. But good, bad or ugly, I'll show you my results. It was fun, anyway!

Mary Ann

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stick bugs

Usually I "stick" to fiber art topics, but this little fellow caught my eye:

Can you see it? Looks just like a stick stuck to my screen. Must be why they (or is it just me) call them "stick bugs." But even after staring and staring and taking this photo, it didn't move, so I just gave it a little nudge off the screen, thinking, maybe it really IS a stick.

But look, it looks just the same. Now I'm REALLY wondering. So I put my foot down near it. Have you noticed that at no time did I touch it? I REALLY, REALLY am freaked out by bugs, but this one is different, that is, until he moved.

Yep, it was definitely a bug, and now that my curiosity was satisfied I was ready to get away. My little dog, Sweet Pea, who likes to catch and eat bugs, sat staring at it, with his head cocked, as if not knowing what to make of it. So it's appearance is a deterrence to not only bug predators, but to humans and dogs as well! Just a fascinating creature!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Scissors Sheath

I made this little Scissors Sheath for Anita to show off her hand-dyed wool roving. Aren't they yummy? And the quality is first rate!

It took hours to perfect the pattern, but it was worth it and I think it came out pretty well. I'll also be using this pattern to propose a class to yarn shops.

And don't the colors look wonderful?

Here's one that shows Anita's hand-dyed fabric for the lining:

Of course, I couldn't help but add my own touch:

You can find Anita and her wonderful hand-dyes next at the East Cobb Quilt Show, September 16 - 18.

Thanks for stopping by!