Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tea Bowl for Anna 15" x 15"

For our Christmas gift exchange this year, my dear Loose Threads decided to choose names so that we could focus on making one very nice gift.  This is my gift to Anna.  A couple of years ago I did a series of small tea bowl quilts of which I still own two.  Since I couldn't bring myself to part with them yet, I went to work on a new one.  The fabrics on the top and right are my own creations--a sun print and a painting.  Anna seemed as pleased to receive it as I was to make it for her.   

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Noro Vest

Autumn comes late to central California.  We were wearing shorts and t-shirts into November and even Thanksgiving, which we enjoyed over on the central coast, was balmy with warm temps.  Nonetheless, the idea of the season, and my baskets full of delicious yarns, always tempt me away from my fabrics and sewing machine to get my needles clicking.  For this simple little vest I let the luscious colors of Noro yarns do all the work. Now that we are finally having a cold rainy day, it's warming me perfectly along with a cup of hot gingerbread spice tea.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tacoma Autumn 18" x 24" 2011

Autumn comes tentatively to the Central Valley of California.  It's November and we are just beginning to see some color (other than the smothering dust of harvest).  One year ago I was immersed in the blazing colors offered by Fall at a more northerly latitude.  I had just purchased Rayna Gillman's new book Create Your Own Free Form Quilts, and I had an obligation to make a new piece for my Loose Threads art group challenge.  Slice and dice?  No problem.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Air Conditioning 34.5"w x 25"h 2012

"Air Conditioning (for the Dog Days of Summer)".  That's the full title of this quilt. In August my artist group Loose Threads embarked on another year of challenges.  We'll take turns coming up with a title to inspire new work to be completed (or in some cases started:-) two months hence.  Anna tossed down our first challenge, Dog Days of Summer.  For me, summer in the Central Valley of California is all about surviving blistering days with a/c.  I view the outside hot hot hot from the artificial cool of my house.  When I was stumped on how to quilt it, Karen suggested ceiling fans.  Perfect solution.   

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Atmospheric Disturbances 45"x57" 2012

Is all art autobiographical on some level?  When one has something to express does the work evolve to fit the emotions gripping the artist at the time?  Should it matter that some viewers don't "get it"?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birds for Bridget 15" x 15"

The next best thing to hugging my 20 month old granddaughter is sending her gifts.  So I made this little quilt to wrap around a new baby doll, in whose arms I tucked a big salted carmel chocolate bar for her mommy's legendary sweet tooth.  Now I'm on a quest to find antique doll furniture that will fit right into their 100 year old house.  Little B will never wonder how much I love her.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Waiting Stones 43" x 17.5" 2012

During the last months of my sojourn up north in Tacoma, there were long hours of just waiting during my son's treatments.  For me, a hand stitching project is meditative and soothing.  One day I found Jude Hill's blog  Spirit Cloth on which she asked friends to create "stones" for her.  I didn't think she'd mind if I started making some for myself.  Using scraps of fabric that looked like they would belong in nature, I hand appliqu├ęd "stones" to 2 inch square background pieces on which they seemed to belong.  When I came home, I put them together into this quilt as a birthday gift for one of my sisters.  I am still making stones.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wine in the Garden 18" x 24" and 12" x 12" 2012

From June to October in my part of California, a late afternoon glass of wine in my garden feels like these colors.  The smaller quilt on the bottom is my donation to this year's SAQA Benefit Auction      which begins today.

Anyone who takes the time to view all the amazing quilts that have been donated will be well rewarded.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Abalone Sunset in Tracy, CA.

"California Fiber Artists, a.k.a. CFA, is a collective of independent fiber-based artists offering a fusion of fiber and mixed-media exploring the elements of design in both two and three dimensions.  Some members reconstruct fiber with dye, paint, wire and stitch to develop multi-layered images, while others specialize in felting, basketry, paper, quilting, collage and wearable art.  Each member is considered a master of their given craft."

I quote from the back of a postcard advertising the latest CFA show, "Contemporary Fiber Works,"
at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts located at 715 Central Ave., Tracy, CA. 95376.
The exhibit will be there from Sept. 8 - October 27, 2012.  Gallery hours are Tues. - Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 - 2.  Additional information:  209-831-6278.

My "Abalone Sunset" will be making its debut at this show.  Talley ho!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Storm Warnings 18"x18" 2012

Last spring I decided to participate in my local guild's challenge even though my life was in upheaval because of my son's illness.  The challenge was to include thirteen half square triangles in the design, and I needed to work quickly.  Ultimately I did not enter this one in the guild's challenge because I thought it was too simple.  Ironically, I made another even simpler little quilt titled "Night Flight" (see two posts ago) which I brought to the challenge.  Fast forward six weeks.....where do I go from here?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tacoma Winter 18" x 24" 2012

When I made this quilt a few months ago, I think I knew what was coming.  On July 11 my son, at the tender age of thirty, lost his battle with cancer.  I have nothing philosophical to say about this heartbreaking loss.  It is 95 warm degrees outside, but in my heart it's winter.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Night Flight 18.5" x 19" 2012

A title for this little piece found me at last.  I made it in response to a challenge to create a composition with thirteen half square triangles.  I used a Ricky Tims piecing technique to make dimensional flying geese, and I like the interplay of the warm triangles on the gradated gray grid.  I hope it likes its title.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Father's Day Card 4"x 6" 2012

My father at 92 dignified years of age is independent, smarter than anyone I know, and committed to making the world a better place.  While I don't always agree with his idea of "better",  I stand in awe of his passion and diligence at searching and researching for information and answers.  A survivor of two cancers, one of which left him without a larynx after 40 years of pipe smoking, he is in constant demand as a speaker at school assemblies where he advocates against smoking.  His response to any aches and pains is that one must soldier on.  So whenever my life seems too hard, I have only to picture my dad and know that hanging tough is the only way.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dune Music 21" x 12" 2012

During my sojourn in Tacoma,  I've had the pleasure of meeting some of my son's neighbors.  One lovely young stay-at-home dad a few doors away has taken us under his wing.  His little daughter is one day younger than my granddaughter, and they often pay us visits or invite Bridget for play dates.  He's baked us bread, and brought us games and movies.  In gratitude, I made him this little quilt.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sun Print Postcard 4"x6"

In the Pacific Northwest, it takes a certain amount of optimism to set out to make sun prints.  Several weekends ago on a beautiful sunny day on Vashon Island I found a new fiber arts store called Common Threads.  Missing my own well-stocked studio in California, I was an instant customer for a kit of cyanotype fabrics ready for sun printing.  The sun blessed us for several more days and on the left you can see my first attempts.  Then the sun disappeared behind the more typical clouds for a couple of weeks until one morning that looked promising.  I circled the yard for fresh clippings, pinned them onto the fabric which I pinned onto cardboard and then the clouds closed in.  Thinking time would be the answer I left them out for an hour because those clouds didn't rain.  I guess I have to call the optimistic pieces on the right cloud prints.

Thank you so much to all my good friends who have left comments on my previous posts.  Time to write back to everyone is limited right now, but please know that you make me happy when you comment.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunset over the Olympics

One of the many pleasures of residing in the Pacific Northwest is the gorgeous skies at sunset.  This time of year we enjoy daylight past 9 p.m., and so this view from my bedroom window is my occasional "sheet show."  Looks like hope to me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Art Glass Clamshell

The Pacific Northwest is a hot spot for art glass "hot shops" and Tacoma is home to the renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly and his Museum of Glass.  For Mother's Day my son and daughter-in-law gifted me with a blow-your-own glass experience.  Here's what I learned: molten glass from the crucible is HOT HOT HOT (about 2100 degrees) and once you have some on your rod you have to work fast and keep sticking it back in a "glory hole" to keep it molten.  Here's what I actually did: chose four colors and a finished shape.  My teacher did all the handling while I occasionally rolled the rod that held the red hot glass bubble and blew into a 3 foot long rubber tube when he said blow.  Never was I tempted to remove my thick leather gloves and was I glad I only wore a light t-shirt.  All in all a very exciting half hour.
Should I trade in my sewing machine for a crucible?  Whaddya think?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Play for Me, Daddy

Lately the most creative I can be is with photographs. With my IPhone I caught little Bridget trying to get my son to play for her.  Then I used the Snapseed app to crop and make it black and white.  It was a touching moment that didn't need any color.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tacoma Spring

"Earth laughs in flowers."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 30, 2012

Abalone Sunset 16" x 24" 2012

One day last fall when all I had to worry about was my next art quilt, I was sorting through some of my own hand dyed fabrics trying to figure out how to put them away.  In what color category does one put multicolored pieces?  Or pieces upon which one has added painted fusible web?  Anyway I held up the pink and blue piece and, voila, there was a sunset.  Then I found a piece of black dupioni silk upon which  I had ironed Lumiere painted fusible web.  That became the beach.  Then my son got sick and so it was deserted till I returned home in January.  Actually I found comfort in having my sunset awaiting my attention and some beading to finish it.  The bird is completely stitched with iridescent black seed beads and the beach has a mix of paua (New Zealand abalone) and assorted other beads that looked right.  Now I'm back in Tacoma with my darling Bridget leading me around by the hand and waiting to learn the next treatment for my son.  My heart is thumping.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kaikoura 33"x72" 2012

Though not quilted--at least I didn't shoot it full of pins--I've finished my freeform piecing for Karen Musgrave's challenge using her fabric.  As I added the border it began to remind me of the gorgeous beaches of New Zealand which my husband and I visited in January 2011.   Kaikoura was one of them.
The quilting must wait as I'm going back to Tacoma to be little Bridget's Grandma for a few weeks.  She's up and walking so I'm packing my runners.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Best of Show!

Yesterday I had the honor of learning that my little "Prayer" won Best of Show in the Small Art Quilt category at Best of the Valley Quilt Show.  I didn't get a good picture with its ribbon because my hands were shaking.  My son's health is not good and we are waiting to learn when he can go to a clinical trial in Washington D.C.  I cling to hope that this prayer has real power.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fabric Challenge...Blues Anyone?

OK, so I gave my freeform fabric challenge piece over a week to simmer.  Whoops!  Suddenly it's April, and the deadline to finish and post is April 30.  Tuesday I added grays.  Nah. Kind of blah.  Yesterday I added blues.  Nuh uh.  Way too busy.  Last night I imagined a third iteration but won't be able to work on it till next week.  Crikey!  By the time I finish experimenting I'll have enough rejected bits to create a couple more quilts.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bra Tree

I have seen "yarn bombing" a.k.a "guerrilla knitting or crochet," mostly in urban settings such as Prague, Wellington N.Z., Seattle, and San Jose.  Usually it is brightly colored knitting or crochet covering a tree trunk, bench, pole, or fence as a kind of fiber art graffiti.  Since I am a yarn-aholic, it always makes me smile.  But today, on very rural Highway 198 between Coalinga and San Lucas, CA., I found a new version.  It is an oak tree fully festooned with brassieres of various cup sizes and shades of pastel.  I'm smiling again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wine in the Garden 12" x 12" 2012

Because I'm retired and my art quilting is not a career, I can indulge in being a dedicated dilettante (from the Italian dilattare meaning to delight.)  According to my dictionary, a dilettante dabbles in a subject without real commitment or knowledge.  For me it means I delight in trying new ideas or making new pieces as the mood strikes me.  My plate, or I should say my design wall, is always full of assorted, usually disparate, intentions.  But I veered away from them all for a day to make this little quilt.... just because.  Dabbling = delight!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fabric Challenge...Forward

Here's the first curvy piecing with and without some more fabric auditions.  I've been on fast forward with this challenge for 2 days, and this is all I have to show for it.  At this point I'm liking it and not wanting to do any more slicing and dicing.  Time to let it cool its jets on the wall for awhile.  

There are other things to get to this weekend such as the Voices in Cloth Quilt Show in Richmond, CA.
where I hope to spend a few shekels on cool stuff and be wildly inspired.  Also not to be ignored any longer is my crate full of supplies for Jane Dunnewold's class at Art Quilt Tahoe, which I didn't get to attend last November.  Best to deal with it today because if my Irish luck holds, I'll find some treasures I won't have to buy tomorrow! 

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.  Slainte!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fabric Challenge - Beginnings

This project falls into the "just had to do it" category.  Recently Karen Musgrave, with whom I'm acquainted through Postmark'd Art, issued a challenge to use a piece of her fabric to create a quilt in the style of Rayna Gillman's new book Create Your Own Free Form Quilts.   Posting progress along the way is part of the deal--and a new challenge for me.

On top is the fabric Karen sent.  Hmmmm...not ugly.  Below you can see I've buried it in some auditioning.  Lately I've been working in uncharacteristic brights.  I think my muse is telling me something....or Spring has sprung in my studio.  Anyway I'm clearly optimistic.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Picasso's Face of Peace 4"x6" 2012

During the current round of trading for Postmark'd Art I joined the Picasso group.  When I found this little sketch by Picasso I stitched it onto a piece of fabric I'd used to clean paint brushes.  (Sometimes the clean up fabric is the most interesting piece after a session of painting.)  I hope Picasso would approve.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More Modern Art 14" x 56" 2012

A couple years ago my artist group Loose Threads chose to work our way through Fearless Design by Lorraine Torrence and Jean B. Mills.  This was my interpretation of exercise 4, finding value in color.
Easy peasy!  I think it makes a very cool runner on my dining table.

This morning I opened my e-mail to discover my blog has been awarded a Liebster by my friend Franki Kohler.  I am so grateful for her lovely support.

Next I'm supposed to give the same award to five blogs I enjoy. Hard to narrow it down!

Lastly I have no idea how to send the Liebster to these wonderful people who keep me from doing my chores, but Loose Threads is meeting at my house tonight and one of them might have time to teach me.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Runner 17.5" x 51" 2012

A couple of years ago I discovered the therapy of what I call "mindless" piecing of bits of fabric too interesting to throw away.  When I'm between projects, or just want to give my right brain a break, I sew bits together with no plan, iron them, slice and dice them, rotate them, and keep adding.  More often than not, some intriguing compositions emerge.

Of course I don't work in a vacuum.  From the time I first saw the Quilts of Gees Bend at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, I've loved improvisational piecing.  Books by artists such as Nancy Crow, Lorraine Torrence, Jean Wells, and most recently Rayna Gillman have been favorites in my studio.  (One does seek support for what one loves.)

Honestly, while I admire traditional precision piecing, I suck at it.  When I sew pieces like this runner, I feel like a modern artist.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Baby Birds 45"x60" 2012

Don't you just love it when an old unfinished project takes on new life?  A friend has a baby on the way, giving me all the reason I needed.  These birds have been languishing for a couple of years in my tub of "not sure what to do withs....."  When I learned about Yoko's baby girl, they commenced to chirping for borders and binding.  They'll be hanging on the wall at her baby shower next week.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hope Postcard 4"x6" 2012


Here is my newest postcard for Postmark'd Art,, made for the theme, Quotes That Inspire.  Emily Dickinson curiously commented, "To live is so startling, it leaves little room for other occupations."  Even though she was a recluse most of her life, she created a collection of poems full of insights about living in the world.   Here am I, one hundred-twenty-six years after her death, finding comfort and inspiration in her words.  Would that I could bequeath to my world such a gift!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hearts 4" x 6" 2012

One of the reasons I love making postcards is that I can justify saving all those little bits from previous projects that seem too precious to toss.  Here I layered a wispy paper napkin with hearts cut from foiled organza, painted cellophane, and crumpled silks.  My mailman says he and our local postmistress enjoy having my creations pass through our post office.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mt. Rainier (in situ) 16"x64"

Yes, that's a trash can on the far right to give this display a sense of scale.  My son and his wife loved the quilt enough to hang it in their bedroom, which is in the attic.  Hence the sloping ceiling.  Anyone taller than 4 feet must stoop over for close inspection.  (That's one way to hide some wayward stitches.)

"Better living through chemistry" has helped my son regain enough of his health to resume care of his darling- now 1 year old- daughter, other household obligations, and even enjoy skiing the slopes of the Cascades.  Wrenching as it was to leave them, my husband and I felt it was time to go home to California.  He is eager to work on the many many images he photographed during our sojourn up north, and I have raw emotions to push under the needle.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Heal 4"x6"

Recently a friend had cancer surgery and is now struggling through painful rehab.  One day last week I was wondering about whether she'd gone home yet, and so I decided to make her a postcard.  The very next day I received an e-mail from her saying she was home but that everything was very hard.

The message I wrote on the back was that no one fights alone....she has many hearts with her.  These are sentiments I've received during these months with my son, and they never fail to comfort.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Birthstones 5"x7"

These two quilts are small by request.  It's time to start a new year of birthday quilts in my artist group Loose Threads, and since we seem to have played out the strips concept last year, the January birthday girl asked for small pieces specific to months.  I drew the months of March and May and chose birthstones as my themes.  The stone for March is aquamarine and for May is the emerald.  Not having the wherewithal to purchase the actual gems to stitch, I painted some fusible web with Lumiere paints and added some machine stitching, French knots, and beads.  Now I have to hope she's too busy moving into a new home to check my blog before she gets these next week.  Don't look, A.K.!