Saturday, December 27, 2014

Extemporaneous (revisited) 60"x60"

What does a fiber artist blogger on a four month sewing hiatus blog about?

First of all, the reason for the break is that I packed up my studio way back in September in order to sell our house.  Three months later it finally sold, and after another month of escrow we made our move to the central coast of California.  However my studio still languishes in boxes in the garage as we finish a remodel.

Last week someone way up in Canada posted a lovely comment about this quilt and requested I explain how I composed it for "noob" quilters.  Can I safely assume that means "newbies?"  As I explained when I first posted it, the inspiration for this quilt was a Joe Cunningham tutorial on Craftsy.  His class is titled Pattern Free Quilting, in which he teaches several improvisational methods for piecing.  I've been a Joe C. fan for years--his unconventional quilts and wry humor.

My quilt took off from the piecing method he calls Fantasy Four Patch.  I won't go into exact details because I think you should purchase his class on Craftsy for those instructions.  But in general terms he says to start with a yard each of two fabrics--a dark and a light--which you cut into strips of varying widths.  Next you sew different widths of the two together to create a series of pieced lengths, which are subsequently sub-cut into various widths.  Those cuts are sewn into various permutations of four patch blocks.  Then the blocks are assembled to your liking.

Where did I take off?  I started with two blue and white fabrics and one mustard.  Pretty quickly, though, I wanted that red in there.  And when all was assembled on the wall, I wanted the navy blue border with patches from the interior breaking into its solidity.  One of the things I love about Joe's four patch is that you can't re-engineer it just by looking.  The oddball blocks blend so that you can't tell they were all the same size.  So you get an original composition every time.  That's talking my language!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mermaid Tears and My New Rack

My sister Marybeth is perhaps my biggest fan because she regularly reads my blog and comments--always glowingly--on my work.  So of course I used her birthday as an excuse to crochet another Mermaid Tears purse.  I know she loved it because she called me "uber talented" on BookFace.
I hereby will her all my quilts.

Can you believe my new quilt rack?  Many moons ago a friend said she wanted one of my art quilts.  When I suggested we do a swap, she commissioned her uber talented woodworker husband to make me a new quilt rack.  Wow!  It's laminated ash with black walnut details, and I think the sinuous S curve is perfect for me.  I'm not sinuous, but I'm SSSSara.

It's going to look wonderful in our new coastal hideaway to which we are finally moving in just four days.  After three long months of living minimally without my studio, we have buyers.  Whether I will have another whole room to myself for a studio is uncertain.  For the moment I am eyeing a corner of the master bedroom because it is gloriously bathed in natural light from two skylights.  

However, art must wait awhile longer till we unpack, tuck away, and finish installing the new living room floor.  There are at least four quilt guilds near my new home, so I have no excuse for not at least testing the local quilting waters.  Talley ho!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Baby Blankie

It proved too much to hope that between my last post and today I'd be moved and have a new sewing studio.  Instead my DH and I have been driving back and forth between our new home on the coast and our old in the Valley.  Coast is getting remodeled, and Valley is minimalized for the many lookers who aren't buyers.  Hence more crochet.  So glad I chose not to use the traditional pastels for this baby blanket.  These colors are luscious.

Now I'm enrolled in two more Craftsy classes to upgrade my knitting and crochet skills, and I'm checking out Mark Lipinski's Slow Stitch Movement.  Sounds like a good berth for me while I'm in this transitional limbo.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mermaid Tears Purse for Kristin

So our house is for sale, which means living minimally.  It's been emptied of all personal decor, and clutter necessary for daily life can be quickly stashed away if someone wants to view the house.
My creative life has been reduced to a couple of baskets of yarn and some crochet hooks.

When my sister Anne died in July, it was so comforting to me that her oldest daughter Elizabeth loved the purse I had crocheted for her mother.  But then I wanted something to give to her younger daughter Kristin.  After I learned her favorite colors were blues and greens, I began searching the Net for contemporary crochet inspiration.  The title alone, Mermaid Tears, made this pattern a perfect choice.   It was so much fun watching it emerge in my hands, I'm sure I want to make another.  This purse is on its way to Kristin.  USPS--I'm tracking!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Will Remain--Proceed With Caution 18"w x 24"h

This work is inspired by a sobering thought....with or without us, the planet will remain.  

Here's another....this quilt is the final one prompted by my art group Loose Threads.  As soon as we sell our house here in the California Central Valley, my husband and I will move to the central coast of California.  My studio languishes in boxes, and for weeks I've been dismantling our home to get it ready.  Today we are officially listed on the market.

Regretfully, I leave behind a very special group of friends and fellow artists who have been my muses, fan club, teachers, and sisters-in-stitch.  What the future holds for me as an artist is uncertain for now.
So many life-altering upheavals over the last two years have left me feeling a lot like this composition. That said, I look forward to long coastal walks with the ocean as my soundtrack.  How can that not be wondrous?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Anne's Purse 8" x 9"

My sister Anne requested a felted purse after she saw the autumn dragonfly purse I posted last November.  But her favorite colors were pinks, oranges, and aquamarine blues.  Excited when I found the perfect yarn, I crocheted and felted it only to learn that the angora doesn't mat down.  Hence the soft fuzziness.

I was looking forward to delivering the purse to Anne in person at a family reunion next week.  But she died suddenly on July 20.  That her daughter Elizabeth wanted to have it is truly comforting.
Oh, Annie.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lights in the Park 24"x38"

This exercise in extemporaneous piecing was inspired by a painting by contemporary artist Leonid Afremov  I worked from a small magazine picture on my friend Sharon's inspiration board.  Of course the complementary colors drew me in, but also the opportunity to create an abstract composition from a very lively picture.  All the fun, however, was in the wild piecing which was brought under control as trapezoidal blocks.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Circuit Board 18" x 24"

This year my Loose Threads Art Group is creating pieces inspired by each other's story boards.  (A story board is a collection of images, quotes, objects etc. that one finds intriguing.)  On Anna's board I found a diminutive (2"x3") circuit board, which I thought might make an interesting abstract composition.  Successful or not, it certainly moved me away from my comfort zone because collage is rarely a solution I choose.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Proceed With Caution 21" x 30"

We only have Earth.  The glories of the cosmos aside, we haven't found anywhere else to live.  We ignore our culpability for poisoning Earth at our peril.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunset 12"x12"

Lately I have been exploring narrow strip construction as a way to create a landscape composition.  For this little piece I used 3/4 inch strips that I stitched with 1/4 inch seams right onto batting and backing.  I love how the colors of the narrow strips blend together in a painterly way.  This quilt will be my donation to the 2014 SAQA Benefit Auction.
Check it out to see a huge variety of one foot square gems.

Friday, April 11, 2014

At the Pinnacle

Last weekend I reached a new pinnacle in my quilting journey.  For three glorious days I was coddled, praised, and corsaged as the Featured Artist at the Best of the Valley Quilt show held in Lindsay, CA.
They displayed thirty-six of my works from the last seven years in my own personal booth right at the front of the show.  Many many wonderful people stopped by to chat, and I received so many accolades I can't believe my head isn't twice as big!  It's all downhill from here on out.  (Still smiling.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Extemporaneous 60"x60"

Before Christmas last year, Craftsy offered 50% off on classes by one of my favorite quilters, Joe Cunningham.  It's worth the full price just to watch him and chuckle at his quirky, relaxed approach to composing a quilt.  He demonstrates four of his improvisational piecing techniques, and all of them are right up my alley.  This is my version of his "Fantasy Four Patch."  Although he makes his with only two fabrics, I wanted more.  I even had fun with my own improv quilting.  Dig this one, Joe!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Color Shot 60" x 60" 2013

For several years, I have been following the work of Marianne Haak
There is something about her contemporary designs that gets my quilting juices going, and quite simply, I lusted to have one of my own.  This quilt is made from shot cottons and assembled in nine 20 inch blocks according to her tutorials for "quilt as you go."  Each block is assembled and quilted directly onto batting and backing, and then the finished blocks are sewn together with strips on the front and back.  Ingenious.  Thank you, Marianne.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blue Windows 23" x 17.5" 2013

Here is my third art quilt created with one inch sew-and-flip strips.  There are a couple of things I like about this process.  I stitch the strips onto a batting and backing which quilts the piece as I go.  But even better, although I was working from a photograph, my interpretation is somewhat abstracted.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Postmark'd Art 2013

Foggy Day by the Bay
Theme: Houses

Greetings from the Silk Road
Theme: Maps

Market Woman, West Africa
Theme: Africa

Garden Buddha
Theme: Zen

Meditation Path
Theme: Zen

Icarus by Matisse
Theme: Matisse

Midnight in the Walnuts
Theme: Trees

Elm Calligraphy
Theme: Calligraphy

Postmark'd Art  is an international online group of artists who exchange small art twice a year in the form of 4" x 6" postcards.  For each semi-annual round we create a list of themes
from which each artist chooses one or more to interpret and exchange with others who chose that theme.

Usually I get greedy and choose three themes because the cards are just plain fun to create.  Groups are limited to 7 people, so mass production is manageable.  For this set I played with stenciling, carving rubber stamps, and photography.  Not sure which is more fun--making them or receiving them in the mail from all over world.  I know we aren't keeping the USPS alive, but I've heard reports they are enjoyed by mail handlers everywhere.