Monday, March 31, 2008

Fiber Art Community, By the Inch

The deadline has come for our latest Twelve by Twelve challenge. The last two months we have worked on community. Sadly to say, I have struggled with Community! I had more false starts than I can count and lacked the technical skill to take the picture from my head and work in to fiber.
Finally, this quilt came together so easy that I feel like I cheated. I created the background for the quilt with silver painted fabric and gold metallic thread for quilting in honor of the song "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." The inchies I received from a swap at FiberArtBits last summer, with a couple Christmas inchies thrown it to fill out the grid. The artists that I exchanged with are Kate North, Gill Boughton, Gretchen L Van Nostvand, Gwyneth Green, Emily Randall, Steph Winn, Barb Hill, Priscilla Stultz, Ella More, Lorraine Strohkirch, and Diana Becka. I also added a few of my own inchies that I traded. The swirling, spiralling quilting lines are for the chaos of each of our lives, while the grid is the touch of structure that ties each of our lives together, our passion for fiber art. I am so grateful for the community of artists that I have meet on the Internet through Twelve by Twelve, blogging, and exchanges. The supportive environment has helped me to grow so much as an artist and gain confidence in my work.
Add here is a little peek at some of the rejects. Some of them I should be able to recycle into something, just give me the rotary cutter, some paint, and a lot of embellishments.
My first attempt was a contrast of the neat and clean ideal community and the messiness of real community. I worked a little with some knotted, sewn cord, perhaps couching it down in a heart shape -- an attempt at the love that ties a community together.
I thought my first messy quilt was a little monochromatic so I tried it with another paint rag I had laying around. More color, but I just couldn't get the idea to a place I liked.
I also thought of a woven quilt. I used various upholstery fabric samples. I liked the differences in texture and weight. I may have been able to bring this together better than my first experiment, but the family has been distracting and my love for the idea quickly faded.
My other idea was to create fabric paper using pages from the community pages of our phone book. I cut our heart shapes and collaged them down. The big problem came when it was time to add the layer of tissue paper. Where did all my white tissue go? I have a feeling some little hands got a hold of it or my husband helpe with the cleaning. Needless to say, I couldn't find any. I tried to improvise by using dryer sheets. They created an interesting texture, but the paper underneath was all but lost. I also used too bright of colors. I couldn't bring them together in a pleasing manner.
Lots of lessons learned, and I guess that is one of the benefits of living in communtiy. Now its time to be a good citizen and recycle!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dandelion Breeze

A touch of sunshine on a crazy, snowy spring morning. We woke up to snow this morning! It rarely snows in the Puget Sound region in January, let alone spring. In my 34 years of living here, I can remember it snowing once at the beginning of March, but never at the end. I'm still waiting for the effects of global warming. I was hoping more for California weather than southern Alaska. Oh well, I guess I will have to create my own sunshine.
I created this piece from some experiments I thread painted while working on Dandelion ideas. The bright yellow thread adds a touch of cheer to the bright summery painted fabrics. I added the white satin stitching and wire swirls for the seed tuffs floating on the breeze. Right now I would be happy to see the seeds floating in the sunshine. The piece is 5-1/2" x 6-1/4", 8-1/2" x 11" framed.
Now its off to a watermelon picnic!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


4" x 4"
7" x 7" with frame
I hope you enjoy the picture, because I can't even concentrate to write -- way too many distractions around here lately!

Monday, March 24, 2008

He is Risen

He is Risen indeed. Okay, I'm a day late with Easter, but I'm sure that the disciples didn't stop celebrating the original Easter on Monday. I started these peices yesterday morning while the kids were being the Easter Bunny and delivering fresh eggs to our neighbors -- an hour of quiet while they visited and watched TV next door. I was then able to finish them off this morning while the kids played they were at the beach (never mind that it was actually frozen outside!). I cheated somewhat, since I used fabrics that I alread painted and quilted. You can't expect me to work that fast. I started with the cross piece, but had to add the emply tomb. Each piece is approximately 8" x 10".

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Few New Things for Etsy

The kids were playing nicely yesterday, at least for part of the day, so I had the opportunity to play around with some of the quilted fabric I have stashed away. I branched out into a slightly larger mini quilt with "Sailing on Dreams" at 4" x 4". I love the blue fabric and the added depth of the silver satin stitching.
I also made some note cards from plus sized inchies. They are so simple, yet so full of color and texture -- the perfect way to share my work with a larger audience and brighten someone's day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Collage Mania II -- Floating on Dreams

I created this piece for Virginia Spiegel's Collage Mania II, this year's Fiberart For a Cause American Cancer Society fundraiser. The piece is 7" x 6" and mounted on Bristol board. I created "Floating on Dreams" with blue quilted and painted fabric. I then overstitched with silver thread and a satin stitch and added the wire swirls to echo the fabric. The blue colors and swirling stitches remind me of getting lost in my thoughts, hence the name "Floating on Dreams." I'm enjoying this slightly larger size and adding the satin stitching lines. I have a feeling more of these pieces will be on the way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Double Inchies To Trade

I snuck a few minutes last weekend while I was recovering from the twenty mile bike ride my husband took me on to make some double inchies for a trade at Fiber Art Bits. I just used some of the scraps that I had laying around and added a little of this and that -- Nothing to stressfull. I always enjoy trading and sharing my work with others.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another Quilting Arts Embellishments Write Up

My mini quilts have made it into Quilting Arts embellishments newsletter! Its so exciting to see my work and writing under the banner of Quilting Arts. Of course, when I was asked to do the write up was when I have a long list of art related things that need to be done in the next couple of weeks and a busy family schedule. If you don't recieve the newsletter I would be more than happy to forward it. I'll also add the link when it is available in their archives.
Now time to be mom again.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dreams and a Touch of Bling

I've been working away on finishing all the little things on my to-do list. Near the top has been finishing my next batch of Art-O-Mat works -- 50 little Dreams and 50 mini art quilts. Most of the pieces were finished a while ago. I only needed to finish the last twenty of each series. Then of course the labelling, boxing and wrapping which takes nearly as much time as creating the pieces in the first place. I really don't mind the repeatative work though. I can cut and glue away while still talking to my family, playing a game with the kids or even supervising school work.
The first set of "Dreams" I created was "Swaddled Dreams." The white cloth and pastel colors reminded me of babies. I'm sure we all have little dreams that are just beginning to grow that we keep tightly wrapped in our hearts. When our oldest was first born we would swaddle her so tightly that we kept checking to make sure she was still breathing. If we didn't, she would get her arms out of the blankets and hit herself in the face, waking herself up. She was so new any freedom would work against her. Our dreams can be the same way. When they are first born, they need to grow in a safe environment. But soon they are strong enough to face themselves and eventually the world. My second set of "Dreams" I was hesitant to create. I try to keep my artwork possitive and joyful. So many messages in our culture focus on the doom and gloom and I don't want to contribute to the negativity. Despite that, "Fallen Dreams" just wanted to be created. I added a touch of sparkle to the black background and used shimmering silver thread to try to capture a sense of hope, even in the darkness. Despite their death, there is still hope for redemption and joy. I trust that these were pieces that needed to be made and the people who need to recieve them will. "Touch of Bling" was created from some of the scraps that I have had hanging around since last fall. I have been meaning to do something with them, but never seemed to have the time. I already had the shimmering silver thread in the machine, so I just kept sewing away. I love the colors with the sparkle, but of course that would make sense since I created them. Now to go finish getting them ready to send off into the world.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Out of the Box

I was invited to join a local artists creativity group, Out of the Box, by Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio. They are a group of artists who work on a given challenge idea, drawn from the box, each month and come together at a local coffee shop to share their projects. I attended my first meeting in February, but didn't have time to complete a project. The meeting was also cut short because it started to snow. I did, though, learn the new project from the box was "switchplates."
The original idea was to decorate a switchplate for your house. Since the group seemed to be keen on breaking the rules, I decieded to take it a step further and create a switchplate quilt. The backgroud is a piece of green painted fabric that I quilted with gold thread. I painted the switchplates with various shade of purple paint, much in the same way I painted my frames. I then attatched them to the quilt using the screws that came with them. I added the vintage purple glass button that I had just found at the Sewing Expo for $.25 to the center. The quilt was rather flimsy with all that added plastic so I mounted it on black mat board that I still had hanging around from my college days. I think a graphic design project that wasn't quite working is hiding behind the quilt. And I just had to add the frame because that is what I have been having so much fun doing the last week. I really had a lot of fun using something so unconventional to make a art quilt. And I'm already ahead of the game for next month -- make a piece of art using something in an unconventional way.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More Fun Framed Mini Quilts and a Sale!

I painted more frames in reds and blues so I could frame up some more mini quilts for my etsy shop. They are each 5" x 7" when framed. These are just so much fun and I love the way they look framed. I might have to frame up all my work that I have hanging in my hallway. I really can't afford professional framing at this point. I will have to settle for the pile of frames I bought at IKEA this weekend and paint them all myself. I actually try to avoid anything expensive at this point in our family life. The kids are more important than any "thing," but I would hate to put that to the test if they broke something valueable. I don't like to live with a disposable mindset, but kids will be kids and we have a lot of them in a small space. For now I will pick my battles.
I also made my first sale on Etsy! I am so excited. I even managed to be on top of things and mailed it out yesterday. Kate North bought my "Laugh" as a birthday gift for her friend Lana, a big purple fan. A girl after my own heart. Thank You!