Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I reviewed Rayna's new book

No one is surprised when they learn that I hate to read instructions or follow directions.  This, I firmly believe, results from being brought up in a strict military family (how many five year olds to you know were regularly restricted to quarters for insubordination?...just sayin').  So, you will be surprised to know that I didn't pull my usual stunt and just look at the pictures to see if I could figure out what information I wanted to glean.  Nope, I actually READ Rayna Gillman's new book create your own free-form quilts!

Her voice is loud and clear in her writing...there was no ghost writing going on here.  So, of course, you smile a lot.  I think her book is useful for art quilters at any stage in their development.  Certainly those new to our medium would be wise to buy it, and, interestingly, those of us more seasoned art quilters will find it very handy guide to get out of those doldrums that beset us from time to time.

The piece above I've titled "Cats Can Always Tell"(13"x16").  I put it together this afternoon, quite literally from the bin of scraps next to my machine.  I always create a narrative about whatever piece I'm working on and this one started out titled weeds....then it morphed to allergies...and finally, with the addition of the Laura Burch designed cat fabric, it became Cats Can Always Tell....because I'm allergic to them and they always CAN tell.  They love me.

I purchased my copy directly from Rayna's blog and left my review on Amazon.  You might consider doing the same.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Creative Procrastination AGAIN!

Yesterday I must have really been overwhelmed at the prospect of pricing and packing my inventory to take to the Guilford Art Center where I will be during the Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studio Weekend.

Instead, I made this little baby quilt which I have titled Red Fish/Blue Fish.

I uncovered an assortment of Malka Dubrawsky's fabric.  I think the 5" squares were a birthday packet that I'd stashed away.  I paired them with all that remained of a piece of fabric designed by Jean Ray Laury that I scored from ebay (I think) years ago.  Jean Ray Laury was "modern" before "modern" was modern, which made me think it would make a good combination.

You might want to check out Laury's website if you are unfamiliar with her.  Her work would ALWAYS bring a smile to your face.  My buddy Yvette and I were lucky enough to catch one of Jean Ray Laury's last lectures before she retired...just plain dumb luck on our part...and now we are so thankful.  She died this past March just before her 83rd birthday.  She was a real pioneer in fiber art.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Open Studio Weekend!

SAT logoIt's here again...already...our annual Open Studio Weekend. Preparations are proceeding slowly. I keep getting sidetracked, which is probably my avoidance defense activating itself.

I did get some useful chores done. I stretched There Were Stories About Great Grandma.
When I bought the thermo-fax image of a Victorian woman, it reminded me of the old photographs that I had seen of my great-grandmother. Apparently she was a one-off, force of nature with an indomitable spirit that propelled her family from recent immigrants, through the Great Depression, to successful lives. While she, herself, had no time for needle work, she must have appreciated those who did, as she died with a sizable collection of others' work, including her daughters'.

The central hand dyed piece was purchased from Connie Rose.

The second piece of progress was having a mat cut for Consider the Kelp. It is a 10" square piece that had been a part of SAQA's This is a Quilt. And I really like it better now that it is framed. Hopefully someone else will too and want to purchase it ;^)

I probably won't post until again until after the event...unless, of course, my defense mechanisms take over. It's a heck of a way to avoid packing and pricing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fiberactions Reveal Day

Block by Block: The Building of a Great American City

It was my turn, the last member of the current Fiberactions group, to post my "word". Choosing turned out to be more of a challenge than I would have thought. Finally I chose the word structure.

Originally I had planned to focus my "structure" piece on a cellular or molecular level. Before I had a chance to explore that idea I had an overnight trip to NYC. When I returned and downloaded all of my graffiti, buildings, and interesting people photographs, I became more interested in the buildings. The NYC buildings compared to the Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth, Australia cityscapes were especially interesting. They were all built in essentially the same way, block by block. And block by block created personality, if one can attribute personality to stone, steel and glass.

I like weaving backgrounds...this time it gave me the chance to use some very interesting "building" suggested fabrics...even the sky. The photograph that I used was some taken from our hotel room in the theater district in NYC. In a way, I'm sorry that I didn't choose one with graffiti (another of my favorite collectables)...but, perhaps that would have taken attention away from the blocks.

The experience with posting challenges every two months has been interesting too. Some times, I'm fully engaged and excited with the task and then others...well, not so much. It's those "not so much" pieces that seem to push me to explore more. The Fiberactions group continues with a different cast of artists. I'm sure it will continue to be interesting, and if you will pardon the word, challenging.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Claire and Her Friend Vasco da Gama

Yes, THAT Vasco da of the most successful Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. My granddaughter Claire is 9 and in the fourth grade. Remember all those explorers?

Her project was to research daGama and, today, make her presentation to her class. Two things struck me when she showed me her display.

First, she's much more computer savvy than I. But you could have figured that. To support her research she figured out how to find a shape of Africa...and print what she needed. Then....and wait for it...the best part...she chose to make her map from FABRIC! She is always welcomed to "finds" in my scrap bin, where she announced to me that "this green over-dye will be perfect". She decided against rick-rack for daGama's route mapping, choosing pliable wicking material instead. After the wording and markings were complete she rooted around in my studio until she found some tulle to overlay..."perfect ocean material".

Okay. A rant from a proud grandparent. I usually reserve this platform for art quilts, news of quiltmakers, my travels...especially as it relates to quilts and fiber...and the like.

But her approach to her project touched me, as it reflects our relationship and the value she places on "my" medium.

I always wanted to make a difference. I've come to understand that I may. but the differences will be small (I gave up on world peace decades ago). I choose to see this as one of them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Connecticut Women Artists' Opening

Yesterday was the opening reception of Connecticut Women Artists' 2011 Members Juried Exhibition at Gallery 53 in Meriden. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, perfect encouragement for the appreciative crowd.

I was struck by how many mixed media works were included. It was wonderful so see the combination of watercolor, acrylic, pastel, encaustic, fiber sculpture, loom beading, oil, wire and glass, monotypes...oh, and a very interesting oil and embroidery...collected into a very engaging exhibit.

If you are in the area, it's worth a visit. It will be up through Dec. 3

Pictured here is (L-R) Wendy Thornley's All Over A Woman's Body and my Salon: After Matisse being viewed by DH.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creative Juices

"Sentinel" is finished....I think. I never really know with my work. Sometimes I finish a piece, photograph it, enter it, perhaps, and roll it up to be stowed away. Then at some point I stumble on it again. I find that it looks unfinished and I start tinkering all over again. So if you have any thoughts...I'm open.

"Sentinel" is made from two pieces of fabric, one I purchased years ago from Sunny Bunny Designs and the other, a piece of black Kona cotton, I recently discharged. It is hand (the shibori) and machine (the dark) stitched. I cut a stencil and painted the moon/sun.

Saturday was the monthly meeting of CT Fiber Arts Collective. Because the power is still not available to many parts of CT, including the library where we ususally meet, Barbara Khachane graciously offered her home to the group.

She is pictured here with her finished project of the day.

Carine Greene, using Gwen Headley's book Drawn to Stitch, led the group in a quick line study. It was fun for us all and a really good exercise in flavoring those creative juices. We were all charged up and ready to get back to our studios.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DOUBLE TAKE: Photo and Fiber/Reinstalled (AGAIN!)

My art quilt group, Sisters in Cloth, has been very fortunate with our collaborative exhibit with photographer Rosemary DeLucco-Alpert.

Our first invitation to exhibit at Haskins Labs at Yale University coincided with the development of our collaboration...... using a selection of Rosemary's flower photographs as inspiration. While it was there, Rosemary had the opportunity to exhibit at the Guilford Free Library in its new gallery space. She asked us to share the opportunity and move the collection when it came down in June. Then, providentially, Rosemary went out to a local restaurant after the Library opening, ran into the Art Director of Connecticut Hospice in nearby Branford and was invited to "travel" the exhibit there for Nov-Jan.

With all of Rosemary's other teaching gigs and photography work, I stepped up to liaision with CT Hospice. Because of that freaky snowstorm mentioned in my last post, we could not hang the 43 (!) pieces as my excellent hanging team had planned. Instead brave "Sister" Barb Adams and I partnered to hang it two days later.

In the top photo Linda Zimmerman and I interpret Rosemary's Three Roses. Next is Yvette Howard's Blue Hydrangea. The second photo (L-R) includes Martha Wolfe's Asian Lily, Linda Zimmerman's Pink Hydrangeas, and Debbie Bento's Sunflower.

CT Hospice is situated on a gorgeous campus, formerly a country club...oops, I've been corrected by my buddy Barb Adams,...actually it was formerly a corporate headquarters, overlooking Long Island Sound. The exhibition space is open to all. It's a meeting space with gently curving walls, a wide vista of the Sound and devoted to art exhibits. Actually, the curved walls helped Barb and me decide not to be fussy about hanging the frames in any uniform way. We chose to create visual pairings. It might be fortunate that the hanging team wasn't involved after all. They are all much more fastidious about details and exactness and we'd probably still be there hanging the last frames.

This last photo was shot by just turning around from the exhibit and shooting through the windows. That's a bit of the view. It's a very beautiful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Procrastination Worked Again

I have heard from "people who shall remain anonymous" that I've taken procrastinating to a whole new level, but sometimes (okay, rarely) it works.

I joined this SAQA/CT regional group. Here's the most recent info.

Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective

The Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective is a group of Connecticut based artists dedicated to promoting Fiber and Mixed Media Arts within their communities. The group formed in 2011 to provide support for individual growth and to challenge each other to push the creative boundaries. The group meets monthly to discuss a cross-fertilization of knowledge, techniques, ideas, and dreams. The goal is to hold exhibits at venues throughout the year to expose Fiber and Mixed Media Arts to the public.

The members come from a wide region, even if you consider that Connecticut is a really little state. Some have to drive better than an hour for the monthly meetings. Included in the group are Mary Lachman, Carol Eaton, Cher Herney, Carol Vinik, Diane Cadrain, Rosalind Spann, Toni Torres, Carine Greene, Barbara Khachane, Jeanne Landry and Karen Loprete.

It is a very energetic far since I joined in April..we have had three exhibits, two in West Hartford and the most recent installation in the teeny village of Middlefield (which, interestingly, is in the middle of the state). This teeny village has a very active library (like what else is there to do?) that invited the group to display small works in its entry.

The first photo is "Identity". The second is the installation team: Roz Spann (with her eyes closed), Carol Eaton and Diane Cadrain.

Now for the procrastination part. Carol Eaton had volunteered to create e-vites to our artist reception for Nov. 3...tomorrow night. You might have heard about the freak October snow storm we had here in CT this past Saturday. In fact, JUST after the photos were shot. Currently 500,000 households are still without power. (actually worse than the recent Hurricane Irene when my own household was without power for seven days) The little active library is likewise without power. So, no reception. Now none of my buddies need to be notified of the cancellation. Procrastination at its best.

I just let DH preview this blog entry and his comment is that "you don't give procrastination enough credit. You know there's a whole field of creative procrastination." Just sayin'