Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Brief Review of 2008

I feel that I have really moved forward this year in displaying my art and getting my name out into the public. I had a simple goal at the beginning of 2008 and that was to enter 10 events for showing my quilts. I actually over achieved by entering 14 events. Much to my surprise I have had some success by winning six awards. I also had a quilt published in Quilt Magazine and am one of the winners in the 2009 Quilting Arts Calendar contest. My journal quilt 'Flight Over Greenland' was also selected for display in the final Journal Quilt Project. Creating this blog has also been a step forward and I am so grateful for all of the people that have stopped by to take a look and especially those who have left comments. Now on the 2009. I am in the final phase of putting together my artistic goals for the new year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Chasing the Grey Away

This is my entry into the My World in Black and White exhibit sponsored by The Fiber Arts Connection of Southern California. This piece will be traveling to several venues with over 30 other quilts for the next couple of years. I am finely able to post a picture since the book for this exhibit has been published.

This was an interesting challenge for me since I have never done a work with a limited color pallet. I also decided to try a whole cloth painted piece. The inspiration was a trip to the Smokey Mountains and I wanted to recreate the misty look of a rain storm with rolling clouds being driven away by the sun. All of the triangle shapes are intensional. I was experimenting with these shapes in the composition and trying to pull the viewer into the scene. It measure 41' x 41' and was painted with Setacolor paints on a very hot day in the Atlanta area this summer. I was working outside with sweat rolling down my face and it took several trys to get the sky the way I wanted it to be! After about 2 hours I finally had something I thought was acceptable. It dried quickly and when I took it inside and ironed it I almost put it in my scrap box. After letting it sit for a couple of days I decided it was worth quilting. Let me know what you think.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My First ATC's - Finally......

I have committed to an ATC swap with 7 other people and really am pretty excited about this. I have never made ATC's before and as always my optimistic estimating was not even close as to how long creating 8 of these would actually take. I do admit that I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to my art and really wanted to do my best since 7 other artist will be getting these. Now I am not used to working on things this small and my first problem was actually losing one when walking from my painting area to my work area. No problem as it only took 40min to find it. Finally made it to the point where I was ready to thread paint a tree on each one and I put them all in a stack next to the sewing machine. First one went well then grabbed what I thought was the next one off the stack. I did notice right away that the second one was much more difficult to sew and thought that I would have to change my needle when I finished it. When I removed it from the machine I gasped with horror when I saw that I had grabbed 2 not 1 and had sewn them together! My immediate thought was OM gosh how can I fix this one. I did manage to carefully separate them without too much damage.
The process:
  • Painted a 16x12 piece of PFD fabric in bright sky colors with Setacolor paints
  • Cut fabric into 8- 4x3 pieces - at this point each one became it's own piece of art
  • Adjusted colors in sky of each piece, added a horizon line and adjusted water color to reflect the sky
  • Added largest land mass and painted land reflections
  • Added Angelina and some sparkle organza to water and then sewed white tulle over water area
  • Added other land masses
  • Quilted land
  • Touched up skys to add a few light clouds
  • Quilted water
  • Quilted sky
  • Thread painted trees
  • Finished edges
I plan to keep my least favorite piece for myself. Can you help me choose? Do you have a least favorite?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Exchange - What I Recieved

Finally as promised I am posting a picture of the lovely piece of art that I received on Tuesday night at the FAF gift exchange. This is by Melinda Fulkerson who was also the president of the East Cobb Quilt guild this year. This is a large guild with over 250 members and she was a wonderful president. Thank you Melinda for this great little piece of art. P.S. I did get Melinda's permission to publish this photo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fiber Art Fusion Holiday Art Exchange

  1. I belong to a group call Fiber Art Fusion that meets on a monthly basis. This has been a great way to get to know some very talented artist and learn new techniques. Tonight was our annual holiday dinner and art exchange. Each person brought a gift wrapped 5x7 piece of art that they had created. We did a blind exchange so each of us came home with a great piece of art. This is the piece that I gave away and it was selected by Margaret Betz. It is called 'Goddesses'. The background is painted warm and natural that has layers of stamping, Angelina fibers and painted misty fuse. I then used puff paint to create the raised areas adding beads to the wet paint. After expanding the paint I lightly brushed it with gold paint. I drew the 3 goddess symbols and then free motion quilted them. The top symbol is for Isis, the middle one is for Inanna and the bottom represents Ishtar. I finished it by adding a few beads and painting the edges with gold. This is another unusual piece for me. Tomorrow I will post a picture of the art I received.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Do You Have a Favorite Thread?

One of the awards I won this year was a third place finish in the Home Machine Quilting Show in Utah. This was for my piece 'Flight Into Fantasy'. I didn't receive a cash prize but got a $150 gift certificate for Superior Threads. After much contemplation and deciding and re-deciding I finally ordered my threads that are pictured above. I have really enjoyed experimenting with these and have learned a lot about tension, needles and free motion quilting in general on my last 2 pieces. I love the threads and have never really felt any brand loyalty. I guess I have never really paid that much attention to thread before. The KingTut threads are 100% cotton and I love the low sheen finish they add. A couple of my favorite colors are Bulrushes, Old Giza and Sunflowers. The Rainbows are high sheen trilobol polyester and have been a little easier for me to get the tension right. Perfect Quilter is a heavier cotton and give a nice flat look. I really like the Pumpkin Spice color. This has turned out to be a great prize and has helped me focus on something that is important to my art. Do you have any favorite threads?

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Work - Envy - A Little Scary?

This is really outside of the box for me. This piece started with 1/2 yard of Phil Beavers Indiana Harvest commercial fabric that had the look of a hand dye. When I found it in my stash I put it up on my design wall for a couple of days and just looked at it in passing. I knew I wanted to do something with it since I loved the colors but I thought it still needed something more so I got out the paint.

I reluctantly cut about 3 inches off of one end and mixed paints to match the burgundy, green, blue and carmel/tan colors. This took several tries to get it right. I used Setacolor and Jacquard paints diluted only about 20% so I could get good coverage. I then just started to add color where I thought it needed it for interest and balance. While painting, one eye just seemed to appear quite by accident. Once I saw it I added the other eye and straightened the sinister looking face.

Once the face appeared I couldn't really see anything else. It was so scary looking that I debated whether I should quilt it or paint over it again. I decided to go ahead and quilt it since I have really been trying to focus on improving my FMQ. You can see from the detail that my FMQ is starting to look a little better. Finished size is 38h x 22w. If you have trouble seeing the face click on the full image to see a closeup.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Playing With Paint

I had a scrap of PFD fabric and thought I would try a little Tye-painting. I pulled up and gathered sections of fabric then wrapped string around each one to secure it. When tied these looked like fingers sticking up. I then painted different colors around each section and also painted the ends with a different color. I used Setacolor paints diluted with about 50% water. I had to really push the paint into the folds and you can see that there still is quilt a bit of white. I let it dry for a couple of days and then carefully cut away the strings and ironed the fabric. I have an idea in mind to use this little piece and I am happy with the results. Give this a try it was really fun.

Monday, November 17, 2008

If Only This Art Could Talk - My Flea Market Find

This weekend I was at a flea market in Murphy NC and came across this work of art. I loved it so much that I had to ask the price and when the stand owner said $15 I immediately offered $10 and he accepted. I guess that it would qualify as fiber since it is leather stretched around a wooden frame and very neatly stapled on the back. More leather comprises the rest of the work and it measures 16x12. On the back upper left is printed in pencil 'I Want to Fly by Grazyna Pielat Oct. 89 Leather'. I've done a little research and could not find out anything about the artist. I did find that the name is Polish and in the fall of 1989 the poles defeated communism and took back their country. Could this be an artist expressing his feelings about this through his art? The name of the piece 'I want to Fly' could be interpreted as such. One of those things that I will never know. How did this work end up in the flea market in the small town of Murphy NC and what has happened to Grazyna? If only this piece could tell us its history. My great grandparents came from poland to northern IN in the 1880's so I feel this work has somehow found me. Makes me wonder what people will think of my work in 20 years. Another more practical question is how do I clean this? You can see from the close-up that the folds are embedded with dust. Any suggestions would really be appreciated.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Judges Choice in New Hampshire!

I had 2 quilts in the quilt show in New Hampshire last weekend and just checked the website and saw that my small quilt (17x17) won a judges choice award! This little piece has really surprised me since it has also won a 3ard place in MN earlier this year. I guess this shows that a quilt does not have to be big to be recognized.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Experiment With Texture and Thread

When I got back from Houston I was all excited to start something new. I also found waiting for me on my porch 20 spools of Superior Thread ($150 worth I had won for a 3rd place finish in a quilt show). I had the beginnings of this piece on my design wall and just started adding stuff. I used 14 different things including yarns, Angelina fibers, tulle, cheesecloth, melted and painted tyvek, painted mistyfuse just to name a few to create the textured surface. I then free motion quilted it with at least 10 different threads. I really tried to pay attention to how the different threads stitched and required tension adjustment and even different needles. I feel like I really learned a lot from this and improving my free motion quilting is an area I need to focus on to move to the next level in quilting. I love the results. This piece is 20h and 17w. Click on the image to see a closeup.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back From Houston

I finally have a chance to post about my Houston trip. What an incredible show! The quality of the work was so amazing and inspiring. This is me in front of my quilt 'Birthday Wishes' that was in the portrait category in the judged competition. This my second year to enter and second time in the judged competition. The quilt is a portrait of my granddaughter based on a picture taken on her 4th birthday. I put her in a Disney type setting since she loved our visit there last year. I feel very lucky just to have been in this show with all of these talented artist.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What I Will Be Wearing In Houston

This is the jacket that I just finished this morning. So like me to be soooooo last minute! I haven't made a piece of clothing for myself for probably 25 years so I don't know what possessed me to do this. Could be that I will be going to Houston with 2 friends who have really beautiful jackets of their own that they have made. Everything I used was stuff I had. I started with a black sweatshirt and a gorgeous piece of Ricki Timms fabric that I have looked at for a while but couldn't decide what to do with it (part of the problem being that I just didn't what to cut it up!). I winged it from there since I had no pattern and only some instructions I found on the Internet. Didn't turn out too bad for a first try but not show quality. If you are in Houston and see me walking around just give me a shout to say hello.

My Journal Quilt in Houston

Now that the Houston show is underway I can show a full picture of my journal quilt 'Flight Over Greenland'. This quilt is based on a picture that I took when I was returning from a business trip to Denmark. I was sitting in business class and
everyone was watching movies so all the window shades
were closed. The pilot announced that we were flying over
Greenland and that in was a really beautiful sight. I opened my window shade and was stunned by the simple beauty of this scene. The sky was an incredible blue and the snow covered mountains surrounded by icy water glistened in the bright sun. I always have my camera and immediately started taking pictures. This was not a popular thing since I was letting in light and I did get some dirty looks from the people around me. I knew that this had to be my journal quilt so I could share this incredible sight and hopefully help people appreciate our beautiful earth.
This piece is painted whole cloth with Angelina fibers added to give sparkle to the water. The 'window' is painted shirt interfacing. If you are going to the show also look for my quilt 'It's All Relatives' that appears in the Quilting Arts 2009 Calendar and will be displayed in the Quilting Arts booth and my quilt 'Birthday Wishes' that is in the judged competition.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rusted Fabric Experiment

I love this piece of fabric! I have wanted to try rust dying for a while and the other day I was rummaging through my husbands shop and found a few chains and bolts that were good candidates for the experiment. I took a piece of PFD fabric wet it and wrung it out. Then I soaked it in vinegar and wrung it again. I then wrapped the rusty objects in the fabric and put the whole thing in a plastic garbage bag, squished the air out and tightly closed it. I let this set for about 2 1/2 days. I then rinsed it in salt water (I read somewhere that that stops the rusting process) and let the fabric dry. Finally I ran it through the washer, dried it and ironed it. I really thought that the color would fade when I washed this and was amazed how it did not. I will definitely do this again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Georgia Quilts - It's Actually a Winner!

Last weekend was the first Georgia Quilts Quilt Show. My quilt 'Peak Performance' took 3ard place in the large wall category. This quilt was started over a year ago when I hand painted the background and then added the foliage and foreground with various fabrics. For some reason I really didn't like the results and let this be a UFO for around 10 months. I finally added borders and extended the scene into the border.
I attempted to finish this several times with no luck. Just when I was ready to cut the piece up I found out about this show and was determined to finish. I free motion quilted the leaves on the border and then was disappointed that they did not show so I painted them with soft pastels and highlights of gold fabric paint. This still is not one of my favorite pieces but I guess that it was worth finishing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I did this weekend.......

As I mentioned earlier I have been in a rut as to what to work on next so I decided that I would do a small piece from start to finish over the weekend. First, I looked through some photos that I took last year in Louisiana and did a sketch. Then I painted sky, water and trees on a couple of scrapes of PFD fabric. I then added the grass fabric in the foreground. It's from my stash but I did cut it up to get the look I wanted. After quilting I thought it still needed something so I painted in the bird and added trees to the grassie area. The grass and trees are heavily thread painted to give the piece more interest. Finished size is 12 x16 and I think I will mount this to matt board and frame it. It felt good to get something done!

Loot From Fabrics.com Warehouse Sale

Late Friday night I got an email telling me about this sale. I was really torn about going since the last thing I need is more fabric! After going back and forth with myself I decided to set my alarm and go on Sat. morning. I mean I only live 15 min. away and that is with a drive-thru stop at Micky D's to get some really needed coffee...... I have never bought fabric from this website since for me part of the fun of fabric buying is the actual touch and feel of the stuff. I really did restrain myself and this is what I got.....9 lbs for $36 with the pieces ranging is size from 1/2 to 3 yards. So much for not needing any more fabric........

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quilts off to New Hampshire

Two of my quilts have been juried into the 'A Quilters Gathering' quilt show that will be held in Bedford, New Hampshire on Nov 6-9. The one pictured here is called Daydreaming and is about 17" x 17". The other is Flight Into Fantasy and is featured on the right. Daydreaming won a 3ard place in MN and Flight Into Fantasy won 1st places in Indiana and Georgia and a 3ard place in Utah. Wish me luck!!

Quilting Arts Magazine Oct-Nov - Suzanne's Quilt

Check out page 79 of this issue and see the 'Going Green' piece of my good friend Suzanne Balis Freed! Suzanne has been a quilter for a long time starting with the traditional route. She has saved thread blobs (those bits of string that come off the fabric when you wash it) for years and her piece is made up entirely from these leftovers. Congrats Suzanne for getting into THE magazine for art quilters!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Georgia Quilt Show

October 16-18 is the date for the new Georgia Quilt Show and it will be held at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth. My piece 'Peak Performance' was juried in and will debut at the show. I need to take a new picture and will post one soon. The Atlanta area has not had a major quilt show in that past and they hope that this will be an annual event. Please stop by if you are in the area.

What to work on next.........

I have finally caught up with my quilts.....well at least the ones that had deadlines attached. I had put myself in a position where I really felt that I had over committed and fell relieved to have gotten some of the weight off my shoulders. Of course I have UFOs but these are things that have no deadlines or I am not sure if they deserve finishing.
Now the big question......what to do next?????? I have been down in my studio a couple of times this week and made some half hearted efforts to start something new but nothing has clicked. Sometimes I get in the trap of 'so many ideas so little time' that I can't get started on anything. Time to take a minute and look at what I have and what is important to me at this time. What idea can I turn into a project that I can be passionate about and dive into completely? What do you do when you are in this position?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mono printing - Try This at Home

I was playing with paint the other day and tried mono printing. The first picture is of an acetate (what you use on an overhead projector) that I spooned Lumiere metallic paints onto. The second picture is the result of putting a piece of black fabric over the painted acetate and lightly pressing the fabric into the paint. The third picture is another print from the same acetate and you can see that it printed a little lighter. If you try this make sure and protect your work surface since it can get a little messy if you aren't careful. This was really fun and I like the results. I have a project in mind for one of the prints so watch this space.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Great Quilt Shops

I just got back from a trip to Indiana and Ohio and had the chance to stop at a couple of quilt shops. The first one is Quilt Quarters just north of Indianapolis on Route 31 about 2 miles north of I465. Lots of fabric and other stuff so stop by if you are in the area.

The second one is the Quilterie in Celina Ohio which is in Mercer County. This shop was a little smaller but also had a great fabric selection especially if you love more traditional quilts.

Sad news for Fiber On a Whim in Sandy Springs GA which is a great place for art quilters. They announced today that they will be closing their brick an mortar part of their business on October 14.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Double Happy Dance!!!!!

I just found out yesterday that my journal quilt, "Flight Over Greenland" was one of the 48 selected for the Quiltart Elements exhibit in Houston. I can't show the whole quilt since it will debut at the show but this picture is just a little tease.
I also received a 'fat' envelope from the International Quilt Association and my quilt "Birthday Wishes" was accepted as a finalist in the judged competition. The 'Quilts - A World Of Beauty' show will be in Houston the last week of October. I will be going to the show with 2 of my quilting friends and it will really be exciting to see my work at the show.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lesson Learned on Original Art

I wanted to share this lesson from my original entry into the 2009 Quilting Arts Calender contest. I spent many hours creating this piece. The sky is hand painted with Setacolor paints, the tree leaves are a doily my mom crocheted, the branches and trunk are painted warm and natural, the sign post is thread painted, the grass is an old sweater of my daughters, the fence is the top from a pair of my granddaughters socks and the house is a piece of needlepoint I did from a kit over 30 years ago and never finished.
All sounds well and good until I showed this to my friend Suzanne who is also a fiber artist. She asked if I had though about the rules of the competition that said the piece must be original art. Also was the issue of copyrite with the needlepoint. Of course I had not considered either of these but took this photo and emailed it to QA for their opinion. The piece was disqualified because the needlepoint was from a kit and not original artwork. So my lesson is read all rules of any competition carefully and be extra careful about using anything in your art (even if it is over 30 years old) that may bring up copyrite questions.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Painted Warm and Natural

Well, today’s distraction is this tiny (about 7w x 8h) piece of painted warm and natural. A couple of months ago I saw an article about painting warm and natural and one day I spent about 10min painting a scrap. I used regular craft paint so nothing fancy, I think when I do this again I will use a fabric paint since it seems a little stiff. I found this today in one of my piles and of course thought I needed to immediately start to thread paint it. I should be working on my black and white piece or my peak performance piece but of course I got totally involved in this little rectangle After heavy thread painting it was a little distorted but I steamed it and it went right back in place. Here are the results. I think I need to beef it up a little with more contrast. Maybe Shiva paint sticks or something. Check back for the final results.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's All Relatives

OK. This is my one claim to fame so far. I am a published artist! This quilt is a winner in the 2009 Quilting Arts Calendar contests. I must admit that I was really surprised and delighted. Especially since this is my first abstract piece.

The theme of this years contest was Celebrating Home. When I think of "home" many memories come to mind. It is not so much about a place but thoughts of my family that make a house a home. In creating this piece, I tried to think of a way I could show family and relationships. When you look at the shapes you can see that they are related even though each one is unique just like the members of a family. Each could stand-alone but they work better together and each has something special about it.

I painted the swirls using puff paint straight from the bottle on a single piece of fabric. Once dried and expanded, I applied several types of paint randomly over the surface. After quilting, I used Misty Fuse to add areas of Angelina fiber. Finally I added different yarns, threads and beads trying to add something to each shape to give it its own interest and beauty but not so overstated to upset the balance of the quilt. You can see the entire calendar at http://quiltingarts.com/shop/2009calendar.html,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Artist That Has Influenced Me The Most

Since this is my first blog post I thought I would start with something personal about me and my art. Recently I was asked what artist has influenced me the most in my life. I have never really thought about this but when I did I realized that it would have to be my Dad. He was not famous but he loved to paint. Most of his paintings were given away to pay for things that our family needed. When my brother broke his leg, the doctor was paid with a painting. I remember going to his office as a child and being very proud that my Dad’s painting was hanging there.

Working mostly in pastels and oils, he did incredible landscapes (gee..Wonder why I love landscapes...) He was 52 when I was born and I would get so angry when all of the kids at school called him my grandfather. He used to take me to the closest woods and we would spend hours looking at trees and plants. He especially liked orange milkweed and we would dig it up and take it home to plant in the yard. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and watching him paint. I even remember when he showed me how to draw a tree ...I still do really good trees :).

He was always telling me to look at the sky, birds, plants, trees and all of the beautiful things around me. I still get teased by my family for always talking about how beautiful everything is. I am following his lead and am constantly telling my 5 yr old granddaughter to look at the beautiful things around us. I think only about eight paintings are still in the family, I have two plus his sketch book.

He was a barber by trade and had to retire at 60 because he developed Parkinson disease. After a few years he could no longer paint and we had to sell our car since we could no longer afford it. He never complained and always had a positive attitude. He died at 72 when I was 19 (39 yrs ago). He also played five musical instruments and had his own band in the 40's. Writing this has made me a little sad since I haven’t thought about my Dad like this is quit a while . . .