Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween!

B and I went to a wonderful Halloween party last night.  It had been years since I'd dressed up for Halloween, other than donning a pair of cat or bunny ears to give out candy to trick-or-treaters.  But both Brian and I were up for the challenge.  I went as Frida Kahlo and B dressed as a Scotsman with a big red beard.
Simianne and I
Our friends go all out on the decorations.  And they live in, literally, a castle.  At least, it has several turrets.  The perfect place for a Halloween party!
Hoot mon!
Brian won a prize for his costume.  It was so much fun!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Working in the Studio

I have been working very hard in my studio for the last several weeks.  But not in the way you would think.

The weekend before I went to Arkansas, my studio looked like this:
There is a sewing machine under there somewhere....
...and a 12' Gammill table under these piles.  And a shelving unit under those  small bins on the left wall.
It didn't always look like that, not quite so messy, but I had decided to clean out my clothes closet. Which happens to be in my studio.  It was time to cull through and donate the clothing I no longer wear.  And to sort all of the other myriad things which had ended up in there.  I won't show a before picture of the closet, because I am too ashamed.  It was jammed full of fabric, yarn, art supplies, stuffed animals (?), blankets and clothing.  A total mess.

So, as I said, I decided to clean out the closet.  But I had to put all of the stuff I pulled out of it, at least the stuff I wanted to keep, somewhere.  Which means something else had to go.

Well, to be completely honest, I had fabric bins, sorted by color, that I hadn't opened in years.  Novelty fabrics, big prints, all kinds of stuff that I just don't use.  Many many many bins.  Why did I buy all of it?  

So it was a great time for to sort through all of the fabrics and art supplies.  And like that my simple closet cleanup turned into a total studio reorganization. 

It took me two weeks, but it's done.  I gave all of the fabric I was never going to use away.  It was easier than I thought.  I contacted several churches and they were glad to have it.  I gave some to a neighbor who is just learning to quilt. And some to a friend who is making quilts for policemen.  I sorted through all of the supplies, got rid of the junk and organized everything.  With the excess fabric gone I had enough shelf space left to store my rolled finished quilts.  Wow!  I'll actually be able to find them easily.  I cleaned and scrubbed parts of the floor that I hadn't seen in ten years.  And, finally, I'm done!

So a few pictures of my cleaned and organized studio:
Cutting table. 
Behind the Gammill.  The shelves are on the left.  The green bags contain Christmas gifts waiting to be wrapped. 
Standing next to the bookcase looking towards the cutting table and design wall.
Design wall and ironing station.
Sewing table. 
Looking over the Gammill towards the shelves.
I am so ready to get back to work and to mess things up again.  This time in an organized fashion...
The closet that started it all.  Nothing but clothing!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Latest Inspiration Pieces

 My fiber art group, studioQ, met last week.  Kay showed us how to dye using ice.  I had never done the technique before, and it was a lot of fun.  We used acid dyes on silk scarves.
Hard at work.
Our inspiration piece for October was chosen by Andrea.  Autumn Trees - the Maple by Georgia O'Keefe, painted in 1924. A piece with a lot of sinuous curves and subtle shading.
Autumn Trees - the Maple by Georgia O'Keefe
I have been reorganizing my studio and unearthing many treasures.  In the process I found some fabric I had painted with thickened dye in shades of fuchsia and black.  I decided to use that in my O'Keefe piece.
Fall in Fort Worth, 17" x 23" (unquilted)
And I managed to produce a piece that has neither sinuous curves nor subtle shading.  Hmmmm.

Here are all of our pieces together:
 I love to see them together.  They are always so different.

Jay and I have been showing our inspiration pictures and pieces at our North Texas SAQA regional meetings for the past year.  The group thought it was a wonderful idea, so we are doing a NT SAQA challenge as well.  Our first piece, chosen by Shelly, was Harran II by Frank Stella, painted in 1967.
Harran II by Frank Stella
I loved the white lines between the colors, so I decided to focus on that.  
Stella! 18" x 18"
It looks a bit circusy to me.  But I still love the white lines.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Week in Arkansas

Last week I went with Janet to northwestern Arkansas.  We had several reasons for going.  Janet's parents live in Bentonville, and I had not seen them for several years.  And it was Craft Fair week, with a dozen or so craft fairs in the area, and we were hoping to do a lot of Christmas shopping.  And, most enticing of all, Bentonville is the home of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  I have wanted to see Crystal Bridges since it opened in 2011.

First up were the craft fairs.  War Eagle Mill is a beautiful place, and the craft fair is wonderful. 
War Eagle Mill
I got quite a bit of Christmas shopping done.  My annual goal is to be through by November, and I'm darned close.  I may make it!

We spent an afternoon at Crystal Bridges.  I love the spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in the entrance courtyard.
Janet and LaVerne in front of "Maman" by Louise Bourgeois
The museum is built over Crystal Spring.  A beautiful building in a beautiful setting.
"Big Red Lens" by Frederick Eversley
Janet's father is a founding director of the Veterans Wall of Honor in Bentonville.  It hadn't been finished last time I visited, so of course we had to go see it.  Very impressive!
Leonard and Janet at the Wall
I'm home again and hard at work reorganizing my studio.  A couple of quick "before" pictures (or more accurately, "in progress" pictures).  Hopefully the "after" pictures will follow soon.  I've been at this 2 weeks (minus the 5 days spent in Bentonville) and am heartily sick of the mess!
My sewing machine is under there somewhere.
Can't use the Gammill either

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fall Art With Fabric Blog Hop is Here!

I was very excited to be asked once again by Alida of Tweety Loves Quilting to join the fall version of the "Art With Fabric Blog Hop!"   I've been having a lot of fun this year using existing art pieces to inspire my work.  And it's always fun to share my process with you!

My inspiration piece for this challenge was chosen by a friend of mine, Beth G.  She had seen the work of Aaron Karp in a gallery in Santa Fe and was struck by the colors, shapes and textures of his work.  So she challenged my fiber art group to use one his paintings, Granada, to use as our starting  point for a piece of original fiber art.
Granada by Aaron Karp
I will admit I stared at this painting for a while.  Several things grabbed my attention:  the circles imposed over the grid, the texture of the cross-hatched lines, the colors.  After a bit of thought I decided to focus on a small section of the picture.  I enlarged a section and printed it out.
Now that I had a vague idea about what I was going to make, I pulled fabric.

And cut some strips.  Some were slightly curved, all were cut without using a ruler.  I like my strips and pieces to be "organic."
I placed strips on my design wall and, when I was happy with the combinations, I started to sew the strips together:
I used both solids and textured fabrics, mostly tone-on-tone:
 When I got a group together, I cut into the piece to insert the "cross-hatched" lines:
I pieced the quilt in three sections, each one slashed with lines:
And then I sewed them together.  The final piece, before quilting, is 18" x 22".
Strat Study #1
At this point, I realized that the quilt had somehow morphed into a geological study.  And coincidentally, my latest series is based on rocks and minerals.  How did that happen?

At studioQ, my fiber art group, we all shared our pieces based on Aaron Karp's painting.  I love our different interpretations!

Be sure to visit the other Blog Hop participants this week.  The other blog hop participants for Monday are:

Bea @ beaquilter (

Check them out and see some FABULOUS work!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I Just Added a Small Piece to my Collection

Every year the Studio Art Quilt Associates hold an auction of 12" x 12" quilts to support their exhibition, publications and education programs.  The quilts are made and donated by our members.  And every year I can't resist, I buy several.  I've amassed a lovely collection of pieces by quilt artists I admire.

My latest piece is by Heather Dubreuil.   Heather is a Canadian artist, and her cityscapes are created using her hand dyed fabric, enhanced by machine stitched lines.  I find her work fascinating. 
I'm so pleased that I was able to buy this beautiful quilt AND to help a wonderful organization!

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