Thursday, January 28, 2010

Zoot Suit Revisited

When I posted this silly bird before, he had a hat to go with his zoot suit, and I got several welcome suggestions that he definitely needed a chain.

I went to a  neighborhood jewelry shop, and they found a perfect length of gold chain to finish his "look."

He also now has spats with gold buttons. 

Later this year I will be doing a demonstration of creating these birds, and so he will be with me on that occasion.

I have also mentioned how I love making things from scraps. While cleaning my workspace, I found a few strips of fabric that I had dyed for a bargello several years ago, made to resemble a
 Moroccan rug. So I took a few minutes, and assembled them into this little landscape.

It will just be used as a little mat somewhere in the house, but I love the colors, and will enjoy seeing it from time to time.

This is not a great photo, but this is the Moroccan quilt that the scraps are left from.

It was a wedding present for a couple who had traveled to Morocco, and it was fun doing the research to come up with a design that had the appropriate colors, and that might resemble a carpet. They loved it.

My challenge was dyeing the colors that I saw in the photograph books. Morocco, as fascinating as it seems to be, is probably not a place I will ever get to visit. I have been to Turkey, and loved the rich colors all around, and I imagine Morocco as being even more exotic.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nothing new to report...

I haven't posted much lately. I haven't had anything blog-worthy to photograph. 

I am getting my workroom organized again. You all know how your space gets topsy-turvy after a productive period, and it really helps me to straighten things up and put new fabric away.

It's been a long time since I have made anything for my house. I have quilts in almost every room, but it's time for something fresh. So I have cut strips from my silks, and have a plan for a wall piece.

It will probably be a while before I post anything, but please check back in a while to see if  I have anything to report.

I can't believe how fast January has flown by. I have no complaints about that. I am counting the days until spring. In the meantime, I hope to get something done...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Penny Sisto Show

While running errands this morning, I passed the Jewish Community Center, and saw that a show by Penny Sisto had just opened there. I had just commented the other day that it was about time for another show by this amazingly prolific fabric artist.

I took the time to go in and see the show, and it was a beautiful collection of her portraits.

Like her other shows, her figures cross many cultures, nationalities, religions and ages.

Her use of many different fabrics, from silks and velvets to upholstery fabrics and tapestries, brings  life to her figures, enhanced by her quilting and stitching. I had several favorites, but one really stood out for me - "Maya Un-caged", a very symbolic triptych based on Maya Angelou's book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . 

It is a wonderful show, please go if you are in the area.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Form Not Function

I just got back from the Form not Function Show at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana. It is always an interesting show, but this year, I would have to say I am "underwhelmed."

One of the things that often happens is that the work of Louisville quilters doesn't show up in the show very often. That probably has to do with the judges often being local.

But this year, there were two quilts by Louisville artists in the show, and one was really a beautiful piece. It was a very subtle and lovely piece by Melinda Snyder,  in cream and white silks and cottons.

There were several other quilts that were very original and interesting, but no real "knock-outs" like we have seen in other years. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Different Perspective

I think this is a nice shot of the amaryllis, from above. I love the radial symmetry.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The weather has been so bitterly cold lately, that my workroom has not been comfortable to work in.

I've done a few small projects, but I'm waiting for a little warmup (I'll be happy when the temperature just gets up to freezing!)

In the meantime, it has been so pleasant to watch the development of this beautiful amaryllis that I got as a gift.

It is a gorgeous color, and has huge blossoms that have a very hearty look. I love the delicate green interior, and it is  perfectly formed!

I've been getting great photos nearly every day, and maybe someday, it will inspire a little quilt.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another silly bird

Here's another one of my silly birds. This one has been in a gallery for over a year, but unfortunately, the gallery owner hasn't kept the gallery open on a regular basis, so I brought him home.

I am going to be doing several demonstrations of my feathers and birds, so I thought this could be a good sample, since it was made entirely from scraps.

I call it "Bird in a zoot suit," and Bob suggested the hat, which I think is a cute addition. He also has spats, but I have to sew some buttons on them so they show up better.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On the Appalachian Trail

"Max Patch" photo by Todd Lappin -->-->

I have really had fun with this silk landscape of "Max Patch", the spot on the Appalachian Trail where you can get 360-degree views of the mountains and valleys around there. It was based on an altered photo by a young friend who is fortunate enough to live and work in the area. 

There are so many talented artists in that area, and it is a wonderful place to visit, with a great combination of culture, art, and scenery and outdoor activities.

Here are several closeups of the thread painting. I think I will do some more on the sky, but otherwise, it is finished, except for binding...

 I used a couple of the embroidery stitches on my machine, to get something that looks like trees, both conifers and deciduous...

Monday, January 4, 2010

January sunshine

Still waiting for this flower to burst out, but in the meantime, we have some wonderful sunshine to enjoy.

I have little else to report. Still working on the silk landscape and the thread painting. It's a great piece to practice on...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Shortly before Christmas, a friend brought me a flower pot with a couple of green sprouts sticking up in it.

If I had realized how interesting and how beautiful it would be during the next couple of weeks, I would have taken several photos each day. This would be perfect for time lapse photography.

This friend knows I definitely do not have a green thumb, so his advice "Don't water it!" was right up my alley.

It has been fascinating to watch it grow, and I think the amaryllis flowers should pop out any minute now.  In the meantime, it has brought pleasure to these cold dreary days.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Keeping My New Year's Resolution

I'm working on my silk landscape of the Appalachian Trail photo of "Max Patch."

Before I started thread painting on the actual piece, I practiced on a little postcard sized sample. I wanted to try my threads, and also try some different stitches. I'm glad I did, because on those bottom shapes, I tried a "contour" that ended up looking like bales of hay. So I won't do that on the actual piece.

Here's some stitching on the bigger piece ( it's about 10" x 12".)

As for my New Year's Resolution: I resolved to use some of those special fabrics that I was hoarding. That goes for thread, too. Recently, I splurged on some Floriani metallic threads. Two of the colors are perfect for this little quilt - the turquoise and the lime green. So I did some of the thread painting with those...Again, I have hundreds of  yards of it, and if I were to run out, I can always buy more...

If the metallic thread looks too shiny, I can always tone it down with more thread painting with regular thread. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

We had planned a trip to the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina after Christmas, but predicted bad weather kept us from venturing out.

A young friend who did go (in his 4-wheel-drive SUV) sent me this altered photo of "Max Patch," a beautiful spot in the mountains on the Appalachian Trail, where you can get 360 degree views of the splendor found there.

It was definitely a "quilt waiting to happen." But it didn't have to wait very long. I immediately got out the silks I have been collecting and using during the past few months.  Even though silk ravels, if you fuse it onto a lightweight backing, it behaves very nicely, and was perfect for this landscape. 

After three days of working with the Japanese patterns for squares, I was ready for some free form work, just cutting as I go, layering this landscape.

Then I made a trip to Hancock's Fabric to take advantage of their 50% sale on thread. I stocked up on a bunch of blues and greens and bronzes, and now I am ready for some thread painting.

This will be a gift to the friend who sent the photo, as a "thank you" for sharing a beautiful image.