Monday, November 17, 2014

Artists Blog Hop

My friend Lyric invited me to answer questions for the "around the world" blog hop. You can read her answers here and track back to read thoughts from lots of other amazing artists.

1. What am I working on? 
I'm preparing a new program for 2015. It's called Stitching, Symbols, Signature Style. I've been doing programs for quilt guilds and visual arts groups for years and I am always so thrilled to share my quilts and my ideas about creativity with an eager group. But, this is the first program that will really dig deep into my own personal work as it's developed over the past several years. It's been super fun to gather images of the places I've lived, the things I am inspired by plus pictures of the quilts I've created from those bits of inspiration. 

I'm actually giving it to the Denton Quilt Guild on Thursday. Come see me! Or invite me to your guild. I'm eager to come see you and your quilting friends. Here's a list of my programs and workshops.

I'm also working on the next bit of fabric for The Printed Fabric Bee. I can't share the theme, but tune in at the beginning of December for the reveal of all the fabrics. I can say it will be a welcome respite from winter weather.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
My work is really about layers. Layers of fabric (both commercial prints and originally surface designed fabrics), layers of paint, and layers of free motion quilting and hand embroidery. I love to create art quilts where all these layers compliment each other, but also have their own individual impact. I'm not sure this is different from some other art quilters, but I try to make it my own. Also, I never get tired of making these tiny Y stitches.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
Oh... such a complicated question. Mostly, I just like to make art quilts. I like the challenge. I like how I feel when I'm creating. I like what I learn about the medium through the process and I like what I learn about myself. I love the people I have met through quilting. There is just nothing like a friend who loves you AND your art.

4. How does my creative process work?

I confess, I'm driven by deadlines. When an opportunity to enter a show, prepare a program, teach a class or exhibit my work presents itself... I get to work. I make simple sketches and lists of things I want to incorporate in my work. Then I gather fabric and begin composing. Eventually, I settle on a composition and I fuse the fabric in place. I add details with paint and hand embroidery, then I machine stitch through all the layers. The most important thing is that this process fits in and around the rest of my life with my family.

I've invited Kristin LaFlamme and Completely Cauchy to post their own answers in this blog hop. Check out their posts next Monday. In the mean time, you can see their smiling faces on my left and right in the picture above! And Sarah too!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Printed Fabric Bee: November 2014

Jackie Lams chose "science" as the theme for the next Printed Fabric Bee challenge. Even before I decided what kind of imagery I'd use, I figured a splattered painted background would be a good first layer. Here's blue.

Then I added green. Lincoln joined me.

I wanted a bit of an asymmetrical splatter.

I did some test pieces along with the piece I anticipated sending off to Jackie. On the left, I splatter the paint onto dry fabric. Or the right I splattered the paint onto wet fabric. Which do you prefer?

After considering DNA, solar system, botanical chart and atom diagrams, I settled on brain synapses as the second layer.

Here I'm cutting out a freezer paper stencil for the central blob for each synapse. I believe it's called the soma.

Using a sponge spouncer, I painted through the stencil.

Then I added those "dendrites" freehand with a thin brush.

Finally I added a nucleus within each soma with a black pigma pen. Here's my 12x12 piece that will go off to Jackie.

And here is the 6x6 piece that will be offered in The Printed Fabric Bee Science give-away.

Check out The Painted Fabric Bee blog to see more science fabrics and to enter to win the give-away.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Another crescent moon...

You may remember this quilt Waning Crescent Meditation which was juried into the upcoming Dinner at Eight special exhibit, Reflections. I am very excited to see the whole in exhibit in Houston in just a few weeks.

Late this summer, I decided to make a companion quilt with the pieces which had been cut away to make the silhouette in Waning Crescent Meditation. Here is the body and the legs and just a few other inspiration fabrics.

Eventually, I pulled together these fabrics and a composition that had potential. I had the original hanging right night to my design wall for inspiration.

Here I'm refining the pieces and I've added the central focus element... a ladder. In the original piece, there is a tree is the silhouette.

Adding details. I played around for days with the placement of those flowers. Really, days. You can see I also changed the striped fabric from a hillside to a wavy horizon line.

Choosing thread for free motion quilting.

This is actually a shot from the task of squaring up the quilt. It had to be 24x60 in order to match the original piece. You can see I used a chalk pencil, pins and a laser level. You can't see that I also used both a measuring tape and a large ruler. It's a tedious process that has to be done right.

And here is the finished piece. It's titled Waxing Crescent Endeavor.

Not the greatest picture. I haven't taken a good shot with a good camera in good light.

Here you can see the free motion quilting and some hand embroidery.

More embroidery and quilting. Plus, you can see the handwriting scattered across the background within some of the purple circles.

Here they are side by side. I am thrilled with these pieces! I enjoyed the whole process including exploring some new symbolism in my work.

Monday, October 06, 2014

This and That

We recently visited the Perot Science Museum where they have a new "lab" where you can make rockets... as I did here.
I put lots of fins on my rocket. It's like a flouncy skirt.

You can also make cars and run them down a ramp which measures their speed.  Jeff and Claire loved this and made many many many adjustments to get the best time.

You can also play with this awesome giant light board. Each block can be moved and adjusted to light up in different colors. Late in the afternoon when the lab was mostly unoccupied, Claire placed all the cubes to write "geronimo!!!"

Here's Lincoln in the corner of the dining room rug.

I had the delightful opportunity so display some of my artwork at our local taekwondo studio along with mixed media artist Marcie Dodd. It was an "art and wine walk" in the small business village of our subdivision. Super fun.

SAQA sent me a copy of the Celebrating Silver exhibit catalog as a thank you for my various volunteer projects. So much appreciated! And such an amazing collection of art quilts.

I got crafty last week and made this iPad stand using this tutorial. It's getting good use already.

Claire had her first marching band competition of the season yesterday. Their band made the finals and here are all ten finals bands streaming into the stadium for the awards ceremony.

Here they are all in formation with the drum majors and color guard leaders from each band in an arch at the front. Claire's band is on the right in the blue and black uniforms with the color guard in white dresses at the front.

Claire's band WON!!! Yeah Hebron High School Band! After they announce the winners, the bands all "break ranks" and wander around the field with each other.

I'll be sharing some new art work this week too. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Printed Fabric Bee: Urban Surfaces

I am thrilled to announce that I am a new member of the Printed Fabric Bee. How fun! 

Basically, we are a group of artists who enjoy creating unique fabric with various methods of surface design. Each month, one of the members picks a theme and we all create fabric inspired by her theme. I've just joined the "bee" and I'll be participating through the end of 2015.

You can read more about the project on the Printed Fabric Bee blog. And the Printed Bee Facebook page always has lots of updates.

So, Leslie Tucker Jenison is this month's "Queen Bee." She requested fabric with the theme Urban Surfaces.

I started by created a stamp with sticky-backed fun foam in the shape of building bricks.

I chose a gray fabric and stamped the entire length with lighter gray mixed with black splotches.

Next I used some number stencils to create a hazy suggestion of faded signs, addresses or utility structures. I sprayed with blue Ranger Color Wash Dye Spray.

Then I added another layer of the same spray, this time in dark pink. The numbers were a bit too undefined, so I outlined some areas with a Pigma Pen.

That still didn't give quite enough punch or definition, so I outlined them several more times in messy, sketchy lines.

For my last layer of design, I wanted to suggest lights strung across outdoor patios. I cut a curve as a pattern to follow and dipped the end of a sponge brush in gold paint.

I repeated this "string of lights" at different angles across the whole fabric. I really love this particular part of the fabric and I can definitely imagine repeating that string of lights on other projects.

Here's a close up where you can get a good look at all the different treatments and how they work together.

Here is the whole collection. Isn't it fabulous?! Each month we give-away a set of 6x6" fabric from the theme. You can enter to win by commenting on the Printed Fabric Bee Blog.

You'll also find a list of all the artist blogs at The Printed Fabric Bee and you can click through to read how they each created their Urban Surfaces fabric.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

So Many Awesome Patterns and Ideas!

My friend Candy Glendening just released an awesome new e-book with Quilting Arts. It's called "Create Handmade Gifts for All." I am thrilled to be a part of a blog hop all this week with several quilt artists all sharing ideas inspired by Candy's book. See the list of bloggers at the bottom of this post. (And visit them to enter some awesome give-aways!)

The book contains 18 projects for home decor, bags and accessories, and holiday ornaments. There are 77 pages of detailed instructions and patterns. It's only $9.99! I swear, you could pay that much for the message bag pattern alone, right? It's really an awesome resource for so many cool projects.

My favorite is one of the most simple... but it's so practical! And there is so much potential to personalize it. The headband!

I do yoga a couple of times a week and I usually tie my hair back with a handkerchief because I really want all the flyaway hair out of my face when I'm upside down in down dog. A flimsy little elastic sports hair band doesn't do the trick. Candy's wide headband with the elastic at the back would be perfect. Plus... it's reversible so I could choose two beautiful fabrics and mix it up depending on the color of my yoga gear. 

Here's a preview of the Table of Contents. There is something for everyone on your gift list! (But of course, this e-book goes way beyond gift-giving. You will want to make several of these items for yourself. I know I do.)

The step-by-step instructions, pattern measurements, templates and materials lists are completely comprehensive and easy to understand. It's a download right from the Quilting Arts store. I can't recommend it enough. 

Leave a comment on this post. The drawing will close Sunday, September 21 and I'll announce 2 winners Monday morning. The first person will receive a hard copy of last year’s “Quilting Arts Gifts” magazine. The second person’s name goes into a drawing for the Grand Prize, the messenger bag Candy made that is featured on the cover of the e-book. Candy will announce the Grand Prize winner the following Monday on her blog. Make sure your comment is connected to an email so I can contact you. And check back on September 21 to see if you’ve won. Don't forget to visit the other bloggers listed above for more chances to win.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Hiking at Arbor Hills

We have a great nature preserve with lots of trails just down the road from our home. Almost every summer, we make a special trip... but not to hike the trails... we hike right through the stream. 

On the way to the spot where we enter the water, we happened upon this clump of... can you guess?

Daddy long legs. Kind of creepy, right? But also interesting.

We love Keen sandals. Perfect for hiking through the water.

Beautiful overhead view. Even though it was in the high 90s the day we hiked, it was shady and cool down in the water.


Dipping... at the deepest, the water is maybe a foot deep.

Claire is slow and exploratory on the hike. Benjamin is busy and active.

This dragonfly looks like she may have seen better days. One wing had a big chunk missing and she had a gray haze all over her body.

Behind us you can see the bridge that crosses the stream. This is where we exited. I think this same stream actually flows through our neighborhood... some seven miles down the way. It might be fun to keep going past the bridge.