Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's been almost a week since I've had anything to post here. Gulp. But, in my defense, I've been battling the most horrendous germy invasion. My hubby has been off work for a week with it, and he'd been sick but going to work for two weeks before that. He finally passed it on to me about a week ago - gee thanks. And now the teen son has it as well. We're just a bunch of coughers and hackers and snifflers and achers.

But, moving on, I have been working on little bits of the process in my purple project. I was all ready to go into the studio and work on it today except for the fact that I woke up this morning with the sudden realization that I had another project with a deadline only .........


I just realized I can't talk about this project. The person I'm making it for might read about it. Sigh. I took photos to show you and everything. So, never mind. You'll all just have to trust me when I say, I sewed today. I'll post the pics at a future date.

I've also been working on my orange poncho thingie. No sense showing another photo of that though until it's done.

In the meantime, I took some photos tonight. We've had this really strange wet rain and snow storm. The rain came down and down and down, for several days. Then the temperature dropped suddenly today and the snow came down this morning. Temperature went up and it was rain again during part of the day. Temperature swooped down again and MORE snow, the kind that's so big and fluffy it looks like someone in the heavens ripped open a down pillow and all those feathers are floating down on you. But the really neat thing was that everything was so wet and it turned to ice so fast that it made the snow stick to everything. Not just simply the tops of trees or cars or fences, but the side and bottoms and anywhere else it could manage to stick. Like someone tarred and feathered the entire world, only that sounds painful. Although, I supposed being covered in ice and snow isn't such a pleasant experience either. I bet the trees don't like it one bit.

Here's my favorite photo. Can you tell what this is?

And here's one just for Deb. I thought she'd like it because she has had this thing for rusty stuff lately. I wish I could have captured it the way I could see it in person - it was backlit by the outside flood light which made the curlicues into silhouettes (of course then you couldn't see the rust), and the light shown through the snow and made it look like a halo or aura. It was really pretty. But if I flashed, I got this. If I didn't flash, it was simply too dark to get an image. Still, I like this one. I'd like to see what Deb can do with it in a Photo Shop.

And why, you may ask, don't I want to do something with it in Photo Shop myself? Remember, I got a Photo Shop for my birthday in January. Well, that's a very good question and here's the answer. I finally decided to spend the evening trying it out a few nights ago and discovered the display looked like something out of a nuclear power plant (or how I envision a nuclear power plant panel would look) or the instrument panel for a very large jet.

I tried, I really did. But as much as I hate to do this, damn, I think I'm gonna have to admit that Deirdre was right when she tried to boss me into taking an online tutorial for the program. It may be the only way I'll ever get to play in it. Sigh.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I had a nice artsy day. Nooooo, I didn't MAKE any art. Sigh. I've been trying! Honest. But stop bugging me. I mean, the pressure is just making it worse. Sheesh.

Oh, back to... I had a nice artsy fartsy day. Jeff, William and I decided to take the day off and go adventuring, and ended up spending the afternoon at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, something I'd wanted to do for quite a long while now.

It was a nice museum, not as big as some, but enough that my son and hubby had their fill and had started to sit on benches and give me that "I"m tired and hungry" look before we were through.

The best was definitely the visiting show of Russian Icons, ranging from selections dating back to the 1300's up to as recently as the 1800's . Both Jeff and I have a fondness for these images. The show was nicely displayed, with large text displays that discussed the history and evolution of the icon.

They also had another temporary show entitled Modernism in American Silver - 20th Century Design. Jeff took one look at the room and said "It's nothing but dishes." Okay, maybe it was, mostly. But hey, Nevada is The Silver State. And some of the art nouveau pieces were pretty cool.

The rest were permanent pieces, mostly paintings although there were quite a few sculpture pieces as well, most of those very large and the kind of thing that doesn't take itself too seriously, so they were entertaining. One that made us laugh were a couple of GIANT "jacks" that were covered in plaid flannel. I joked we only needed a giant rubber ball so we could play with them and then I suddenly "got" it. Plaid. Flannel. They were Lumberjacks! Jeff and William's favorite piece was a giant face, strung out with lights and built around a golf cart. I strongly suspect it's origins have something to do with The Burning Man.

The paintings and other graphic art didn't keep the guys interest too long. Jeff turned his nose up at the one Matisse, declaring it one of his lesser works. I pointed out they also had a Rousseau, which peaked his interest, until he pointed out that it was a Helen, not Henri, Roussea. Oooooh, art snob, are we?! Although the two taller members of our group didn't spend too much time in the permanent galleries, I (5'2") enjoyed them very much. Very mixed selection - everything from "THAT is amazing!" to "I could make THAT!"

In fact, I kept thinking of all the wonderful textile artists I have come to know and love, and was pleasantly surprised (although, I guess I really shouldn't have been surprised) to come to the conclusion that the folks I know, the work I've seen from them, is every damn bit as good, sometimes better, then what was hanging in this museum of fine art. It was a real treat to spend the day viewing such a diverse collection of creative expression, and it was an unexpected extra treat to leave with a renewed sense of conviction and pride in both my own creative talent and that of my wonderful collection of wild, eccentric, artsy friends.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I've been sorta under some sort of .... not a bug.... not sick..... just something. So I don't have much to show. I did upscale the sketch I needed for my purple project. But I'm not gonna share it. So there. Phbbt.

I will show you the scarf or poncho I worked on while up at the snow resort yesterday.

No, that's not it. That's Buck and Rosie. I brought out the camera, so they came running and and sat to get their picture taken. They think every time I take out the camera it means they're gonna get their picture taken. Didn't want to disappoint them, so, there ya go. And no, Rosie isn't that big in relation to Buck. She's just that much closer to the lens. She's actually about the size of his head.

Okay, that's better. Here's the scarf I'm making. Or maybe it's a poncho. I haven't decided yet. It's knit in two parts. I can either sew them end to end in a sort of mobius strip kinda way, without the twist... never mind, I'm even confusing myself. Anyway, I can sew them one way to make a poncho, or I can sew them end to end and make a wide scarf/shawl. I'm thinking about making it a poncho and then hanging beady fringe from it. Note the helpful black cat, Nut (pronounced "newt"), making sure everything is arranged properly for the picture.

I found this wonderful fuzzy yarn on clearance while on vacation in Oregon last year. I bought it up in a bunch of different colors, the idea being to make all the girls/women on my Yule gift list ponchos from it. Here's the same pattern as the orange one done up in blue. I finished the two sections, but haven't sewn them together yet. I got as far as this blue one when I realized I should make sure it fit, that it looked cute.... so I pinned this one up and then told my mom I was making it for Lisa and I needed her to try it on because she was about the same size, so I could make sure it would fit her. My mom let me put it over her shoulders and fuss with it a bit before she said "Y'know, if this is for me, I'm sorry, but I won't wear something like this."

Damn. It was for her. She knows me too well.

So I decided to make the orange one next, because that one was for me. And see if I would wear it. No sense knitting a dozen of these babies only to have them quietly shoved into the back of a closet. If the poncho looks dorky, my back up plan is to make them all into the ever popular long scarves instead, a sure crowd pleaser.

And oh, if you're related to me, you shouldn't be reading this. Oops, too late.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Yesterday I woke up to a couple inches of snow and spent the morning outside taking photos. This morning I woke up to at least a foot of snow and ran out to take even more photos.

And this time I remembered to put my boots on first.

And speaking of boots, look! Especially Deb, look! I got them the other day at the thrift store, brand new, never been walked in, my size, for five dollars. Aren't they wonderful! And warm too.

I lied. Not on purpose. But I said I was gonna go work in the studio last night and I never got back to the studio again yesterday. Why? Trying to take photos all morning, I had stumbled upon an embarrassing truth. I couldn't take some photos because I had so much clutter sitting about that some of my favorite things weren't even visible. This was a very sobering, embarrassing, but useful piece of information because it was so frustrating it lit a fire under my butt. So instead of working on my purple project, the rest of the day I decluttered. I'm far from being clutter free yet (and by clutter I mean bad clutter. I like good creative clutter. Just not in-the-way, useless clutter) but I did get some serious mess cleared and went to bed in the wee hours of the morning tired, dusty, but very satisfied with my efforts.

I went in early today and turned the heater on in the studio, so I'm hoping this afternoon I will get in there as promised.

This morning I took more photos outside, but I'm not gonna share any of them. I though more snow would mean better photo ops. Nah, mostly it just covered things up more. I did, however, find some wonderful images on my way to the store. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera with me. I almost did, but then decided I needed to concentrate on the not-so-plowed roads, and getting there and back so my husband could use the 4-wheel drive to get to work on time. Drat. But I've got them up here. In my head.

So I'll leave you with a few WORD PICTURES. My art for the day.

I saw a robin. My very first robin of the year. A very confused robin. A little smudge of rose and brown standing in the middle of the intersection under my snow laden maple tree. He'd come back to an early, drab brown landscape and clearly didn't know quite what to do with the sudden switch to white.

I saw a fluffy, old, black dog running around and around like a young puppy, making huge joyful circles in his front yard while his owner, also old, slowly and carefully worked with a shovel to clear a straight, narrow path down to the driveway.

I saw a flourescent orange plastic sled propped up against a weathered, unpainted, wooden fence.

I saw a woman walking along in the dirty, dark slush of the roadside, wearing a pale pink sweater like a bit of spring that somehow held on through the cold.

I saw a ridge of white mountains topped with gray snow clouds while driving underneath equally low dark clouds. Between us was a slice of sun running across the valley like a sparkling river suddenly cut into the landscape.

I saw a squat round skeleton of a tree, standing in a white field, laden with snow, only the thinnest line of branch still visible, like a pencil drawing come to life. In the tree were a dozen or more crows, ink spots splashed into an image that was otherwise almost not there.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I keep saying I'm being creative, but in case anyone is doubtful, I took a couple of pics this morning:

Here's some fabric auditioning for parts:

Here's a bit of the background with some selected fabrics that need to be cut and shaped.

I also have a photo I've tweaked that I'm working from (kinda, sorta), and I have to sketch some of the objects from the photo larger onto paper so I can use them as templates. I'm not showing you the photo because I have a hard time showing people my work before I reach a certain stage. Believe it or not, it was hard enough for me to show you the fabrics! Is anyone else this shy about their projects in the beginning?

This is for a color challenge I'm trying to finish. At the point where a decision had to be made, I had two ideas vying for the job and couldn't decide which one to go with. This one won out, but I do think I'll do the other idea as well and maybe I'll use it as a experiment in working "in front" of people and show you that process more completely. We'll see. One thing at a time. I've got to finish ONE first!

A friend sent me an e-mail this afternoon so I could see a small (12") piece she started on last night. It was really nice, and although the image was completely different then my purple project - in size, technique, and complexity, it was pretty similar. I looked at it and felt.... both excited and frustrated at the same time. On one hand, it was lovely, and proof that my project was indeed possible. I mean, if she could do it, so can I. Heck, I already knew I could do it too.

But on the other hand, the way she'd said "I started it last night..." made me feel both dimwitted and like I was trying to work with mittens on my hands. My process seems to be sooooooo slooooooow compared to some others. As the conversation continued, I discovered that she had been mulling the idea over for some time and she's had last evening and most of today to work on it. I felt a bit better then. The conversation came at a good time though, because it clarified for me what has been making me feel overwhelmed with my own process.

I've done traditional quilting for a decade now. If I think back to the first few blocks I ever made, I can laugh remembering that ONE block would take me an entire evening to complete! And that would include several rip outs and serious concentration skills. Nowadays I whip out a whole string of blocks with half my attention on watching American Idol.

My point - I've made dozens of traditional (or traditional-ish) quilts for beds and cuddles, but I've made less than a handful of non-traditional art quilts. The techniques aren't old hat to me, plus I often need to add new techniques as my expectations increase with each project. I've just forgotten how much more WORK it is to be a beginner at something! I've reminded my kids at least a thousand times about this idea - it's hard in the beginning of the learning curve. Because, except for Sam for whom the BEST PART is the learning to do something new part (toss the instructions to the wind and charge ahead confidently!), the rest of my kids take after me - they have a lot more fun after they start to get the hang of things. It's classic -Didn't see it when it applied to me.

Okay, lesson humbly learned. I'll keep plugging away. But I tell ya, I sure will be glad when I get to the point where I don't feel like I'm reinventing the wheel each time I walk into the studio. I'll throw a party when that happens, and you'll all be invited.


Moving on, I woke up this morning to a snowy landscape. This triggered the photographer in me to leap out the door and spend the morning taking photos. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Don't you just love all the color in this shot?

Twisted tarps on top of the wood pile

I loved this! The snow came out and covered the sun! But the sun tried to melt it off. See, the icicle. But that winter sun, it just didn't have enough warmth to do the job.

What I especially liked about this, you have to click on the bigger image to really see it, is that the water dripped down and gave this little sprite an earring.

Photographer trapped in a frozen ball

I'm a little teapot short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up.....er........uhm, frozen, hear me shout, "It's friggin' cold out here!" Okay, maybe not the children's version of the song.

Here's Spike wearing a snow cap. Apparently I'm a sucker for anything in a snow cap.

What I loved about this is the ethereal look of the flags - you can see more flags through the ones in the front. And I liked the soft colors, how they've faded down to whispered prayers.

Finally, my feet got so cold, I had to come back in. Note to self: Next time, wear boots.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My friend Rachel has an artist's challenge going called Daily Devotions. At least I think she created it, if I've miscredited her, sorry. In any case, you can go to her Daily Devotions website and see her work, as well as links to other Daily Devotions blogs. Perhaps it's more specifically called Daily Devotions 2006, because the point of it is to create some art every single day for a year.

I didn't even THINK of joining! Okay, maybe I did. For a split second, before remembering who I was and what my life is like. Another friend asked me about it around the beginning of year - was I going to do it? Silly friend, she knows me too well to think I could accomplish something like that! When I pointed that out she said something like "Yeah, but if you attempt it, and you only get something done a quarter of the time, that's still probably more often then you do now, right?" True.

So, I haven't joined the challenge, but I do think of myself as being "unofficially" aiming towards the possibility, however slight, of creating art every single day. And it's working. I think what it's done mostly is keep the goal up near the surface of my consciousness, where I can see it, but in a non-guilt provoking manner, so I'm not trying my best to ignore it. I'm just "aware of the possibilities".

Now, every thing I do, I ask myself "Is this creative?" I think I'm making more art not so much because I am really, truly making more art (stay with me, this might eventually make sense), as much as I'm more often defining what I'm doing as artistic. Or, if not, finding ways to turn on my artist's thinking and make an otherwise mundane task become more artistic.

Long ago, when I was taking art classes in college, I remember how I never saw "things" anymore. I saw light and dark. My eye was trained to pay as much attention to the negative spaces around an object as to the object itself. I also remember that suddenly, nothing was the color I expected it to me. Tree trunks weren't brown - they were white and gold and rust and gray and green and..... Shadows weren't black - they were purple and blue and deep brick red and.... During my photography stage, I saw the world as if I was constantly looking through a lens. I noticed not the meadow, but how the sky filled up at least two thirds of my minds eye and how the round clouds contrasted with the jagged clumps of grass and how the dark rim of trees separated the two.

So now, I've become more conscious of seeing things through creative eyes. If I'm cooking, the ingredients are my palette, the pot of soup the finished art. If I'm cleaning, I'm looking not only to get the dirt up and the clutter gone, but to find the peace and symmetry that the space is calling out for. Of course, I AM working more in my studio. That's one of my goals, I am trying to do more "real" art.

Yesterday I was quite busy. I spent the afternoon making online Valentine cards for my family. It took all afternoon. Remember, I have a rather large family. That, and I got sucked into this really fun dollmaking site. Okay, go ahead, make fun of me. I know, it's the online equivalent of making paint-by-number art or maybe paint-on-velvet. But HEY! It was FUN! Phbbbt! I made dolls of numerous members of my family and then e-mailed them to their real life counterparts, who enjoyed them thoroughly.

In the evening I actually went IN the studio and worked on a new project I've been gearing up to start for several days now. A color challenge piece. The color I was given - purple. Purple just happens to be the color I have the least of in my stash. What a surprise. Not. I can hear the muses laughing.

Anyhoo, I had already taken some photographs a few nights ago, to work from, and I had also pulled out fabric I thought might work for the project. Last night I narrowed the fabrics down to specific pieces for probable use as specific parts of the design. Ironed. Got a few pieces fused onto wonder under. At this point I went online to check some more images, make sure I got the look I wanted. Google - images - tree branches. Then Google - images - twilight. Found some likely photos to use as inspiration. Then, about the 6th or 7th page, I stumbled upon an image that, while it had nothing to with my project, drew me in. The feel of it. The intimacy of it. The unexpectedness of it.

Suddenly my original project seemed boring, mundane. Instead I could recreate something like this image, not the same, but with this same type of mood. Yes! I convinced William to be a model for me and I spent the next half hour setting up scenes and posing my son to get a body in the right spot and the lighting the way I wanted it. Digital camera. Click. Click. Click..... Upload. Hmmmm. I got a few possibilites, although I might take some more pictures tonight.

So, nothing to show for it yet, unless you want me to snap a few photos of the fabrics I fused or the pile of purple fabrics on the edge of my ironing board. And of course I woke up this morning indecisive - Should I go with this new idea, or finish the first idea? Or now will I want to do both? Somehow I think this isn't one of those "more is better" situations, as it makes it more difficult to move forward with either project until I can pick which one to work on first. Methinks this is just another way of procrastinating?

Speaking of fusing, this is always something I've hated to do, particularly when I needed to fuse a really large piece of fabric in order to get a smaller but odd, gangly shaped piece cut out of it. I'd end up with all that WASTED fabric, fused, not usable for other projects. That is, until I read Debr's wonderful tutorial on how to make fabric postcards, in which she mentions how time saving it is to have all those bits and pieces of already fused fabrics ready to use to make them. Wow! Cool! Now all those fused scraps are treasures, not trash. YAH!

So, today I'm being creative with words, blogs to be written and posted. I'm hoping that by the time I'm done on the computer, I'll have figured out which purple project to pursue. Oooh, do you like that alliteration?

I'll leave you with a lovely old purple poem:

I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see then be one!

Damn! Maybe I should make a purple cow quilt.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I wandered into an online buddy's website a few weeks back. Caty Porter. She makes beads. Wonderful, one of a kind, lampwork beads. It doesn't do justice to them to call them beads really, it seems to minimize what they really are, which are miniature little pieces of art. So anyhoo, I wandered in there a bit ago and fell in love on the spot with one of them. As the saying goes - IT CALLED MY NAME!

Have you ever seen the movie Men In Black? To be nice, I'll forewarn you that there are spoilers coming up. I hate spoilers. But this is such an old movie, that if you haven't seen it yet, well, then that's really your problem. But if you really think you might still see it and want to be surprised, just skip the rest of this paragraph. So, onward. If you've seen it, you know that there's a dog in the movie and on his collar hangs a "bead". It turns out that the bead is really an entire universe in and of itself.

That's kinda how I felt about this bead. I saw not a bead, but an ocean, complete with waves, beach, shells, cliffs, rocky shoals. I loved it. And a couple of days ago, it arrived safe and sound in my mailbox.

This morning I took it up to my friend Shirley's local bead shop. Blog readers, this is Shirley. Shirley, these are my blog readers and online friends. Say hi.

She comes to my aid pretty regularly. I bring my bead or charm or what-have-you down to her store, sometimes she's even open (it's a very small town, things are casual that way), and then I look innocent and helpless and she whips my little bauble into something amazingly useful and wearable, all the while making it look easy, and then pretends I owe her some ridiculous amount of money, like 16¢.

She helped me pick out some accessories to show off my ocean, and here's what we ended up with. I LOVE IT! To see more detail in the bead, you can click on the picture to make it bigger. Can't you just hear surf crashing and the sea lions barking?!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'm hear to announce that I've.....

No, not created anything. I tried. But if you read my general blog, you'll see that I wasn't feeling particularly creative. In fact, if you read my other blog you'd probably tip toe away quietly now before I have the chance to bite your head off. Yeah, one of those days.

But, I'm trying not to bring my bad mood over here to the studio. Instead, I just wanted to report that I managed to clean up my studio the other day. Yep. I am now the proud owner of SEVERAL clear surfaces. Even better - they're flat, horizontal, WORK surfaces. Now clear. Amazing, heady stuff.

Of course all that work was pretty exhausting. So I took a break before planning on coming back to the studio later that evening to start on a new project, or keep going on a WIP, or whatever. The world was my oyster. (The world was my oyster? Does that work here? Hmmm. Somehow now that entire saying doesn't make sense to me. But I felt compelled to add it there, so I'll leave it and see if it works for anyone else.)

Unfortunately during the aforementioned break, someone, who I happen to be married to, who shall remain nameless, performed a SHT. That stands for Stupid Husband Trick. It was, as SHT's go, a moderately sized one, but there were some decent fireworks immediately following. Mostly the S kind - slammed doors, simmering silences, sarcastic retorts, sorries (fake ones - the kind that really mean "just go away"), stomping off. Anyhoo, I did go back to the studio that evening, mainly because the studio was where that other person WASN'T. Did I then proceed to create anything? No. I sat in a chair in front of the television and tried unsuccessfully to PICK a project. I spent several hours trying to PICK a project. I couldn't even PICK a channel, much less a project.

Not only did I have trouble picking a project to work on, I felt guilty at the thought of working on a project while I was obviously channeling such negative energy. I always feel if I work on something while I'm in a negative state, that I will then trap that negative in the finished project. I don't feel like this about ALL work. In fact, some projects are the perfect way to work off negative steam. Cleaning house while in a bad mood, great. Pulling weeds - even better. I don't think that the end result of that work, a more orderly house or a tidier garden, will hold my negative energy. Maybe because those projects are about getting rid of, removing (mess/weeds/negative energy). While something like knitting or sewing or baking... those are adding TO jobs, creating jobs, and so using negative energy to do them, it feels like I'm adding the negative TO them instead of using the negative energy up in the process. Sorta like the idea of working with moon energy - the waxing moon works for adding to, the waning moon for reducing - that's obviously a simplified definition. But hopefully you get the idea of what I'm saying. I think of my positive and negative moods in the same way, that there are ways to work with either of them, and jobs or projects that lend themselves more to one energy then the other. I haven't really tried to explain it to anyone before this. Do other people have this sort of matching up of jobs and energies?

So, nothing more to announce. But, at least I have those amazingly rare clear work surfaces. So when I'm done being too annoyed to create (imagine me flinging my arm over my forehead and sighing in true drama queen fashion), I'll be all ready to go.

Of course I still have to pick a project. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm happy to report that I was a busy little bee last night. I got the rest of the baby quilt top sewn together. I won't post a photo, as I already posted a pic of the layout a few days ago. Now on to making the sashing for the other quilt top and sew that together and..... that might, I think, be the last of the "utilitarian" quilts I am committed to making just now.

I've felt like making more artsy fartsy stuff, but am determined to finish the things I've started first. Because it would be so much more predictable, but so much more unproductive, for me to do what I'd usually do, which is to ignore the stuff I should finish and start something new, but not finish it either, and then all I would have to show for my efforts is MORE guilt. So, I'm not doing that. I'm PERSEVERING. And that feels good. It's not amazing. I can't wow you with the my cutting edge creativity. But it feels very mature of me.

I went to a fiber arts show at the the local county arts council building today. I was supposed to contribute some pieces to it, but forgot. Now that I've seen the show, I'm a bit less disappointed about missing out. For one thing, the gallery was full - to the point where some things were displayed poorly due to space limitations. Plus, there were no signs or anything saying "Please do not touch" or something like that. This might seem OBVIOUS to some of you, unnecessary. But you must remember I live in a, I think it's fair to use the word 'unsophisticated', community, and it may not seem obvious to all the folks who might wander through this month. Lastly, there were some interesting pieces, but there wasn't really anything that stretched the traditional to a great degree.

I mean, if it was a local quilt show, and there were all sorts of traditional quilts, I would enjoy them, delight in color choices, skill level, that sort of thing. I'm really not a quilt snob. I love the craft of traditional quilts and honestly, if forced to choose, would have to say I'm prouder of the traditional, comfort quilts I've made then I am of anything more artsy I've created. It might sound very trite but, I'll chose loving appreciation over creative admiration any day.

But this wasn't a quilt show, it was an ART show. I really don't think a stack of quilted placemats, no piecing, qualifies as 'art', do you? There was one piece, woven, from denim strips and some other heavy fabric in red. It was very nicely done. The artist called it something to do with a sunset I think, and it was priced at $750. I know, I know, it was woven by hand. But honestly? It looked like a scrap rug you could buy at Walmart. I'm sorry, but it did! And there was a lot of traditional block quilts, mostly small, mostly very basic, mostly done in traditional fabric choices. Can we say...... calico? If I received a quilt like that from my aunt as a birthday gift, I'd be delighted. But art?

Okay, I've been snotty enough, probably offended enough people for one day. Specially since I just pointed out that all I'm working on nowadays is the same basic stuff. It's just, I was looking forward to seeing some art today. Sigh. I guess I'll have to stick to the internet.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I think this art blog is good for me. It gives me the sense of someone looking over my shoulder, wondering if I'm up to anything creative. Yesterday I told myself that I would do something creative. I didn't even write that in this blog. In fact, if I recall, I wrote about how I had to spend the afternoon up at the snow resort and how I wouldn't be able to do anything creative.

It turned out that after spending an hour getting my bag and warm clothing, chihuahua and me packed and in the car, detouring to Starbucks for a vanilla latte, and driving all the way up there, I wasn't even out of the car when the boys came trudging down wet and discouraged (the snow was seriously melting and the conditions were lousy) and ready to go home again. Which was fine with me, it was like getting a free afternoon I didn't know I'd have. I think that is when I promised myself I'd do something creative with my gift of extra time.

Of course I didn't spend the afternoon being creative. I spent it pretending to be productive by cleaning out computer files. Yah, yah, it was quasi-useful, but so low down on important-things-to-do that I'm embarrassed to admit to it. I did spend about ten minutes collecting images online for a color challenge piece I'm still hoping to do. But that was it. Pretty lame.

But Wait! (do I sound like an infomercial? 'But wait! There's more! You will also receive...') I did putter away the rest of the day, but I felt such dread at having to come back here tomorrow and have nothing to show and tell for day, that I REDEEMED myself! Yes, I did! I told myself I couldn't go to bed until I did something, even if it was just cut the one missing piece for the last block for my due-in-April grandbaby's quilt.

And of course, you know how that goes. It's the getting started part that is soooo hard. So instead of cutting that one piece and then going to bed, I ended up finishing the blocks for that quilt, picking out the sashing for them, and making a pattern to follow so I can sew another grandson's quilt top together, hopefully today. Here's a picture of the squares laid out the way I decided to sew them together. Nothing fancy.

It's for his first birthday. (in lieu of a birth quilt, as he didn't come into our lives until he was already halfway through his first year - sad story but with a happy ending) Here's a picture of Garret:

And now I have to go as William and Jeff are hovering around worried I'll forget to go get snacks for the Superbowl this afternoon. They offered to go for me but ACK!, who knows what they'd come home with! So I've gotta go. The big question, of course - no, not 'Who will win - Pittsburg or Seattle?' The big question is 'Do I watch the game or sew the quilt together?' Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I said I'd keep checking in, so here I am. Nope, nothing new to show you. I spent the energy that one always gets in the afterglow of accomplishment to catch up on housework. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Dumb. It's not me, it's my family. For some reason they think just because I'm home all day, I should do things like keep them in clean laundry and hot meals. I know, silly. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but some days it's just easier to go along with it. It lulls them into complacency for a while.

I did go to the store last night and buy some Pentex. Apparently this is the same stuff as the much discussed Timtex, of the infamous fabric bowl craze that swept through most of my arty community last year. Somehow I manged to avoid the bug that gave a person chills, fever, and the unsatiable need to make these odd fabric creatures (maybe it's the way fabric bowls reproduce, by infecting innocent carrier hosts....). However, that didn't save me from being entirely unaffected. I did end up WITH a fabric bowl, as part of a art swap. My online art buddy Frank made it for me. I remember I threatened bodily injury if anyone made one for me. Apparently Frank finds the word 'NO' challenging, so he made me one. Can't blame him, if someone told me No, I'd probably have to do whatever I was being told not to do too. (I also threatened bodily harm, nay, death, if my family bought me a puppy. They didn't listen to me either.) Fortunately, I have found the bowl very useful as a safe home for stray spools of thread, buttons, etc., on my sewing table, so I've forgiven him. (and I love my Rosie puppy, so I forgave my family too, except when it comes in handy to hold it over their head for leverage, like when she whines to go out to pee and I'm snug in my bed and it's 20 degrees with an icy wind out there in the the dark - that's when I pull out the "YOU decided it was a good idea to get a puppy!" comment - hehehe)

Anyhooooo, I didn't buy the Pentex to make any fabric bowls. I bought it because I've got this itch to make some fabric postcards for Valentines Day giving. I doubt very much whether I'll actually manage to accomplish this, certainly not by Valentines Day. I'm already okay with that, in that case I'll just decide to make them for May Day. And when that date swooshes by, I'll make them for Midsummer.... and then Autumn.... and then Halloween...... you get the idea. I've got Plan B (C, D, E...) all figured out. But even knowing the unlikeliness of it all, I am an optimist, so I went and bought a half yard of the stuff so I would have it ready in case I suddenly felt the urge to create at, say, midnight. I mean, I had to buy it, because I was thinking about making these post cards, and wondering HOW to make them, when Synchronicity waved her wand and plopped Deb's very easy (even I can understand them!) instructions in my mailbox. Magic. See why I had to go buy the Pentex? Of course you see.

This morning I went wandering through assorted art blogs, and stumbled upon someone who's doing the 2006 Journal Quilts. Suddenly I felt inspired. Hey, I should do the 2006 Journal Quilts! I almost did them last year, but came to my senses before I could be insane enough to add something else to an already overflowing calendar plate. Of course I've already got a full plate this year, and I made a big commitment to go in another direction completely, and I made a promise to myself to KISS myself this year. (KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid) So, as one side of my brain was thinking all these wise counter-arguments, the other side of my brain (the one that has selective hearing, just like my kids) was happily ignoring her while simultaneously finding her way to the Journal Quilt sign up page online.

The deadline for sign ups was January 16. WHEW! Saved from myself once again.

I'm off in about an hour to be the parent-on-duty. I have to go up to our local snow resort and while away the afternoon on the deck or, if it's cold, in the lodge by the woodstove, waiting for William and his buddy Brandon to finish snowboarding.

This year Jeff takes the morning shift and I do the afternoon, but last year, because of his work schedule, I had to spend all day up there every weekend. Some weekends I even got talked into two days on the weekend. (no one will ask me to do two days this weekend as, duh, tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday - build up the nachos! pour the sodas! spread out the sandwich buffet!) Back to my point, the reason I'm going on about the snowboard watch duty, is because last year I made the best of it and with a bit of organized planning, managed to get a lot of projects done during those hours. I knitted a Gryffindor scarf for my sister, and then one for me. I worked on some applique quilt work.

I don't have any portable art projects ready to take up there today, alas, but I have needed to clean out my purse and change over to a new wallet forEVER, so I think I'll bring a shoe box and some plastic bags to give me a little work space and finish that job. I should bring my laptop and work on finishing my nanowrimo novel, but I don't feel like it today. I'll bring the mystery I'm reading and call it free reading time. Hopefully, however, by next weekend I'll have a something artsy all ready to go.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy Groundhogs Day! Blessed Imbolc!

An auspicious day for beginning new things, so here it is, a new blog. I've actually
had this blog set up for a long while. It's sort of embarrassing how long it's taken me to finish something so I had an excuse to post in it. But, now that I have, I'll try to keep at it, even if it's just to post that I walked by the studio door and got a peek at my sewing machine some afternoon.

So, with no further ado, here it is - the first creation to be previewed in my cyberstudio:

This little infestation of fabric moths was created for a textile art challenge called a Baggo. Basically you filled a post office tyvek bag with as much fabric and other creative items (aka scraps, stuff, crap) as would fit and sent it to the coordinator of the challenge, who then sent your bag out anonymously to someone else in the challenge, and randomly sent you someone elses bag, also anonymously. It arrived in your mailbox, you dumped it out on the table and immediately exclaimed...


At least, that was my response. Other participants might have had different reactions. The baggo I received was really a challenge in the truest sense of the word. I messed around with several ideas, some weren't fun, some weren't working, but eventually was saved by an epiphany, and Fabric Moths was born. At the time, I was dealing with a really bad case of moths in my kitchen pantry. I guess that just goes to show you never know where your inspiration will come from!

Here's a couple of detail shots:

I knew what sort of mood I saw on the moons face - in my mind - the trick was to allow my thread and fingers to find it. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. It sort of felt like I was going at it like someone asked to choose by clicking on a file of emoticons while blindfolded. But I was very pleased with the results. I showed it to William and he said he could see more then one face in it, which pleases me as I wanted it to be a bit abstract.

I love this little guy. I sure hope the recipient doesn't suffer from arachnophobia!

Last but not least, although unfortunately not the best photo, here is the quilt I received from my Baggomaker, Rachel. I am a huge fan of her art, so you can imagine how delighted I was to discover I now have a Rachel Original for my very own home. You can see more of her work here.

Leaping Lizards