Friday, December 31, 2010

More Arrowhead Quilts

Two more quilts are in progress inspired by this photo from the trail at Arrowhead Marsh.

These are less about the marsh grasses, and more about light on the water.

This small square is quilted and ready for painting. It is intended for a travelling SAQA exhibit.

A larger piece inspired by the same photo is also in progress.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Painting the Marsh

“Arrowhead Marsh” is completed. It’s always a bit of a surprise for me to see how a quilt changes after I paint it. I was expecting to put more orange in this one, but I let the orange stay near the bottom, and added more green. I like the gradated area that resulted. When it was nearly completed, I added some blue into the bottom section to relate it more to the top section.

This quilt will be in the CQFA show
"Primal Green: Environmental Art Quilts"
Opening March 2011 at San Francisco Public Library
Reception April 17 , 2011

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Piecing a Background

When I first began painted on my quilted pieces, I was inspired by the work of Deidre Adams. Her work has wonderful variations of color and texture which is achieved with paint on top of quilted cloth. I was able to see some of Deidre’s work in person last month at SAQA’s 12 Voices exhibit. For some reason, I had thought she started with all white fabric and layered on different colors of paint. But in fact, she starts with a very colorful assortment of fabric which contributes to the subtle color variations in the finished pieces.

I decided to try piecing some fabrics together to create a rather abstracted version of one of the photos I took last month. It will look very different when I am done painting over the quilted fabric in mostly oranges and yellows.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Environmental Quilts

My quilt samples for the educational display at our quilt show are completed. Now I need to write up some text to go along with the display.

I have a piece I made a few years ago which will fit the theme of the exhibit since it’s made mostly of repurposed materials, but I’m also thinking about a current piece that would go with the environmental theme.

I went to take some photos of Arrowhead Marsh just up the road at a shoreline park in Oakland. The colors from the late afternoon sun were quite spectacular at about 4:30 until the the sun dipped below the horizon twenty minutes later.

The origins of the marsh are a bit of a mystery. It wasn’t there in 1855. They think perhaps it is the result of silt washing down the creek from construction of the Lake Chabot Dam in the late 1800’s. The resiliency of nature despite the carelessness of man resulting in something so beautiful fits the theme of the exhibit quite nicely. Although to be honest, I am more interested in the gorgeous colors than making a quilt with a strong statement. I think there could be several quilts to be made just from the images I captured this week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Progress on Leaf Quilts

I have painted two of the leaf sample quilts.

I think the image in the right quilt came out a bit more distinct at this stage. I will add a backing, and quilt a portion of it.

I will quilt the other quilt, and then add more paint to show the finished project.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My CQFA group will be having a quilt show at the SanFrancisco public library titled “Primal Green: Environmental Art Quilts”. It will be opening March 2011.

Three other members and I are putting together an educational display designed to show what an art quilt is, and how it is made. We are each making three small quilts in varying degrees of completion, so we can show the progress. Here are my three pieces started. One of them will stay as is, and I will be working further on the other two.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fashioning and Re-Fashioning Clothes

I’ve been working on clothes for a couple of weeks. I made a pioneer dress (McCalls 9424) a couple of years ago for a parade. It was still quite functional, but so old fashioned and costumey looking, that it hasn’t been worn since. I made a couple of attempts at restyling it until I came up with the final skirt. It’s just above knee level now. It looks good on her. I think it won’t be taking up space in her closet anymore.

I also got talked into sewing another dress for my daughter. We picked out McCall’s 6159. We found some plaid fabric in the closet which I forgot I had, and then Camilla found some gingham which she wanted for the collar and facings. And it’s a good thing she insisted on the contrast fabric, as I wouldn’t have had quite enough fabric otherwise.

This is a quick fabric postcard this morning. I used some scraps from the current dress for the background, and pre-fused scraps for the appliqué. It was fun to make.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Strange Birds & Other Things

The tie dying party last April left us with a few extra shirts, so Camilla invited a few more friends over last month. I tied a shirt into a spiral this time. I thought I had used plenty of dye, and ended up with more white than I expected. Next time I will know to use more than seems necessary, and work it into the folds a bit when the fabric is tied up thick.

Camilla spent one week of her summer afternoons at Art Camp. They completed several fun projects in bright, cheerful colors. The instructors put the results up on their website. You can see Camilla’s work here.

I went to my CQFA meeting yesterday morning. We spent a good part of the morning doing some planning for an exhibit we are putting together which will be showing at the San Francisco Main Library next Spring.

After lunch, Sonja Jeter led us in a short workshop about working in a series. Our first task was to pick some colors, and write down vertical and horizontal objects we see every day. Then we painted backgrounds on index cards.

Sonja passed out a handout with a little cartoonish bird on it. Draw it about thirty times. Easy enough, but wait, you must draw it with either your non-dominant hand or with your eyes closed. I tried some both ways. Either way takes the pressure away from trying to create perfect copies, which was entirely not the point. Some of the birds looked more like fish than birds, but each bird was unique and had personality.

We chose some of our birds to trace onto tracing paper while incorporating the vertical or horizontal surfaces we had written down earlier. Birds on a fence make sense. Birds on a bed seems a more random idea, which I resisted at first, but it became an interesting little drawing.

We glued our tracing paper drawings onto the backgrounds, and then painted them some more. The cards with the larger birds are drawn directly onto the backgrounds, because I ran out of tracing paper. These were mostly done in an hour or so during our workshop, I added some more color when I got home.

These are just little studies, and I have no plans for developing them into larger pieces. But it was great just to have permission to play for an afternoon, and maybe I will bring some of the processes over to future artwork. Sonja suggested that the technique we used with tracing paper could be done in fabric with organza overlays in place of the paper.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August Block of the Month

The cream colored pieces mixed up a bit when I put together this blocks for this month. I decided the coloring mistake shouldn’t matter at all in the overall scheme of the finished quilt, and I like the variety it adds to the individual blocks.

The title of the pattern is called “Squares Within Squares”, which makes it sound a lot simpler than it actually is. The dozens of half-square triangles in each block made these blocks come together a lot slower than the other blocks of the month.

I like the secondary squares on point, which will show when a quilt is assembled from these blocks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Pajama Top

I had less than exciting results from my leftover dyeing experiment. I got lighter colors than I expected, and the color didn’t show at all on my skirt.

The shirt dyed okay, but the embroidery seems out of place now. After I got the dye rinsed, I found a small hole near the center of the shirt. Too small to show in the photo, but noticeable enough in person. I think I will patch the hole and turn it into a pajama top.

The rest of the dye will get tossed, and I will start fresh the next time I do some dyeing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dyeing Experiments

I dyed a skirt a few years ago, and have hardly worn it. It’s a bit bright, and the colors are uneven and splotchy without any distinct patterning. I thought maybe I could improve it with over-dying. I should get some vertical patterning the way I’ve tied it.

I thought I might also improve this shirt. I think it’s probably a cotton/poly blend. I’ll see what happens.

I’m also testing out leftover dye from April. I thought maybe it would still be good. I’ve read that dye has a pretty long shelf life as long as it isn’t mixed with soda ash. But then I noticed an ammonia smell which wasn’t there in April. Info found on Paula Burch’s website says an ammonia smell means the urea has begun to break down and the dyes are no longer useful. I will find out tomorrow. I will likely need to do it all over with a fresh batch of dye.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Succulent Persistence

Succulents tend to be pretty hardy, often thriving even when they don’t get the best of care. Despite their hardiness, I managed to kill off a small potted one a few months ago. The top rosette still looked like it had some life left in it, even though the roots either rotted or dried up. I tried rooting it in with a different houseplant. My attempts at reviving it failed, so I threw away the dried up leaves. I seem to have missed one leaf. Look what’s happening now, with no help from me except some occasional watering.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gluf is Born

Gluf is another creature inspired by the “Stupid Sock Creature” book. Camilla created him last week. She learned to use the sewing machine to sew the long seams on the arms. The rest of him is hand sewn. He has four arms, three eyes, and a wacky hairdo made from toe socks. He insisted on a hat made from leftover sock fabric.

The green pillow behind him is one I made about 30 years ago when I was about Camilla age.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Block of the Month & Strip Quilting

This month’s block of the month for the Piecemakers guild was to be done in gold colors. I stayed with a relatively “safe” color scheme this time. Last month one of my blocks did stand out quite a bit from the others (I wonder if it will be used). I played around a bit with the arrangement in anticipation that I might go home with the blocks. Set together in straight rows and columns would result in a diamond pattern. Offsetting the columns by half a block creates some interesting possibilities. Someone else went home with a dozen or so blocks.

We played “strip poker” at the meeting this week. This involves no stripping, and it isn’t even really poker. Everyone comes with a set of 2½ inch strips of fabric. A very simple card game is played, which involves absolutely no strategy. Everyone has fun, and everyone goes home with an assortment of fabric strips.

I found a few strips from last year to re-play, and had to cut a few more to go with them. My daughter came with me this month, so I had to cut some strips for her also.

I decided to actually do something with my strips this year, so I began piecing some blocks. I found some more strips after I began, so I have quite an assortment of strips. I don’t know yet how big it will be. I will stop when I run out of strips, or I decide it’s big enough.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pincushion Wildflowers

I was surprised to find large drifts of purple wildflowers in the local hills. They are mostly dry brown grass by June. I think these are a variety of pincushion flowers. This spot is just a short drive away, and was a nice weekend stroll.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

International Quilt Study Center

I’ve been catching up on my reading. I’ve just finished looking at the SAQA newsletter from a couple months ago, and was excited to find out that my quilt “Succulent IV” was chosen to be part of the permanent collection at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska.

The quilts have been traveling since January 2009 in SAQA’s 20th Anniversary Trunk Show. 183 SAQA members created eight inch quilts which were mounted with archival mat board. Three of the 56 quilts chosen for the collection are featured this month on the IQSC website.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Redefining Red, White, & Blue

The block of the month at the Piecemakers Guild meeting today is supposed to be in red, white, & blue colors. I expect most of the blocks will be typical patriotic colors. I decided to try something a little different. I had fun picking out fabrics for the first block. My second block is made with “safer” colors, but still not traditionally patriotic fabrics. I hope they don’t clash too much with the other blocks that are turned in.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grab Bag Challenge

I’ve been too busy with my day job lately. I haven’t had time to work on the latest Grab Bag Challenge. A week or so ago, I decided I better get started on it since it’s supposed to be done by June 1st. I have a photo that is to be used for inspiration and a bag of fabrics and embellishments. Many smallish and medium sized pieces means I am doing piecing instead of the whole cloth painted quilts that I’ve been doing lately.

I made a few sketches, laid the fabrics out on the table, and have been letting myself have an hour or so now and then to do the piecework. I let myself have most of Saturday to work on it, and now it is well on its way to looking like something. I am interpreting the photo rather abstractly, and am using the sketch as a guide rather than making a pattern.

I was discouraged last night as a laid out a large piece of hand-dyed fabric with lots of color variation behind the main shapes. It wasn’t relating to the composition the way I had intended. The darker colors weren’t in the right place, and were hiding behind the foreground shapes. This morning I gave the background fabric a quarter turn, and now I feel good about it again. The dark area is now at the bottom of the composition, and adds a lot of depth to the piece.

There are a few more colors I want to piece in. I will get out my paints to add in a few shadows, and I will probably get out my paints again after it is quilted.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tie Dyeing Party

Last weekend we had a birthday party for my daughter. One of the things they did was dye t-shirts.

Camilla did her shirt in a spiral (top left). The other girls shirts all turned out quite different, but they all turned out great. They all fun, and they all have shirts they will be proud to wear.

I was trying to get mine done quickly, so I scrunched it up from the bottom and added a few rubber bands to create simple stripes. Camilla’s grandma did some internet research on tie-dyeing folds and came prepared with a plan. She folded hers to create a “V” design before tying.

I collected the dye runoff from the shirts in one container to dye some fabric in neutral colors. Can you believe that the dye for this started as a very neutral gray color? Somehow the colors separated while reacting with the fabric to create purple and turquoise. I will probably overdye the two lighter versions of this fabric another time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Whisper Challenge Slide Show

All of the quilts from the 2009 Whisper Challenge can now be viewed on the blog for The Northern California & Nevada Region of SAQA:

It's good to be able to see all of the quilts together.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blue & White Resist Lines

The paint is dry, the glue resist came out easy with a good long soak and a cycle through the washer, and I have begun quilting my latest project.

A couple of people pointed out that I won't have "white" resist lines, since I started with blue & white fabric. Yes, you're right. I have blue mottled resist lines that look like my base fabric. I added some interest to the brown areas by sprinkling salt while the paint was still wet.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waiting for the Resist to Dry

Using washable blue gel glue as a resist before painting fabric is a popular technique right now. I tried it a year ago on a very small scale for a nametag, and decided to try it on a much grander scale for my current project.

I have used “Elmers Galactic Glitter Glue”, because I happened to have some on hand. The glitter and the glue will both wash out after I have painted it, and white lines will be left.

I have some down time now while I am waiting for the glue to dry. I will have more down time this evening after I paint.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another Challenge

I've been too busy with my day job to do creative projects lately. And the next couple of projects I'm not allowed to show, because they are challenges.

This morning I splatter painted a piece of white fabric. This will be the base fabric for one of the challenge pieces, and likely the only photo I'll show of it until the challenge is over. I expect the finished piece won't resemble this fabric at all after I layer more paint and imagery over it. It feels good to get out the fabric and paint. Now I need to squeeze out enough time to get it done.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

42nd Annual Textile Exhibition

I will have four of my recent pieces in the Olive Hyde Art Gallery for their
"42nd Annual Textile Exhibition".

April 2 - May 15, 2010
Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm.
Opening Reception on Friday, April 2 - 7:00-9:00 p.m.

The Olive Hyde Art Gallery is located at:
123 Washington Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94539

Monday, February 8, 2010

Whisper Quilts Revealed

I went to the regional SAQA meeting Saturday in Elk Grove. The main feature was the revealing of the Whisper Quilt Challenge. I forgot to hand my camera over to someone when I was holding up the group of quilts I was in, but managed to get this snapshot of the quilts stacked on the table afterwards. I will talk a bit about the quilts shown here. I believe better photos of all of the quilts will soon be up on our SAQA blog. I will link there when they are up.

Four different groups all started with the same photo of a desert garden, and all went in four different directions.

Marjorie Johnson’s quilt is shown on the top of the stack. You can see her full quilt on her website. She says she had a hard time trying to find cactus fabrics to add to her collaged desert landscape. And then she added some animals to put life into the quilt.

Cynthia Long did a value study of Marjorie’s quilt, and discharged a piece of silk to replicate the pattern of values she saw. She then added lots of wonderful detail with additional paint (or dye maybe?) and lots of wonderful hand stitching.

Carol Larson focused on some painted and stitched details from Cynthia’s quilt, and made it the main focus of her own quilt. She worked in similar colors as Cynthia. Just a hint of the original landscape is showing in the green hill-like shape at the bottom of her quilt.

Liz Berg did away altogether with the landscape idea. She continued with Carol’s circle motif, and added some long curvy shapes. Her full quilt is shown on her blog at the bottom of this post.

My first thought about Liz’s quilt was of sea kelp and bubbles, but I didn’t wasn’t real interested in doing kelp, and waited a couple of days to see if any other ideas would emerge. The colors and shapes in Liz’s quilt reminded me of a piece of fabric I had with random circles printed across it. And then the fabric reminded me of a lone allium plant with two straggly leaves growing down the street. I pulled out lots of coordinating polka dot prints, and added a drift of circles behind the main flower. Liz’s long curvy shapes became the stem and leaves of my allium.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photos and Fabrics for a Grab Bag Challenge

A new Grab Bag challenge is beginning. I will need to get my fabrics chosen to send off. I think I am not supposed to share the bag I send off or the project I am working on until the challenge is complete. This year we are to choose our fabrics from an inspiration photo which will get sent with the bag. The photo will be used as the inspiration for the quilt which will be made, but doesn’t have to be interpreted literally.

I wonder if having photos to work from will stifle the creativeness of some as they try to interpret too literally. But then, having a photo will maybe give a jump start to the creative process. Certainly choosing fabrics from the photo will make for more coordinating bags.

I have a photo I took a while ago, and haven’t known what to do with it. It will be fun to choose some fabrics inspired by it, and see what someone else makes of it.

I will share the photo when I get back a quilt inspired by it, not until June.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Upholstery Swatches

I acquired a handful of upholstery swatches last weekend, which I thought I would play around with as the base fabric for a succulent quilt. I arranged the pieces, and then overlapped them just enough to zigzag stitch them together.

I’ve been trying to talk myself into the next step, which was supposed to be to add imagery in thread and paint to add to my Succulent series. But I like it the way it is. I could add just a bit of quilting, and turn it into a purse or small bag of some sort.

I think I will leave it on my design wall for a week, and see what the theme is for next Friday’s challenge. Maybe I can incorporate what I have started.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sketchbook Excercises

Saturday was a CQFA day. Jaye shared her journals with us, and then gave us some prompts to get us sketching.

Jaye instructed us to draw a line, enclose it with a curved shape, and draw small shapes around the larger one. I made myself fill the page after I got home with various textures.

She also gave us some word prompts “spiral”, “flame”, and “arches”. My spiral ended up with leaves, and then I put a candle on the same page for a flame. And then I filled this page also. My arches aren’t worth showing. I think I will paint over it and try again another day.

I like to use pen for sketching. If I use pencil, the temptation is too great to do lots of erasing to fix mistakes. Since perfect drawings aren’t my goal when I make sketches, the pen works fine. If I need to, I can start over on a clean sheet, paint over it, or go over the lines I do like with a colored marker.

It’s good to get the sketchbook out again. I haven’t done anything in it for nearly a year. Maybe I should put it in my tote so I can sketch at odd moments.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Completed Kalanchoes

Succulents IX and X are completed. These will probably end up matted and framed similar to the last two Succulents.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Kalanchoe Project Started

Yesterday, I started the Fast Friday Challenge announced a week ago. I’ve got a good start on two small 5 x 7 pieces.
We are supposed to pick a color scheme from product packaging. I purposely let the yellow and blue run together to create some green.