Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beading fun and the start of something...

 I took on the QuiltArt challenge to interpret "Day of the Dead" celebration. My idea is to encrust a "sugar skull" with beads. You can't see it but my white fabric sparkles with silver glitter. I thought I might actually use one of these books for embroidery ideas. I collect books and never use them.
 Along with fabric and books, I also collect shiny sparkly things like beads, bits and bobs to add to quilts.

I am channeling a bower bird who collects shiny-sparkly and takes it back to the nest! That's me.

Like fabric, I have waaaaaay more beads than I'll ever use. I plan to do a whole blog post soon on how I organize my collections.
One needs to know what they have, right? 

After an afternoon of beading with my friend Stephanie, I had sewn a line of color around the skull to baste batting behind the skull. This will stabilize it for beading and give it dimension in the finished quilt. I used a hand dyed thick thread from artfabrics.
about 12" X 12" at this point
Please click on the photo to see the white square beads sewn on around the skull with a blanket stitch. I sewed two blanket stitches, then loaded two beads on the next. It creates a subtle textural change when you see it in person.

I began to lay out some beads to get an idea how I'll proceed. There are many choices, and it's hard to decide which cool set of beads in what size and which shine to use with what stitch.
Is this part fun or difficult or both?? Do you like that part? 
 Then I spilled out my really shiny alphabet. I just love words (obviously!) and have a lot of ways to add words to quilts. In fact I teach a workshop in 12 ways to do just that. There are many more ways.

After using this stash many times, the best letters are missing including the o's. I made-do with the Q's for the following demonstration...and most beads are just laying on the surface not sewn down...

Yes I spelled the whole phrase wrong!  I knew it at the time but took the picture before I corrected it. 

 it's spelled:  Dia De Los Muertos and I have all those letters. Yea! Now all I have to do is decide which threads and embroidery stitches to do,  which beads to use, quilting designs to fit in with hand work,  borders, and binding. That's all!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World blog tour... It's all about me! (this time)

Time Flies and Imagine!
Marilyn Wall (see her work here) asked me to do this tour. She makes some beautiful art! I was asked several times to do this, all by fabulous bloggers, and wasn't able then to put the effort into the post, so this is my second chance. Relax and Welcome to my blog!
The quilts shown hung behind me at my last lecture. Time Flies is still my favorite out of over 200 quilts finished. "Imagine" tells the viewer to imagine the possibilities! I have not shown it here before. I plan to show mostly work you've seen as this post is about process not discussion of new work.

 Why do you make what you do?
I have tried just about every craft out there because I have always been driven to make art. I didn't recognize it as creativity until I joined a watercolor group in Tampa. I didn't know I could paint or draw, til I did it.
Although I enjoyed all craft forms fabric stole my heart as a child and continues to keep me enthralled.
I make art because I am driven. I write and make quilts to express myself, and to connect with others.

 I still sketch, paint, and work with beads, but I love fabric and thread, and the line  that stitch provides.

For examples of my work, there is a button at the top( click here) and under the label( click here for my art posts  )  There are some great older posts under labels of interest and I hope you explore my blog over time

How is my work different from other quilters?   What a great question!
My artwork is personal, original, and often humorous.I think, how can I make this...different.
Add in colorful, bold,  lots of metallic thread-work, 3-D effects, script/words, beads, attention to good workmanship and details. I work on many projects at a time, in different styles.

 I careen willy-nilly  from project to project depending on the moment. I have found it's important to pay attention to the muse and the moment. 
If I have a compelling idea I drop everything and explore it. Inspiration is magical and sometimes fleeting. 
for more creativity roadblocks posts click here
I can be driven as well, and work intensely on a project, start to finish, as I did on Amooha, a challenge to interpret one of the 50 states of America...
see more posts on the making of Amooha in archives May 2013
 My work must be meaningful to me.I have a large collection of fabric and draw from it when I work.
As David Walker said, Excess is never enough!
I might be different because I work in many styles depending on what I want the piece to convey. I am experimental, because it's fun, not just to try a technique. I work large, and small, by hand and by machine, whimsical as well as abstract sometimes together. The hibiscus on Amooha are worthy of their own piece!
Bikini Body
 There are a lot of details in these two pieces. Please click on images to see. There are posts on both outlining how they were constructed. Bikini Body was made to interpret the Song Yellow Polka dot bikini. 
It's a self portrait.
one of my abstracts, with paint and thread work

How does my creative process work?   
Two students once asked if they could come watch me work in the studio. I was flattered but I wouldn't be the same with other people in the room. They wanted to know how I made decisions and how I approached problem solving. 
I  start with a concept.
 An idea, poem, shape, technique, challenge or desire to interpret nature. I sketch about 12 possibilities, until one sings to me. On the other hand, the concept for this quilt came in the night. I woke with the completed quilt in my mind, rushed to sketch it, complete with coloring it in. Then I took a month to complete it, working on nothing else until it was done. I call it Tequila Sunrise, but the working title was palm leaves...
I put my heart and soul and lots of sewing time into this piece. I developed some techniques I plan to write an article about, when I am more confident about publishing ideas. The following picture represents my ongoing challenge to study well known painters and their styles, interpreting them with fabric. It shows the details that make me happy.

This is the study on Klimt. All the STAT quilts can be seen from the STAT label on the side there =>>
Because I paint, because I made dolls, I learned to paint faces, and am now enchanted with female faces. They come out differently each time, have such expressions that I feel they make themselves. 

When I approach a challenge like this, I look at the artist's work, I decide what makes HIM unique and what aspect of his art speaks to me. 
I then sketch, then decide what technique will work best to showcase the concept I have.  

The studio is in a constant state of mess as I pull out material and bits like metal, beads, fringe that I might use. I like it tidy, everything has a place, but I can work in a mess just as well as a tidy area. 
The idea drives me. The concept to convey. The feelings and moods I want to capture in fabric. 
I love to finish a piece, to bind it. I am constantly inventing techniques, new ways to bind or embellish a piece and live a creative life. As a social worker, I had little time to make art, but my husband supports my creative spirit in every way imaginable so now I have the gift of time. I don't squander it. 
What are you working on now? 
I have so many projects in the works! UFO's don't worry me, they sit quietly waiting for me to return to them with fresh eyes. I have ongoing series that I visit each year, such as Halloween quilts, Valentine quilts,
An abstract nature series, STAT quilts, and others. Currently, I am working on my Day of the Dead quilt that is encrusted with beads and fun! It will be done by Halloween for the QuiltArt online challenge. I am also working on my STAT project interpreting Georgia O'Keefe which will have painted elements and beads. The one I most look forward to this year is my guild challenge quilt, which is one using a poem I wrote a while back and has two elements I repeatedly use, female figure and a tree. I leave you today with my power suit quilt,
The poem describes my life these days of coping with chronic body issues, and says basically it takes power to put one foot in front of the other and face life bravely. 
I encourage you to work originally and freely share your work with others. 
I am available to visit your guild as a lecturer and teacher. Please see my page at the top. Thanks and please visit my friend Sandy Donabed next Monday for her Tour. She is awesome. Talented and her blog never fails to entertain me. The link is Waiting for the Muse

Friday, October 17, 2014

How now Brown star??

 The superscrappy brown color challenge  is still on. Oy... not my favorite color but it is a color. Or more importantly a range of colors, which saves it for me. I like brown in certain situations, just not as the focus for a block.

That being said, this is my sugar cone block for this month in browns. Each fabric is beautiful on it's own, but my hope is this fits in with the bright and pretty colors from before.

You can see them by looking at the monthly archives, on the right  =>

We were "allowed" to use grays as well, so two of my little cone blocks, finishing at an enormous 3 inches are done with grays. I have only a few little gray scraps, because I seldom work with gray.
Here is a close up of them....
 On another note, I am still trying to find the magic combination for my pumpkin...
 What do you think of this combo?
I am also working to finish my Day of the Dead challenge for Quiltart and my Georgia O'Keefe for STAT. I must write a descriptive post for Monday as my Around the World Blog Hop offering. I am interviewing myself! example
LA: What do you do when you are stuck on some sewing component?
ME: I make some poor choice in snacking, and play fruit time on my ipad
Just for my husband, I am throwing something away! Just look at all the scraps headed for the trash! (And you thought I couldn't throw anything away)

Monday, October 13, 2014

going for a ride in the car part 4- purchases and Interview with a painter

We went for a ride in the car, we three, to Connecticut. While there we toured the grounds of Hill-Stead Museum (house and grounds) a beautiful estate in Farmington near our hotel. While there I also toured the gift shop full of fun artsy stuff. Drew and Cole waited outside and when I rejoined them, I was putting on my new beaded bracelet. I said, I had a hard time choosing the right one, but went in the shop because I had to have the Emily Dickinson Finger puppet with the magnet head....of course!
Drew chuckled. Of course I wanted her! I also wanted the Georgia O'Keeffe finger puppet but she looked more like a pilgrim man...(and a bit scary looking)

Lots of pictures later in the post  but first...
Because of Cole's naturally magnetic personality, we met a fascinating couple also enjoying the fall day.
Jane Zisk (contact info) who organized the CT Plein Air Society, first chatted with Cole. When I learned she was a painter, I asked to do an interview for the blog. She agreed and we had a wonderful time talking about living the creative life. Wish you had been there but these are the highlights as I remember them.

Jane paints, teaches and lives the creative life.
When I asked what condition her studio was in, she said a mess. Her newlywed husband said it wasn't so bad. She likes to paint nature scenes mostly with oils.
When she said she wanted her husband to try painting, my advice (not that anyone asked but that never stopped me before) was to paint what he loved. She agreed with me that a person should paint (or any other medium ) what one loves, as it makes for a stronger piece.

 She keeps a lot of raw materials (ahem, like my stash?) such as quality paints and brushes, and what she needs to do her best work.

She often visits art galleries & museums, spends time with other artists, reads about painting, as it all informs her work. Like me, making art is in the front of her mind most of the time. I know quilters who don't go to shows so they won't be influenced by other quilters. What a waste! If you're a writer you should read a lot. Hanging out with other artists and seeing their work won't cause copying, it is stimulating to share our process with others of like minds.
Her husband responded to the question, how does her family accept her painting, by saying he is her biggest supporter and fan.

I asked if she ever experienced a slump, a down-time,  and she said, she wants to give it up every other day!! We chuckled, as every artist goes through times like this, but her new husband and long time friend, said he just tells her, "stop that, and go to your studio and work!" (Lover and slave driver)

Once again I am reminded we artists are very similar. We get each other... the process, the drive, the need to make.

So I felt like we made new friends, and the day was richer for it. Want more? click here for interviews

We reluctantly left this area to explore other little towns. Along the way I made a few more purchases, want to see?

Beads... for the upcoming Georgia O'Keeffe quilt.
(From Artful Beads in Pennington NJ)

I've not seen this kind of pyramid shaped bead before, and the colors are so soft and Southwest.
Don't know how they'll be used but they will.

In Stockbridge MA I found this tin box...

Quirky, in a quirky shop full of old quirky stuff as well as new quirky stuff. Whee!

I love a little container, and the tag on this one says
Curious Girl, Imagine the Possibilities.

Can't get better than that... It will hold beads or threads or geegaws like these in the studio...
For more studio shots click on the page at the top or the label on the side-->

Crystal Essence in Greater Barrington MA welcomed us in... a woman who said she was a dog psychic "read" Cole.  Apparently he's sad.
He picks up on our moods, so she moved on to me,  and noted that I was unsettled causing him to be.
Oh my.
We discussed our desire to relocate and she said I must let go and follow the little steps put in my path... that I am holding on to some parts of our area but the move will be good for us... all righty then.

The card I chose says, "Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it"

Drew got a calendar of Thich Nhat Hanh, who's books he enjoys, I got the terrific card and a precious little piece of rhodochrosite to put on a female figure I plan to make soon.
See, always thinking about art and the next piece.Are you?? LeeAnna

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Going for a ride in the car part 3-- Quilting purchases!

I visited a few quilt shops along the way, as our plan was to have an adventure. Quilt shops, wineries, quaint towns, fall foliage. I enjoyed my visit with the owner of the Pumpkin Patch in Lee, MA, where I got the fifties ladies. Yep, I have plans for this. The owner is very knowledgeable about machines and they have lots of merchandise a quilter wants. I could have gone hog wild in there but, showed a lot of restraint.
This came from a great store in Vernon, CT called
Quilting By the Yard. I just love this shop, it has it all and is open well lit and friendly. There are a lot of sale fabrics to choose from. These were all marked way down, so I got larger than usual yardage.
DH said he would never have expected me to choose the black batik, but really bright colors of trees?
A quilt shop that won my fave of the trip however was Lisa's Clover Hill Quilts in Berlin Ct because they were having a "Sew-cial" and were so fun and welcoming! She gave away free magazines!

 You know how much I love a magazine, and free! What!
(to see more about the magazine obsession CLICK HERE )

I also found the following fabric of doggy newspapers, a cute panel of sewing stuff and that way cool graphic Halloween Raven fabric with words in Black and white.

<-- And I just had to get more EPP templates, this time in lozenge shapes.

Sew Inspired in Simsbury CT is a must see for me.

No kidding, every trip through I must go here.
 What a great store, lots of sale fabrics along with all the latest in new gizmos and fresh fabrics. I got these new Halloween fabrics to go with my Skeleton panel.  Owls on purple, and the ravens plus the border print.

I also bought a charm pack of Moda Wishes. Loved the graphics and primary colors and words.

 But the Witch panel!!
She says," Let's party girlfriend or I'll push you off my broom! "
 Cute shop in a gray barn in Egremont MA called Brookside Quiltworks had tons of stuff I loved. I showed great restraint and purchased only another stonehenge, with metallic gold,. scissors with dots an ornament of a COW wearing a quilt (HA! couldn't be more perfect) and a thread sampler of wonderfil cotton variegated 50 Wt. Gotta try 'em all to know what you enjoy best, I say.

Then on the way home after 4 lovely days of being away we visited the Yankee quilter in Seymore CT. where I found this...

Four sale fabrics, and I just love the words on the neutrals, the silver metallic on the Christmas remnant, and the blue batik remnant will go into the final borders of my king hexie being finished hopefully this year.
Since I spaved (spent & saved) on the fabrics I splurged on the pattern. It's just so cute, and I knew I'd never remember how they did the border I fell for...
Check out the bat border, done in a clever way. I may just surround my Skeleton with this. 

Anyway, I didn't buy much at each store, or even every store, but I had the best time on my own shop hop!
Yes, my husband is an enabler  encourages my shopping habit. He always packs a snack and a book for these moments. He likes to see my glee and feel my energy from being with my peeps in an atmosphere of all these possibilites! 

I hope I finish all these quilts one day! I better get started.
Wasn't that fun?
linking to mollisparkles fabric stash Sundays

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Neutrals and stained glass

The RSC ( link to others ) color of the month is one of my least favorites... Brown.  eeeek.

The only way I could do this was to mix in some warmth, with gold and oranges. She also said gray was acceptable so I tried that and surprisingly I don't mind them.

These are the strips I pulled out of the scrap bin to use.

Generally I like to piece tree trunks with browns. Or hair, and have a reasonable supply of scrap strips.

Do all the cutting and get organized at the machine...
Here is a close up to see some of the pretty fabrics.

Interesting to me was that I like each fabric very much. Alone.

 These may not make it into the quilt itself, we'll have to see how all the bright happy colors look next to these... I think the gray will work in. 

I'll see how browns look on the sugar cone blocks later. What do you think?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dance of the Candy Corn Fairies

Dance of the Candy Corn Fairies  58" X 75"
Dance of the Candy Corn Fairies. Remember, I make a Valentine and a Halloween quilt each year.
         Just because.
They are all different sizes and show what I was interested in that year. You can see them all (about 40) by inviting me to your guild for my lecture on Holiday Quilts and working in series. I'd love to meet you! I do travel to other states.

Kick up your heels and enjoy the pictures.

I know you can click on the images to see details but thought I might show you a few.

It all started with the cute center panel. I am attracted to panels but what do you do with them??

I love paper piecing, so I thought, candy corn. 
 If you are making candy corn, no reason they shouldn't be dancing...
I free-form cut out legs and arms and went to town appliqueing them on after the piecing was done.

I must tell you now, when I approach a bed sized quilt I plan ahead to the quilting. I piece the sections small enough to comfortably quilt before constructing the whole quilt after. Not difficult, saves my back, and looks terrific.
The stars, bats, witches, pumpkins etc were paper piecing patterns from Sew Precise software or magazines. What fun to piece them, then arrange them around the center.

I pieced the fairies around the panel, quilted that section, pieced the next border and quilted that.
The curved orange border was quilted, the edge finished and added last. All joining done by machine, and when it was added, the whole quilt was finished! No hand work basically.

This is too much for a tutorial, but I  teach the technique as a full day class.

I love to use my stash, and the Halloween stash is lots of fun to pick through. I like to piece in various fabrics and am partial to these cranky witches.

My applique is often without fusible, and I don't like to satin stitch around them, but lay down line after line of free motion to hold them on. I like the look.
The little candies are appliqued, held down by stitching done in the quilting process.

The inner border was a black and white that I hand dyed, and kept for years til this quilt came along and it was perfect for it. Don't rush to use your fabrics, but allow yourself to use them in the perfect situation. That's a note to myself, the fabric collector.