Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween... Remember...

 Happy Halloween. While in Stockbridge MA recently I was drawn to the cemetery. Maybe one of the oldest, best kept I've seen.
We reverently walked among the lovely tombstones reading about the lives that came before us. I took many pictures because they were so stirring, but will share a few with you. Maybe if you click and enlarge them you can see the details too.

Allow me to share with you some of the etched sentiments on the ones I could read...
Wife of... died 1782
Mortals while in this silent tomb
her day cold corps doth rest
her virtues long on earth
In between her soul is blest

I love this one, simple but telling:  " She hath done what she could"

 this one was so interesting to me because of the different fonts used to tell the story.
Really each headstone was a work of art. Who carved them? and how wonderful that someone took the time and money to memorialize their loved one.
How many people walked here before us.
 I love history.
I am not including them all, and my pictures don't do them justice,  but they were art y'all.
Standing, disintegrating  art. The words from 1700's probably being destroyed by pollution or car exhaust, maybe just time and the elements.

On another: Abigail died in 1772, in her  59th year 
"Come hither mortals cast an eye
then go thy way prepare to die
here read thy doom for die thou must
(and here the tombstone was being swallowed by the earth...)
-----------------you to dust.

We stayed at least a half hour or more, then Cole said, er, can we move on now?? It's getting chilly...
 Across the street was this house, for all those afraid of the number 13
I'll leave you this Halloween with this last picture, of a "dead" tree trying to come back. The life coming from death struck me as important. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

when other animals want to be poodles ( or flamingos)

from poodledogblog

and this oldie but goodie not a poodle or lookalike but keeping it sewing related!

 A gratuitous flamingo pumpkin from preservation in pink.
 Happy Halloween from Preservation in Pink!

and to close, for my good friends who read my blog:

from ecards  www.someecards

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How I pack Sewing Stuff for a trip

 I've been packing for the Houston Quilt show.
Clothes are important, because nudity is frowned upon there.
The important items for me, and ones I often organize first, are my hand sewing projects!
Above is a picture of the two project containers I plan to take. The containers change according to the project.
I bought the one on the right while on a trip to CA with dh. I have used it daily for the past 10 years. It opens to the four compartments on the left.
Very roomy. I use it to control hexies.
I ALWAYS have a hexie project going.
 It also holds threads, scissors, glasses, needles, and all the other necessary items. I keep alcohol wipes for needle sticks, and eye drops for dry eyes, plenty of plastic hexie templates and precut fabric to cover them.
This is command central for the enormous hexie project I've had going for 12 years!!
Basically I make components and stack them up using them when the colors fit.
This time I also brought other projects...
The white bag is from Clinique. It's holding four projects. The little hexies, the flower EPP shapes, a new project with elongated hexies and silk, and that teensy little pink container...
Hee hee this is adorable!! I got it at a quilt show.
It holds the tiniest hexie project, (see one of my projects here)
6 itsy bitsy compartments hold all one needs to make a little hexie. Thread on bobbins, needle, threader, scissors, fabric and templates.
Perfect for a purse.
Don't be caught without a sewing project!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm a Pirate-Poodle!

 I'm a pirate poodle! Arrrrgh! I'll plunder your treat bag!!
Just kidding, I'm not going as anything for Halloween this year because:

1. I am older and wiser now

2. the costumes I've endured over the years were dumb and only served to make mommy laugh

3. I don't like scary masks or screaming kids

4. I am waaaaaay too dignified to dress up like a pumpkin
    just for a treat.

I've got these people wrapped around my paw. They'll give me a treat any time I ask. Almost. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Craft show from a poodle point of view

               (Cole took over today's post to discuss his latest trip to a craft show)
Cole: oh Mon Dieu! Are my people EVER going for our morning walk? I'll just take a nap until mom's ready, and she won't get past me this time!!

We're ALL going for a ride in the car?? Must be... here she comes with the Halloween bandanna! Getting dressed is a sure sign I get to go too!
And a bag of treats in her purse?? That means all day long! Whee!
Oh boy, Dad's car. This means some quality time with my nose out the window so I can really smell see things.

Oooooo we're at the craft show. I love it here. All the yummy animal smells in the outside buildings, the people I get to  pet, the dogs to meet, the treats to eat.
I could hardly wait to get out of the car, get that harness on and pull my people into the fairgrounds!
I took off, so excited was I !

LeeAnna here:  Oh he hurried us inside alright. Then he proceeded to pull us through the entire show. He was in a hurry all day. Seemed like he always wanted to be in the next place. Even while people oooohed and aaaaahed over him. Rushing...pulling...til....
I stopped to interview an artist ( read the following post for that)

(Cole again)  Mom stopped to talky-talk so I took Dad outside to flop on the grass. I was quite content to lay there for hours if need be,  watching people and dogs walk by, and be with Dad.
The thing is, my shoulder hurts, and I was so hopped up on pain killers,  I might have been a bit antsy.
Also I knew we always go to the gourmet dogfood store on the way home, and I didn't want to miss that so I tried to keep those people movin'.
The alpaca booth was great though, and while Dad got his socks, I sniffed every sock there. And then we ran into some people who knew just where a poodle likes his ears rubbed, so I slowed down to my age. We also spent a moment at the maple syrup booth, where I tested it for quality control. It passed the test and we bought a bottle, along with a box of toffee. After a lot of walking and looking and sniffing and getting to know a few dogs, we left for my store.
I picked out some boxes of treats, and we stopped at the Plow and Hearth store on the way back. 
Now that store is dog-cool!! I look at every shelf in there. Really.  I took it upon myself to test the fireplace rugs. Just when I thought I might lie down for a mo- Mommy said, let's go!
Always pulling.
Mommy said I stretched their arms on this trip, but I had fun. That's all that counts. Cole

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to get your groove back and interviews with artists

 I was initially attracted to Kim Roluti's art because of the soulfull faces looking at me. The colors are lush yet gentle at the same time. When I see an artist among 300 who's work I want to take home, I stop to see if they are also welcoming.
That was definitely the case with Kim ( Link to KimRolutiArt) I ask questions like what is your process? how do you come up with ideas? inspirations? studio? overcoming down times? I must summarize her answers as it's been a week
 Her work looks like regular paintings but they start as a sort of collage of paper and laces on canvas. She then paints over with acrylic and oil. This explains the texture and text, two components I LOVE. She is inspired by life and like me starts with a concept she wants to convey.
I was drawn to a piece where two women are together, yet looking away. It was drawn from personal experience, that I related to, and in a gesture captured the feeling of separation while together.
When asked how she deals with those times when you don't feel like working, she said she has work going in different stages, and one of them will prime the creative pump. She works through it. I liked her!!
The next artist to really catch my eye was Ashley Kriehn (link here) who's booth was titled Metallist
  I started our talk with the question of how she came to label herself that way as I'd never seen it done.
She was quiet and unassuming, yet very friendly and open to a chat. I was drawn in to the wonderful shape and texture of her work.
It reminded me somehow of my work, full of texture, cool graphics, and oh! The three dimensional birds so reminded me of mine done in fabric (see the post here! )
Again, she is inspired by nature and her graphic designs are inspired by microscopic images of algae ( I think) In person they are dynamic designs. She chemically etches sheets of metal with the design then shapes it into the birds.  Her family is very supportive of her artmaking,.

We all experience times where we might not feel like working. Ashley doesn't let that interrupt her process. She just goes in the studio, and starts making a component that she has made before, an element that doesn't require as much creative decision making, so her hands are going on automatic until she finds the groove again. I LOVE that.
 I do that by mindless sewing. I just start sewing something together, so my hands and mind get back into the groove, and the Muse doesn't want to be left out so she joins me in the studio. Happy creativity returns. Hilarity ensues! Creativity is never too far away, but it hides. I think this is what other creative people have described as "just do the work" For me, sometimes it's sorting fabric, clearing the studio table of components, just being in a space where I've created before.
There is a kind of kinesthetic memory of your hands.
I hope this was enjoyable, the connection between different art forms. I have interviewed at least one artist at every craft show I attend for years. I love to hear how they live the creative life, and hope you do too.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dia De Los Muertos Dance! Finished!

"Dia de los Muertos dance!"    24" X 22"

This quilt is made for the QuiltArt Day of the Dead challenge. It needed to be approx. 22" square. I have collected a few fabrics over the years to make one of these, and sure enough when it came time to make it, I could only find one. It's a good one though, with dancers.
 Please click on images to enlarge and see all the yummy goodness!

I started right away with the beads, then thought, hmmm how am I going to quilt this? Better build the quilt top before adding any more!
I decided on partial seamed borders, to add some wonkiness to the layout.  I quilted it with metallic threads in different colors, allowing the skull to puff up with the trapunto.The hand stitching is still there, but not noticeable like the little white bugle beads around the skull. This is a quilt where the details are easier to see in person.

In this shot above, please notice the fused crystals over hand, 3-D lettering, hearts around the bowing appliqued guy at the top, and my favorite detail, the BOO sequin on top of the fimo clay-lady eyes.

Details to notice here are:
These little plastic spirals
 aqua metallic thread couched around
rose border, spooky and cool
quilting details
little crystal beads given to me by my friend Bunny, who showed up to bee one day saying "I knew you'd find a way to use these!"

The little skulls are sequins
My friend Steph gave me the purple hearts
Dancing couple, I LOVE them, with heart sequin
(these are iron on sequins unlike all the others)

The Live Strong beads were in the kids section of Michaels.
I found the skeleton key chains on sale for next to nothing after Halloween one year. I got 10 of them, and my husband didn't even ask what I thought I'd use them for. He knows me.
They have found their way into several quilts including the Frida Kahlo quilt (IN THIS POST)

More dancing skeletons... wonder what attracted me to this fabric?? Could it be we met dancing?
I took pictures yesterday but went in today and added the flowers, the little skulls, and the star sequins all sewn on by hand. Sometimes more is better. I don't know if this is one of those times... it's not exactly tasteful but it was fun to make and I hope fun to look at. Have you made one? Leave me a link to yours! LeeAnna

Threads Un-snarled

 Oh. My. Heck.

It all started when I wanted to actually use a skein of hand dyed thread that I own.

I opened it, pulled a length out to go around the skull in the "Dia... " quilt (see following post) and that worked fine.

The next time I looked in the bag, the whole skein had a Twister party and the mess was overwhelming.

It was the ribbon floss knitting incident of '09 all over again! It was the vacuum V thread box unspooling crisis of '10.
  It was more knotted than Cole's hair after a bath. So I thought...
Okay, I'll find the ends and just put it on some empty spools while watching survivor. I'm still untangling it this morning, and it's
I have two spools going, weaving in and out, wrapping when I can. It reminds me of my necklace drawer as a teenager. I like a puzzle but. And look at all I have ahead of me!!
 Maybe I should just use some of this... nah! Wouldn't be the same.
ps. this just in, I just wound another skein, and hooked it around a box before snipping the ends, all good!
Moral, let the thread know who's boss, and be boss, and keep it tightly under control at all times.

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