New tools for the New Year

…a new commercial stencil (lower left) used on silk with Montana spray paint, Chroma-craft brushed on a blue background, and pentel dye sticks over a rosy dyed silk charmeuse.

I’m looking for overall patterns to use with more quilts in the Interstellar series.

Pinterest provides a new index for my work!

The SAQA newsletter suggested using Pinterest to build a portfolio of work.  Great update to the WordPress categories that I’ve been building with the blog.  Look for Kay Liggett in the search bar.

I have discovered that my work is theme-related across all three media–clay, wood, and fabric.  Pinning is a great way to see correlations quickly.

Great weekend in Palmer Lake

I enjoyed seeing old friends and making some new ones at the Palmer Lake Craft Fair September 30-October 1st.   Customers were very thoughtful and observant, in spite of the distractions of the show in Palmer Lake’s rickety old Town Hall. Lots of my work now consists of revivals of old products from the long history of craft.    They seem particularly appealing in a setting which has no electronic beeps!  One gentleman commented that we vendors were all like the 60’s come back to life.  Maybe some of us never really left the Summer of Love, and now we expect something really special for the Autumn…

Interstellar Ornaments for 2016

After the surprise of the blue pears, I took a more hopeful look at using blue colors on wood.

Generally, we get the best results with the warm colors on wooden objects.  However, this amazingly deep blue matte paint combines so well with silver highlights that I have indulged extensively on these ornaments.  (2.5 -3″ tall, Colorado Aspen)

The only drawback to these ornaments is that they may require a silvery tree, or maybe some very blue lights on a green one.  I am looking forward to seeing how the colors respond to the LED Christmas lights.  I have always thought the LED colors were somewhat cold.  Like outer space.  Like interstellar space….

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Blue – so natural, so not

I was inspired by Merryl Saylan to use milk paint on wooden fruits.  It is a self-priming paint that can be applied in layers and cut back with sanding.

Federal Blue was not on my list of likely colors for pears.  These have a blue base, with some blue mixed with buttermilk sponged on top.  Amazingly, the blue and yellow paints did not combine to form green.  I liked the frosty feeling, so I used a pewter metallic paint for the stems.

Thanks to Merryl for the suggestion, and to Ben at Woodcraft for giving me a sample of Federal Blue traditional milk paint!

Wood and Fabric — what better combination?

My Aunt Jo had a collection of small ladies’ footstools before 1960.  This is my ‘revival’ of that memory.   It’s not exactly ‘mid-century,’ but the square shape gives a nice energy to the piece.

Dennis Liggett turned the cherry legs.  The frame uses pockethole joinery, learned from Greg Paige at Paige Woodwoorking in Union Star, Missouri.

I chose a bold upholstery fabric and a 2″ cushion for this 10 x 10″ square footstool.  I am working on more styles and sizes of tops, including one to display a single quilt block.  We will also sell these ready-to-cover for needleworkers.  We will have several ready for the September Studio Tour and our fall selling season.

Thanks, Northwoods Figured Wood!

In September 2015, Dennis and I had a booth at the Rocky Mtn Woodturners Symposium in Loveland, CO, right next to Northwest Figured Woods.  It was impossible to resist their beautiful maple burls.  The little bowl in their July 9th newsletter is made from some of the wood I bought from them.

When I go to woodturner heaven, I will only turn maple burls.  I hope that heaven is one of their customers, too.

still waiting for trees to leaf out!

At our altitude of 7500′ the scrub oak are the natives.  They wait to leaf out until there is no possibility of a heavy, wet snow.  This is why there are seldom broken branches on the scrub oaks.  They are well-adapted to our climate.

I keep photocopies of lots of actual leaves so that I can keep working through the long winter of bare branches.  The photocopier is a very good camera for things that are flat.

The sharp division between heartwood (darker) and sapwood in these bowls tempted me to draw zentangles on the sapwood portion.  Before I drew in the backgrounds, the leaves seemed a little undersized for the bowls.  Usually I like for the leaves to touch the rim in at least 2 places.

The cottonwoods are also native to this region, and they, too, are slower to leaf out than the non-natives.

I took both of these photos before applying the final finish to these bowls.  It is an acrylic lacquer with a shiny finish.  It looks silky to the eye, but my camera doesn’t like the shiny finishes, even in filtered light.

A woodturner would ask about the wood.  These were air-dryed roughed-out blanks that Dennis prepared in 2013.  Absolutely bone dry at the time I turned them, and very fine-grained for a Western Ash.  These trees are dying from the green ash borer that came to the US on a shipping pallet from China.

a writing instrument…

For a lot of woodturners, pens are their introduction to the craft.

I have made up a few from kits, but it seemed like 90% fussing with assembly, and 10% working on the lathe.  Our Club president challenged all of us to bring a writing instrument to the May meeting, so I looked for a way to reverse those percentages.  I found ‘stick pens’ that use the guts from a Bic pen.  This definitely keeps the parts budget low, and the user can replace the ink cartridge any time with another Bic pen’s parts.

The first challenge is to find a drill bit long enough.  Luckily, Dennis Liggett always has the tool that I need for the job.  This time, he even drilled the holes.

These three are made from osage orange (‘hedge’ to a mid-westerner).  It is a straight, fine-grained wood for turning.  Some of the beautiful color mellows to a brown over time.  Nature’s improvement on plastics, and now, mine, too.

If She Leaves Me

Zentangle® drawing is a great exercise for quilters.  It develops facility with infilling spaces, which makes the quilting easier and more successful.  Machine quilting is especially good for the sheer multiplicity of patterns that come from drawing with a pen on paper.   In this quilt, the leaf is an original drawing, re-sized and rotated with Photoshop, then printed on cotton and over-dyed.    The blocks are irregular to add motion to the leaves, which are rarely stationary in nature.  18″ x 30,” it hangs either horizontally or vertically.

Let’s stop talking about zentangle drawing as therapy, and recognize that it is to quilting as playing scales is to music.