Archive for the ‘leaves’ Category

still waiting for trees to leaf out!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

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.

If She Leaves Me

Friday, April 29th, 2016

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.

Half-Whole Cloth

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

‘Whole Cloth’ is a type of quilt designed to display the quilting stitch.   It is beautiful in a simple fabric like silk, with lots of swirls and delicate designs.

I am only half-way there.  Many of my quilts are soft paintings, with a central silk painting bordered by strips and binding.  For 2015, I am working toward more emphasis on the quilting stitches.  But I can’t quite give up drawing and painting on the cloth–raw silk in either black or white.   Both of them began with a simple drawing of leaves on the silk.  I stitched the outline of the leaves before working with color.  For the small black quilt (Shades of Silk) I discharged the black dye and then added additional silk paint colors.  The hand-stitched black thread and the machine quilting were added after the color.  The texture was created by the amount of dye discharged, and by the rough hand of the raw silk.

For this much larger quilt on raw silk (‘Pastel’), I also drew the leaf outlines and then machine-quilted them.  I filled in each section with more detailed quilting before adding color.  For the color application,  I used a dry brush technique to create a grainy texture on the raw silk fabric, using both silk paints and regular heat-set fabric paints.  When I was satisfied with the color, I went back and finished outline quilting around the leaves.  This quilt has a very matte surface, like a painting in pastels. I used several quilting patterns that I learned drawing Zentangles®.  Infilling is a traditional task of quilting.  Drawing Zentangle patterns has given me more confidence with the quilting stitches.

Every painting I have ever done looks like a study for a quilt.  I realized this week that it is because my sense of color comes from the fabric store, not the paint tubes!

By request…

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

A visitor at the 2013 Studio Tour asked me to make more work in colors that would work with her home decorating themes.  I discovered that most of my silk paintings are quite vivid.   For this painting, I toned down the color of the plastic planter to a very rich dark red, which is picked up in the binding.  Otherwise, it is all rainy-day colors of green, gray, and white.

It is always helpful to listen to our customers!

Time for Empty Bowls

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Dennis and I are working together to make at least 40 bowls for the fundraiser on October 9th.   100% of the $20 admission goes to the food pantry at Tri-Lakes Cares.  Years ago, when I made pottery bowls, I wondered who needed public assistance in the Monument/Palmer Lake region.  Now I know that hunger is among us, no matter where we live.    The volunteer doctor for Tri-Lakes Cares, Dr. Bob Gibbs, is our woodturning friend, and he supplies most of the wood used to make the wooden bowls at the event.

Dennis often turns the bowls, and I add some decoration.   

Once in a while, the design is already in the bowl, as with the little bird.  A knot forms his eye.

Leaves are already perfect in nature.  It is difficult to choose an arrangement that doesn’t look natural!

All of the decoration is done with woodburning and acrylic colors.  The artwork is sealed with acrylic.  Acidic foods and washing will degrade the color.   Although it is non-toxic, the artwork and finish polyurethane will eventually wear off with use.  The bowls are not dishwasher safe!

Silk + Quilt

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Silk painting, quilted

Leaves provide an endless source of good designs.  These five cottonwood leaves and their frosty background could have been framed with wood or metal.  The quilting provides a new variety of framing techniques to pick up the colors in the composition.

Small quilts are perfect for decorating more intimate rooms.  They are east to hang, store compactly, and don’t break when you drop them!    Some quilts are hung matted, behind glass for safekeeping, but it takes away the temptation to touch the stitching.

By all means, touch the quilt!  It is far more than an image.

Leaves for September work

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Leaves provide everything I need to decorate a bowl or a quilt.  Already perfect in nature, they fall gracefully into a bowl, or scatter across a silk painting.  For the Studio Tour on the 15th and 16th, I will have a collection of work featuring leaves.  For all the details of the tour, go to Front Range Open Studios.

Boxelder leaves on boxelder bowl

The Power Line

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Flying above the earth, I see a rumpled quilt of colors, shape, and lines.  Throwing a stone in a pond, I create concentric lines around a center point.  I take out my hiking map, and find contour lines create a 2D record of shapes.   These experiences become useful again when it is time to add lines of quilt stitching.

Traditional Hawaiian quilting uses outline stitching around flower and animal motifs.  It adds a kind of vibration to the surface.




Looking at Google Earth is something like viewing a huge quilt covering the earth.  From about 25,000 feet, the Midwest shows that it was divided before it was settled.  Sometimes the contour lines cross over the survey lines that divide one field from another.  This small quilt is a study of crop circles in Western Kansas.

Some of this quilting is on cotton T-shirt fabric, which has a very sculptural quality.  The closely-set quilt lines have become a texture, instead of a drawing.