Archive for the ‘Fiber’ Category

More Colors like Rio Mio

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

I’ve been working with marbled acrylic paints for almost a year.   It is quite a challenge to mix the ‘jello’ thick enough to hold vivid acrylic colors.  Traditionally, the paints are thinned out so they float better, which gives the more pastel colors more typically seen in traditional marbled patterns.

I’m learning to draw scrolls, so working with the many loops in marbled paint feels like a very free adaptation of scroll design.   These blocks provide many paths for free-motion machine quilting.  Once again, they show to best advantage when placed among traditional quilting fabrics in small patterns (calicoes) and solid colors.

In addition to fabric hexagons, I used the marbled acrylics on our 2015 Christmas ornaments.  The 3D marbling is even more unpredictable!

Rio Mio flows to SAQA show in Lakewood

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Visitors to the September Studio Tour saw this quilt in the early stages.  I read that AirBnB was the hospitality sponsor for the summer Olympics in Rio, and that led to lots of imagined little houses and other buildings climbing up the hillside from the bay.

Some of the buildings are zentangle drawings from my notebook, printed onto fabric and then painted to fit into the neighborhood.

Two micro-buses are climbing the hill.  Will Uber also be there?

Size:  43″ tall x 19.5″ wide

Rio Mio will be at a the SAQA show, ‘Above and Beyond’ at the Lakewood Cultural Center, opening January 22nd.

the humble house shape

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

We all drew the house shape in first and second grade, then our art teachers told us that houses don’t look like that.  Well, I still see them that way.  And the most important thing is not the atmospheric effect, or the accurate rendering.  It is quite simply that the house shape holds color really well.

At my stop on the studio tour, I will have some of the house shapes I used in this quilt  for visitors to color with  dye sticks, fabric  paints and water soluble crayons.

Quilting is mostly coloring with fabric scraps, but there is no reason not to start with plain fabric and color on it, too!

Quilt fragment in the photo is from ‘Rio Mio’ which will be in the SAQA ‘Above and Beyond’ show in January 2016.    Because Air BnB is the host hotel for the ’16 Olympics in Rio, I just had to imagine individual houses all piled up and waiting for guests…

The Spring that never came

Friday, May 29th, 2015

We haven’t experienced fires and floods this year, but the cold, rainy weather took away even our usual three days of Spring.  I was sitting in the sewing room during a big hailstorm on the 28th of May, sorting scraps.  These fabrics jumped up and merged together with a reminder of the color and joy of our usual May weather.  Oh, well, at least there is lots of water, and the little Spring Peeper frogs are singing away madly in the pond, trying to stay warm.

This and other micro-mini quilts will be our Studio Tour in September.  They are the quilter’s version of sketches.  All are matted in a 9 x 9″ format that fits an inexpensive IKEA frame.

When is a quilt finished?

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Quilting is always open to recycling and reworking.  These fish first appeared on the ‘Fish Cube’–a 6-sided version of an aquarium that I enjoyed putting together.

The Fish cube missed something essential about quilting, however.  It did not have a softness that invited you to feel the smoothness of the silk.  This winter, I went through some of my leftover work to see what needed reworking.   The three pillows are a big improvement on the old format.  The silk paintings are not complex enough, and the quilting was not elaborate enough to qualify as a sculptural piece.  They are much better this way.

Endless Renewal

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

I went to a friend’s house and asked her little daughter where she was.  ‘Oh, she’s upstairs getting new ideas from some old books.’

Quilting has wonderful traditions of recycling, remembering, and rejoicing in a wonderful heritage.  For the studio tour this year, I have been revisiting the Crazy Quilts from the 1880’s.  They have a great deal in common with Art Quilts:  inventive design, collage techniques, ‘fancywork,’ use of popular images, and a decorative purpose.   They were not made to cover a bed.   And pets never slept on them–too many buttons and embellishments.

This section of ‘What they are wearing’ features a patriarchal ancestor framed by a house shape.  My embroidery skills are minimal by 1880’s standards, but our fabrics are more exciting.  I also used free motion machine quilting.  I’m certain that it would have been used for the old quilts had it been available to those quilters.  We also have better image transfer techniques that make it possible to capture some of the quality of old black and white photos.  Much easier than using kerosene and a spoon!

The Tour is September 13 and 14th.  If you stop by our house, you can also see great woodturning from Dennis.   For more information about other artists, go to the Front Range Open Studios website for a map and links to their information.

Sea Turtle in TACtile show

Friday, June 20th, 2014

The Colorado members of Studio Art Quilt Associates have a show of small work at TACtile gallery in Denver July 11-September 2nd, 2014.  ‘Small Vision, Big Voice’ features new work by SAQA members less than 24″ in any dimension.   The gallery is open afternoons Wednesday-Sunday at 1307 Bannock St. in downtown Denver.

Sea Turtle is a silk painting with batik borders.  I have been working on a series of work in both quilts and woodturnings incorporating fish and turtles.  All of this work will be in the Studio Tour in September.

Heading West

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Purple Sage 15 x 21"

We are on our way to the Utah Woodturning Symposium.  This little modified bargello-style quilt combines printed cowboy images with the colors of the West.   It is machine-pieced, and outline quilted with machine embroidery stitches.  I embroidered the black feather stitches in memory of my pioneer Grandmother Ambrose.    She sewed, crocheted, and embellished with tatting, but the feather stitch was always her favorite.

We will be staying not far from where she home-steaded in Utah before moving to Eads, Colorado, where my mother was born in 1923.  My mother, by the way, refuses to get ‘Pioneer” Colorado license plates, because she doesn’t want people to think that she is old…

Why are Art Quilts small?

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Surface Design Journal’s reviewer recently commented that art quilts are getting smaller, as she reviewed a gallery show.   Of course, if you need to fill a king-size bed, or a giant wall, you will need a big piece of art, possibly a quilt.  In a time when many of customers are down-sizing their homes, it seems logical that we might choose to make smaller quilts so that we can sell them!

There are also reasons that have to do with making the quilt, as well as selling it.  First, art quilting is a more experimental size of quilting.  Many small quilts allow us to explore composition and color in a variety of ways.   We may be more imaginative with our version of ‘sketch’ that we would be with an heirloom-size quilt.  A smaller piece also prompts the viewer to ask what about the work makes it a quilt.  This is one of the primary goals of art quilting–to draw the definition of quilting to the process of making it, and not to its relationship to a bed.

Parameters defined by the process of making also govern our choices of size.  Our sewing tools are designed for accuracy in detail.  We draw on a small area because our version of the brush–the stitch–is inherently small.     Quilts have a very personal tactile appeal, maybe more like jewelry than like paintings.   I rarely hold a painting, even a favorite one, in my lap.

Scorching Scandal and Emancipation

Ready for Studio Tour!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

I have over 30 quilts ready for the Studio Tour September 14th and 15th, ranging in price from $8 to $1200.    It’s a great way to see how our work has taken over the house!  All four of my sewing machines will be on display, but I promise to hide the ironing board.

Visitors will also find woodturnings that I have decorated with quilt designs, and a variety of wooden or sewn notions–the little things that make handwork pleasurable.  There are beaded pens, seam rippers, pincushions, necklaces with thread cutters, drop spindles, and needle cases.  I also made a variety of quilted potholders in traditional and Christmas fabrics.

I will have practice quilts set up for free motion quilting  [try it!] and pieces of fabric to texture.  For the first time, I will be selling some DIY kits.  Dennis and I will also share a bargain table with some leftovers from previous years.

Saturday 10-6 and Sunday Noon-6,  19930 W. Top O’ the Moor in Monument.  Call if your GPS fails you:  719-481-8754