Archives for January 2016

Tip of the Iceberg

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I describe the design process as like the tip of the iceberg.
What you don’t see is the long haul: all the endless auditing and things like that.
Norman Foster

This week was definitely not about the tip of the iceberg! Moving forward as an artist and in a new studio requires much behind the scene work and I moved forward on several fronts.

First, I took some steps this week towards being able to photograph my works in my new studio. Doing my own photography has been a goal for a long time. Now that I am across country from my favorite photographer and have many hand-stitched works that I eventually want to add to my online gallery, I decided it was time to take action. That required much research and then some online ordering to begin to assemble the necessary equipment. One of the most helpful sites that I found on the website was Shoot That Quilt, co-authored by my own web-master, Holly Knott. If you would like to take a peak at what she has written, click here.

I also began to focus more on documenting the work in the Basic Dyeing for Quilters class that I have been participating in through Academy of Quilting. (Here is a listing for the next session of the class.) This week we completed dyeing work on a reference color wheel. Here is how mine turned out:

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One of the most entertaining features of this class has been discovering what dyed pieces actually looked like after all processing. I was surprised but very pleased by the mysterious results of my efforts to dye a piece of Kona cotton purple.

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The fabric on the left is supposed to be a fairly solid purple. The one on the right is my blue-purple. The two component dye solutions that were used for these pieces did not mix well, particularly in the case of the purple. Perhaps it was the temperature of my warm water? I don’t know and may experiment further in the coming weeks.

It was clear though that I will be dyeing explorations of the class long after it concludes. And so, I am taking the time to process and record notes as I go along. I also am stretching out the dyeing for a more relaxed schedule that works better with other demands on my time. It all is quite a bit of fun and I am looking forward to the next class where I am told we will discuss over-dyeing.

Winter Scene Update

I did move forward some more with my Winter Scene piece. It is now quilted and awaiting a binding. Here is a quick glimpse at how it evolved.

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And, I continued to work on my latest hand-stitching project. It should be completed by next week.  I should also have a report by then on a workshop by Sandy Turner that I am enrolled in. It looked like a fun project and a way to meet some quilters in our new second home area.

By the way, the photo of Antarctica above is one of mine from our trip there several years ago. That trip continues to rank as one of the most memorable that I have ever taken. Everything you read about the out-of-this-world feeing of Antarctica is true. Gliding in ice flows, past huge icebergs, and among mammoth glaciers is a great reminder of how small we are in this universe – a great wake-up call to the ego, and totally inspirational for the artist!

As always, linking to Off the Wall Friday. Check out what others have been up to!

Clearing the Wall

Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.
Thomas Merton

 

My design wall reminds me of the ocean waves on the sand – it fills and then empties. Towards the end of this week, a rather chaotic wall was beginning to reflect closure on some projects and beginnings on others – a good place to be in, a nice rhythm.

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A good deal of this week was devoted to completing my daughter’s baby quilt. The photo below shows a quilted but not yet bound version. I am happy to report that said quilt is now bound and awaiting use.

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My dyeing class continued and I opted for a measured approach to week two. We were supposed to try some deep water bucket dyeing versus the low water immersion technique of the week before. As I studied the material, I realized that the likelihood of my using the deep water technique was minimal and that the dilutive approach to dyeing was not as straight forward in measuring as the additive approach. Since my objective in the class was to understand the dyeing process better and become comfortable with some ‘simple’ processes for dyeing small amounts of cloth, I opted to focus my actual dyeing on continuing with the additive process. I added three additional colors to my experimentation this week.

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While all these decisions meant less actual time dyeing, I felt like I was immersing myself in the area that would really benefit me in the long run and allow me to think it through more fully while I had the benefit of an excellent instructor.

While the baby quilt definitely absorbed the most time this past week, my winter scene also moved forward. I added the snow to the trees and completed fusing the lower portion of the piece. The photo below shows the work ready for quilting. I intend to trim both sides for a more rectangular finish but felt that was best done after quilting. My goal for next week is to actually complete the quilting!

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My hand stitching continued, primarily in the evenings and I ordered a book of transfer letters that I hope will move me forward with my Eiffel piece. With luck, I will report more on those next week. For now, I will link to Off the Wall Friday and wish everyone fun in their own ventures.

Settling In…

Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
Thich Nhat Hanh

This was the first week of Elizabeth Barton’s Basic Dyeing for Quilting at Academy of Quilting. I am so relieved that she is taking a relaxed approach to teaching us. I was more than a little concerned that we would be overwhelmed with assignments. Fortunately, since often it is necessary to wait 24 hours before the next step in a dyeing process, it is acceptable to only devote part of each day to the class and still keep up. I am relieved since, of course, I am working on a number of projects at once.

The purpose of this week’s class was to establish a work station and use it to mix the dyes we will need for the class and to do a gradation using a black dye. My ‘work station’ actually wound up stretching from the laundry room, where I had planned to work, to the neighboring powder room. I made the untimely discovery that the outlets in our laundry room do not work (call to builder in) and so I had to move my dyed material to the powder room to set for a day or two. This was necessary as the dye had to be in an environment of at least 70 degrees and my best method for achieving that was to move a space heater into a small area. It worked great and I was quite pleased with my resulting gradation.

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Whilst I was waiting for dye to set, I did continue with my other projects – probably a bit too ambitiously as I pretty much ran out of steam mid-week. My body kindly objects to overstress and so, I probably did not make as much progress on all fronts as I thought I might.

My hand stitching project for Karen Ruanne‘s Patched Pockets got some attention. You can see some of my progress in this photo:

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Then I think I mentioned that my daughter had expressed interest in a quilt for the expected baby due in March. We made great progress over the weekend on a pattern and picking out fabric, mostly from my stash. The pattern is called Basketweave by Bonnie Sullivan. Here is how it looked on my design wall as I assembled the cut pieces.

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And, then there was my winter scene art quilt. I added some more trees and a second deer and then it sort of sat while I contemplated what to do next. I decided to next address the snow on the trees. My friend, Margaret Blank, has also been working on a quilt with trees and snow. She wrote about splattering paint to create the snow in her blog earlier this week. That got me thinking…as this week closed I was still sticking to using Tsukineko Inks mixed with shaving cream and dabbed onto the trees but splattering my show up after some “base” snow is applied with inks. I played a bit on a very rough sample with some Platinum Ink…I am sure I can use it on some of the deeper trees in the forest. Discovered that I also have some “frost white” ink that I think I will apply rather heavily on some of the larger trees at the top of the ridge. At least now I have a plan of approach…..next week I hope to disassemble the forest (having photographed the placement of trees) and begin to fuse and then apply snow. My object is an abstract sort of representation of the forest. Will be exciting to see how much progress I make – it will be a function of EB’s assignment in the dyeing class, I suspect. The photograph below demonstrates my relaxed approach to sampling – believe it or not, it was enough for me to come up with my current plan of action. The left represents the background forest and how the next progression of trees will appear over them (yes, it only took one piece of an over lapping branch to tell me what I needed to know), the right represents the ridge trees.  🙂

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In case you wondered about my Eiffel Tower project, well that did just sit. However, one of the women in my stitching class with Karen shared some excellent lettering that she had done. Lightbulbs went off and I now know my next step on that piece. It will just take me a bit to implement it.

Finally, let you think I spent the entire week tied to my studio. I did get to sneak out for a bit of shopping and found the most adorable outfit for a new born.

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On that happy note, I will link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog. See you next week!

 

Jan 2016 start

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King

It has been a good week. That’s not to say there haven’t been the usual amount of ups and downs but I love that I am back in my studio!

One project of the week was a curtain for my second grandchild whom we expect to be born in March. I had made her sister’s curtains so I already knew what was involved – and this time I had both the luxury of my daughter being able to pick out the fabric with me and being able to run over to her home to double-check some measurements and techniques as I stitched the curtains up.

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This is the week that my online class with Karen Ruanne started. It is so great to be viewing Karen’s videos again. The theme is Patched Pockets with an emphasis on using vintage hankies. As of yesterday, I had a tentative layout for half of my first ‘pocket’ of the class.

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And, of course, there is the tsukineko ink experiments that I have been participating in. I have been doing far less than my online pals but I did explore using the inks for my current Paris project. I started optimistically as I was getting feedback that loading a brush with ink and then dipping in gel was a good approach. If you look at my explorations, you can see that my results were certainly mixed. Guess which is when I overloaded ink on the brush! I did find a way that I want to use the inks in the winter scene project I will discuss next, but I have moved on for the current Paris piece to a new idea.

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Most of my attention went to my new art quilt based on the winter scene I wrote about last week. As you can see, I am really getting into it (and that feels great!). I have a long way to go…….none of the trees are fused, nor is most of the snow……lots more to add in terms of trees, snow on trees, and accents in the foreground, rocks, etc. But, this piece is growing on me daily.

 

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My mylar ‘pattern’

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You have to start somewhere……..my first tree experiments

 

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More trees, still experimenting

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Sorry about the light reflections from my overhead lighting though I must say I like the effect. In this photo, you can start to get the feel of the forest.

That is where I am leaving things for this week. With a little luck, I will move forward with all of these projects, plus there is this quilt my daughter would like for the new nursery.  🙂

P.S. Linking to Nina Marie’s  Off the Wall Friday blog. Please check out other artists.