Saturday, January 31, 2009

Closest to you

I got this from Michele's blog:

Closest book to you
How to play:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note in your BLOG.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual... Use the CLOSEST

The closest book to me was Louis L' Amour's Borden Chantry
the 5th sentence on page 56 reads 'To tell the truth, he knew nothing about court orders.'
Hmmmm... I guess it's time to read the book, so I can figure out who 'he' is, and why he would care! I started reading Louis L'Amour novels a few years ago, and got hooked on them. Good thing he was prolific!
On another note, I haven't posted pictures recently because I have been working on my Devil's Postpile quilt, and hit a snag the other day. I am quilting the borders, and decided to do a little free-motion quilting around some octagonal shapes because they didn't show up with the thread I used. So I used a lighter color for the free-motion stitches, and they ended up detracting from the main design. Fortunately I only got part way across the top border when I changed my mind, but I have discovered that removing free-motion stitches is even worse than removing regular stitches! After about an hour, I had to stop to rest... hopefully I will be able to finish ripping out today so I can complete the quilting.
Yesterday, I went with a friend, Joyce, to Phoenix... well, actually Mesa, but it all runs together down there... and we visited Hobby Lobby which is a huge craft store. I actually didn't spend a lot of money there, but got some items that I needed. Then we went to lunch and then to Sally's fabrics. Geez! I didn't know Sally's was even around any more! It's been years since I was in one, but there it was, full of great fabrics. Trouble is, since I got started with surface design techniques, it's hard for me to buy commercial fabrics! I ended up getting some cotton batting and thread, then home we came. It was a long day... left the house at 7am, got back at almost 6pm! I slept gooooood last night!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thoughts on journalling

I have been journalling since the first of this month as part of the exercises from 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron. The exercise requires writing 'morning pages'... 3 pages of 'stream-of-consciousness' writing, which basically means fill 3 pages with whatever comes to mind... no planning, no thought of how someone will interpret it, because it is not meant to be read by anyone! I tried this before a long time ago, and then it seemed like a chore, and I abandoned it after a short time. This time, I am sticking with it, and I find that it is somehow opening up my creative channels, AND I am following through with ideas and plans! Somehow, putting pen to paper seems to commit me to action. I have no idea if that is the purpose originally intended by the author, but I know that is the result I have experienced so far. So for anyone reading this, if you seem to be stuck in neutral, creatively, you might want to pick up this book. I bought one years ago, then leant it out, so I ended up buying another one at our local used book store. It's probably also available at the library, although it is a 12-week course, so you might need to renew it before you are done. At any rate, it's helping me to do a little house-cleaning to remove old ideas and try new ones... worth a try!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Update on Woodwind; new project

I did some cleanup and added more embellishment on my Recycled Art project after last week's post... don't know if you can see it, but I added some ribbon, beading and thread. I also sprayed some polyurethane on the wood to protect it:

Meanwhile, I finally got all the fabric together to start a new art quilt based on a photo I took of the Devil's PostPile rock formation near Mammoth Mountain:

I have been fascinated by this formation ever since I first saw it back in 1997, and have wanted to create a piece of art ever since. Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. As you will see, I didn't exactly stick to the actual color scheme:

My original intent was to include the rock pile (seen at the bottom of the photo) and some of the vegetation as well, and I may still add some of that in. But I am really pleased with just the pillars, so I plan to study the design for a few days before I decide whether to add more composition or not. Right now, the fabrics are just fused onto the background, and I do plan to add detail stitching to the top before I quilt... I also think I will probably do at least another of these before I move on. I have another photo where the pillars are curved in part of the formation... that may be a bit of a challenge, but the subject matter is just awesome, and I can't get enough of it! Loony, huh?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recycled Art piece

Yesterday I decided to play around with an idea for a piece for our upcoming Recycled Art show. I have had fabric in my stash of commercial fabrics for eons... at least 18-20 years! I have kept it because I loved the colors and patterns, even though all I had was scraps, but I told myself 'Some day I'll find a use for these!'. Well, I did, at least for a portion of them. It's not totally complete yet... I still need to finish the wood piece it's mounted on, and I may add some more embellishments, but essentially it's done:

This piece is waaaaaay outside the box for me! First off, I left the edges raw, which is very uncomfortable for me, but I wanted a spontaneous, organic look. Also, I had to work to keep it from looking too 'thrown together', even though in essence, that's what it is. I used very little pre-planning, just a vague image in my mind of what I wanted. In the end, the wood piece and the butterfly were afterthoughts, but I think both added immensely to the look I was after. I named it 'Woodwind', because of the wood, and the fact that the slightest breeze causes the fabric to shift. I could have called it 'Waterfall', which it also resembles, but I think I'll stick to 'Woodwind' for now. I plan to finish the wood to protect it, and I need to attach something in the back to hang it from. Right now, I have it resting on nails, but I think I should do something more. Anyway, that's my story for today!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Post card

I just finished the post card I have been working on for several days. I'm sorry to report the experiment to print a template on fabric for the address side did not come out well. I used Bubble Jet 2000 on my fabric, dried then ironed on to freezer paper. Then I printed my template onto the fabric, waited 30 minutes, then rinsed in cold water using the Bubble Jet 2000 rinse. After drying again, I cut out the post card part and used wonder under to fuse to the backing, and the ink bled, even though I was ironing with parchment paper in between the iron and the fabric. So I guess I need to do a little more experimenting if I want to use fabric. Plan B: use card stock, print, fuse to the back of the fabric post card, then zig zag the outer edges. That didn't come out as well as I would like either. My fault: didn't leave enough blank card around the edges, so my zig zag stitches covered part of the printed area. So Plan C is I framed the piece in one of my new frames... all is not lost!

I do like the composition on this one, and may decide to make a larger version later. Meanwhile, my head is buzzing with ideas for doing some shibori dyeing, so I'm hoping to dive into that over the next couple of days... I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Little nibblets of progress

I haven't posted much lately of fiber art, not because I haven't been working, but just because of year end, new year, etc. Today, I dyed my first fabric of the year, for a Round Robin I am participating in through Jane Dunnewold's Complex Cloth yahoo group. I used muslin, and accordion folded it, used can lids, clamps, and bamboo skewers banded together to resist the dye. I used Golden yellow, a little deep orange, and baby pink dyes. Here is the result:
It actually looks paler in person, but for some reason I couldn't get the editing program to lighten it. At any rate, I'm pleased with how it turned out. Now it will go to 4 other people in the group to have them add their own treatments to it, and will come back to me totally transformed. I look forward to receiving pieces from the other members so I can do the same.
Another project I have been working on the past couple of days is a fabric post card. I am almost done with it, and will post a picture then. I have fused fabric, stamped, hand and machine embroidered on it so far. I even made up a template for the back side which I may use. I am going to try printing on fabric with my Bubble Jet Set transfer solution, which I have used before and like. Stay tuned, and I will post the results soon!
On another note, this was one of those days where things didn't want to go right! My car has been stuck in the driveway since Friday, when I drove over a snow berm and got wedged in. My Hubby and a neighbor tried to pull it out with a tow chain, and not only didn't it budge, but the brake fluid hoses were damaged in the process. We called the towing service, and the guy came out, put the car on the back, and took it to the wrong mechanic. A few hours later, I discovered the mistake when I called our mechanic and he told me the car never got there. Needless to say, I won't be seeing the car until tomorrow. Meanwhile, my hubby's computer keeps getting infected with spyware, so our trusty computer guy came out, cleaned it, installed new software to block spyware, and went on his way. Later, my hubby discovered he could not access several of his drives..... yeesh! Another visit tomorrow from computer guy! That's my tale of woe from the snowy prairie....

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Hah! Here it is only the 3rd day of the new year, and I have already made progress on my first Artistic goal. Yesterday, I had a couple of errands to run in town, and after the first I had time to visit 3 galleries, and discuss putting some of my work with one of the gallery owners. He has promised to get back to me, and had me fill out an application and looked at my website. I am very encouraged by even getting that far!
Also, I have agreed with two of my fellow bloggers, Marie and Sandra, to work together through the exercises in 'The Artist's Way'. I have had the book for years -- correction, had it, loaned it out and never got it back, had to buy a new copy a year or so ago... but I have never worked through it. So when Marie brought up getting some of us together to do just that, I jumped at the chance. So far, I have begun the daily morning pages, and the gallery visits yesterday were my first 'Artist's date', so I am moving forward!
Just a side note for anyone who has balked at the morning pages... I was doing mine this morning, and got an inspiration for another project! Out of nowhere, except it tied into the discussion I had yesterday with the gallery owner. With the downswing in the economy, he has noticed a definite slowdown of sales, and was commenting on how it would be nice if he could get lower priced items in the gallery. Today, I got the idea to create fabric postcards with a 'Flagstaff' theme, since we have so many out of town visitors. This would be a unique 'postcard' they could take with them to remind them of their visit. So today, I created the first draft of a design that should be fairly easy and quick to make up. It has a mountain, representing the San Francisco peaks, an aspen leaf, since we have a great many aspens here, and a pine cone with some needles, since we are famous for Ponderosa pines here. I can't wait to make up the prototype! More soon...