Friday, December 24, 2010

Update on Taos

I can't believe how long it has been since I did any work on my Taos art quilt! Time has a way of flying! But now that all the shows are done for the year, and I have finished the Christmas shopping/mailing, sent out the Christmas cards, and caught up with some household chores, I finally found time to get some more work done on it:
Here is the top next to a copy of the photo I am working from
Here is a close-up of the grassy area I just got some work done on. My biggest challenge has been to find a good selection of thread colors to use on this project! I used hand-dyed fabrics, but I don't (yet!) dye my own thread... that may change soon! In the meantime, I haven't decided if I am going to finish this as a quilted wall hanging, or perhaps mount it in a frame. All the stitching is being done to just the foundation piece. I hope to have the stitching done before the end of the year. I love how it's coming along, and I'm anxious to see the finished piece!
Other than that, I have been building up my wholesale shop and looking for retailers to contact... if you know anyplace in your neck of the woods that might want to buy hand-dyed clothing and accessories, let me know, okay? Meanwhile, you can check out my new shop at Let me know what you think of it, okay? Feedback is always welcome! Happy holidays to all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winding down for the holidays

Well, the grandkids' presents are in the mail, most of the Christmas cards are on their way, Cookies are ready to be dropped at various locations, reservations made for Christmas Day dinner... yes, for the first time ever, we are going out for Christmas dinner! The weather outside is frightful (windy, cold, but no rain/snow yet!)... and I'm ready to take a little break! I started knitting a new pattern yesterday for a triangle kerchief... slowly adding a new stitch to my repertoire (kbf to increase), and I have opened up a new website for wholesale buyers! I have a few new items I created:
This is the rope-wrap shibori I usually do in cool colors... I call this one 'Fire'.
This is the 'Bamboo' pattern in camel and black... I also have two other color combos for this one.
I'm hoping to get back to my 'latest' Art Quilt over the next few days... I haven't had time to work on it for awhile, and would really like to finish it up over the holidays!
So to all who read this, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and may 2011 bring us all hope, peace of mind, joy, love and laughter!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Art of Adire

Yesterday, I got my newsletter from Dharma Trading. They always feature new artists, and I was introduced to Ife Franklin, who is an Adire artist. You can see her on youtube, demonstrating the art form. I was particularly interested in the large wood block stamps she used for waxing the items before dyeing... I have been looking for stamps of this kind for some time, and sent her an e-mail to see if she could tell me where she got hers. Meanwhile, I did a little web searching myself, and found Zanzibar Trading co, where I ordered the last 2 Adinkra Gourd stamps they had available on their website:
I'm also working on ideas for how to create some wood block stamps without having to do a lot of carving! Attaching small pieces of wood to a larger block with wood glue comes to mind, although if I use them for batik, I'm not sure if the wood glue will stand up to the heat of the melted wax. I do have a dremmel, so I could do some blocks using that to chew away the wood around the designs... I also have carving tools, but I think they are designed to be used on linoleum blocks. All I know is my direction is taking shape for 2011! I also know I will not be using the waxes or dyes used by Ife... my back was hurting just watching her video where she is bending over to rinse her dyed pieces, and stirring them in the boiling water to remove the wax! Nope, soy wax and cold water dyes for me! But I truly love the shapes and designs of African tribal fiber arts, and hope to capture that feeling with these, and other stamps either purchased or created by my efforts! More to come...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In his chair

Shrekkie has spent the last two nights outside again, as the weather has warmed up from the cold snap we had over the weekend. But he is right there first thing every morning to come inside, have a nice breakfast, and let me give him a warming rubdown. He has adopted this chair in the living room as his napping spot... neither of the other two cats use it, so it is officially his now! He is such a beauty... just wish I could get his picture without the 'glowing eyes'!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two projects

Continuing on my list, experimented yesterday with dyeing fabric that had a white design printed on a white background. The first is a butterfly pattern, and I applied unthickened procion mx dyes to a piece of the fabric which had been soaked in soda ash solution, then dried:

I used a 3 inch wide foam brush to apply the dyes, creating some wavy stripes, slightly overlapping the colors. I call this "Waves of butterflies", and I used part of the fabric to create a cell phone case:

I actually started another where I was outlining the butterflies with free-motion quilting, but I realized that would be a lot more labor intensive, so I ended up just quilting along the flow of the color bars... much easier and quicker!
So I have now made 3 cell phone cases, and I have removed that from my project list... not because I won't be making any more, but because I feel comfortable enough with the concept to feel like I don't need to keep it as a 'to do' on my board.
Meanwhile, I also did another experiment with a different white-on-white fabric, and I'm not as pleased with the results:

I used my eyedropper here to apply the dyes to the pre-soaked and dried fabric. I had laid the fabric flat in a bin, and really don't feel that the dye worked well here... I love the fabric, but I think next time I will either apply with a foam brush or roller, and I want to try this fabric with a bronze dye with maybe a touch of orange. I will post more pix as I go... meanwhile, this item stays on the project board for awhile longer. I still have at least 8-10 different fabric samples to experiment with, including a number of black/white, and a white with gold print... fun!
On an unrelated note, I posted an item on my Facebook page that our semi-wild kitty, Shrekkie, actually spent the whole night in the house last night, comfortably perched on a chair in the living room! I think he gets it that life can be a lot more comfy in the house in the winter than outside, freezing under the house! He's such a sweetie! Looks kinda like a furry bear when his fur is standing out, see?

Monday, November 29, 2010

And another one!

Okay, so I'm now officially hooked on making cell phone cases! I have such a huge stash of fabric, and I'm also incorporating the project to overdye white-on-white and black/white fabrics, as well as using some batik squares I got this summer when my friend and I visited a bunch of quilt stores in the area. Here's the first cell phone case using the batik:

I hope to get several more of these done over the coming week before I post to my store. This one is 2 3/4 by 5 inches, which fits my phone perfectly. But I can make them in other sizes as well, so stay tuned... I'll update again when I have posted these to the shop!

One down...

So... I scrounged around in my fabric stash yesterday and found enough scraps of hand-dyed fabric to make a cell phone case yesterday! This is fabric I used earlier this year to make some sun visors, and I really love the colors and patterns... even the scraps! I started out with a 10 inch square of muslin and did a crazy quilt variation, starting with a 5-sided piece and building around that with other pieces until I had covered the square. Then I sandwiched a piece of solid color yellow lining, batting and the top piece, then just did stitch in the ditch to quilt. I was going to get all fancy with free-motion quilting, but decided to keep it simple. After all, this is a prototype, and I mainly wanted to test the pattern to see how easily it went together. I am pleased, and will probably make up some of these for the shop soon. Meanwhile, if you want to try the pattern, you can download it here, compliments of Susan Brubaker Knapp... thanks, Susan! Meanwhile, I'm going to leave this item on my project board for awhile to remind me to make some more, but at least I have made a start at working through the list!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The list goes on....

A long time ago, I got into the habit of making lists. It's a great way to keep track of things - groceries, chores, projects. And as I take care of each item on the list, I check it off, line through it, or in the case of my project board, erase the item. So you would think that, sooner or later, the list would be finished, right? NOT! Especially in the case of my project board, I just keep thinking up new ones! Here is a picture of my current list:

First item: video clips. I have done 4 so far - demos of how to do various tie-dye techniques. I have them on youtube, and they are getting pretty good views! Trouble is, I keep coming up with more I want to do, so the item is still on the board.
Next: overdye white-on-white fabric. Several months ago, my friend Joyce and I visited several fabric stores in the area, and I picked up some white on white and black and white pieces to see how they would look if I dyed them. I'm almost ready to try this, since I have quite a bit of leftover dyes from other projects, so I may be able to knock this off soon.
Next: Batik on silk. I have actually tried this on a couple of scarves, but I'm not satisfied with the results, nor am I ready to stop trying, so it stays on the board.
Mounting fiber pieces to canvas... I gave a half-hearted try at this one last summer, but haven't had time or inspiration to try again. This one may end up being removed just to make room for something else, who knows?!
Indigo dyeing - this one will need to wait until warmer weather... I meant to get to it this year, but I just never had the time to devote to it! I have a starter kit, a 5 gallon bucket with lid... just need uninterrupted time to focus!
Cell phone covers... this was something I hoped to get to this year. I have lots of fabric scraps, and thought it would be a great item to add to my inventory, but again, lack of sufficient time to at least develop a pattern I like, so maybe this winter I can work on a prototype!
Taos A.Q. - this is an art quilt I began a few months back, but had to set aside to prepare for my last show of the year. It is patiently waiting for me on my design board, and I seriously hope to get back to it in the next week or two!
Try steaming silk! Well, this ties in with batik on silk, and I have tried it. I leave it on the board, because I was not satisfied with the results, so once I get back to trying more silk batik, I may try this again.
Last, Thermofax screens - fibra artysta. R0ssie mentioned getting a thermofax screen from Lynn , and this is something I have wanted to do for awhile! I have some ideas about designs I could use on my tie-dye, so I'm hoping to work a few up and have her make them for me.
So there you have it - a list that never seems to get shorter, in spite of the fact that I have accomplished a large number of items since I put this board up next to my PC and started using it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The verdict is in!

Well, after 2 days at the Mountain Campus Holiday show, the verdict is in... the scarves were the biggest seller of all! I sold 20 of them! I think maybe next year, I will leave most of the tie-dye at home and make lots more scarves! They have been good sellers for the past 3 years, but I made a lot more this year, and only have about a dozen left, so that's a sign! And of the 5 years I have participated in this show, this year's sales topped my best year, which was 2 years ago... maybe the economy is finally starting to come back!

Meanwhile, my friend Cinde who makes yummy beaded jewelry did better this year than a year ago, which was her first show ever, and that makes me really happy, since I practically shoved her into trying her hand at craft shows! She has been beading for about 20 years, but just kept what she made or gave them as gifts. Here are some closer shots of her booth:

My goal is to help her get an on-line store set up next year, so more people can enjoy her talents! Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mtn Campus Holiday Show - day 1

Yesterday was the first of our annual 2-day show at No. Az. University. This is my fifth year participating in this show, and it's the biggest show I do each year in sales and attendance. As usual, Friday attendance is lighter, since it is a work-day, but I had my second-best Friday sales yesterday, topped only by my sales in 2008! My scarves flew off the rack, as I expected... sold 6 to one customer for gifts!
Here are pix of my booth, and my friend Cinde's... we are sharing 2 spaces.

This is Cinde's second year at this show, and she did pretty good yesterday as well. She makes beautiful hand-beaded jewelry, and people are very complimentary about her pieces... very labor-intensive, but real eye-catchers! I will try to get some close-ups today to post. Meanwhile, I need to get ready to go... the show starts at 9am today, and I look forward to a busy happy day of it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A recent tie-dye order

I took an order from someone in Sedona last month for tie-dye shirts and romper for her grandkids... she posted a photo on her blog, and it's soooo cute! Any wonder why I still love to do tie-dye after almost 13 years? Right!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coming attractions

I have been busy making some new items for my shop, but they will not be available until later this month. Thought I would put out a 'teaser' to let you know I will be offering a new gift item soon!

These are based on a pattern by Beth Wheeler, and utilize some of my hand-dyed and/or embellished fabrics. The note pad is 5" x 8", with a pocket for pens and a velcro closure. I'm trying to get a bunch done for my upcoming show at our local University, which is my biggest show of the year, so I am hoarding these right now along with the scarves I have been dyeing. If you plan to be in Flagstaff November 19-20, I hope you will stop by! The show is at No. Arizona University, du Bois Center. Hours are: Friday, 11am-6pm, Saturday, 9am-4pm. Hope to see you there, but if not, I will let you know when these covered note pads are available in my shop!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Busy... busy... busy!!!

I feel like I'm a crafter on steroids these days! Ramping up for the big show of the year, and my studio looks like a tornado struck! I got a bunch more scarves dyed last week, and sold 7 to a friend from CA, so I ordered a bunch more to dye before the 19th. Good thing they dye quickly! Here are a few I did last week:

I also did some custom orders from my last show and dyed a shirt for another friend in CA which is ready to ship. Then yesterday, I made up the second of (hopefully) a bunch of note pad covers out of some hand-dyed and embellished fabric. I would like to get at least 6 more made up for the show later this month, and once I get the various fabrics cut out, they should go fairly quickly. So as I said in my title, 'Busy...busy...busy'!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun with silk dyeing

I have been wanting to try using citric acid instead of vinegar to prepare silk scarves for dyeing, and finally did some experimenting yesterday. I had a few scarves I had purchased for a class earlier this year that I never got around to using, so I decided to try them. Two were Habotai, one was silk satin. I tied and dyed the silk satin, but wasn't thrilled with the outcome.. not because of the citric acid... because I didn't apply enough dye and there was too much white remaining. The next one, a long habotai, I soaked in the citric acid solution, scrunched up on a piece of plexiglass, then applied 3 dye colors using an eye dropper. Then I sprinkled on some rock salt and let the scarf set for awhile before gently placing in a zip lock bag and nuking for about 2 minutes. That one worked very well:

I tried this technique of dyeing on cotton earlier this year, and was pleased with the results, but had not thought to try it on silk until now. Needless to say, I will be doing more like this! Now I'm trying it on another long scarf of silk satin... the markings aren't so pronounced, but I still like it. However, I do think I will need to get some more Habotai scarves to play with as well!
The good news is, citric acid has no odor.. the vinegar darn near drove my hubby out of the house when I used it to pre-soak the silk, so harmony has been restored to our happy home!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Art Quilt Blog

I was invited by Chris Daly to join a new blog, The Art Quilt Blog, which is a wonderful resource for inspiration! There are several other art quilters there who have already inspired me to try some new techniques... check it out!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Update on Taos art quilt, flower pix

I haven't had much time recently to work on my Taos quilt, but I think I'm almost done with the pine tree on the right side:
I have used 4 thread colors to create the branches and needles, stitching over a piece of hand dyed fabric. I'm not trying to replicate the tree in the photo here... just using the photo for inspiration and letting my artists' creative license take over. I live in an area that has the largest Ponderosa Pine forest anywhere, and I will admit that my tree looks more like the one outside my studio window than the one in the photo! I may come back and add a little more stitching, but for now I'm satisfied with how it's taking shape, and I think I will move on to other areas for awhile...
On another note, I recently took pictures of some Sunflowers growing in the yard, the result of sunflower seeds that the birds missed!

I love these... not quite the giants I think of, but bigger than the Brown-eyed Susans we get here naturally. I'm sure I will need to create something using these as inspiration... just don't know yet if it will be fiber art, or maybe I'll get back into painting again... stay tuned!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Great Article for professional Artists/Crafters

Yesterday I picked up the October issue of the Crafts Report... first time I have read it in a long time. It's a great issue, packed with great articles about Internet Marketing... I highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about selling their arts or crafts! I'm not one for subscribing to a lot of magazines, but may break down and subscribe to this one... I think it would be a worth-while expense!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Featured Artist for October

I have been selected to be the 'Featured Artist' this month at the Artists' Coalition Gallery in Flagstaff. We had First Friday Art Walk last night, and had a good turnout, which is pretty standard for Flag... lots of art lovers here! Here's a shot of my wall:

"Prickly Pear Cactus" and "Fallen Leaves" got lots of attention and good feedback.
I was wearing one of my 'Autumn Leaves' batik shirts to stay in keeping with the 'Autumn' theme of many of my pieces. We also had a great display of other artists' work in acrylics, oils, watercolor, pastels, photography, jewelry, mixed media... what a great goup we have in our little gallery! If you get to Flagstaff this month, stop by on Saturday or Sunday. We're at 13 N San Francisco St., Suite 103.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The stitching begins...

I got some time to begin the decorative stitching this weekend:

I'm using free-motion stitching to create the branches, twigs, shading, etc. I don't like to rush this step because it adds a lot to the overall composition if done right, or looks like a scribble session if not! Overall, I'm pleased so far with the way this piece is taking shape. There are some areas I probably won't do much stitching or quilting on, mainly the sky and the mountain... should make for a nice contrast to the trees and shrubs. More to come...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Foundation for new landscape quilt

I finished the first layer on my new landscape quilt today:

To begin with, I transferred the line drawing shown in my previous post to a piece of unbleached muslin by laying the fabric over the line drawingt and tracing over the lines with permanent marker. Then I traced each section onto the rough side of a piece of wonder under fusible interfacing. I should mention that I had already pulled fabrics from my stash for the different sections, all but the piece on the bottom. I hand dyed that piece today... all other pieces are hand-dyed as well.
Starting from the top of the design, I fused the interfacing to the back of each piece, then cut out the design using the lines drawn on the interfacing. Then I scored across the paper backing of the interfacing and peeled off the paper. Then I placed the fabric in the proper section and used a damp pressing cloth to press over the fabric to fuse it to the muslin. In cases where I had pieces that were going to be placed on another piece, such as the tree or shrub pieces, I went ahead and cut out all the pieces for an area first before fusing any of the larger pieces that would cover my lines, then I made sure the pieces would cover the muslin completely. Once I had verified that, I removed all but the next layer to be fused, and continued to fuse in the proper order. That sounds confusing, but I go by the design I'm using as a reference to determine which piece goes down before the other pieces. For instance, sky comes first, then mountain, then background trees, then foreground trees, shrubs, grass, etc.
My next step will be to do some free-motion decorative stitching to create tree branches, grass, shadows, etc. Then I will make my 'quilt sandwich' which is the quilt top, batting, and backing, and then I will quilt through the three layers. I may need to go back and add some more decorative stitching after that, but if not, the final step will be to add the quilt sleeve and binding. I would love to have this piece done by the end of the month so I can include it in my exhibit at the Artists' Coalition Gallery, but I don't want to rush it. I'll post again when I have made more progress.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Batik

I just finished a new Autumn Leaves batik, similar to the first one I did last year which just sold. I love this design, and batik is the ideal technique to create the varigated colors that are so typical of leaves that turn colors in the fall:

This one is a little smaller than the first one I did, only 10 1/2 X 23 1/4 inches, but it doesn't need to be very large to be noticed! I could do these from now until the cows come home, and not grow tired of the colors, the theme or the feeling I get when I look at them! I have always had a passionate love of autumn leaves, so to find a way to create art that represents them is a real joy for me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Anatomy of a Landscape Quilt

I have mentioned in previous posts that I like to work from photographs - usually my own - to create my landscape quilts. Recently, I paid a visit to the blog of a very talented photographer, Chris Schutz, and fell in love with a photograph she had taken outside of Taos, NM, a place I have wanted to visit for awhile, but haven't made it yet. I contacted Chris to see if she would allow me to use her image as inspiration for a landscape quilt, and she very graciously granted me permission to do so! Well, I'm just in the design stage now, but thought I would try to document my process as I go, so here is the first shot:

I printed a copy of the image and used it to help me plot out the different areas of the design. I plan to fuse hand-dyed fabric onto a foundation piece where I trace out the design elements, then I will make the 'quilt sandwich' with lightweight batting and a backing piece, then finish up with free-motion quilting and embellishing. I really love this composition... the lights and darks, the colors and the organic shapes should lend themselves well to quilting! Stay tuned...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Open Studios, Day 2

As promised, here are some shots of Cinde's beaded jewelry, and one of some projects she is currently working on:

The project on the left above is a bracelet Cinde is creating on a loom; on the right is a petrified sand dollar she is beading to create a cabachon. She is very talented, and her work was very popular this weekend! All in all, I think this year's Open Studios tour was a great success! I haven't spoken to a lot of the artists yet, but our Coalition president called this morning to say he has heard from several, and the attendance this year was phenomenal! Thanks to all who attended and supported our efforts!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Open Studios, Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of this year's Open Studios tour, and considering that we were at my friend Cinde's house about 5 1/2 miles east of town, we got a pretty good turnout, and some good sales as well! Cinde has a lovely home, and it made a perfect setting to display our work. Here are some shots:
Cinde has a loft above the living room with wonderful railing, just right for displaying my art quilts!

Her spacious living room gave me plenty of room to set up my clothing racks...

She has a great little nook with french doors and a window that let in just the right amount of light for my wall art collection.
I didn't get any shots of Cinde's wonderful beaded jewelry yesterday, so I'll be sure to get some today. She was working on a loom-beaded bracelet yesterday, and a beaded cabachon for a friend... can't wait to see how they turn out!