Friday, July 28, 2006

Post Cards for Fiberart for a Cause

This is a small sampling of the 40 postcards that are on their way to Virginia Spiegel for Fiberart for a Cause. The postcards, hopefully 1000 of them, will be shown at the
International Quilt Festival in Houston later this year. I am proud that I have contributed many to two previous shows, Houston last year and Chicago this year as well
as participating in the reverse auction. This has been a very easy way for me to assist in the fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

more of what I have been doing

I was really trying to get these three pictures in the previous post but blogger wouldn't let me so I started all over again. This is ordinary time at church and is the green season. At our church, we call it the green growing season. Last year I have made a set of green things for church but I got tired of them so last week I pulled out various silk fabrics and hit the dye pots. These are all fused. The way the silks are turned makes the light reflect differently.

On the left, if that is the way it comes on, is part of the stole. I have used foiling to make the crosses which were silk screened on using foiling glue through the silkscreen.
The next piece is the hanging for the Holy Table which we are using for our altar during this hot time as we are meeting in a smaller, lighter room. And then the third is the front of the veil which goes over the chalice. In addition to just finishing these pieces, last week I sewed up some sheers for the meeting room at church that were two panels of 90" x 16'...sure don't want to do that again but it does cool the room off a little in addition to cutting the glare in the morning.

My rant came about because I was busy sewing and listening to I just listen to music!

what I have been doing besides ranting

I have been very busy working on various things. Several weeks ago I did some overdyeing, using acrylic circles and rectangles for the resist. Now I have finished the two small quilts that have come from them. They are each about 28 x 36" with the overdyed piece in the middle and then fused more stuff...whatever. They were both fun to do to just play with the fabric and to figure out what I was going to do. This makes my third piece using my overdyed, resisted fabrics. They are so much fun! Instant gratification!

Last week I spent time pulling together these first two pieces and then I pulled together a larger piece that I had painted and started doing some silk screening on but hadn't gone any further. So I finished up the design part and now I am in the middle of quilting it but wanted to show it off. This is about 36 x 55 or so.

I have another big one that is ready to sandwich and hopefully I can get it quilted new week. In addition, I am finishing the binding on the blues and greens quilt that I did on the long arm.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Public Correction!

Tonya pointed out that I discussed the religious left when I really meant the religious right. I am so sorry. I just can't keep my left from my right, whether it is my brain or my lack of politics.

Next time I will post pictures of some new work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


This morning I was busy sewing away on this new piece. I took a break and looked at a few of my favorite blogs and stopped by Gerrie Congdon's blog. She has some beautiful pictures that her son took at the Japanese gardens in Portland. In fact, there are a couple that I would like to ask if I could use for inspiration in some new work! As I was reading about what was going on and about her daughter's wins at the swimming meets, she also posted a link to a picture of a man holding a sign that says "God hates fags"

This has been on my mind all the time I have been sewing and I finally decided that I had to stop sewing and respond to this.

I am so very tired of people way out on the left thinking that they represent all Christians. My God and my Jesus do not hate "fags". In fact, hate in not in the vocabulary of either one. Jesus joined us on this earth to teach us what God wanted us to love one another, to treat all as brothers, not to judge, and that His death brought Grace to us all. I am tired of things being taken out of context in the bible to justify someone's personal belief.

No matter what one's religious beliefs are, loving one another is a part of the teachings of all of them. Hate is not a part of any of them. If someone tells you otherwise, they are taking something out of context.

so much for my rant of the day.

Meanwhile, I have thoughts about making my Katrina has been in my mind for sometime and will be titled "Nagin's Folly". I am in the middle of reading the Great Deluge which is a history of Katrina and who did what and who did not do what. It is really fascinating reading and I suggest anyone who lives in any area subject to natural disasters of any kind should read this. The best message coming out of this book is that we need to be able to care for ourselves, and care for each other and to not expect anyone else to do it for us.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

On Birthdays and other such stuff

Today is my 59th birthday. It was really nice having it celebrated at church this morning. One woman said it was nice to see someone happy about their birthday for change. I am happy that I was born and my birthday is the celebration of my birth. Now that is something to be glad about! And turning 59 is just fine, as will turning 60 next year will be. This year has been full and rich, complex, difficult, funny, happy, sad, and lots of times, just rolling along okay!

The more I understand about my spirituality and my creativeness, the more I can understand why it is so important to be able to be in the moment. This comes relatively easily for me. I am curious, easily entertained, and very grateful for all of the beauty around me. To be able to take moments to appreciate the shape of the clouds, the color of the sky whether it is blue or grey, the sound of the birds in my backyard, the colors that come out of my fabric dyeing...these are all such wonderful things. Take the time to recognize them, to revel in them, to enjoy them because that is what makes life really worth living. Connecting with the moment puts us closer to our God which has created all.

During July and August, our 10:30 service on Sundays has been moved to 9:30 because it is cooler and we are meeting in our "fireside" room rather than the sanctuary. Our services are not big...about 40-50 people with a bunch out and away for the summer. So we have a small table for an altar, our priest wears only her stole, our cup bearers are not in their robes, and we all sit in a semi-circle so we can see each other. We have developed a much stronger sense of community. Our service is much more informal but also far more personal. It will be hard to move back to the dark sanctuary which is covered in 100 year old redwood paneling...

My husband and daughter and her husband gave me a purple Tutto tote which is for putting your machine in wheels. I really didn't want it for my sewing machine...I want it for a carry on...when I do get to travel on an airplane to give a lecture and workshop, I travel with my computer and projector for my power point presentation. The computer has it's own bag but it is really heavy...the projector has it's own case which puts be over the limit when I have a purse also. So now, this tote will work great. It pulls from the end so it will go through the airplane aisles rather than requiring carrying. It will hold the computer, projector, cables, water bottle, food snacks, and some clothes and a book and magazine along with a project to work on. What more could I ask? (well some bookings would help!)

I am now deleting most of the posts on the list. It's really sad that it has fallen to this level...too much talk about TV, too much talk about who is right, too much offense taken, too much offense given. I learned some time ago that I cannot allow myself to be brought down by negative people and situations. I am now able to excuse myself, or ask that the situation be changed, or just not invite negative people in to my life. I have suffered from clinical depression now for 11 years. Unfortunately, therapy did not provide long term answers but medication has really assisted me in living a normal life. With a change in medications a year and a half ago, things got much better. But my mental health is too important to me to allow others negativity to effect it. So, back to being in the moment...when things get negative around me, I look for that something special somewhere where I can be in the moment with beauty. And thus, my art is generally about making beauty (at least from my perspective!)

I have been getting a lot of work done recently. Will try to get pictures up soon although some has been put on my website.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Art for the Soul or Art to Sell?

Well, as the list continues with it's ongoing discussion of cows, pigs, patterns etc. someone mentioned the issue of making art from our soul versus making art to sell.

When my children were young, I used to make a lot of baby quilts and sell them at Children's fairyland in Oakland, CA. Most were from patters...that is before the big brouhaha over making things and selling them from patterns. It was a way to could earn a little extra money for my fabric. I have also done assorted types of greeting cards, especially when I was working. This was an easy way for me to be creative, without putting a lot of time or thought in to what I was doing. I sold those also.

Now I just make art that comes from within. Is it all ART FROM THE SOUL? Well, it comes from inside me.

Does it have angst? No.
Was it all hard to do? No.
Did I wrestle with the design? No.
Did I worry about the color choices? No.
Did I stay up forever trying to decide just how to quilt it? No.

Now, why do I say no to many of these things? Isn't art supposed to be gut wrenching in the making? I don't think so.

I believe that the more we make, the easier it gets. Like learning the rules. When you learn the rules, think out loud about them as you are doing them, and make them a part of your brain, then they are very easy to use without thinking. Same thing with color. One needs to become color confident and that comes from doing a lot of work to see what works and what doesn't.

In order to do a lot of work, it helps to work small. That way we can do a lot of stuff and get a lot of practice. Too many people on the LIST get too concerned about if something is art or not, will it sell, what size should it be to get into whatever show they would like, what does the judge like, etc?

Just do the work. It isn't until you have a body of work together that you are in a position to start showing it out there.

When I retired, the first year and a half were spent in producing work. I started entering shows during the second year and continued, with the goal of getting my work out there in quilt and art shows. I have won awards in art shows. I have won awards in quilt shows. I don't win top awards in quilt shows because I am not always as careful as I should be on the backs of my quilts and sometimes the bindings aren't straight or done with the proper stitching in the corner of the miter. Oh well. Does that bother me? NO.

Because my work is getting out there, it is selling. Now that is validation! That is what I want? Why would I want to make one quilt every other year that is perfect and will win big awards in every show I enter it in? Well, maybe that would be nice because there is far more money in the quilt show awards in the big shows than there is in the art shows. But, more work sells in the art shows.

I have a big pile of art of various sizes (that look like quilts) piled on the bed. I also have about 40 pieces that are out at various galleries and shows. And right now I have two fused, large pieces that need to be sandwiched and stitched, another one that is almost finished in it stitching, a piece made with resisted dyeing that needs to be stitched, one that is partly stitched and two that need to get sleeves put on so they can go out to shows. Plus tons of pieces that need to have labels made for them!

But, I have now had an art consultant come to me to see about selling my work (now that is the really easy way and boy does it feel good). That is what I want!

Boy that list is getting to me! Would you believe I don't read it much but just scan the index in the digests?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

web site and art issues

I have finally updated my website. If you are just interested in the new pieces, you can scroll down on the first, home page, to new quilts and take a look. The new pieces are in the abstract gallery and the sun gallery. I have posted all of the pieces made for Quilting Arts Magazine along with several other new pieces, several of which have been shown here but have now been professionally photographed.

The Art Quilt list is back to "Is it art?" again. Unfortunately, too many people just don't get the big picture. There are so many levels to this whole question. Anyone can call something art but then, the question is, is it good art? I get very few quilting magazines and many more art magazines. It is really interesting to see what is being presented in the world of painting as opposed to quilting.

I think that pieces that are art quilts that show up in quilt shows are not always very good art. Sometimes they just try too hard.

Textile pieces (quilts, fiber, etc) that show up in art shows are another matter. They are juried in based on the art and workmanship. ( and I don't mean the stitches to the inch type of workmanship, but the overall quality). And the heavily embellished pieces don't usually make it to art shows. I think that if one really wants to see art, that happens to be fiber, would be in the shows that Joanie San Chirico curates. Not the type of work that the people on the art quilt list do!

It is also so sad that people are quick to negatively comment and miss the entire idea of the comments made on the list. I believe that most of those who get defensive are, unfortunately, those whose "art" is the weakest. The reason behind my doing the articles for Quilting Arts was to help educate people about the art part of quilting. Embellishment, new techniques, etc., do not make art. If you look at some of the modern art, it really isn't about the finished product, but about the experience of the creation...therein lies the art! Creating is a process and works best when one understands the rules of the medium used. Once one firmly grasps the rules, then they can be broken with knowledge and intent.

I used to do a lot of pottery on the wheel. I really loved it and admired those who did distressed that had bangs in to them, etc. But I couldnot flop a pot off kilter until I had learned to make one that was perfectly centered and even. Then, the piece was strong enough to get whopped and whacked out of round! But it had to have been made properly before I could do something else with it.

The same goes with art. If one has not learned to use the medium correctly and well, then it just doesn't work. There will always be art that is considered outsider art...that which defies all of the rules but somehow works. But we generally see too many "technique" pieces at quilt shows and not enough art. The comments about older work being art is so true. But not all older work fits the art definition. The good, old pieces have outstanding use of color, balance, design and workmanship that are so often missing in today's art quilt world. As Rayna Gillman says, we are too insular and need to get out in to the world (well, she sort of said that!)