Monday, April 30, 2007

artful journals

I know that blogger readers love to have pictures. I had thought that after I had uploaded 15 or so a couple of days ago, that I could just write one day and everyone would be my buddy Gerrie...she wants pictures. So I have uploaded some stuff and it is not in order but I get so tired of having to move the pictures around to the right order..I know there must be some easy way but I never seem to find it.

So, today, let's talk about artful journals. I keep a sporadic journal, primarily because I do my blog. My journal is a compilation of personal thoughts, laments, pithy sayings, quotes, class notes, little drawings, rubber stamping, doodling, and other images applied in various ways. I don't like to write on white pages...I find them a little boring and I love color in my life. When I don't have time to work on my fiber art, I do a little journal prep...sometimes I cover a page in gesso and then paint acrylics on it...this makes the page stiff and keeps the paint from going through the paper. Sometimes I glue some other paper onto the page and then paint over it and maybe stamp also. Sometimes I just use sparkly watercolors and cover the page with color and then add stamping or images.

Then, I can write whenever I want. I put a sheet of wax paper between the pages while I paint and then crumple it a little to keep the pages separate while they dry.

So here is a page that I have watercolored and then added a butterfly that I printed on to velum, cut out and used matt medium to hold it down and paint over it. Just lots of color and playing with my new butterfly images from Dover.

I like to keep some supplies handy, then I can just do a little bit here and there. Actually, in another room I have all the paper supplies, stamps, numerous alphabets, ephemera, old books, etc to use in collages and journals. This just happens to be set up on my ironing board in my studio home...Like those little paint pots? They are wonderful shinny watercolors from LuminArte. They also have pigments that are very intense and you can mix with with matt medium or gloss medium for your own paint. Love both of these.

Here is the opposite page with some different colors and another butterfly. Since I have printed out on velum, where there are white areas on the butterfly (or moth) the color underneath shows through. What fun!

This is a stack of printed out butterflies and moths on velum to add to my rather large collection of images and ephemera.

and this is the book they came from. Dover puts out CDs now which makes it so much easier. I have used their images for years but used to have to scan them...before computers you would cut out the image and add it to your document and then run it through the copier. Oh, so much easier now.

And, just so you can see that I really do write in my journals...this is a page that has an old insurance document out of a record book that I found years ago. I have cut or torn the pages and put part on each side of the book. Then I covered it with acrylic paint and worked the texture and colors...just having fun. And then during a seminar, jotted down quotes that were posted around the room...Isn't this so much more fun than writing on lined paper in a spiral note book or just plain lined yellow pads?

And this last picture shows another painted page...what you can't see is the luminescence of the cool. I have printed out antique playing cards onto deli paper, cut it out and again put it down with matt medium...Since the deli paper takes the ink rather lightly (not like the velum which is intense and saturated), once the medium is added it becomes almost translucent and fades into the painted page. Oh, Gerrie, I get the deli paper in a box at is 12 inches square and I cut it down to 8.5 x 12 to run through the printer. It comes without any also comes with folds but don't use those. They are in the section with the aluminum foil, etc.

Got a note from my editor today that she had received my article and pictures, enjoyed the article, learned something and also thought it was funny. She is sending it on to the next editor up tomorrow. Once I know they are going to use the article I will share with you the name of the magazine.

spent my day running around getting bits and pieces of things for my class on Wednesday and also to make a couple of banners for two groups of kids to do at church. Just spent the day running around and then doing my homework for EFM which was great tonight with lots of discussion as we try to figure out our own theology. So interesting...and each of us is different. I just love Episcopalians!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Quilt Guild Show

This past weekend, my home guild, Amador Valley Quilters, had its show. I went out Saturday to do my volunteer time and spent time white gloving, selling opportunity quilt tickets and demonstrating stamping with found objects.

My piece, Roots, which is black silk with hand dyed charmuese pieced in was in my section to white glove. I was doing my thing when a woman motioned me over to the front of Roots. She asked me why the piece at a $3000 price tag on it. Before I could think better of myself, out popped "because I made it!" She just looked at me kind of funny and then I had to do a lot of explaining about art quilts, art, originality, my background, show history, award history and publishing history. sounded pretty good, if I do say so...I agreed that $3000 was a lot of money. Of course, our guild is primarily traditional and contemporary quilters, with a very few art quilters thrown in. We are there just to keep everyone else on their toes and to keep them guessing.

When I was demonstrating, I was talking about how easy it was to print with found objects. I like to use a small foam roller found in paint departments of hardware stores. They clean up so easily and are handy for inking larger things. I was having a great time and some one's granddaughter, about age 9, was watching with her grandmother. She had started her first quilt. so I asked her if she would show how easy it was...and before you knew it, she had a nice piece of cloth done. I had brought several hand dyed fat quarters to work on. And before she was done three other children were there. When one of the other girls started trying printing, her brother, a couple of years older, began to tell her how to do it. I asked him if he was making a quilt and he got very bashful and turned away. Later, when his younger sister was trying her hand at printing, I did ask him to help her. He really enjoyed himself and agreed that he could make fabric for his sisters to quilt!

A long day but lots of fun getting caught up with various friends from the guild. I haven't been able to attend too often as other things get in the way so this was a nice day.

Spent today at church, working on my EFM homework for tomorrow and painting pages in my journal so there are ready for writing. I also printed out lots of pictures of butterflies from my Dover CD and printed them on velum. When cut out and put down with matt medium, they look really cool on a painted page. I also printed out antique playing cards on to deli paper which makes for pale images that just disappear (the paper part) into collages. Now I have a bunch more things to pile up in my room.

My daughter talked me into having three women she works with come over on Tuesday for a private showing of my work. They have seen my website and read my blog...I have no secrets! Now they want to see my work in person!

Also, Tuesday, I have to get everything together for another class in Introduction to Surface Design which I will be giving in Sacramento on Wednesday. That night I do my lecture and will stay overnight in Sacramento and then drive home leisurely on Thursday morning. Although it is only 1 1/2 hours away, I sure didn't want to drive that after working all day and the evening and coming home after 9 pm...ugh. So they are gladly putting me up for the night!

A busy week ahead!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Busy Week

First, some left over important business from Art Quilt Claremont. Gerrie, Carol and I in the elevator modeling our crocs....impressive colors!

We are jumping around but on this past Tuesday Doug came down to the studio and delivered a used shelving unit and helped put the batting up on the wall for my commission piece. Man is it big. I can not reach the top with the ladder so when I get to that part I will have to take it down and finish off the top foot or two. I have since marked eight feet horizontally and had the mid point noted with a crease in the batting. I think I will rough some lines to follow for putting fabric up. I have started ironing fusing on to the backs of the fabric I have painted and have done a little more over painting on one of the pieces today. I will need to do even more painting. Today I managed to finish #10 of the 20 Life Circles quilts...only 9.5 more to go!

Last Saturday I taught an Introduction to Surface Design at my studio. I was contacted and Debbie put together a group to come down to take the class. This is a piece of mono-printed fabric.

And another student piece of mono printed fabric.

Isn't this a great all over design? Ready for printing.

Ooooops...we are back at Art Quilt Claremont. This is my buddy, Carol Suto with her clean up cloth in the class.

And this is the view out the window...

Students busy at work doing rubbings using both Shiva Paintsticks and Neocolor crayons

A collection of painted fabrics scrunched up...when dry they will be ready for more surface embellishment.

Painting fabric

A clean up cloth...some of the best fabrics painted were the clean up cloths!

Here's Debbie working away with fabric piled up everywhere.

Mono printing fabric

rubbings done with Shiva Paint sticks and neocolor crayons

Rubbings in action

More rubbings

Playing with different things for textures for rubbings.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is a busy day. Our quilt guild, Amador Valley Quilters, is having our show at the Pleasanton, CA fairgrounds so if you are in the area, come on by between 10 -4 pm both Saturday and Sunday. I have three pieces in the show and will be working there on Saturday doing a stamping with found objects demo at 1 pm. That will be fun!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sitting at the feet of a famous artist

This past week I went to ArtQuiltClaremont...five days at a top-notch resort/spa, the likes of which I could never afford to stay in on my own. I shared a room with buddie Gerrie Congdon and spent four days in class with my bestest buddy, Carol Suto, in a class by Joan Schulze. I have admired Joan's work for years, and in fact, when I retired as guild president, I asked for a copy of her big book as a thank you. Joan also writes poetry, which she shared frequently with the class, as well as poems by other people.

I had signed up to take her class with hopes of learning more about her design process...not so I could copy her work or style, but to incorporate new ideas and ways of doing things.

That was not what she taught. She taught about copy printing onto fabric, using the copier (not printer, but toner copier) for things such as making transparencies for over copying onto monoprinted fabric, blowing up parts of monoprints to use for inspiration and then making transparencies out of those and printing. She showed us different ways of making marks on fabric via monoprinting and transfer of color. She showed us using glue transfers to fabric or paper, a few bookmaking stitches and ideas, and also showed us a great deal about presentation of one's work. Presentation is as important as the work itself, and can make the work or break it.

What I learned are a few more techniques but not Joan's design process, which I have come to believe is intuitive. It was not until the last day that she showed us some of her very small quilts and collages, which are just stunning in their simplicity. By carefully studying her work and knowing the techniques she uses, I was able to determine how the pieces were put together.

It was really interesting using the copier instead of a printer. Of course, doing a glue, or gel transfer, for that matter, will leave a bloom of paper on the transfer. It is easier to get almost all of it off with a gel transfer than a glue transfer. A secret though, that you see only in her work close-up, is that Joan does not always remove all, or sometimes, most of the paper...things take on a very different look this way. She also showed us ways to add color to a black toner image which could then be transferred, color and all.

This is a process I want to work with some more. She uses her different transfers as collage elements, along with various pieces of monoprinted fabric, both cotton and silk.

I had a great time monoprinting (although I had just spent a lot of time doing monoprinted discharging) and worked more on texture with the paint application rather than mark-making. I made several transparencies which include a page from an old (1888) journal of accounts, and also a part of a map. Both of these will be quite handy in future work.

I have wanted to do more and more multi-media collage work...I have tons of different papers and images and ephemera which I want to use.

But right now, I still need to finish quilting twelve more of the Life Circle pieces, get ready for an Introduction to Surface Design Class, which will be in my studio tomorrow, and then start this commission.

California Fiber Artists has a wonderful opportunity. We will be having a show in a gallery in Finland. We have gone international!

And I still need to sort out show entry things...I am so behind in entering one will know that I am alive!

So, my wisdom card for today says that "I am one with everyone on the planet" and, then, on the back it continues with "I am on the cutting edge of a new conscious awakening for the whole planet. I am willing to expand the horizons of my thinking."

And my Dr. Wayne Dyer card says "The loving, innocent world of animals serves as a good example for me" and then goes on "The more you stop to observe animals and learn from them, the more healthy and peaceful your life will be."

Good things to contemplate!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's Done!

Well, the article on discharging is done and on its way to the editor. Wheeeeee! I'm free!

Oh what a relief!

My Wisdom Cards for today says "I trust the intelligence within me"

These are getting a little too hokey for me...let's try a different kind

Let's look at the first card of Inner Peace by Dr. Wayne Dyer.
It says: "True happiness resides within me." Well, that is a little better...

Let's look in the collection from Juicy Living by SARK:
the first card says "The more naps you take, the more money you'll make!"

I like that one better...especially the naps fact, I feel like one now...then I can make money! Off the printer! Oops...that's my secret!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Creative Process

I am in the middle of the creative process on my commission piece. I started painting the fabrics before I was sure that I had the commission but had a hard time really getting in to it because it might not happen. But it did. And then I started thinking about all the things I needed in order to accomplish this...a larger design wall, larger batting, larger sewing machine, etc. Started getting those things in order while I started seriously thinking about the design. I had spoken to the client about maybe doing squares in a cruciform and drew out ideas. But then I started thinking about our conversation and how she liked one of my pieces because it looked like lava...far more organic that the squares.

So now I have been rethinking and feel like I have come up with the design. The background will be various oranges and the center cruciform will be cut raggedy out of various turquoises. So this is sitting in my mind as I make it in my head, and decide if this is really what I want. I think out the process of putting it together, think about what I am saying with it, think about the colors and the design.

Nita Leland has a great book called The New Creative Artist. Her original book, the Creative Artist, has been with me for years. The new one includes lots of fiber arts and looks at many new things. Anyway, she describes the five steps of the creative process that may take various amounts of time, but it is always useful for me to remember them when I start a preplanned project. Step 1 is the identification of the problem to be solved...complete this commission. Step 2 is the preparation phase during which I evaluate the possible solutions. Step 3 is the incubation stage, things kind of sit on the shelf while your unconscious mind sorts out all the possibilities. A fully realized solution will arise. Step 4 is the breakthrough when the solution becomes immediately apparent. She says this is not inspiration but the result of all the earlier thinking. And then, Step 5 is resolution in which you try your solution to see if it works.

right now I am in step 4 and just letting myself think things through. Meanwhile, I have a large pile of quilts to quilt, all from Texas. And I have so many more ideas that I want to follow up on.

So here is one I have finished this week...Life Circles #? It is machine quilted and just needs to have the sleeve and label put on it. Done on my friend George.

And California Dreams also quilted and in need of a sleeve and label.

And Life Circles #? in the same boat.

And another Life Circles, again in the same boat.

And here we have the remainder of the pile that still need to be quilted. They all have their backs and have been turned but need to have the edges ironed and then I can quilt. I think it is a rather impressive stack. I think I have now quilted seven of the 21 pieces that I did in Texas. All the small ones are framed and I still have to ship some of those off.

Tonight I was leaving home to go over to church for a renewal renewal and the church's. The clouds in the sky were just beautiful. High clouds are coming in with a possibility of some rain tomorrow. Early this morning we had some little showers and then the sun was shining most of the day.

Life is good. I am working hard but enjoying it and getting a real sense of accomplishment. On Friday I pick up Gerrie Congdon and we join Carol Suto for Art Quilt Claremont. Rayna Gilman will be teaching there so it will be fun to see everyone. We will be taking a class with Joan Schultze, someone I have wanted to study with for a long time.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Man in my Life

I now have a new man in my life...but maybe he should go through a sex change and become Georgey...
George arrived yesterday...I was given a 9-1 pm window on Tuesday and told them to deliver it to my studio and not my home. Well, yesterday at 12:50 my husband called to let me know that they had come to the house and he had given them all the information about how to get to my studio. So about thirty minutes later there is a knock on the door and George has arrived. This was the first day on the job for my delivery man. We got George himself out of the truck without any problems...a big box for a large, but very light machine. It came very well padded and packed.

And then getting the crate out of the truck which housed the cabinet, out of the street and on to the sidewalk and then to the door of the studio. I had told myself that I needed to take photos but of course I became too involved in helping since this job really required two people...I just assumed the driver was going to help me uncrate this thing and get it it.

Again, very impressive packing. Evidently they used to send them completely built but had problems with them arrived damaged. I heard then that the were shipping them not completely assembled so was prepared to put a cabinet together. Nope, came all together...a cabinet which, when closed is 23 x 60" and whatever height cabinets are. It had a top and bottom of plywood and big boards, pieces of plywood on the corners to reinforce it and them 2x4's on the bottom for a fork lift....big and very heavy.

We had to uncrate it outside before we could get it in the studio. And then, the fun of trying to get it in to the studio past my landlady's portion and around the corner. Finally got it in. The cabinet is wonderful, has casters so I can push it up to the wall when I am not using it and has lots of fold outs for supporting the quilt you are sewing.

I can lift up George, all by himself, very easily with one hand. The thing is light...all made out of aluminum and beautifully done. He is one hunk!

I got to put the things on and set him into the cabinet. By the time I had everything together it was after 4 pm and I had told my husband I would be home about 5pm. Well, had to take time out to make a test quilt sandwich and see how it goes. However, forgot my quilting gloves. It is just wonderful and is now waiting for me at the studio to come in a finish one quilt. Yesterday I got three more sandwiched, turned and ironed and ready to quilt. That is what I am doing this afternoon!

And then my 120" batting arrived and it is loaded in to the car so that I can take it down to the studio and cut off a 9' x 11' piece to start my commission. I had planned out one design but in thinking about the buyer's comments and what she liked, have come up with another plan. This is going to be so cool. I was talking to friends last night about the size of this really is bed size so I don't know what the big deal is a 87 x 117" quilt....piece of cake...talking about feet makes it sound even bigger...and the fact that it will take up the whole design wall and isn't made in units like a regular quilt and then sewn together...

So, here's my new man:

And from my side of the table:

I will have to take a picture of all of the leaves out on the cabinet...this is just George and the piece I am ready to finish this afternoon.

It is all coming together!

So, I pull out the next card in my Wisdom cards and it says "I have unlimited potential."
Now, isn't that just right! Of course, it goes for all of us. On the back it says: "loving myself and thinking joyful, happy thoughts is the quickest way to create a wonderful life."

Aren't those nice words to start the day off with!

Monday, April 02, 2007

My Own Worst Enemy Part 2

So, since I put off something (like getting my taxes together to get to the preparer) I really don't feel like doing very much else. I just sit around and feel guilty. So why didn't I get the tax thing done a month or two ago and then I wouldn't have to go through all this. That is the quandary of procrastination...since it all needs to be done anyway, why don't I just do it?

Like getting new images in to SAQA and CFA. Like getting show entries in before the due date. Like getting the laundry done before it takes four loads to do it all. Like getting rid of magazines before they pile up (well, I know the answer to that! because I have to make a pile to recycle to my buddies, make a pile to take to the quilt guild for recirculation there, cut up others, and file away the few that I really want to keep). Every little thing seems to require five or six steps before I can do it. Like sorting slides...I have to come up with names for the new pieces, measure them, enter them in the data base, then I can label the slides and file them away...after I pick up a pile on the table so I have enough room to do it!

Now, my biggest problem is that I can't find my father's tax papers which I had...hadn't gotten them done because we could never find one of his 1099's so had to request another one...but of course put it off until a week ago. What is with me???

So, instead, I took a look at one of the Wisdom cards by Louise L. Hay. I love these little card things that say great things. Of course, my intentions are to take one out each day and really contemplate it for the entire day. I do that on day one and then forget the next day...what is it with me?

Anyway, back in focus, the card for today (it was on top of the pile, that's why it is for today) says " I am on an endless journey through eternity" Now, I know that...I preach all the time about how it is the journey for me and not the destination (although getting to the destination is good when you want to sit down and rest your feet!) So you flip over the card and it says "Today is a very exciting time in my life. I am on a wonderful adventure and will never go through this particular experience again." Boy, am I happy for that! But do I learn from today and do what is stacked up on my desk right away?

Nahhhh...I think I will wait until tomorrow....

But first I need to clear off the stuff off the bed that I put there to sort out so I could put them away. Now I want to go to sleep and they still aren't put away....