Sunday, June 14, 2009

Open Studios are over for the year

Last week I put together a 40 x 40 inch quilt so I would have something to do during this past weekend of open studios.

It is made with dyed fabrics and the red actually goes from a blue red to an orange red. I just liked this configuration of fabrics. Wed. I started sewing the circles using a variegated thread which goes from red to orange and made circles forever! Then, yesterday, when I came in for open studios I sat down and quilted the rest of the day, stopping when people came in. By doing the quilting it gave people a chance to see how it all works and also the noise of the machine brought them in from Donna's studio. But most importantly, I had it all done with really intensive quilting by the end of the day and time just flew by yesterday.

The upper image shows the circles being done. The bottom image shows how I quilted around two of the round pieces.
I also used two different blue threads, one that went from dark blue to a light blue and one that went from a medium blue to a dark blue. I mapped out areas and did a lot of tight stitching.

It's a little hard to see in these snap shots but I am quite happy with it.

It has been a good two weekends. My only problem happened when I came home Wed. from the studio and decided to continue being industrious and pulled weeds. That wasn't the only thing I lower back started to really hurt. That night I tried to sleep in two different beds and ended up on the recliner where I still continue to sleep. During open studios this weekend I have had a bag on ice down the back of my pants...thank goodness it never leaked! Now the pain has moved into my right leg. I can not lie down and I can barely walk. And I have a very busy week coming up!

Tomorrow after lunch with some friends, it is down to the studio to paint the rest of the fabric for the county commission. Then I need to pack up all the art work that I had down there and bring it home. I think, altogether, I sold seven items during the two weeks. Not too bad.

People have been very generous and have been purchasing my art work during my sale for the trip to Uganda. I still have to figure out how much I have made but it is about 2/3 of the money I covers the airfare plus some of the other expenses. This is such a big help!

This week we sign papers for refinancing our house and taking some money out so we can actually start a building project that we have been talking about for four years. We will be adding a second garage to the house which will hold another car and our motorhome. Upstairs will be a studio that will be about 45' long by 15' wide. I have the plans and have been placing little squares everywhere but I won't get excited until we actually break ground and I can see it happening.

I will keep the studio in the main part of the house as there is no way I can fit everything in to the new studio. However, I will have a commercial kitchen sink and a large table and area for dyeing fabrics! WOW! It will also have an outside entryway so if I want to participate in open studios from my area here at home, I can do so without having people go through the house.

Friday I start my shots for Uganda. And there are meetings three nights this week with church and my father has a doctor's appoint and I have a dentist appointment. Nothing like a busy week. And I really need to make headway on this last quilt so I can do the paper work and deliver them next week and put in an invoice for the remaining money. I also need to start shipping quilts out to people who have bought them.

Whew...I am tired already but that is probably because I have sort of slept in the recliner for three nights and have spent two whole days at the studio talking to people. Since I work alone, it seems to take a lot out of me to be social all day! Oh well, that is how it goes!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Trip to Uganda

I am very excited to announce that I will be traveling with four teenaged young women, our priest and one of the mothers on a trip of a lifetime to visit an AIDS orphanage that we help support in Uganda.

Sunrise House takes in children whose parents are no longer able to care for them as they have died or are very ill. Our Church, All Saints Episcopal church in San Leandro, CA has been providing a monthly payment to help pay for uniforms for school, etc. The Lions club also provides a great deal of support.

The young women going on this trip decided that they wanted to do more hands on work with Sunrise House rather than just raising money, and also collecting shoes to be sent there. They have been planning this trip for almost a year and time is getting closer. Our priest just recently asked if I could go with them as he feels I can give the kids, ours and theirs, support in creating some art projects that both groups of kids can enjoy.

It will cost me about $3500 for all of my expenses.

I have decided to do a sale of art work to help me get there...20% off and you can make the payment to All Saints Episcopal Church and have a write off for IRS to boot.

Just let me know if you are interested in anything and we can take it from there. We leave the first week of August and will return two weeks later.

Any help is very m uch appreciated.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

First Full Day of Open Studios

I am having a wonderful time talking to everyone who has come my way. Several friends of Donna's, my studio mate, have been very generous in their complements to me about my art. What is really nice is that these are people who go and look at art alot. In addition I have met several more people from the building...lots of younger people with assorted holes in their heads, fun hair colors and a great deal of interest in art. They are all fun to talk to and I have enjoyed my day even though it has been slow sometimes. But, I have gotten several pieces sewn onto their painted canvav, have gotten several sleeves sewn on to quilts and gotten them hung up and talked a bunch.

The image above shows the length of my studio from near the front. Just to the left of where I took the picture, George resides handsomely and awes everyone who sees him.

This is what my work table looks like right now with art work on it. You can see the end of the table in the rear which is the point from which I took the first picture. This table is 4 x 8' and stands at waist height so I use it all the time for layout, cutting and ironing. It is wonderful and I can't live without it.

Here you can see the table head on and just catch a glimpse of George sitting to the left of the table.
Further down the studio, right next to the big table are two of my shelving units that hold all sorts of paint and supplies, soy wax, tools, and stamping thingies. The table is holding art work.

From that table on the left front you can see down to the very back of my studio which used to be occupied by someone else who is fortunately left so I get all the space. On the right are shelving units my husband and son-in-law made with wood that was there, it will not fall down as it is made with 4 x 4" lumber. It holds bins of fabric of all types but I still have a lot at home in my studio there. In the very back you can see some rolls of white fabric and black fabric. I moved my chair to the back next to my bookcase and got a cheapo floor lamp and assembled it so I can plop myself down, take a break and read and/or look at books. All I need now is a footstool but I think one of the bins will fit that purpose just right.

On the right wall you can see my table where I do some painting and also my collages.

Coming back toward the front from that table is a shelving unit with fabric paints, sponges, plastic knives for digging out paint (sounds almost like an operating room, especially since I have several boxes of examination gloves sitting on top!), various grouting tools for monoprinting, assorted texture tools, my Createx paints, my printing paints, my dyes and auxiliries, and stuff. You can also see the food table sitting in front of a sort of closet space that I put a sheet curtain over to help cover up some of the junk, like plastic garbage bags, pieces of batting, etc.
And, coming back toward the front on the righ tis my design wall which is 8 x 8", some collages and my little bulletin board. I forgot to take pictures of the fourth wall and George and my thread drawers in all their splendor so I guess I will have to do that tomorrow.

We have had a slow but steady stream of people coming through. I am finally getting people who have come as a result of receiving my post card announcing open studios so I know that some people have responded!

See ya all tomorrow!

Friday, June 05, 2009


Tonight my studio mate and I had a reception in our studios. I had not been able to get invitations out for this night although I did get postcards out for the two week ends of Open Studios.

So, I hung on to the kimono tails of Donna Fenstermaker, a painter and print maker. She had a number of her collectors come and also a number of other artists who are friends. One of her collectors bought three of my pieces, each small, but together they made enough to cover my food expenses for the next two weeks. One more sale such as this and I will have my other expenses covered.

If was fun, and I really enjoyed meeting a number of different artists. They were fascinated with my work and gave me some very supportive comments. It is very different hanging out with the art world rather than the quilt world...I am not sure how to describe the differences but I need to think about this.

First thing in the morning I need to put a sleeve on one of the small pieces I sold. I have quite a few collages and my "In the Woods" series has received a lot of compliments. Also my California Dreaming is hanging up and it seems to wow people...they also enjoy learning about the processes I go through to create my work. And they are not there to learn how to do it for themselves but to appreciate the art work.

Tomorrow I promise I will have pictures. My studio is so nice and orderly, spacious and clean. On Monday I need to start doing some work so two of the tables need to be cleared off, the design wall turned back into a design wall and not a gallery wall and get cracking on painting some fabric for my final commission piece.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Long time

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. Three weeks ago I was busy providing child care for my two grandsons, along with my husband...and then the following week the babysitter's son was sick so this went into the second week. And then I was very behind in just about everything and all this past week I have been really busy creating Pentecost paraments for church. I dyed yards and yards of silk into multicolored red is really not pink but the way the flash took the picture makes it look like that. Our professional photographer took a really nice picture with available lighting and it looks great, it also shows our priest with the stole on and the veil that goes with it. I was pleased with it although there were a few problems that I need to corrent but since it is up for only one day, it can wait!

I got tons of work shipped off to Galesburg and they sent me pictures of the opening and my work looks very nice hung in the gallery. You can go here to see the pictures on their website.

And then I have been working hard trying to get postcards done for Open Studios which are this weekend and next. Nothing has been easy for me always seems to be that way when time is tight!

I spent a lot of time doing hand stitching on the long banners for Pentecost. That time was used for reflection on a number of things, some of which were about the Holy Spirit, which Pentecost is all about, but other thoughts were about my art. I have been working with collage type work for almost a year, both with commercial fabric and also with my silk screened fabric. The "In the Woods" series has been very busy and I am feeling the need for simplicity. So my thoughts are returning to things like my red boxes and other relatively simple work, just working with design elements, especially lines.

I have one last piece to finish for the Alameda County Arts Commission and after open studios this weekend I should be able to start painting the fabric for the piece, another landscape. Once that is done I can do the paper work, turn in the work and submit an invoice! Whee...I have enjoyed this and have not felt rushed but I have had so many deadlines lately that I am looking forward to getting rid of another one.

I had an ephipany...I used to tell people I had retired but now I realized I never did retire, I just changed careers. I am now working on a career that I really want to have and am working toward making it successful, but I am still trying to decide just what success will look like. I do know that I would like to get my work in several more galleries that sell my work periodically so I can just keep doing the work and shipping it off to them.

The hardest part about this career is the business side of it. I know well the many things I need to do to market my art but just seem to run out of energy. One thing I must do is to be more consistent with this blog and say something interesting so people will want to come by! And especially show art work!

I watch younger artists doing all the right things and I applaude them for their hard work. I do put in a lot of hours on my work and the business side. I have found, tho' that sometimes doing the public art seems to take so much time...going to meetings, filling out paperwork, etc but it is a good thing to get the art work out and about.

So, rev up the engines and get going!