Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quilt Market Report
Well, I am back from Quilt Market in Houston.  I only got to stay for one day, but it was a fantastic day! I had lunch with Candice Hoffman, President of Clothworks.  I hung out at the Clothworks booth for a while, visiting with everyone and watching the sale reps do their thing.  It is an amazing process watching the sales reps juggle complicated schedules and still maintain their cool while showing the new lines.  I had assumed it would be harried and rushed, but instead they make it look so effortless and relaxed.  Kudos!

Lunch with Candice Hoffman
Hanging out with Joyce Cronkhite and Brandi Frey.
Across from the Clothworks booth, was Beach Garden Quilts.  I got to meet Lynette and Laura (see photo at the bottom of post).  They have made some really cool stuff with my fabric, Urban Landscapes, that I wanted to share with you.  Right behind my head is an adorable little bag (perfect for a child!).  Under my feet, a highchair mat.  Wish I had one of these when my kids were small!  So wonderful, and so useful!  And I personally love the fabric they chose!  They also made some cool dog leashes, makes me want a dog again!  lol! Check out their website, lots of neato patterns.
Beach Garden Quilts made this super adorable highchair playmate!  Recognize the fabric (Urban Landscapes)!

Beach Garden Quilts made up this cute quilt from Urban Landscapes.  Love it!

There were a few other booths that I liked.  Sorry I didn't get a picture to share, darn it!  Kinkame had the cutest display.  Yoko had cut up tiny shirt patterns from each fabric and hung them from a laundry line.  The effect was charming!

I probably should have spent more time at the other booths at Market, but to be honest, it was a little overwhelming!  And, the quilts were calling me.  I spent the entire afternoon looking at quilt exhibits.  It was so quiet I could hear the traffic on the highway behind the Brown Convention Center.  There were only a handful of us looking at quilts.  It was almost eery the way the security outnumbered the viewers!  Especially since I know how different it will look when the crowds descend upon the show in full force next week!  I enjoyed the quiet, but partly because I knew I will be back next weekend for festival!  To summarize, the quilts are spectacular!  It's a good show this year, many, many great exhibits.  I will try to blog about those next week.  If you get a chance to go, then go!  You will be amazed!

Here we are at the Clothworks cocktail party before I had to leave to go home.  Fabulous group! Fabulous times!
This group know how to party! Miryam, Brandi, Lynette, me, Laura, and Joyce.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Batik Flower


This little flower is for a group quilt.  It is about 16" square.  I made it from a whole cloth, inspired by a photo of a flower.  More on the group quilt later when we get all the pieces assembled.  As for now, it was just an experiment that I had no idea if it would work or not.  It started as a dark pink fabric.  I batiked the stamens and then bleached.  Then I batiked the petals.  Next step, bleach again.  Last, I carefully dyed the area outside of the flowers green.  More wax to protect the green section; by now the entire piece is covered with a solid layer of wax.  Then I etched the little white scratch marks and bleached just that area.  And I etched the long marks between the outer petals and inner petals and dyed those fuschia.  Finally happy with it, I boiled out the wax.

Next was the quilting, which I am afraid that I got a little carried away with.  After completing the quilting, I added the satin stitch along the stamens.  I liked that a lot!  To finish?  Hand stitching with Laura Wasilowski's hand-dyed threads (here).  If you haven't used her thread before, you should try it.  I love the way it feels, and handles, and it's pretty too!  Lots of colorways to choose from!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Double Exposure for Building UP!
Yeehaw!  I just got my Award Winning Quilts 2011 Calendar featuring quilts from the International Quilt Association.  My quilt, Building UP, is featured for the month of March.  Happy am I, as March is my birthday month!  Very nice!

And, on the same day my Fall IQA Journal arrived.  When I joined IQA years ago, I had always hoped to have a quilt in the journal. It is a nice and very validating feeling to see it now.  This issue is featuring small abstract art quilts and Building UP won 1st place in that category last year.  The colors of the print copy of my quilt are perfect, just perfect!  It looks good and has a nice interview about the quilt.  I  love it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Big tote


I haven't had much time to work lately, but this last week I played with the batik. I made this flower from a whole cloth. I actually made two, to try out different ideas, but you will have to wait until I quilt the second one before I post it. Meanwhile, I cut this one in half to use for both sides of the tote bag, for a friend in need. It was a special request, one that I was happy to make, especially if it makes her life easier!
I love the way the whole cloth design of the flower goes with my fabrics. It was a bit surprising, and lovely!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quilts=Art=Quilts

I am thrilled to announce that my quilt, Building UP, will be at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, NY for Quilts=Art=Quilts!
The exhibit runs: October 31, 2010 - January 9, 2011.

It is my first time at this venue, and I am honored to be in the esteemed company of so many wonderful artists!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Batik Etching
I have been meaning to blog about this for quite a while, but hadn't gotten to it yet. So, here it is. How I made Fifty, and Female, and Fearless.

It started from a photograph, that I enlarged and simplified into a sketch. Then I taped it to a sliding glass door, and put my yellow fabric on top of the drawing, and sketched with a pencil the outline of the figure. The dark lines are shadows from a tree. That gave me some idea of how much surface area to cover with wax.

Then downstairs in the batik studio (some people call it a garage), I put the yellow fabric on a discarded glass door, and began covering it with hot wax applied with a wide paint brush. The real trick is getting the wax to cover the fabric completely, but also in a very uniform layer (okay that part is IMPOSSIBLE), but it is the goal. If your brush strokes overlap, the wax is thicker there, and creates problems later.
Then I placed the wax covered cloth on top of the drawing (which is made darker with a black sharpie marker), and painstakingly carve in ALL the lines. It is not too hard to do the straight lines, but carving the curves in wax is difficult. I have tried many different tools for the carving. It needs to be a sharp tool, but you have to be careful not to cut the fabric. Examples include: a screwdriver, a seam ripper, toothpick, bamboo skewer, clay carving tools, and dental tools. It will make your hand cramp, so it is essential to do small portions at a time and take lots of breaks.

Then, when I finished the carving, I mixed up some soda ash in some black dye and water, and brushed it on, letting it soak into the cracks that I carved. After batching 8 to 24 hours, you can rinse in cold water to get rid of excess dye, and then boil out the wax. Then I usually wash in hot water with a cycle of Synthrapol, and another with Retayne.


































Next is the blue background which was made with batik also. I painted stripes of wax, then bleach discharged the fabric, and the overdyed the samples in different colors of blue.




















I made the central figure a reverse applique, which means I cut the background to fit around the figure. Next they are fused, cut to shape, and then ironed on. Last step is the quilting. I quilted everything except for the letters in the figure, and along all the lines in the background. This last part seemed a bit excessive, but there you are, the process of an art quilter, driven by the relentless muse.















Here's a photo of the quilting. You can see the problem I referred to earlier where the white arrow is pointing. This is showing a place where the black etched line went through a thicker section of wax. When you carve the thicker wax, it cracks around your etched line. The dye seeps in and makes a wider, less defined line.


For more on batik etching, you can see my first attempt here, and another quilt, here.