Saturday, March 22, 2014

Art Quilt Elements 2014

I am honored to have my quilt, High Rise, selected for this prestigious exhibit at the Wayne Art Center in Pennsylvania!  The opening was last night, and the exhibit runs from March 21 to May 3, 2013.  The award winners have been posted to the website now and I was hoping there would be photos, but no.  Or perhaps, not yet?  It looks like a wonderful lineup of fabulous art!


They also have a postcard sale as a fundraiser.  I sent these two.  Hope they sold!

Makes me kind of want to go back and fill in the big quilt with tons of little people dolls!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Earth Stories, Part Five

One last counting story.  I decided to count the attic.  I had boxes and boxes of teaching curriculum stored up there, along with a number of other things... But, I didn't get to it until summer.  And the summers in Texas are really hot, and even hotter in the attic.  The heat was so intense, I was only able to count for about 10 minutes before I had to escape to air conditioning.  And then it took hours to recover from it.  I drank water while I was there, but it didn't help much.  So, I am sure that my number is artificially low. For example, instead of counting all the papers, I counted how many files of papers.  A lot of unused items came out of the attic and on to recycling, or donation.  I am pretty sure the heat is destroying most of what is up there anyway.  In retrospect, I wish I had done the attic first, in the cooler months.

On to making the quilt. I was planning to make a floor plan of my house, and then use tally marks to represent the number of objects.  It would be fun to color code, either by location or type of object.  I also thought it would be really interesting to see how many objects were made from non-renewable resources vs. renewable resources, but I didn't collect that information during the count.  Then as I thought about what the quilt would look like, if it were me, I would be super curious about what all those tally marks would actually represent.  That's when I decided to tell my viewers what was in my house.  That's when the project went to a mostly text image.  It was also an incredibly uncomfortable experience to share that information, which is partly the reason I decided to push my comfort levels and just do it.

We were required to make two quilts.  One was 72" x 72".  The other was 12" x 14" in a vertical format.  I started on the big one first. I pieced together two pieces of white fabric to make the correct size, and then drew lines lightly with pencil every 1" across the entire surface:
I also made a very small sample.  I used it to test different pens for writing on fabric and different paints and inks.  I found a pen that both worked well and did not run or fade with water.  I also tried a number of writing styles and decided on the scale of my work.  I measured how many letters I wrote on average just to get an idea of how many words I would be writing.
Here's a photo of a section of the large piece hanging on my design wall.  It shows the beginnings, with just the lines.
Then I made a long list of words on my computer.  I listed things from memory for each room and then when back later and added in words for things that I didn't remember.  In this way I came up with a list long enough to fill the space on the quilt (and slightly more).  I ironed freezer paper to the back and taped it to a table and started drawing the letters.
I wanted my words to all run together, like all the objects in the house.  But, I also wanted to be able to read them easily.  So, I decided to paint the first letter of every word with red fabric paint.  I thought it added a nice touch of symbolism, as in 'red ink', to refer to the financial implications of buying so much stuff...
Then I found an old blueprint of my house, and enlarged it by a factor of 4.  I drew in lines behind the words and filled in with blue paint.
Next, I added in giant block numbers at the bottom, the total number for the count....which I will not reveal yet.  After the show opens at the first venue, I will be able to post full sized photos of my piece, so we shall have to wait for that!

Then, to finish up, I quilted it.  I quilted in straight lines on top of the pencil lines I had drawn previously.  Then I used a simple white facing to finish the edges, a hanging tube and a label on the back.  All done!

For the smaller quilt I used the same technique, but a slightly different concept.  I worked with my original inspiration of Manufactured Demand, from the Story of Stuff.  I focused on the issue of bottled water.  It is an incredible tale of needless waste (no judgment here! ha!).  You can see the video here. And, I am pleased to say that the city of San Francisco has passed a law to ban the sale of bottled water.  Yay for small steps!  For the quilt, I listed lots of water brands, and then put a message behind the words, and added a small embellishment.  For now, here's a close up of the small quilt..


Thanks for stopping by.  Hope that I have not needlessly bored you will my tales of counting!




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Earth Stories, Part Four


The exhibit catalog/book came in the mail yesterday.  The photos and stories are so inspiring!  I feel so honored to be a part of this amazing project!
Earth Stories, cover by Marion Coleman

Our first venue is: Michigan State University Museum, Lansing, Michigan.  
Dates are: May 11- November 30, 2014.

It reminds me that I still need to finish my blog about my project.  Not only was the project difficult to do, especially the counting, it is also hard to write about.


Journal entry from 28 April, 2013
"The tedious nature of this task grows ever more so.  I find myself resisting the count, guilty of my over consumerism.  Perhaps if I avoid it, it won't be real?  Yesterday, I find my focus and method of counting changing significantly.  I have shifted from 'what' to 'where'.  I count objects in a drawer instead of organizing the objects by type and counting.  It is easier and faster."

Journal entry from May, 2013
"The counting is a big time suck.  However, not that bad as I thought it would be.  Definitely an emotional voyage, one that I was not prepared for.  It takes me back to the better days when the kids played with toys and created things-clever things that I could see.  And that time is gone now, and I am left with piles of useless toys.  Memories of the past feel exaggerated, both positive and negative."

I am curious as the count grows.  Would it be interesting to count or list the things that I actually use on a daily basis? (because none of the stuff below would make it...)
Counting the garage:

Counting the garage is much like counting my daughter's room.  It is hard to jump in to the piles of stuff and chaos.  I leave a wake of cleanliness and order behind me as the garbage and recycling bins fill.  It also creates a pile of donated items, better to give stuff away while it can still be useful to someone.
Counting LEGO's.  Yes, I counted the individual pieces.
Where have the days gone when LEGO was about building bricks?  Now LEGO is about LOTS of very specialized shaped pieces, that the toy cannot be built without, and 80 pages of instructions ... really?
And we BUY it...sigh.

I finish the count in early June.  It gives me about 3 months to make the quilt.  Photos are due on Sept 1, 2013.
Spoiler alert.
Yes, I finished on time!  :)
Next blog post....the quilt.


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Driven to Distraction
12" x 12"

I have been trying a new technique, called paper lamination.  It is so fun, and I just love how my samples are turning out!  This one is made from newspaper, lime tissue paper, white silk organza, on a white background and quilted intensively with black thread.
It will be donated to SAQA for their annual fund-raising auction.  The auction is typically in the fall, and you can see the details here:
A detail shot for you!