Monday, March 30, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things
36" x 48"
My first invitational. I was excited and scared at the same time. No ideas, and then too many ideas. Would I rise to the challenge?? (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one!). Eventually, I got this idea and knew it was the right one!
This is actually me! Climbing a strenuous roof crack at Enchanted Rock State Park. Strenuous may be an understatement. I mean this one was REALLY HARD. I fell too many times to count. And I never would have made these moves without the help of my two spotters and the belayer on the other end of the rope. Each time I fell, the rope would catch me. I rested (and rested and rested), got back on at my high point, and then tried another move. Got it!! And then slipped out again, only to be caught again by the rope. That's what makes this such a beautiful metaphor for life. We all need support, it helps us get to where we are now. I am thankful for all the support that I have gotten through the years. And there is nothing like having children to make you appreciate all the things your parents did for you, so thanks mom and dad!
The theme of this show is EDGES. And though this lovely climb looks like such a beautiful edge, the irony is that climbers don't consider this climb an "edge climb". Ha, ha! It works for me though. And, maybe it explains why I like edges in my art. They make me feel secure. A nice edge, you can climb into and rest, or stand on securely. I did this piece in all batik (eh, sort of). It took about 7 or 8 layers of batik and dye to get to this point. Some of the top section I used bleach discharge in patches. Then I waxed the whole section, and etched in some more texture and dyed again. There were a number of mistakes, yet I persevered. For a total risk, I opted not to measure any of my, THAT is scary!!!! I couldn't decide what to do with the sky, and that's when I decided to make this into a bit of a travel poster about my favorite crack climbs at Enchanted Rock. It is a wonderfully huge granite batholith in central Texas and only an hour and a half from Austin. Exfoliating flakes make these huge and wonderfully exposed boulders. There are hundreds, and hundreds of climbs, and I only had room for the names of a few here. I quilted the letters with white thread, and then went over them with white Tsukineko Inks. Look for it first at IQA: Long Beach.
And last, though this piece looks totally different from Vertigo, maybe now you can see why I associated climbing with overcoming fear.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Red Legged Bird with a Tale to Tell
43" x 35"
The symbolism is marvelous! A mockingbird is the main character, mocking us as he steals the money. He has red legs, as in "CAUGHT! Red handed!" And his legs are really long, as in, He can walk all over us, and in broad daylight. Surely, he has a tale to tell us? Perhaps you can make up your own? Will your story include the letters AIG?

This is number 2 in my economic series. Maybe it is the last in a short series, it remains to be seen. I made the money by scanning a $20. Did you know that photoshop has issues with scanning US currency? I guess that's a good thing, though it slowed my art down a bit. After manipulating the image, it let me print the tiny bills. I trimmed them with copper, to both help them show up better against the brightly colored landscape and as a reference to the devaluing of the American dollar, as in the $20's are like pennies now. The legs are made from African trade I am sure there is a story behind those!

And the fabrics, oh lovely fabrics, are made from a number of my batiks.  Some of them have been altered with more layers of batik, and others have been transformed by the miracle of fusible webbing (LOVE that stuff!). The foreground and the sky are also hand dyes. I learned that I suffer from not enough value difference in this pallette. It was difficult to achieve the 3D effect of the buildings that I was going for. I tried to correct that with dense quilting in dark threads, it helped a bit, but is not quite there. Still learning as I go, I love this work!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Duck and Cover
28" x 32"
Do you remember the slogan from the cold war, duck and cover? The strategy to SAVE YOUR LIFE in the event of a Nuclear Bomb? Yeah right! I have no idea why my brain connected that with the current economic crisis??? Regardless, this one is an attempt at humor. Hopefully, you will find it at least a bit funny.

The duckies are real rubber ducks. I cut them in half and sewed them to the quilt. The flower umbrellas they are carrying are 3D. They are really cool because they stick out from the quilt and hold their shape much better than I hoped for, like a good 3 inches. And I like the way the petals sag at the tips.
 This quilt also features a number of my batik fabrics, along with some commercial prints. I made the flower centers, the Dow Jones building fabric, and a few other of the building fabrics. And hey, if you have never seen the inside of a rubber duck, you owe it to yourself to cut one in half before you let your child chew on one of those things. EWWW! Sorry, I had to show you this unfortunate truth. My duckies were cleaned extensively before attaching to the quilt, while I was wearing biohazard gear!
And last, I am pleased to announce that this quilt will be included in the exhibit "Sense of Humor" at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall. It is sponsored by SAQA, Studio Art Quilts Association.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fish, Flowers, and Cats

Here are cat girl's designs. They are super cute! She made the fishie one for me! I like her designs and she had fun with this project. Next time I will shop a bit longer for a better "canvas" for her to paint on. And, we are not sure, but we might wax her designs and overdye the shirts different colors...still deciding. And in case you are wondering, we really do have a fish named Max, he's a blue beta. (Pun intended....maybe you remember pre-VHS of betamax?) And the last t-shirt, of Juno, was our kittens' mother who died. I had no idea that she still thinks of Juno, we shall miss that sweet cat who brought us her kittens.

Cat Girl is at it Again!
I found this new shirt stuffed in the back of my daughter's closet with a cat drawn on it. Confirmed....she has found the markers!  Fortunately, she was not home for me to yell at and squelch her creativity. I had some time to relax and regroup! Then I started thinking, no wonder she drew on her clothes! This is the norm around here, a whole different paradigm than when I was a kid! Huh??

When she got home, I calmly asked her not to draw on her new school clothes (no yelling involved), I praised her fabulous cat design, and then bought her some more t-shirts for her to decorate. She is busy doing that now. I will upload her photos tomorrow. Meanwhile, I took her shirt, with her permission and kind guidance, I carefully painted her cat. She instructed with colors and patterns. Obviously, I couldn't control myself when it came to dots, so I had to add some of those. These were stamped with a socket from the garage.  Living the good life!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cat Girl's Kimono
 Cat Girl is studying Japan this year. Her school does a big production for each grade, and this year it is Japan. She made a lantern, a fan, a Japanese Garden, did a play, sang songs, tasted foods, learned to count, etc. Obviously, she needed a kimono for the play. We quickly found a pattern which turned out to be way too big. I made some minor adjustments in the sleeves and hems. And for some strange reason, none of the patterns had cats on them...??? What's up with that? So from her drawing, I created a cat for her sash. What I learned? That I don't like sewing with slinky fabric....AND....I love sewing for her and seeing her GREAT BIG SMILE! Ahhhh!!! 

Monday, March 02, 2009

Three of a Kind
18" x 18"
Don't you love looking at the quilting from the backside of the quilt? The texture is so yummy without being cluttered with color and design. I have started using almost all white on the back of my quilts. This little one is on it's way to Surface Matters for SDA (Surface Design Association). It is an exhibit of members' works for their annual conference. I decided to keep this one simple, just added a few borders. (By the way, one of these borders is in my new fabric line, which I still know almost nothing about yet! The suspense is killing me!! see note below...)
Postdate:  Michael Miller bought my fabric line but chose NOT to print it.  VERY DISAPPOINTING!!