Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blue Towers

Blue Towers
36" x 48"
Blue Towers
 You may remember my earlier post here regarding this wonderful quilt and it's acceptance into The Space Between, curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jenison. The exhibit will debut at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach July 28-31, 2011 and is sponsored by Moore's Sewing Centers. is my day for an artist interview on their blog Dinner at Eight Artists.  Check it out!

And, I thought it would be the perfect day to reveal my quilt.  Be sure to click on the photos if you would like to see a larger picture!  I always love to share the story behind my work, the inspiration that set my creative juices in motion.  However, I thought it would be interesting to hear your thoughts this time.  What does this image evoke for you?  What story does it tell for you?  Leave your comments!  I will post the story behind this one next week.

close up of the quilting in the sky

detail of the window
And, for inquiring minds, some info about it's construction.  All the fabrics were hand made specifically for this quilt.  I dyed two pieces of dark blue fabric for the background in two different shades.  I always like to do that, then I get a choice of which one looks better with my design, and I have extra fabric for the backing. You have seen this window motif before, here in Building UP, and here in my fabric line, Urban Landscapes.

What you are looking at below:  The blue fabric was stamped with the window block motif: a small wooden block with the center carved out and a separate stamp for the cross in the center.  The blue is then bleach discharged. Without boiling out any wax yet, I dye paint the inside of the windows, some with red, some with green.  Then after the dye has dried, I paint over the green and red windows with wax to protect them from the next round of dyeing.  This set was then dyed turquoise, and eventually the wax is boiled out in a giant pot.

The long panels are fused and cut to their respective shapes, fused to the background, layered with batting and fabric backing, and then intensely machine quilted.  The last step was to add the hand stitching with embroidery floss.  The binding was machine satin stitched first and then whip stitched with black embroidery floss.  The floss adds such a nice texture that once I get started, it is hard to quit!  I absolutely love this quilt, which is a problem when it is time to ship it.  I like finishing work early enough that I get to enjoy it for a while before I have to send it away where it will greet the world with fresh enthusiasm!  Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growing up in a Hot House

Growing up in a Hot House
My house is a reflection of daily life with kids and menopause.  The inside of the house is soft and cozy, with kid photos and upholstered bolsters for lounging, and ephemera attached to the walls with mod podge.  The chimney is the conduit to provide a path for getting the excess heat out of the house.  It falls droopy on the scorched roof and at times flies through the air in the light up neon tubing and flashing (like a hot flash!).  My dream is that the structure of our family, like this house, is strong enough to protect the cherished ones, to support them with love and understanding, and to withstand all that comes our way.

 Construction of my house...
I cut out shapes for the sides and the roof.  I fused white fabric to cover the front, and some deconstructed screen printed fabric on the insides of the front and back panels.  Then I fused the hand-dyed colored squares to the outside.  I quilted heavily and satin stitched the flowers on the sides.  Next I carefully cut with an exacto knife to make an opening for the window in the back and the door on the front.  I also crafted a chimney for the inside and knotched a hole in the roof panel.
 I seamed together some lava panels for the roof with batting between the layers.  Then I turned the pieces right side out, and heavily quilted those as well.  I fused the chimney in place with red organza and glued photos and other treasures to the inside with mod podge.  I also fused a red organza panel to the back side to represent the chimney and added the text "menopause, hot flash!.  I stuffed the chimney with the power supply and driver for the neon cables and cut a notch on the outside back wall for the switch, so that it can be turned on from the outside.  Last step was joining all the pieces by hand using a whip stitch.  A labor of love.

Last but not least, my vision is that my house doesn't stand alone, but in a community of people, wonderful supportive people. Here is my house in the village.  You can see the list of participating artists and links to their websites here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sneak Peeks

Sneak Peeks
Or I could have titled this....How to keep your sanity while working on a project like this.  Last year, as I was working on Central Park, I spent part of my time dyeing new fabrics for quilt tops.  I made more fabric than I knew what to do with.  So, as I got tired of stuffing buildings, or sewing French knots, I would refresh my creative spirit with an afternoon of fusing and cutting new shapes and composing new quilt tops.  Ahhh!!! the joy of composition!!  I had 6 new quilt tops ready to be quilted.  I planned to quilt them last fall, as soon as I finished Central Park, but I got delayed by life.  Then this spring, I got delayed again with my bicycle accident.   They are in various stages of completion, but a few are nearly done!

Til then, I will share with you a few sneak peaks.  The first one is the back of my new quilt, High Rise.  I am at the stage of putting the hanging sleeve (seen on the left corner).  The second is a detail of my quilt, Community Garden.  It doesn't show much of the quilt, but at least you can see some fun colors.  And, you might notice these colorful cottons were fused onto silk!  I can't believe I am starting to expand my repertoire to include something besides my all time favorite cotton.  But, silk is so pretty, and shiny, and interesting!!  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pretty Patchwork

Pretty Patchwork
This is a pretty little quilt that my daughter started a few years ago.  It turns out that she doesn't really like sewing, or maybe, she just doesn't like it at this point in her life.  It has been sitting on a shelf for quite a while and I thought it might be nice to finish it up for her.  She was in perfect agreement! an added bonus, it was something easy enough to do while I am trying to get my strength back.  I can't even begin to tell you how great it feels to start working again, and this sense of accomplishment for finishing a small project.  The quilting was hard to do, (by machine), but my darling daughter does not require perfection from me, so it worked great for both of us!
And, here is the back.  The center is made from a piece of fabric my daughter batiked and dyed.  I cut it up and rearranged it (with her permission).  It think it makes a lovely center, and it is framed by at least two of my fabrics from Urban Landscapes. 

Part two....I always wonder what my cats are up to while I am working away in my studio.  Here they are right outside the door....just waiting for me to show up.  They are seriously cute!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Urban Landscapes Itajame

Urban Landscapes Itajame
Step one:  clamping on the circles and removing color with bleach discharge. 
I really like the way they look.  The pale backgrounds in contrast with the bright circles, and especially with the contrast of the leaves on the trees. 
Step two:  adding color back in.  I will select some of these and clamp the circles back on and overdye. 
I am making a twinkle quilt (be sure to scroll down just a little) ala, Malka Dubrawsky. 
Ever read the back of shampoo bottles?  Rinse, repeat?  I will be doing a lot of that in the next few weeks.  Mostly happy that this is something I can do, perhaps even therapeutic, in more than one way!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Artist Village Project

Artist Village Project
Join us for a tour of our village!!  We will be having a blog tour to show you the fiber art houses made by all the participating artists in our village.  See the schedule below.
This project began last summer.  I was inspired by Judy Perez and the 3D houses she had made.  I thought it would be an interesting project to see how different artists would interpret the challenge to make a 3D house. And as I thought about the inspiration and support I have received from others, it seemed the perfect fit to make a collaborative project and build a village. It reminded me of the old adage..."it takes a village to raise a child".  
Each participant was asked to make a 3D  fiber art house or houses using any techniques, but to include quilting in some aspect of their house. I asked participants to attempt to make a house that would fold flat for shipping, but slightly less than half of the houses fold flat. What can I say?  Art doesn't conform well to rules.  I personally was not able to make mine just didn't turn out that way! Please join us for a close up tour of the houses.  Be prepared to be amazed and inspired by this wonderful collection of visual treats!
p.s. Not all of our artists are bloggers.  For the indicated artists below, the link will take you to their website to see their work!

Susan Else (website)                       May 2
Frances Holiday Alford                   May 3
Pamela Allen (website)                    May 4
Frieda Anderson                             May 5
Lisa Call                                         May 6
Jane Davila                                     May 9
Naomi Adams                                May 10
Jamie Fingal                                   May 11
Barb Forrister                                May 12
Vickie Hallmark                             May 13
Connie Hudson                              May 16
Leslie Jenison                                 May 17
Sherri McCauley                            May 18
Judy Perez                                     May 19
Melanie Testa                                May 20
Laura Wasilowski                          May 23
Kathy York                                   May 24