Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lessons Learned

What I Learned This Week While I Didn't Create Any Art:

1) My friends are thrilled I'm an artist
I recently sent out postcards for the upcoming Fiber + Thread =Art exhibit, a bit hesitantly I might add. You see, I'm still coming to terms with the mantle of "artist", but my friends are ten paces ahead of me. They are just thrilled for me and this direction I'm taking in my life. Very cool. I need to step up to the plate.

2) You can learn about yourself and your art at an art exhibit
I was lucky enough to see Leni Wiener's exhibit at the Larchmont library this week. Her photo inspired collages have incredible depth, color and emotion. I didn't have a lot of time at the exhibit, but I learned a lot by going and it was time well-spent. One of the things that really hit home was that I'm a big chicken with my art. For example, some of Leni's fabric choices are very surprising, but they work great in the whole. I have some of these fabrics in my stash, but I've been too afraid to use them in representational artwork. I'd like to work on that.

3) Art can benefit from a nap
Some people can continue to work well when they're tired, but I'm not one of them. I wasn't able to create anything for most of the week, but I was able to set aside much of Friday free to create art. Fortunately, I took a nap instead. I took one look at the piece I had tried to cut to size the night before for the SDA member exhibit and realized I couldn't afford too many more mistakes like that. As much as I wanted to create, it wasn't going to happen productively while I was all blurry-eyed. Yep, naps are good.

4) Rejections can be informative
I received my rejection from the PAQA-South ArtQuilt Transitions exhibit this week. I also saw the list of accepted artists; it was like reading a "Who's Who" of quilt artists. It was good to know who will be included in the show. I have a sense of what kind of work these artists create and now I have a better understanding of the the caliber of work this exhibit attracts. I'm trying to keep track of what I enter and where so that I can learn what might be a good fit for my art. Every acceptance and rejection helps me judge my own work better.

5) I can render my mom speechless by giving her a quilt
It's my parents' 50th wedding anniversary today and I gave them my quilt, Nod to Georgia. My mom once told me she liked it, so I thought it might make her happy to have it. I had no idea the impact it could have. Wow

Monday, February 23, 2009


The children were off from school, so we went away a week-- hence no blog posts. But I did take a few inspiration photos. Can you guess where I was?

(Click on the photo to see the spider web; I can't believe it survived the abuse of the dock and the wind whistling through the ropes!)

What did you guess?

Well, we were in Disney. I have to tell you, it's hard to take pictures without characters or Disney symbols. As a result, I went for texture, color, and structure. It was a good exercise in seeing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I've been busting to tell that my quilt, Revelation, was sold during the Art Quilts XIII: Lucky Break exhibit at the Chandler Center for the Arts. Given the economic climate, someone wiser than I suggested I hold off celebrating until I had the check in hand, just in case the buyer had a change of heart or circumstances.

But today, the check was in the mail. I am excited beyond words. I must give credit to the Center for displaying the quilts to their best advantage and to Diane Howell, the curator of the exhibit, for being incredibly patient with me and my first-time sale . Good-bye, Revelation. I hope you bring joy to your new home.

Putting on a show

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Fiber + Thread = Art SAQA exhibit. With Jane Davila at the helm, I'm learning so much about the process of mounting an exhibit. We recently met to mount all our artwork on 18" x 18" canvas so that all the artwork would look uniform in the space. Last month, the group worked to select artwork for the postcard. It's not an easy task. It was important to choose work that photographed well (i.e., wasn't too dark, too light, or too shiny) and that all "played well" together (borrowing a phrase from Jane). My piece, "Circles I", ended up on the postcard (how cool is that?). It's the slice on the far right. Doesn't the postcard look great? Kudos to Jane for that. (The blue surround on the card is of my own making -- the postcard has a white border but I thought that would make the edge hard to see here.)

Here's a listing of the artists involved in the show. There are a lot of accomplished artists in the group and I'm honored to be exhibiting with them.

There's still more to do: postcards to mail, posters to distribute, artwork to hang, refreshments to procure. Intellectually, I knew there was a lot to do, but there's no better learning experience than actually going through all the steps. If you're in the area, please stop by. The show includes an exciting array of artwork!

I'm a little behind on my journal quilts. As you can see, I'm still exploring circles. I played with paint and bubble wrap, then did some hand stitching. I'd really like to try to incorporate more hand work in my quilts. I recently submitted a piece for the Quilting Arts "Rock On!" challenge and I really like it .... but I think it would have been much better if I'd put some hand stitching in the background. I used to embroider a lot, but I always did it with a pattern. As a result, I don't have much confidence in "free form" stitching. I'm going to have to work on that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stickers and Sketchbooks

Lots of people have been asking about my Xyron machine so I thought I'd post about it. Here's a picture:

Basically, a Xyron machine is a sticker maker. You feed papers and thin objects into the mouth, crank the handle, and out pops your item with adhesive on the back. It's really easy to use. I've been experimenting with it to see what works well and what doesn't. I decided to put all my experiments onto my inspiration notebook (a recycled child's art sketchbook). I sloshed some paint on the top, then covered it with my Xyron experiments. Here's what I learned:

- collage papers and other such card stock go through the machine very easily;
- "slippery" paper eventually goes through, but you have to be patient;
- papers that have some texture (like painted tracing paper) go through pretty easily;
- points of torn papers don't always get adhesive on them, so you might need to use gel medium or stitching to secure those edges;
- things that are relatively flat do go through (like the plastic leaf on the upper left of my notebook); however, a leaf like this

that has a bit more flex did not do well.
- According to the literature you can put buttons through the machine, but let me warn you, they have to be thin without any edges! I put two buttons through the machine. The first was flat; the machine was ornery, but it worked. The second button had just the tiniest of lips and the machine literally came apart at the seams. OOPS!

Last week I worked hard to create something for the Quilting Arts "Rock On!" challenge. One of the things I wanted to do on my quilt was to draw a pair of eyes. I went onto the internet to get drawings of eyes as reference. I struggled with creating eyes that looked realistic, even in a simple line drawing. I wonder what makes eyes so hard to draw; they're not really very complex shapes. Maybe it's because they also convey emotion. At any rate, here's a peek into my sketchbook. I did manage to make one eye that I liked; it's at the top left of the left-hand page. We've been asked not to reveal our challenge entries; they might be published! That would be very cool.