Monday, July 16, 2012

The Goings On

I have yet to find the lazy days of summer.  School let out towards the end of June and I've been dashing about at warp speed.  My youngest spent most of the last week of the month in rehearsals for her national dance competition.  This year's competition was in Orlando, so it was off on an airplane for the two of us.   We were gone for nine days, with down time only at the very beginning and end of the trip. You'd think that in the land of Disney technology there'd be easy internet access, but no --- I paid $11 per day to have very erratic service.  Ah well, it wasn't so bad ... there really wasn't that much time to surf the net anyway.  But I did manage to see the super-sized bugs that grow down there. This was taken by the edge of the sidewalk; got the shot only because I had my ever-handy camera with me.

Then it was home again for a quick turn-around for my youngest.  We scrambled around and off she went, two days after returning home.  She's now living aboard a boat in the British Virgin Islands getting her advanced scuba diving and night diving certifications, along with beginning sailing certification.  I think that's just so cool and I'm very proud of her.  I've also been shopping with my oldest for things for her dorm (she starts Notre Dame in the fall -- woo hoo!) and dashing to doctors' appointments to prepare for her wisdom teeth removal this Friday (yech!).

In between it all, there's been a little bit of art.  My fiber art group is doing a surface design project, inspired by Renga poetry  (here's a link to the Wikipedia definition).  In essence, we each created a piece of fabric and are rotating it through randomly selected groups for additional surface design applications.  Embroidery, fusing, and the like are not allowed.  Another stipulation of the project is that we can't use the same technique twice.  The goal is to continue to add elements to create more visual depth and excitement to the fabric.  The trick is not to add so much that no one else has anything to do. I added some swirls and curves to the bottom of the first fabric I received, using paint sticks and a rubbing plate.  I think there's still plenty of opportunity to do more.

I've also done a bit of ripping out and practicing.  Have you ever thought a piece was complete, taken a picture of it, and uploaded it for submission to an exhibition, and then realized you'd made a humongous error?  Well, I recently did.  So, the bindings on the piece in question have come off and it now awaits improvement. (I waited until the skinny envelope arrived before I ripped it apart.)  But before I can do anything, I felt I needed to practice my "cordouroy quilting", as my friend Robin calls it -- you know, those closely spaced quilted lines that go back and forth across the surface.  Put bluntly, I STINK at this style of quilting, but it's what my quilt really needs.  So I decided to make a practice piece.  I went one direction and thought ... lame.  So I went back in the other direction and thought.... better.  It's still not perfect; heaven knows how folks like Robin and Lisa Call do this, but I did learn a lot in the process:

1)  The hand of the artist (fallible me) definitely shows if you have big spaces to cover;
2) This is not a technique that can be rushed; and,
3) Busy base fabrics are a no-no.  The stitching gets lost and you suffer tremendous eye fatigue.

After I stitched, I realized I couldn't really see the outline of the object I had "reverse outlined"-- see lesson #3 above.  So I dipped my finger into some black paint and smooshed it around the edges.  That was fun.  Here's my little practice piece that took a LONG time to do.  (I'm thinking I may use this for embroidery practice too, but another day.)

Another day because for now, I'll return to my nifty little hotel set-up.  Yes, I'm in a hotel again, but with my son this time.  He's in a multi-day golf tournament and I've got some piecing I'd like to do.  The room layout is surprisingly conducive to a sewing machine. By golly, I schlepped my sewing machine all the way here and  I'm going to get some work done..... after lunch.


Cindy Green said...

Wow, you're being Super Mom this summer for sure! Nice practice pieces - seems like you learned a lot! Hope you're feeling better... :-D

Lisa Call said...

Love the new chair piece!

Natalya Aikens said...

love that chair you super mom you!

Anonymous said...

Viv - P. must be extremely happy with S's choice of schools! Congrats to her on all her accomplishments and for getting back to the Midwest.


norma said...

Yes, indeed you are a Super Mom! I love what you did with the chair. That black paint really makes the chair pop. I think that corduroy quilting is so tedious, but I do like the results. Are you using a walking foot or trying to free motion it? The walking foot gives perfect results, but is very slow.
When I first looked at the pictures and saw the machine set up I thought that you had the world's neatest studio and then read that it was in a hotel room. Not only super mom, but dedicated artist. Carry on!