Friday, May 31, 2013

Morgan and Momoy

Today is reveal day for our Latitudes Quilts group.  The theme for the latest challenge was "leave your mark".  I admit to being stumped; I struggled with how I wanted to represent "leaving my mark".  Each time I considered the theme, I came back to this thought: the greatest mark I'll leave on this Earth is my children.  They will be here after I'm gone.  Hopefully, they will be good people, responsible global citizens, and loving partners and parents.  That's the greatest legacy I can leave.

Morgan and Momoy 
With that in mind, I created this piece based on a drawing my youngest did when she was nursery school, celebrating the marks she made.  I have it framed and hanging in my studio and I smile every time I see it.  The color selections of my quilt are taken from what she drew, right down to the faded small figure.... and the spelling mistake.  (I love that spelling mistake and am so thankful her teachers didn't intervene to correct her!)  My first intent was to recreate the drawing with embroidered stitch, but I had a hard time recreating the spontaneity of the drawing.  Perhaps I just didn't leave enough time to solve that problem.  In the end, I  mimicked her crayon drawn line with paint.  I used my left hand so the lines weren't as sure.  It seemed to make a difference.  

In creating the piece, I took the "leaving your mark" theme one step further with my fabrics.  In our group discussions, some of our members have been talking about using only things from our stash.  I wanted to do that, but didn't have a good fabric for the center panel.  A piece of hand dyed fabric seemed a perfect solution, but powdered dyes make me a bit uncomfortable and I doubt I'll ever use them.  However, I like the idea of going to my garden and harvesting fodder for dyes.  As a result, I used a piece of fabric I dyed with onion skins to be ecologically-minded.  Every small step towards a cleaner Earth, I hope, makes a difference.  I'm hoping to explore eco-dyeing further this summer with India Flint's Eco Colour book in hand.  

I didn't think the piece lent itself to intricate or complex quilting and I struggled with my options.  I considered and discarded embroidered running stitches in the paint, echo quilting, and all-over meander quilting because I felt that, in one way or another, these options would detract from the simplicity of the drawing.  In the end, I hand sewed a few crosses in a very large grid to hold the whole thing together and called it a day.  

Please head over to the Latitude Quilts blog to see all the other interpretations of the theme.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There's still time

I had a wonderful weekend; did you?  On my end, this was the first weekend when the entire family was home and I savored every moment of it.

I  also popped into my studio for some playtime.  Quilting Arts Gifts issued a Gift Tag Challenge for their 2013/14 issue.  Lucky for me, the challenge entry date has been extended to Friday, May 31st.  You can read all the details of the challenge here.

I still wanted to go to the movies with my kids and sip wine on the porch with my husband, so I created only one tag using a favorite tool of mine: water soluble crayons.  Given that it was Memorial Day weekend, I suppose it's not a complete surprise that I worked in red, white, blue, and black, though it was a subconscious decision.  Fortunately those colors are part of the pre-selected palette for the challenge.  I chose to use the oval template for my tag but looking at it now, it looks a bit like a tie-dyed Easter egg, doesn't it?

This was a great way for me to slip back into creating mode after almost a month away from my studio due to travels.  If you're looking for a quick, fun project, consider this one.  There's still time!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Travels of La Madrina

I am la madrina -- the godmother.  And because I am la madrina, I traveled to Florence last week/weekend to participate in the first communion celebration of my Italian godson. The multi-day event was filled with family time and meals, time in the church, and music and dancing.  My girlfriend and her family live overseas and though we talk on the phone, I hadn't seen my godson in years.  I spent as much time as I could catching up and piling on memories to last me a while.

HOWEVER, on Saturday morning I found myself with a two open hours during which I dashed about Florence like a mad woman.  Here are some pictures from my "tour":

The Duomo -- it's like nothing you've ever seen before.  It's unfathomable to me that this incredible structure was completed in the 1400s.  If you'd like to read about some of the politics, intrigue, and architectural genius behind the Duomo, check out the book Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King.

It's so much larger that you'd think --

The details on the buildings are remarkable -- look all those small sculptures!

The building is dramatic, even all sooty:

It was market day and I wished I had time to spend in a kitchen with all the glorious produce.

The beautiful Santa Croce is the Italian version of Westminster Abbey; all sorts of famous people are buried there, including Dante and Michelangelo.  It's been undergoing renovations to restore the tremendous frescos in the interior.

Oh, and the stained glass windows....!!

Some of the tombs on the ground were delineated by some rather surprising elements.

And here's Michelangelo's final resting place:

I think Florence is a remarkable city and any time spent there is a treat.  I feel blessed to have been able to go there, and to see my girlfriend and spend time with her family.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

The poppies are gracing the garden again...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Time Away in California

Thanks to my mom who came out from Chicago, I flew to California last Thursday. My husband had business to conduct that day, but had most of Friday and the entire weekend free, resulting in our first time away without our children in sixteen years.  It was wonderful.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our three days.  I'm sure more photos will be appearing over the coming weeks.

An obliging butterfly who looked grand in the yellow flowers

Here's one of the beautiful views in Garrapata State Park

One of the beaches filled with all the wonderful things that eventually become sand.  There wasn't a smooth surface to walk on and I was glad I had on shoes.

Who'd have thought there would be cacti by the ocean?

This was prime harbor seal pup time and I thrilled seeing them lounging about with their mothers and nursing.

The wild poppies were blooming, too.  How could I end my post with anything but this?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There's a Super-Secret Project Afoot

HOLY SMOKES!  It's been ages since I lasted posted.  The time just flew by as I checked things off my ever-growing to-do list.  I devoted a lot of time to one particular super-secret project that will be revealed in a few months.  Until I can speak of it, I leave you with this teaser:

You're right; that's a very unsatisfying photo.   Fortunately, it's not the only thing I've been working on these last few weeks.  I also worked on my kimono-inspired piece for the Fiberarts Northeast (FANE) special group exhibition that's on display this weekend at the Northern Star Quilt Guild show in Somers, New York.  Our artwork will be displayed on a T-stand that allows our works to be presented in shapes reminiscent of kimonos.  My piece is pretty different from other works of mine and did not photograph well on the design wall.  So instead I'll share two detail images: the first is a view of the patterns I drew for the side panels of my kimono, and the other is a close-up of part of my center panel that I screen printed.  My kimono is called, "Shards".

Pattern close-ups
"Shards" detail