Sunday, March 30, 2008

the deconstructed

(mood enhancer just added) I took those shirts apart yesterday and when I was finished I wondered what I would do with the pile of collars, cuffs and plackets . These little headless creatures are not quite what I had in mind. These are benign and silly looking compared to the scary things that I keep seeing in the corner of my mind since Jim showed me this silly thing. At least I got it out of my system before I put all the rest of that great seersucker together. Now I'm I'm sure I'm going to have to do something to it - as yardage goes it's pretty boring. No wonder they put the shirts in the Goodwill box!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Highs and Lows

On the upside, these two pieces, "Baghdad Bazaar" and "Clubbin' " have been selected to hang at the Peabody Auditorium Rose Room Gallery, Daytona Beach, FL. After running a lot of lists mentally, including the things I can and cannot control, I won't be going to Focus On Fiber '08 down at the ACA in New Smyrna Beach. There are too many cons for travel at the moment but I hope to try for the October edition. I plan on holding my own private FOF08 all next week here at the Lawrenceville Frankenstein Dyeworx. There will be pictures and play by play! I plan to try keeping to the same schedule and pace that I set for myself when I was at fiber camp last spring - working "cain't see to cain't see" most days. Both of the pieces above were "born" at FOF07.

Monday, March 24, 2008

recycling old(new) stuff

Deb Roby & I must have been tapping into the Zeitgeist today. She wrote about it - thrifting, repurposing, dumpster diving - whatever you want to call taking old garments/fabrics and using them according to your own design - while I was out doing it at the local Goodwill. Being frugal that is. The awful truth is that if I had waited until tomorrow I could have gotten these 3.99 seersucker shirts for half-price by proudly waving my AARP card around and cackling. I spared myself the mortification 'cause I just had to have 'em. today. (more truth - I may go back there again tomorrow for more stuff even cheaper) I was on the lookout for wool sweaters and silk blouses to cut up and a Bullet Blender (for dye mixing) but I stumbled across these shirts which were never worn! Old Navy just off loaded them. As they are not quite my comfortable size, I'm torn between saving them for the legendary "10 pounds from now" and cutting them into strips for a real bed blanket - something to needle by hand. There is no design plan in my head at the moment so I'll stay the scissors for tonight. ps: to my pure horror the Most Perfect Pair of jeans (that were also had for a song) are un-zip-able and I thought they would be my new second skin. Curse Girl Scout Cookies! Something drastic is at hand.

Quiet Weekend

Some might say "the End Times are at hand!" The bad blood between these two usually runs hot. Now I'm beginning to think the animosity they usually display is a pose for the humans. Jim spent a lot of time at the job this weekend supervising a critical phase and Colin went to Florida to meet the internet GF for the first F2F. Within limits of propriety (and nosy mom-ness) I'll let you know how that went. I couldn't even get in any good consumerizing. All the places I like to shop - Goodwill, thrift stores, HoAnne's & Mikey's - were all CLOSED! poop. Packed? No, I'm still only making mental lists.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Piddling, paddling, it's all good.

I never get tired of catfish. When I was a kid I used to feed them like city people feed pigeons. Catfish raised on Wonderbread! This almost has an Amish feel somehow. Since I don't have a traditional quilting background I know it's an echo of some technique or style but can't say just what. I just know it was fun picking through the scraps. It's a bit too studied (once again) but they are just nailed in place to the wall for the moment. I'll fiddle them around a lot before I pin and baste (you read that right) everything in place so it travels/handles well. It's all going to be hand appliqu├ęd but leaving raw edges everywhere.I like the way the fuzzy edges look water blurry. My point in setting this treat up is so that I'll have something to keep busy with while the dyes batch properly instead of rushing things the way I always do. I might even take it to the beach one afternoon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We were blind but now we see

I found a scrap of silver lycra that could have come from a great Elvis costume. My little mudcats are very happy to have eyes now. After escaping unscathed through the wild weather yesterday, we settled in to watch three hours of Matt Damon being a stoneface in "The Good Shepherd". Slow but compelling. Three quarters of the way into the movie I smelled smoke. Thinking a neighbor had lit their fireplace to cut the chill and damp that had set in at dark, I dismissed the smell. A few minutes later I caught it again, this time stronger, insistent. I bolted upstairs to see if some nitwit had left the iron on my studio. Nope. A quick trip through the upper rooms and I could tell the smell was wafting in through the bathroom window and I caught an ominous glow just out of view. I dashed out the deck door to see a house completely engulfed in flames not more than a quarter mile away through the woods behind our house. As we stood on the deck watching and hearing that the firetrucks were already bearing down on that neighborhood we watched as the wind lifted sparks high in the air and carried them up over our house and the houses on both sides. We quickly went out and roused the neighbors on both sides (they were sleeping!) to be watchful and anxious with us. By the time we got back to our vantage point it was almost all over. Fortunately we found out today that no one was living in the house and no one in the houses close by suffered any losses. So frightening to think of losing everything in a matter of a few minutes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

hand stitching for stress relief...

[[For family & friends concerned about the tornado damage in Atlanta last night.We're all good, luckier than some with no damage here. We are 29 miles to the northeast of that part of the city and lucky to only have a summer style thunderstorm pass over us. Jim is making the grocery store run right now as we are in for another line of severe storms this afternoon.]] Jude, Lately, the hand-music is all your (inspirational) fault. You and them lions. I wish I could break out and be more free with it though. My stitches just line themselves up like so many little ants. Compulsive hand stitching should be a clear sign by now to myself that I am stressed and should be treated like a minefield until I can broaden my artistic gestures and horizons again. breathe. act. continue. "dervish" (above) and "little sweetie" date back several years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

More mudcats

I've been going back and forth between these little compulsively stitched pieces and the website work. Both things are some very narrow focus kind of doings but I only do what I like so it must be what's called for at the moment. I actually tried starting with a much larger canvas but after a long while of shuffling shapes around in space they wound up congregating again in a tight little ball - all whiskers touching. Must be Spring. (click for a closer look)

Monday, March 10, 2008

website 99% refurbed

I have been at this computer all day and it's still not finished but the fun part, the glory part is done. Now for some nitpicking and some verbiage but my brain is empty. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions and comments - I've made a list and will work through it as time permits. Karen- the "next" link thing was important. Don't know how I could have missed it. Deb -I'm still on the fence about using that nav bar graphic. It's been so long since I've monkeyed around with image maps I'm afraid I'd have to go back to kindergarten to recapture the moves. There are images scattered all over the place, some okay, some have to be re-shot. I'm beginning to worry that my A-95 is having issues. Every now and then the little iris that protects the lens doesn't open all the way instantly. I wonder if the focusing mechanism could be off too. Has anyone noticed that I'm not mentioning quilts or fiber alongside the images? I plan on yakking about my methods and materials in an artists statement kind of thing but I have to think about it some. All I want to do is make another cotton & scraps sandwich, choose some threads and settle in. Jude's Lions are so inspiring. Maybe something lots bigger this time.

more hand music

(14" square) Little mudcats wrangling over fruit. I am besotted with hand stitching raw scraps onto a thin sandwich of muslin and batt.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


By demolishing my index page I've committed to updating my main website. With nearly a dozen new pieces to add from 2007, I though it needed an entirely new look. What that look might be is just dawning on me. Clean, simple and to the point. It's got to be about the art. To keep cobwebs from growing in the studio, I keep pulling UFO's out of the closet and at least turning them into something functional. Idle fiber is the devil's playground? Just look what can happen. This little number will actually keep a small person warm and company soon.

And to remind myself what a lucky woman I am, here we are 31 years ago standing over our wedding cake- a giant strawberry shortcake that I baked myself earlier that morning. I whipped 3 quarts of heavy cream with curlers in my hair as the first of 120 guests began arriving at our home for the ceremony.

There was a piece left over big enough to cover a dinner plate and I think I ate the whole thing for breakfast the next morning.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

a dark day

Nothing like dyeing with a mystery black to pick up a dark mood. But for starters, I worked on one of my PIFs last night to see just how happy my Janome was after a tune-up. I highly recommend it for anyone who is in the sewing doldrums. It feels like day one and now I remember just why I was so hot to go into debt over this machine three years ago. I had been dreaming of a design that required a great expanse of dark fabric. There was a bottle of black dyestock in the deck fridge but I fiddled with it by adding some of this and some of that. It looked very neutral on paper. So I threw caution to the wind and hung some fabric just to see what would happen. What happened was my crusty shower got visibly nasty - nice that it cleans up so well. Jim will wonder what came over me. The results were worth every minute of scrubbing. There are three feet draped over the back of this seven foot rack.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hand work continues.

Waiting on the storms. I took Big J to the sewing machine wizard yesterday. It's been cranky lately probably due to the fact that it's never had a professional cleaning or tuneup since I bought it late in '06. I'm worried he's going to report me to someone somewhere for machine abuse. Still, he did offer to carry it to a more convenient location for me to pick it up at noon, or will They be waiting to take me into custody and put Big J into the sewing machine foster care system?

Sunday, March 02, 2008


It's time for a little hand music. Something to do while the mind is elsewhere. My mind has been like a rabbit on the lam lately and I won't go on and list all the things I should be doing instead of this but know that I have a list and I'm checking things off one by one. I haven't gotten an email regarding my Visions entry (another person has heard) so I'm assuming that I didn't get in. After reading the fine print on the prospectus which informs that the piece will be gone for a whole year, I'm kind of relieved because the three pieces that I submitted are a set thematically and now I can post them on my website, finish my portfolio and set about the mission of getting into a gallery somewhere. I am gearing up for some real tasty rejection, not the "We don't want you for this exhibit" kind - the "We don't want you HERE" kind. Yummy. addendum - from the Visions website - "March 1, 2008 NOTIFICATION SENT to ARTISTS of preliminary quilt selection or nonselection" so since I have not heard either way, No news is Good news - one of my parents favorite sayings.