Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Scrappy Happy

One of my favorite things to do with leftover scraps of fabric, thread and yarn is to make 'scrappy' fabric. I read about it in an Embellishments newsletter and was hooked. Basically you gather up a bunch of pretty fabric and thread scraps, plop them down artfully between two layers of clear, water-soluble stabilizer, and stitch all over. You have to cover it well with stitches: I use a variety of designs and colors. Then you wash out the stabilizer in cold water and !viola! you have your own handmade fabric. I use it to cover journals mostly, and add a place-marker made from braided yarn or a ribbon strip with some handmade tyvek beads for adornment. This is a photo of today's scrappy as it was drying in the sun on my deck.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Learning Curve

Today, instead of doing what I usually do...painting or dyeing or collage or something else wildly colorful, messy and expressive, I made myself sit down at the sewing machine and learn a few technical things. I sat with some thread, scraps of fabric and the machine manual and taught myself, finally, how to: use the buttonhole maker, sew on a button with the machine and last but not least: free motion quilt. It was all pretty successful, and I made a little journal quilt of it. But sadly, it was really abusive to my wrist and forearm (probably the free motion quilting) and so I am all wrapped up in ice, mulling over the plusses and minuses of prescription painkillers. And just when I thought my torn rotator cuff was feeling a lot better...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rock and Roll Challenge

Well, by happy accident I stumbled on a posting on the quiltingartsllc (Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors Magazines) editor's blog that is right up my alley. They are having a Rock and Roll challenge, 8.5x11. Of course, which of my 100 favorite songs will I choose? Some are great, but hard to illustrate. Some can be illustrated, but are they the right song?

In honor of the event I am posting a journal quilt I did last February. I took some of my favorite albums (excuse can see how old I am by referring to music storage devices as albums) and scanned them, then arranged them in a 9 patch and surrounded them with some favorite lyrics. That Johnny Rzeznik (Mr. Goo Goo Doll himself) is pretty clever, and if i were 25 years younger, I'd have his poster on my ceiling.

Of course, the rules prohibit using scanned pictures of the album cover art (oops, CD cover art) and using the lyrics, so I can't do anything like this.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pantihose and the Pope

This might look like a typical page from someone's photo scrapbook, but look closer. It is about an incident that occurred back in the 1980s. My two roommates and I were robbed; tied up and held at gunpoint for hours in our apartment in New York. Fortunately none of us were hurt physically, although one still has a scar on her leg from struggling unsuccessfully to get untied.

The poem tells the story of the robbery. Poetry may not be my main talent, but it was a good way to express what happened. I used an old piece of pantihose to edge the piece because the robbers tied and gagged us with my pantihose. I chose a brown background because we were face down in a brown shag rug (came with the apartment...definitely not my taste.) It was the same night that the Pope was shot, and it was really, really weird to be tied up on the floor while the robbers made themselves comfy and watched the news on TV until they felt that the 'coast was clear.'

The intruders were trying to rob what they thought was a drug dealer's apartment. They were either not too bright or misinformed, since my roommates were college students at FIT and I was a young, struggling career girl. Once they realized we really had nothing of value, they loosened my restraints, let themselves out the door, and I was able to get free and untie the other two.

This 8"x8" journal quilt was included, along with my 8"x8" journal quilt Broken Chakra Girl, in the book 1000 Artist Journal Pages that was published this past spring. (available on Amazon if anybody is is a really good book, and not just because the author chose to include my work.)

Zen Flower

This is a little piece I did a while back, oil and oil pastel on primed matboard. It reminds me of a lotus and there is something really peaceful and healing about the little flower. Like many of my pieces, it just emerged from my head. I didn't look at a flower and draw it, I just scribbled with craypas and it emerged.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Orange Proportion

In one of my art groups we have a monthly exercise where we take an art or design principle and come up with a little quilted piece utilizing that theme. The September theme was proportion, which was harder than it sounded. Most of my work is about pattern and surface design as well as color and texture, and I don't think consciously about proportion.

I took an old sketch from a figure drawing class (that I did over 30 years ago and saved, thinking 'someday I might need this'). I reduced the figure to fit a 5"x7" space, then printed it out of the computer onto cotton that had been ironed to freezer paper. I added an orangeish background with water-soluble oil pastels and quilted it by machine with red-orange thread.

One of the group members commented that it reminded her of hot idea that was probably in my subconscious mind. The figure had interesting proportions because I did it from the ground looking up, so the arms and head seem small and out of proportion to the body, but it did make it more interesting to have the unusual angle. I chose the orange background to contrast with the turquoise crayon/pencil that I used to do the original sketch.

End of Summer

Labor Day has come and gone. Today I actually found a parking spot in seems all the tourists have gone home. In honor of the end of summer, I am posting a few celebratory pieces. Not that I don't like summer--I do--but I also love fall. The rose was done from a photo I took of some climbing roses in my yard. I zoomed in on a section with a bud that the aphids had gotten a few bites out of, printed the photo on cotton (ironed to freezer paper for stability) and overpainted it with watersoluble oil pastels. The second is a photo that I took of my favorite local beach, Havens Beach, a few winters ago when it was deserted and covered with ice chunks. The bay froze, then the tide came in and out, leaving big, thick ice blocks. I printed the photo on coquille watecolor paper and overpainted with watersoluble oil pastels to make it look like a summer sunset scene.