Thursday, September 11, 2014

Watercolor Backgrounds

There is a new free online workshop at Strathmore Artist Paper website.  This one is titled Watercolor Sketching & Journaling; Instructor: Gay Kraeger.  You have to register for these, but it is easy.  Once you register, you can view the videos, join public discussion forums, and post pictures of your work for critique or comment.

The first lesson dealt with materials and also how to do a wash.  Then very quickly, Gay showed us how to do a landscape using watercolors.

This is my attempt at the landscape.  The wash for my sky was not too successful, but I had never seen anyone do a wash like this instructor, using the side of a small brush.

This one will probably be cut into strips for bookmarks!

There was also a lesson on mixing secondary colors from the three primary colors, and I had fun making my oranges, purples, and greens.

I have done a few watercolor backgrounds and fun things just splashing color on paper.

I think the last one looks like an abstract mountain/river scene and I like the colors.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Anything Art Day

Monday I took a day off from my usual gig of being a "grand nanny" and spent the day with my art quilt bee, "Anything Art."  We had our usual morning of "show and tell" followed by a field trip to an art installation.

Show and Tell included Peg's original patchwork tote bags.  That large one would be perfect for carrying a cutting mat to a quilting workshop.

Roberta is known for up cycling garments and other items from thrift shops.  Here is a necklace made from neckties, sewn into tubes with wire inserted and rolled up to make flowers.

She also had a vest made from recycled clothing.

She is working on this fabulous piece which resulted from a skirt with the figures and blossoms printed on it.  We had a lot of fun thinking of titles for this one.  I was thinking along the lines of "Rohypnol Nights

There were several other quilts shown, but some are probably going to be the upcoming PAQA-South quilt show, so I will save those for a future post.

Then we took off for the Cary Arts Center to see the exhibit of work by jan-ru wan titled In Clothes We Remember.   

She is an installation artist and fiber art educator.  She used garments and up cycled objects to create objects of art.

Here is the room with two of the installations in view.

The works are ethereal and lovely from a distance.  Upon closer inspection, you realize that the wedding dress has rusty razor blades hanging from the split panels of the dress. You can interpret that in many ways and our group had some lively discussion.  Most of us are of the opinion that art should be beautiful, not edgy, but this exhibit was both.

The installation on the far wall is titled Wearing Mortality on Your Sleeves.  It is made of dyed and printed silk organza, and includes bean sprouts and stitching.

One of the installations that we all liked was this baby bassinet with spirit money attached.  It is filled with mini-marshmallows.  The anthropologist in our group, Toni, explained that spirit money is used by people in some Asian cultures when visiting the graves or memorials to their ancestors.

The next installation,  The Little Blue Shirt, is made from a shirt from Guatemala.  It has dyed threads and beads, which support used laboratory tubes containing bean plants.  

Several of us were quite put off by the laboratory tubes, which look kind of gross.

The largest installation is the one we all liked best.  It is ethereal and lovely from a distance as well as up close.


I would like to have seen this installation in a room with natural light catching the petri dishes and glowing through the silk organza.  The windows in the room were covered with shades, perhaps to avoid fading of the fabrics due to sunlight.

It was an interesting and thought-provoking exhibit, and I am glad that we went.

And then the next day, I got to stay with my little granddaughter, Charlie.  She always makes me happy!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Trip Around the World

This weekend I finished quilting a queen-sized Trip Around the World quilt.

Because the quilt top is so linear and features squares, I went with lots of curvy quilting, and some floral shapes to complement the fabrics in the quilt top.

It is only partially quilted in these photos, but is now off the machine and trimmed.  I will do the binding on it as soon as I can, and return it to the daughter of the late quilter, Anne Vernon.  For this quilt's story, please see this previous post.  It only took me four years to get this done!  I feel bad about that, but I know that Anne's family will treasure this beautiful quilt.  The colors really glow.  I am going to get someone to help me hold it up for a picture of the full quilt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quilting in the Mountains

In a previous post, I wrote about setting up my Gammill long arm machine in the unfinished basement of our mountains cabin.  I decided that I could not wait until it was finished to start quilting again.   I had some projects I needed to get finished.  So, I drove up by myself last Wednesday morning and started cleaning up the sawdust and dirt down there.  That pile of insulation, plywood, and metal screening just had to stay in their corner and be ignored.

My husband's shop vac was up there.  Now this is a truly awkward machine, undoubtedly designed by men for men.  You have to bend over to vacuum the floor, pulling that bulky barrel-like tank, and using a little slot-like nozzle to do a whole floor.  Not good, but I did not want to use my good vacuum cleaner down there.

After sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping the floor, I put some sheets under the machine to protect the parts of the quilts that might drag on the floor.

One of the biggest problems in the room is that there is no overhead light or even electricity.  I used a whole mess of extension cords and multi-outlet sockets for the machine, light, bobbin winder, and hydraulic lift.

I set up a card table for the bobbin winder and some supplies.

I spent some time cleaning and oiling the machine, and turned it on.  Voila!  It fired right up and worked just fine after months of neglect.

Here is the first quilt that I did in the new location.  It is a baby quilt to be given on Saturday to a family member.  I don't think they read this blog, so it is okay to show it off.

I had some squares left over from another baby quilt.  For the center squares, I put two of each fabric so that the quilt becomes a sort of matching game to look for the same fabric.

The quilting is free-motion, with lots of swirls and ocean motifs to go with the baby's nursery.

This quilt is now completely finished and wrapped in its gift box.

I also quilted a small quilt for a friend of mine from the Whacky Ladies who has waited about eight months for her quilt.  She know I like to do artistic quilting, and let me have free rein on how to quilt all the monsters and ghouls.

The creatures were fused to the background, making a stiff surface to quilt on, but the area was too large to be left unquilted.  I went inside each one with some defining quilting stitches, and did echo quilting around them.

In the washings and borders, I did a straight-line meander in all directions.  The backgrounds behind the faces are quilted mostly with loops, but sometimes their names.

The thread broke quite often due to the heavy going in the fused areas.  And then there was this pieced backing!  All those seam intersections also made for a lot of thread breakage.

Well, it is done and Carolyn liked it!  On to the next one.

I got both quilts done in two days, and was able to enjoy the long Labor Day weekend with lots of family and friends.  In our little cabin we had six adult guests, five children under five, and four dogs!

Here are a few pics of the fun we had.