Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snow Days!

Well, the winter was feeling pretty mild until recent days.  I can't say I was missing all the shoveling and hazardous travel.  But, I must also admit that the coating of glistening white frosting certainly adds to an otherwise gray and dull landscape.  The morning and evening light gives the drifts of snow hues of blue, purple and soft pinkish tints.  As I look at it from my wood stove warmed house, it looks very peaceful.

So, along with the coming of the snows, I was granted a few days off of work.  Some unexpectedly and others quite obvious.  Last Friday there was a magical dusting of snow that seems to only stick to the grass and natural areas.  The roads had been warmed by the sun and so as it fell, it seemed to just melt away.  But, the forecast was not good, so I had the day off of work.  I decided that after finishing my last piece, I should clean up a bit.  That lasted about 2 minutes and once I saw the pile of scraps that were on my table.  I was immediately distracted and began moving them around and rearranging them.  I decided to start putting them up on my design wall and within a relatively short period of time, I had this piece loosely pinned to the foam board.

17 3/4 " X 17 3/4 "

The scraps were already pieced together in some cases and the other parts were all in the same pile of leftovers.  I have been looking at the abstract style of cruciform paintings and pinning them on Pinterest as a kind of brain exercise.  With no reference to anything whatsoever during the process of this piece, I made this cruciform.  I was going to name if table scraps, but decided that "Spring Snow" was perhaps more appropriate, since that was the event that allowed this to take shape.  

The scraps are raw edge qppliqued in place using straight line machine quilting.  Rather than complicate the piece with elaborate or free motion work, I thought the form should follow function of stitching in place.  I think it's a good first attempt at a cruciform.  I plan to try some more using paper.  We'll see how that works out.

Now, for the second storm.  A nor'easter.  This storm was well forecasted and much anticipated.  If you weren't prepared, it wasn't because it was a surprise.  I got an early call of school closing and once again, took a look at my table for inspiration.  I collected some of each of the fabrics I used in my "Bridges" piece. and added some mistyfuse to the back.  I like it better than wonderunder.  It seems to hold better and tolerate my acrylic mediums and paints more easily.  I named this series "Nor'easter".  It looks like the circling radar and has the white swirls and shades of blue that drifts of snow seem to produce in varying light.  I might be taking some liberty here, but it's art - so let's not take ourselves too seriously.  

12" x 12" mounted on gallery canvas

I've done this type of work before and it's a nice change from using the sewing machine.  I fused the fabric arcs down on some cotton batik.  Then I trimmed the squares to 6" x 6".  I attached them with matte medium to the canvas that I had prepared with some dark teal paint to that if there were any gaps, they'd be colored.  I also prepainted the sides of the canvas.  

Once the matte medium dried, I used paint markers, Lumiere metallic paints, Golden acrylics and various stamping tools to add marks to each quandrant.  It's busy but the added pattern helps hold the piece together.  

Once I was cutting, I was on a roll.  So, I made extra squares and mounted them on 6" x 6" pieces of 1/2 inch birch board that I got from Home Depot.  I bought a large 2' X 4" piece and then used a table saw to cut them down.  I also sanded and gessoed the boardsbefore I prepainted the edges and back. 

Here they are.  I think they'd hang nicely as a separated group to show the circle or in a row or column.

With all of these sealed with UV protective sealer and ready to hang, I'm on to the next endeavor.  Not sure what that will be.  However, I am taking advantage of the snow to do a bit of snow dying.  Trying some new combinations and overdying some pieces that were okay in my stash but weren't really special in any way.  They're on the rack and I'll keeep you posted on how they are used.  

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Feel free to leave a comment or question.  In the meantime, stay warm and enjoy the view.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I'm Back!  It's been a while - creative blocks to overcome and time the ever limiting factor have not been on my side but, I finished a piece this week and here it is.  I titled it "Bridges" for a couple reasons.  First, in each block, there is a piece of fabric that goes the length or width of the block and looks similar to the shape of a bridge structure.  Second, I am using this piece to bridge the gap from a period of less art quilting activity to a recent creative burst that I am experiencing.  I think I finally stopped trying to think about what others might like and just did what I do.  I got into that funk after a year of hanging my work in a gallery and thinking about what might sell.  Big mistake.

So, I chose a color palette and away I went.

Here is the first row.

  The blocks are pieced from commercial batiks, crossweaves, hand dyes and commercial cotton prints.  It took a week to get this done and THEN... it came!  Snow and the snow day that accompanied it.  Woohoo!  I haven't had a snow day in two years so I made the most of it.

Again, here is my white flannel design wall and the second row is pieces.  These are not attached yet but each square is 10 1/2 inches on all sides.  I'm getting somewhere.

Snowing like crazy and third row complete.  I'm liking the color progression from light to dark.  Two rows to go.  I had some pictures on my phone of the progression but I inadvertently deleted them.  Oops! So here is the final piece and a few close ups that I might use to make greeting cards from.

Finished size 29 1/2 inches by 49 1/2 inches

I machine quilted this in wavy rows and used light thread at the top and darker threads as I progressed down the blocks.  Here's a few close ups.

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Feel free to leave a comment.