Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time Traveler- Challenge quilt-9.5 a stitch in time

A Stitch in Time- challenge quilt
Time Traveler 9"x 11" 

I can't believe how time has flown! I was lucky enough to find this challenge this year and it coincided with the time I have off from work. Now that time is over and I'm back to work. The challenge will be to continue my entries on limited time. I started this one today and finished it. Scaling back to a smaller size helped. (my personal challenge is to use up sample batting I have.) The park opens Wednesday with great fanfare and excitement for another season of adventure. 

First of all, some of you might wonder where I work. I work at Silver Dollar City, an amusement park near Branson, Missouri. ( If you want to check it out here's the link:  You might not realize it, but the theme of the park is set in the 1880's. My uniform at work is actually a long dress, pantaloons and, if it's cold, a cape. My actual job title is salesperson in the Merchandise department, but what I really do is paint parasols. I love my job! I draw pictures on fancy umbrellas and add the child's name to it. Personalized fancy umbrellas! 

This year we have a new roller-coaster opening called Time Traveler . The backstory for the coaster involves an inventor father who has created a way to travel in time. He also teaches his daughter to "Dream Big and Do Good".  The decorative themes for the coaster (and shops) have a steampunk feel.  It's being billed as the world's fastest, steepest, tallest SPINNING roller coaster.  Not only do you have big drops and loops and twists, but the whole car also spins as it does all the other stuff ! 

This week I tried the churn dash pattern using a gray and a clock/ gear fabric that I rust dyed. I liked how this pattern reflected the spiral out from the center in a more jagged way. I quilted the whole piece in a spiral to reinforce that idea. The gears were cut out from a batik fabric and the words were cut out from a white fabric. I toned it down using textile medium and mixed in some rust from a steel wool pad in my kitchen. All of the rust gives it an aged look that fits into the general feel of our 1880's park theme. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Challenge 4- Mellow Yellow

Bee You
This weeks' challenge was called "Mellow Yellow". The color yellow is often a difficult color for quilters because it often takes over. So many just avoid it but this week, we embrace it in all it's glory!
This piece is 8.5 x 11 inches. I am late to the party of hexagons but Bees are a seminal childhood memory for me. My dad had bee hives when I was a kid. We lived across the street from orange/ grapefruit groves and I'm sure Dad's bees benefited the grove owners and he was occasionally called to come get some  bees that had gone rogue. He would rob the bees once a year and it was amazing to snack on the combs after school. 
  Honey is sometimes viewed as a healthy alternatives to some allergies (local source) because of the pollen it might contain. I showed that using some of the floral print in some of the cells. I suffer from  seasonal allergies from something (maybe sycamore and sassafras) I encounter in the Ozarks that I didn't in Florida.
 Finally, I like the small bit of humor that the sayings "Bee amazing, Bee you, Bee Strong" adds to this small piece. They are all good things to remember. 
I cut the brown fabric as a lattice with the yellow fabric behind it. I slipped in individual flowered hexies in between. I made a larger hexie with the Bee print and fit it into the composition. I used a lot of my specialty stitches on this piece and used my machine's lettering to add the words. I rarely use these stitches so it was fun to do that. 
If you are interested in joining the fun, go to this site and play along!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

9.3 Challenge Quilt- week 3- Bold and Brave

21.5 x 19

Concept- I thought about being Brave and Bold. With the dreamers being in the news, it made me wonder about how brave a person would need to be to become an immigrant. To leave everything you know and go someplace vastly different. I would find that to be a very brave thing to do, something I was not brave enough when I was asked to do so once so long ago. 

  That lead me to think about my own family members who came to this country. I did focus on my earliest ancestor, John, who came in 1640.
 I was also informed that from 1782 until 1956, our National motto was "E Pluribus Unum" (from many, one) and not, "In God we Trust" which was created during the height of the "Red Scare" or the fight against Communism. I liked the earlier motto better. 
I am deeply moved by the song, "Living in the Promised land", which was written by David Lynn Jones and made famous by Willie Nelson. 

Give us your tired and weak and we will make them strong 
Bring us your foreign songs and we will sing along 
Leave us your broken dreams we'll give them to mend 
There's still a lot of love living in the promiseland

Living in the promiseland 
Our dreams are made of steel 
The prayer of every man is to know how freedom feels 
There is a winding road across the shifting sand 
And room for everyone living in the promiseland

Construction-  The colonial times really informed the visuals of this quilt. I wanted the words to be stenciled to look like the old broadsides of colonial times. It took me a entire day to make the stencils and it took me 3 times to make something I liked visually. I went back and forth between a stencil for the figure or making it from fabric. In the end, I chose the fabric. I also chose to cut the E pluribus Unum from fabric and had SUCH a hard time keeping it where it should be. The fusible didn't want to work for whatever reason and it was a battle the entire time finishing it. 
I read about colonial quilting and found that they tended to do a center medallion and then made rows around it. I chose to make a couple medallions and alternate it with the words. 
Between the style and colors I felt like I was really channeling the Bicentennial celebration from the 70's. 

Reaction- It's not at all a look I've ever done before. I like some things and not others (as always) as it's a learning process and I'm encouraged to try new things. I was surprised by the choice of fabrics making such a difference to the feel of the piece.  This was by far the biggest struggle I've had making a piece for this challenge. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Challenge two- triangulation

This week's challenge theme was "triangulation".
I call this one "New York Fish"
11"x 11"

I've been thinking about the upcoming addition to the family and, while there's no theme for the room, there is a color scheme. Blues and Grays. If there's no theme, I can make up one! I thought about where they are from and where they live. One is from Ohio and will probably incorporate an Ohio star (or two) in the final quilt, but The other is from New York and I thought about using the New York Beauty to represent her. I've never made one of those and so I thought I'd do a quick version to see how it plays out. This couple also has a home in Florida, so that turned my thoughts towards the Ocean. 
 So, I used fusible to put this together but I probably won't do it for the baby quilt. I did the most simple version of the NYB but might consider a bit more complex for the baby quilt. I used some fabric that I had in two colorways, dark blue and light blue. I'd probably find something less feminine for the baby. I also did the stitching in gray, but I don't like that. I should have used a dark blue. 
The fish just begged to be bright and cartoon-like. From there, I just did all sorts of goofy things. I used Iron on scraps for the triangles (glitter iron-on) and for the eyes. Not something I'd do for a baby quilt. Then, added the acrylic rhinestones to just push it further. (also something I'd not do for a baby quilt). 
Somewhere along this process, I thought the circles could make a nice porthole and then I could put a feature sea creature in each circle. Something that might be a bit too goofy for the parents, but still a fun idea for a baby quilt at some point. 

New things I tried making this quilt: 
The New York Beauty pattern
facing a quilt instead of binding
using Iron on as a design element

I've appreciated the education I got throughout the challenge this week. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Challenge Quilt

Week One- Hometown Proud.
   The term "home town" can mean many different places, especially when you've lived a while. Do I go with where I was a child? Or a teen? Where I made my first home alone? Or as a married couple? Or where I've raised my family? In the end, I decided to go with my current hometown. I live in Kimberling City, Missouri, and I've been here for over 20 years.
  The town isn't just small, it has little history. It had a ferry to cross the White River and then later, a bridge (which is actually under the current one). It seems it always had to do with water and leisure. When they built the Dam, it flooded the lowlands and created Tablerock Lake. Lake Life was created. The most important structure in town is The Kimberling City bridge which connects the southern part of the county to the northern. It is a vital part of transportation for many living on the southern side.
  So here is my tribute to the bridge with an abstract sunset reflected in the water.
   This piece is 10"x 10". Rather small, but I just learned of the challenge on Tuesday night and wanted to be sure I completed it.  This is a raw edge applique, just the two layers of fabric, then quilted. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mid summer blues

It's been awhile since I've checked in here. The long hot summer has kicked in with a vengeance here and it's taking it's toll on my garden. In the past, my summers had more free time to devote to the garden. Now that I am working in a different job, those summer days are spent away from home for the most part. The garden suffers.  This week has been unusually harsh between the near 100 degree temperatures and working 7 days (with a 12 hour day thrown in there) and you can see how hard it is to tend the garden.
  I'm struggling to decide if I need a community and, if so, what kind. I'm part of a few and I'm not feeling exactly fulfilled. It makes me question if I need to even have one if they are all vexing me.
  My art is my art.
 I sent a couple pieces to be part of a travelling exhibit. the exhibit is shown in total and in parts, where the coordinator decides to send it. Some of the decisions perplex me.
  I am asked to jury into a small local guild gallery which, by all accounts, is not part of the rules of the guild and shouldn't even be a thing. I have no intention of doing so. I think the discussion ended with, when I have the time to devote to it, I can put my art in.
  I joined a rag tag group that seems to want to join people together, but the people are so diverse and the group seems to be heading in a multitude of directions that, seems so random. Not sure I understand what's going on there.
  I joined a state wide group but I never get the opportunity to show my work because most of the opportunities are 4 hours away. The one opportunity to show locally is where I work already and I can't be two places at once.
  I need to just sit back and enjoy the dubious ride the traveling art show is doing since there's nothing I can do about it anyway.  I need to work towards the two opportunities I have upcoming and then see how the gallery shapes up.
 Most of all, I need to enjoy the fun I'm having now and see where it takes me. I have had in my mindset that I make art, show art, sell art and repeat. I probably need to examine that definition a bit and let go.
 So many shows are about limits. Size, techniques, presentation, and often theme. It is a constant struggle to keep your own voice in the face of all of that. I'm trying very hard to find my center again.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Traveling to see ART

 North Georgia- Not far from Helen, GA, I found this gallery housed in an old school. Added onto the school was the museum of pottery from the southern Appalachians. A person was nice enough to share the packet that new artists receive when they apply for this gallery. of all the places I traveled, this was probably the most like our own little gallery in Kimberling City. Since it was an old school, there are two separate rooms across the hall from each other housing the gallery. then there's a classroom and then a couple rooms dedicated to the history of that area.
 I found that the subject matter varied greatly in this gallery. It wasn't consistent in terms of quality or delivering a sense of place.
 I would one of the few things of significant historical relevance is an indian mound that someone built a gazebo on top of. It's there and you can see it driving by. It's in a field that you cannot access. The Smithsonian devoted time to a dig and then collected all that was found there. Once they got the museum up and running, they requested one piece back and this was it.
 North Georgia pottery( or southern Appalachian pottery) was also studied by the Smithsonian. The people involved were collected as examples of living history. For the most part, they were very utilitarian pieces, like jugs and crocks, churns, etc.. Mostly salt glazed and, therefore, not very colorful. The exception seems to be these face jugs that show some humor, or horror.
 Brad Walker, a potter in Dehlonega, Ga, creates interesting pieces and adds a note to the person who buys it in each one- supposedly. He was closed when I was there.  The trials of traveling in weekday, winters. there was a coop gallery opened and I spent quite some time talking with the artists there. I asked quite a few questions about how they are set up, how they deal with different issues, costs associated, etc... One interesting thing to note about Dehlonega has to do with gold and one building has a gold steeple. It's an iconic image they use to their advantage. One artist did a copy of Van Gogh's Starry night but added that gold steeple nestled in the town. I believe it was a mural somewhere, but she had cards of it as well.
 Charleston, SC-  This was my first time visiting this town and it's something really special. One thing struck me was that most scenery in the shops are very impressionistic in style. Charleston does a really great job of capturing a sense of place in most of the work I saw. In addition, there's a good tourist market for selling items based on the ornate grill work or the sign names of restaurants there. It is a foody kinda town. This town has so much history to draw from and everything is in fabulous shape. You would never imagine that house you walked by was built in the 1700's, or 1800's, etc..  It's southern, it's coastal, it's Gulah. The coop galleries seemed to understand the tourist market that drives the area. They seem to run similarly to ours.
 Coastal Gulf- I did not get to go into many galleries. just one in Destin and it was owned by a woman who does watercolor paintings. She has brought in other sorts of artists to round out the look, but all the paintings were hers and they were rather uneven watercolors. I liked a few of them, but mostly, they seemed unfinished. The subjects were strongly coastal and sea life related. I did go into my favorite commercial gallery, The Zoo Gallery, and it's a mix of interesting pricey pieces and commercial funky.
Pensacola train bridge
 New Orleans- Last year, I really got to explore New Orleans for the first time. I had just a 1/2  a day here this time and I knew to zero in or Royal street. What struck me this time after seeing Charleston, was just how shabby it all looks. It has a lot of similarities in terms of history and architecture, by Charleston takes better care of their stuff and New Orleans enjoys the not so perfect parts of life. New Orleans' art is bold and quirky and odd at times. It varies widely in styles, but also rather trendy. I mean, last time these colorful wonky depictions of houses were in Jackson square, now they are everywhere!
 I like the big VooDoo doll in the mid ground. There were a few people making cute voodoo dolls (not creepy) in wood, metal and paintings.
 I really like these that are somewhere between a doll and sculpture.

Jackson Square and an example of colorful art. I can't tell you how many galleries had dog paintings in them. Of course, the most famous is the Blue Dog, but he's high scale now and so this is what we have. There's someone doing pastel looking cats too. So, most of the galleries are either single artist galleries or a mix that fits together somehow. (subdued, funky, bright, etc..) I listened to a man and his wife argue over a painting. He loved it ($800) and she kept saying it didn't go with anything in their home. It was one of those wonky bright house paintings. I imagined her home to be all magnolia pastels.
  The lesson I always take home from New Orleans is that you can make art from anything. I saw a young man drawing houses on wood with ball point pens and having them for sale for $20. My favorite is Fleetwood Covington (fab name right?) who draws on rusted tin roof pieces with charcoal and conte pencil- black and white. Amazing!
 In all my travels, I only saw one person who is working in fabric as art. Chris Roberts-Antieau has her own gallery on Royal street. That's it.
 So, a whirlwind tour from the obscure to the famous. I enjoyed the heck out of it all.