Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Road Trip Quilt

August 21, 2019

I finished another abandoned quilt top. I remember collecting the Route 66 fabric, getting to the ombre border, and losing focus. The fabrics are fun, but not exactly what I need hanging on my wall.

Since the repeats on the fabrics vary, my units are not a standard size. I enjoyed playing with sashing options, but realized after the fact the quilt center would need acres of borders to be a useful bed quilt. The good news is I’m far enough away from acquiring the fabrics that I’m happy to let it go. With a green flange and one final asymmetrical border, the top fits the size requirement set by the guild’s donation quilt committee for a child’s quilt. With any luck, I’ll get to the quilting part in the next month.

Another plus – I’m using this dinosaur skeleton fabric for the backing. I bought it for a gift quilt, but the intended recipient is way past dinosaurs. Time to let another child enjoy it.

Luck and wisdom!

Painting on Silk – An Experiment

August 7, 2019

Betty Busby teaches how to paint on silk with any kind of acrylic paint. As long as it is liquidy enough, the results are fabulous. The experiments I’ve made with scarf-weight silks have all been great fun. Here is one I did recently. The blue and pinky-purple paints were very watery; the green paint was thick, almost straight from the bottle.

This week I experimented with raw silk. I like the heft, and the effect I get with applique or embroidery. Here is the first piece, my own study in (nearly) scarlet.

My last experiment was both painted and dyed. I spotted the silk with yellow dye first, then scrunched it and poured on the remaining red paint. When that was nearly dry, I add some spots of pink. As with the green in the first piece, I added very little water to the pink paint.

I think all of these experiments will eventually end up as a base for embroidery, probably landscapes. If you have a few squares of silk and some leftover acrylic paint, make your own experiments. Be sure to send pictures – I would love to see the results!

Luck and wisdom!

Squirrel Buttons

July 24, 2019

The birdhouse block with squirrel buttons

I found another orphan block that will make a wonderful display block for the Amador Valley Quilters collection. I suspect I intended the block to be the center of a baby quilt for a friend who loved squirrels, but since her baby is now in graduate school I’m giving myself permission to abandon that quilt.

The block was a perfect summer project. Even without high humidity, holding a quilt on one’s lap for binding and embellishing when the temperature is hovering around 100 isn’t as much fun as it sounds. I also got to use a card of squirrel buttons that I’ve been moving from one to pile to another for several years, and that makes me very happy.

Now for a glass of iced tea, which I will sip in the coolest corner of the house.

Luck and wisdom!

A Mixed Bag Week

July 17, 2019

In the beginning, there were two bags of animal fabrics. So far those two bags have produced six tops. Okay, so I found three unfinished tops in one bag, but still. I started on yet another top and just couldn’t force myself to finish it.

I have lattice and a border for this quilt, and started cutting 4 1/2” and 2 1/2” squares from the scraps. When I just couldn’t stand looking at one more piece from the collection, I put everything in another bag. It is smaller than either of the two bags that I started with, so I’m counting this as a victory. In the meantime, that bag is going in a corner.

Two of the animal tops have been quilted, and I’m planning to get the other four at least layered and basted. If I am very lucky, I will get them all quilted before I become well and truly tired of the fabrics (again).

A winter scene from Tina Curran’s workshop

At least I will have something of a non-animal nature on my design board to distract me. I took a workshop from Tina Curran called Whimsical Garden. The instructions called for yellow and blue strips for the background (for sunshine and sky), but I unearthed a great collection of icy purple, blue, and gray fabrics, and thought I would make a winter garden instead. For some unknown reason I made two sizes of strips in the workshop, and didn’t have the right fabrics to bridge the gap. I began a small quilt from the short set and will work on making a larger quilt from the long set. Sadly, I have no idea what I will do with either quilt, so both of the tops will go into the unfinished pile. Once again, two steps forward and one step back. Ah, well.

The long set from Tina Curran’s workshop

Luck and wisdom!

Requiem for a Plan

July 10, 2019

So, I had this idea of what I wanted to do with my kangaroo block. Go ahead and laugh, the universe certainly did. I thought I would surround the block with strips, then a checkerboard, then a single outer border. This is what happened.

The good news is I like the result. I am also looking forward to donating it to a shelter for someone else’s child to enjoy. And, I’m more convinced than ever that patterns were made for people who do not think like me – or at least, who have fabric that tells them other things than my fabric tells me.

Luck and wisdom!

The Story of the Kangaroo

July 3, 2019

I am unearthing the projects I couldn’t figure out how to finish or how to let go. Not all of them are obviously special, except to me. Here is an example.

The reasons I made this kangaroo block are lost in the mists of time. I recall that I drew the pattern myself, and that I hand embroidered the blanket stitch around the edge. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing. Even so, as I took this block out of the bag, part of me wanted to keep it.

“Self,” I said, “don’t even think about saving this block. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, you spent a lot of time on it. However, you don’t have a purpose for it, and someone else could enjoy it.”

I pulled some blues from my scrap pile and am in the middle of auditioning them for a log cabin-ish border around the kangaroo. I’ll probably surround that with a checkerboard. If I’m lucky, I’ll have enough of something within easy reach that is appropriate for a final border. It will be a quilt for a small child, so I won’t need much. The backing will be more of the fabric I used as a background for the kangaroo block. Once I put on that final border, I’ll have talked myself into happily letting it go for a charity quilt. After all, by then it will be one more project off the piles!

Luck and wisdom!

Practice Good Critique Technique

June 17, 2019

In the last week I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of mistakes, which means I was asking and being asked for forgiveness simultaneously, which got me thinking about good critique technique. First, don’t make excuses. When hearing that your piece didn’t work for your critique partners, listen first, then ask questions. What you intended the reader (or viewer, if you are critiquing art quilts) to perceive doesn’t matter nearly as much as understanding why someone else didn’t see what you thought was already there.

When telling a writer that the piece didn’t work for you, accept that the story may never be the one you want your critique partner to write. State how you expected the characters to behave – which gives the writer valuable information – rather than give orders for how they should be rewritten.

Finally, always remember to be kind. Well-considered words spoken with a friendly tone will encourage your critique partners to keep trying. And isn’t that what you want from them?

Luck and wisdom!

Deco Done Wright

June 5, 2019

The binding is on one of my Projects in Piles (PIPs), and it is labeled, so I can check it off the list. This is Deco Done Wright, a project that began with a coloring exercise.

Betty Busby had some of these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired printed squares at an Art Quilt Santa Fe retreat. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to color in parts of my square, then put it away for “the perfect project.” Since that never comes around, no matter how long I wait, I pulled it out for my quilting buddies in the Progressive Party to finish. They did such a great job I put the project away again because I didn’t know how to quilt it. When I started my PIPs challenge, I decided I would combine hand and machine quilting.

Once again, the power of a deadline came to the rescue and I now have a wonderful quilt. Force yourself to finish things. Setting a deadline works for me – find the way that works for you. You’ll feel a foot taller without the weight of unfinished projects on your shoulders.

Luck and wisdom!

Memoir, Turning Points, and Character Development

June 3, 2019

Linda Joy Myers has a lot of good advice for memoirists. The most useful (in my opinion) is to note the turning points in your timeline. We moved around when I was young, so those were both anchor and turning points in my list. Times when I said yes to a new challenge went in, as well as times when I ran for cover and thanked my lucky stars I got out before the (metaphorical) bullets started flying. Then I put in when I met those special people who befriended me and changed my life. That’s when I realized I was missing something.

My brother, mother, father, Dennis Franklin, and Hal Franklin (taken by me in 1966)

The man on the far right is Hal Franklin, who befriended my father and changed his life by teaching Dad about photography. Dad dabbled with photography, but having a mentor made all the difference in the world. It made all the difference in the world to me as well, since Dad introduced me to the camera. Because Dad and Hal explored creating art with their pictures, I learned – without really noticing it – that everyone can be an artist. Put in enough time to learn technique, train your eye to really see, and you can create beauty.

While I may not write a memoir with this epiphany, I will keep it in mind when I am writing backstories for my characters. Who they are doesn’t depend solely on the turning points in their own lives, but also on the turning points of those who have influenced them. Whether those influencers appear in the book or not isn’t the point. They may deserve a book of their own sometime. Can you say prequel?

Luck and wisdom!

Good Times at Art Quilt Santa Fe

May 29, 2019

For the last ten years, I have gone to Santa Fe every spring to help out with Art Quilt Santa Fe. This year was the last session, and what a wonderful time it was. Although I was there as a classroom assistant, not a student, I still got to experiment when there was a lull in class.

Metallic blue and eggplant, using a faux-mori folding technique

Betty Busby has been the teacher almost every year. Her silk painting techniques are fabulous. Although Art Quilt Santa Fe may be no more, Betty teaches all over the world, so check out her schedule and see where she’ll be next. You’ll thank me later.

Soft greens – perhaps for an embroidered forest?

The hidden treasure about taking workshops is the chance to meet other students who can inspire you. Two of the other students noticed some embroidery I was doing when the students and Betty didn’t need my help, and brought out their own hand stitching projects to show me. Since both of them are far more advanced than I could ever hope to be, it was a gift from the thread goddess to see their work. I was so inspired, I actually finished a piece I had been working on for several years.

Inspired by a Montana pine forest

I will miss my annual trip to the Southwest, but will treasure what I learned there – especially about taking advantage of every opportunity I possibly can to gain new skills.

Luck and wisdom!