Posts Tagged ‘art’

Demonstration Projects – Beginning

June 27, 2018

I volunteered to demonstrate quilting techniques at the county fair, which means coming up with projects. There are 1001 projects waiting for attention in my sewing room, and I had the hardest time choosing. In the end, I decided to go with what I could reach.

A few beaded flowers, and I’ve got myself a landscape

This piece of fabric is the last one I “printed” from a tray of acrylic paint. I gently pressed the fabric into the tray and let it absorb the paint, then moved it to other areas to get the last blobs. Viewing the piece from this angle, it looks like an impressionistic landscape. I plan to demonstrate beading techniques to enhance that effect.

Think trees

While searching for a background for a Challenge Group assignment, I found this commercial print. It will work perfectly for my idea of an abstract landscape (specifically a forest floor). Beads, embroidery floss, and sequins are in its future.

Whether these experiments work or not, at least I’ll have something to show today. If the crowd is particularly creative, they may give me better ideas.

Luck and wisdom!

There’s Always One More – Quote Challenge

September 9, 2015

Julaina Kleist-Corwin invited me to join a quote challenge – three posts, three quotes. She publishes great quotes all the time, so do check out her blog for some lovely reading. I can remember snarky quotes from movies, but those aren’t always useful. For my challenge, I’m going to offer advice I’ve found valuable. The first is one of my father’s favorite sayings: “There’s always one more SOB than you counted on.”

Even simple blocks can be troublesome

Even simple blocks can be troublesome

This is especially true in art. For me, the SOB is often a Surprisingly Obstreperous Block. I have re-sewn many a seam, only to find I have to nail that sucker down by hand to make the points match. In my writing, I’ve faced the subplots that wander so far off the path they must be abandoned, the characters that insist on hijacking the story, the red herrings that become dead herrings only to resurrect themselves at the most inconvenient moment.

The take-away for me is to plan as best I can, then step out in faith with a smile. Life will be what it will be. If I expect a setback and it doesn’t come, that counts as a win.

There will always be many more projects than I counted on

There will always be many more projects than I counted on

One last thing – I’m supposed to nominate others to play. Here are three, but any of you are welcome to share words of wisdom. The rules are simple:

  • Thank the blogger who invites you (that’s me)
  • Share a different quote in three separate posts. The quotes can be from your favorite book, author, or yourself, but if you quote someone else acknowledge the source with a link
  • Nominate three bloggers to join the game

I nominate:

Violet Carr Moore – Violet’s Vibes

Marlene Dotterer – Marlene Dotterer, Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

Neva Hodges – Words by Neva

Luck and wisdom!

Preparing For Something Wonderful

May 6, 2015

I hit my own personal, private trifecta of happiness this week. It started with a trip to the local library for their Star Wars Day celebration. I arrived early, so wandered over to the art gallery. This month’s display was made by local preschool children. The teachers surround the kids with paints, paper, small canvases, found objects, clay, wire – anything to spark creativity. The kids are prepared to create something wonderful, and they do. I realized I am already using this approach by stuffing my sewing room full of treasures, and all I need to add is more time in the aforementioned room to get my hands dirty. Happy event #1.

The celebration still hadn’t begun, so I headed to the stacks and found a book called Classic Russian Idylls by Proctor Jones. It is a collection of photographs, including this one of a swamp in Ukraine.

Lani Longshore swamp picture

Why this should be considered an idyll I’ll never know, but it sure is the landscape I wanted to create when I painted this background.

Lani Longshore landscape

I had an idea of water and horizon, but couldn’t see it clearly. I bought a book on perspective, thinking that would help me get closer to what I wanted, but still couldn’t envision the scene. With the photo of the swamp as a beginning, my next attempt should please me more. When I come up with something I like better, I’ll remove the pendant from the old landscape and put it on the new one, and bead or embroider (or both) the old until it squeals. Happy event #2.

The third happy event came when I praised a display of children’s art in a classroom. The teacher, who had sort of frightened me before, opened up and explained her philosophy of education (which includes lots of time for art). It was our first real conversation, and now we have bonded. Happy event #3.

The moral of the story is you can never tell what the day will bring. You may think you’re just waiting, but the universe is preparing you for something wonderful.

Abby, waiting for the cute bunnies to come out and play

Abby, waiting for the cute bunnies to come out and play

Luck and wisdom!

Valentine’s Gifts For The Artist

February 12, 2014

My husband will give me flowers and a funny card for Valentine’s Day, unless this is a mushy-card year, in which case he will give me a blank card with an interesting picture. Probably of a dog. I like flowers and funny cards, and neither of us needs a box of chocolates, so I’m happy as a clam at high tide with those gifts – from him.

 

Lani Longshore heart box

 

I’m asking for a better gift to me from me this year.

 

I won a consultation with Beth Barany, a writer, writing coach, and marketing consultant. We used the session to brainstorm about marketing my two novels, Death By Chenille and When Chenille Is Not Enough. It was a fabulous experience, and I’m going to put aside some money to work with her again when Ann Anastasio and I finish The Chenille Ultimatum. That is my first Valentine’s gift to myself.

 

The second gift is to treat myself to as many classes as I can afford. I’ve already signed up for two quilting workshops through Amador Valley Quilters, and I’ll take whatever workshops Tri-Valley Writers offers, but that isn’t enough. One of the ways an artist can grow is to explore other arts. I find a lot of cross-over in my writing and quilting. I’ve also found some cross-over with my martial arts training, and even my (minimal) musical training. Themes that appear in one discipline have a way of working into another.

 

My third gift to myself is my own box-o’-art-quilt-prompts.

 

My art quilt bag and fabric prompts

My art quilt bag and fabric prompts

 

I have a couple of writing and art prompt card boxes with suggested projects and inspirational thoughts. They’re great, but it occurred to me to I could make my own and clean another tiny space in the sewing room at the same time. I packaged up some of the inspirational fabrics that I bought for projects I can no longer remember. There are three projects I need to get finished for deadlines, but after those are done I can take out a bag and use those fabrics for an art journaling project, or a gift, or an experiment that I’ve already given myself permission to throw away if it takes a turn for the worse. My hope is that when another deadline looms while I’m working from the box-o’-prompts fabric, I will find it easier to get started since I’m already priming my brain to be creative.

 

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift this year, the gift of permission to get your hands dirty with whatever art you choose. You’ll thank me later.

 

Speaking of thanking me later, here are the links that I embedded above, just in case:

 

Beth Barany –www.bethbarany.com

 

 

Death By Chenille – on Smashwords

 

When Chenille Is Not Enough – on Smashwords or Amazon or B&N.com

 

Amador Valley Quilters – www.amadorvalleyquilters.org

 

California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch – www.trivalleywriters.org

 

 

 

In 2014 I Will Care Enough

January 2, 2014

My only resolution for 2014 is to care. I will care enough about my art that I will use the right fabric for backing my quilts rather than whatever is close at hand and fits.

No more will I hoard fabric that is too pretty to use

No more will I hoard fabric that is too pretty to use

I will care enough about technique that I will use the right tools for the job.

Use the tools!

Use the tools!

I will care enough about honoring creativity that I will learn new techniques.

Use prompts to stretch yourself

Use prompts to stretch yourself

I will care enough about the artists around me that I will support them as much as I can.

Books and music by my friends, art from local crafters

Books and music by my friends, art from local crafters

Most important, I will care enough about the community that has nurtured me, and the wide world beyond its borders, to fill the needs that are presented to me as best I can.

Art and Guilt

December 18, 2013

My daughter walked into the sewing room just as I tossed some scraps of yellow fabric into the trash bin. “You aren’t letting those go to waste, are you?” she asked. I thought I detected a note of glee in her voice, since she’s heard those words from me often enough over the years. I showed her four bins of scraps. She just said, “Wasteful.” She was grinning when she left the room.

 

Although I left the scraps in the trash that night, the next morning I fished them out. They were pretty yellows, and deserved a better fate than the landfill. I found a backing and let guilt inspire art.

 

Lani Longshore art and guilt backing

 

I decided to make a small piece with only a few other yellow scraps from one of my bins. I used Pellon Decor instead of batting so that I could use my hot glue gun to attach some yellow beads that deserved a better fate than living in my bead box. I knew I would never use them if I had to sew them on, because most of them were odd shapes meant for jewelry, not quilts.

 

Lani Longshore art and guilt button

 

Yes, the top bead isn’t an odd shape, but the one in the lower left corner is, and don’t get me started on the string of beads in the lower right corner.

 

Since the solstice is nearly here, and the fabric was yellow, the piece is based on the theme of sunshine.

 

Sunshine for a Winter Day

Sunshine for a Winter Day

 

Sometimes guilt can be a great motivator.

 

 

Where I’m From, Where I’m Going

November 6, 2013

In an attempt to wrench myself away from the rest of my Halloween fabric, I decided to make one more project and then reassess the sewing room. Since I can make tote bags in my sleep, that’s the project I chose.

 

The side with the crows

The side with the ravens

 

This is a very simple bag – no pockets, no zippers, no embellishments – just an enjoyment of fabric.

 

The side with the bats

The side with the bats

 

The reassessment took a bit more effort. While I was stacking up fabric for future consideration, I noticed some of the inspiration objects I have in the room.

 

My grandparents creations

My grandparents’ creations

 

This vase and the plastic flowers were made by my grandparents, Fred and Luba Rezansoff. They were multi-talented people who sang (click here to see the album of Russian songs they made with close friends), served their community, gardened and made art.

 

That desire to make beautiful things filtered through the generations. My mother made a flower arrangement from one of the miniature pitchers that my grandfather carved.

 

From my grandfather to my mother to me

From my grandfather to my mother to me

 

It’s kind of thrilling to think about the genetic contribution to who I am as an artist (instead of obsessing about the genetic contribution to my expanding waistline). That’s where I’m from. The question before me is where am I going?

 

Once again, family came up with the answer. My brother mentioned that Karen Nyberg, now on the International Space Station, put out a call for star blocks. Click here for a link to the NASA website or here for information on the star block challenge.

 

I met another quilting astronaut on the set of Simply Quilts. Jan Davis doesn’t mention quilting in her official NASA biography, but she appeared on a show in 2000 and demonstrated hand applique. She designed a pattern based on the NASA astronaut pin that was available free on the Simply Quilts website.

 

(Shameless self promotion – I was also a guest on Simply Quilts. Alex Anderson‘s producers wanted to do a show on quilting in non-traditional venues. Alex and I are both members of Amador Valley Quilters, so she knew about the prison project and asked if I would mind her passing my contact information to the producers. Mind? Mind?!! I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Taping the show was a joy, and then to be allowed to watch the taping of Jan Davis and meet her afterwards – one of the best days in my life.)

 

Davis flew on three space shuttle missions. Like Nyberg, she also brought fabric into space. While I’m sad that this connection between quilting and NASA isn’t (yet) in the official history, at least Nyberg’s art is being recognized.

 

I don’t know if Davis or Nyberg or even my grandfather identify themselves as artists, but I do. Making something beautiful is as much a gift to the community as it is to the artist/crafter/hobbyist/human being expressing joy or pain or amazement at life itself. And yes, I’m including art that challenges or disturbs in the category of “something beautiful” because there can be a beauty about truthful emotion that transcends any ugliness in the piece.

 

My first impressions of Northern California in 1983 were not those of beauty. My husband and I were driving down I-5 in mid-summer, the last leg on our move from Boston. Every mile we drove south, more green disappeared from the landscape. By the time we hit Redding I accused him of taking me to Mars. This quilt is based on that memory. With a little bit of luck and a lot of perseverance, I hope to find some beauty in there.

 

To Mars, via California

To Mars, via California

 

 

Silk and Santa Fe

May 2, 2012

Trees and science fiction – must be Art Quilt Santa Fe. Betty Busby was the teacher this year. Her award-winning quilts are fabulous, as was her four-day workshop. She had us painting on silk, which I have done before without much success. This time was different. Betty encouraged us to relax and let the fabric and the paint take us on a journey. Once I let go of my expectations and allowed the end product be a surprise, I had a blast.

As with last year’s workshops, I planned to use my projects for my tree series. We started with our backgrounds. Betty had us painting from light to dark vertically. I painted a sunbeam filtering through a forest.

Next we made patterns. I sketched out a tree trunk with branches, then Betty enlarged it with a computer resizing program. The design is printed out in separate sheets, and taped together.

We cut our designs out of Remay, which we had also painted in a light-to-dark gradation, and fused them to the surface.

I’m not certain what I’ll do for borders, but I left my options open by leaving the tree branches loose over the edge of the silk.

We also worked with paint sticks. Here is a cedar I painted on a scrap of satin. The trunk is a line of copper paint stick.

I promised you sci fi, and here it is:

We painted another piece of silk in a circular gradation from light to dark. The idea was to fuse a single organic image graded from dark to light on top of the silk. By this time, however, my silk was chattering away and made sure I could see it was a galaxy. And it wanted space ships. Pink and blue space ships.

Who am I to argue with the galaxy?

Permission to Wander

April 25, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I went to a local art gallery to see an exhibit of quilts. The exhibit was smaller than I expected and I had almost an hour before I had to be at a meeting. Not enough time to go home and do something useful, but still too much to squander.

Or was it? I gave myself permission to wander downtown, had a delightful time, and was in a much more receptive state when I finally arrived at my meeting.

That got me thinking about my sewing room, and whether I give myself permission to wander in there often enough. I am constantly collecting materials to inspire ideas –

and supplies –

 

and embellishments –

but when I go in the room I’m there to work. Work implies progress, and progress implies having something to show for my time. Whether it’s a new quilt or a tidied shelf, I want to be able to prove that I haven’t squandered the day.

And yet . . . is flipping through the art books really squandering the day? Is pulling out the drawers and letting my fabric and embellishments inspire me wasting time? If I have the luxury of a day to think, to absorb, to wonder, don’t I owe it to myself as an artist to enjoy it?