Posts Tagged ‘fiber art’

Surprise and the Lesson of Letting Go

November 8, 2017

Two words – origami frogs.

I didn’t make them, but I do treasure them

These little darlings were the surprise in the bottom of a container I cleaned out this week. They were under an old flip-phone that I never got around to recycling. My husband discovered the manuals for the phone and decided it was time I had another lesson in letting things go. My reward was finding these cute frogs.

The universe gave me another surprise reward when I decided to let go of my desire to make the perfect piece of art. I wanted to combine a batik and a wool square, but couldn’t come up with an ideal design. Tired of the frustration, I basted the batik to the square and started embroidering lines. Then I cut the fabric away from some of the lines. Here is the result.

I added more embroidery and some beads.

Always let your materials tell you where they want to go

Now I have to decide on a finishing technique. One of the candidates is to add a beaded fringe that has been sitting in my lace and trims box.

Learning how to let go is a lesson I’ll probably need to study again and again. As long as I get the occasional surprise at the end, I guess it’s okay.

Luck and wisdom!

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Surprises

December 16, 2015

This is the season of surprises. Some of the good surprises that have come my way include our Christmas tree.

A tree for the house

A tree for the house

This is how it looked before we smothered it with lights and ornaments. I almost kept it this way, but we’d already brought the decorations out of storage. Given the drought and fires in the region, I was grateful there were Christmas trees available at all. The best surprise is the smell. It is the most fragrant tree we’ve had in years.

Clean enough for now

Clean enough for now

The next surprise is I’ve kept my sewing table clean-ish. Yes, there are still a few stacks to deal with, but the space was cleared enough in time to wrap presents. Then I put the wrapping things back where they belong. That qualifies as a Christmas miracle in my book.

The last surprise came from two artist friends who gave me note cards they’ve made from their own work.

Lani Longshore Ann Anastasio note card

This is Oak Leaves and Acorns by Ann Anastasio. She is a talented fiber artist, and also the co-producer of Art Quilt Santa Fe.

Lani Longshore Kat Mulkey note card

Dot Bees is the creation of Kat Mulkey. She is a fabulous photographer and painter. These cards are going into small frames, then into the sewing room to inspire me.

Luck and wisdom!

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.

 

 

Composition Guides, Design Tools and the Lazy Artist

July 31, 2013

A painter friend, Janne Henriksen, was talking about art at a party recently. We discussed technique and process, and how she paints, and what tools or guides she finds useful. That’s when I realized I would be a much better artist if I would first find and then use the many tools I have bought over the years.

 

My favorite design tool is graph paper.

 

Lani Longshore graph paper

 

Graph paper is the single most useful thing a quilter can stock. My sketching skills are minimal, but give me a pad of graph paper and I can recreate the lines and angles of interesting shapes in a format that will help me create something wonderful in fabric.

 

I’m also fond of marking tools.

 

Lani Longshore marking tools

 

Colored pencils, markers, slivers of soap – anything that lets me add a line to fabric is welcome in my studio. Sometimes I need a sewing line, sometimes a cutting line. Sometimes I want to intensify the color of the fabric, sometimes I want to hide it (and sometimes I want to hide where the seams don’t quite meet).

 

When my free-hand drawing skills fail me, I turn to stencils.

 

Lani Longshore stencils

 

Stencils are great for quilting, embroidery, or beading designs. I like to look at them when I’m stuck for a piecing idea, too. No, I don’t do curves or pointy-points, but you’d be surprised at how the brain kicks into problem-solving gear if the fingers think they’re going to have to do something hard at the sewing machine.

 

Of course, even the most highly motivated creativity session can end in disappointment. This is where the most important design tool comes in handy.

 

Lani Longshore trash can

 

I decided long ago that agonizing over $1.15 worth of fabric and half an hour of my time was silly. I give you permission to bury your mistakes, too.