Sunday, April 27, 2008

Now to relax

the video taping is over. Actually yesterday was busy. I had to take three pieces to a town about 30 miles away for a show that will open next week. I plan to go to the opening reception on Thursday evening. It was gratifying to see my fabric pieces beside the paintings--I think my pieces will hold up quite well. But at the same time, I came to the realization that I really can't compete with paintings on an even playing field. I should be making more of a point of my work being on fabric--I should be marketing it as fibre art and not presenting it in the same way as I would a painting. I have to think this through a little more and try to figure out a focus to promote. My next show isn't until the end of July, so I have time.
The video taping was not quite what I had expected. I had been told that they would be wanting to know how I was trained, what courses I had taken and who my influences were, but much of the interview was about how my craft/art impacted on my life. Just as valid a viewpoint, I guess. But it's done and I've promised a copy of the CD when it's edited. But now my studio is tidy, and I'm not sure what to work on next.

I'm receiving a little pressure, lately, to develop a course, based on my current work, that I could offer to the EAC Seminar 2010 committee. This pressure is coming from more than one direction, but the bottom line is that I'm not really sure that I want to do it. I can see the advantages, I can see how this might move my art in a different direction ( or give it a direction), and I can see how this could result in more income-producing opportunities. It would be a lot of work, but probably no more than producing a body of work for a large show/sale. So, what is behind my reluctance? I have to submit a proposal my August, so need to make a decision soon.

I took a major step this week and resigned from one of my fibre art support groups. It was not influencing me in any way and I was becoming frustrated at the dynamics within the group. I carefully wrote to the group, via e-mail, telling them that I was backing off and wishing them well. Only one of the group has responded in any way, and I am hurt. I guess they might have been hurt at my leaving, and I know I'll see them all again, but it's a little sad none the less.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whoops! I'm slacking off again! Taking too long between posts. Today I puttered in my studio. I have been asked to be part of a local oral history project that will focus on crafters. They are coming on Saturday to video tape an interview in my studio, so I felt I should tidy up a little bit. I've resisted the urge to "stage" the place ( although I've made sure that any rosettes I've won with my work on tacked on my bulletin board.) So I've been sorting out my baskets. There are three of them and they are big. They sit on top of a chest and seem to attract all sorts of weird "stuff". After two hours work, my garbage can ( a five gallon pail) is full and my baskets now look quite decorative sitting there. I even found my Teflon ironing cloths--both of them! I also took the time to re-paint a whole cloth piece that I had started several months ago. It was just not right, and it's been sitting there staring at me for awhile. I saw a painting technique on Utube about a month ago and gave it a try. Bingo! Of course, being me I went one step too far, but it'll "pass with a push". Now I have to add some machine applique. I also took the time to mount some photos in my sketch book, so now I have about 6 tentatively planned pieces. Then just as I'm checking e-mail before bed, I found a critique of Magnolia and Blue on an internet site. A very nice critique, too. So I feel better about it not getting into the show.
I have the whole day tomorrow to finish sorting out the studio. We've been having terrible weather--cold and snow--and the Ladyslippers were just peeking through the soil in the garden. Anyway tomorrow will be a good day to stay home.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Adding pictures

Every time I try to add pictures to anywhere on the Internet I run into trouble. Today I found that I seem to be able to add pictures from a CD without the aggravation that I experience when trying to add them from any other source. That's somewhat limiting as I have very few pictures on CD, This picture is of a quilt that I entered in a recent show put on by the local Guild. It got very positive remarks from the judge, a first place ribbon, and a sponsor's prize for my use of threads and embellishments. I had offered it to another show, but it didn't even get past the jury process there, so now I'm free to put it up here. I got a lot of comments from viewers as well. Many of them commented on the fact that I didn't make my flowers the top layer all the time, but rather put other embellishments on top of them. I saw another quilt with "silk" flowers on it today. She appeared to have altered the shape of the fl0wers and then coloured them to match the colour scheme of her quilt. She then used them in the same way I would use a bead or charm--purely as an embellishment at critical spots on her piece. Food for thought there!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Someone on an Internet group I belong to said that the very last step in altering fabric is foiling, as you can't do anything else, on top. Dye won't take and you can't sew through it. Well, to me, such words are a challenge. I finished carving some of my rubber stamps yesterday, and then used them to apply foil to a piece I have started. It is actually a clean-up rag from a painting/dyeing session that had been free motion quilted(FMQ), but the foil went on next. It changed the whole direction of the piece. It now has a very linear look, after my line of foil went on at a bit of an angle and I had to square the whole piece off. I debated over using dark blue foil, but settled on silver. I now plan to accent the vertical line with some appliqued white/silver ribbon, and then just add some beads. I'm not sure where the beads might go, but I'll play with them a bit. So far the piece has an elegant look, and I don't want to loose that by using more traditional tricks like yo-yo's (one of my favourite "funky" bits to add). Unless the yo-yo was made out of silver foil.....Aha! What if.....? I'll let you know what happens

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hard to get going

I think I must be still recovering from the Quilt show. It sure has been hard to get going this week. I've used every trick I know to avoid the studio. I think it's because, while I know there are things I want to do, there are also a couple of priority things that I must do. Pure procrastination. Yesterday I spent the whole day putting beading on post cards for a swap I signed up for, today I'm carving rubber stamps for a studio day in two weeks. Meanwhile I have a purse to finish that should have been done a week ago. I did get some mail off today. I actually sent in my registration for the FAN retreat next October. I have been trying so hard to get the money together and I finally have enough. There was a write-up about it in a recent newsletter, and now I want to go even more. Ahh well, off to carve more rubber stamps, and maybe tomorrow get to work on the purse.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Worst Quilt

Last month our guild had a Show'n'Tell of First or Worst quilts. I faithfully showed my worst quilt, but as of yesterday, I now have a new Worst Quilt. I can't take all the credit, some of that goes to my friends who helped with the quilt. I'll try to get a picture, but the flaws might not be readily visible in a photo. Obviously my friends and I need to have chat about bias edges and making blocks all the same size, but some of the blame is mine. I was given a beautiful piece of fabric for the back, and then put it on upside down and didn't notice until after it was quilted. What was that biblical quote about Pride going before a fall?

Monday, April 14, 2008

What a Weekend!

What a great quilt show! Every time our local guild mounts a show they seem to do a better and better job. I spent a great deal of time there, but as a volunteer with specific jobs to do, so wasn't able to wander aimlessly through the quilts, as I like to do. I did get to view them, however, and I have to say that I feel that the contemporary quilts received as much respect as the more traditional ones. This is a huge step forward for the Guild. All three of my babies came home with ribbons, and one of them won a sponsor's prize for the "best use of threads and embellishments". I have such a sense of validation, but more importantly, now I want to get into my studio and start making up all of the designs I have had in my head over the past three days.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Busy, Busy!

Yesterday I took my entries into the local quilt show for judging. The show opens tomorrow afternoon, and I will likely be there, as a volunteer, most of the time, over the next three days. So it's unlikely that I'll be able to blog.
What an emotional experience! My "babies" going out into the world to be judged. Last time I entered something like this--a number of years ago, I got a nasty comment from one of the judges, and I was hurt. Since then I have judged myself, but I've been cautious about what I say, just because of that one unpleasant experience. This time I'm really going out on a limb, because I've entered my art quilts into a fairly traditional show. I'll be interested in how they are accepted--or not accepted. Once before I put an art quilt into a traditonal show ( I didn't realize how traditional until after I had entered). It wasn't judged, but they displayed it down at knee level and behind a chair. I got the message, but it was still interesting to see women down on their knees, blocking the aisle, trying to look at my quilt.

Yesterday I started on a piece that I have planned in my mind, and have been wanting to get to for quite awhile. It isn't working. I'm at a loss on how to fix it, and will have to spend some time thinking about it. I also started my first larger piece of discharging. I have let it dry over night and will take it outside to iron today. I think a respirator is definately on the shopping list. I also sent out an application for a larger show next summer. This may well mean re-designing my booth, and even, adding some lighting. More thought needed there, but I have lots of time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What to do? What to do?

Monday evening was our regular monthly Ravenesque meeting. I took all of the prints I've been making to see if anyone had ideas of what I could do with them. A couple of them have found new homes, and now I'll be interested in what happens to them. My absolute fabourite was a piece that had been used to clean up while I was working on the the more formal prints. This often happens, and now I make a point of treating my clean-up rags as carefully as I do my prints. I also was given four mini-cones of metallic thread to test for the distributer. I spent yesterday doing the testing, and I think I learned a lot about metallic thread. I wonder if we shouldn't be putting every new thread we buy through the same process. I can think of a couple of times that doing so would have saved me grief.
Today is the big day! I get to take my quilts into the quilt show--and then it is out of my hands. I have entered three of them into competition. They are definitely art quilts, but I feel that my technical skill is equal to anyone's, so I'm going to be very curious to see how the art-y quilts fare in the judging. I guess I'm just feeling that I need that external validation of my work. I have been pretty careful not to show them off at things like the Guild Show'n'Tell, so that they will be fresh for the show.
So now I can relax and get back to actually producing art.

Monday, April 7, 2008


In my very informal exploration of marketing relative to the kind of work I do, it has been suggested that, as artists, we become known for some sort of special technique or style of work. It would appear that the sunprinting is becoming associated with me. I only have about 5 small matted pieces left, and I sold the last larger wall hanging that I had. I was really glad to sell the hanging. I sold some of smaller stuff as well, so have to say that Sunday really was a better day for sales. It was still cold and unpleasant, so maybe people were forced into the buildings instead of being out walking the trails. So now I have to think about exploiting my new identity as the Sunprint Lady. I spent some time last evening looking at what fabric I have left that has been printed that way, and while there is more than I thought, it still isn't much. I have far more of the mono-printed pieces. I have heard of sunprinting already coloured fabric and I wonder what would result if I tried printing over some of the mono-prints. I'm sure having trouble thinking of how else I might use them. But that will have to be put aside for now. I have another big weekend coming up with a big local quilt show. I have to get my entries ready, and then I have to re-label the items I'm putting into the boutique. I really don't expect to sell much, but even one item is more than I would sell if everything stayed in my basement.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Busy, busy meets ZZZZZZ

What a disappointment! The "Big Sale" isn't. I took in enough yesterday to pay for lunch, but not the gas to get there. The room is small and poorly lit. All morning we were told "wait until after lunch--that's when people come here". Then all afternoon we were told " Wait until tomorrow. Sunday is always a busier day out here" We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath. I saw some very interesting glass work at another vendor. I'm sure they are just her leftovers, but they are tiny globules of glass, with what appears to be tiny growths or flowers imbeded inside ( Millefleurs??) She wants $10each and I figure that's a good price for something I could use in a collage--or even design a collage around. I can even see them worked into some of my box tops. However, I'll have to make a lot more money before I can afford to buy even one of those! Would be nice though. Maybe I'll have to see if there are any small boxes for sale at Mrs. Twitchett's. There is also a lady who does "backstrap" loom weaving. She has some quite beautiful pieces. My friend the rug weaver is not doing well, either. She did very well at this sale last year, so this must be a big disappointment to her. We have had a change of venue, and this is obviously not been in our favour.

The venue itself is interesting. It is a nature reserve(?) that specializes in waterfowl. The little lake was still frozen, but covered in hundreds of Canada geese. They just appeared to be hunkered down there waiting for spring. A lot of them were wandering around the grounds, as they are allowed to do, fighting and honking. When we first got there, there were deer wandering around, but they had pretty well disappeared later in the day. There is a small herd of bison as well. They seemed to be practising for a stampede. While I've seen bison herds before, I've never seen one so active.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Too Tired to Sew

Well, I'm beat! Spent several hours today cleaning my daughters kitchen cupboards. There is just so much for her to do and this was one thing that she actually asked for help with. They could have used a coat of varnish once we were finished, but I found this marvelous product from Pledge--an orange cleaning and polishing oil. Wow! What a difference to the cupboards when we had applied this oil. I understand that it can attract dust over time, but hopefully by then the house will be sold and it will be someone else's problem. I would expect that a buyer would want to replace those cupboards fairly soon, in any case.

And then tonight it was our regular Quilters' Guild meeting. Most of our members are off on a field trip tomorrow. so we knew we had to end the meeting early, and we didn't expect a great turnout. The Guild is putting on a very big show next weekend, and most members are involved with that. So we had a Show'n'Tell of First or Worst Quilts. The idea was that many of the new members are reluctant to show their quilts, and we wanted to have an evening where they would feel more comfortable. We also knew that most members will have entered their more recent quilts into the up-coning show, and a regular Show'n'Tell would not likely have much participation. It was a pleasant evening.

Tomorrow is the "Big Sale". this will mean two days of very, very busy. I'll be back Monday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


There is a big sale this weekend, and I've got myself half a table there. I sat down yesterday to write up an inventory, and what a surprize! I have far more stuff than I thought. Realistically, I don't expect to sell much--there just doesn't seem to be the demand for stuff like mine. I think I might do better if I emphasize the "arty" stuff, and I have several pieces of that. I think I will still have to take my easels. If I can put up one or two of the bigger pieces, it might bring people in to see the smaller stuff. And I will only have half a table. The lady I'm sharing with will not use a lot of space, but I need to be fair and only use my share. I'll be able to use my display grid for the little hangings. I'm getting excited about the whole thing, and I know that DH loves to get out to these things. He seems to get a big kick out of talking to people at sales.
Today my older grand children are going to come over for a visit. I have been so busy that I almost burnt the cookies I made--and I haven't had time to make more. I wonder if they'll mind.