Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sale Day!

Yes, the yearly "big sale" was last Friday and Saturday.  Friday was a washout, and Saturday not much better.  We barely made travel expenses, and both ended up exhausted with heat and boredom.

But, I did have time to take a good look at my production over the past year, all grouped in one spot, and was dismayed to see how much my art has regressed.  I appear to have reverted into my comfort zone, producing more and more traditional work.  Far more than half of what I displayed was constructed from commercial fabric  Only two small pieces were painted, and only three hand dyed.

The past year has been a year of many transitions, both personal and artistically.  I have been searching for a niche, trying out various techniques and skills that attracted me, but never settling on any one facet of fibre art.  This has been compounded by the sort of brain fog that comes from chronic pain and analgesics.

Prior to packing for the sale, we culled the work on hand, actually destroying and garbage-ing a fair bit.  Most of this consisted of items that have been taken to sales for several years, and not sold, even when marked down. None of these had any potential for "re-purposing". I have no regrets about this, and am now wondering if we went far enough.

 Once we were packed for the sale, I sat down and developed a "to do" list, which always helps me clear my mind and set priorities, even if I never look again at the list once it's done.  One thing I missed, was a need to get the traditional stuff out of my life.  It is so easy to revert to that comfort zone.  I am even considering getting the commercial fabric out of the studio, so that I go to the had dyes first. It actually sits there and says  "You bought me, now you are obligated to use me".

But, all this being said, I did trade one piece for a lovely painting to hang in my living room.  So the weekend was not a total loss.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Latest work

We are no down to the crunch in preparing for the sale later in the month.  Overall, I have not been able to complete nearly as much as I had hoped, but the sale is the major event of the year for the Eastern Manitoba Artists' Collective, and I want to support the organization.  It is also the one time of the year when we all get together, face-to-face.

Awhile back I wrote about dyeing fabric for a piece inspired by my trip to Cuba in March.  I used a LWI technique to create a fabric of mottled golden yellow, various blues and green, representing the sun, the sky and water, and the foliage.  I had planned to thread paint some Celtic symbols to represent the skin art I had seen.  The symbols turned out less symbolic than I wanted, but I am very pleased with the overall effect.

This amount of concentrated stitching lead to tension problems, despite three layers of stabilizer, as well as the dense batting and layer of backing.  The basic quilting is parallel vertical lines about 1/8" apart.  I still had to use some pretty heavy steam pressing while working on the piece and then had to block it after the work was finished.  It has been very wet and humid here lately, and I hesitate to take it off the blocking board until the weather dries up a bit, so that is the pink Gingham you can see behind it.  It will be bound in the background fabric.

The piece is 24 3/8' by 35 1/2".  The "black" is done with Superior's King Tut in Obsidian, a great cotton thread that is variegated in black, silver and brown, resulting a a wonderful texture, when viewed from close up.

At sales, I like to be able to offer items at a variety of prices.  Earlier this year I bought a pre-cut package of 6" WOF strips of Batik fabrics thinking I was getting a variety of deep reds and burgundies.  Wrong!  It turned out to be more pink, browns and peaches.  I have now made two small, much more traditional appearing hangings, that I will be able  to offer for less than $100.  This is the second one, bound and ready for hand finishing.  It is what it is.
Now, I have to get ready to make a few much smaller and less expensive items, that I am able to produce assembly-line style.  Would you believe that I actually have an order for Coffee Cuffs?