Monday, February 12, 2018

Green Fish and UFOs

The green fish has been quilted and has its facing and sleeve done. The collaged background of irregular shapes was more challenging than the geometric shapes on the yellow fish, but still interesting and enjoyable. I'll show the yellow one again below the green one.
Green Carp, 24" x 18"

Yellow Carp, 22" x 17"

My guild usually has a challenge each year. Since this is quilt show year, we didn't want to take on a huge project that might pose a hardship added to the work and preparations relating to the show. So this year's challenge involves UFOs (quilterspeak for unfinished objects) and is designed to give us all a push to finish projects as well as to encourage us to use our fabrics instead of buying, buying, buying--translate hoarding.
The plan is this: we list six UFOs in number order and describe the degree of completion as of January 1, 2018. Numbers will be drawn, and the UFO corresponding to that number will be due in two months. We can earn fat quarters by bringing the finished work in on time. If all six projects are finished, our name goes into the hat for a $100 prize. How interesting to go through closets and shelves to come across these forgotten pieces! My oldest one is a half-done mystery quilt begun 23 years ago in 1994. As I recall, the instructions were confusing and inaccurate, and when I came to the step admitting some early mistakes, I gave up on it. However, there is too much fabric and time invested to discard it, so it went on my list. I just hope its number is several months away. There are several nearly finished pieces and even some that I choose NOT to finish. And that's okay. Maybe they were learning tools along the way but no longer hold my interest.
I'll report back on the UFO progress.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fabric Collage Past and Present

My most recent obsession is fabric collage using Susan Carlson's technique of laying on a multitude of fabric bits to create a piece. Think of a painter dipping a brush into paint and applying it to canvas, whereas in fabric collage I cut a bit of just the right piece of fabric and lay it on the background. Having a huge fabric inventory is essential, because there isn't the option of mixing paint to get the right color. You have to search through you fabrics--which is a fun activity in itself!

I have completed The Window Watchers; Green Carp is complete except for quilting and edge finishing, which will not alter the look much. In Green Carp, paper is laid on to show where the edges will be when finished.

The Window Watchers, 22" x 28"

Green Carp top before quilting, 24" x 18"
I have done fabric collage for many years in a more simplified way. Here are a few earlier pieces from 2006-2013. Red Hibiscus is a Lorraine Covington pattern (called Pink Hibiscus); all other designs are mine.
Campfire 2006
Pacific Coast 2009
Amaryllis 2012
The Atrium at Ochsner's 2012
Red Hibiscus, 2012
When Worlds Collide 2013
Campfire, 2006, 22" x 23"
I located an in-progress picture of Pacific Coast from 2006 and can recall that I constructed it on a background by cutting bits of fabric and building the scene. The sky was a white piece which I painted. Water began as white with paint, then cutting strips. Angelina fibers and painted, crinkled cellophane simulate frothy water.
Pacific Coast, under construction, 2009

Pacific Coast, 2009, 18" x 15"
In The Atrium at Ochsner's, large sections were used for the buildings, with leaves depicting the tall palm trees in the atrium. Smaller pieces were cut for the foliage on the floor, but still in larger, representational cuts for the objects.
The Atrium at Ochsner's, 2012, 19" x 29"
Red Hibiscus, 2012, 29" x 24"
In When Worlds Collide, the circles and donuts were applied over a pieced background, with addition of organza, feathery ribbon, and beads.
When Worlds Collide, 2013, 34" x 18"
Linking up to Off the Wall Friday

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Progress on Yellow Carp and The Window Watchers

This fabric collage is exciting and enjoyable . . . and addicting! It's not quick, but when you are enjoying what you do, it doesn't matter what time it takes. Well, maybe a little more discipline here would be a good thing.
   The Yellow Carp (by Susan Carlson's Carpe Carpem pattern) is finished and ready to quilt, trim, and finish the edges. The background was as challenging as the fish body, mainly because there were so many options about how I wanted to do it. I used dark geometric shapes to help highlight the busy and organic nature of the fish body. The backing will only take off a seam allowance all around.
Yellow Carp (yet unnamed), 22" x 18"

   The Window Watchers (my three cats looking out an east window) is quilted and ready for facing. They are Rahrah, Tarbaby, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was featured in an earlier piece, Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat, in some earlier blog posts. Susan Carlson included her in Volume 7 of her Finish Line blog posts. Susan posts finished pieces from her students, and it is an honor to have Elizabeth shown there.
The Window Watchers, 23" x 30"

Tarbaby is solid black, and the sun shining on his back gave me the opportunity to use a variety of textures in addition to cotton prints. It's hard to photograph organza, and the black flannel and lace don't show in photographs.
Detail of blue and black satin and organza.

Working at the computer. What we put up with to humor our pets!
I should have both the carp and the three cats totally finished in the next post. I will also have progress on the Green Carp to show. It's going to be a great 2018!

Linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ending with Fish

It's traditional at the end of a year to look back and celebrate or complain. Without getting philosophical about what's wrong, I admit I am at a very happy place along this journey. Having just turned 82 and being able to pursue my passion of art quilting, I am looking forward to more creating, more cats sleeping on my lap, more pictures of my granddaughters and great-grandchildren, more wonderful friends, and more music! I hope to be sensitive to the needs of others and lend a hand and support worthy causes.
The Window Watchers is nearly finished, but it has been shoved out of the way in my enthusiasm for creating two more fabric collages, using Susan Carlson's Carpe Carpem fish pattern.
Click on any picture to enlarge.

When I gathered the possible fabric choices, it was obvious that I needed to make two fish. Here was my starting dilemma:

Beginning the yellow fish. (Ignore the polka dots; my white base fabric was thinner than I wanted, so I backed it with a scrap mint green/brown dot fabric for stability.)

Completed yellow fish, ready to glue and add background
Completed  yellow fish, ready to glue and add background 

Next I began the green fish. Here is his progress. Some of the yellow fabrics were needed for the end of the ruffled tail.

Completed green fish--ready for gluing and background
I use the term "completed" loosely. There is always the chance and temptation to tweak and keep adding more beautiful touches! And, of course, there will be quilting stitches over all.
Daughter Linda has thrilled me with her falling in love with quilting--not just the idea and admiration, but the actual sewing and quilting. She has completed far more than I did when I started, even donating two quilts to our guild, Pine Belt Quilters. We have enjoyed discussing and sharing our projects. Here are two of her completed quilts. And she just started watching videos and buying fabric in January.
Started in Barbara Cline class at 2017 MQA Educational Seminar

Started in an online challenge
Looking forward to another creative year in 2018!

Linking to Off the Wall Friday

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas

It's hard to believe this year is nearly over. I feel as if I've been in some sort of time machine zooming along. Here's hoping I can recall some of just this one busy month's happenings.
Making a little progress on The Window Watchers although it has taken a backseat to more pressing matters--like a bit of Christmas mail, beautiful choir special music, SMAA art show, and quilt meeting.
And we had a beautiful one-day 5-inch snowfall in Hattiesburg. We only get snow about once in 5 years, so we take lots of pictures, close schools, stores and streets. Here's what it looked like at my house--outside and in.

Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat won a 2nd place ribbon in the South Mississippi Art Association's annual show. Coming in 2nd to Andrea Kostyal's 1st place always makes me feel like a winner.
I also entered Winter Cabin and Jacob's Ladder, all in the Mixed Media/Other Category
Elizabeth, My Almost Perfect Cat--2nd Place
Mixed Media Category

Winter Cabin

Jacob's Ladder
My guild, Pine Belt Quilters had the reveal for the challenge we have worked on during 2017--a "modern" quilt. We drew three crayons from a bag and had to use these three colors (plus neutrals),  using at least 20 of the 27 patterns given during the year. My crayons were bittersweet, peach, and green. We were to stretch, skew, alter, "modernize" the blocks in some way in our 59+ inch quilts. I did not alter but chose to use different size blocks and set with some negative space for a variety of quilting designs in a smaller quilt. All the guild challenge pieces can be seen Here.
Crayon Challenge, 42" x 52"

Detail of quilting
Detail of quilting
Decorating takes a back seat to other holiday celebrations--like music and church gatherings and communicating with friends. The Boehm Spirit of Bethlehem porcelain figures are on display all year but are difficult to photograph in a lighted, mirrored cabinet. Two Santas and an elf are added, which makes enough around here, as long as there is music!

Several friends and I celebrated with Gwen Yijuan Yin as Kat Kimmel pronounced a house blessing at her new home. Gwen lived with me for a couple of months while she was making this move. She is a talented artist and musician and friend, a real asset to Hattiesburg!
Gwen and Kat
Linking to Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday

Monday, December 4, 2017

After Elizabeth--The Window Watchers

Progress report: I have just about finished all three cats and am working on the background--the window and sunlight and shadows and table and deciding on a name--The Window Watchers. I dare say anyone who owns cats has seen theirs in a similar pose. When I check on what they are so intrigued with, there's usually nothing there (that I can see, anyway).
Putting in background behind cats
The edges of the cats have to be left loose to slip background behind them. Yes, it seems the background should go in first, but that would cover up the lines I have drawn on the foundation for the outline of the main subjects--the cats.
Adding shadows with black tulle
I used white organza over the light green fabric for the windows. Black tulle will make the shadows the cats are casting. Organza and tulle are squishy and elusive to cut and place! But they create the look I need.
Cutting tulle is like cutting Jello
Another thing that makes me happy is a perfectly cooked egg, and I found this clever little pan that I think is going to do the job. (I admit that some days it doesn't take much to make me happy.)
Mini-Chef tiny egg pan

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Things That Make Me Happy (a.k.a. Thanksgiving)

For many years we celebrated Thanksgiving at my brother's home in Austin, Texas. Roy and I would drive from Mississippi through East Texas and pick up my parents for the large family/friends gathering. This year Linda and I ate the buffet at Golden Corral. The food was acceptable but not memorable. A good thing and a sad thing--we didn't have all those delicious leftovers. But we were thankful for many things!
I had the neatest surprise recently. I love to make and mail fabric postcards. One I sent in 2007 turned up in an estate sale and was returned to me. What a delight to know that someone had placed this little card among her keepers. An additional surprise was to see that the postage stamp pictured the image of my Baltimore Album quilt. At the time I had these stamps printed, first class rate was 41 cents. Did you know you could get stamps printed with your choice of images (for a small fee)?
Click to enlarge any picture.

I have made progress on the three cats fabric collage, beginning on the left with Rahrah. Her coloring is a strange mixture of tan, gray, orange, with a hint of darker stripes irregularly placed.

Tarbaby is in the middle, with his solid black fur, highlighted by some sunlight from the window.

Elizabeth is done with shades of lavender and purple for a little whimsy.
How does Elizabeth know when I'm working on her image? She didn't pay any attention to the piece as I worked on the other two cats but had to be close enough to supervise her part!
Another thing that makes me happy--the dedication of my daughter Linda to fostering kittens. She was recognized in a monthly feature as "People Who Make a Difference" in our newspaper. She not only fosters kittens but will take kittens with ringworm and treat and bathe them to get them back to good health. Here is a link to the article and pictures in the Hattiesburg American.