Saturday, December 31, 2011

About Old Age and Loneliness

Since I just had a birthday and it's the end of a year of huge changes, I was struck by the wisdom of this passage I came across in the book I was reading:
"You'd think the way people go on that if they stand too close to old age and loneliness they'll catch it themselves. I suppose that's true in a way, because you do catch it, if you stay around long enough. But you don't get it from other people; you don't get it from anybody but yourself." (Quoting Bernie McGill in The Butterfly Cabinet)
"Migration"   35 wide x 36.5 high
Detail 1
Detail 2
My flying geese quilt that I named "Migration" is finished and I'm ready to put 2011 behind me. No resolutions, but definite plans to NOT catch that old age and loneliness bug. I like my friend Virginia Butler's list of resolutions she is NOT making, like cutting back on coffee and chocolate, taking life too seriously, going shopping more, keeping a spotless house, reading more.
Sounds like a good year to me!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

JavaWerks Display December 2011

My fiber art is on display at JavaWerks Coffee Shop in Hattiesburg for the month of December. When Pam Hill invited me to hang my works, she said, "it looks so cozy with your quilts there."
The coffee house is a popular hangout for Southern Miss students, and you can see lots of serious study going on there, as well as all age groups enjoying delicious coffees and teas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

"What if we woke up one morning and only had what we had thanked God for yesterday?"

What a difference a season can make! The Bradford Pear trees were covered in white blossoms just a few short months ago. Now they have been robbed of their brilliant red leaves by periods of drought and sudden chilling temperature dips.

The stark branches remind me of losses, things past. It would be easy to settle into a dark place of brooding, but thankfulness for blessings outweighs the defeat of losses. I had my parents until they were 89 and 91 years old, and had the privilege of caring for them in their final months. My precious sister and her husband enhanced my feeling of family. My husband of 57 years was my Prince Charming when I married him at age 18, and we were blessed with unusually wonderful children, a daughter and a son.

Now my loving and faithful Bigboy is my constant companion and studio helper as I carve out a different existence, taking a day at a time. I am blessed with memories that comfort, and a faith that more blessings are in store for me and mine. These blessings have to be taken up, acknowledged, and enjoyed, and this is up to me to do. I thank God for family, friends, the beauty of this world, the comfort of home, the privilege of being born in this country where we are free to make choices and worship openly. We are not promised that everything will be smooth traveling, only that we are not alone on the journey.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm a $30 Idea Winner from Superior Threads

When Superior Threads newsletter announced it is now carrying Hugo's Amazing Tape, I immediately thought of a handy tip I could share. I love Hugo's Amazing Tape and have used it for several years to keep my threads from unwinding into a terrible mess in my thread drawer. The tape is a non-sticky reusable almost clear tape that will cling to itself but not to other surfaces--ideal to wrap around thread. My tip: Cut the ends of the tape with pinking shears so the end is easier to find on the spool. It was published in the November newsletter as a $30 Idea Winner. Bob Purcell added: Bob's Note: Another good idea is to color the end of the tape with a marking pen so it can be easily found.

My name was misspelled as Martha Ginni, but it was really me.  I'm eager to order more of my favorite thread!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Leaf Study

Leaf Study, 18" x 22"

I used Caryl Bryer Fallert's "appli-piecing" technique to create these leaves. The leaves are appliqued to a hand-dyed cotton sateen by Heide Stoll-Weber. The echo quilting was done with the presser foot down, and the edge finish is a facing rather than a binding.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Twisted Trees by Friends

There are many ways to finish a "twisted tree" piece--by adding embellishments, borders, frames. Here are some made by my friends:

Jackie Watkins intertwined her twisted pieces to create larger trunks. She also embellished her piece with beads.
Polly Duggan's tree, framed under glass, with beads added (above)
Mary Nell Magee painted and tore leaves from Lutrador and glued her leaves on to add texture

Gloria Green used crazy quilting, hand embroidery, ribbon and beads
Elvia Edwards added borders

Jo-Ann Evans created an underwater scene with sea creatures, kelp, and two divers. The coral was made by the twisted tree technique

Monday, October 17, 2011

Twisted Trees

Twisted Tree, 22" x 19"

In progress, pinned to foam core
 In my small Innovative Fiber Art group, Polly Duggan shared with us a twisted tree technique that she had learned from another quilter friend, Jackie Watkins. We used batiks for the trees because batiks have the same coloration on the back as well as the front. Starting with 1" strips of fabric, we dampened our fingers and rolled the strips into tight little "snakes" (remember making snakes from clay when you were a kid?). To assemble my tree, I first prepared a background (sky and ground) with batting and backing and quilted it. This was secured to a foamcore board so that the tree could be created onto the board. Although this seems backward, we began at the outer end of each branch and worked toward the trunk, adding and combining pieces to create the trunk down to the roots. After pinning the branches to the board, the piece was taken to the sewing machine to sew the branches. I added small twigs to indicate a bare, leafless tree. A barn and silo in the left background completed the piece.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Never Be Surprised at Judges' Comments

Well, I like the piece and had enjoyed hand-embroidering it over a period of six months before layering and machine quilting it. (Silk With Stitches in previous blog post.) The center section is collaged silks I dyed, and the border (also backing) is a high-quality hand-dyed cotton sateen (by Heide Stoll-Weber). I posted it in a critique group I am in and received several affirming bits of feedback, along with some reservations:
"Love the spontaneous feel to your piece and use of color but my eye stops in the lower R corner."
" I found the center totally mesmerizing, dreamlike."
" I love the flow of your piece. The silks are beautiful and your stitching and embroidery choices are perfect. The center design is powerful and the borders frame it nicely.  I did not stop at the lower right corner because my eye found the blue silk in the bottom third of the center."
Getting feedback from my peers is a great way to learn what another artist sees. I didn't enter it in the quilt show expecting anything more than another artist's viewpoint. Imagine my surprise as well as puzzlement when the judging sheet read these eleven words.
     Visual Impact: Soft
     Technical Construction: Too mixed and too distracting
     Quilting: Fair
     Additional Comments:  Nice blend of colors
It's certainly a good thing that I don't place much importance on judges' remarks! I haven't figured out what a "soft" visual impact is other than her way of saying she didn't like it. Although she thought it "too mixed and too distracting," she complimented the "nice blend of colors." These statements seem contradictory, but they reinforce my thinking: Never Be Surprised at Judges' Comments!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Silk with Stitches

My fiber art group experimented with dyeing silk several months ago. We used 6" squares and tried several different techniques to see what we would get. I cut lots of these and glued them to note cards and mailed them. The leftover pieces were too beautiful to toss, so I began applying them to a foundation background at random. There was very little plan--just place and decide if I liked it and stitch it down with embroidery stitches. This was a carry-around project. I then added a backing and borders and machine quilted it only enough to secure the layers.
It has a rather chaotic look, but it mirrored my life as I cared for my husband during his last months. Embroidery has always been a comforting activity, and this piece certainly supplied that. The border and backing are from two pieces of Heide Stoll-Weber's hand dyed sateen. The piece is 24" x 25".

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Ghost Quilting

This colorful jungle print was ideal for Ghost Quilting. I cut out a rectangle of the print featuring the parrot and added first a green border and then a wider white one. This allowed for interesting quilting as I stitched out of the center rectangle into the blank space. I had used the same print for the backing of the piece, so some of the quilting was done from the reverse or back side. This allowed me to duplicate the parrot and some of the leaves and other motifs. The piece is 21" high and 19" wide. The binding is made from the jungle print.

Ghost Quilting

I call it Ghost Quilting. I start with a square or rectangle of printed fabric as the focus, then I add borders all around and imagine what is out off the edge of the focus fabric and complete the motifs with only stitching or with Neocolor II watercolor wax pastels plus stitching. The focus fabric can be fused onto the center of a larger piece or borders can be sewn onto the center.

 The red pineapple piece has only stitching to complete the picture.

 The yellow pineapple piece is enhanced with Neocolor II plus stitching.
 In progress, showing the stitching that will complete the picture.
The first step--adding Neocolor II to extend the picture into the border.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

MS ARTeast Festival

Dean Smith of Simply Teavine hosted the MS ARTeast Festival today (July 23) with 20 artists displaying their creations. The event was held at her family's 1884 Meador Homestead Cabin just outside Hattiesburg. The artists were stationed about the grounds and in the cabin and on the porch. Dean had prepared dishes such as Brett Favre's Chili, Eudora Welty's Shrimp Eudora, and William Faulkner's Barbeque Chicken and served it from the remodeled and updated kitchen.

My quilted pieces were displayed in the bedroom of the cabin, where there was a very tall four-poster canopy bed, complete with little step ladder and chamber pot. The room also contained an old spinning wheel and other period pieces as well as hundred-year-old photographs on the walls.
There were wood turners, authors, beekeepers, stain glass artists, chair makers, and singers among the artists, giving the guests a huge variety of items to enjoy. A little rain shower did not dampen the mood of the happy visitors, and people enjoyed the festival and the lovely grounds.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blueberry Time!

I have one lonely, misshapen blueberry bush that grows in the yard beside our driveway. It probably got nearly uprooted in a storm and was allowed to grow at a 45-degree angle for years. When we bought the property I considered eliminating this pitiful little bush, but every spring it rewards us with delicious blueberries. First it is covered in tiny flowers, then clusters of green berries which gradually ripen to their dark blue state. The birds eat their fill and still leave plenty for us. They are best picked and eaten in the yard. The ones I freeze are not nearly as good as those eaten right off the bush.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where Did January Go?

Silk scarves with ColorHue dye

Dy-Na-Flo paints on white silk (piece in progress)
Leftover silk pieces glued to folded cards for stationery

Wow...January is almost over and I wonder where it went. I have been playing with dyes, Dy-na-Flo paints on silk and then Colorhue Dyes for silk scarves. The black one has Shiva Paintstiks added rather than dyes.
     Then there was the decision to remove some carpet and cover four rooms with new wood-look laminate. This involved quite a bit of thinking, mental rearranging, and then staying out of the way......
Hallway with storage for fabric
 The cat has to get used to his toeneails clicking down a slick hallway instead of sounding like thunder rolling along the carpet.
Living room half finished
Studio will be next, and the flooring guy says laying the floor will be easier than my unloading all the bookcases and other storage areas. I believe he is right.