December 31, 2007

Celebrate Your Wins

For the past year, I've been enjoying a newsletter from ArtBizCoach, Alyson Stanfield. Two newsletters ago, Alyson presented the questions below as a way to help you review your accomplishments. I won't bore you with my answers, but I feel that it was time well spent. It's way too easy to forget all the small accomplishments throughout the year!

How did you promote your art?
What did you do to enhance your online presence?
What technological skills did you learn or improve?
How many people did you add to your mailing list?
Who were the top ten cool or influential people you met?
Did you create a new business card, portfolio, or other marketing piece?
What medium or skill did you attempt or master?
What did you try that was completely new?
What did you try that was uncomfortable, but helped you grow?
What new art events, galleries, and museums did you visit?
What resources did you discover?
How did you improve your studio habits?
What books did you read to help your career?
What seminars/workshops/lectures did you attend?
What organizations were you involved with?
What grants/honors/awards did you receive?
What articles were written about your work?
What submissions did you make?
Where did you save a wad of money?
What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2007?

Jewelry Pouch
I gave my daughter some jewelry for Christmas and then realized that she was dumping it into a plastic bag. So the day after Christmas she picked out three different fabrics from my stash and I made her this jewelry pouch.I've made quite a few of these over the years, so it went together pretty quickly.Here you can see that there are eight individual spaces to keep your jewelry separate so you don't end up with a giant jewelry ball. You can also store larger pieces in the base of the pouch.

December 30, 2007

Setacolor Transformation

Today my Fibervision buddy, Lora Martin, showed me a new painting technique that she learned from Phil Beaver. I saw some of Lora's beautiful painted fabric at our Fibervision Christmas Exchange and my inquiring mind had to know how. The technique involves stretched fabric, lots of water, Setacolor paint and salt. It is so much fun watching the transformation. Thanks Lora, I LOVE IT!
These composites will show the transformation over 4 hours. The white splotches are rock salt.This is Lora's beautiful painted fabric. We think the fabric is Kona Cotton. Water sat on the surface for much longer and it reacted differently than mine.

I painted both of my pieces at the same time, using the same color palette. The colors are more saturated in this one. This piece looks like flames.My paint was diluted with more water for this one. As you can see the final effect is lighter. I used Kaufman Pinatex for both pieces. For some reason, both of my pieces look like the shapes have been outlined with a dark marker. I certainly don't know why, but it's very cool.

The fabric and salt will remain untouched until it is completely dry. I believe the transformation is complete, however, there may be more surprises awaiting me in the garage!

December 27, 2007

Nicky Claus

For those that celebrate, hope you had a Merry Christmas. My neighbor and her poodle, Nicky, stopped by to wish us a Merry Christmas and give us some home baked goodies. This is what I saw when I opened the door.Nicky Claus! I cracked up and ran to get my camera. Nicky is the sweetest poodle I ever met. He had special training so he can visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. I'm sure this little Santa suit made many people smile!
Here are some of the ATC's I received during this months trading session. As always they are much nicer in person.

December 23, 2007

Happy Dance!

Yippee, my studio is compete! Here is a photo of my Viking Designer I in its new home. It's amazing how comfortable it is to sew at this height. The first thing I sewed was the hem on my husbands shorts because he threatened to leave a nasty comment on my blog if I didn't fix them soon. Then I made a postcard out of the leftover coaster fabric.
I am extremely happy with the way my studio turned out. This is by far the most functional layout yet and I expect it to stay like this for a long time. The room is approximately 10' x 12' and every space is utilized. Unfortunately, I can't get back far enough to get a good photo of the full room. Here is a side shot of the new sewing table. Each end has a stack of drawers like the one you see here. The space directly above the first drawer is a pull out shelf which is going to be extremely useful.
My sewing table backs up to an L shaped table, so I will have a huge working surface for large projects. I think I could have 3 people working fairly comfortable in this space. I'll have to test that theory out soon.This shows the L shaped table from the opposite direction. You can see my laptop in the forground, this is where I do all my blogging, photo & computer work.Here's the other end of the L shaped desk. There is a ton of storage underneath and behind this area.I found some fabric that I won't use and will donate it to a local group. After organizing everything I have one empty shelf that will hold a large bin for leftover scraps. Thanks to my interior decorator friend, Nancy, I still need to find a way to store approximately 25 pounds of upholstery fabric.

December 22, 2007

Photoshop Manipulated Coasters

I started with a photo of some foamy ocean water, adjusted the saturation and color balance quite a bit and twisted the whole image. This is what it looked like after I printed it on treated cotton fabric.

I added a layer of Timtex to the back and couched yarn along the contours and free motion stitched in the blue areas with rayon thread. I added foiled circles to top. I cut four circles from the piece and stitched around the perimeter of each.

I popped the circles into the center of these acrylic coasters and sealed the back and Ta-da, I have a unique Christmas present!
Here's a photo of my lonely chair and lamp waiting for it's new sewing table! It has arrived and I'm hard at work filling up all the drawers. I really, really love the new layout. Photos to come shortly.

December 17, 2007

Studio Remodel

Yeah, I'm getting a new sewing table on Friday. I currently have my sewing machine on top of a desk. The storage in this desk is wonderful but my shoulders and neck get pretty tense when sewing/quilting for for an extended period of time. I'm hoping that having the sewing surface flush with the cabinet will help this problem.
It's never as simple as replacing one piece of furniture, is it? Of course not! I measured everything, drew a floor plan and rearranged until I had the perfect layout. It took me most of the weekend to move everything out, organize, and move it back in.
My space is more open and friendly and best of all . . . my back is not to the door. I tend to get really involved while I'm working and don't hear people coming in, so I get scared a lot. Not any more, or at least not as much (I hope).
I know I have a lot of stuff and I really Love all my stuff, well, most of it anyways. I've purchased some really ugly fabric over the years and have no idea why. What was I thinking? Well, I'm going to clear all of that out of here. I'm sure somebody, somewhere will LOVE it!
You can see most of the fabric wall in this photo, each rolled up piece is at least one yard. The larger pieces are in the closet, which are also being rolled up. This was taken before everything was put away. It's much neater now.Here's a close up of my fabric wall. The fabric is rolled up, jelly roll style, tied and stored on end. This wall of fabric always makes a BIG impression with visitors.The oak unit is packed with one-half yard pieces of fabric. Each drawer holds a different color and the large drawer on the bottom has a lot of hand painted/dyed/discharged fabric. The plastic drawer unit also has fabric and stabilizers and there are more bins under the table!
As you can probably tell I have a lot of stuff! After my trip to the LA garment district in January, I'm going to stay out of stores that sell fabric, beads or yarn, as much as possible. I can't fit any more in here and I certainly can't use it all in my lifetime.

December 14, 2007

Take It Further Challenge

I signed up for a challenge that will be starting in January called "Take it Further". I often find that a challenge forces me think differently and try new ideas that I may not have tried otherwise. I really like challenges!
Susan B will be the administrator for this monthly technique challenge. On the 1st of each month she will post a concept and/or color challenge (your choice). The challenge is to take the idea, develop it and push it towards a resolved design during that month. You can work in any medium and size that you chose. Post your progress throughout the month on your blog.
Sound interesting? You're not alone . . . there are already over 200 artists from all backgrounds signed up.

December 13, 2007

The Cat is Out of the Bag!!

I have some very exciting news and I was sworn to secrecy for the past nine months! But now, faithful readers, I've been told that I can let the cat out of the bag.
C & T is publishing a book by Rayna Gillman and my quilt "Branching Out" is in it. I'm sure this is going to be a fantastic book and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I love the cover Rayna, it would surely make me pick it up. It will be available for sale in June of 2008, but Rayna is taking orders in advance for an autographed copy.
Rayna is a wonderful teacher and I highly recommend taking a workshop with her. She makes surface design very fun and easy.

December 10, 2007

Do I Like Bright Colors?

Yes, I do. Actually, I haven't met a color I don't like, but bright colors make me very happy. I guess my Blockhead friends have noticed because they chose some eye popping colors for my Seminole Strips.
If you don't like bright colors, it's time to turn away. Consider yourself warned!

Aren't they beautiful? We had a lot of fun at the Blockhead Christmas Party. Great company, wine, food, fabric exchange and our Seminole Strip Exchange. Below are 8 out of the 9 strips exchanged (Ranell couldn't make it).

December 8, 2007

Seminole Strip Exchange

I've been busy piecing Seminole Strips for my "Blockheads" group exchange. Here are the rules: 1. Choose fabric with colors that you like and give a piece to each participant 2. Select a Seminole pattern 3. Make the chosen Seminole strip for each person, using colors from their fabric sample. Here are the strips I made, the inspiration fabric is shown on the far left:

My fabric sample and strip is the first one shown above; orange background with a green and blue cross. The fabric has many colors, all very bright.It has been a long time since I pieced a traditional block. There was a lot more precise measuring and stitching than I remembered!We actually did the exchange earlier today. I'll take some photos tomorrow and show you all of the strips I received. I knew my fabric was bright, but I was surprised just how bright the finished strips were. They are great and I love the way they turned out.