November 30, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile

I love this potato head potato masher. I think he's adorable . . . my husband thinks I'm crazy.
I haven't tried it yet, but I think he's going to make a great stamp for soy wax or fabric paint.
These whimsical paper clips are great too. Of course, I never use them as paper clips. I'll have to flatten them a little, but I think they will work great with sun-printing. Has anyone ever used them?

November 29, 2010

What is a Line?

When does a line stop being a line and become a shape? It seems like an easy question, doesn't it?
After drawing many lines and thinking about them, there were two things that I kept noticing. If a line is wider than it is long, it appears to be a shape instead of a line. If the beginning of a line connects back to itself, it appears to be a shape.
I'm pretty sure most people would agree with those two statements. I don't, but it's probably because of my background as a graphic artist. I am constantly using lines to construct shapes and see them and treat them as separate elements. I can choose to feature the line or hide the line, but the line always exists.
After spending way too much time thinking about this, I started an experimental piece. I drew lines on the paper side of fusible web and ironed it to the back of fabric. The first thing I did was cut the piece into four equal parts, then I cut on each line and placed the positive pieces on a background making sure to leave space between each piece. All the pieces were fused in place.
I was hoping to visually connect the four pieces with machine stitching even though they were physically separated. I stitched along the outside line and continued the stitched line whenever the physical line ended.
The visual connection was weak, so I added a second line, but it was still weak. I added vertical and horizontal stitching between the four sections, but the connection remained weak.
The only way I could visually tie the four pieces together was by adding paint to the areas where the lines had been machine stitched. Once I did that, the line appeared to be a connected.
Conclusion: There are too many variables and more samples would have to be done in order to know if the stitching itself could make a visual connection. That's not going to happen, I'm over this experiment!
If I were to try more samples, I would reduce the space between the four sections. This sample has 1 inch between each section. I would also use a solid colored thread, I used a variegated thread with a section as dark as the background. Unfortunately, it completely disappeared in areas.
Do you think that too much time was spent on this small piece (14" x 19")? Probably, but I'm not finished yet. I'm adding seed stitching to all the purple areas. The fun just never ends!

November 15, 2010

More Hormones

A while back, I asked your opinion about a background for a hormone piece I was working on. I must admit that I was a bit surprised with your comments. I didn't expect people to feel emotional about the background. I was thinking about contrast and color, and many of you were thinking about how the raging hormones would look.
When I'm not sure about how a fabric or shape looks, I photograph it. For some reason, the answer is always clearer on my monitor than on the design wall. Sometimes, it takes a long time for me to make a decision, possibly months. That is what happened to the hormone piece. Originally, I liked fabric number 1 the best, but I didn't like it enough to think it was THE ONE.
Here's my newest choice. Much hotter and a different texture completely.
I feel that the hormones stand out well against the color and the texture doesn't compete for your attention. Is this THE ONE? It's a strong contender, but something else is needed.

November 14, 2010

Tour of Mexican Ports

Here's an unusual angle of the Holland America cruise ship we travelled to Mexico on.
The harbor at Cabo San Lucas isn't large enough for cruise ships, so we had to take one of the smaller boats ashore. My husband took this shot on the way back. Although it looks huge, the Zaandam is actually a medium size ship that holds about 1400 passengers. I still can't figure out why they would hang this sign on the rooftop of a restaurant. Bad translation perhaps? It did get my attention, but I didn't eat there. The harbor was pretty, but I wasn't in the mood to have people trying to sell me trinkets. We decided that tours were the way to go. And here we are . . . a Town, Country and Tequila Factory Tour in Puerto Vallarta. In the foreground is the fruit of the blue agave. They cook it in the brick oven for 8 hours, then process and ferment it. The pulp tastes a bit like sweet potatoes. Wonderful tequila (bought two bottles), gorgeous setting, colors and . . .
yummy tacos too!
Our third and final port was Mazatlan. Beautiful beaches and a fantastic outdoor sculpture collection. Yes, these are aliens climbing a ladder, and there are more aliens on the ground!
These are the famous (and crazy, IMHO) cliff divers. What a gorgeous dive. They have to time the waves perfectly in order to survive, the water is only 7 feet deep.
Hope you enjoyed the short tour of Mexico.

November 13, 2010

Wonky 9-Patch Finished

Can it be true? I actually finished some old projects. First, was the log cabin that now resides with my son in Topanga Canyon. Next in line were a couple of small wall quilts which I forgot to photograph, and the latest is this wonky 9-patch baby sized quilt.
I really like the cheerful colors in this one.
Here's a close up showing the wonky quilting. It feels great to finally get this finished.
And here is the next pile of quilts I'll be working on. I backed all of them with batting and added a ton of safety pins. A couple of years ago, I started quilting through the top and batting only. No backing. I do a fair amount of quilting and like the stability that the batting provides. When I finish all the stitching, I sew all the layers together, all the way around, with no opening. I cut an X through the backing layer and flip the whole thing inside out through the X. I quilt around some of the major areas, cover the X with a label or with the hanging sleeve and it's done. I'm not sure how long I'll continue to use this method, but for now, it suites me just fine.
Does anyone else out there quilt through two layers? I'm sure I can't be the only one!

November 7, 2010

Where Has the Time Gone?

So much has happened since I last posted. Here are a few highlights: the Santa Barbara quilt show, an exhibit with Fibervision, a trip to PIQF and the most exciting news, even though it's not quilt related: my husband won a 7 day Blues Cruise to Mexico.
Imagine 90 concerts in 7 days and three ports to explore. Here's part of the lineup: Johnny and Edgar Winter, Los Lobos, The Lowrider Bank, Elvin Bishop, Cafe R & B, Kelly Hunt, Tommy Castro, Elvin Bishop, etc.
I've never considered myself much of a portrait photographer, but it looks as if the tables have turned. I really got some great shots of the performers on this cruise.
Edgar Winter

Johnny Winter
This is the first time that the Winter brothers performed together.

Roach from Cafe R & B
Howard Scott from The Lowrider Band (formerly known as War)
Tommy Castro
Many Thanks to Tommy Castro for pulling my husband's winning ticket at a local performance. The cruise was a fantastic experience! In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we signed up for next year.