February 27, 2011

Bizarre Encounter in Cambria

A few weeks ago, Mike and I headed north to Cambria for a weekend getaway. We thought it would be a nice quiet weekend. Ha . . . we couldn't have been more wrong.
Every year, between December and March, North Beach in San Simeon (just above Cambria), becomes the breeding grounds for Elephant Seals. There is a boardwalk where people can view the seals from a safe distance and docents are present to answer questions.
The largest males weigh 5,000 pounds are are extremely dangerous. They continually challenge each other for breeding rights. The winner of each battle returns to the harem on the beach; the loser is forced to leave.
Their sounds were deafening! Click here to listen. Imagine hundreds of bulls fighting and honking, and mothers and babies screeching (bonding) at each other.
Each female gives birth to one infant, but some will let more than one nurse.
This was the largest baby on the beach, it looked as if it were ready to burst. I think it's safe to say that his mother didn't adopt other infants. Soon it will be on its own, and will need to learn how to fish. Until then, it will survive on the nourishment from the mom.
We spent a several hours watching, and photographing these amazing creatures. It was definitely worth the trip.

February 23, 2011

Tea Fire: Finishing Up

You've seen this piece right after I finished the top. It hung on my design wall, along with many others, waiting for quilting inspiration to hit, but it never hits. I know this. Why does it take me so long to start? Once I start quilting, it goes well enough. I don't understand why I have this block. Deadlines give me a reason to finish. Without deadlines, I would probably have a room filled with quilt tops.
Here's a photo of some of the quilting. I like quilting through two layers, front and batting. If you look real close you will see two vertical areas that aren't quilted as dense. Those areas will contain the final quilting lines.
After the majority of the quilting is finished, I attach a back, then I add the last
bit of quilting . . . just enough to hold the layers together.
This is what the same section looks like from the front. I'll be adding the back tonight and finishing up with the sleeve and label tomorrow night. Almost done with my third fire quilt.

February 21, 2011

Exhibit at the Faulkner Gallery East

You're all invited to our exhibit at the Faulkner Gallery in Santa Barbara. The opening is March 3rd, from 5:00 - 8:00 pm. This is also the same evening as our local gallery night, First Thursday. All the galleries and museums stay open late, so you can see quite a bit of art in a short period of time.
I'm so excited, and exhausted! Four of the twelve selected pieces for this exhibit have been finished in the past month. Actually, I'm still working on the final piece. Over 30 works will be on display throughout March, so stop on in. It will be a very diverse, colorful show with a variety of fiber art ranging from portraits to surface design.

February 19, 2011

Curve Piecing

Last week, I took a one day workshop with Jean Wells on curve piecing. Jean's technique is a little different than what I've done before, a little more liberated. She has some good tips for beginning art quilters on inspiration and color choices. It wasn't information that I really needed, because I find cracks in the sidewalk inspirational, but I like to hear how other people work. It's good information and a good technique to have in my toolbox.
Here's the little piece (8-1/2 x 11") I completed in the workshop. After this, I went on to experiment even more, testing how far you could push this method. I found the limit pretty quick.
The first seam/curve went smoothly (no pun intended). Even though I matched little dots along the curve, I still fell short 1/4" at the bottom (purple/black seam). The second curve completely pushed the limit of this method. I lost about 1-1/4" at the bottom of the piece (purple/green seam. Solution: cut the piece that is being added extra long and fake it, or make templates and add 1/4" seam allowances. Good information to know.
This book was written in 1988 by Marilyn Stothers, and is where I first learned about curved piecing. I used this technique in one of my quilts back in 2005.
All that 1/4" seam sewing made me realize that I don't piece much anymore. The majority of my recent work is either raw edge applique or painted or a combination of both. It's funny how major changes can happen gradually, and you don't fully realize how much has really changed until you take a good look back.

February 17, 2011

Bad Blogger!

I apologize for checking out and hope that someone out there is still interested in what I'm doing. I honestly don't know where the time goes.
This photo shows our latest work in the backyard.
We're picking all the grapefruit and then removing the tree. It's pretty sad, but necessary. Someone planted this tree right smack in the middle of the yard before we bought the house, and we've been living with it for the past 23 years. We want to install a large patio and the tree is in the way. I bet the yard will look huge after the tree is gone.
Several people from my Fibervision group brought different items to our meeting to experiment with and we had a fun play day together. There was clay, beads, paint, paintsticks, screens etc. Here are a couple of fabrics that I rubbed with paintsticks.
Remember the banana slicer I bought a while ago? I finally got around to using it for these rubbings. They look like sea slugs to me, but a friend had a very different vision and thought it was disgusting! I'm pretty sure that I'll never see fabric like this anywhere else.
I used ribbed shelf liner for this effect and I really like the way it turned out. I chose very happy colors that day, didn't I? Very spring like.
I'll have a 3 woman show during March with Jeanne Surber and Ranell Hansen. I'll have 4 new pieces and I'm almost done with the last one. Yeah! Stay tuned . . .