Friday, March 31, 2006

ars longa...vita brevis

Hippocrates said it first. Art is long but life is short. What did he mean? Art outlives us all? Or,life is short, we'd better get busy making art? Or, it takes a whole lifetime to learn the art of whatever it is we do. Maybe all of the above. Or none of the above. In any case, I am off to help people make art this weekend. Tonight I overprinted on a piece of something I wasn't happy with(of course, now I am happy with it) and have cut it into small pieces. Everybody in my "Jump-starting Your Next Quilt" will get a morsel as a challenge and I can't wait to see what they each do with it in the time allotted. What fun! I'm thinking I should have a blog challenge one of these days soon: send off a swatch of something I've printed and see how you use it in a small piece. Then, I could post all the pictures here so everybody could see. Any takers? Of course, this is predicated on my having some piece of fabric that I can bear to part with. I am taking my knitting, my laptop, 2 quilts that need facings sewn down, and The View from the Studio Door, my reading of which keeps getting interrupted by LIFE. It is getting on to 11:pm on the Right Coast and I seem to be getting my second wind. Finished the rest of the Haagen Dazs - that must be responsible for my energy surge. Added pistachios tonight, along with the fresh ginger and cardamom. Protein. I was reading Red Shoe Ramblings earlier today - sorry that Deb Richardson doesn't feel well and hope she's better soon. I see that her Myers-Briggs is an INFP, which is the same as mine. Well, no two are really the same because it depends on your scores and the strengths of your preferences. I have just finished giving the MBTI to a client I am working with in his job search. Before I became a full-time artist, I spent a decade as a career transition counselor. I am working with this client as a big favor, because I really don't want to do this any more but he needs my help badly and I could not say no. Anyway, the first thing I do with a new client is give the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator because it helps me know how I should work with the person and it gives a good indication of their strengths, what kind of work environment they would be happy in, and a tremendous amount of other information. Years ago, I did a highly anectodal and unscientific survey of quilters and discovered that many of them are introverts, many were in medical, library,scientific or computer professions, and I forget what else. Vedddy interesting -- and an eye-opener. Depending on their type, I could describe pretty well what their studios looked like, how they liked to work, and was pretty right-on about the types of quilts they made. Fascinating stuff. But enough - I have to go pack up my little pieces of fabric. I will pack my suitcase in the morning: Chico's to the rescue! Black, black, and black. And they all match.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

New York art

Tonight was the opening of Joan Dreyer's solo show in the Phoenix Gallery in NY's Chelsea. Judy Langille, Rachel Cochran, Diane Savona and took the train into the City for the event. I seriously love all the gritty, urban stuff we pass on the way and I usually don't have my camera with me. Today, I pulled it out just in time to get this beautiful scene on camera. The specks all over the picture are dirt on the train windows. Thursday is open gallery night and the whole district was mobbed with art-goers. The poor people who live in this building have to defend themselves with this sign. On the way to Joan's exhibit, we stopped at the new Pace Wildenstein Gallery on 22nd St. to see an installation by Tara Donovan. Here are a few shots of it. It was huge, and we walked around it. This woman makes art from paper straws and other thing, including an installation made with 3 million plastic drinking cups. We also stopped to see some Rauschenberg posters and collages in a nearby gallery. I would like to go back because I might be winning the lottery soon and need to buy one. I really want the one made from shirt cardboard.Finally, we got to the Phoenix. Here is the lovely and talented Joan Dreyer. The piece behind her is one of a series of tree ring pieces that she discharged and mounted. Here is an installation made of stitched bark from a willow tree. And here is the installation of stitched fabric vessels that Joan made: quite spectacular all together as you walked into the gallery! There were some wonderful cloth pieces but my pictures didn't do them justice so I am leaaving them out. All in all, a great evening - but never enough time to get around to more than a few galleries.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

as promised -- and more

Another tidbit re: What is Art? from Ted Orland's book, The View from the Studio Door For artists the more relevant question is not whether art can be defined, but whether it should be. Aha - a whole 'nother conversation - but I won't go on quoting from the book - not nice to do. Anyway, there is too much food for thought and all I can do is recommend you treat yourself to this wonderful read! And no, I am not receiving a percentage of sales. Off the top of my head, a few of the other books I love and read for inspiration: Art & Fear - Orland & Bayles The Color of Time by Sean Scully The Complete Printmaker by Ross & Romano Picasso Posters by Maria Constantino Christian LaCroix' Diary of a Collection Robert Rauschenberg published by Rizzoli Books As I write, I am making a larger dent in the pint of Haagen Dazs vanilla that was my diet on Sunday, alternated with wonton soup without the wontons. Now I am back to regular food but I can't let the ice cream go to waste, so I added fresh grated ginger, cardomam seeds and raspberries. Along with a cup of tea, it helps me think. Earlier this evening, I found this treasure to the left in the pantry that I had bought in London last September and brought back with me. Very dark, very bittersweet, very good. The only reason I still have it is that it was buried in the back of the shelf. I recently saw this brand in Whole Foods but didn't look closely enough to see if it was the exact same thing. The cooking chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa than the eating chocolate. Harumph! OK - now, down to business... I spent the day printing. This is not a big surprise. What was different was that I had an idea yesterday that I wanted to try and had a vision of how it should turn out. This is not standard operating procedure for me, but I figured it was worth a shot. It was -- even though the cloth did not turn out anything like I had imagined it might. I started yesterday by waxing a piece of white fabric and painting it with dye. This morning, it looked like this. The white parts are wax. I could have ironed out the wax and had a piece of lovely light purple and white fabric. But that wasn't what I had in mind.

What I had in mind was painting the white parts with indigo so I would have some dark in there. ( Now this reminds me of a nightgown my sister-in-law once gave me for a gift.) I realized at once that this was going to be ugly, so I ironed a corner to see if I was right. Of course I was right. The contrast between light and dark was too great and there was no connection between the two elements. Bleccch. So, the only thing to do was to paint indigo dye over the wax in the light sections, for balance. Now I realize it probably would have been easier just to paint the whole thing indigo to begin with instead of the light purple color. Then I would have had an indigo and white piece. Of course, anybody can do that - so it wasn't what I had in mind. Here it is with indigo randomly applied in the light purple parts, over the wax blobs. I was not encouraged.

Here is how it looks now. (detail below). I am very happy with the full piece. ( By the way, I will be teaching a soy wax batik workshop at ProChem July 21-23, which will be a yummy three days! There are still some open slots, so if you are thinking about it, you might want to reserve a spot before it's too late.
Finally, to make the day complete, my second American Beauty iron arrived and I am sure it is responsible for making this piece look so terrific - LOL. This one has an amber handle, was manufactured in 1951 and is MUCH lighter than the one with the ruby handle - 3.25 lbs vs 4.5 lbs of the earlier version. Easier to handle and seems to iron just as well as the heavier one.

Enough for one day, don't you think? The next two days are full and then I'm off to CT over the weekend to teach Carve Original Stamps! Print Original Fabric! and Jump-starting Your Next Quilt. Should be fun! I'll check in before I leave.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

apple cinnamon

It's not a flavor - it's a color! Fashionistas can look forward to such apparel hues as golden ochre, purple magic, and bijou blue. If you want to have some fun, read the fashion color projections for Fall 2006. I would love to have the job of dreaming up names for the colors - almost as much fun as writing copy for a menu. In fact, apple cinnamon is described as a tea color. Huh? Over the weekend, my very own fashion plates were in my kitchen painting their shirts. Josh's color choice looks remarkably like bijou blue, so he'll be right in style next fall. After the boys left yesterday, I went back to the dye studio - remembering that it was their father (my son-in-law) who gave me my first dyes: plastic baggies from Dharma left over from when he was tie-dyeing Grateful Dead t-shirts in college. I've long since used them up, but I remember how excited I was to get his hand-me-up dyes. I don't think a single thing I've dyed this weekend will make it onto the runways next fall. Wrong colors. On another subject, I am up to page 22 in The View from the Studio Door and have just come to the question: What is Art? Extremely pertinent in view of the carping that has been on the QuiltArt list this past week. But I am on my way to bed and hope to get back to Ted Orland's food for thought tomorrow.

Friday, March 24, 2006

hmmm...

It might be the light in my kitchen, but this picture doesn't really show the blonde all that much. Trust me, it is there. Well, here I am in my reading glasses before we went out for dinner tonight. My hair might have gotten blonder while we were out but it's too late to take pix. My husband says he's seen me looking better. I told him he should let me know the next time he thinks I look better and I'll hand him the camera. Meantime, I am busy reading my copy of Ted Orland's The View from the Studio Door and making notes like crazy in the margins, having a mental dialogue with him and loving every minute. This author wants feedback -- ha ha - he will get feedback from me...at some point. It's like sitting on the floor with your best friend who is also an artist, having a philosophical discussion. Some things I want to shout "YES!!! -- exactly how I feel!!" and other things have big question marks next to them that I'll need to go back to and think about -- and with which I will ultimately disagree. What fun! What stimulation! And there is more to think about than just A-R-T. And mind you, I am only up to page 16 (ooops - typo, I first wrote "I am only up to -age 16." Typo or Freudian slip??) One of the things he says, which is food for thought, is this: "We become who we are by virtue of the choices we make - consciously or otherwise - about which parts belong to the story, and which parts can be left out." I don't think so. Quite the other way around: I believe we make the choices we make by virtue of who we are and how we see things at the time. So when we edit our art (decide which parts belong to the story, or not) we are editing because of how our experience/personality/stuff in our virtual backpack, etc. colors what we see. And, indeed, if, as Ted says, art is about how we see -- where does that leave us? It leaves us seeing things differently at different times in our lives, depending on (what I just said). This is a GOOD thing because unless we are stuck in a rut somewhere, seeing everything the same way as we always did, our art will change as our way of seeing changes. What do you think? Can we all pretend we are on my living room floor, shoes off, coffee cups or wine glasses in hand, having a discussion? You're all invited... including you, Mr. Orland.

the minis are home and available!!

The small pieces in the show that Joanie SanChirico curated: The International Miniature Textile Invitational, are back from the Dallas Quilt Show where they were exhibited. A number of them were sold in Dallas, which had first choice. But now, the rest of these gorgeous little pieces are available for the rest of us to buy. They always have a history of going like hotcakes, so check 'em out soon at http://www.miniaturesocag.homestead.com/. Due to a death in my extended family and unexpected houseguests for the funeral and period of mourning, I have been away from my blog. But things are quiet today and I am off to ditch the red streaks for blonde ones. See you later.

Monday, March 20, 2006

untitled

That is my least favorite title for a piece. Untitled, for goodness sakes! Untitled?? Now I am the first to admit that titles are dicey: there are two schools of thought (or more) on titles. 1) they should convey what the artist had in mind. 2) they should relate to the content of the piece. 3) they need have no relation whatever to the content of the piece. *of course#3 is easy when there IS no content. Then again, who determines whether there is content? And need there be such a thing? Let's pretend that the above image is a finished piece and needs a name. Shall it remain "Untitled #72"? Or does it deserve better? I screen printed this piece with thickened dyes this afternoon and this is before I washed it. I haven't done this in a while and had forgotten how much I love seeing the change in the image as the dye comes out of the screen. I was remembering while I was working, that this is the process where I discovered TEXTURE.

You'll have to hang on a little longer: all this printing has worn me out, not to mention the more than hour I spent at the supermarket this moring - which is really what did me in. So, I am off to bed at the ungodly hour of slightly after 10 pm, right coast time. Do not believe the propaganda you hear about this being the first day of spring. I shall post some pix tomorrow, after I have had my hair cut. I look like an overgrown tree and can hardly see through the foliage in front of my eyes.

a new must-read!!

If you read my post about this new book on QuiltArt, you can scroll down to the rest of the post. BUT - if you missed it, you have to know that a new book for artists is about to hit the shelves -- a follow-up to the wonderful, "Art & Fear" by Ted Orland & David Bayles. Ted has just written "The View From The Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World," which is not exactly a sequel - but it's definitely related --more or less a companion piece. If you haven't read "Art & Fear," run to the nearest bookstore or Amazon.com and grab one. I read it periodically for sustenance and encouragement the way I used to read Dr. Spock when my kids were babies. While "Art & Fear" looked at the problems we face as artists when we go into the studio and look at a blank design wall, "The View from the Studio Door" takes a practical look at the realities facing a working artist. I understand that it's more philosophical than its predecessor - but I'm sure it will be just as worth reading. At any rate if you go to Ted Orland's website, you can get a signed copy for only $12 including postage. "The View from the Studio Door" will be available in bookstores (and Amazon.com) sometime in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for it. Of course, your copy won't be signed if you buy it in the store...My signed copy is already on the way! I can't wait. On another note - with all the talk about deconstructed screen printing or 'breakdown" printing, as Claire Benn is calling it, I decided to shift gears a bit today. I'm on my way to unwrap the fabric I just steamed and hope to get back to you before the night is over with pictures, for better or for worse. It's another process I love - what a surprise.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This fabric is not yet steamed/washed, but it is ironed. Ironed with my American Beauty, immediately after which, I burned myself and dropped the iron. Blister on my right pinky and a somewhat askew handle which I am sure I can put back where it belongs. Fortunately, it missed my bare feet. In the meantime, I purchased another one of these irons on e-bay -- one with an amber handle. Now I am done. These babies get about 10 times hotter than any modern iron. Ouch. It is impossible to ever duplicate a piece of fabric -- at least for me. But it is possible to replicate the feeling of a previous piece, which is what I was trying to do with this one. I think I have been successful, as it makes me feel rather calm. On another subject - Studio Six met here today - or at least some of us. We spent the first hour discussing the vicissitudes of life and making ourselves feel better with tea and Irish soda bread. Between morning tea and lunchtime, we talked about surface design and looked at the results of our museum play day from last week, as well some nearly finished pieces of work. Randy has just discovered Thermofax screens and is a happy camper. She showed up with pots of pansies for each of us --a welcome patch of spring, just as we are bracing for snow showers tomorrow. Well, it has to warm up eventually...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm back

To the scores of fans who have written to ask where I have been -- the answer is - nowhere. Actually, in my studio. I finished up two pieces which need facing. And I've been printing till I am blue in the face...well, not literally. This is an example of why you should not print when you are tired. I know exactly what I did: I just don't know why. The good news is that if I ever need to make a quilt about mould and mildew, I have the perfect fabric. Here is a piece I printed earlier in the day. It is not quite finished, but good enough to take your mind off of that other thing above it. And now, I am going to bed. Crit group here tomorrow and I need to be energetic!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

I failed 8th grade math

No kidding. I didn't have to take the math quiz on Debra R's blog to know that. I managed to guess 3 out of 10, but don't have a clue about the other 7 questions and ran screaming from the room. Words & images, dears. Not numbers. Not ever. In real life, I had to be tutored through 8th grade algebra, 9th grade algebra, and 10th grade geometry. Fortunately, that fulfilled my h.s. math requirements. And double thanks that Mount Holyoke College did not require a math course to graduate. I'd still be there. I am serious. Bad enough that you had to pass a swimming test to get a college diploma; I flunked floating and had to take the test again. Enough tales of woe for this evening.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

American Beauty

American Beauty is the brand name of this gorgeous item I bought on Friday. Now, you may think that this is a boring subject, but when I notice how much time is spent on the QuiltArt list talking about the virtues of various brands of irons, it seems to be very important to a lot of people. When all the best brands are mentioned, this one is noticeably absent.On a whim, I stopped at an estate sale looking expressly for an old non-steam iron to use for discharge and ironing wax. There it was, in the kitchen pantry, winking up at me. Well, not quite -- it was pretty grubby and so was everything else in this ramshackle house whose ceilings were falling down. Someone will buy it for $800,000 and put half again as much into the place and they will have a fabulous abode. Apparently, two old women who were sisters, lived here forever and never did anything to the house, which was built aroud the turn of the last century. Here is a little history of American Beauty Electric Irons, just in case you are interested. This factory is now abandoned. The American Electrical Heater Company of Detroit, Michigan was established in 1894 and manufactured household and commercial irons, as well as soldering irons, until going out of business in the early 1990s. This company manufactured a variety of electric irons over the years but their American Beauty line was an American favorite! Its emblazoned name became the inspiration for German film maker Dieter Marcello's award winning film American Beauty. You turn the dial on top from off to maximum heat (or anyplace in between) and watch the needle below it go all the way up to linen. Let me tell you, this iron is hotter at the minimum setting than my current irons are at the hottest! And because it is not only HOT but heavy (it weighs 4.5 lbs) it takes the wrinkles out without steam. The downside is, of course, that not only does it not shut off by itself, you had better unplug it every time you are finished using it because it takes about an hour to cool down. Look at this gorgeous lucite handle! Apparently their translucent amber and ruby Lucite handle irons were so beautifully designed that they were once featured in an exhibit titled Masterpieces of American Design held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. This one was manufactured in 1947. Now that I know how special it is, I can't bear to use this little beauty with discharge paste: I may use it instead to iron my hand-embroidered linen tablecloths.

Friday, March 10, 2006

good news

I was happy to get notification in this morning's e-mail that two of my pieces have been accepted into SPUN: Small Art Quilts -- and to my surprise, one of my pieces is on the postcard. What fun! List of participants and exhibit info if you follow the link. If you're within driving distance of Katonah, NY, please take a ride and come to the opening on Sat, April 29 from 5-7 pm. Back to the sewing machine...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

pot luck

Last night I buried the pot in which I steam my fabrics. I suppose that it wouldn't have rusted right through the bottom if I had emptied the water every time I finished using it. But then again, it was a cheap stockpot - what can you expect from the supermarket for $8.99? It doesn't owe me anything, but this meant going out to buy another one. It still means that because I came home empty-handed this morning. First stop, K-Mart. They had a lovely Martha Stewart graniteware pot with a steamer thingie included, but it was only 7 qt. Too small. The Shop-Rite, where I had bought the original one, was out of them. But I did get some pretty good looking strawberries, 2 for $5. And two packages of Cafe Bustelo for $1.99 each, which I bought because the supermarket was out of the Melita French Roast beans they normally carry. "WHAT," you may ask, "is THAT THING?" Well, it is actually TWO things: part of my haul from Amazing Savings, my third stop: a sort of imitation Dollar Store, where alll the prices all seem to end in .99, mostly preceded by another digit. These are ART SUPPLIES, of course. 6 foil pans for gelatin plate printing (19 cents each - an exception to the rule since they couldn't make them .99 each. They could have made them .09, though).

2 pairs of scissors (I am always running out of scissors for some reason) for $1.99

1 calculator (cheaper to buy a new one than to find a battery) for .99

2 (count 'em) 12-1/2" square FISKARS plexi rulers with BIG numbers. A size & shape I rarely use, but how could I leave them there for .99 each??

1 package of six magnetic clips for .99, one of which is attached to the .99 thingie that calls itself a whipit whisk. The thingie is for - you guessed it -- printing. It's metal, so it can go into the wax. And the magnetic clips, o clever moi, are for lifting things OUT of the wax without burning my little fingers. I hope. Maybe.

My final stop was at the garden center, which did not have urea. But hey, you can't have everything. And I may have to convert my 40-year old aluminum spaghetti pot into a steamer for fabric and treat myself to a new spaghetti pot. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

lists

Debra had a thing about lists on her blog and somewhere, mentioned listing 10 things you'd do if you won the lottery. Not sure I can think of ten, but if we are being shamelessly self-indulgent here, let me see...not in any particular order... 1) redo the kitchen (considering how little I cook, this might sound rather silly, but - hey) 2) buy a real espresso machine and have an endless supply of Italian beans delivered to my door every week. 3) buy an apartment in Manhattan 4) buy an apartment in Paris 5) buy ART 6) fly first class, always 7) buy a big old factory building and renovate it for dirt cheap artists' studios and a gorgeous visual arts center 8) donate money to a variety of arts organizations 9) donate money to build a stem cell research center 10) pay off all existing mortgages in the family What would YOU do? Here's another list for you: 10 things you could do without. Here are 5 of mine... 1) standing in line at the post office 2) standing in line at the supermarket 3) waiting outside the shower for the water to get hot enough 4) the question "how are you today?" from a salesperson 5) the phrase "have a nice day."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

blah blah blah

This picture doesn't really convey the color accurately, but it does show the additional layers I achieved this afternoon on the original fabric (see earlier post). So has it been saved? Not yet, but it's getting there. The colors are still too cool for my taste: I am a warm color person and am on an especially warm color binge this week. After I worked with the above salvage project, I went to work with my new tjap on a piece of light blue fabric I had dyed the other day. I can see that the Bali batikers have nothing to fear from me. I really like this tjap, though, and will have to see what else I can do with it. This will show you what I mean about being on a warm color binge. Here is what is on my wall tonight. I already have a name for whatever this will become. Watch this space. Goodness, it is already midnight. How did that happen? Beauty sleep awaits.

the blahs

I just sent Gerrie Congdon a note telling her I'd be getting her package of fabrics from Handloom Batik out to her a couple of days late because I am fighting some sort of blah-producing bug which had me fall into bed at 4 yesterday afternoon and not get up till 9 this morning. Feeling better this afternoon (eating won ton soup and bagels - what a combination) and hoping to be more energetic after dinner. BUT HARK!! I am suddenly feeling miraculously better!! Two packages have just been delivered as I write this, and have perked me up considerably! Tjaps! Perhaps they can work some magic on this candidate for the "Can this Fabric Be Saved?" program. The problem with this fabric is that the first layer is paint. I think it was a demo piece of muslin for Printing with Found Objects. (bubble wrap, radiator grid, etc). Afterwards, I threw it into some leftover dyes. (pinkish color) You probably know that paint is a resist and the dyes will not change the paint. So -- I need to experiment with this piece to see if I can improve it or if It should be added to the dropcloth pile. Stay tuned while I brew a cup of tea and go downstairs to see what happens.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

opening day

Today was the opening reception of Beyond the Stitch II, the fiber show at the Ocean County Arts Guild (NJ) that Joanie SanChirico curated, organized, and hung. Rachel Cochran and I drove down the shore to the opening, admired the art, and enjoyed talking to several of the artists about their work. Joanie has posted the exhibit, and her pictures are so great that I did not even bother taking any...except this one of Rachel and Joanie, who hadn't seen each other since at least last summer, maybe even longer.

All of the work is finally up on the Beyond the Stitch website, so if you can't get there in person, go take a look. There were some interesting pieces - one in particular, Rachel and I discussed buying together and having joint custody - 6 months at my house, 6 months at hers. Harry Bowers is the artist and his work is always innovative and absolutely delightful. Fiber artist Nisha Drinkard had work in the show, as did Deb Schwartzman, so you can see the variety from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Joanie has done a fantastic job of curating over the years, and one of her best is the most recent mini show , aka Miniature International Textile Invitational that will be exhibited at the Quilt Guild of Dallas show, March 17-19. These works are all for sale and there is already a waiting list for many of the works if they are not grabbed up in Dallas. The people at the Dallas show get first choice, so the rest of us have to wait in line till the show is over. I've already reserved the piece I want if it is not sold - and Joanie's keeping a list - so if you see anything you love, I would suggest you e-mail Joanie and let her know, now.

The weather is bearable, though still not warm. But I was encouraged to see this when I got home and pulled into my driveway. The last blob of snow in my front yard, and the first stirrings of green. Hope springs eternal. Tomorrow, play day - although not at the museum. I have soda ash'd and dyed some fabric so I have a base to work on. Now I have to go and iron it all.

Friday, March 03, 2006

my day at the quilt show

So here is Usha. I got to the show about 11 this morning. I was only going to stay for an hour, but ended up staying for 3 hours. Big surprise,huh? My first stop was Handloom Batik, where I hung out far too long.Usha was helping a customer, but posed when I clicked the camera. Her booth was so crowded that I hardly was able to get a picture, and didn't get a shot of the yummy fabrics spread out like a technicolor dreamcoat on the table under her hands. We were soooo happy to see each other. On the table behind her, she had a bunch of wood stamps and all kinds of new goodies she hasn't had before. I did get one shot of one shelf of fabric, but it doesn't really do justice to what is packed into the booth, which isn't that big. Liza Lucy came by and bought some fabulous Indian embellishments. Last time I saw here was on the exhibit floor in Houston when we were both too harried to say more than "hello." I went shopping for Gerrie Congdon but didn't buy anything for myself, although I must admit I was sorely tempted. But by the time I finished making all those decisions for Gerrie, I was too tired to think. If I change my mind, Usha is vending at Brownstone Quilters show in Northern NJ on March 17-19. The really great news (Karoda, are you listening??) is that Handloom Batik will be vending in Paducah during the show. I forget where she will be, but I'll let you know. Between Helene Davis' Hand Dyes and Handloom Batik's batiks - LOL - you won't need any other fabric but your own. Speaking of Karoda (ha - now I know what the ro stands for, but I'm not telling) - what do you think I saw in a spot right near the entrance to the exhibit hall? This beauty...

My photo doesn't really do it justice and my camera was acting up today - I think the battery is tired. But here is a detail of the beading. Delicious. I ended up looking at the art quilts, all of which were in special exhibits but were, IMO, marred by the pipe part of pipe and drape. The smaller the quilt, the bigger the distortion. Ick. And I Ioitered around, going up and down the aisles looking for the lovely and talented Mary Manahan who finally found me at Usha's booth. I didn't want to leave till I saw Mary, so I gave her a hug and went home.

Usha told me that people who see my spontaneous strip quilt (the one with the black around it) in her booth, ask if she sells a kit for that. A KIT?

There were 60 other things in my head but I was up till 3:am last night doing batik with found objects. Haven't got anything to show you yet with the tjap but Monday is play day at Judy Langille's house, so I might use it then. We'll see.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

gifts in the mail

This gorgeous tjap, about 6"x6" which I purchased on ebay for a huge bargain price, arrived today. It was so inexpensive that I consider it a gift. I was unexpectedly taken with its beauty -- it is so unlike me: traditionally pretty rather than the quirky, more abstract pieces I usually prefer. I just love it - and just need to find the time to use it. I have to get busy to catch up with Cathy, who has been busy printing beautiful fabric, too. Speaking of fabric, I will be putting my art cloth up on my website and some of it will be available for purchase. (No, Mary, not THAT one.) So, tonight I have to measure and see how much I have of what. Yes, it snowed today. Not a huge amount, but sleety and sloppy, so I did not go to the Mancuso show. Tomorrow. Marty closed the office and came home by lunchtime to work on our taxes. I was happy that I had done my own work at the computer this morning because it was somewhat inconvenient this afternoon to print remotely from my laptop. Not only that, i couldn't be downstairs working with dyes because it is in the same space as the computer and I can't work while Marty is swearing at the computer.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

what I love

A day in the studio (or in today's case, the studio office) when I can accomplish something that has been on my to-do list for about a year. Mostly done! It's been cold and I haven't even gone out for the mail in 2 days. My resident weather-geek came into my studio to report that it is supposed to snow tomorrow either at 1:pm or at 4.Great. I was planning on going to see my friend Usha of Handloom Batik, who is vending at the NJ Mancuso show. If I could only guarantee it wouldn't snow till 4:00 I would go. But who knows? If you don't know Usha and her fabrics, you must visit her when she comes to a show near you. She vends at Lancaster (across the street with the renegades), at Fort Washington, at the Vermont Quilt Festival, and other places. Her family prints these batiks in India and they are divine. Her booth was always crowded, but the trad quilters didn't quite know what to do with such exotic fabrics. So, I offered to make a quilt for her booth if she gave me fabric. I loved it so much that I kept it and made her another similar one. Her sales SOARED as soon as she hung the quilt, and I was delighted that I had been able to help. Last year, I decided she needed another piece for her booth, so she gave me fabric and I made this one. Totally different feel - and I enjoyed making it because I just sewed random strips, cut' em up, and pieced them any old way. I still have a lot of fabric left over and keep meaning to make another one - but never quite get to it. It's a great way to work and it makes a good workshop for people who want to just sew without having to plan everything out. Those leftover strips have made their way into many of my pieces in the last year.

You get the idea. They combine beautifully with my own fabric scraps but I have a whole bin full, so I will probably be using them for the rest of my life. Well, if it snows tomorrow I will just go see her on Friday. And I'll bring some of the batiks I've printed to show her.