Thursday, September 27, 2007

I should have been blogging

But I've been working on my kitchen redesign and a few other must-do's (with deadlines). Oh, and going to the gym, which takes an hour out of every day. Yesterday morning, once I was out, I stayed out and went appliance shopping.

Tuesday we had our Studio Six (aka crit) meeting for this month. We've invited 4 people to join us and 3 of them came with their work. It's nice to have an infusion of new spirit and new ideas! They're relatively new to surface design but you wouldn't know it! And they are very new to the art quilt side of things - you wouldn't know that, either.

On the left, Lisa (out of the picture) is holding up some pieces done with sheers. The picture doesn't do them justice and it is very hard to photograph sheers, but they are really wonderful.Click on the picture and you can see them more closely.

Here is Lisa's whole-cloth quilt. The organic shapes are quite interesting, and different from anything I've seen lately. We talked about how she should quilt it.Finally, Susan showed us a few pieces she had finished. Here is one of them. If you click on the picture, you can have a better look and see how she stitched it. Randy brought her just-finished Dear Jane quilt, which I was so entranced with I forgot to photograph it. Next time! I brought my almost-finished piece and showed it; they had all seen it when it was just a baby. Now it needed a name. But I am not posting it.

I haven't eaten breakfast yet - and then off to the gym. I'm running late this morning.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

wanted by the quilt police

This is the tidy, trimmed version:a small section of the back of what I have been stitching for a week. Am I under arrest?

I remember some years ago I was at Quilting By the Lake, which is ostensibly art-quilt oriented. That year, Nancy Crow, Miriam Nathan Roberts, and many other luminaries of the ART quilt world were teaching there and their work was displayed for all to admire. Imagine my surprise when so many of these ART QUILTERS pawed and turned over the pieces as though they were at a pipe and drape show and exclaimed in shock and horror at more than one famous quilter's piece, "OH, look at that BACK. How AWFUL!" Humpf.

And here is the front of a different piece - blocks sewn together from the other night. It is boring: what was I thinking? Well, I do know what I was thinking, but I can't tell you.I just know it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

never a dull moment

The day started early. I ran errends and stopped at the studio to bring home a bunch of fabric. I knew I would be home this afternoon waiting for Dr. Furnace to do winter checkup on our heating - and for the roof guy to come and see if there is a problem AGAIN. I figured I'd be able to do something creative while I waited. Ha!

Instead, my new neighbor who moved in yesterday, discovered zillions of gigantic carpenter ants in the railroad ties between our units. Welcome to the neighborhood. So glad I was home for this event. The exterminator probably won't be here till Monday and the ties seem to be going to sawdust. I believe the tree is infested and this is, for me, good news because the tree has to come down! I am prepared for a fight with the management company. So much for my work with fabric this afternoon.

However, I managed to play a little bit tonight - traditional though these may be - I needed some no-brainer work. I have so much hand-printed fabric and even more commercial fabric, so I decided to see how I could use them together. It was a challenge and I'm done for tonight.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ok, ok, OK!

I admit it: I am obsessed with ovens, cabinets, fridges, and godknowswhatelse that has to do with kitchens. So instead of doing what I am supposed to be doing (like paying bills or making art) I am reading the GardenWeb Kitchen and Appliance Forums 22 hours a day. (Well, I exaggerate, but not by much.)
As a result of all this obsession, I have a lot of catching up to do. Yesterday morning,when I went out to retrieve the NY Times, I ran into a convention in front of the house. Bored by the long-winded blather of the meeting, some of the attendees had wandered off onto lawns en route back to the woods. I couldn't resist the juxtaposition of these scary creatures and the civilized surroundings.

Today, after filling out a lot of paperwork on my mother's behalf, I suddenly found that my body would not move from the chair; I was depleted and needed to just stay here. Fortunately, my friend Rachel came over to rescue me from oblivion this afternoon. She brought her latest gorgeous in-process piece that she is HAND-STITCHING and in return, I showed her my latest piece that I am machine-quilting and struggling with. We had tea out the veranda and when we came inside for one thing, we got sidetracked with pulling my hand-printed pieces and auditioning commercial fabrics to see what would happen. Not a lot happened other than a chaotic mess on my floor which we cleaned up. But when we looked at the clock, we realized that 3 hours had flown while we played with fabrics on the wall.

By that time, of course, I was too exhausted from all of this activity to make dinner and expended my energies instead, to change my clothes and drive five miles in each direction so we could eat and drink without my having to cook. Will make up for it tomorrow, of course.
xxx

Sunday, September 16, 2007

working hard or hardly working?

Well, it has been a busy few days. Wednesday night and Thursday were Holiday in this household. Friday was clean out and reorganize the pantry, which took took till mid-afternoon. By then, Marty was home and it was the weekend. Never got to the gym but at least Fibber McGee's closet is gone from my kitchen. I will spare you the before and after pictures of the inside of the pantry - but this is a "before" view of the kitchen.

We are working on "after."
My kitchen designer was coming at 1:00 -- so I went to the studio for about an hour - just enough time to rearrange my tables for better feng shui. My kua number is 1, which means that west is not a good direction for me to face. So I switched my print table to face north; let's see if it makes a difference and breaks the creative logjam.
In the meantime, I have been quilting a piece of work and am still not finished. Even with my 6500, this is the drudge part. I have reached my limit and tonight, for a change of pace, put some fabrics on the wall. I will cut them up and make something simple and mindless like a plain old scrap quilt with my own fabrics. But I seem to have forgotten what to do with small squares of fabric and have so many bits that I really must use them up. This reminds me, the recipient of last weeks' baby quilt called tonight and was genuinely ecstatic. Made me happy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

working in a series, continued

Your comments on working in a series were really fascinating and I really appreciate that I am not the only one who has difficulty working consciously that way. The fact is, there are lots of ways to define a series and I don't suppose any two of us would define it exactly the same way.

Your responses generated an e-mail from Russ Little, who asked such salient questions that I thought I'd post his message so we could keep talking. Here it is...


I've loved reading the flood of comments on quilt backs and working in a series. It seems like the surface design equivalent of stem-cell research--everybody's got an opinion and none of them are lukewarm! "What makes a series a series?" It sounds like there isn't general consensus among your readers about whether it is (a) it is a consistent subject; (b) a consistent theme; (c) a consistent design element ( e.g., color); (d) an intentional exercise; or (e) some combination of the above. This Wikipedia page shows a good sampling of works from Monet's Haystack series , which I think illustrates so clearly an artist intentionally focusing on light, color, and mood by holding other elements of the composition static. Personally I would have grown weary of the haystack (or the lilies, or the Houses of Parliament, or the Japanese bridge, etc.), but I see the value of the study, and it's amazing to see several of them together in the same room and to feel the differences between them.

If I'm drawn to the shape of leaves, and I execute 10 finished pieces that deal with leaves, is that a series?" What if the designs are radically different? What if they are created months or years apart and only later presented as a "series"?
What I'm hammering away at is that if you take a liberal view of what constitutes a series, then there are a lot more of them out there. And, perhaps some of them might even be created by people who hate the thought of working in a series.

Good food for thought/discussion, Russ. Any one of the above can be a series if you deem it a series. My Poland Series began as a way to process what I had seen and felt -- but I didn't think "oh, I'm going to do a series." I just began to work. This was an early one. And over the next 10 years, pieces emerged that became - IN MY MIND - part of that group. Even though the pieces are visually different and it may not be obvious that they are part of a series, their genesis was the same and they are all exploring aspects of memory and loss -- both personal and collective -- sparked by that trip to Poland. This is the last piece - or should I say the final piece? It took me a decade to get this one made to my satisfaction
and I didn't know what it was till I was 3/4 of the way finished. Then I realized what it was about -- and it was the piece I had been trying to make for years. When I stopped thinking about it, it just happened by itself. Now I have said all I wanted to say and I can move on.

In the meantime, a number of my Poland pieces will be part of a two-person exhibit in January. The other artist is a photographer.

So, to get back to Russ' questions about what makes a series...what does it mean to YOU?
(a) a consistent subject; (b) a consistent theme; (c) a consistent design element ( e.g., color); (d) an intentional exercise; or (e) some combination of the above.

Friday, September 07, 2007

working in a series and other digressions

Well, this is one way to dress up a boring picture. I couldn't bear to post without an image and my batteries died when I was at the studio today -- just as I was about to photograph a piece in progress - otherwise known as "the monster on the wall." But no matter, I have taken that piece apart, off the wall, and put it away. It will emerge again when it is ready, and will look very different from the 17 past permutations - none of which really worked well enough for me to go finish them. I am home, the batteries are in the charger, the new batteries are in the camera - and now there is nothing but empty wall. One happy note: I have finished a piece I am very happy with it. It is on the floor, waiting for me to find enough fabric for a backing and sew them together so they are large enough to cover the back of this piece. Oh, dear. Question 1: does it matter to YOU if you put a pink and purple backing on a green and blue piece? Or do you feel the back has to somehow harmonize with or connect to the front, even though nobody sees it? This finished piece seems to be the second in a series; same motif in each piece, although each piece is differently sized and colored. The piece I took apart was a conscious attempt to make another in this series with a lot of the fabric I have printed. But conscious attempts don't work for me. The first piece went together easily - 1-2-3 (or so I am remembering it) and has a strong, direct rhythm. The piece I took apart today just never worked; I think I was trying to hard to achieve something specific -- like trying to make somebody like you when nothing on earth you could do would change the other person's feelings. Question 2: Working in a series. Many of you do, and do it well. LizzieB did it with her discharge pieces and circles; Virginia Spiegel's most recent group is clearly a series based on her outdoor adventure; Sonji's bundles are a major series - and on and on. For those of you who work in a series -- is this your intent? Do you ever feel you are forcing the issue or does everything flow naturally? For those who don't work in a series -- why not? I look forward to your comments.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

oops - sorry

I've had multitudinous (is there such a word??) complaints from people who keep checking my blog and finding NO new posts. Sorry, people. I was posting so regularly - almost every day - for so long, that I think you all got spoiled. Me too. Going through blog-withdrawal right now. I can't go into all the reasons I haven't posted -- but -- 1) I have no new work to post. 2) My life consists of going to the gym and shopping for appliances for a phantom kitchen renovation that may or may not take place in the next 9 months. How boring is that? 3) I have not been in my studio all summer because it it too hot. I have finished ababy quilt and now have a new grand-niece I have to make another baby quilt for. Yes, HAVE to. Then, I'm done. How can I do this and be an artist at the same time? 4) Uh - if I think long enough, I can come up with something else - but I should get to work, instead.