Thursday, April 20, 2017

buried in fabric

Not literally, of course.  But overwhelmed.  Boxes and drawers and bins!  I brought two shopping bags of fabric to my Modern Quilt Guild meeting tonight  and put the piles on the "free" table. A lot was gone in a flash; the rest can go into charity quilts. 

The hardest part are the boxes and boxes of strips and some scraps: wide, narrow, hand-dyed,hand-printed,commercial. Most have been cut free-hand; some are frayed.  All of them need to be ironed, I think. But my modern guild wouldn't know what to do with them. They make a lot of quilts using patterns.

There is no end, it seems. I have left a huge bag of strips (mostly Helene Davis' beautiful hand-dyes) in Florida, but I simply don't have room to cart these back and I know I will cut more, because that's what I do. Sigh... do I close my eyes and send them to the landfill? Or do I stuff a manila envelope and send them off to you for some therapy sewing?  

I am chafing at the bit to play with fabric but instead, I am trying (in vain, it seems) to declutter and at least make the place look neat.  In addition, I am getting sidetracked.  
This is not a big surprise.

I already have baggies of my grandmother's fabrics from the 1940's and 50's: scraps she brought home from the dress factory where she worked.  Then, this morning, I found a whole shopping bag containing the remnants of a blanket cover she had made from the woven plaids and some stripes.  It was so worn, she had patched it in layers. I had started to take it apart, probably decades ago and I took more of it apart today. I'm challenging myself to use it in a modern quilt.
And there were aprons in that bag that my Nanny had made.  I remember my mother wearing this one.  1940's fabric. Pocket. Ruffle. See how easy it is to get sidetracked?

And here I sit, blogging instead of straightening up. Procrastinating? Resting? Both, I guess.

I emptied my trunk of fabulous vintage blocks dating from the turn of (the 20th) century up through the 1930's.  And I haven't even attacked a drawer of my own orphan blocks.

My quilts are another story.  At some point I will be having a studio sale because I will not have room to store them all. 

In the meantime, I have been invited to have a show of 12 quilts at the Northern Star Quilt Guild show in Connecticut, May 5-6.  They are rolled up and ready to be picked up this weekend by the curator.  On Sunday, May 6 I will be giving an artist's walk/commentary at some point in the afternoon.  If you are in the area, here's where Northern Star's show, World of Quilts, will be located. Come say hello!  

O'Neill Center

Western Connecticut State University West Side Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension Danbury, CT 06811 

If you want an envelope of therapy strips, raise your hand and I'll let the random number generator do its work.

In fact, even if you don't want them, leave me a comment. Comments always perk me up!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trash & Treasures

I opened the trunk and it was a Pandora's Box.  Out flew a pile of antique blocks and vintage fabrics I had forgotten were there.  They spent two days on the coffee table in the livingroom and today, I sorted, catalogued,researched, and organized. I have bags of antique blocks I will never have time to do anything with. Some date from the 1860's-80's, others from 1900-1910, and others from the 1930's.  

There was yardage, too. I found two yards and a little bit more, of bark cloth that I bought decades ago and never used.  It is gorgeous.  
At some point, when I  have cleared up the rest of the mess, I will have some of these wonderful fabrics, scraps, and blocks for sale.  I simply don't have the room for 40+ years of accumulated fabrics.

On that note, I am turning into a pumpkin.  Good night!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

haha - I have just inspired myself.

We got home Sunday night, and on Monday I started emptying out a storage closet in the basement.  I will tell you that I have been shredding papers for two straight days -- many of them dating back to the last century.  My garage is full of shredded and unshredded paper.

A little while ago I walked into my sewing room for the first time since I got home and was delighted to be greeted by this little unit on the design wall.  What a nice surprise!  I made it when I was teaching in Switzerland and wanted to illurstrate somehing (but what??). Now I am inspired to do more of these!

I happen to have a plastic baggie with more of the brown,black,and white units and I will have to take a creativity break and play a bit.  Enough with the shredding!  But right now,
 I am bleary-eyed.  It will take me a year to clean out this house - believe me! 

Tomorrow is bulk pickup, so the mouldy deck chairs are going, along with whatever else I can foist on the garbage men. In fact, I had better take them out tonight.  Off I go...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Color, Pattern, & Inspiration

There are infinite sources of visual inspiration for those of us who are artists; it's just a matter of seeing. Where do your inspirations come from?

Mine come from everywhere because I see pattern in almost everything.  Oddly enough, somewhere along the line I started collecting/taking photos of carpets and upholstery fabrics, thinking I might use them someday as inspiration for my own work.  In all this time, I have used only one as a jumping-off point.

Somehow, these images...

morphed into this idea, which never actually went anywhere.  

I'm particularly fascinated with hotel carpets, which run the gamut.  Since I frequently stay in hotels, I take pictures of the ones that interest me for one reason or another.  This past weekend, I hit the jackpot with these two inspirations for modern quilts.

this was in the hallway
 this was in our room.
Here is another hotel hallway carpet I have seen several times.

But remember - inspiration, not iimitation.  Put the images aside and forget about them for a while.  Somewhere along the line, they might surface in a different way.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Heading north

It has been a busy, hectic, somewhat stressful - but lively, Palm Beach winter. I had both ancient/ugly bathrooms renovated, which took twice as long (of course) as I had hoped.  We finally have a modern master bath and guest bath.  We took out the tub in the master; the peeling ceilings have been fixed, clear shower doors installed, the tile replaced, linen cupboard installed in master bath...etc.  Still have to deal with the window, add artwork and mirrors to both bathrooms, but basically, they are done. And the showers are delicious!

The last 3 days before we left, the painters were here and covered up the ugly, 30 year old peach paint in the whole apartment with a lovely light gray. All the stress, mess, and aggro were worth it.

So here we are, heading north again with the other snowbirds and a plethora of vehicles that should have their own road! This does not include horse trailers or humungous RVs dragging cars, motorcycles, bikes, and boats; or the truck fire that tied up traffic for 10 miles. Never a dull moment on I-95. 

We are in Durham, getting ready to go to dinner with our friend Marni.  To be continued.

Monday, March 20, 2017

String theory

For the last month or two I've been too busy to work very much.  I've been stupidvising my bathroom renovations, which are almost finished.  Waiting for the granite counter/sink/faucet to be installed in the guest bathroom and doing about 10,000 other things that need to be done before I leave for NJ in a couple of weeks.  I've cleaned up the sewing/guest room because my daughters are coming (first one, then the other) and they will need to sleep in here.  This is the good side of the room - LOL.

I have barely had time to sew but needed to do something creative, so I decided to take a string piece that has been sitting around for yonks and give it the light of day.  As usual, it had been an experiment:an idea I thought (at the time) was worth pursuing. This one didn't work very well and when I dragged it out this morning and took a photo, I knew it was due for triage.

So... I took it apart. When I separated all the blocks, I discovered they were all slightly different sizes and shapes. Uh - was I drunk or just tired when I sewed them together?  Most likely, just in a hurry.  Not a good idea.

I trimmed all the blocks to the same size (5") and tried another arrangement without sewing them together.

Better, but not much.  The blocks were too big, clunky, and close together.  They needed more space around them but I had no more of them and wasn't about to make additionalones.  Other fish to fry!! 
Down they came. Then I wondered what if I  put space between the small units and played with a sort-of alternate grid? I arranged and rearranged, and here is what is on my wall now.  I still needs more negative space around it, but basically, it's done. I think I'll stick a fork in it.  What do you think?

Of course, once I sew the pieces together the whole thing will get smaller and may change a bit - but that's okay.  It can't be worse than the first version! But I think I may let it percolate for another day, just in case.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's only Tuesday?

My mother used to say she didn't know what day it was until she looked at the New York Times. I thought she was kidding.  Alas, now I know she meant it.  The days fly by!

My bathroom renovation is in process - the less said about that, the better. 

  I have also been dealing with real estate: I've bought another apartment about 5 minutes away to use as a studio and I feel strangely calm about making this purchase, although I have never done this before without a husband to share the legal and financial stuff with. BUT- It just feels right-- and there is a bedroom I can use for overflow guests.

The curtains and shades have to go, as will some of the furniture and items in the kitchen cabinets the sellers left -- but I will have space!!  Closing scheduled for sometime next week.

In the meantime, I have been puttering around after having returned from QuiltCon.  I finished taking apart this nearly-finished quilt because I didn't like the way it turned out.  I will now reuse these blocks in some other way where they don't have to line up exactly right.

I have always admired Cherrywood Fabrics but had never purchased any.  However, they were vending at QuiltCon and I had to buy some.  Yesterday, I combined them with some of my Indian batiks, making a few experimental blocks.  Not sure where this is going - or IF it is going. Whall see at some point.  In the meantime, I have a few other ideas I want to try.

However, the sewing will have to wait because for the next three days I am going to print!!  Kerr Grabowski is teaching nearby and while I don't need a class, I do need to see her. So, three play days!!  I'll keep you posted.

Past my bedtime, considering that I have to be out of the house at 7:30 a.m. 'Nite.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quiltcon 2017 - Savannah

It has been an exhausting, exhilarating two days at the Convention Center in Savannah. I'm on sensory ovarload and my feet hurt, but that's part of the deal. Right??

The vibe here is strong and good; lots of young people - and I mean young! But there is a palpable sense of energy and enthusiasm, even among us seasoned ones - LOL.   I had a wonderful time looking at all the quilts and seeing old friends, former students, and meeting Facebook friends in person!

Sandi Suggs and I have been chatting online for a long time and we finally got to meet! I love when you meet a cyber-friend and hit it off like old friends.  This was a joy and I can't wait to see her (and her friends) again.

Today's unexpected gift was spotting Sophie, my delightful student from the class I taught last year in Switzerland.  She and her friend Sophie (yes) came all the way for ths QuiltCon and we were so excited to see each other!  She promised to send me a photo of the piece she had started in class. She is a Swiss Modern Quilter!!

If you've been reading Facebook, you'll see that I posted some pictures of quilts at the show. But there were many more that I thought were interesting or that really spoke to me.  I still don't think I saw everything there, but I'll share what I can.

One of the classes I teach is Idea to Improv, where you come to class with an idea or an image to use as a jumping-off place for a quilt.  I was taken by one exhibit by an online group, all of whom interpreted the same photo in a modern way.  Here was the original photo, taken from the High Line in New York.

And here were three of the pieces that resulted. There were more but I didn't get photos of all of them.

Here are some other quilts I enjoyed looking at.

This one for its palette.

 This one for its use of negative space.

This was a group quilt I thought really worked.

And this one, inspired by a Stuart Davis exhibit, really captured his vibe.  My fave.

I cannot wait to get back to Florida and start cutting and sewing. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

she's back...for the moment

Life interferes with life -- and with art.  Have you noticed??  

My big deadlines are over. Today I sent out a piece that will be exhibited at the Kirkland Gallery in Clinton, NY.  When I get home in April, I will be gathering pieces for a solo exhibit, May 6 & 7 at the Northern Star Quilt Show in Danbury, CT.  So I've been a bit busy.

In addition, the 1970s era bathroom renovations are underway. 

Master bath in process, with the usual "it takes twice as long and costs three times as much" (or vice-versa.I can never remember which).  Still waiting for shower doors, granite, and for something to be done about the water pressure in the new shower, which was fine before. Grrrrrrrr.  Meantime, at least we have one good strong (old) working shower in the guest bath.  Never a dull...

I have also been shopping for another apartment to use as a studio -- another time-consuming task. My guest room needs to remain as such; it has been difficult working in there and then spending 3 days cleaning up when I have overnight company, as I did this past weekend, when Hilary, Josh, and Ben were here.  

I found a one-bedroom/one bath one in another area of the village which will be great for my purposes and gives me an extra guest room in case I have an overflow.   Best of all, no carpet - so if I want to use it as a wet studio, I can.  We shall see.

In the meantime, it will all wait until I get back from QuiltCon.  Phil and I are leaving this morning to drive to Savannah.  Have never been there and we'll spend some time being tourists while we are there.  This is also my first QuiltCon and I hope/expect to meet up with some friends while I am there.  I'll take lots of pictures and post on Facebook, Instagram, and hopefully, here.  It will be interesting to see how the vibe differs from Houston.  Will keep you posted.

buried in fabric

Not literally, of course.  But overwhelmed.  Boxes and drawers and bins!  I brought two shopping bags of fabric to my Modern Quilt Guild ...