Sunday, May 31, 2009

quick (not really) Sunday post

Yesterday's SAQA Parlour meeting in Mahopac, NY, organized by the charming and talented Debbie Bein, was a big hit! Sixty-three art quilters, some from as far as a 3-1/2 hour drive) came together to meet/greet/eat (of course), show-tell, crit, and we had a slide lecture by fabric collagist extraordinaire, Patricia Mattison. Amazing work. This is a quilt made by a group of people, each of whom got a piece of the picture and had to do her technique with their portion. Very cool!Some people brought 2-3 pieces for show & tell; I brought one quilt and 1 piece of fabric, both of which you have seen - so I won't bore you. However, Dierdre Abbotts, who was the official photographer, got this picture of me wearing my art jeans. Someone told me they looked better in real life than on the blog - LOL - I'm not so sure. Several people asked why I hadn't painted the back of the jeans: I didn't think I needed to draw attention to that area. Sixty-some people had show and tell and it moved right along. I have to say it was a pleasure to sit through show & tell where people didn't say "and this is the grandmother's flower garden that I am making for my grand-neice" or "here is the sailboat quilt I made for my grandson." Show & tell for art quilts -- yay!! Last night I put this piece of cloth up on the wall. It has numerous layers. While I was contemplating it, I began to think it was really two separate pieces and I should cut it into two pieces, stitch them, and mount them on canvas. They would be about 14"x17". This afternoon I took a huge number of quilts to the studio where I photographed them in good light, camera on tripod. Some of them hadn't been shot in so long that I had actually used FILM and scanned them in. Not good enough for my revamping of the website! Spent 3 hours tonight uploading and resizing pictures but a few need to be reshot anyway. For now, I am done for the day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

working in a series, revisited

There was a question on the QuiltArt list today about how many pieces it takes to make something a series. I guess, by definition, a series is more than one - so the answer has to be two. Right? But it is less a case of how many than of how you define a series. Style? Subject? If subject, does the style have to be consistent? Size? Color? Mood? Technique? I don't think there is any right answer.. Are they a series? If so, what makes them a series? Or if not, why not? This is a piece of fabric I have recently printed. Does it belong with the above pieces? Even though it is a smaller size (and not intended to be part of anything when I printed it), is it part of the (unintended) series that evolved over time? And what about this piece, which was on my design wall recently? Style totally different: subject the same. Is it part of this series? Depends on your definition. I think not - at least not as it stands - or stood - because I have dismantled it and may or may not revisit it in the future. And this one, which I made a decade ago and no longer own: is it, in retrospect, part of this series? If you were reading this blog two years ago, you may have participated in the terrific discussion about working in a series. If you didn't read the posts/comments, go to working in a series and click on it to see them. Then come back here. Take a look at your own inventory of work: what do you see as a series? Do some of those pieces fit into several different series, depending on what you bundle them with? This gets us into another topic, which is what constitutes a body of work? But maybe that's for another blog post. Meanwhile, let's talk!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

blah blah blah

Maybe I should shorten this post's title to blah blah. Or even blah. Too tired to blog tonight - still recovering from a few 18 hour days. Spent about 1-1/2 hrs late this afternon in the studio, ironing. Came across this one, which is actually from the fabric covering the print table. That's enough for tonight. Hitting the sack.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Hello again. Sorry I've been MIA but I've been working steadily in the studio since Sunday. The holiday weekend was a blur and I did not have a chance to come near the computer except to answer a few misdirected e-mails I had never seen till now. I did get a lot of deconstructed screen printing done, however. Here are a few I am pleased with. Click on them to get a better look. It's been a while since I have done this so steadily and I still have plenty left in some of the screens. I'm looking forward to going back and using them on some of the other fabrics languishing in my studio. Maybe tomorrow afternoon after I get the non-studio chores out of the way. I'm also rearranging my space: it looks less glamorous but is more user-friendly, so we'll see how it plays out. Glad to be back with you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

what day is it?

The week has gotten away from me. I HATE when that happens! I have been moving my fabrics over to the studio little by little, but I don't think there is any ore room. I shall have to cut them up and give them away -- if I can find time to do it. I have been preparing for a special project I'm working on this weekend and I'm just hoping it is not 90 degrees again tomorrow or for the next few days. It has cooled down tonight and I'm keeping fingers x'd it stays this way. I've also been frantically dyeing/printing scarves to meet the request from one of my California venues that I bring a bunch with me. Here are a few I did yesterday. The first one is crepe de chine, deconstructed and then screened with text and music. The next two are chiffon. This one is dyed and screenprinted. This one was dyed, discharged, and screen printed.And finally, I have not been happy with the scarf below and finally decided I would discharge through a screen and see what happened.
Here is the result. Amazing, right? Thiox paste through a screen and then steamed.Here's what the whole thing looks like. I hated it before; now I love it.
I'm working Sunday, Monday, Tuesday in the studio. I will probably not have time to blog till my company has left on Wednesday, but we'll see. If you have a long weekend, enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I have to thank Hilary Metcalf for her comment on yesterday's post that led me to the images and an interview with the late artist, Rosalie Gascoigne, that resonated with me so much that I went in search of a longer interview. I feel cheated that I never knew about her or her work. Also, I promised to give you a link to the place where I found the 6" squeegees. Earl Mich company - and when you do a search, you need to misspell the word as "squeegie." I have enough of them to keep me for a while, and yesterday a big box of syringes arrived: probably enough for the next ten years. I'll just add them to inventory with the 41 lbs of soy wax and 8 rolls of batting - LOL. I took two rolls to the studio and put one of them up on my design wall so now it is nice and clean. Besides that, my other big accomplishment was making my jeans into wearable art, so to speak. I had spilled paint in various places and they just looked grubby. Now you can't tell where the spots were and I can get away with them. Here is one of my favorite aphorisms -- it was probably in a fortune cookie. Did some deconstructed printing on a couple of scarves and played with neocolours on a screen. I normally use base extender when I print the crayons but today I grabbed a bottle of medium by mistake and couldn't get the damn stuff out of the screen because it is acrylic. I won't do THAT again. Finally, my in-process piece went back onto the (nice, clean) wall and is ready to be poked and prodded some more, when I have time. Meanwhile, it will stay there and vegetate. My studio mate, Francesca, was in today and it was lovely to have company in the room for a change. Actually, when I look back at the day, I realize it was pretty productive. How nice!

Monday and Tuesday

I missed last month's meeting of Studio Six so today was a treat. Diane Savona just returned from visiting her son in Japan and came home loaded with old textiles she had found in flea markets and little shops. As she showed them, she told us what they were and gave hilarious renditions of her pantomimed bargaining in the stalls. Here are two quilts from Susan Brauner's new garden series. (ok -- one and part of one). And Hollie Heller brought a few of her new experiments with her. See these bamboo boxes she made from an old bamboo curtain? She's holding up the prototype of what she can do with the bamboo constructions. Very nice! Judy Langille brought two catalogs: the new Quilt National book, which I have to say is the best I have seen in many years. Lots of newcomers and while not everything in the exhibit was a gem (yes, there were a few head-scratchers) - it was refreshing to see the work of quite a few artists who were new faces instead of so many of the same old-same old. The second catalog was from the opening at the McCormick Gallery in Chicago of the spectacular work from the estate of the architect, painter & printmaker, Harold Krisel. Go see the show if you are in Chicago - it is up till May 30. Otherwise, you can see his work on the gallery's website at the link above. He was Judy Langille's father and she clearly has inherited his talent. I spent a couple of hours in the studio today, with most of the time devoted to mixing alginate paste in the blender and adding color. I mixed up 8 containers of thickened dye and made a couple of deconstructed screens, which I will use on Wednesday. On a whim, I decided to screenprint with thickened dyes istead of paint and I used the eyes I had mixed for deconstructed printing -- so they were very dark. I brought this home and steamed it tonight and it didn't lose any color. At first I thought it should be a vertical piece,But then I turned it in the other direction and now I don't know, because I like it this way, too. Just before I left for home, I spotted this rainbow on the floor.
I hope it is an omen.

Monday, May 18, 2009

spring cleaning continues

After 13 years, the amount of STUFF we (mostly I) have accumulated in this house is beyond belief. So, I'm clearing out, slowly but surely. Well, not so slowly - my husband accuses me of tossing everything - but it is a PROCESS. Yesterday, we took the table that was in there over to the studio so I have an extra one for workshops, which I promise I will be scheduling - probably in September. Ditto for the drying rack. I re-stacked the empty cartons (which I use for shipping supplies to workshops) and now a person can actually walk into the closet.The roll of bubble wrap is left over from when my neighbor moved: she was going to throw it out!! The shibori stuff is neatly stacked in buckets. And I made some discoveries...
41 lbs, neatly bagged in 1 lb units untold yards of pfd 419w from Testfabrics, plus some black that may not discharge
and - oh, joy - 8 or 9 rolls of queen-size batting I didn't remember I had. It does pay to clean up once every dozen years or so. I'm off to my crit group meeting and will catch up with you later.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Family celebration and an art link

Yesterday, my grandson David made his first communion and we were at the church, then back at the house for a wonderful party. Happily, the weather held so we could be outdoors. While I swore I would never get off-topic with grandkids and family event, I am allowing myself a bit of an indulgence and I hope you'll humor me. Here is the 8 year old kid before everything started, practicing to be a cool teenager or a magazine model. LOL.
And here he is with his little brother Jake and their parents Jeremy and Anne Marie. They're laughing and look relaxed - must have forgotten they were being photographed.
Later...with Nanny & Grandpa Uncle Mike and Aunt Hilary and THE CAKE!! (to die-for - chocolate cake & cannoli filling ) and finally, Uncle Tommy and Aunt Jessica
There was tons of ice cream because Jeremy's best friend owns the Ben & Jerry's in Ridgewood, NJ. and he brought over his ice cream cart, filled to the gills. We took home a pint each of NY Superfudge Chunk and Coffee. I hate to say it, but I think their coffee is better than Hagen Dazs. ART - I promised an art link. Between the last paragraph and this one, I called my DIL Anne Marie to tell her what a fabulous party it was. She said she had meant to ask me whether I had heard of the artist Hanoch Piven (I hadn't). He is a mixed media artist who makes wonderful portraits using found objects (or collected items, or whatever he calls them). Long story short - He lives in Barcelona but was here for something else and one of the mothers tracked him down. He spent all day at David's school recently doing workshops with the kids and apparently it was a fabulous day! What fun! Cheered me right up to see the portrait of Bernie Madoff he has on his blog, which you can get to from his website. Go have a look - it'll make you smile.

space opened up in California workshop

I happened to spot this notice on The Wild Onion Studio blog and thought I'd pass the offer along here to help Susan out, since it is sad to have paid for a workshop you suddenly can't attend. Rayna Gillman workshop available I was lucky enough to sign up for a Rayna Gillman workshop, happening this June 17 – June 21 at The Quilter’s Studio in Newbury Park, CA. On day 1 and 2, Rayna will be starting us out with monoprinting, stamping and screen printing. Her concentration will be on using found or textured items, working experimentally to create unique fabric. On day 3, 4, and 5, there will be creative exercises and small studies done, to test out new ideas, continue working in a series, or work on a larger piece. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with such a respected studio artist in a small class of like-minded artists. The venue is open and airy. And I can’t go! If you would like my spot, please contact Eileen or Trudy at (805) 480-3550. Tell them Susan Italo sent you!

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...