Sunday, February 26, 2012

deconstructing the screen

The two-day workshop in my studio was way too much fun and I can't even begin to show you what fabulous fabric my students made -- because, as usual, I was too busy to take a lot of pictures.  But you'll get the idea.

Here is Susanne, putting the thickened dye on her screen.  For some reason, I didn't get a photo of the resulting fabric but you can imagine! 

 Here is another one of her fabrics just after she had printed it, before we dried, steamed, and rinsed it.  But it was just as beautiful and vivid afterwards.

This was Susan L's favorite print.
And these were amazing, too.  These are her first and second prints, and she made about a dozen more from the same screen.

You can see how much Judy was enjoying the process.

And this incredible piece was her favorite.
Everybody went home with piles of beautiful fabric and I just hope they will send me pictures of what they do with it.  Using it, of course, is the hard part.  I'm putting together a new workshop called "I've Printed it -- Now What??"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

yesterday I painted

                                        It is much more difficult than it apears.

Friday & Sat I will teach. Easier than painting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

half over

The week, I mean.  Goodness, it is already Wednesday and the weekend beckons. Personally, I like that.
I haven't been able to blog about the delightful afternoon I had at the Turtle Creek Quilters' Guild in the wilds of south Jersey because the unofficial event photographer just sent me the photos.

There was a slight glitch in getting to my destination, since Mapquest sent me to a different town from the one where the meeting was.  Finally got there, after a phone  conversation that began something like this:
R: "I'm lost."
Guild Person "'Where are you?"
R: "I don't know."
GP: "What does the sign say?"
R: "Church St."
GP "that's right."
R: " But I'm in Yenemsville and I'm supposed to be in Groveville and nobody here knows where that is."
GP: "Well I don't know where Yenemsville is because I'm not from around here."
R: "Neither am I."
Finally a guild member who was from around there guided me and the rest of the day was fine.

Three-fifths of the guild members showed up for my lecture and asked lots of good questions.


With one or two exceptions, the quilters were very traditional and were fascinated by the idea of free-form slicing/dicing and no-ruler strips.

 In fact, several of them were already working with strips, making a quilt out of jelly roll strips by sewing them together end-to-end.  I totally missed how they got from a 1600 inch long piece of cloth to a quilt, but here is a site that shows what they look like when they are done.

Meantime, here is a group of guild members checking out my quilt and trying to figure out how I did it.

 Yoko is a new member - this was her first meeting.  And she told me she thought that Japanese quilters would go crazy over my way of working and that I should go and teach there.  Sounds good to me - LOL.
 Here are the Block of the Month giveaways that some of the members brought in.  I was struck by the fact that 9 of the 14 blocks used brown and that 4 of the remaining 5 contained blue. What the significance is, I have no idea: I am just making an observation.
 All in all, a lovely afternoon and I believe we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Before I waltz off to bed, I have to share with you some photos on the Pixetera Blog which captivated and delighted me.  The buildings in this urban enclave are so vivid, so full of energy and color and humor - despite the obviously poor environment, that they made me smile.  They are an inspiration  and remind me of the buildings that Sean Scully photographed in his book, The Color of Time.  It is my favorite photo book in all the world and I bought it in 2004. It is now out of print and the least expensive price is 10x what I paid for it.  Good grief!  If you ever find it in a used bookstore, grab it!
Tomorrow, I am going to explore something new. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Day!

That's Emma's version of Happy Birthday.  Jessica and I took her to the Brooklyn Children's museum and later, she had her b.d. cupcake. 

I left mid-afternoon and it took me two hours to get home because they were doing construction work on every bridge and road I needed to drive over/on. GRRRRRR.

Sunday, I gave a lecture at a quilt guild in NJ and it was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, the photographer has not yet sent me the photos -- or maybe there was nothing worth posting, anyway.

Tomorrow, I hope to go to the studio for a while to finish cleaning up and getting ready for the Deconstructed Screenprinting class I am teaching on Friday and Saturday in my studio.

I am scheduling another class for March 16-17, so if you want to sign up, email me.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unpicking stitches

Oh, joy.   One of my favorite activities - especially when I am in a rush to finish a piece.  I seem to remember posting a bunch of strips I pieced from hand-printed fabrics - ah, yes, on Feb 8. Well, I threw them at the wall and am now quilting what stuck.  But nothing is easy.
I have a deadline, which I will not make. I am lecturing to a guild on Sunday and was hoping to bring this little one with me.  Well, I can bring it unfinished.  First, I broke 3 needles this afternoon and discovered that the needle thingie had decided to move itself off center.  By the third needle, I figured it out and moved it back. Fine.

In the past year, because I am such a crappy free-motion quilter, I decided to skip that stuff altogether (at least for now).  "Aha," I thought, "straight stitching -- what could go wrong?"  So I've been doing straight stitching and it has made me so much more relaxed, I can't begin to tell you.  On this small quilt, the lines are very straight. Except that I discovered that toward the end, they were straight but slanted (if you know what I mean).  Don't know where I went wrong and I may 1) never know and 2)never be able to correct it. But meantime, I am unpicking a few rows to see if I can minimize the angle.

Before I sign off, I have to send you over to read Margaret and Helen.  I just about fell off my chair reading Helen's post tonight, I was laughing so hard. She is hilarious; unfortunately, the subject is far from funny - it is scary.  But you have to read it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

what I did today

Before I go on about my not-very-interesting day, I want to say that my heart is full and I have been so moved by your wonderful posts and private emails after my last post.  I am overwhelmed with your thoughtfulness and caring and I have received all of your hugs in love and comfort. If I haven't yet answered you personally, I apologize.
 When I left the house this morning, there were 19 turkeys on my next door neighbor's lawn. Nineteen! Oy.

eeeeeeeeeeek! I hate them!

I am standing in my driveway taking this picture.
By the time I got my camera out, some of them had scattered, but not very far. When I finally pulled my car out of the driveway, they had all regrouped in the middle of the street right in front of my car. They did not move and I was forced to drive around them.  Trust me, I was sorely tempted to plow over them. But I didn't want dead turkeys messing up my car. ICK.

I bought Emma a book at a local, independent bookstore.  It did not cost me any more than if I had gone to Barnes & Noble, and the owner wrapped it.  Then, she didn't have another book I wanted for myself so she asked if they could order it. Yes, they could.  I felt very good.

Then I drove across town to an independent toy store and bought something I would never have found in Target or Toys R Us.  And she wrapped it. And I was happy to give her the business; she has been there for 5 years and just came back from the Toy Show at the Javits and gave me a sample of something new to give Emma to try.

Yes, Amazon is convenient and discounts everything, and I do buy things from Amazon. But less than I used to because they are putting everybody out of business and it is well known that they mistreat their employees.  There are reports all over the place about this, including a current one in the Seattle Times.  Now they want to build a warehouse in NJ and want a sales tax holiday for 2 years, while the independent stores have to collect and pay it.  Ha.

Tonight, I have been working. I'm in the midst of stitching a small piece and maybe I'll get it done by tomorrow.  Right now - off to bed before the whole night is gone.  Thank you again for being there; I don't know what I'd do without you.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

love and loss

While I am far from a romantic (or so I believe) it has nevertheless been a difficult day for me and I suspect, for any of us who has loved and lost a partner/spouse/lover in the recent past (however you define "recent."). My sense of loss caught up with me today and has doubled.

In this household - although there were roses in the early years - and always cards, no matter what -- Valentine's Day always got mixed up with Marty's birthday.  We rolled the 14th into the 18th and went out to dinner on the 18th. Marty picked the restaurant (ordered lobster if it was on the menu) and it was the one time a year that I picked up the check. My birthday gift to him.

When he was 82, Emma was his birthday present and we were at the hospital. I don't remember anything about dinner -- I think we postposed it for a day.
But Marty was afraid to hold that brand new baby and it was a month or so until he felt secure enough to hold her.
 When he was 82, we went out to dinner with Ross & Nancy -- and Jon, who had come down from Boston to see his father.  Marty did not order the lobster, even though he wanted it. He never explained why and he never had lobster again.
This coming Saturday he would have been 83. Perhaps my sense of loss will have receded a bit by then.  Instead of birthday dinner, there will be a birthday cupcake. I am going to celebrate Emma's birthday with her and that will give me great joy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

black and white

 and grey.  The sky is the latter and earlier, big white fuzzies fell from the sky and landed on my garden - just enough to be  pretty but not enough to be annoying.  All gone,now:-). 
I hope the weather gods hold out for a while - I am giving a lecture next Sunday and the following week, Friday-Sat, Feb 24-25 I am giving a deconstructed screen printing workshop in my studio. There is one more spot left - email me for details if you are interested.

Mags Ramsay sent me this just now - a contour sketch she says gave her day a creative start. Thanks, Mags!
I've spent my day sorting and slicing as I work on a small piece that may or may not get finished by the deadline. And now I am off to visit my mother for the rest of the afternoon.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend: I plan to enjoy every minute of mine!

Happy Friday

How can I not be happy when I receive more whimsical drawings in my email??!!!   It is fascinating to see how clever you all are.  Keep them coming!  If you missed my post with the original blank, I've inserted the blank again, below.  C'mon guys - see what you can do with nothing.

This one is from Martha Bilski
And this is from Eva-Marie Nerling

I found it amusing that Eva and my granddaughter Kayla had the same idea. Kayla's was more minimalist but apparently the saying 'great minds think alike" holds true here:-).
Kayla and Alexander and their parents stopped in last Sunday en route to a Superbowl party and I gave the kids these line drawings to see what they would do with them.  This is Kayla's second  (and more elaborate) piece of art.  I don't know what happened to Alexander's. 
i am captivated by the possibilities and the creativity that emerges when we have only the bare bones to work from.

My bones may not be bare, but they are creaking and since it is already tomorrow, they deserve a rest. Ahhh- the weekend is here.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

a few flakes

of snow fell during the night.  Before they evaporated, I ran out to take a picture or two,
As I looked at this micro-layer of what passes for snow, I remembered being in Atlanta 16 years ago when this much snow shut down the whole city.  'Nuff said.

Remember the line-drawing exercise from the art/brain post on Wednesday?  I am happy to say that one person sent me what she had done with those bare-bones lines.  Debbie from Jerusalem - thanks!
Will post more tomorrow. I am turning into a pumpkin. And pumpkins make typos.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Those are the fabrics that just don't work as whole pieces -- or even half pieces.  Bleh colors and printed stuff you don't have time or energy to overprint -- or have overprinted so many times that they are - yep - mud. 

There's only one solution: slice thinly and try to hide them by combining them with other fabrics, hoping nobody will notice how awful they are.  In fact, when they are cut really thinly, they are not awful at all: amazingly, they often become little gems. 

You know those packages of fabrics that have been cut into strips 2.5" w x 40" (or so) long? Some call them "jelly rolls" (why??), others like Timeless Treasures, call them "treats." (better name, IMO). Irrespective of what you call them, the 2.5" strip makes a lot of sense.  It can be any length (mine vary between around 10"-20" (give or take) and the width slices nicely into two or three strips.

Yesterday I posted this picture on my Facebook page. I had cut a bunch of "ick" fabrics into strips, laid them on the table and photographed them.  The arrangement was completely random but when i saw the photo, I knew they looked great together. (these do not include the swatches above)
The fabrics work together because the colors repeat elsewhere,so that despite the varied patterns there is some unity. The black and white version showed me that there is sufficient value contrast. 
Now I have to decide where I am going to use it -- a task that will remain on hold for a while.

In the meantime, on another subject - I forgot to mention in yesterday's post about Lonni Sue Johnson's art exhibit, that the last thing in the exhibit was an interactive exercise for visitors.  These pieces of paper were on the table near the exhit, with a bulletin board overhead, on which there were tons of wonderful drawings done by people who had come to the exhibit.  I gave these to my grandchildren to complete and the results were delightful.  I offer you the same opportunity: print this out, enlarge and complete it, and scan it back in or take a photo and send it to me. I'll post your creative output.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

art and the brain

For those of us who wonder about how/where the brain contributes to art, scientists at Johns Hopkins are doing an ongoing study of an artist whose career was interrupted by brain damage.

Sunday afternoon I attended one of the most remarkable and fascinating exhibits I had ever seen: An Artist's Journey Through Amnesia. I would never have known about this exhibit were it not for an artist friend of mine who had encountered Lonni Sue while she was recovering (an ongoing process) and was working on her art.  He knew about her struggles because she was from the Princeton area, where the exhibit is currently taking place. The exhibit had been at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and is now in New Jersey at Morven in Princeton (the former governer's mansion - now a museum).

In 2007, Lonni Sue Johnson, a talented, whimsical, prolific artist and illustrator who had illustrated books, New Yorker Magazine covers, and done art art for the NY Times, was stricken by encephalitis which left her with permanent brain damage and amnesia.Also, click on this link to see the video about her.  She is not only an artist, she plays the viola, which she had no memory of ever having played.
 It is amazing to track the progress of her work and how it has changed (and yet retained many of the elements it had before her brain damage).  If you are anywhere within driving distance of Morven in Princeton, NJ it is worth seeing. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

back to work

It has been more than a week since my grandson Josh's bar mitzvah and the requisite family celebration a week ago Saturday. Here is Josh reading from the torah.
And here I am on Saturday night at the party, getting rare kisses from Josh and Ben.
It was great to have my cousins and my kids staying here and since midweek, I have been scrambling to catch up with my work. 

I have 3 pieces going into a gallery in Philadelphia for the week of Fiber Philadelphia and still have to put a sleeve on one.  I am working on a large project with a tight deadline and still have to make something for the ugly fabric challenge on Karen Musgrave's blog and do a tutorial for another blog. Phew! Bitten off more than I can chew?  What else is new?

Over the weekend, went to a couple of art exhibits that were very special.  One was an exhibit of paintings and drawings done by the A-Team Artists who are members of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. Self-taught artists who work with donated materials, they do remarkable work filled with poignancy, humor, and energy. The reception was packed, quite a few pieces sold, and the proceeds went directly to the artists. Some of the artists provided music and poetry to accompany the visual art.

 The second exhibit deserves its own blog post, so I will bid the full moon goodnight and head upstairs to pull down the shades.  Tomorrow, the next exhibit.

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 ...