Wednesday, January 30, 2013

about class samples...

If you are a teacher, do you make class samples?  I don't normally make any such thing because I don't teach projects.  But on occasion, guilds who want to sell my class (usually to more traditional quilters) ask me for class samples.  I am sorry to say that my experience has not been good; some time ago I sent one off and never saw it again.  I do have samples for my Cinderella Quilts class to show what can be done with a UFO bloc...but it is a different story for Free-Form Qulits.

One guild asked me specifically for a class sample for the Free-Form class and I didn't have one.  As it happened, I needed to do some therapy sewing yesterday (it has been that kind of a week) so I decided to make a small piece out of the usual suspects -- the leftovers in my box.  By last night, it was all done but the facing - but I am going to send it off without facing or sleeve and will leave the orientation up to them.
  Maybe it would look better in this direction...or not.
But here's the dilemma: I don't want the class to think that this is what we are making, because it is not. My fabrics & my leftovers = a unique small piece. It took me all day to work it out, and I had all the units sewn together and sitting here (except for the stripes).  Their mileage will certainly vary.

Does this mean I have to send another totally different piece along with it?  Maybe a before & after UFO block-- or just an after.   This will give me an excuse to do more therapy sewing tomorrow, while we are having another storm and flood.  Sigh...

OTOH - maybe I should iron this free-form quilt top and send this off as another possible example.
I had all these random blocks and decided to use them a while ago.  Since I don't have a baby who needs this, it is sitting around till I need to finish it -- only after somebody's baby is born.In that case, it could easily be a class sample along with the other one.  That way, nobody will have expectations.
No expectations, no disappointments.

Next week, it is back to the studio to work on my 25 more scarves. Now I know why they say "be careful what you wish for."

Hi from snowy/rainy N.J.

It has taken me this long to catch up with blogging about my week at Quilting in the Desert.  I have to say it was a delight to teach there and if you have a chance to go in the future, check it out! I was really happy to be there in January:-).

I am still recovering from a red eye flight that left 4 hours late (try 3:am Arizona time) because it was late coming in from Newark (snowstorm).  Slept all weekend.  Then, an unexpected medical issue surfaced on Monday and sidetracked me for a few days.  The other problem is that I can't upload photos from my iPad to my iPad when I am blogging, so I have not blogged.  But now I am on my computer.

SO - here I am, finally!

While I was in Scottsdale - two treats. One, my friend Jenny Mitchell (formerly known as Jane Aldoretta) came over from Sedona and we went to lunch. I haven't seen her in a couple of years, since I was last teaching in Grand Junction, CO.  We had lunch and did a quickie glance at the galleries downtown.

Friday night, before I went to the airport, I had dinner with my friend Sherryl Buchler. Sherryl lives in Scottsdale but her daughter lives near me in NJ, so I get to see her a couple of times a year when she comes here to visit. NOT in the winter!  It was great to catch up.

My last blog post showed a few of the fabrics my students printed.  We were at Marla Hattabaugh's studio for two days: you undoubtedly know that Marla hand-quilted Nancy Crow's quilts for many years. These days, she's doing her own wonderful work - and we were lucky enough to see her exhibit in a local gallery while we were there.  These couple of pix don't do her work justice, but here they are anyway.

The second part of the workshop was spent using the fabrics the class had printed -- a challenge that they met beautifully!  Too many times you will take a printing class and go home with a bunch of fabrics (some great, some not so great) and never use them because you can't figure out what to do with them. Ha- not this group!

I am not able to post them all, but in 3 days they produced lots of art.  Becky made lemonade from lemons when she used her printed background to make a whimsical piece with some fusing.

 Laura's and Mary's remarkable fabrics turned into beautifully designed work that was both spontaneous (ad hoc design) and thought-out (slow design).

 Marti struggled at first because she likes to know where she is going -- but as she worked and moved the pieces around, she suddenly had a direction and the rest was easier than she had thought it would be.  By the last day, she was already adding her gorgeous quilting to the piece.

Maura, the traditional quilter who wanted to break out, had the biggest epiphany. She had printed a really ugly fabric and was going to throw it into the garbage  till I convinced her it would be great cut up into strips.  Sure enough! The pink and green and black fabric in the right-hand piece actually makes it sing:-)).  And the piece on the left showcases her gray printed fabric in a simple but effective design.

I think she would tell you this class changed her creative life - she couldn't wait to get back to her traditional guild and show them what she had done!

 Cheryl is a quilter who does amazing photo-realistic quilts and this was her first time working abstractly.  She used two of her printed fabrics throughout the piece and was very happy by the time she had finished it.  It was quite an accomplishment for someone who normally works from photographs and reproduces them faithfully.  She should be proud of herself for stretching!

Debbie's red screenprinted fabric became the focus of this piece and you can see how happy she was with the result. With good reason!

Janice used several of her printed fabrics in this piece, including one she had printed with a Thermofax screen she brought from home.  I hope she will send me a photo when she has quilted this beauty.

This is evolving from a cut-up screen print which was really tough to do anything with.  Paula started slashing and I can't wait to see the finished piece!

I was disappointed to find that my photo of Barb's red, white, and black piece did not come out. I hope she will send me a picture that I can post later.  And Susan started a couple of pieces that I hope she will finish at home.

In any case, this was a fun group who really supported each other and was generous with fabric, critique, and suggestions.  This is what makes all the schlepping and standing on my feet for 5 days worth it.

And this picture of a Scottsdale sunrise (undoctored by photoshop) was worth a thousand words.  If it were a painting, it would be corny.  Hope to return to this venue.
In the meantime, I am off at the end of the month to Asilomar and am looking forward to having two dear friends in my class.  Then home and to Quilting Adventures in New Braunfels, TX.  There might still be room in the TX class if you want to come and have a great time!

Now I'm out the door to my art critique group meeting -- the first in quite a few months. We have all been so busy...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hi from sunny Scottsdale!

Been going so nonstop since arriving at quilting in the desert that I haven't had time to even read my email or make a phone call but am i having fun? Of course!!

Here are just a couple of the results we got while er were printing at Marla Hattabaugh's
Wonderful studio.

It has been nonstop and we are already at day three, where the class is taking their printed fabrics and using them as jumping off points for new work! Very exciting.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

a print day

So this commission I took on is for 50 scarves... They have to be yellow and they all have to have the same four motifs on them - but beyond that, it's whatever I feel like printing.  No two are alike: that would be IMPOSSIBLE. And I would bore myself to death.

These four are left from yesterday; I couldn't finish them till today.  Now these four are home with me so I can steam them and there are three more on the table to finish tomorrow (if it doesn't snow too much).  It is slow going because I can't do production - bing, bing, bing.  I much prefer printing my own scarves, even though they are no less time consuming.

I was in the studio from about 10 this morning till almost 6 but didn't get that many scarves printed.  First of all, a number of my screens are wearing out from intense use, or because they are 10 years old -- so I had to make new ones. That took time.  Then, I was out of print paste so I had to make more. And had to mix more colors - you know how it goes.  By the time I actually got down to printing, it was afternoon.  

My own work is in my sewing room, waiting patiently for me to get to it.  Not tonight.
I'm done!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

a soup day

Snow and ice on the car this morning - grrrrrrrr. Cleaned off the windshields and went off to visit the dentist and then the supermarket.  Stocked up on vegetables (why?? I am going to be away next week) and needed to make room in the crisper. That meant soup!
Since I had to be home this afternoon waiting for the mattress guys to come and deliver a new one, I figured I might as well cook.

I had seen Mark Bittman's recipes for Customizable Soups and coveted the Curried Cauliflower soup. Fortunately, a half-head of cauliflower was available - and using it left just enough room in the drawer for the eggplant I had just bought.  This soup is simply to die for -- I could have eaten the entire pot at one sitting.   He has it as a variation on the creamy spinach soup, but here's my version all in one place. Of course, amounts are variable.

3 cups water
1 medium cauliflower (he says 2 cups of florets but more is fine)
1 large diced onion
1 T of chopped ginger
1 tsp curry powder ( I started with a teaspoon and added more to taste, later)
salt & pepper
1/3 cup coconut milk
cilantro for garnish (optional)

Put all into a pot, except coconut milk, and cook till cauliflower is soft (about 20 min).
Purée until smooth (I use a stick blender), add coconut milk and correct seasoning.
(I added more salt and curry powder). Garnish with cilantro leaves. YUMMY!!! Perfect for a winter lunch and it didn't take much time to make.

I spent the rest of the afternoon making bouillabaisse (see Julia Child for the recipe)
and that was my dinner.

Tonight, I steamed a bunch of scarves I have been slowly printing for my college class reunion in May.  What was I thinking when I took on this commission?? I'm only 20% there.
Maybe on Friday I'll have a chance to go print another half-dozen, which won't make a dent.  And next week I will be in Scottsdale. Ahhhhh.....

Monday, January 14, 2013

having a chocolate attack

Several weeks into a sensible eating plan, I am suddenly craving chocolate.  Nothing to do but go with it -- right? Endorphins, antioxidants, and all kinds of other wonderful things. My mother always said that if you are really craving something, your body needs it. Uh huh.

This past weekend was nonstop - shopping on Saturday for household necessities, followed by an evening jaunt to Greenwich Village to see Shadows, a groundbreaking 1959 film by John Cassavetes. Fascinating, haunting, and ahead of its time. 

Finally got my box of supplies shipped out today and am looking forward to flying out to Arizona next weekend.  I have also been shredding papers (1986 tax returns, anybody??) in a continuing effort to make room for more of same, only more current. ARGH.

Apart from an afternoon in the studio printing scarves last Thursday, I have not been there.  Today was misc. chores (laundry) day and I have been reading instead of working.
These strips, part of a  MQG challenge, are sitting on my wall.  

And I have something on my floor that is in process. At some point I may post it, but it is far from its final form.

That's all from the front., except for the photo I got today of a budding artist.

Apple doesn't fall far:-)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

back from nowhere special

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of mostly non-creative activity.  My energies have been directed elsewhere, but I'm not sure exactly where.  I finished the baby quilt for Phoebe and delivered it to her grandparents on New Year's weekend.We went to see the Picasso at the Guggenheim and the Matisse (which I loved) at the Met and ate ourselves silly over that holiday weekend.

Since then, been doing mundane chores -- have not been in the studio, although I made an attempt this morning, only to discover a dead battery.  By the time it had been replaced it was not worth going in. Do not ask me what I did at home all day -- more mundane chores like cleaning the garage and packing supplies to be shipped for my next class.  My nails are breaking -- victims of the cold, dry weather and, I think, a bad manicure.

I have been putting pieces of cloth on the wall, only to take them off again, and I haven't even photographed them so you can see them.  I was heartened to receive a lovely email from Shawn Delker who got my book as a Christmas gift and sent a photo of the resulting quilt.  What a happy surprise!
Thanks, Shawn!
Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment and will make an attempt at the studio again. on Friday I am jurying an exhibit for the Montclair Art Museum. The weekend is already scheduled up the wazoo, so perhaps I will put in another bit of time tonight on the piece in process. Or not:-)

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 ...