Friday, June 30, 2006

Quilting and Art

These are illustrations I've done. When I draw, I'm not worrying about where the line goes, or what colors to use. It just comes to me and I do it. When I first started quilting, I read so many books and websites about how to do things the "right" way--which I soon realized wasn't right for me at all. Piecing and precision just wasn't my thing. I figured, "Hey, I don't draw like that, why should I quilt like that?" So I started quilting like I draw and it started coming to me. So what if my stitches aren't perfect, or this part's a little crooked? It's what I intended. If someone else doesn't get it--it's on them. When I was a Corcoran art gallery intern I saw plenty of art that I didn't understand. I realized that it all boiled down to how I felt about it. Isn't that what art's all about?

One thing about doing art quilts is that we seem to feel as if we're always walking that line: "Is it a quilt?", "Is it art?", "What do I call myself?"

Easy--An artist whose medium is quilting. It's really that simple. It's no different than pencil sketches or watercolors. It's all art in the end...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Really Rain...Go AWAY!

Rain gets to a point where it's not helping to make the flowers pretty and the grass green and relieving droughts anymore. What we're having right now is crazy day-after-day, nonstop rain and storms that are causing flooding and standing water everywhere and snarling an entire region. This is nuts! D.C. and its Metro area are having a hard time right now. A tree even fell over in the front of the White House. It's

I'll also admit that when we had our basement mini-flood, one of the first things I made sure was high and dry was my sewing machine (and that's only because I tended to the computer first!) LOL.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away!

It has been raining and storming like crazy for the past couple of days! Thursday night, a crack of lightning so loud and bright woke me up. It was a pretty scary storm with lightning touching down everywhere and the thunder booming. I don't get scared by storms, but this one was pretty unnerving. Just flashes of white over and over again. When I spoke to other folks about it, they all said the same thing, that they had been awakened and it was very scary. Wow.

Our home had a mini-flood in the basement earlier. I just happened to be walking by our back room and saw the water flowing in. I screamed "Water!" and my husband and I sprang into action and caught it just in time. And they say it supposed to keep this up for a few more days. Yikes.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Summer is officially here! Break out the sunblock! Time for me to switch over to my hot weather hairdo as blown-out naturally curly hair + D.C. humidity = scary frizzy mess.

All I can say is that it was 95 degrees here today. Chock full o' humidity. My car showed me so. Just. Plain. Oppressive.

What will August be like?

(Can you tell I am not one with the sun? LOL)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nataal Series

Thanks for the insights everyone. I personally found the judge's comment hilarious. I believe that it's so subjective (judging) in the end, does it really matter? I don't think so and it doesn't stop me from creating.

Right now, the new machine (it hasn't been named yet) and I have been cranking along on the Grandma quilt, remember that one? It'll be part of a series I've named "Nataal", which is the Wolof word for "portrait." I already know who the next two will be. I was really influenced by the Masters paintings that I saw at the Prado and Louvre while overseas. The guys and I spent hours and hours at those museums. One thing that I realized is that at one point, these painted portraits were their "photographs." We know exactly what Felipe III or his daughter or Marie Antoinette or Velasquez himself looked like because the paintings so consistently portray their features. I thought I'd create some portraits of my own and that's pretty exciting to me.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Judges & Comments

Me at Barnes & Noble with the latest book I'm in--face out! YAY!

Yummy sundae with brownie and caramel at Ye Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe! YAY!

I had entered the NQA show just for the fun of it, since "Tish Groove" is one of my earliest machine-quilted pieces. FedEx finally got it back to me yesterday, and I didn't expect to have judges comments come back to me with it too. Let's just say that they weren't bad at all, if anything, one was a touch perplexing, LOL. I'm sure that sounds famililar to a lot of you, lol.

Now you've all seen "Tish Groove" by this point. The one comment that irked me was "Effective layered composition, although artist's intent is not apparent."

What in the world does that mean? LOL! It's based upon an illustration that I did of my cousin, LOL! That was the intent. Good Lord. Does art have to necessarily have an intent beyond its creation? Heck, sometimes you really do create art for art's sake! You're really feeling something that day or inspiration's triggered or you've got some emotion just just needs to come out in your work or you some art!

Anyone else have any perplexing judging comments like that--that make you alternately want to scream or throttle someone? LOL!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Unity in Harmony Quilt--DONE!

Well, I have sold my first quilt and here it is! "Unity in Harmony" was created for and auctioned off at the Chorus America annual conference. It was inspired by photos of The Hartford Chorale and The Washington Chorus. I was both machine- and handstitching away like crazy, down to the wire, in my hotel room.

As I said yesterday, this has been an inspiring week for me. It made me reconnect with a part of my life that was shelved. Years ago, I was a member of the citywide D.C. Youth Chorale and singing was a very, very important part of my life. I also sang in school choirs from grades 2-9. Rehearsals from M-Sat.--no fail--and I think I only missed them when I was extremely sick--like the chicken pox or flu. I could read music and was a very high first soprano. I just loved to sing. It was a constant in my life and a source of stability. I didn't care what others thought about my singing in the choir. I loved it, and it made me very happy. Unfortunately, my high school had no chorus or music program and everything stopped. I was devastated and didn't sing again for 17 years--and that was three days ago at our opening session's "morning sing" with Sweet Honey in the Rock's Dr. Ysaye Barnwell. And then, 2 days later, when Alice Parker did hers, I realized that I could still read music! All of this was such a revelation to me and it felt good.

That is why "Unity in Harmony" being bought by Ms. Joyce Garrett was so special to me. Who is she? She is the former head of the Eastern High School Choir here in D.C. She's legendary to me. With her Excellence Without Excuses philosophy, she took students from a rough school, often with rough lives themselves, and gave them hope and dreams--such as travelling to Vienna, performing with major celebrities, and singing for every U.S. President since Reagan. She gave the students a future to aim high for. She is now the founder of the new Washington Youth Choir, something I wish I had in the 10th grade. The idea that even more students will have a chance to love singing like I did, makes me so happy that she is my first sale and my piece will grace her home.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Janome and the Chorus America Conference!

Hello all! I've been away at my job's annual conference all week and things have been crazy! I did have to let Ol' Singer go, and I bought a Janome 6260QC. I got a great deal on a floor model and I'm so happy with it. My husband was slide rule days are over! LOL. I love it! It came with me to the hotel and worked beautifully! And yes, that's Wonder Woman, Yoda, and Ben Stiller w/braces, lol.

I can tell you where I work because I'll end up on their homepage and it'll be public knowledge anyway, lol. I work for a wonderful arts organization called Chorus America, and we promote/support choral music in the U.S. and Canada. All week long I have been exposed to beautiful choral music, including a rare performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Symphony of a Thousand") at the Kennedy Center. It's rarely performed because it usually requires 1000 musicians. At this performance, there were 500! It was fabulous and moving to be surrounded by the chorus and the orchestra. I could literally feel it! It culminated with a major performance in conjunction with the NEA called "America Sings!", which is kicking off their choral music initiative and covered over 300 years of American choral music.

I also got to hear some of the best local and national choruses, such as The Young People's Chorus of NYC, VocalEssence (from Minneapolis), The Washington Chorus, The Heritage Signature Chorale (D.C.), The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, and so many more! It was fantastic!! Support your local choruses! You won't regret it. I'll talk more about how inspiring of a week this has been for me (and the fate of my quilt) tomorrow. I'll just say that Alice Parker, one of choral music's most beloved figures, loved my quilt and helped me pin it up for the display. I'm so tickled by that, but it's even more meaningful to me who actually ended up buying it!

Oooo...The suspense! The excitement! Can't you feel it?!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

R.I.P. Ol' Singer

Sunrise: January 1996
Sunset: June 2, 2006

Like her canine namesake, I had to put Ol' Singer down yesterday. Her foot pedal shorted out and she wouldn't stitch. Combine that with skipped stitches left and right and I was at wit's end. I'm on deadline for the "Harmony" quilt. I knew I couldn't continue on her. Tomorrow, I'll have to buy a new sewing machine.

O.S. has been with me for so many years and I've created some of my best work on her, but it's time to let her go. She's served me well. My husband's joke is that it'll be like someone who's been working with an abacus being handed a computer. Ha.Ha.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Harmony Quilt--In Progress

Well, all the pieces are ready for the "Harmony" Quilt. I have to adjust the size on one, add their hair, folder straps, and the white cuffs, but otherwise than that, this is pretty much ready to be fused tomorrow. Above, you can see the "before" sketch and the "after" pieces that are ready.